Seattle Genealogical Society News


If you are looking for data on an ancestor that resided in Virginia during the decades 1780-1820, here is a resource Christine Schomaker, SGS board member and desk volunteer, would like to share with you.

The Virginia Personal Property Tax, “PPT”, has been collected almost every year since 1782. In Colonial Virginia the noun “tithable”  referred to a person who paid, or for whom someone else paid, one of the taxes imposed by the General Assembly. Basically it was a tax on the productive workforce; free white males over 16, all slaves – both male and female, both African American and Native American. White females were not recorded unless they where head-of-household.

In these early decades, the annual “PPT” list reads like a census with counts of “tithables” plus horses, cattle and whatever else was legally defined as taxable property at the time. Complete microfilms of the original PPT lists for nearly all counties are available at the Library of Virginia in Richmond and may be borrowed on interlibrary loan.

Read more about it at:

Thanks to Steve and Bunny Binns, some of these records can be viewed online! Their free website “Virginia Tax List Censuses” offers indexed and linked images of the 1790, 1800, and a few 1810 PPT lists as substitutes for the lost US Federal Censuses of Virginia for those years.  Here’s the link to their site:

You will probably want to see all the intervening tax years as well. You can track families arriving and moving away, sons turning 16 or 21, and property owners passing on, leaving widows in charge. The Binns have you covered here, too. You can purchase CD’s of the PPT list images for each county available. Or, better yet, you can subscribe to the “Tax List Club” and have online access to all of them.  Although these images are not indexed, beginning in 1787, most counties recorded surnames alphabetically by first letter and you can navigate pretty quickly to the appropriate image file. Find out more here:

Stop by the SGS library some Tuesday and Christine will be happy to help you get started exploring the Virginia PPT. Ask for a short tutorial.

Even in this day and age not everything can be found online, so while you’re at our library check out the three-volume set, “The 1787 Census Of Virginia”. It was intended as a substitute for the lost 1790 US Federal Census of Virginia. Transcribed and indexed by Netti Schreiner-Yantis & Florene Speakman Love, this set also includes those counties now in Kentucky and West Virginia, which separated from Virginia in 1792 and 1863, respectively.

You can find this set on the Virginia shelf at the SGS Library, call number: VA:0-150 a,b,c.


Unless otherwise indicated all programs will be at the SGS Library, 6200 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle. Check the SGS Web Site for additions, changes, and corrections. Programs may be canceled or postponed because of inclement weather. The SGS Library will be closed  from December 22 through January 1, 2018, for the holidays. The Scandinavian Interest Group will not meet in December.

Please note the time change for the Family Tree Interest Group on Saturday, December 2;  they will be meeting at 1:00 pm.


Saturday, December 2, 1:00pm – 3:00pm, Family Tree Interest Group, Lou Daly, leader of this special interest group exploring all the features of the tool Family Tree on FamilySearch

Saturday, December 9, 10:15am – 12:15pm, Family Tree Maker (FTM) Users Group, with Reiley Kidd and Betty Ravenholt, leaders

Saturday, December 16, 10:15am – 12:15pm, Irish SIG, with Jean Roth

Saturday, December 16, 1:00pm – 2:30pm, German SIG, with Jean Roth


Saturday, January 6, 1:00pm – 3:00pm, Family Tree Interest Group, Lou Daly, leader of this special interest group exploring all the features of the tool Family Tree on FamilySearch

Saturday, January 13, 1:00pm – 3:00pm, Second Saturday Speaker Series, “Chinese Exclusion Act Files – Original Documents at NARA” will be presented by Trish Nicola

Sunday, January 14, 1:30pm – 3:00pm, Scandinavian SIG, with Karen Knudson

Saturday, January 20, 10:15am – 12:15pm, Irish SIG, with Jean Roth

Saturday, January 20, 1:00pm – 2:30pm, German SIG, with Jean Roth

Saturday, January 27, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, DNA SIG, this group meets at the Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, 8008 35th Ave NE, Seattle. For more information contact Co-chaired by Cary Bright and Herb McDaniel.