West Virginia
Archives & History News
Volume III, No. 7
September 2002

Personal Property Tax Lists

From the Editor:

Our West Virginia Archives and History News had a predecessor of the same title in the early 1990's. In this issue, we are reprinting a 1993 article about a portion of our microfilm collection, with an update. We will do this occasionally with articles from both the old and the current versions of our newsletter, particularly when we are expanding holdings or services previously discussed in the newsletter.

Personal Property Tax Lists
on Microfilm

The General Assembly of Virginia enacted a tax law revision in 1782 to provide a statewide enumeration of personal property and land for every county, with the revenue to be applied to the operation of the Virginia government. Taxes were assessed between March and April of each year and were payable by the end of December. Four copies of the tax lists were prepared and placed with the local tax commissioner, county clerk, sheriff and Auditor of Public Accounts.

In 1808, the General Assembly ordered the tax commissioners not to compile lists of eligible taxpayers or to collect taxes. Therefore, no personal property tax lists exist for this year.

Early tax lists recorded the name of the person paying taxes, the names of white male tithables over 21, the number of white male tithables between 16 and 21, and the total number of slaves and such information as animals and carriages owned. Free blacks are listed by name and usually denoted as "free" or "FN." The amount of tax due was reported in pounds, shillings and pence until 1810.

By 1850, tax records contained the following information in columns: names of persons responsible for the tax, number of free males 16 and older, number of slaves over 16, number of white males aged 21, number of free black males between 21 and 55, number of slaves 12 and older, horses and mules, cattle, sheep and hogs, carriages, coaches, wagons and buggies, watches, clocks, pianos and harps, gold and silver plate and jewelry, household and kitchen furniture. Solvent bonds and securities, capital invested in manufacturing, interest over $6.00 from bonds or public corporations, income in money over $100 from salary, fees or allowances, annual rents of more than $100 for toll bridges or ferries, and exemptions are also recorded.

Personal property tax lists are valuable to genealogists for a number of reasons. They may provide an alternate source in the instances when a county's wills, deeds or similar records have been destroyed. They will also distinguish between junior and senior members of a family. Women will sometimes appear as property owners in their own right or as widows of property owners. Researching annual tax records may determine when an ancestor left a particular area or when he or she died. The taxpayer's name will remain on the list with the notation "deceased" or "estate" until the estate is settled.

[Article written by Christine M. Kreiser, reprinted from West Virginia Archives and History News, July 1993.]

For additional information about personal property tax records held by the Library of Virginia, some of which are available on microfilm in the West Virginia Archives and History Library, visit the Library of Virginia Web site at A paper copy of this research guide, Using Personal Property Tax Records in the Archives at the Library of Virginia, Research Notes Number 3, is also available for your reference in the Archives and History Library. When reading the guide, keep in mind that the references to library holdings are to the collection of the Library of Virginia, not the West Virginia Archives and History Library. Refer to the following list to see which records are available for your use on microfilm in the West Virginia Archives and History Library.

(No lists compiled for 1808)

