Between 1882 and 1884, Pearce's duties as the Inspector of Dominion Lands Agencies made him the field agent for the Dominion Lands Board, based in Winnipeg. The Board's most important function was to rule on uncertain claims and on schemes not covered by normal routine. William Pearce's involvement began with the land claims of the Metis and white settlers who had settled along the North Saskatchewan River prior to the Institution of surveys. Pearce was subsequently called on to deal with similar problems at such diverse localities as Morley, Pincher Creek, Lee's Creek (Cardston), Lac la Biche, and Lac Ste. Anne.
Pearce's interest in settlement extended beyond his land claims work. As statistician for the Canadian Pacific Railway, he served as an advisor to the Natural Resources Department of the company. In fulfilling that role, Pearce collected extensive material on the twin questions of settlement and immigration, particularly after his work with the Economic and Development Commission in 1916.
The series title is based on the contents of records.