Title and statement of responsibility area
General material designation
- textual material
Other title information
Title statements of responsibility
- Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the series.
Level of description
Edition statement of responsibility
Class of material specific details area
Statement of scale (cartographic)
Statement of projection (cartographic)
Statement of coordinates (cartographic)
Statement of scale (architectural)
Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- British Columbia. Lands Branch
Physical description area
Publisher's series area
Title proper of publisher's series
Parallel titles of publisher's series
Other title information of publisher's series
Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series
Numbering within publisher's series
Note on publisher's series
Archival description area
Name of creator
Scope and content
The series consists of pre-emption records created by the Lands Branch and its predecessor bodies between 1859 and 1971. The Chief Commissioner of Lands was responsible for the administration of Crown lands under successive governments (Colony of Vancouver Island, Colony of British Columbia, Province of British Columbia) until 1911. In 1929 the Minister delegated authority for Crown lands to the Lands Branch, headed by the Superintendent of Lands.
The series includes 216 volumes of certificates of pre-emption and 33 volumes of pre-emption registers. Some volumes contain certificates of Improvement and certificates of purchase.
Most of the volumes of certificates are arranged by district and then numerically by pre-emption number although there are many cases where individual documents from files are spread out throughout an entire volume. There are also some pre-emption numbers that are missing from volumes. One or more volumes cover the pre-emption registrations for each land district, and volumes 86-90 and 246-248 relate to railway lands on Vancouver Island, particularly in Cowichan and Nanaimo Districts (1884-1887). Pre-emptions were generally numbered sequentially based on the Land Act enforced at the time. Sequences can be found in the collection based on the Land Acts of 1860, 1870, 1874, 1875 and 1884. The New Westminster land district also includes a sequence based on rural or country land pre-emptions. Some land districts maintained the same numbering sequence throughout the entire time period. If no date is mentioned in the description, the sequence is based on the 1884 Act.
The pre-emption registers (volumes 213-245; microfilm reels B13858-B13860) summarize the information from the certificates. Each volume covers the pre-emption registrations for a district. The pre-emption registers are arranged in Lands Branch volume number order, volumes 1-27 (including three a volumes where two volumes are required for a district), followed by three unnumbered volumes that cover Fort St. John and Victoria. Each register lists pre-emptions in registration number order, with an alphabetical index of pre-emptors' names at the back. The following information is recorded: registration number, date of registration, pre-emptors name, lot number (not always recorded), acreage (for ca. 1915 on), certificate of improvement number (if issued), file number (sometimes), and remarks (either a code number, possibly accompanied by a date, or a phrase: cancelled, abandoned, or no application or declaration received). This information is hand-written in columns with printed headings.
Immediate source of acquisition
Many of the volumes in GR-0112 were paginated prior to microfilming in the order the documents appeared in the original volumes. This was done in order to aid in the separation process prior to microfilming the collection. Generally speaking, the original order has been maintained; however, researchers will discover that many documents were microfilmed without regard to the page number sequence. Documents were reordered for a variety of reasons. The main reason was to gather documents relating to individual pre-emptions together in one location. Other reasons would include human error or the reordering of documents within individual pre-emption documents. On several occasions this number appears on the back of the document. If there was no other information on the reverse of the page, it was not microfilmed and the pagination will not be immediately apparent without referring to the original document. On other occasions, the pagination repeats (e.g. 1-320, 312-321). In these cases, the documents were microfilmed in the order they appeared prior to microfilming. Documents that were not numbered in the original pagination were inserted using alphabetized numbers (e.g.: 321, 321A, 321B, 322). On several occasions, these documents remain unnumbered. Documents that were found to be in multiple pieces were generally numbered this way as well (e.g. 322 [top], 322A [bottom]). In some cases, the backing sheet was paginated as well. In these cases, both numbers will appear on the same image. Either there was no information on the back of the record, or the document was glued down so heavily that the information on the back of the document could not be retrieved without damaging the entire document.
Regardless, the documents appear on the microfilm in the order they were arranged at the time of filming. The original volumes were rehoused in containers. Larger volumes were rehoused in two or three separate containers. The BC Archives maintains a list recording the location of these containers. Several volumes were paginated after the volumes were placed in these new containers. Researchers will note that the page numbers recycle to 1 whenever a new container begins. In these cases, the pagination will generally reflect the order of the present documents, rather than the order they would have appeared in the original volume. No guarantee can be made as to which system was used if only one container was used to house an individual volume, or multiple containers were numbered sequentially. Researchers will need to scan the entire volume to ensure that they have located all the documents related to the pre-emptions they are trying to locate. Every attempt has been made to microfilm the backs of all the documents that have information on them. The originals still exist if researchers believe that a particular page was missed in the microfilming process.
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
Availability of other formats
Certificate of pre-emption record books, volumes 1-32, 56-112 : B12165- B12183
Certificate of pre-emption record books, volumes 33-55 : B11188-B11191
Pre-emption registers, volumes 213-245 : B13858-B13860
Restrictions on access
There are no access restrictions.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication