The 27th reel from a set of 63 microfilm reels containing extant Boston town tax records from 1780 through 1821, organized by year and ward. Beginning in 1802, the records for each year are generally divided into three main categories: taking books, tax books, and transfer books.
This reel contains:
1. 1808 tax books: wards 9-12, set A
2. 1808 tax books: wards 1-8, set B
Taking books (referred to as “valuation books” beginning in 1818) follow the order of the assessors' progress through each ward, street-by-street, and record names of individual residents or businesses, assessed values of realty and personalty, poll tax status, info on domiciles, and the names of property owners. Frequently, taking books also contain notes on occupation and economic status of individual residents, along with other details recorded by the assessors. Names of streets are often, but not always recorded, though they are present consistently beginning in 1811.
The transfer and tax books represent subsequent stages of record keeping, in which residents of each ward -- initially recorded in the taking books -- are relisted in rough alphabetical order, with entries containing a range of details related to individual assessments. When two sets of tax books are present for a given year, payments are only recorded in one of the two sets, here labeled as set "B" through 1816 and set "A" from 1817 through 1821.
Abatements are recorded in both annual volumes and in volumes combining multiple years.
A concise description of the tax assessment, collection, and record keeping practices in 19th-century Boston can be found in Peter R. Knights, "Yankee Destinies: the Lives of Ordinary Nineteenth-Century Bostonians" (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1991), 184-186.
Created from original bound manuscripts held in the Boston Public Library Rare Books and Manuscripts Department. For complete contents of all microfilm reels in the set, consult description in the Boston Public Library online catalog.