Legal Land Descriptions
How to read Homestead Records- Section, Township, Range, Meridian
Homesteads were on the arable farming land. The tree line is approximated on the map below. Southern Saskatchewan is mostly prairie, and Northern Saskatchewan is mainly forest and lakes.|
The SWP maps show only the area below the tree line. The maps are divided into grids like graph paper. Homestead locations can be located from the Township and Range numbers. Townships run from South to North beginning at the U.S. Canada border and incrementing northward. Ranges run East to West beginning at a meridian and incrementing westward. Western Canada Dominion land surveys began in 1871. "The prime or first meridian was chosen just west of Winnipeg because it marked the western limit of settlement up to that date."source |
Each range is six miles in length. Six miles = 9.65606 kilomters or approximately 10 kilometres. Similarly each township is also six miles long. To determine the distance to the township (the map grid 6 miles by 6 miles) a homestead is located within - it is simply a matter of locating the meridian, and multiplying the range number by 6 miles (c10 kilomters), and similarly, to determine the distance of the township from the United States - Canada border multiply the township number by 6 miles (about 10 kilomters).
As the province of Saskatchewan was surveyed into neat squares over the agricultural land, and the province is located on a spherical planet, the surveyors computed "Correction lines" which allowed for the curvature of the earth.
"Each quarter section can be divided into four legal subdivisions. [L.S.] Each legal subdivision is approximately 40 acres in size... A legal subdivision may be divided into four equal parts called quarter legal subdivisions, which are approximately 10 acres in area."Source
Saskatoon: section 33 tsp 36 rge 5 west of the 3rd. Saskatoon is larger than a quarter section (1/2 mile by 1/2 mile so this reference is not given). Locate township 36 by going north to township number 36, then locate the range by locating the 3rd meridian and then travelling west to range 5. When this grid is found, then divide the township grid into sections to determine that section 33 would be at the top central part of the grid.
Regina:section 19 tsp 17 rge 19 west of the 2nd.
Regina, also is larger than a quarter section (1/2 mile by 1/2 mile so this reference is not given). Locate township 17 by going north to township number 17, then locate the range by locating the 2nd meridian and then travelling west to range 19. When this grid is found, then divide the township grid into sections to determine that section 19 would be at the west and approximately central part of the grid.
To find the quarter section, divide the section into 4 equal squares, and locate the NE, NW, SE, or SW designation of the homestead.
Online Historical Map Digitization Project
Provincial maps with township / grid
markings for legal land descriptions.
More Homestead Information
Links to web page conversions of
Dominion Land Survey DLS locations converted to Latitude and Longitude / GPS etc
as well as positioning on Google Maps.
1 mile = 1.609 kilometers
6 miles = 9.65606 kilometers almost 10 kilometers (the length of one township or range)
|A grid or township defined by
Township # (North South) and Range # (East West)
Saskatchewan Townships & Ranges in a tutorial quiz!
|1 Section of Land||1 Township of Land|
|1 section of land has 4 quarter sections||1 township of land has 36 sections|
|<--1 mi-->||<--6 miles-->|
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