by Penny Plunkett

Land Records – “Just Because You Can’t Find It, Doesn’t Mean It Did Not Exist”

3,189 Acres in the Village of York/ Township of Seneca were patented to Warner Nelles in 1836 from the Crown. He drew up a plan for a portion of this tract and sold off lots to family and others.  The lots were quite large – 200 acres some of them.

A copy of this plan was never filed at the Land Registry Office. Deeds would be registered referencing the Plan of the Warner Nelles Tract. Years later these references to the plan created a “cloud” for the titles because the plan could not be found and therefore the descriptions could not be verified.

In more recent years owners were required to survey their lands and register the surveys on their title for clarification of their boundaries.

It turns out the missing map did exist. It was hidden away in the Haldimand County Archives.  On one of my trips there to do some historical land research it was “discovered”.  I was excited about the “find”.  This was great news!

I presented a talk to the York Historical Society and displayed a copy of the missing Map. Local surveyors were given a copy and they were appreciative of this missing information.

For the Registry Office – it was too late! Although offered a copy of the missing map, it was declined.  Automation of the records had begun, and the problem of the map was “old history”.  

This experience makes me wonder just how many other treasures are hidden away at the Archives that are now being boxed for storage “Never to be seen again”.