County Property Tax and Assessment Records:
MNHS has assessment rolls and tax lists for 55 counties. Assessment rolls for real property include the property owner's name; legal land description; building and land values used to provide estimated market value; classification and assessed value of each parcel of property. Assessment rolls for personal property include the property owner's name with assessed value for such items as livestock, jewelry, furniture, household and farm items, and other personal holdings. Tax lists include only summary financial information and indicate the actual amount of taxes paid on each person's real and personal property. The records are arranged chronologically, then alphabetically by political subdivision.
MNHS call number: Search the library catalog by "[county name] tax and assessment" for records which include information on the historical value of property. Some counties may hold assessment rolls and tax lists not included in the MNHS collections.
Court Records: Certain court records, such as probate records and default judgment books, detail which heir or legatee received what portion of the decedent’s real or personal property. Learn how to access probate records via our Court Records Research Guide.
Newspapers: Local newspapers typically list when land is sold. Check legal notices and announcements sections for land sale listings. Search the digital newspaper hub for earlier newspapers, access additional newspapers on microfilm at MNHS.
Online county property tax records: Look at the property tax statement or online county property tax records for a legal description and a record of property constructed on the land. The value of the property is also listed. A web search for your county name and the term property tax should take you to a website where you can search by legal description or address.
Additional information about property records research can be accessed via our House and Building History Guide.