-Genealogy Terminology

ABATEMENT - the difference between the amount of the estate of an heir is to receive as specified in a will and the amount actually received, due to property devaluation between the time the will was made and when the death occurred; the entry of a stranger into the estate after the death of the possessor but before the heir or devisee can take control

ABEYANCE - the condition of an estate which either has been claimed but not taken possession of, or which is liable to be claimed by someone

AB INITIO - [Latin] "from the beginning"; used in reference to situations regarding the validity of a deed, marriage, estate, etc.

AB INTESTATE - [Latin] the condition of inheriting from one who died without making a will

ABSENTE REO - in the absence of the defendant

ABSTRACT - to take the main points and essential information from a document such as a will, deed, bounty land warrant, census, etc.

ABUT - when two properties meet

ABUTTAL - a boundary where one's land joins or meets another's land

ACADIAN - inhabitant of Acadia (Nova Scotia); a descendant of French settlers of Acadia who live in Louisiana, i.e. Cajuns

ACCESSION NUMBER - number assigned by a librarian or archivist denoting the time a book, manuscript, or artifact was placed within a collection

ACCRETION -the right of inheritance by survival

ACCOMMODATION - land alloted to families in a town or settlement

ACCOMMODATION NOTE - a statement, draft, or paper drawn for the purpose of obtaining credit with no consideration

ACCORDANT - agreeing

ACCRETION - the right of inheritance by survival

A CONTRARIO - from a contradictory position

AD HOC - [Latin] for this special reason; for a special purpose

AD INTERIM - in the meantime

AD LIBITUM - at one's pleasure, to improvise

AD LITUM - (formerly, esp of a guardian) appointed for a lawsuit

AD LOCUM - at the place

AD REM - pertaining to the matter in hand

AD LOCUM - at the place

ADMEASURE - to give each heir or claimant his or her rightful share of an estate, dower, or property

ADMEASUREMENT - the adjustment or apportionment of the shares of an estate, dower, pasture held in common, inheritance, etc.

ADMEASUREMENT OF DOWER - the readjustment of a dower when an heir becomes of age because a parent or guardian was receiving an unfair share to support the child

ADMINISTRATION - the management or settling of the estate of a person who died without a will, of a person whose estate is being handled by an executor under a will, or of a minor or mentally incompetent person

ADMINISTRATION BOND - a specified amount of money, usually twie the estimated value of the estate, posted by the person chosen by the court to act as administrator of an estate which insures that the administrator will fulfill his obligations satisfactorily according to law

ADMINISTRATION CUM TESTAMENTO ANNEXO - administration granted by the court in instances where the person who makes a will has neglected to name an executor, or where the executor is unable or refuses to act

ADMINISTRATION DE BONIS NON - administration of a deceased person's property that was not completely distributed by the first administrator

ADMINISTRATION DE BONIS NON CUM TESTAMENTO ANNEXO - administration granted by the court when part of the estate is still not administered because of the death of the executor

ADMINISTRATION PENDITE LITE - administration of an estate carried out while a suit is pending concerning the validity of the will

ADMINISTRATION WITH WILL ANNEXED - administration granted by the court in instances where the person who makes a will has neglected to name an executor, or where the executor is unable or refuses to act

ADMINISTRATOR - a person appointed by the court to administer the estate of an incompetent person or an intestate who differs from an executor in that he is court appointed whereas the executor is appointed by the deceased

ADMINISTRATIX - a female administrator


ADOPTION - To take into one's family through legal means and raise as one's own child.

ADOPTION BY BAPTISM - a spiritual affinity contracted between godfathers and godchildren in the baptism ceremony, and entitled the godchild to a share of the godfather's estate

ADOPTION BY MATRIMONY - the act of taking the children of a spouse's former marriage as one's own upon marriage

ADOPTION BY TESTAMENT - to appoint a person heir if he follows the stipulations in the will to take the name, arms, etc. of the adopter

ADVANCEMENT - a gift given to a child by a living parent in anticipation of an inheritance

ADVENTURER - one who purchased shares in the Virginia Land Company at 12 pounds, 10 shillings each, and received 100 acres in Virginia

AD VERBATIM - [Latin] "to the word"; in full

ADVERSE POSSESSION - actual possession of real property obtained by aggressive or "notorious" actions, and gaining title to the property by keeping it for a statutory period of time

AETATIS SUAE - [Latin] the condition of being in a specified year of one's life - aetatis suae 25 means in the twenty-fifth year of one's age, after a person's twenty-fourth birthday

AFFIDAVIT - a written document created while under oath before an authorized officer such as a notary public, court officer, etc.

AFFIRMATION - a declaration made by a person having conscientious objections against swearing an oath

AFTER-ACQUIRED PROPERTY - property that was acquired after the date of a will

AGE OF CONSENT - age at which persons can marry without parental consent

AGE OF MAJORITY - age at which a person becomes able to handle his own affairs being usually 18 for girls and 21 for boys

AGGREGATE (census) - an enumeration in which no names are recorded, only the number of individuals within an age group, religious group, type of profession, national origin, etc.

