Series GR-3097 - Crown land grants

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Crown land grants

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  • textual record
  • microform

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  • Source of title proper: Series title taken from records classification system [BC Lands ORCS (schedule 101687) classification 10240-20 "Crown grant registers"]

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  • 1869-1930 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Works

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Physical description

Microfilm (neg.), 16 mm (206 reels) and 35 mm (1 reel) [B14217-B14422, B14438], Microfilmed by Genealogical Society of Utah, from Crown Land Registry Services originals.

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Biographical history

The Dept. of Lands and Works was established in 1871 under the Constitution Act (SBC 1871, c. 147). Prior to that, the origins of the department were in the offices of the Surveyor General for the Colony of Vancouver Island (1859-1866) and the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and Surveyor General for the Colony of British Columbia (1859-1871).

The mandate of the department was to grant permission for the pre-emption of unoccupied, unsurveyed, and unreserved Crown lands, issue Crown grants and grant leases of Crown lands, oversee all survey and map functions, and construct and repair roads, bridges and buildings for public services. It was also responsible for promoting immigration. The Dept. of Lands and Works was headed by the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and Surveyor General.

By 1899, the department was organized into two branches: Lands Branch and Works Branch. In 1908 the Dept. of Lands and Works was disestablished with an amendment to the Constitution Act (SBC 1908, c. 12). Its functions were assigned to two new departments: the Dept. of Lands (SBC 1908, c. 31) and the Dept. of Public Works (SBC 1908, c. 41).

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Scope and content

This series consists of crown land grant files for BC crown land grants issued from December 1869 - when all such grants have been centrally registered, regardless of location or type - to 1930. They are arranged by volume and registration number. Earlier registrations, organized by district or town and not centrally indexed, are found in GR-3139.

Crown land grants are issued when land owned by the government is conveyed to private persons and organizations under the authority of the senior official responsible for Crown lands.

Several different types of grants are inter-filed in the Crown land grant series. Under a process known as "pre-emption" (which continued until 1970) individuals could purchase land which had not been fully surveyed. However, grants to these lands were not issued until the applicant had made specified improvements, satisfied residency requirements, and had the lands fully surveyed. Other types of grants have included those for the purposes of mineral claims, town lots, mill sites, schools, returning soldiers' homesteads, and railway rights-of-way.

Each Crown land grant is documented in this series with a land grant registration form and related records. These records describe the sale or transfer of specific parcels of Crown land and the terms and conditions governing these transactions. During the period covered by these records, each registration form documents the following: registration number; grantee name; location, acreage, and lot number of the land; and the amount paid. Attachments include sketches of land lots, applications for Crown grants, receipts for land and fees, certificates of purchase, and related documentation.

Alphabetical indexes for these files are found in GR-3096. An online index, albeit incomplete, is available at:

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There are no access restrictions.

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Associated materials

Related series include: GR-3096 Crown land grant indexes (1869-1930); GR-3139 Crown land grants (1851-1874); GR-3140 Crown land auctioneers' agreements (1899-1914); GR-1069 Herald Street Collection [ca. 1851 to 1970]

Related materials


General note

Accession number(s): 93-5522; 93-8161; 93-8162

General note

Microfilmed in 1999-2000. Records were removed from bound volumes when microfilmed. Oversize documents were filmed on a separate reel of microfilm (B14438) on 35 mm film; all other documents were filmed in sequence on 16 mm film. (Cross-references for documents removed for separate filming are provided in the places where they would normally have appeared.)

The colour-coded survey tracings available in many of the original sketches are visible on microfilm, but not in colour; these may be viewed in the original form by searching for the crown grant number in GATOR's Document Number search or in the Historic Crown Grants database (both accessed through GATOR's menu page$

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The original records were retained by the Crown Land Registry.

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