An 1805 Property Tax Reminds and Asks Questions

The FamilySearch database  contains more than the vital records that were extracted to make the index to these records. There are tax lists, election results, tax levies, road surveys, and a variety of other record documenting town business. A search for Samuel Sargent when querying the database brought no results.

A manual scan of the town records for Marlborough located property tax record entry for Samuel Sargent “invoice[d] for 1805.” The only records that were indexed were the records of vital events. Always scan the originals.

The images being used were not even of the original records.

In this case, the digital images on FamilySearch were created from a microfilmed copy of a handwritten transcription of the original records. The style of the handwriting and the consistency of the handwriting make this apparent. The transcriptionist also included the page number from the original volume (that’s the “4” on the left hand side of the first image shown in this post and also why the headings appear at the bottom of this page–that’s where page four starts). Samuel and John Serjeant must have appeared on the bottom two lines of page three of the original record book.

I need to determine what the headings exactly stand for so that they are interpreted correctly. Rotating the images made them easier to read.

My citation to these records needs to clearly indicate that I am using the FamilySearch database that includes these records (titled “New Hampshire, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1636-1947“). I think it needs to include a parenthetical comment indicating the records for Marlborough appear to be transcriptions of the original book. That comment should not indicate all the New Hampshire town records in this collection appear to be transcripts because not all the records have been viewed. It should only refer to those records used.


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