In investigating the lives of our ancestors much can be inferred from the tax assessment rolls. In researching the Flemings of Derby Township we can see acquisition of acreage, clearance of forests for pasture and crops, and the growing value in real property. Five of Alexander’s sons (James, John, Alexander II, Donald, and Charles), and his son-in-law (James Agnew) became established as farmers. William, the sixth son, left his farm and moved to Owen Sound in the early 1880s.
Assessment rolls were completed annually by the township in order to determine taxes payable by its residents.
Assessment rolls are used to record information about a resident’s property in order to determine the amount of taxes payable on real property. The following information is recorded: land and building value; status as residence or business, religion (for school taxation purposes), age, and occupation of head of household and number of people living on the property. Other information is collected from time to time reflecting local or provincial requirements. [Source: Finding Municipal Record, Research Guide 209, Archives of Ontario]