Massachusetts, Boston Tax Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Massachusetts, Boston Tax Records, 1822-1918
This article describes a collection of records at
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
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Record Description
Record Type Tax Records
Collection years 1822-1918
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites

What is in This Collection?

This collection contains tax records, transfer books, tax books, and assessor's lists from the Boston City Archives. The records in this collection cover the years 1822 to 1918. (Parallel tax book series for years before 1822 when Boston was incorporated as a City, are at the Boston Public Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division.)

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts, Boston Tax Records, 1822-1918.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Tax records may contain:

  • Names and ages of property owners and possible relationships
  • Legal description of real and personal property
  • Time periods when families resided in Ohio
  • Occupation of the property owner
  • Places of residence
  • Names of other relatives
  • Additional information associated with the property

Collection Content

Sample Images

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The residence of your ancestor

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the Record
  2. Select the Record Type, Year Range, and Volume to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor in the assessment rolls, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may be new details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Tax assessments identify the name and residence of the taxpayer. This information can help you locate land records and census records
  • The description of the real estate, number of acres owned, types of buildings, identifiable personal property, and the farm animals can help you determine an occupation: someone living at a church is probably a minister; someone with several acres of land or many farm animals is probably a farmer; someone living on the same property as the school may be a teacher; someone living above or behind a store is probably a merchant
  • Known occupations can lead you to other types of records such as employment, school, or church records
  • Following an ancestor through the assessment rolls can help you establish a family migration pattern or identify the year an individual moved into an area or left the area
  • The assessment rolls can also indicate that an individual died. Use the last known tax year as an approximate death year. Use the death year and residence to locate death or probate records
  • It is often helpful to extract the information on all individuals with the same surname in the same general area. If the surname is uncommon, it is likely that those living in the same area were related
  • Other family members may have lived nearby so you may want to search an entire town, neighboring towns, or even a county
  • Additional searches may be needed to locate all members of a particular family in the assessment rolls

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the surnames
  • Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities

General Information About These Records

Tax records are based on the property owned by people. Only the person who owned the taxable property was listed on the tax record; other residents, living on the property, were not listed.

Tax records are considered a primary source. They are usually reliable because they are kept by the county clerk in the local courthouse, who usually recorded the event at or very near the time it occurred.

The information given in town land records is generally reliable, although there may be errors made in transcribing the town’s copy from the original deed.

Boston Massachusetts genealogy
For a guide to these records see:
Boston Tax and Assessor's Records

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation

"Massachusetts, Boston Tax Records, 1822-1918." Images. FamilySearch. : 14 June 2016. City of Boston Archives, West Roxbury.

Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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