27 April 2011

Texas Tax Rolls - Online Access

Don't you love tax records? Don't you love it when original records are available online? Don't you think you should contribute to the genealogical community by making it easier to find those original records?

Why do I love tax records so much? Taxes were collected every year. Where they still exist, the story of your ancestor's life becomes much more defined than by the facts collected every ten years on a census. Farmers who didn't meet the criteria to be recorded on an agricultural census will probably be listed in the tax rolls. If a courthouse fire burned the deed records, the tax roll may indicate how much land your ancestor owned and its general location. If there's no cemetery or death record for your ancestor, an approximate date of death can sometimes be calculated based on what is and what isn't found in the tax rolls. These are only a few of the ways tax records contribute to understanding our ancestors.

The Texas State Genealogical Society (TSGS) is partnering with FamilySearch to index the "Texas County Tax Rolls, 1837–1910." TSGS's own Scott Fitzgerald is administering the project for FamilySearch Indexing. Project information is available at this shortened URL http://tinyurl.com/3b4ksdr which links to this full URL https://indexing.familysearch.org/projtab/viewProject.jsf?url=USTexas-CountyTaxRolls1837-1910PartA/ProjectHelp1.html. There's even a YouTube video on this project at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm-BHjS1Pg0.

Many of the more than four million images in this project are already available in a browse mode. Browse by going to http://familysearch.org/. Scroll down to "Browse by Location" and click on "USA, Canada, and Mexico." Scroll down to "Texas County Tax Rolls, 1846–1910" and click on "Browse." (Different years are displayed in the two links.) You'll see a list of counties for which the images are online. If the county or page of interest isn't available yet, check back. It is amazing how many new images have been added within the last three weeks.

It's easy to contribute to the project by indexing a few pages each week (or each day). You can sign up as an indexer at http://indexing.familysearch.org/. I did my first batch in less than an hour and this included pages with faded ink that was difficult to read. A small investment of time now will reap big rewards later.

© 2011, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved


  1. Thanks for the heads up. I'm finishing up a project for the California Genealogical Society (1852 CA census). When that's done, I'll start up on this project.

  2. Great, Amy. Now if we can each get two volunteers who each gets two volunteers who ... we'll have these indexed in no time. These indexing projects are a great way to give back to the genealogical community without leaving the comfort of home.