Welte Family History Research

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For over 40 years, I have been researching my family history. Now that I'm retired, I can devote more time and effort into more research, compilation, and organization of that work! Over the past 12 years, I have been very fortunate in teaching genealogy classes, along with my computer experience, at Blackhawk Technical College. I've also created a business - "Field of Genes" - a "Ride-N-Seek" experience to help other families find their own ancestors.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

52 Ancestors: #15 Welte Assessment for Taxes - 1864

Today is tax day! I’m sure that many Americans are finishing up their yearly wage data, exemptions, schedules, and payment vouchers that need to be completed and postmarked each year on this date. As the Bible says in Matthew 22:21 "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God's.” Keeping it simple regarding the separation of church and state, and notwithstanding the relationship between Christianity and secular authority, this phrase represents payment of taxes, as we have known it in our lifetimes, to various government entities. However, over the years of American Quaker history, there was opposition to Christians paying “general” taxes if used explicitly used for purposes of war and subsequently was forbidden.[1]

In 1862, in order to support the Civil War effort, Congress enacted the first income tax law and through the Act of 1862, it established the office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue. It was based on the principles of graduated, or progressive, taxation and withheld income on a person earning from $600 to $10,000 per year at the rate of 3%. Those who had incomes of more than $10,000 paid taxes at a higher rate. Not only were sales and excise taxes added, but an “inheritance” tax also made its debut.[2]

On www.Ancestry.com I checked in the Card Catalog and clicked on the “Tax, Criminal, Land & Wills” link. Under “Filter By Collection,” I clicked on “Tax Lists.” In the results list, I clicked on the “U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918.” I entered my ancestor’s surname, Welte, and I found several records for the state of Iowa. It shows the taxes incurred on his articles that he produced which were “Boots & Shoes to Order.”

[1] Philalethes (pseud.) "Tribute to Cæsar, How paid by the Best Christians, And to what Purpose; With Some Remarks on the late vigorous Expedition against Canada. Of Civil Government, How Inconsistent it is with the Government of Christ in his Church. Compared with the Ancient Just and Righteous Principles of the Quakers, and their Modern Practice and Doctrine. With some Notes upon the Discipline of their Church in this Province, especially at Philadelphia" (1715?) as found in Gross, David M. (ed.) American Quaker War Tax Resistance (2008) ISBN 978-1-4382-6015-0 pp. 23-42
[2] History of the Income Tax in the United States,” Source: Tax Foundation, Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved; (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005921.html : accessed 15 April 2014)

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