Searching Your ancestor in Saskatchewan
Many people came to Saskatchewan in the search for low priced land and were allocated a Homestead. If you know the land description then it is very easy to find where they lived provided that you have access to a map that is laid out in Townships and Ranges. An example of a land description SE Section 2, Township 38, Range 18, West of Third Meridian. This is often written SE2-T38-R18-W3 or SE2-38-18-W3. To understand this notation, each term needs to be explained:
Each Township is 6 miles in distance, North-South and each Range is also 6 miles, East-West. The layout of the Sections is as shown in the following Grid. each section is divided into NE, NW, SW, and SE, for the four quarters.
This layout is exactly the opposite to the layout in the USA where section 1 is the top right and section 36 is the lower right
The Townships are numbered 1 starting at the 49 parallel or USA boundary and increase as one goes north-ward. Since the example is TWP 38 then the land is positioned 37 x 6 or 222 miles north of the USA border and (17 x 6) +1 or 103 miles west of the 3rd Meridian which is approx. the center line in the province. The easiest way to find this is to look at the maps(1975 Wheat Pool Map) shown in the following links. If your land description is in Townships 1-25, the lower portion is used, if the land is in Townships 16-62, the top portion is used. If the Township is from 16-25 then either map can be used.
When using the top portion of the map you will see numbers along the sides, these correspond to the TOWNSHIP numbers and the numbers across the top of the map correspond to the RANGE numbers. If you are using the lower portion of the map, the only difference is the RANGE numbers are at the bottom of the map.
Locations of MERIDIANS: The 2nd Meridian is located near the Manitoba border and the 4th Meridian is the Alberta Border, while the 3rd Meridian is approx. the center of the province.
Using the example land description of SE2-38-13-W3 and going to the Top map, first find 38 on the left side of the map and 18 at the top in the section left of the center of the map. This gives the location W3. At the junction of two imaginary lines from 38 on the left and 18 at the top, gives the 6 x 6 mile block of land that you are looking for. In this case, the closest towns are: Landis, Cavell, or Traynor. A town a little further away to the south east is Biggar.
Township: 1-15 use Lower
Range: 16-26 use either Lower or Top
Township: 26-62 use Top
Anyone doing research in Canada will find ArchiviaNet extremely useful. See the Western Land Grant link for Homestead locations.
Another link for the 1906 Western Canada Census. This cite is very useful as it contains an index that is being produced by volunteers
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