Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Genealogist's Guide to Researching Tax Records

The Genealogist’s Guide to Researching Tax Records* gives readers “the techniques to locate, read and understand the valuable information in annual tax records.” Authors Carol Cooke Darrow, CG and Susan Winchester, Ph.D., CPA bring their expertise to this book that explores the research value in historical American tax records.

The book is divided into nine chapters and starts with the steps to understanding the tax process and the documents created by it. Chapters three through nine describe a different type of tax, such as poll, land or federal taxes.

Each chapter shows practical examples of research situations created by tax records then provides the steps to solve the genealogical problem. For example, when several taxed individuals have the same name, the authors guide readers through the steps to determine which taxpayer is your research subject. You can use tax records to determine approximate age, family relationships, property (including slaves), and more.

The individual chapters contain a tax-related quote at the beginning and a set of footnotes at the end. Also included in The Genealogist’s Guide to Researching Tax Records are several appendixes, a small glossary and a bibliography of selected tax records.

Though the authors write extensively on the different taxes once collected in various states, such information is not reflected in the index. If you want to look at the types of taxes in Massachusetts as they are mentioned in the book, you must read through the entire book because “Massachusetts” is not a keyword in the index.

The Genealogist’s Guide to Researching Tax Records is a good primer for understanding the genealogical value and depth of historical American tax records. You’ll have to do the hunting yourself, as it does not contain research guidance for individual states. However, readers will walk away with a good foundation and education in an often overlooked set of records that can be an information goldmine.

ISBN 978-0-7884-4298-8
Published by Heritage Books

*both links are affiliate links

1 comment:

  1. How timely. Yesterday I was in the LOC and located an ancestor's (client)early tax records.Although many were rather boring, a couple answered a few hidden personal secrets. I felt however, for the first time, that I was really peeking into a history that the owner probably didn't want me to know. Either way, the tax records were of great value.