Why to use the records
Tax records in Maryland can be very helpful for locating families prior to the censuses and for bridging gaps in vital, land, and probate records.
When the record existed and where to locate the records
Before the Revolutionary War, the rent rolls or quitrents (land use taxes) are the best records of this nature. Lists for some counties for the years 1658 to 1659, 1700 to 1724, and 1753 to 1762 are found in the Calvert Papers found at:
- The Maryland Historical Society: Calvert Family, Calvert Papers. (Special Collection Reading Room MS174 27 reels)
- The Family History Library, Cox, Richard J., ed. Calvert Papers. Baltimore, Maryland: Maryland Historical Society, 1973. (Family History Library films 1685848-874.)
The papers include quitrents, debt books, wills, marriage settlements, court records, land records, and family papers.
A guide to the microfilm edition is available for purchase from the Maryland Historical Society and at the Family History Library, book 975.2 A3e. There is also a descriptive summary on the Maryland Historical Society website to help with the film series.
The land office rent rolls and debt books at the Maryland State Archives are described in Maryland Land and Property.
A published transcription of rent rolls from two counties is:
- Maryland Rent Rolls: Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties, 1700-1707, 1705-1724. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. (Family History Library book 975.2 R2m.) This work shows residence and sometimes contains clues about marriages and places of origin. It is indexed.
In 1783 a tax was assessed to pay for the Revolutionary War. The tax lists are at the Maryland Historical Society and Maryland State Archives (which has a name index). They have digitized these records and made them available online. They give the name of each householder, the number of dependents, and helpful information about taxable property. Lists for Calvert, Cecil, Harford, and Talbot counties have been published. They are at the Family History Library in:
- Carothers, Bettie Stirling. 1783 Tax List of Maryland. Lutherville, Md.: Bettie Carothers, 1977. FHL Book 975.2 R4c.
Baltimore City tax records for 1798 to 1896 are on microfilm at the Baltimore City Archives.
“Copies of the 1790-1800 Federal Assessment (mostly 1798)” are at the Family History Library (on 13 Family History Library films beginning with 499893), Maryland State Archives, and Maryland Historical Society. Later tax lists are at the Maryland State Archives or in the local county offices. These include the years 1790 to 1805.