South Korea Taxation
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Tax Records (Segum Kirok)
Research Use: Since the keeping of genealogies was practiced only by royalty and nobility until the 1900s, tax records are an indispensable source of data for persons of the lower classes in earlier centuries. Descendants of members of these classes need access to tax records to reconstruct their ancestry prior to the present century and to find clues to the provenance of other relevant records.
Record Type: Records of individuals obligated to pay taxes, kept on a local level.
Background: The majority of the Korean populace consisted of the commoners [yangmin] including merchants, craftsmen, free laborers, fishermen, and farmers (both tenant farmers and those who owned their land). They accounted for about 60% of the population. Basically, anyone who was not enslaved and not of the higher classes would be classified as commoners. Commoners were obligated to pay taxes and perform forced labor for the state. The nobility [yangban] was exempt from taxation.
Time Period: 1717 to present.
Contents: Local Tax Records – names and residences of taxpayers and non-taxpayers. Temple Tax Records – names, ages, birth order, family relationships, and names of fathers of slaves.
Location: All known records are among Yi Dynasty documents in the Kyujanggak collection, Seoul National University Library.
Percentage in Family History Library: None.
Population Coverage: 15%.
Accessibility: Unknown. These records appear not to be easily accessible to the general population.
Preservation of Record/Vulnerability: Most of the original records have been lost or destroyed. The remaining records are maintained under good conditions in the Seoul National University Library but are still subject to loss by fire or natural disasters.
- The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Korea,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1986-2001.