There probably has never been a government that did not have to collect taxes, and in 1757 a census was taken in the Ostfriesen area of Germany. Part of the reason for doing so was to do a head count and (surprise!) evaluation for tax purposes to finance one of the many wars that had occurred in that region. So the entries in the census contain the number, and sometimes the names, of each person over the age of 12 or 13, as well as their financial “worth.”
In examining a copy, I found an entry for my sixth great-grandfather, Reinder [Hanssen] Ligtenvoord. There was included a phrase, written in the Dutch language, describing more of his economic condition. Translated it reads:
“In such poor circumstances with his wife…that until now we have been able to save him from the means for the poor (Kasse für die Armen, i.e. Fund for the Poor), and it is to be feared, that if the Lord does not provide an outcome, he will fall into the charge for the poor.”
Despite his poor economic situation, Reindeer lived another ten years to the age of 58. I wonder if he was ever able to improve his lot in life. It’s probably a safe bet the government did not collect an enormous amount of taxes from him.
This was my first time to use the 1757 Kopfschazung and it was fascinating to learn a bit more about my ancestors.