New GeneaGem Discovered! Kentucky Tax Records

Tax records are an under-used resource available to genealogists.  Often, such records are just not available. They may have been destroyed in a county courthouse fire or just haven’t been microfilmed or digitized.

However, if you have Kentucky ancestors, take the time to check FamilySearch.org. You might be pleasantly surprised to see what is available. Husband Dave has a lot of ancestors who passed through Kentucky at one time or another. Some were there quite early, right at the turn of the 19th century.

Two families came from Virginia, which has no 1810 census. Looking for any and all resources that might help create an accurate timeline for their migrations, I discovered extant tax records for Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, which was the destination of the Miller and Whitmer families.

Here is what I found for Martin Miller:

1810
No Martin Miller on the Muhlenberg County tax list

1811
Miller, Martin, one white male & 2 horses

1812
Miller, Martin, one white male & 2 horses

1813
MartinMillerKYTax1813
Miller, Martin, one white male & 3 horses

1815
Miller, Martin, one white male

A few years are missing, such as 1814 in this sequence, but for the most part, it is possible to track the arrival and departure or death of an ancestor along with their economic circumstances.

The downside is that FamilySearch hasn’t yet digitized the Kentucky tax records, so one either needs to visit Salt Lake City or order the films at your local Family History Center.

I have used these films to track Martin Miller’s family and establish that he was not related to any of the earlier Millers in Muhlenberg County.

I also used them to determine that the entire Whitmer family apparently removed to Tennessee for a few years, but they dribbled back to Muhlenberg County, little by little. I know this because they appeared on tax lists as they became of age, disappeared together and then reappeared on the lists a couple at a time.

These records are especially valuable if you are searching for family in a burned county.

To find the records, go to FamilySearch.org. Under the “Search” tab, choose “Catalog.” Next, enter “Kentucky,whatever county” and look for “Taxation.” Some counties have books of transcribed tax records that have been donated to the library. I just use those to confirm that  the names I am looking for are there. Then I pull the microfilms and begin reading.

Happy Hunting!

One thought on “New GeneaGem Discovered! Kentucky Tax Records”

  1. I haven’t used tax records very much. FamilySearch has Jefferson County, Ohio, records and I’ve found an ancestor’s name but with so little information I was not sure it was really my ancestor or another man with the same name. I suppose I could use census records to determine if there are others in the same county with the same first and last names. Thanks for the reminder to check those records again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.