On Friday (Jan 22) I made a trip to the Northampton County PA Archives. The archives is located north of Easton in Forks township and the staff are wonderful. It was not my first trip to this archive but it was the first trip for Jill Stephens and we had a great time. In my local county records research, I have secured the deeds for our ancestors from Northampton county, Lehigh county (prior to 1812) and Carbon county (prior to 1843).
I assembled a spreadsheet listing the ancestors I was interested in tracing, by year and for each year listed the townships where I have deeds saying they owned land. I used state abbreviations for people who had moved out of the area or elsewhere and as they relocated to other PA counties I identified the county (if known). I used dashes for those who were too young to own land in a year or were deceased.
My spreadsheet starts at 1752 when Northampton county formed and ended in 1850. Based on what we found at the archives, it appears that Northampton County has tax records from 1776 – today! You read that right, they have approximately 235 years of tax records! Year, after year after year. Some of the early tax records are stored as loose papers in file folders (1776-1808) in 5 cardboard boxes . A few years appear to be missing, but we found my ancestors in most of these years. Years post 1808 are in bound books by town and township name, in stacks on the archives shelves.
Between Jill and myself we took over 320 photos in a little over 4 hours (flash off) as we divvied up the work and passed the camera. These records are not indexed, requiring you to read each fragile page. The good thing was that the records were usually in alphabetical order. Below is the 1885 Northampton county tax record for Heidelberg township showing Johannes Rumbel and his son Johannes Rumbel, Junr (2 above last row).
The years from 1809 – 1850 will need to wait for another trip. Thankfully, I live within an hour of the archive.