Delaware Tax Records

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This entry was originally written by Roger D. Joslyn, CG, FUGA, FGBS, FASG, in Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

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the Delaware Family History Research series.
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Early tax or assessment lists for the three Delaware counties are found at the Delaware Public Archives and start in 1726 for Kent, 1738 for New Castle, and 1769 for Sussex. Some earlier records are at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia: from 1693 for all three counties and an incomplete list for 1696 for New Castle County. For the former, see “Provincial Tax List of the Three Lower Counties 1693” in The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine 37 (1991): 1-32. Bruce A. Bendler’s Colonial Delaware Records: 1681–1713 (Westminster, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1990) includes tax lists as well as rent rolls and quitrents for all three counties.

It has sometimes been stated that the 1798 U.S. direct tax records for Delaware are at the Historical Society of Delaware. They are not extant, however, having perhaps been destroyed in a fire in Philadelphia. Some tax records have been published as “censuses” (see Census Records), and others have been printed, such as Karen M. Ackerman, Tax Assessments of New Castle County, Delaware, 1816–1817 (Silver Spring, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1986). An 1861 national tax and its corresponding refund records of 1901 are at the Delaware Public Archives. Internal Revenue assessments for Delaware (1862–66) are on microfilm at the National Archives—Mid-Atlantic Region. Modern tax information should be sought in the county courthouses.