Early Tax Records
Ohio tax records can help you trace families moving through Ohio during the early years when Ohio was a crossroads of the Old Northwest. These records complement land records and can be used in place of censuses before 1820 or to supplement the years between censuses.
Property Tax Lists
Real property tax lists contain the owner's name, the location (section/range/township) of the property, the number of acres owned, and the types of buildings on the land. Land purchased from the federal government was not taxable for five years. As a result, many persons living in the Congress Lands (see the "Land and Property" page) will not appear on tax lists until the year their land became taxable.
Because only persons who owned taxable property were listed, many residents were not included in tax lists. There may also be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties.
Records Finding Aids
Tax records continue to the present-day and are at county courthouses. Tax duplicates are at the Ohio Historical Society. A series of 90 Volumes of tax bound abstracts are available through the Ohio Historical Society. Each volume is bound annually. The abstracts are arranged alphabetically by county name within each volume. Abstracts prior to 1925 were destroyed in a fire. The abstracts from 1926 to 1954, are contained in one volume. After 1955, each year's abstracts are take up two volumes.
Family History Library
The Family History Library has microfilms for existing tax records for Ohio before 1838. Tax records from 1801 to 1814 are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under OHIO - TAXATION. Existing county tax records from 1816 to 1838 are listed under OHIO, [County] - TAXATION.
There are also several published statewide indexes, such as those for 1800 to 1810, 1804, 1810, 1812, 1825, and 1835. These are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under OHIO - TAXATION and OHIO - TAXATION INDEXES.
While these indexes are helpful tools to find ancestors, be aware that some counties may be missing entirely from the indexes.
For an inventory of tax records up to 1969, see:
- Tax Records of Ohio Counties: A Register of Contents of the Collection Microfilmed at the Ohio Historical Society Library in 1968 
- Tax Records of Ohio Counties: A Register of Contents of the Collection Microfilmed at the Ohio Historical Society Library in 1968. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969. (Family History Library film 599499 item 9.)