Could Tax Lists Answer Your Question?

Local tax lists, both of personal and real property, could provide some information to assist in your genealogical search. Local tax records in the United States are most often county or town records, although there are exceptions. Many tax records, particularly those in the United States before the Civil War have been microfilmed and eventually digitized.

Tax records are generally organized geographically, but there can be variation from one location to another and from one time period to another. It is important to understand who was subject to taxes during the time period and what property was taxed during that time period.

One advantage to tax records is that they are available in non-census years and fewer people tend to be overlooked. The disadvantage is that they only list people who were subject to taxation. Some of them have been indexed and some of them have not.

Your search for local tax records should include: the FamilySearch catalog for the areas where your ancestor lived, the appropriate state archives or historical library, and the local county courthouse.

Thanks to reader ds whose email reminded me that it had been a while since these records had been mentioned.