New Jersey Tax Records

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

This article is part of
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the New Jersey Family History Research series.
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Because New Jersey’s pre-1830 federal censuses have not survived (with one exception), tax records are an important substitute for placing persons and families prior to that time. Tax lists arranged by township are available for 1773 to 1822. The originals, at the New Jersey State Archives, show heads of household, landowners, and single adult males, with information about their property that was taxable, including land, horses, cattle, slaves, and mills. Only about half of the 1773 to 1774 lists are extant, and for some places, such as Sussex County, coverage is very slight. Microfilms of these records are at the state archives, the New Jersey Historical Society, Rutgers University, and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Ronald Vern Jackson, ed., New Jersey Tax Lists, 1772–1822, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1981) contains transcription errors and does not include the lists for Hunterdon County, most of Burlington County, most if not all of Bergen and Middlesex counties, and parts of Monmouth and Salem and probably other counties. The early tax lists have been published in The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, beginning in volume 36, and those for the period 1773–86 were used to construct a “Revolutionary census” (see Census Records for New Jersey). The 1784 tax lists for thirty-eight municipalities (predominantly in southern New Jersey) are the only ones to indicate the size of a household, with a column for number of whites and a column for number of slaves. Abstracts of these 1784 rate tables are intended for publication in The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey. The published index problems have been partially corrected in Hunterdon County, New Jersey Taxpayers, 1778–1797, and Bergen County, New Jersey Taxpayers, 1777–1797, both compiled and published by T.L.C. Genealogy (Miami Beach, Fla., 1990).

Later tax records, beginning in the late nineteenth century, may be available at the county or municipal level. Tax lists for some extinct New Jersey municipalities are at the state archives.