Tax List Analysis - Tracking My Mind

Updated: Jan 30

I understand I do not think like most people. My College professor in a flowcharting class confirmed what many teachers behind her had realized. My mind just does not work as expected. She had used the same problem as a final exam for years. I missed a lot of the classes because of work related training but she let me turn in the work and kept me in the class. I missed the final, but she agreed to proctor it in the library the next week.

When I turned my answer in quickly, she first asked if I had been given information by one of the students (I had not), then she peevishly said she would 'get back to me'. A few days later I was summoned to her office. "Oh, ohh..." She pulled out my giant piece of paper (yes, we used paper to actually draw the flowcharts) and asked me to go through my process. I was waiting for the big mistake. It never came.

She told me I had solved the problem in the fewest steps, with the most direct path. Ever. Ever as in all the years she had used the problem. Then she asked if she could use my chart in future classes. Of course. The problem? Many times I cannot understand why someone takes a different path.

So what does this tidbit of looking into the past have to do with tax list analysis? I track 1850 forward censuses the same as most people. I probably track the pre-1850 like most genealogists, but then I got stuck. The Baltimore County Maryland 1783 tax list transcriptions did not make sense to me. Don't ask me why, it was a gut feeling. I knew I was missing something just looking at names. So I set out to really look at the list.

First - find the originals! In this case that was vital! The transcriptions had my family in the wrong hundred! Instead of walking you through the process I am going to show you the start of my final product. I hope this helps you really dive into the tax lists.

1783 Tax Lists

The 1783 Tax List is organized in the loose alphabetical order of the time, where all "R" surnames are found together. The original papers are found at MSA - MSA-s1161_scm871-0181.

NOTE: This is vital! I looked at the ACTUAL pages from the MSA film above. There are NO RUTLEDGES in MINE RUN HUNDRED! All the transcriptions I have found are INCORRECT! NO! Read the MSA information! The records SAY North - but the Archives says these are actually the Mine Run Hundred lists mixed it with the North!

The Tax List lists the owner's Name, Land Name, No of Acres, Value, Value of the Improvements, Slaves, Slaves value, livestock, value of other property, total value and tax. But the last two columns are of interest - Number of white male inhabitants and total number of white inhabitants. The table below extracts the data in fewer columns.

1783 Tax List Analysis

Here is a graphic of the distribution of people on the tax list:

I will take these name by name and see where they fit in relation to my known ancestors.

I am going to start with the grouping in Mine Run Hundred.

William Rutledge Jr: I have no profile that matches William (1 son and 1 daughter). It is possible that junior was used to differentiate this William from an older William in the area who was not his father.

Ephraim Rutledge: I have no record of this property. Ephraim bought Rutledge's Wisdom in 1787, so he may have owned this property first. Pocock's Lott was not found in a search of the Tract Index. Ephraim was married to Susannah Pocock, so this may have been her property in My Lady's Manor. Ephraim had three sons: John, Ephraim Junior and an unknown. This fits the tax list. I would expect 3 and possibly 5 daughters on this list (there were 2 on the 1790 list born before 1790).

Abraham Rutledge, Jr: I have no record of this property. It appears Abraham and Rebecca had a large gap between children. The earliest children recorded are John and Elijah both born before 1774. There was also an unknown male in the age group on the 1790 census. Ruth (b. abt 1777, m Archer Howard) may be one of the females on this list along with Rebecca (wife). Elizabeth and Leah were born after 1783 but before 1790, so are NOT on this list. The third female on this list apparently died or left home before 1790.

Thomas Rutledge: Maybe Thomas Gorsuch Rutledge, he was 24 years old in 1783 and held lands in the area. He was the son of William and Margaret Rutledge. His first marriage record is 1782, but he may have had a previous as yet unfound marriage. He is of age to have 2 sons and one daughter in 1783.

Michael Rutledge: This MIGHT be Michael who was married to Eleanor Deason, then Elizabeth. Michael died before 1810, so may not have had any property at this time. The five males may have been: Michael, Edmund (b. 1765-1775), William (b. 1769), John D (b. 1773-1774), and Michael (b. 1777). The females may have been Elizabeth (wife) and Clara (b. abt. 1768).

Abraham Rutledge, Sr: I have no record of this deed. In 1754 Abraham did lease 100 acres of pt Blathenia Canbria in Baltimore County from Benjamin Tasker. The four males may be: Abraham, Edward (aft 1774), an unknown son that was on the 1790 census (bef. 1774), and Jacob (abt. 1762; married Monica Wheeler 1799). The 3 females may be Penelope (wife), Elizabeth (b. 1770 m. Thomas Talbott 1795), and Penelope (b. 1765 m. Thomas Kelso 1789). The other children of Abraham, Sr are not expected to be in the household.

Conclusion: This group appears to be the families of Michael and Hannah Rutledge. Abraham Sr, William and Ephraim were Michael's sons. Abraham Jr and Thomas were their grandsons.

But, Who was Michael? Michael m. Eleanor was born abt 1740. Michael m. Hannah was b. 1695, 45 years apart. I believe Michael m. Eleanor was the nephew of Michael m. Hannah. IF Michael m. Eleanor's father was named William, this would account not only for the age difference, but also for William Jr found on this tax list.


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