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Crown Land and County Registry Office Records

Availability of inexpensive New Brunswick farmland was one of the main reasons settlers came to the area.  The government used land grants as a reward for loyal subjects, military personnel and civil servants and as a way to stimulate settlement.  Land was essential for survival.  Land was required to build homes and barns, plant crops and produce wood for fuel and lumber for construction.  Land was conveyed to the settlers by means of a fee granting system from 1784 to 1827 and by means of a sales system after 1827.  Early land grants were usually laid out along waterways that were used for transportation in the days before road construction.

Each of the 15 New Brunswick Counties has a Land Registry Office where a researcher can access records dating back to 1784.  Once crown lands were granted to settlers, the responsibility for recording subsequent land transactions rested with the County Land Registry Office in fifteen shire towns.  There are land sales, leases, mortgages, bonds, liens, contracts, releases, notices of action, wills, powers of attorney, judgments, assignments, oaths, decrees and other records affecting land title.  The records provide a date of transaction and recording, names of parties involved, occupations, places of residence, names of spouses, descriptions of locations, measurements, and names of witnesses.  In registry office records, the wife's first name is given but her maiden name is almost never provided.  Indexes to these records are alphabetical by surname and note the names of grantors and grantees, sellers and buyers. 

If the researcher has a relative who left the community and took up land elsewhere in the New Brunswick, provincial and county land records may be of assistance.  Documents pertaining to land transactions can contain biographical and historical data and can place a particular person at a specific location on a given date.  In addition, land records can assist in reconstructing a family in the days before census enumerations were made.  Land records can help identify individuals with the same name living in the same area.

At the PANB on reel F13763 there are indexed land petitions that can contain biographical data and land grants that provide the name of the grantee and a description of the metes and bounds of a particular grant but have no other biographical data:

1783 - 1918  RS108 Land Petitions: Original Series

1832 - 1966  RS272 Land Petitions: Current Series

In addition to land petitions at the PANB, there are land grants (RS686 Land Grants) that provide the name of the grantee and a description of the metes and bounds of a particular grant but have no other biographical data. 

In the Search Room there are copies of cadastral or reference maps that show the location of each original land grant.  The cadastral maps can be purchased.  Many additional maps, plans and drawings are found in the Map Section.  There are maps showing the location of farms, roads, waterways, schools, mills, churches, stores, railway lines, steamboat routes, and settlements. If an ancestor was involved in lumbering check

RS663 Timber and Sawmill Petitions for data about lumbermen.