AHNENTAFEL - A table of one's ancestors, from the  German Ahnen (ancestor) and Tafel (table or list)

AHNENTAFEL NUMBERS - Numbering system used to identify erach individual in a family tree.  The numbers follow the format that an individual's father is twice that individual's numbers plus one

ALARS - American Library Association Records Standards

ALIEN - To transfer property, as in a deed the seller "does grant, bargain, sell, alien, enfeoff, release and confirm unto the buyer certain property

ALLEGATION - a document stating there was no impediment to the marriage (a) not close relatives, (b) not minors, (c) did not have a wife or husband living to whom they were already married.

ALTERA DIE - on the next day

AMBO - stranger

ANCESTORS - person from whom you are descended in a direct line

ANCESTRAL FILE - A database of names in linked genealogies.  Contains names and addresses of people that have submitted information.  Maintained by the LDS Family History Library

ANNO DOMINI - In the year since the birth of Christ

ANNO REGNI - in the year of reign

ANNUS - in the year

ANTE - Latin prefix meaning "before"

APPURTENANCES - the rights, duties, and perquisites of one who held manorial land - usually, grazing rights, payment of fines, submission to the manorial court, ARCHIVES - reference to the storage of older records

ASCENDANT - lineal ancestor

ASSESSOR - the person whose responsibility is to decide on the value of property and the rate of tax to be paid, sometimes being the local sheriff or constable

ASSIGNEE - a person who has been assigned another's rights or personal property

ASSIGNOR - an individual who assigns his rights or interests in something to another person

AVIA - grandmother

AVUS - grandfather


BANNS - publication or posting of intended marriages, published for three consecutive Sundays prior to the event

BASE BORN - Born out of wedlock or of low parentage

BASTARD - an illegitimate child; born out of wedlock.

BARTON - Farmyard, farm not let with manor

BEATE MEMORIAE - blessed memory

BEQUEST- a gift, personal property or money handed down in a will


 BONA - [Latin] in good faith

 BONA NOTABILIA - [Latin] considerable goods

 BONA FIDE - Acting in good faith

 BOND - A binding agreement; a covenant; a duty, a promise, or another obligation by which one is bound. See also MARRIAGE BOND.

 BONDED PASSENGER - passengers convicted of various crimes

 BONDMAID -a female slave; a bound servant not due wages

 BONDMAN - a male slave; one bound to service without wages


 BONDSMAN - a person who will vouch for or be liable for a sum of money if a person fails to appear in court

 BORN IN THE COVENANT - in LDS records, one born to a couple who has been sealed in marriage, and thus is sealed to the parents

 BOUND OUT - the condition of apprenticed or indentured children (see also "putting out")

 BOUNTY LAND - land designated as payment for military service

 BOUNTY LAND WARRANT - a right to free land in the public domain; the certificate, to satisfy the law, showing time served, unit (regiment or corps), and where served


 CADASTRE - a register kept for taxation purposes containing amount, value, and ownership of land; a poll (head) tax record of those qualifying to vote; a Domesday book

 CAELABS - unmarried

 CENSUS - official listing or counting of persons; the Federal Census has been taken every 10 years since 1790; there also are state censuses in some states which may have been taken every 5 to 10 years

CENSUS INDEX - alphabetical listing of names enumerated in a census

 CERTIFIED COPY - A copy made and attested to by officers having charge of the original and authorized to issue copies

 CETERA DESUNT - the rest is missing

 CETERIS PARABUS - all other things being equal

 CHATTELS - personal property, both animate and inanimate (usually livestock)

 CHRISTEN - to receive or initiate into the Christian church by baptism

 CHRISTIAN NAME - Name given at christening or baptism; given name

 CIRCA - about or approximately, usually used in front of a date or year

 CITATION - Page or section reference of a source

 COAT OF ARMS - shield with certain distinctive symbols or emblems painted on it in definite fixed colors identifying one person and his direct descendants

 CODICIL - an extension explaining, modifying or revoking a will

 COGNOMAN - family name

 COLLATERAL - relatives descended from the same ancestors, but in a different line (aunts, uncles, cousins - those not in your direct line)

 COMMON LAW MARRIAGE - a marriage without ceremony, civil or ecclesiastical, which may or may not be recognized as a legal marriage

 COMPOS MENTIS - of sound mind

 CONSANGUINITY - blood relationship


 CONVEY - transfer property or the title to property

 CONVEYANCE - a written instrument that transfers title to property from one party to another

 CONVEYOR - grantor or seller

 COPYHOLD - the right by a written transcript or record to occupy a particular piece of land

 COURT BARON - a medieval English manorial court that any lord could hold for and among his tenants; by the 13th century the steward of the manor, a lawyer, usually presided; the manorial court usually met every three weeks, and considered personal actions between its suitors; much of the business of the court was to administer the "custom of the manor" and to admit copyhold tenants; the proceedings were recorded on the court roll

 COUSIN - [1] a child of one's aunt or uncle; also called first cousin; [2] a relative descended from a common ancestor, such as a grandparent, by two or more steps in a diverging line; [3] a relative by blood or marriage; a kinsman or kinswoman; [4] a member of a kindred group or country