Barbour 1843-1860
Bath 1863-1870
Bedford 1851-1853; 1869-1870
Berkeley 1783-1861
Bland 1861-1863; 1865-1870
Boone 1847-1857; 1860
Botetourt 1851; 1868-1870
Braxton 1836-1861
Brooke 1797-1860
Cabell 1809-1860
Calhoun 1856-1860
Campbell 1857-1860
Clay 1859-1861
Craig 1851-1861
Dinwiddie 1870
Doddridge 1840-1855; 1858-1860
Fairfax 1869-1870
Fayette 1831-1861
Gilmer 1845-1860
Greenbrier 1782-1863
Greene 1851-1857
Hampshire 1782-1860
Hancock 1849-1860
Hanover 1868-1870
Hardy 1786-1861
Harrison 1785-1860
Harrisonburg 1851-1855
Henrico 1851-1853
Isle of Wight 1868-1870
Jackson 1831-1861
James City 1851-1861; 1865-1870
Jefferson 1802-1861
Kanawha 1792-1861
King George 1851-1864
Lewis 1817-1860
Logan 1824-1860
Loudoun 1851-1852
Marion 1842-1860
Marshall 1836-1850; 1855-1860
Mason 1805-1860
Mathews 1851-1857; 1869-1870
McDowell 1860-1863
Mecklenburg 1851-1853
Mercer 1837-1863
Middlesex 1851-1857
Monongalia 1783-1860
Monroe 1799-1863
Montgomery 1856-1857
Morgan 1820-1861
New Kent 1863
Nicholas 1818-1861
Norfolk 1849-1854
Ohio 1811-1860
Orange 1782-1800
Pendleton 1789-1863
Pittsylvania 1782-1797; 1870
Pleasants 1851-1860
Pocahontas 1822-1860; 1870
Powhatan 1782-1786; 1870
Preston 1821-1860
Prince Edward 1782-1809
Pulaski 1847-1850
Putnam 1848-1856; 1870
Raleigh 1851-1861
Randolph 1787-1861
Rappahannock 1833-1836
Ritchie 1843-1861
Roane 1856-1861
Roanoke 1838-1850
Rockbridge 1782-1786
Sussex 1842-1850
Taylor 1844-1860
Tazewell 1851-1853; 1868-1870
Tucker 1857-1860
Tyler 1815-1837; 1851-1870
Upshur 1851-1870
Washington 1792; 1869-1870
Wayne 1842-1861
Webster 1860
Westmoreland 1782-1815; 1843-1858
Wetzel 1846-1870
Wirt 1848-1870
Wise 1869-1870
Wood 1801-1860
Wyoming 1851-1861
Wythe 1793-1801; 1851-1854

Wheeling 1838-1860
Winchester 1851-1854

Most of the Virginia county lists are partial lists that just happened to be included on the same roll as the West Virginia county lists that we purchased.

Survey and Planning Grants

The West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office is accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2003 Survey and Planning Grant Program. Eligible projects include conducting archaeological and architectural surveys, nominating properties to the National Register of Historic Places, preparing educational materials about historic properties, creating historic preservation plans, and conducting feasibility studies. Deadline for receipt of applications is October 31, 2002. A complete program description is available from the grants staff of the State Historic Preservation Office at (304) 558-0240, Ext. 720.


NOTE: Items listed as New Titles in Archives and History News will be found on the New Title shelves in the Archives and History Library for at least two months after appearing in a newsletter.

Rev. Frazer's Marriages 1768-1795: Kathleen Sands, 1989.

Westerwald to America: Some 18th Century German Immigrants: Annette K. Burgert, 1989.

Sugar & Spice: Delmar Hutton, no date.

The Baker's Dozen: Joseph Kaufman and His Descendants: Paul J. Kaufman, 1980.

Families of Raleigh County, West Virginia: The 1850 Census, Annotated: David Anderson Turner, 1982.

Families of Raleigh County, West Virginia: The 1860 Census, Annotated: David Anderson Turner, 1984.

Raleigh County, West Virginia Marriages, 1858- 1861: Ronald R. Turner, 1985.

Families of Boone County, West Virginia: The 1900 Census, Annotated: David Anderson Turner, 1985.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Cemetery Surname Index: Bob Closson, 1995, c1988.

Host "Tulpehocken" Church at Marion Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania: Schuylkill Roots Researchers, 1991.

Pennsylvania Soldiers of the Revolutionary War, Living in States Other than PA: Paul W. Myers, 1987.

Bucks County Tombstone Inscriptions, Bedminster and Haycock Townships: Frances Wise Waite, 1988.

St. James United Church of Christ Church Register, (Reformed Church): Loudoun County, Virginia ca Sept. 17, 1798--August 23, 1823: translated from German to English by Jerry Mower, 1993.

The Papers of John Marshall, Volume 11: Herbert A. Johnson, editor, 2002.

