Tax records are often overlooked but can be a font of information for genealogists.

tax recordsAs Benjamin Franklin said, , “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” This is good news for genealogists because tax records can prove to be an untapped source of information. Taxes have existed since biblical times and tax records contain large amounts of data that can be very valuable as we research the past.

Tax records contain basic information such as birth, marriage or death. In some cases this information doesn’t exist in any other form of record for early our ancestors. As Carol Cook Darrow and Susan Winchester, authors of The Genealogist’s Guide to Researching Tax Records say, “the census taker came every ten years and often missed people, The tax collector came every year and seldom missed anyone.”

“North American tax records date back to the earliest colonial period, back to the 1620s. Records can help establish location, real estate, personal possessions, economic status, occupations and businesses, and sometimes even relationships between individuals, helping link you to your ancestor.”

For more information on how to access historical tax records, visit

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