Monday, March 2, 2009

The Source Nobody Knows

If you have a research target in Indiana during the Civil War years, and they weren't poor, the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library's Heritage Center has a source for you: the 42-reel microfilm set Indiana Internal Revenue Lists for the years 1862-1866. Yes, Virginia, there was an income tax during the Civil War (that was back when they paid for wars themselves instead of laying off the bill on future generations). I've worked with these lists a tiny bit at the Great Lakes branch of the National Archives in Chicago, and they are real records -- that is, not organized or indexed for our convenience. You need to know where your folks were and where various towns were, in order to figure out the geographical layout of the districts used. And those with little or nothing won't show up here -- it's not a census substitute.

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