This is a searchable database for early petitions (often called 'Memorials') made to government by individuals or groups of people seeking grants of Crown Land for settlement purposes in the colonies of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island.
The Nova Scotia petitions in this database cover mainland Nova Scotia for the years 1769-1799. Those for Cape Breton Island (a separate colony from 1784 to 1820) include the period 1787-1843. The two sets of records have been electronically integrated here for ease of searching, but otherwise exist as two separate series within the Nova Scotia Commissioner of Crown Lands fonds, namely: Land petitions and other material; and Cape Breton land petitions and other material.
These two separate series contain all surviving petitions for land in early Nova Scotia plus many other related documents which have not been included in this database. Within the Nova Scotia series, for example, there are at least as many, if not more, draft land grants (the last step in the grant procedure) than there are land petitions. It is the petitions, however, which include the rich personal information so important to biography, genealogy, and community history. And it is therefore the petitions which have been selected for inclusion in this database.