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May 5, 2015

Are you familiar with tax records as a form of genealogical research? People have been being taxed since the first colonists landed on the shores of this country. Up until the early 20th century, those taxes were mainly on property, meaning only land owners got taxed. Of course, there were smaller taxes here and there that applied to everyone, but they were usually limited in duration, such as to raise funds to put on a war. Property taxes are the only consistent federal tax that has been in place since the country was founded.

Because property taxes have been around for so long, they are a valuable source of genealogical information. In fact, in places where courthouses burned or no vital records were kept until the early 20th century, tax records are often some of the only sources of information on your ancestors. It may sound boring to go through tax records, and you may wonder what exactly you can find in them. The truth is, tax records are more interesting than you think, and they can tell you things about your ancestors you never knew. In some cases, they can even prove relationships...

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