Another type of genealogy record that provides tremendous value is tax records. Like city directories and voting registers, for example, they provide information for us between federal censuses. They also can go back to colonial times.
Types of Taxes
- Income tax
- Federal direct tax
- Poll or head tax
- Real property, e.g., land
- Personal property, e.g., livestock, equipment, carriages, enslaved persons
- Other, such as special levies for roads, schools, etc.
Types of Information
- Residence address; property, license, or goods; value; tax amount; possibly profession, occupation, or trade
- Name of taxpayer, usually white adult males
- Town/township/city, county, and state of residence
- Owner and/or renter of property
- Number of white adult males in home
- Type and value of property taxed
- Livestock owned
- Personal property owned
- Amount of tax owed
- Profession, occupation, or trade
- Number of school-aged children
- Number of enslaved persons
Derivative information, such as birth date, death date, and date of marriage can often be estimated or determined from the presence or absence of a person in a tax list.
Good primers regarding the genealogical value of tax records and more details can be found in these articles:
- The Genealogical Benefits of Tax Records
- Using Poll Tax Records for Genealogy
- Genealogy 101: Tax Records
- Back to the Basics with Tax Records: Part 1
- Back to the Basics with Tax Records: Part 2
- Back to the Basics with Tax Records: Part 3
- United States Taxation
- The Value of Using US Tax Records in Genealogy Research
Note: Some of the links listed take you to a FamilySearch Collection of digital images. Near the bottom of the page under Film/Digital Notes is the name of each sub-collection. If there is a camera icon at the right of the name (in the Format column) then the collections’ images are browsable. If there is a camera with a key icon, it is only available at a Family History Center or affiliated library. If there is a film reel icon, then it is only available in microfilm format, not digital. To take full advantage, please make sure that you are logged in to FamilySearch. The results may be different if you are signed in, rather than not.
Listed below are links to tax records that are available for free online for the state:
- District of Columbia, Internal Revenue Assessment Lists, 1862-1866
- District of Columbia, Minute Books, 1801-1827
- Georgetown, Miscellaneous Records, 1791-1878
- Georgetown, Property Tax Records : 1800-20, 1862-79
- United States Internal Revenue Assessment Lists, 1862-1874
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!