Tax records and tax lists are an important genealogical tool. They can help you to determine the geographic locations of your ancestors during specific time-periods and they can identify if your ancestor was a landowner, which will lead to further information contained in deeds, land records and/or probate records.
Because many early census records and the 1890 census were lost, you can logically re-build the information by using tax records. Also tax records are sort of a mini-census of the community. The Federal Census is taken every 10-years and tax records are frequently taken every year or every-other year. By using tax records you can follow your ancestors from year-to-year like a census.
There are several types of tax records: (1) real property (land) and, (2) personal property (livestock, slaves, farm equipment, clocks, poll tax, etc.). Even if your ancestor did not own land, they may possible appear in the tax records because they owned a horse, mule or other livestock and voted.
Tax records will not answer questions of genealogical relationship, i.e., who was living in the household however, they can be utilized to lead you to other records, such as deeds, Wills, probate, etc. The tax records will allow you to determine how much land and livestock they owned and the value of it. Thereby allowing you to paint a picture of your ancestor’s standing in the community and interests.
The Texas State Library & Archives has a website, which discusses the microfilm tax records that are available at: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/taxrolls.html . The microfilms are arranged in county order and contain the assessments of real and personal property, poll taxes, and other county and state taxes. In most cases the taxpayers are grouped within a county according to the initial letter of their last names, but the names are not in strict alphabetical order.
For current property and tax information, visit the local Appraisal District. The Harris County Appraisal District is on-line and has links to an additional 50 Appraisal Districts at: http://www.hcad.org/Index/Default.asp#Links, including Williamson Co., Bell Co., Travis Co., and others.
One of the largest on-line databases for Texas Appraisal District and property information is operated by “The Software Group” at: http://www.txcountydata.com/ and includes information for the following counties: Milam, Burleson, San Jacinto, and others.
You can visit TaxNetUSA, Inc. at: http://www.taxnetusa.com/ that hosts a number of other Appraisal District websites.
A wonderful website for “Tracing Your Native American Heritage” has been established at: http://www.nativeamericanheritage.com/. This website is a step-by-step guide to connect your American Indian ancestry. Topics include: Introduction, Why it Matters to Tribes, Steps on how to trace your roots, Know your Tribe, Make Contact with your Tribe, Finding Records, Indian Blood, and much more.
In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.
Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/2670/ COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This webpage was last created on 12 Sep 2000 and was last revised on ________ 2000
Copyright © 1999, 2000 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604