Documentation & Information Found in Homestead Files

Documents which are commonly found in homestead files:

  • Application for Entry
  • Application for Patent
  • Notification of Patent
  • Declaration of Abandonment
  • Application or Notice of Cancellation
  • Statutory declarations
  • Homestead inspector’s reports
  • Correspondence and administrative documents, related to the status of grants, seed grain indebtedness, claims for improvements on abandoned or cancelled entries, etc.
  • Documents related to special land grants including: NWMP/Militia grants; South African scrip; military service information particularly related to First World War soldier grants; land colonization companies; and Doukhobor or Mennonite land reserves
  • Documents related to Métis scrip

Documents which are occasionally found in homestead files:

  • Wills or letters of administration
  • Passports
  • Copies of naturalization certificates
  • Documents related to Indian reserves
  • Form K (Certificate of Right to Apply for Letters Patent): Prior to 1947 persons barred by law from securing naturalization in Canada for various reasons were issued certificates in Form K so they could apply for patents to homesteads.  Form K did not give British subject status to the person to whom it was issued.  

Information that may often be obtained from an Application for Entry:

  • The name and signature of the applicant (signature in two places)
  • Type of land grant: homestead, pre-emption, purchased homestead
  • Land location
  • Place of birth of applicant
  • Number of males, females, and children in the family. In later years it will also include the ages of these individuals. No names are given.
  • Last place of residence
  • Previous occupation
  • The land location of any other homesteads the individual had held previously but cancelled
  • Date of entry

Information that may often be obtained from an Application for Patent:

  • Type of land grant: homestead, pre-emption, purchased homestead
  • Land location
  • Age of applicant and post office address
  • Citizenship status of the applicant
  • Date of entry
  • Date that the applicant built their house and the dates of residence
  • Dates that the applicant resided on the homestead
  • If they were absent from the homestead, where were they residing and what was their occupation (this can provide information about where other family member resided)
  • Other quarter sections of land owned by the applicant (land location, when they obtained ownership, how it was acquired, buildings on it, residence)
  • Number of individuals in the family (no names are given) and the dates that they resided on the homestead
  • Number of acres broken and cropped each year
  • Type and amount of livestock owned by the settler
  • Name and signature of the applicant
  • Information about the house (value, size, building material)
  • Amount of fencing that has been built
  • Information about any other buildings on the quarter
  • Information about any mines or minerals on the quarter
  • Information about any other homestead entries
  • Information about any mortgages or liens on land, possibly connected to relief or seed grain loans received
  • On both the pre-emption document and purchased homestead document it will give the land location of the homestead quarter
  • If the applicant was not always a British subject, there will be a stamp to indicate the date the homestead inspector saw the naturalization certificate and the date of naturalization (located near the date)
  • The names of two neighbours who witness the homesteader’s statements about proving up the homestead.

Information that may be obtained from the Notification of Patent:

  • Date patent was issued
  • Postal address of homesteader