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14 Wharfside Street — Charleston, SC 29401
Apr 27, 2018
If you have never searched tax records when looking for an ancestor, it is a great place to start when trying to fill in details about your ancestor. The census tracks a person every ten years from 1790 to 1940 with the exception of the 1890 US Census which was almost entirely destroyed in a fire. We also showed you the 1869 Militia Enrollment and the 1869 South Carolina State Census which can help you find your ancestor before 1870, but tax records can also fill in more of the years in between the US Census.
Tax records give different details about your ancestor than census records. Create an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of everyone you find. You should look for family members and the people who enslaved your family. Some of the details you collect would include what we found in the FamilySearch Wiki article on South Carolina Taxation:
Description of real estate
Number of males over 21
Number of school children
“Annual tax lists can help establish ages, residences, relationships, and the year an individual died or left the area,” South Carolina Taxation.
Where can you find tax records for South Carolina?
More tax records going back to 1700’s are listed on FamilySearch Wiki: South Carolina Taxation.
An example using my family
Hopefully, you now know how to access tax records. The county, the archives, FamilySearch.org, and Ancesry.com are places that were cited above. Take a look at the 1865 tax record for James Kincaid Vance (1818-1896) that I discovered below.
Ancestry.com. U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Records of the Internal Revenue Service. Record Group 58. The National Archives at Washington, DC.Ancestry.com. U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Records of the Internal Revenue Service. Record Group 58. The National Archives at Washington, DC.
He was the enslaver of Beverly Vance in Cokesbury, Abbeville, South Carolina. He was married to Matilda, and they had children. We do not know if he owned Beverly’s family prior to emancipation, but he did own Beverly.
In this tax assessment, J. K. Vance paid $4.00 for a carriage and a gold watch. This is the only record for J. K. Vance in 1865 that has been found so far. It is useful because he moved and traveled from Cokesbury, to Laurens, to Louisiana, to Greenville, and anything that provides his residence allows me to trace him. We know that it is important to trace him because I need to determine how much interaction he had with Beverly after 1865.
I have not been able to verify Beverly’s date of death. He and J. K. Vance shared the same father. Maria Conant (sp) (1810 – ) was Beverly’s mother. She lived in Laurens with Beverly before 1840 when J. K Vance married. J. K. Vance moved with his wife, Louisa, and Beverly to Cokesbury. Beverly went back to back Laurens in 1868 and purchased a watch from the estate of Samuel Vance (1789 – 1868), the father of J K. Vance.
Next week, we will share the results of a search of father and son George Chappelle among tax assessments.
Can you use tax assessments to document an ancestor or an enslaver? Share it in our Facebook Group.
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