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Posted: 1502453777000
Classification: Query
I hope that the last three weeks’ posts on the old tax records have been of help to you. Many times we read through all the old laws or glance at the tax records and fail to ask “how did this apply to my ancestor?” However –

We know that these tax lists are like mini census records. While we don’t have the names of the other people in that household we can find out:

1 – When the individual moved into the county and moved out or died or were waived from paying
2 – Come closer to determining the age of the head of household and those 16-21.
3 – Why women, free blacks & veterans are included if they owned at least a horse.
4 – Why those who were aged, poor or infirmed did not have to pay taxes.
5 – How and where they paid their taxes.
6 – Who made the original land entry, survey and patent on the land.
7 – A general location of the land based on the nearest waterway.
8 – The quality and quantity of the land.
9 – Where to find the original owner in Jillson’s Kentucky Land Grants.
10 – How the tax collector listed the name – alphabetically based on the first initial of their last name.
11 – That names could be listed on a different page if the page was full so you need to read through all
12 – That if someone else paid the taxes for an individual, it might be listed in their name instead of
land owner’s name.
13 – That spelling of names could vary from year to year since the tax collector and/or the County
Clerk did not know all these people personally and many people didn’t know how to spell their
14 – That if the individual owned land in another county they could pay their taxes in either county
thus not being shown in his county of residence sometimes but in the other county.
15 – Out of state land owners could pay their taxes in any Kentucky county.

I hope you can find the tax records for your area of interest and go through them. You will likely find out more about your ancestor’s life. Note that they added or lost horses most years. Notice the slave count as they bought, sold, lost or inherited slaves. You can find if they owned the popular billiards table or businesses.

In a way, though family names are not shown, we can learn sometimes more about our ancestor from the tax lists than from the census records.

Happy Researching!

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