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The first tax was levied by the general assembly in 1668. As early as 1670, quitrents (annual property taxes) were paid by landowners to the proprietors. The most valuable collection of tax records is the tax ratables (lists of landowners and other taxables). The ratables list married couples, single men, and widows and indicate if they owned land. Approximate ages and relationships can sometimes be inferred. The ratables are arranged by county and township. There are some lists for 1773 to 1822 in varying degrees of completeness to 1822. This collection's primary value is to determine where someone lived during the period from 1773 to 1822.
The original lists are at the state archives, and microfilm copies are at the New Jersey Historical Society and the Family History Library (Family History Library films 411285-318). The following books index most of the lists:
- Jackson, Ronald Vern. New Jersey Tax Lists, 1772- 1822. Four Volumes. Bountiful, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1981. (Family History Library book 974.9 R42n.) The index is missing all of Hunterdon County and most of the townships of Burlington and Middlesex counties. (It is also found as part of search number one of the AIS microfiche census index.)
- Stryker-Rodda, Kenn. Revolutionary Census of New Jersey: An Index, Based on Ratables . . . 1972. Revised. Lambertville, New Jersey: Hunterdon House, 1986. (Family History Library book 974.9 R4s.) This book indexes the ratables for 1773 to 1774, 1778 to 1780, and 1784 to 1786. The complete lists for these years were published serially, county by county, in The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey volumes 36-54 (May 1961-September 1979). (See New Jersey Periodicals.)
Between 1862 and 1872 the federal government levied an income tax to pay for the Civil War:
- United States. Bureau of Internal Revenue. Assessment Lists of the Federal Bureau of Internal Revenue, 1862-1866. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1965. (On 218 Family History Library starting with 1534790.) The lists are arranged by county and indicate the name of the person or business being taxed, address, taxable period, article or occupation taxed, remarks, and notation of payment.
The following is an inventory of the tax lists which are available for 1773 to 1889:
- Register of New Jersey County Tax Ratables, Abstracts and Exempt Lists, 1773 to about 1889. Salt Lake City, Utah: the Genealogical Society of Utah. (Family History Library film 599498 item 4; fiche 6051263.)
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