 CRAS - tomorrow

 CRUX -  cross or a puzzle

 CULPA - neglect resulting in damage

 CUM - together with


 DAGUERREOTYPE - photographic process invented by L. J. M. Daguerre (1789-1857), a French painter, in which pictures were reproduced on silver plates by sensitizing them with iodine and then developing them with mercury

 DANEGELD - a tax levied annually to maintain forces to oppose the Danes or to buy them off

 DE - [Latin] from; out of; about; at; for

 DE ANNO IN ANNUM - [Latin] from year to year

 DE BONIS NON - [Latin] "of the goods not administered"; the distribution of property not completed by the first administrator

 DECEDENT - the deceased individual

 DECEM - tenth

 DECESSIT - [Latin] died

 DECESSIT MASCULA - Died without male descendant

 DECESSIT SINE LEGITIMA - died without legitimate issue (no legitimate children)

 DECESSIT SINE PRO - died without issue (no children)

 DECLARATION OF INTENTION - a declaration filed by a couple in a local court, indicating their intention to marry; also a document filed in a court by an alien who intended to become a United States citizen.

 DEED - document signed, sealed, and delivered according to the law conveying title to real estate

 DEED OF ACQUITTANCE - a deed by which additional acreage is transferred or sold to the original patent owner when and if it was found that, by survey, the patented land had more acreage than was originally thought

 DEED OF AGREEMENT - a deed concerned with the sale of personal property, deeds land to persons who agree to take care of the grantor for the remainder of his life

 DEED OF CONVEYANCE - document showing the transfer of ownership of property and perhaps the ownership of a land warrant

 DEED OF DECREE - document showing property transferred usually as a result of a petition or court action

 DEED OF GIFT - deed showing a transfer of property made without a monetary payment as consideration

 DEED OF SEPARATION - an instrument through the medium of a third party acting as trustee, in which provision is made by a husband for separation from his wife, and for her separate maintenance

 DEED OF TRUST - a mortage arrangement which allows a third party to hold the deed until the buyer has paid his debt

 DEED POLL - a deed made by one person, and ony one person is obligated to fulfill the terms of the deed

 DE FACTO - [Latin] "in fact"; something accomplished and done but not necessarily legally sanctioned

 DEGREE OF CONSANGUINITY - degree of blood relationship used to determine right of inheritance

 DEGREE OF RELATIONSHIP - the distance between two persons related by blood - under Canon Law (used in most states) two persons who descend from a common ancestor, but not one from the other (brother, cousins, etc.) have a collateral consanguinity and a degree of relationship of the same number as the number of generations the furthest is removed from the closest common progenitor; for example, an uncle and nephew are related in the second degree because the nephew is two generations from the common ancestor (his grandfather and his uncle's father); two brothers are related in the first degree and first cousins are related to each other in the second degree; in lineal relationships (direct lines) each generation is a degree

 DE JURE - [Latin] "by right"; an action or deed lawfully and legitimately accomplished as opposed to de facto

 DEPOSITION - Testifying or a testimony taken down under oath or affirmation in reply to interrogatories.

 DESCENDANT - one whose ancestry can be traced to a particular individual

 DESCENDANT CHART - graphic document that shows descendants of a source couple for a specified number of generations

 DEVISE - to give real property by will

 DEVISEE - the person to whom real property is left in a will

 DICTUM - formal statement

 DIRECT LINE - descent from an ancestor through succeeding children

 DOMESDAY BOOK - [also Doomesday Book] ancient record of the Grand or Great Inquest or Survey of lands in England by the order of William the Conqueror, giving a census-like description of the realm, with the names of the proprietors and the nature, extent, value, liabilities, etc. of their properties

 DOMUS - home

 DOWAGER - a widow with a title or rank - the queen dowager; a jointure, or property from her husband

 DOWER - provision made from a husband's estate for the support of his widow and family, usually one third of the value of the estate (real estate only)

 DOWER RIGHT - the right of a wife to one-third of the land which her husband had at the time of their marriage or aquired during the marriage, after his death

 DOWERY - [also DOWRY] any land, money, goods, or personal property brought by a bride to her husband in marriage


 EASEMENT - a right to use another's land because of necessity or convenience

 EASEMENT APPURTENANT - an easement proper or one which passes with the dominant estate to all subsequent grantees and is inheritable

 EASEMENT IN GROSS - a personal privilege to use another's land, which is not assignable and cannot be inherited

 EASEMENT OF NECESSITY - an easement necessary for the continued use of land when a large tract has been subdivided

 EJUSTDEM DIE - of the same day

 EMIGRANT - one who leaves one country or region to settle in another

 ENUMERATION - the process by which persons are counted for purposes of a census

 E RE NATA - as circumstances dictate

 ERGO - therefore

 ERRATUM - an error in a book

 ESTATE - the whole of one's possessions; especially all the property left by a deceased person

 ET SEQUENS - and the following

 ET UXOR - and wife

 EX ANTE - before hand

 EXECUTOR - the individual appointed by the one making the will to dispose of his or her property after death in accordance with the terms of the will

 EXECUTRIX - a female executor

 EX FACTO - [Latin] from or by the deed

 EXHERES - [Latin] disinherited

 EX OFFICIO - [Latin] by virtue of office

 EX PARTE - [Latin] judicial proceeding or judgment brought on behalf of one party without notifying the other party

 EXPATRIATE - one deported from one's native land, or one voluntarily absent from his homeland

 EXPEDE - to sign, seal, and deliver a document

 EX POST FACTO - [Latin] after the act

 EXTANT - in existence or not destroyed


 FACULTY - a person who did not own land and as a professional, and thus was taxed on income - faculty included lawyers, physicians, dentists, carpenters, merchants, bankers, etc.

