This series consists of records related to the administration, management and alienation of land in the New Westminster land district from 1882-1978. The records were primarily created by the provincial Government Agent and the Dominion Land Agent stationed in New Westminster. The majority of these records are homestead files created by the dominion government. These files contain information about homesteaders, their applications and the process of obtaining title to land.
Record types and subject matter include, but are not limited to: land alienation through pre-emption or purchase from the provincial government and homesteading or purchase from the federal government; a variety of leases of Crown land; other general subject files; and records regarding Indigenous Peoples or Indian Reserves.
Records related to land alienation include: applications for pre-emption, purchase or lease; land classification reports; forms completed by land inspectors of the Department of Lands Inspection Branch; declarations of occupation and permanent improvement on pre-emption claims; applications for homestead entry, cancellation, and abandonment; homestead Inspector’s reports; affidavits in support of an Application for Entry; land sales records; correspondence with settlers and other government officials; patents; Crown Grants; certificates; forms; maps and plans; financial records including receipts and cheques; court records, such as probates; survey records; notices of sale or cancellation; and sale agreements.
Records related to leases and other uses of Crown land include: grazing leases; foreshore leases; dredging leases; special use permits; timber permits; timber berths; water licenses; applications for dyking schemes; campsite leases; oyster bed leases; right-of-ways (ROWs) through land for railways, roads, powerlines or pipelines; petroleum and natural gas leases; quarry leases; bar leases; coal leases; mining leases; and mineral claims. Other uses include government reserves, the establishment of parks, and the reservation of land for school sites or other public uses.
Other more general subject files include: inquiries about land availability; preliminary plans and correspondence for the survey and sale of townsites; Soldier Settlement Board records including forms, correspondence and records of soldier land grants; correspondence files on specific topics such as canal construction, the reclamation of Hatzic Lake, the draining of Sumas Lake and the establishment of fish culture and fish hatcheries; and business records of the office, including inter-department correspondence, circulars, and memorandum related to matters of land administration.
Files also exist for specific Indian Reserves, and can include correspondence; water records; surveys; and inspection reports created in the process of allotting new, and canceling or amending existing Indian Reserves. Some files document instances of overlapping land use and conflict between settlers and Indigenous peoples on specific parcels of land.
Files are generally either correspondence files on a particular subject, or a variety of records related to a particular piece of land. Many files cover a wide time period and may be associated with multiple individuals or companies, as land rights were often transferred to others or cancelled and reapplied for.
Only the name of the first individual listed on the file is included in the file list. This means there may be additional names associated with files not included on the file list. The file list may also only include part of the legal description of land in cases where the description was exceptionally long, or included many different pieces of land. Single individuals may also have multiple files for each piece of land they are associated with.
Maps, plans and sketches indicating the parcels of land relevant to the file are commonly found throughout the records.
British Columbia. Government Agent (New Westminster)