How to locate Western Land Grants on a map

Compiled from the archives of ALBERTA-L mailing list

(If you print this page you can take notes on it)

  1. If you need to find the Legal Land Description, go to the Western Land Grant website at Library and Archives Canada: http://www.collectionscanada.ca/index-e.html
    1. Select "ArchiviaNet On-line Research Tool"
    2. Then: Western Land Grants (1870-1930)
    3. Search by your name or coordinates


      1. Make a note of the Section/Township/Range/Meridian values you find 1:

        Section: ______   Township:______   Range: ______     Meridian: W____


  2. Maps:

  3. If the map doesn't give you enough information, convert the Section/Township/Range/Meridian values to latitude and longitude at this website: http://www.maptown.com/coordinates.html


      1. Make a note of the resulting latitude and longitude values (notice they are in decimal values, not minutes and seconds):

        Latitude:_________   Longitude:__________


  4. Convert the decimal results from Step 3 to minutes and seconds. Here are two methods:
    1. The manual way:
      1. To determine the minutes of latitude and longitude (instead of decimals), multiply that decimal amount (the part to the right of the decimal point) by 60 and round off to two digits, and use this new figure. (Remember? One degree of lat or long = 60 minutes.)


      2. Make a note of the resulting latitude and longitude values:

        Latitude:____ degrees _____minutes    |   Longitude:____ degrees______minutes


    2. Or the easier way (automatic conversion): http://www2.arrl.org/locate/grid.html

      1. Make a note of the resulting latitude and longitude values:


      2. Latitude:____ degrees _____minutes    |   Longitude:____ degrees______minutes

  5. Find a map of the area and display places and features of the surrounding area at the Canadian Geographical Names website at: http://geonames.nrcan.gc.ca/index_e.php :
    1. Select "Query by coordinates"
    2. Enter the latitude and longitude from the previous step

  6. Also try: Nancy's Alberta Search Tips: http://www.geocities.com/drnancytodd/strathmore/albertatips.html


1 Just what are meridians, townships, ranges, and sections? How do you figure them out? Be aware that Western Canadian usage varies from American methods of the same time period. Check out Dave Obee's Finding Aid: Prairie Land Records: http://interlinkbookshop.com/obee/dominion.htm.