 FAILURE OF ISSUE - in a will or deed, indicates that in the event of there being no children born to or surviving the deceased person, the property will go to a third party; in common law, the condition continues with the children of the first taker

 FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY (FHL) - of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) located in Salt Lake City containing the world's largest collection of genealogical information

 FAMILY HISTORY CENTER (FHC) - located in many towns throughout the United States and many cities throughout the world, these are local research centers where one may access the information of FHL through the use of microfilm, microfiche and computers

 FEE SIMPLE - an inheritance having no conditions or limitations in its use; a direct and complete inheritance

 FEET OF FINES - documents, first kept during the reign of Richard I, that had the same function as deeds in transferring land; the bottom part of an indenture or deed kept by the recording office

 FEODARY - one who holds land of an overlord on condition of homage

 FILIA - [Latin] daughter; female off-spring

 FILIA FRATRIS - [Latin] brother's daughter (niece)

 FILIA SORORIS - [Latin] sister's daughter (niece)

 FILII NOBELIUM - [Latin] sons of nobles

 FILIOLA - [Latin] little daughter

 FILIOLUS - [Latin] little son

 FILIUS - [Latin] son; male offspring

 FILIUS FRATRIS - [Latin] brother's son; nephew

 FILIUS NULLIUS - [Latin] an illegitimate person

 FILIUS POPULI - [Latin] "a son of the people"; a bastard

 FILIUS SORORIS - [Latin] sister's son; nephew

 FOLIO - [1] a large sheet of paper folded in half to form the pages of a book; [2] a book numbered only on one side; [3] a library designation for large oversized books

 FOOLSCAP - writing paper varying from 12 x 15 inches to 13 1/2 x 17 inches

 FORBID THE BANNS - public or formal objection to a marriage

 FORTNIGHT - two weeks


 FREEHOLD - an estate held outright with no other claims on it and which may be transferred to heirs or others

 FREEHOLDER - a person who owns property rather than rents it; one in possession of a freehold

 FREEMAN - in general, a white male over 21 years of age holding full rights of citizenship who is free to ply a trade, own land, and to vote


 GEDCOM - acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunication; file format supported by most genealogy database programs for the exchange of genealogy information between different programs and computers

 GENTLEMAN - a member of the gentry, a descendant from an aristocratic family whose income came from the rental of his land

 GENTLEWOMAN - a woman of good family or breeding; a woman who has the occupation of waiting on or caring for a person of high rank

 GOODMAN - a man ranking below a gentleman but above a freeman

 GOODS AND CHATTELS - personal property - goods meant inanimate objects; chattels were livestock

 GOODWIFE - the wife or mistress of a household

 GOODY - a woman or housewife, especially an old woman

 GRANDFATHER CLAUSE - an exception to a law, such as the right for blacks to vote, which gave only those blacks whose parents had voted before 1867 the right to vote

 GRANGE - a farmhouse or small hamlet; a center of cultivation owned by a monastery, but too far away for the monks to work it

 GRANT- to transfer property by a deed

 GRANTEE - the buyer, purchaser, or receiver of real or personal property rights from the seller or grantor, usually be a deed or through a trust document

 GRANTOR - the seller or person who sells, grants, transfers, or conveys real or personal property or property rights to the purchaser, buyer, or receiver, usually by a deed or through a trust document

 GRASS WIDOW - an unmarried woman with a child; a divorced or separated woman; a discarded mistress

 GREGORIAN CALENDAR - named after Pope Gregory, but referred to as the "New Style" calendar which replaced the Julian calendar in 1582 in some countires; in Great Britain, her colonies (America) and other protestant countries, it was not adopted until 1752

 GUARDIAN - a person appointed by the court to take care of someone unable to care for himself, such as a minor, an incompetent, an invalid, an idiot, etc.

