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Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery

Second Heir and Devisee Commission Case Files Database

This database is an index to the 5184 case files that document claims made to the second Heir and Devisee Commission.

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About the Second Heir and Devisee Commission case files

These 5184 case files, which date from 1804 to 1895, document claims for land made to the Second Heir and Devisee Commission.

Each case file may include some or all of the following documentation:

The case files do not contain information outlining the decision of the Commission regarding the application.

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About the second Heir and Devisee Commission, 1805-1911

The second Heir and Devisee Commission was responsible hearing and determining claims to land brought forward by the heirs, devisees, or assignees of original nominees.

The second Commission was established by legislation in 1805, essentially continuing the functions of the first Heir and Devisee Commission that existed from 1797-1805.

Whereas the first Heir and Devisee Commission heard claims to land made by original nominees, their heirs devisees or assignees, the second Commission was confined to claims made solely by heirs, devisees or assignees; since a majority of the original nominees had either died or had left the country. Those original nominees still living in Upper Canada were allowed to apply directly to the Surveyor General for their patents.

The second Commission was also more centralized, with sittings generally taking place in the Executive Council Chamber of the Court House in the Town of York. Sittings were originally held for ten days in March and in June, but were later confined to fifteen days in July.

Appointments to the Commission were made by the Lieutenant Governor from members of the Executive Council and the Court of King's Bench, with the Chief Justice being an ex officio member. Three Commissioners, of whom one had to be a judge, formed a quorum; six constituted a full tribunal. Decision was by a majority vote of the Commissioners present.

At the first meeting in 1805, John Beikie, Deputy Clerk of the Executive Council, was appointed Clerk to the Commission.

The last meeting of the Commissioners occurred in January 1896. The Commission, however, was not formally abolished until 1911 by the Ontario Act.

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