Title and statement of responsibility area
Williams, Thomas Henry : SW 12-35-23-W2
General material designation
- Textual record
Title statements of responsibility
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Edition statement of responsibility
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Statement of scale (cartographic)
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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- Canada. Dept. of the Interior
- Canada. Lands Patent Branch
- Canada. Office of the Registrar General of Canada
- Canada. Dept. of Northern Affairs and National Resources
- Saskatchewan. Lands Branch
Physical description area
ca. 0.002m of textual records
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Archival description area
Name of creator
Name of creator
The Lands Patent Branch was originally established in 1881 to maintain the records produced in the land patenting process and to process land applications from institutions. It was originally administered from a central office in Ottawa, but an office was later opened in Winnipeg and local field staff assumed many of the lands patent duties. In 1883, the Lands Patent Branch took over the full functions of a land registry office in relation to federally-controlled western lands. Previously, many of these duties had been administered by the Office of the Registrar General of Canada, part of the Department of the Secretary of State of Canada. In 1928, the name of the agency was changed to Lands Patent Division. In 1930, the Lands Patent Division was dissolved when the provinces took over the responsibility for all unconveyed lands.
Name of creator
The Registrar General was established in 1868 under the Department of the Secretary of State of Canada, which was the precursor to the federal Department of the Interior. It kept the Great Seal of Canada, the Privy Seal of the Governor General, the Seal of the Administrator of Canada, and the Seal of the Registrar General of Canada, and registered all documents that might require the Great Seal or federal Crown registration. Until 1881 the Registrar General's duties included the maintenance of records produced in the land patenting process and the processing of land applications from institutions. This duty was then handed to the Department of the Interior's Lands Patent Branch. In 1883 all lands patent duties that fell under the auspices of the Dominion Lands Act (1872) were transferred from the Registrar General to the Lands Patent Branch. In 1966 the Registrar General became the Department of the Registrar General, a short-lived autonomous government department.
Name of creator
Name of creator
From 1930 to 1947 the Lands Branch, and grant and lease functions, were part of the Department of Natural Resources (later the Department of Natural Resources and Industrial Development.) The initial legislation (The Provincial Lands Act, 1931 and The Land Utilization Act, 1935) and the legacy of the Federal Department of the Interior, which previously held jurisdiction over these responsibilities, provided the framework for Crown Land lease and sale accounting and administration. While the Lands Branch was part of the Department of Natural Resources, the Provincial Lands Division and then (in 1932) the Lands Patent Division carried out the grants and transfer of land. This included handling enquiries, application forms, payments, agreements and recording the disposition of land.
In 1948, control of the Lands Branch was transferred to the Department of Agriculture, which subsequently changed the responsibility for many of the functions from the Land Utilization Division to the Inspection Services Division. During the 1960s, The Agriculture Rehabilitation and Development Act resulted in many of the grants and leases only being permitted for projects related to the development and conservation of water supplies, soil improvement, and /or agricultural efficiency.
In 1975, the Lands Disposition and Records Division of the Lands Branch became responsible for land grants and transfers - by advertising land for lease/sale, by preparing land transfers, and by maintaining the records of lands. In 1984-1985, a reorganization of the Lands Branch saw many of these functions split between the Field Operations and Support Services divisions.
The transfer of the Lands Branch back to the Department of Agriculture and Food in 1993 resulted in another reorganization, splitting the control of leases and sales amongst geographically oriented divisions (i.e. northwest, south). In 1993-1994 the Branch operated under the Financial Support and Program Management Division as part of the Lands and Regulatory Management Branch. This Branch had a broader mandate, including livestock health and operations. With the abolishment of the Crow's Nest Pass annual railways subsidy in February 1995, Lands Branch assumed responsibility for management of the provincial share of the federal payout and amended rental rates on Crown agricultural leases.
In 1996, the splitting of the Lands and Regulatory Management Branch into three branches (Livestock and Veterinary Operations, Pasture, and Lands) resulted in Lands Branch becoming part of the Program and Services Division, where it remained until April 2005. This change marked the first time that the Lands Branch did not hold responsibility for the administration of provincial pastures and the Community Pastures Program. The responsibility was returned to the Branch in 2001 with the amalgamation of Pastures and Lands Branches.
In 2000, the stated mandate of Lands Branch was "to promote the sustainable and integrated use of Crown land while providing opportunities for diversification and economic growth." Between April 2002 and May 2004 the Department operated as the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Revitalization. Currently (2011) Lands Branch resides in the Ministry of Agriculture. While the Branch has experienced changes in its structure and in policy and program development, the basic function regarding the administration, sale and lease of Crown lands has not substantially altered throughout its history.
Scope and content
This file part consists of federal Department of the Interior records related to homestead applications, land grants (letters patent), and/or land use enquiries that are associated with the person or organization (e.g. grantee, patentee) and (where identified) the land location specified in the title of the record description.
Records are in good physical condition.
Immediate source of acquisition
Language of material
Script of material
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Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
Access restriction may apply to these records. Please consult reference archivist for assistance.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Use, publication and/or reproduction of records are subject to terms and conditions of the Copyright Act.
To consult the records, visit or contact the Saskatoon office.
Uploaded finding aid
Textual records - Homestead file number: 123693A
Standard number area
Name access points
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Description record identifier
Rules or conventions
Saskatchewan Archives. Archival Description Manual 2004.
Level of detail
Language of description
Script of description