 GUILD - a medieval association of merchants and craftsmen which regulated price, quality, and decided who could make and sell the merchandise under its supervision




 HABEAS CORPUS - bring the person before the court

 HABENDUM ET TENENDUM - [Latin] "to have and to hold to the grantee (buyer or donee) his heirs and assigns"; a clause in a deed that specifies the type of property or estate that the buyer will receive

 HEIR - [1] a person who inherits or is entitled by law or by the terms of a will to inherit the estate of another; [2] a person who succeeds or is in line to succeed to a hereditary rank, title, or office

 HERALDRY - the art or office of a herald; the art, practice, or science of recording genealogies and blazoning arms or ensigns armorial

 HIC IACET - here lies

 HOLOGRAPHIC WILL - a will written entirely by hand and bearing the date and having the signature of the testator

 HOMESTEAD - the house and adjoining land where the head of the family lives, which passes to the widow when her husband dies and is exempt from the claims of his creditors; this is similiar to a widow's dower, the difference being that the homestead includes the dwelling

 HOMESTEAD ACT - any of several legislative acts authorizing the sale of public land

 HUMANTIS - burial


 IDEM - the same


 IGNOTUS - unknown

 IMMIGRANT - one who settles in a country having emigrated from another

 IMPRESSMENT - the act of seizing people and forcing them into labor

 IN ARTICULOS MORTIS - at the moment of death

 IN ATERNUM -  for externity

 INDENTURE - an agreement or deed between two or more parties conveying real estate, originally made in two parts so that it could be separated by tearing in a jagged line and matched later; a contract in which a person is bound over for service

 INDENTURED SERVANT - a servant who sold himself to a master for a period of time (usually 4 to 7 years) in order to pay for passage to another country; the contract was transferrable, saleable, and was passed on to heirs if the master died

 INDIDEM - [Latin] from the same place or thing

 INDIRECT TAX - tax from sources other than property or income, such as businesses, professions, entertainment, and animals

 IN-LAW - colonists used this term for any familial relationship that occurred from a marriage; a woman's father-in-law could be her husband's father or her stepfather; her son-in-law could be her daughter's husband or her own stepson

 INPRIMIS - [Latin] in the first place

 INSTRUMENT - a formal document such as a deed or a will

 INTESTATE - condition of a person who dies without leaving a valid will

 INTER SE - Between themselves

 INVENTORY - a list of goods in the estate of a deceased person

 ISSUE - lineal descendants of a common ancestor

 ITEM - a term marking the beginning of a paragraph in a will


 JOINT TENANCY - the condition of two or more persons owning a piece of property - this type of ownership allows all persons to use the property and share in it equally

 JULIAN CALENDAR - a calendar named for Julius Caesar, it is referred to as the "Old Style" calendar, which was used from 45 BC until 1582, when it was replaced by the Gregorian calendar

 JUNIOR, SENIOR - these terms did not necessarily indicate father and son; they were used within a small community to distinguish between two persons of the same name; sometimes "the elder" and "the younger" were used in the same fashion

 JURAT - [Latin] certification that a document was written by the person who signed it

 JURE UXORIS - [Latin] in right of his wife


 KINDRED - a group of blood-related persons

 KITH AND KIN - friends and neighbors


 LEGACY - similiar to a bequest, although it often has the meaning of money, whereas bequest usually means personal property

 LEGATEE - the person to whom a gift is given or left to in a will; any person receiving real or personal property by will

 LEGATOR - a person who makes a will and leaves property to others

 LESSEE - the person leasing the property

 LESSOR - the owner of property that is leased to another

 LETTERS TESTAMENTARY - a document from the court allowing the executor named in the will to carry out his duties; he has no authority until this document is issued

 LIBER - [Latin] a book of public records

 LIBERI - [Latin] children; grandchildren

 LIBERUM ANIMUM TESTANDI - [Latin] free will in bequeathing

 LIEN - a claim held by a person upon the property of another until a debt has been paid; a form of security for unpaid debts

 LIFE ESTATE - an interest in property that lasts as long as a person lives

 LIFERENT - property which the owner can hold for a lifetime but cannot be passed on

 LINEAGE - [1] direct descent from a particular ancestor; ancestry [2] the descendants of a common ancestor considered to be the founder of the line

 LINEAL CONSANGUINITY - being descended in a direct line from another such as son, father, and grandfather

 LINEAL DESCENDANT - being descended in a direct line from another such as son, father and grandfather

 LIS PENDENS - notice of suits pending litigation, sometimes called equity notices; these usually involve actions concerning real property such as mortgage foreclosures

 LIST - official description of property assessed for the purpose of taxation

 LITIGANT - a person who is involved in a lawsuit

 LOCO - [Latin] to place; to let for hire

 LOCO CITATO - [Latin] in the place cited

 LOCO PARENTIS - in the place of parents

 LOCUS - [Latin] in the place (of the parent)

 LOCUS SIGILLI - [Latin] "the place of the seal"; the place where the seal is affixed on written documents

 LONGEAVUS - [Latin] of great age; ancient


 MAJORITY - the age at which one is legally no longer a minor

 MANUMISSION - a formal written act to free slaves

 MARRIAGE BOND - a document executed to guarantee that no legal or moral impediments existed to an intended marriage

 MESSUAGE - dwellinghouse

 METES AND BOUNDS - (also Courses and Distances) a method of surveying property which made use of the natural physical and topographical features in conjunction with measurements and artificially designated objects or places - metes refers to the measuring of direction and distance while bounds refers to natural or man-made features on the land

 MIDWIFE - a woman experienced in the birthing process who helps other women in the birth of a child

 MISNOMER - mistake in a person's name for identification purposes

 MORTALITY SCHEDULES - schedules which counted the number of deaths that occurred in the year before the census was taken, and exist for the 1850 through 1880 censuses, listing the individual's name, age, sex, occupation, cause of death, date of death, and place of death by county

 MORTIS - [Latin] death; corpse

 MORTIS CAUSA - [Latin] in view of death

 MOURNING ARTICLE - funeral gift

 MOURNING PIECE - a pictorial representation of a tomb, intended as a memorial of the dead

 MOVEABLES - personal property such as furniture, animals, food, clothing, etc. which can be carried from place to place and is in the possession and use of the owner

 MR. pronounced "Master" - a title that could only precede the names of gentlemen, clergymen, or government officials; identified in the records with the abbreviation "gent."

