Prior to 1795, no system existed for issuing patent deeds to settlers who had received land grants in Upper Canada. In 1797, the Heir and Devisee Commission was formed to clarify the titles to those properties.
The Heir and Devisee records include a wide variety of documents, such as affidavits, bonds, location certificates, powers of attorney, orders-in-council, copies of wills, mortgages, deeds of sale, testimonial letters.
The First Heir and Devisee Commission lasted until 1805. In 1805, the nature of the commission changed significantly. From 1805 until 1896 approx. it was called the Second Heir and Devisee Commission.
1805 - c1896 Second Heir and Devisee Commission Case Files
The Second Heir and Devisee Commission dealt only with land claims made by heirs, devisees or assignees; not by the original nominees themselves. Most of its work was completed by 1896; it was finally abolished in 1911.
Most of the records are at the Archives of Ontario, which you can read about on their First and Second Heir and Devisee Commission Records linked in the resources section. You can also search the database.
Library and Archives Canada also holds a small number of records from the Second Heir and Devisee Commission. They are in record group RG 1 L5 and can be browsed on the Heritage-Canadiana website (linked to in the resources below). However, they are not yet indexed; it is not possible to search by surname.
This database is an index to the 5184 case files that document claims made to the second Heir and Devisee Commission.