Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Mailbox: Retail Liquor Dealer

Dear Ancestry Insider,

What does  R.L.D. stand for on IRS Annual Lists 1866? I saw this in Georgia. It is some sort of occupation, and possibly a merchant of some kind?

Virginia Crilley

Dear Virginia,

Retail Liquor Dealer.

You might wonder how I discovered this. I first glanced through the NARA descriptive information found at the beginning of the microfilm. Read it on, starting at United States Internal Revenue Assessment Lists, 1862-1874 > Georgia (M762) > A guide for all counties > Image 2. While the answer to this specific question was not there, it is always a good idea to read the descriptive information at the beginning of a NARA microfilm. The description noted that these records were photographed from bound volumes.

I examined a volume from 1866. I wanted to see what instructions might exist in the first pages of the volume. In the volume I examined, some “helpful” camera operator had skipped the cover and the first pages of the volume. I suppose he figured they were of no historical value. It was impossible to tell if he had skipped something significant. (This practice is sometimes practiced by “helpful” websites as well, dropping images of no apparent genealogical value.) I noted on the first photographed page of the volume that the column heading for occupation is “Article or Occupation.”

Like the occupation codes found in census enumerator instructions, I figured there were instructions for tax assessors that listed these abbreviations. I did various Google searches, some involving the exact column heading. The one that did the trick was [internal revenue assessment lists occupation "r.l.d."]. The fourth result was:

Google result for _Internal Revenue Laws in Force January 1, 1900"

I selected this result and searched for [r. l. d.] in the file and found this:


Retail dealers in malt liquors can not retail spirituous liquors
or wines without paying special tax as retail liquor dealers.

No refund of a tax to a R. M. L. D. who becomes a R. L. D. (33
Int. Rev. Rec, 397.)

It was a fun challenge. But seriously, poking around the laws surrounding these documents might shed light on other meaning and nuance. Look for books showing the laws in effect at the time the record was created.

Have fun.

The Ancestry Insider

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