 MRS. or MISTRESS - a feminine equivalent of Mr., it did not denote marital status, but social position; a young girl coming from a higher class family would also be called "Mrs.", even though unmarried

 MULATTO - the offspring of one white and one black parent - sometimes used, especially on census schedules, for Indians

 MUNIMENT - documents showing that a person has legal rights to land, possessions, or other privileges

 MUNIMENT OF TITLE - all written evidence of title which can show proof of ownership

 MUSTER OUT - a discharge from military service


 NATURALIZATION - the process of becoming a citizen of the U.S.

 NATURALIZE - to grant full citizenship to one of foreign birth

 NECROLOGY - a listing of obituaries, as in a newspaper; records of death

 NÉE - born; usually refers to a woman's maiden name

 NEPHEW - son of one's brother or sister; also an illegitimate son of an ecclesiastical, a niece, or a male or female grandchild

 NIECE - daughter of one's brother or sister; sometimes, granddaughter; (pre-seventeenth century England) any descendant, male or female, and occasionally, any younger relative

 NON COMPOS MENTIS - [Latin] incompetent, or not mentally capable of handling one's affairs

 NUNCUPATIVE WILL - oral will which, to be valid, must be given by a person in their last hours, witnessed by two or more witnesses, and written within a period of six to twelve days

 NOW WIFE - exclusively found in wills, this term implied that there was a former wife


 OBIIT - [Latin] he/she died

 OBIIT SINE PROLE - [Latin] died without issue

 OBITUARY - published notice of a death, sometimes with a brief biography of the deceased


 PASSENGER LISTS - names and information of passengers who arrived by ship, often including their age, sex, occupation, place of origin

 PATENT - a grant made by a government to an individual, conveying fee-simple title to public lands; the official document of such a grant; the land so granted

 PATRONYMIC - in strict usage, a name formed by the addition of a prefix or suffix indicating son or other relationship to the name of one's father or paternal ancestors, as Johnson (son of John), MacDonald (son of Donald), etc.

 PEDIGREE - a list of ancestors; a lineage

 PEDIGREE CHART - graphic document that begins with one person and moves backward in time, showing the parents of each person in the tree

 PERSONAL PROPERTY - property other than real estate

 PER ANNUM - [Latin] by the year

 PER STIRPES - [Latin] distribution of an inheritance by giving equal shares to family groups rather than an equal percentage to each descendant

 PLACING OUT - [also PUTTING OUT] the placement of children outside the home as apprentices or servants to other people, usually in exchange for payment to the parents

 POSTHUMOUS - after death

 POSTHUMOUS CHILD - a child born after the death of the father

 PRIMARY RECORD - a record created at the time of the event (birth, marriage, death, etc.) as opposed to records written years later

 PRIMOGENITOR - the earliest ancestor or forefather

 PRIMOGENITURE - an old common-law system of inheritance whereby the oldest son inherited the father's property

 PROBATE - originally the proving of a will; now describes the process of legally establishing the validity of a will of a deceased person and settling an estate before a judicial authority

 PROGENY - the issue or descendants of a common ancestor

 PROGENITOR - an originator of a line of descent, frequently used in reference to the immigrant ancestor

 PROLES - offspring

 PROVED - documents such as wills, deeds, bills of sale, etc., having their accuracy and honesty attested to through legal proceedings in a court of law


 QUADROON - a child of a mulatto and a white; a child with one black grandparent

 QUID PRO QUO - [Latin] "value for value"; that which is received in consideration for something that is requested, done, or given

 QUIT-CLAIM DEED - a deed releasing claim to an estate or property by an individual to another person

 QUIT-RENT - a fee paid to a feudal lord so that the tenant could farm the land without being obligated to serve the lord in other capacities

 QUIT RENT FEE - in early Virginia, an annual fee (1 shilling for 50 acres of land) paid to the king in exchange for the right to live on and farm the property

 QUORUM - the legal number of persons required to be present to conduct business


 RAGMAN'S-ROLL - a register, compiled by a representative of the pope, of the beneficiaries in Scotland

 RANGE - the area between range lines (north-south runnin glines) as a part of the Rectangular Survey System - together with the township lines (east-west running lines) range lines form areas of six miles square or 36 square miles, called townships

 RECTANGULAR SURVEY SYSTEM - a method of surveying propety provided for under the Land Ordinance of 1785 passed by the Continental Congress which divided the public land states into thirty-seven separate survey systems, each separate survey consisting of a starting point, an east-west running base line, and a north-south running principal meridian

 REDEMPTION - the regaining of property once lost to forfeiture or foreclosure

 REGISTRAR - an official who registers/records events such as land transactions, probates, births, deaths, etc.