1767 Berks County Pennsylvania Archives: Katharine F. Dix, 1989.

1784 Berks County Pennsylvania Archives: Katharine F. Dix, 1989.

Bern Church Record, Bern Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania: Baptisms (1739-1835), Including Tombstone Inscriptions of Burial Grounds at Bernville: Schuylkill Roots Researchers, 1989.

Yeager, An Autobiography: Chuck Yeager and Leo Janos, 1985.

The Secret Life and Brutal Death of Mamie Thurman: F. Keith Davis, 2002.

A Century of Commitment: The First One Hundred Years of Engineering Education at West Virginia University, 1887-1987: Edwin C. Jones, Sr., 1989.

Pearl Harbor and the War in the Pacific: edited by Bernard C. Nalty, 2001.

Early Marriage Records of Current Day West Virginia, Most Pre-1870: Lee Gray, no date.

Stevens & Grass Funeral Home, Inc.: Malden, West Virginia: Death Records 1967 through 1998: Lee Gray, no date.

Genealogy of the Harvey Family of Garrett County, Maryland: Marshall G. Brown, 1975.

Leadman Family Genealogy: Chester Lester, no date.

The Ancestry of Chamberlin and Grant: June G. Henderson, 2000. [Genealogy of General and Mrs. U. S. Grant in 3 volumes.]

Grandmother's Letter: A Family Genealogy: Volume 3: Marie Bowen Canterbury, 2002.

The Butterflies of West Virginia and Their Caterpillars: Thomas J. Allen, 1997.

Class Book for the Birch Class: Webster Circuit, M. E. Church South: George Fielding Bragg, transcribed by Vivan Hytovick, 1997.

Bioanthropological Investigations of the Reynolds Cemetery in Kanawha County, West Virginia: Alexandra D. Bybee, 2002. [This extensive report was prepared for the relocation of the Reynolds family cemetery near Marmet Locks and includes genealogical information on the Reynolds family. Shelved in Closed Stacks: request from staff.]

History of the First Regiment West Virginia Infantry: C. J. Rawling, Tim McKinney, 2002. [Originally published in 1887. This edition contains new material and index by Tim McKinney.]

Huguenot Gleanings from The Cross of Languedoc: The National Huguenot Society, 2002.

Kith and Kin of Boone County, Volume 27: Boone County Genealogical Society, 2002.

Virginia Tax Records: From the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the William and Mary College Quarterly, and Tyler's Quarterly, with an Index by Gary Parks: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983.

George Washington & Us: An account of Washington's life and adventures in Berkeley Springs and nearby West Virginia, Western Maryland and Virginia, partly told in his own words: John Douglas, 2002.


Mrs. Martha Mable Robinson Jones of Poca, WV very generously donated the remaining inventory of her family history, George Washington & Charles W. Robinson & Families, published by the author in 1999, to the Archives and History Library. We have placed three copies in our collection, and have distributed the remaining copies to over two dozen West Virginia county libraries and genealogical/historical society libraries across the state. Mrs. Jones' combination of photographs, narrative and family history sheets will be a welcome resource in these libraries.

Joseph Lindner, Charleston, WV, donated genealogy books from the estate of June S. Lindner. Ms. Lindner donated a portion of her books to the Library some years earlier. Much of her collection provides abstracts or indexes for Pennsylvania and Virginia records in counties relevant to West Virginia family research.


The Archives and History Library maintains a file of family history information by surname. We currently have files for over 1000 names, from Abbott to Zumwalt. A typical family history file will contain newspaper clippings about persons or families with that name, whether it is a feature article or a report from a reunion. We try to clip articles and obituaries for anyone 100 years or older, as well as wedding anniversary announcements that include biographical information of interest to genealogists. Some patrons donate regularly to their family files, giving us copies of recent obituaries and other announcements, updated family trees, or copies of family photos and Bible pages. Family histories of less than 50 pages are also placed in this file. (Family histories of over 50 pages are evaluated for binding.) If you wish to donate original materials relating to your family, we ask that you identify the source of the information, by providing the name and address of the genealogist who prepared the document, or including the name of the newspaper or magazine, plus the date, for clippings.


