Virginia Revolutionary Tax Lists. The Virginia SAR has posted copies of the specific taxes at: www.virginia-sar.org/vassar/index.php?content=doclib&dirparm=Virginia%20Revolutionary%20Tax%20Lists/
The lists can also be found from their home page under the DocView tab. At the time of the Revolution a specific tax was one to be paid in specified commodities. These taxes were supply taxes. Most of the records predate the 1782, when the statewide personal property and land taxes took effect. Records are not all extant for all counties, and when there are records they do not cover the entire county. However, they can be especially valuable for finding service of patriots who died during the Revolution, moved to an area where we do not have records, were exempted for age, disability, or active military duty, or for some other reason are not listed on later rolls. One compatriot has already found an ancestor using the Virginia website and is preparing a supplemental application. Thank you, Virginia SAR, for making these records available.
Reduction of Hours at Library of Virginia. The Commonwealth of Virginia has implemented major budget cuts. These had a very hard impact on The Library of Virginia, which includes the state archives. The Library is now open only four days a week, Tuesday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Monday and Saturday coverage has been eliminated. In addition to the loss of two days per week, the Archives lost four staff positions. Two of those staff members chose retirement, each with over 30 years experience. Although the Archives staff is still very capable, we have lost a great deal of institutional knowledge with the departure of these two men.
Check library and archives hours before setting out for research. With budget cuts, many institutions are forced to reduce coverage from what you are familiar with from the past.
German names. Sometimes a family in the late 18th century would name a child with the same name as a child who had already died, especially if the name was handed down in the family. German families often gave the same first name to every child of the gender. The sons might be name Johann Nikolas, Johann Georg, and Johann Freidrich. The daughters might be named Maria Magdalena, Maria Elisabetha, and Maria Margaretha. The middle name was the name that would be used in daily life and would appear in wills, tax lists, muster rolls, etc. This was the rufname. The first and middle names are often found in baptism records and on tombstones.
Virginia Public Service Claims. The Virginia Public Service Claims are used extensively to prove Revolutionary service. Claims were made for providing supplies as well as other services, such as driving cattle for the army. They are especially useful for service of men above prime military age and widows. Many use the published books of Abercrombie and Slatten as the source. These books cover only the court booklets and lists which were compiled at the end of the Revolution for claims made under a statute passed in May 1780. Researchers should use the Library of Virginia website on-line catalogue to see an index that includes additional records of public service claims: certificates and commissioners books. These can be found under the drop-down menu for Images and Indexes at the LVA home page:
I have found certificates for which there was no entry in the court booklets, and many court booklet entries are not backed by an extant certificate.
Certificates were issued when property was provided. These were authenticated by the county courts and records can be found in court minute and order books. The lists and court booklets were compiled for submission to the state government in Richmond. The Commissioners Books record the authorization of the state to pay the claim. These books generally have the least amount of information, and the table of contents needs to be copied in addition to the page bearing the name of the ancestor in order to show the county from which the claim was made.
Records of supplies and other non-military services prior to 1780 are difficult to find. A few records have been found intermixed with the Virginia Specific Taxes, which the Virginia SAR has made available on its website (see above item). The first three volumes of The Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia also provide records of reimbursements. The first volume actually begins with the journals of the Committee of Safety of Virginia. These books are indexed, although not very well. The original records are at the Library of Virginia, unindexed.
New York Revolutionary Tax Lists. Some additional Revolutionary tax lists have been located in the New York State Library among the Garrett Lansing Papers. One of these lists, an October 1779 list for Orange Town in Albany County, was obtained for us by Empire State SAR President Duane Booth. This led to the discovery that other lists dated October 1779, rather than in the spring of 1779. New York passed had two different taxes in 1779 that supported the Revolution. The Subcommittee on Revolutionary Taxes plans to obtain copies of these additional lists and verify that there were in fact assessments supporting the Revolution.
The 'Front Lines' Blog is written and supported by the Fort Dearborn Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution located in Chicago, IL.