Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tax Records the under used resource

Have you used Tax records for your research? They are a very under used source for verifying a variety of facts per 1850 during a period when you normally have so little information. Great way to identify relationships, arrival and departures.

It was becasuse of the collection of taxes that the taxman was forced to differentiate between people with the same names. Fathers became identified as Senior and the sons as Junior. We are forced though to do more research if there are multiple people with the same names.

The tax man was the first person to identify when a family arrived in a particular area. He was highly motivated to identify the family as new and collect the tax. In the same token when a family left the area his records would indicate it by not having them listed. Make sure to check subsequent years in the rolls to make sure they have left. In rare cases families were missed.

Finally tax records were normally kept in the order of household. You will be able to identify who the neighbors are in the records. Be careful though,because some enterprising tax men alphabatized the names. Finally when a new person appears in your surname group it is often a indicator of a person coming of age and being able to own land. Very common.

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