 RELICT - a widow or widower; the surviving spouse

 REMAINDER - the part of the estate that is left after a prior interest ends

 REMOVED - moved; left

 RESIDUARY BEQUEST - a bequest which consists of anything left over after the fees and debts have been paid in an estate

 RESIDUARY CLAUSE - a clause in a will which conveys any and everything left of a residuary legacy to the beneficiary

 RESIDUARY DEVISEE - beneficiary in a will who is to take all real property remaining after other legacies have been satisfied

 RESIDUARY ESTATE - all the rest and residue; everything that has not been disposed of other than what remains in the residuary clause

 RESIDUE - the surplus of a testator's estate when all other obligations have been legally taken care of

 RESIDUUM - [Latin] the remainder of an estate after all debts and legacies have been dispersed

 REVENUE STAMP - a stamp placed on goods and documents to show that the tax had been collected

 REVERSE INDEX - in probate, an index listing those involved in the probate process, not the deceased


 SECONDARY RECORD - or secondary source; a record created some time after the event or copied from other sources

 SEISIN/SEIZIN - a freehold (held in fee or for life) estate - at one time land could only be held in seisin because all land was owned by the reigning sovereign

 SEISED/SEIZED - to be the legal fee simple possessor

 SELECTMAN - in New England, one of 3 to 7 men chosen annually to manage to affairs of a small town

 SEPARATISTS - [also Independents] those who withdrew from the Church of England in the sixteenth century

 SEQUENTIA - [Latin] the following

 SHARECROPPER - a person who would farm ground owned by another, and divide the crops or the profits with the owner

 SHILLING - an English coin equivalent to twelve pennies or one twentieth of a pound

 SHIRE - a county in Great Britain

 SIBLING - a brother or sister

 SINE - [Latin] without

 SINE DIE - [Latin] "without a day"; dismissing a proceeding, such as a court term, without determining a day for it to begin again

 SINE LOCO - [Latin] without place

 SINE PROLE - [Latin] without issue; without children

 SINE PROLE SUPERSITE - [Latin] without surviving issue (children)

 SOCIAL SECURITY DEATH INDEX - an index of records containing names of deceased Social Security recipients whose relatives applied for Social Security Death Benefits after their passing which includes the individual's name and Soundex code, birth date, death date, Social Security number and state where it was issued

 SOUNDEX - a card index system prepared by the Works Progress Administration for the federal censuses; names are arranged by letter and number codes according to the sounds of their consonants; thus, even if a name is misspelled or spelled in an unexpected way, it can often be located in the Soundex index

 SPOUSE - a husband or wife

 STATE OF FRANKLIN - a state reorganized in 1784 in the western part of North Carolina and which ceased to exist in 1788, now a part of eastern Tennessee

 STEERAGE - a section in a passenger ship for those paying the lowest fare

 STIRPES - [Latin] [1] a family or branch of family; [2] in law, the person from whom everyone in a family is descended

 SUPRA SCRIPTUM - [Latin] as written above

 SURETY - a guarantee or a person who assumes the responsibility for another such as one who promises to pay someone else's debts if he defaults

 SURNAME - the last or family name that a person bears in common with others in his/her family

 SURRENDER - a land record which involves giving up land before the lease has expired with the mutual consent of both parties


 TAIL - an estate which does not descend to heirs generally, but to the heirs of the donee's body in a direct line if the posterity continues in a regular oder and upon the death of the first owner without issue the esate is terminated

 TENANCY - residence on, and use of land, without owning it

 TENANCY BY THE ENTIRETY - the ownership of property by a husband and wife together in which on the death of one the entire interest in the property diverts to the other - property that is owned by both the husband and the wife will pass to the survivor no matter what the will states

 TENANCY IN COMMON - property that is held by two persons - in tenancy in common the right of survivorship does not apply - in this case the property automatically becomes part of the estate and is taken care of according to the terms of the will

 TENANT - a name used for indentured servants who were settled on farms, supplied with tools, and engaged to remain on the land seven years; one who holds property by ownership or temporarily by leasing or renting

 TENANT FARMER - a renter or one who is allowed to farm a particular piece of land in trade for services given; famer who did not own the land worked

 TENANTS-IN-CAPITE - a person holding feudal land directly from the king, usually several manors, who would in turn sub-infeud to other tenants

 TENANT IN COMMON - a possession of the land as a whole by several persons, each having a separate title, although the land is not divided

 TENEMENT - any property that can be held, but most often refers to houses and land

 TENOR - the exact wording in a legal document or an exact copy

 TERCE - a life-rent given by law to a widow, which consists of a third of her husband's estate on the condition that the marriage has lasted one year and a day, or that there is a living child of the marriage

 TERCE LAND - the rent from land given to a widow as her terce

 TERRIER - book or scroll used to record land description, usage, etc.

