GenToday-L Archive

Tax Lists and What To Do with Them

Most colonial counties and towns usually taxed free adult males and were called poll tax. It became due when a young man reached either sixteen, eighteen or twenty-one, depending on the area. This tax was stopped when he reached fifty or sixty, again, depending on the area. Sometimes the law made the father liable for their son's tax when the son reached sixteen to twenty and the tax lists showed them as unnamed tallies under the father's name.

These poll tax lists and property tax lists can be combined and used as a substitute census. Sometimes the county/town clerks added useful descriptions of the common names such as John Smith one eye, John Smith gambler, and John Smith blacksmith. A search of these lists can be crucial to identifying men with common names and can show when men entered or left the county/town. The lists are in initial order; in other words, all the "A" surnames are together, but not in alphabetical order.

The following were usually not on these lists: women, children, slaves and indentured servants, landless men over the poll tax age, paupers, ministers, justices of the peace, militia officers, tax assessors and any men that were granted exemption (for whatever reasons).

One good advantage of the county tax lists is that many states also received and stored copies. So, when you find out the county courthouse burned down, try to locate the duplicate copy in the state archives, library or state capitol tax office.

The Quitrent Tax was a land tax that went to either to the crown or to the proprietors. It began in England as a land obligation that was due to the manor and was an annual money payment. The American Revolution ended the quitrents.

Federal Direct Tax, starting in 1798 and through 1917, was used to raise money for armies. In the early years it was levied again real property and slave owners and produced extensive name lists. Later, during the Civil War and later, these direct taxes were levied as income tax, property taxes and license fees. Most of the early surviving lists have been microfilmed and most are in the state historical societies. The lists from the Civil War and later are being microfilmed by the National Archives.


Looking for Auten [West Virginia}, Harris {Harrisburg, PA & Ohio}, Robinson [Ohio], & Kadlecek family members. Any data send to:

Reuben BOWERS, b.1849 PA, d.1924 Reading PA, m. Emma/Emily HOWE, b.circa 1851 PA, d. 1926 Berks,PA. Children were Marie, William, Ellen, George, Edward, Anna, Howard, and Katherine.

Seeking surnames of WEBSTER (Pennsylvania and West Virginia) and PATTIE (Tennessee and Alabama)

Looking for parents of Nicholas Martin bn May 1811 Eastern Tenn. He md Rebecca Sexton bn Eastern Tenn 1813-1814. Her mother was Philipenia (maybe Sarah), ARWINE. Need info, if anyone can help Please.

Royal Columbus HALL b 1806 TN md Ruth WINFORD.Cocke co 1830/40/50, Morgan co 1860, Lincoln co 1870.Chi:Wm LV md STORY, Elbert A m BALCH, RC jr m IKERD, John P, Abigail m HARSHAW, Sarah Percilla m BYERS, Elizabeth,Thos Harmon, Andrew J. Tillie

Seeking Texas Confederate Pension Payment records for James H. Settle. Texas Archives has his May 19, 1905, approved Application but does not retain payment records nor does the National Archives. Where would I find these records?

Would appreciate info on death (family history says wagon accident)of James Jesse & Elizabeth (BLANKENSHIP) FRENCH in 1848/1849 in or near Clinton,DeWitt Co., IL.

Researching betyears 1880 & 1910, Frederick & Riney (PICKETT) MINGO & ch:Cary, Isham, Shedrick, Lazuraus, Earnest, Martha, Mary, and Savinia MINGO. All of Patterson, St.Mary Parish, La.

Researching Abraham GRIMES b. abt 1823 & Mary JOHNSON b. abt. 1830 Patterson, La., m. Nov. 22, 1869. Ch:Sarah, Frank, Martha, Washington, Elizabeth, Easter, Isabella, Marshall & Hannah all bn Patterson, La

MAGEE-I am looking for info on Cromwell Magee ch:Rodney Garfield b-1881 & Cora Louise b-1877 Boynne Falls,Mi moved to Wyoming,NY Cromwell was in a stone quarry in 1899.

Looking for records of Moses LOCKHART of Adams County, Ohio married to Elizabeth REED and died in 1832. Please respond to:

I'm searching for the ancestors of Archa B. Parnell b.12-23-1837 d. 9-23-1887 m. Sallie (Sally) Wall b. 2-13-1843 d.10-1-1878. Any help greatly appreciated.

Seeking family of my grandmother Hilda Kate Rowe born Southampton, England Nov 30, 1902. Father Walter George, Mother Eva, Brothers William G., John F. A., Bertie C. Sister Eva May Selvia Rowe. Mother Eva was a Marsh from Portswood.

Have 1888 school book that belonged to Miss Mae Parshall of Ravenna,Ohio Nov. 26,1905, Redbrush School Dist. No. 5. I will send to her family for postage.

Seeking fellow surname researchers for MUTH, HENRICHI, WEBER/WEAVER, PERRY and ARMSTRONG. Happy to find new cousins and share research.

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