Many of you have heard by now that the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services has decided to discontinue the land registration counter services at all Land Registry Offices (LROs) effective October 9, 2020. This means that would be the last day that LROs will be open to the public.
When we read the announcement we immediately reached out to government representatives to engage them in discussions and to let them know of the impact such closures would have on genealogists and historians across the province. We then began working on the formation of a plan to ensure that Ontario Ancestors is involved with the process of closing these facilities and the preservation of the documents that they hold.
On July 15th, we had a very productive meeting with representatives from the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services regarding the Land Registry Office closures this October. We received a commitment from government representatives to ensure that Ontario Ancestors is part of all of the conversations going forward. At this point in time we have been told that the records currently held in these facilities will remain in the community, and that a plan is being developed in conjunction with Archives of Ontario for the digitization and long term storage of these records.
Prior to attending the meeting, our colleagues in APOLROD (Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents) reached out to offer their insight into the work done to preserve land records over the past twenty years. APOLROD was the organization created to preserve the original Land Abstract books from destruction at the beginning of this century. We wish to thank Ruth Burkholder, Bruce Elliott and the APOLROD Executive for their guidance and reference documents that will assist in this process, and in helping us craft questions and suggestions that are relevant for today’s new challenges.
Our mission at Ontario Ancestors is to educate, advocate and preserve. We are working to advocate on behalf of our members, and the Ontario genealogical community, so that the government understands how important continued access to these records at a local level are to all of us, and we are working to preserve those records so that members can access them for generations to come. We will keep you informed.