Source Information

Ancestry.com. Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Georgia Tax Digests [1890]. 140 volumes. Morrow, Georgia: Georgia Archives.

About Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892

This database contains tax digest books for 137 Georgia counties from 1793 - 1892, making the collection a possible census substitute. The books list names of taxpayers and assessments of value for various types of property and assets, as well as indicating who owed the poll tax. As such, the records should include all men 21 and over and women who owned property. Another important feature of the digests is their inclusion of African-American freemen by name.

Digests were compiled by militia district. This allows researchers to locate an ancestor by county, where other important records may be located (though these digests list taxes according to where property was owned rather than where the payee necessarily lived). The digests don’t often indicate family relationships, but they do offer details about a taxpayer and his (or her) estate. Details on white taxpayers were recorded on a two-page form:

  • name
  • number of polls
  • taxable profession
  • number of employees
  • acres owned (and location)
  • value of land
  • value of city or town property
  • shares held in banks and corporations
  • stocks and securities
  • investments in cotton, foundries, shipping, mining
  • personal possessions (jewelry, agricultural products, animals, tools, etc.)

Freemen were logged separately on a different, one-page form that recorded

  • name of freeman
  • name of employer
  • polls
  • acres (and location)
  • value of land
  • value of city or town property
  • personal property: household items, stock, tools, merchandise

Agents

Agents, sometimes abbreviated Agt, represented the person who owed the tax. Women property holders often had men represent them on tax lists. The agent might be a family member, or he might represent a group who had sent one person to pay their taxes rather than all of them making the trip.