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Using Tax Lists

Posted by dwsuddarth on 12 October 2009

Tax lists can help your research in many ways.  Because taxes were collected annually, they can help to fill in the years between census enumerations.  In addition, in most cases, they can provide information regarding land and property ownership.

James Suddarth enlisted in the Kentucky Militia in 1813 for the War of 1812.  He enlisted on 1 January 1813 at Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky.  He then enlisted again on 18 August 1813 in Casey County, Kentucky.  I consulted the Casey County, Kentucky tax lists and found the following:

Sutherds, John 1809 Casey above 21
Suddith, John 1812 Casey above 21
Sudderath, James 1812 Casey above 21
Suddearth, John 1813 Casey above 21
Suddearth, James 1813 Casey under 21
Suddearth, John 1814 Casey above 21
Suddearth, James 1814 Casey under 21
Suddearth, John 1815 Casey above 21
Suddith, John 1817 Casey 2 above 21

James first appears in 1812.  He is listed as above age 21.  However, the James I am looking for was born in 1795, making him only 17 in 1812.  He would not have been 21 until 1816.  All the other years in which he appears, he is listed as under age 21.  In the Casey County, Kentucky Court Orders Book 1, 1806-1817, page 250, the following appears:

June the 27th 1814

Satisfactory proof being made to the Court that James Southerd stands charged with the County for two tithes one in 1812 and the other in 1813. when he was really under age it is therefore ordered that the sheriff of this County have a credit for said tithes in his collection of the County levy.

Even though James was listed as above age 21 in 1812, this document tells us that he was actually under 21.  This document also states that even though he was listed as under 21 in 1813, he was still taxed.

Further examination of the tax lists show that  John did not own any land (he was not taxed for any land).  If this is true, there would be no land records to assist in locating and tracing him.

However, from the tax lists, it appears that John may be the father of James.  With this new information, I will begin a search of all available records for a John Suddarth in Casey County, Kentucky.


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