Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
May not be copied without written permission
Congress passed the Internal Revenue Act on 1 July 1862. This act was designed to "provide Internal Revenue to support the Government and to pay interest on the Public Debt." Because this was during the Civil War, the Public Debt consisted primarily of expenses caused by the war.
Each county was divided into districts, each of which had an assessor and collector. Information was collected from each business, partnership, association and corporation that met the criteria set by Congress. Most states, like Kentucky, covered the years 1862-1866, but some states covered additional years (i.e. Arkansas, 1865-1874).
The lists give the name of the person taxed, his residence, the article or occupation taxed, the type of license and the amount of tax due.
If your ancestor operated a business or was a lawyer or physician, he should be listed. Some of the state lists are available on Ancestry.com, but Kentucky is not among them. However, you can order the lists for your county (western Kentucky was in District 1) from the Family History Library, using the following information: Internal Revenue Assessment Lists for Kentucky, 1862-1866, (National Archives Micro Publication M768, 24 rolls); Records of the Internal Revenue Service, Record Group 58; National Archives, Washington, DC.
Published 10 Jan 2013 on Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/