If you are cleaning out pamphlets, books, old West Virginia newspapers and magazines, city directories and telephone books, photographs, postcards, letters, etc., please check with Archives and History staff . You may have items we can add to the Archives Collection. Items do not have to be very old to be of interest to us. You may find potential donations while searching through other people's discards or library book sales. We are always interested in hearing about your finds; however, please do not send items to us without checking with us by mail or phone. We particularly would like to receive donations of hardback and paperback books in good condition by West Virginia authors, both fiction and non-fiction. Some West Virginia authors are Homer Hickam, Sharyn McCrumb, Pearl Buck, Henry Louis Gates, Mary Lee Settle, Eugenia Price, Stephen Coontz, Cynthia Rylant, Otis Rice, Jayne Anne Phillips and Christopher Janus.

This newsletter is a publication of :

The Division of Culture and History
Archives and History
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, WV 25305-0300
(304) 558-0230
Nancy P. Herholdt, Commissioner

Permission to reprint articles from West Virginia Archives and History News is granted, provided: (1) The reprint is not used for commercial purposes, and (2) the following notice appears at the end of the reprinted material: Previously published in West Virginia Archives and History News, [Volume and issue numbers], [Month, Year], a publication of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.



"SHAPING THE CAPITOL COMPLEX: CASS GILBERT, INC.": Collection of photographs and documents on display in the Archives and History Library and on the Archives and History Web site.

LABOR DAY, SEPTEMBER 2: The Library will be closed.

WESTERN VIRGINIA 1861: THE FIRST CAMPAIGN, SEPTEMBER 19-22: Civil War Symposium, Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation, Elkins.



B&O RAILROAD 150TH ANNIVERSARY, SEPTEMBER 28: Independence Hall, Wheeling.

WEST VIRGINIA BOOK FESTIVAL, OCTOBER 11-12: Charleston Civic Center, Charleston.


COLUMBUS DAY, OCTOBER 14: The Library will be open.*

VETERANS DAY, NOVEMBER 5: The Library will be open.*


THANKSGIVING, NOVEMBER 28: The Library will be closed. Friday, November 29, and Saturday, November 30, the Library will be open.*

HISTORY DAY 2003, FEBRUARY 27: The Capitol and The Cultural Center, Charleston.


*Only the Archives Library will be staffed--all other Archives offices will be closed. The State Museum will be open any time the Archives Library is open. The West Virginia Library Commission Library in The Cultural Center is closed weekends and all holidays.


Fredrick Armstrong: Director
Debra Basham: Archivist (photographs, special collections)
Constance Baston: Researcher (Veterans Memorial Archive)
Greg Carroll: Historian (Civil War, Native American history)
Dick Fauss: Archivist (microfilm and moving images collection)
Elaine Gates: Library Assistant (microfilming and microfilm repairs)
Joe Geiger: Historian (Web page)
Ed Hicks: Photographer (archival photography, darkroom)
Mary Johnson: Historian (West Virginia History)
Terry Lowry: Library Assistant (Civil War)
Cathy Miller: Library Assistant (WV State documents, periodicals)
Sharon Newhouse: Secretary
Harold Newman: Library Assistant (microfilming, Revolutionary War)
Pat Pleska: Manager of the Veterans Memorial Archive
Susan Scouras: Librarian (cataloging, Kentucky, library collection, newsletter editor)
Jaime Simmons: Library Assistant (records of the 1700's and early 1800's, Pennsylvania)
Bobby Taylor: Library Manager
Nancy Waggoner: Office Assistant

Working on special projects: Allen Fowler.

Volunteers: Carolyn Conner, Bill Kelley, Angela Tolbert, and Bob and Lucile Foster.

Archives and History News

West Virginia Archives and History