 TESTABLE - something that can be given by will; capable of making or witnessing a will

 TESTAMENT - the disposition of one's personal property by will

 TESTAMENTARY - referring to, given by, or appointed by a will

 TESTAMENTARY BOND - security posted with the court by the executor of an estate to insure that the wishes of the deceased be followed

 TESTAMENTARY GUARDIAN - a guardian appointed to be responsible for the inheritance of a minor child

 TESTAMENTUM - [Latin] will; testament

 TESTATE- having a valid will upon death

 TESTATOR - the person who makes a will

 TESTATRIX- a female who leaves a valid will

 TESTE - the concluding and witnessing clause of a writ or other legal document which expresses the date of its issue and the name of the judge

 TESTIS - [Latin] a witness

 TITHE - associated with the payment of offerings (in kind or money) to a church or the government as tax

 TRUSTEE - one who holds legal title to property in order to administer it for a beneficiary


 ULTIMO - [Latin] in the month immediately preceding

 ULTIMO DIE -[Latin] final day

 ULTIMUS - [Latin] last, end, furthest

 UNDERGROUND RAILROAD - the system which took slaves to freedom in fourteen Northern states by 1830, and about 50,000 between 1840 and 1860

 UNIGENA - [Latin] only-begotten; only; of one family

 UNIGENITUS - [Latin] the only son

 UNLAW - any transgression of the law, act of injustice, a fine, or a law that has no real authority

 UNOFFICIOUS WILL - a will made without any regard as to natural obligations of inheritance

 UNPROBATED WILL - a will which was never submitted for probate, which may have been lost for a time

 UNREGISTERED WILL - will that has been proved but not entered into a volume of copy or registered wills at the probate court, either because an executor was not disposed to pay fees for registering, or because the probate court did not maintain registered copies at that period of time

 UNSEATED - persons who were taxed for land that they owned but did not live on

 UNSEATED LAND - unsettled area

 UNSOLEMN WILL - a will where no executor is named

 USUFRUCT - the right to enjoy property and the benefits thereof as long as the property itself is not harmed nor depleted

 USURY - the practice of lending money at a rate of interest that is excessive or unlawfully high

 UT - [Latin] in what manner; in the manner that

 UTERINE - having the same mother but different fathers

 UT INFRA - [Latin] as below

 UT SUPRA - [Latin] as above

 UXOR - [Latin] wife; spouse; consort


 VACANCY - [1] an opening refering to land or housing; [2] a pause or break in the workings of a probate court because of the death or resignation of the main official; [3] in Texas, an area of unsurveyed school land, not listed in land office records, between two or more recorded surveys

 VACANT LAND - unappropriated public land, including land that has been occupied but on which no binding title had been given and the land thus reverted to the state

 VALID - that which is legally binding, legitimate or good

 VANITY BOOK - a county (any local) history book for which people subscribed before the book was written on the conditiont their families would be included in its pages

 VASSAL - in the Middle Ages, a person who held land under the feudal system by pledging loyalty to a lord and performing services, miitary or otherwise, in return for his protection

 VENDUE - a public auction or sale

 VERBATIM - [Latin] word for word

 VICULUS - [Latin] village; hamlet

 VIDELICET - [Latin] namely; to wit; that is to say

 VIDEUS - [Latin] living; true to life; vigorous

 VIDUA - [Latin] widow

 VIDUUS - [Latin] widower; widow

 VILLANAGE - base servitude; tenure on condition of doing the lowest kind of services for the lord

 VILLEIN - serf


 VIR - [Latin] man; boy; male; husband; soldier

 VIRGIN - in bond or license of England, an unmarried woman

 VITAL RECORDS - civil records of birth, marriage and death

 VITIOUS INTROMISSION - the unwarranted dealing with the movable estate of a deceased person

 VIVUS - [Latin] alive; living

 VIXIT ANNOS - [Latin] he or she lived (a certin number) years

 VIXOR - [Latin] wife


 WAIVER - an intentional and voluntary giving up of one's rights

 WAMPUM - small cylindrical beads made from polished shells and fashioned into strings or belts, formerly used by certain Native American peoples as currency and jewelry or for ceremonial exchanges between groups; also called peag

 WARNING OUT - the practice of ordering poor or indigent persons or families to leave a community if they are looked upon as potentially becoming dependent upon the town, township, city, etc. for support

 WILL - the legal document containing the statement of a person's wishes regarding the disposal of his or her property after death

 WRIT OF ARREST - formal arrest document; warrant (Writ of Capias)

 WRIT OF ATTACHMENT - a court order to a court official to seize and hold property enough to cover debts and court costs for not appearing in court

 WRIT OF CAPIAS - a formal arrest document; warrant

 WRIT OF CAPIAS AD SATISFACIENDUM - a document which required the loser (debtor) to be imprisoned until the debt was paid

 WRIT OF FIERI FACIAS - a court order to seize (attach) and sell goods belonging to the loser in a court case to pay debts owed

 WRIT OF SUMMONS - a document commanding a person to appear in court

 WRIT OF VENIRE FACIAS - a document issued to call men to be jurors



 YARD LAND - land area which varies from fifteen to forty acres, depending on the locality

 YEAR'S PROVISIONS - a widow is entitled to a twelve months supply of goods and money or provisions out of her husband's estate - this specified amount cannot be used or given to creditors to clear her husband's debts.