Massachusetts Tax Records

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This entry was originally written by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG, for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the Massachusetts Family History Research series.
History of Massachusetts
Massachusetts Vital Records
Census Records for Massachusetts
Background Sources for Massachusetts
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Massachusetts Land Records
Massachusetts Probate Records
Massachusetts Court Records
Massachusetts Tax Records
Massachusetts Cemetery Records
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Massachusetts Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Massachusetts Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Massachusetts Immigration
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Map of Massachusetts


Tax records can be found at both the local and state levels. Massachusetts Archives has tax returns for 1768 and 1771, published as Bettye Hobbs Pruit, ed., The Massachusetts Tax Valuation List of 1771 (1978; reprint, Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1998). The archives also has some tax valuations for 1775 through 1778. The Massachusetts State Library holds them for 1780, 1783–84, 1791–93, 1800–101, and 1810–11.

Other tax lists may still be available at the town office. Boston’s list for 1821 has been published in Lewis B. Rohrbach, Boston Taxpayers in 1821 (1822; reprint, Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1988), with a new index.

The U.S. Direct Tax of 1798 remains extant for most counties. See Michael H. Gorn, ed., An Index and Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Massachusetts and Maine Direct Tax Census of 1798 (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1979). The surviving originals are at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (with a CD-ROM version available for purchase) and accessible on microfilm there and through the FHL.

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