Tax rolls provide information on the amount of land and personal property an individual owned. Assessments of real and personal property, poll taxes, and other county and state taxes appear on the tax roll microfilms.
While tax rolls do not include genealogical data or explain family relationships, they are useful for determining when someone came to a county, how long they resided there, and when they left the county or died.
In most cases the taxpayers are grouped according to the initial letter of their last names, but the names are not strictly alphabetical and they are not indexed. On many tax rolls the names are listed under different headings, e.g., Form B: Assessment of Property Situated in the County and Owned by Residents Thereof, and Form C: Assessment of Property Situated in the County and Owned by Non-Residents. These headings might vary from county to county and from year to year.
Page from 1846 Tax Roll for Travis County, Comptroller's Office, Texas County Tax Rolls. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Series 1 (earliest - 1910) tax rolls cover the earliest records from the creation of the county through 1910. Counties created after 1910 will not be found in this series. Tax rolls are missing for some periods in the following counties.
Missing from Series 1:
Archer 1870 - 1873
Armstrong 1870 - 1882
Baylor 1870 - 1873
Bowie 1840 - 1845, 1874, 1880
Encinal (Webb) 1856, 1868, 1870
Loving 1895 - 1897
Runnels 1842 - 1872, 1876
Stephens 1858 - 1860, 1866, 1868, 1871, 1873, 1876
Ward 1842 - 1886
Series 2 (1911 - 1921)
Series 3 (1922 - 1947) tax rolls have not been filmed for the following counties.
Not filmed from Series 3:
Series 4 (1948 - 1959) tax rolls have not been filmed for the following counties.
Not filmed from Series 4:
Maverick, McCulloch, McLennan, McMullen, Medina, Menard, Midland, Milam, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Montgomery, Moore, Morris, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Newton, Nolan, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Parmer, Pecos, Polk, Potter, Presidio, Rains, Randall, Reagan, Real, Red River, Reeves, Refugio, Roberts, Robertson, Rockwall, Runnels, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Shelby, Sherman, Smith, Somervell, Starr, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Swisher, Taylor, Terrell, Terry, Throckmorton, Titus, Wharton, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Willacy, Wise.
Miscellaneous (1960 - late 1970s/early 1980s) tax rolls are available for many counties. To verify we hold the year and county you need, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-463-5455.
Please note there are many irregularities in the tax rolls. The rolls do not exist for certain counties and large parts of others are missing. Very often the early rolls for a particular county are incomplete or have been lost entirely. Some of the irregularities that appear in the tax rolls are given above but there is no exhaustive list of missing or displaced records.
A few counties were filmed out of their alphabetical order. Often the pages were filmed out of order or with parts of the originals obscured, and there are many re-takes. Notes provided on the microfilm box labels will help resolve some of the difficulties.
In general, the later tax rolls are more standardized and consistent than the earlier ones but researchers should always be alert to problems with spelling and handwriting. A thorough search of the tax rolls can involve examining every page in a particular year or span of years.