Florida Tax Records
This entry was originally written by the Florida Pioneer Descendants Certification Program Committee of the Florida State Genealogical Society, Inc. for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
Early tax rolls, especially between census years, can be a gold mine for the researcher in Florida. Most existing rolls can be found in the counties of origin, but the Florida State Archives also has some bound volumes sent to the state comptroller for the period between 1829 and 1881. Normal information includes the taxpayer’s name, landownership, number of white males (above the taxable age of twenty-one), slaves, horses, wagons, and other taxable items of personal property such as jewelry, watches, musical instruments, and carriages.
A very valuable resource that can document an individual’s migration is the Tax Rolls, 1829–1898, located at the Florida State Archives and on microfilm at some libraries throughout Florida. However, the series, annually prepared by the county tax assessor, is incomplete for most counties and varies greatly from year to year in the details recorded.
The Internal Revenue Act of July 1, 1862, was intended to provide Internal Revenue “to support the Government and to pay Interest on the Public Debt” (12 Stat. 432). At the Florida State Archives are the Internal Revenue Assessment Lists for the years 1865 and 1866, also available on National Archives microfilm. Almost any item became taxable—carriages, gold watches, pianos, and cattle are listed, which makes the tax list a valuable source of insight into the net worth and personal interests of the taxpayer.