Last revised: 04/05/01 08:51 PM
A B C
D E F G H
I J K L M N
O P Q R S
T U V W X
- ABSTRACT:—Summary of important points of a given
text, especially deeds and wills.
- ACRE:—See measurements.
- ADMINISTRATION (of estate):—The collection,
management and distribution of an estate by proper legal process.
- ADMINISTRATOR (of estate):—Person appointed to
manage or divide the estate of a deceased person.
- ADMINISTRATRIX:—A female administrator.
- AFFIDAVIT:—A statement in writing, sworn to before
- AMERICAN REVOLUTION:—U.S. war for independence
from Great Britain 1775 - 1783.
- ANCESTOR:—A person from whom you are descended; a
- ANTE:—Latin prefix meaning before, such as in
ante-bellum South, "The South before the war"
- APPRENTICE:—One who is bound by indentures or by
legal agreement or by any means to serve another person for a certain time,
with a view of learning an art or trade.
- APPURTENANCE:—That which belongs to something else
such as a building, orchard, right of way, etc.
- ARCHIVES:—Records of a government, organization,
institution; the place where records are stored.
- ATTEST:—To affirm; to certify by signature or
- BANNS:—Public announcement of intended marriage.
- BENEFICIARY:—One who receives benefit of trust or
- BEQUEATH:—To give personal property to a person in
a will. Noun -- bequest.
- BOND:—Written, signed, witnessed agreement
requiring payment of a specified amount of money on or before a given date.
- BOUNTY LAND WARRANT:—A right to obtain land,
specific number of acres of unallocated public land, granted for military
- CENSUS:—Official enumeration, listing or counting
- CERTIFIED COPY:—A copy made and attested to by
officers having charge of the original and authorized to give copies.
- CHAIN:—See measurements.
- CHATTEL:—Personal property which can include
animate as well as inanimate properties.
- CHRISTEN:—To receive or initiate into the visible
church by baptism; to name at baptism; to give a name to.
- CIRCA:—About, near, or approximate -- usually
referring to a date.
- CIVIL WAR:—War between the States; war between
North and South, 1861 - 65.
- CODICIL:—Addition to a will.
- COLLATERAL ANCESTOR:—Belong to the same ancestral
stock but not in direct line of descent; opposed to lineal such as aunts,
uncles & cousins.
- COMMON ANCESTOR:—Ancestor shared by any two
- CONFEDERATE:—Pertaining to the Southern states
which seceded from the U.S. in 1860 - 1, their government and their
- CONSANGUINITY:—Blood relationship.
- CONSORT:—Usually, a wife whose husband is living
- CONVEYANCE:—See deed.
- COUSIN:—Relative descended from a common ancestor,
but not a brother or sister.
- DAUGHTER-IN-LAW:—Wife of one's son.
- DECEDENT:—A deceased person.
- DECLARATION OF INTENTION:—First paper, sworn to
and filed in court, by an alien stating that he wants to be come a citizen.
- DEED:—A document by which title in real property
is transferred from one party to another.
- DEPOSITION:—A testifying or testimony taken down
in writing under oath of affirmation in reply to interrogatories, before a
competent officer to replace to oral testimony of a witness.
- DEVISE:—Gift of real property by will.
- DEVISEE:—One to whom real property (land) is given
in a will.
- DEVISOR:—One who gives real property in a will.
- DISSENTER:—One who did not belong to the
established church, especially the Church of England in the American
- DISTRICT LAND OFFICE PLAT BOOK:—Books or rather
maps which show the location of the land patentee.
- DISTRICT LAND OFFICE TRACT BOOK:—Books which list
individual entries by range and township.
- DOUBLE DATING:—A system of double dating used in
England and America from 1582-1752 because it was not clear as to whether
the year commenced January 1 or March 25
- DOWER:—Legal right or share which a wife acquired
by marriage in the real estate of her husband, allotted to her after his
death for her lifetime.
- EMIGRANT:—One leaving a country and moving to
- ENUMERATION:—Listing or counting , such as a
- EPITAPH:—An inscription on or at a tomb or grave
in memory of the one buried there.
- ESCHEAT:—The reversion of property to the state
when there are no qualified heirs.
- ESTATE:—All property and debts belonging to a
- ET AL:—Latin for "and others".
- ET UX:—Latin for "and wife".
- ET UXOR:—And his wife. Sometimes written simply Et
- EXECUTOR:—One appointed in a will to carry out its
provisions. Female Executrix
- FATHER-IN-LAW:—Father of one's spouse.
- FEE:—An estate of inheritance in land, being
either fee simple or fee tail. An estate in land held of a feudal lord on
condition of the performing of certain services.
- FEE SIMPLE:—An absolute ownership without
- FEE TAIL:—An estate of inheritance limited to
lineal descendant heirs of a person to whom it was granted.
- FRANKLIN, STATE OF:—An area once known but never
officially recognized and was under consideration from 1784 - 1788 from the
western part of North Carolina.
- FRATERNITY:—Group of men (or women) sharing a
common purpose or interest.
- FREE HOLD:—An estate in fee simple, in fee tail,
or for life.
- FRIEND:—Member of the Religious Society of
Friends; a Quaker.
- FURLONG:—See measurements.
- GAZETTEER:—A geographical dictionary; a book
giving names and descriptions of places usually in alphabetical order.
- GENEALOGY:—Study of family history and descent.
- GENTLEMAN:—A man well born.
- GIVEN NAME:—Name given to a person at birth or
baptism, one's first and middle names.
- GLEBE:—Land belonging to a parish church.
- GRANTEE:—One who buys property or receives a
- GRANTOR:—One who sells property or makes a grant.
- GREAT-AUNT:—Sister of one's grandparent
- GREAT-UNCLE:—Brother of one's grandparent.
- GUARDIAN:—Person appointed to care for and manage
property of a minor orphan or an adult incompetent of managing his own
- HALF BROTHER/HALF SISTER:—Child by another
marriage of one's mother or father; the relationship of two people who have
only one parent in common.
- HEIRS:—Those entitled by law or by the terms of a
will to inherit property from another.
- HOLOGRAPHIC WILL:—One written entirely in the
testator's own handwriting.
- HOMESTEAD ACT:—Law passed by Congress in 1862
allowing a head of a family to obtain title to 160 acres of public land
after clearing and improving it for 5 years.
- HUGUENOT:—A French Protestant in the 16th and 17th
centuries. One of the reformed or Calvinistic communion who were driven by
the thousands into exile in England, Holland, Germany and America.
- ILLEGITIMATE:—Born to a mother who was not married
to the child's father.
- IMMIGRANT:—One moving into a country from another.
- INDENTURE:—Today it means a contract in 2 or more
copies. Originally made in 2 parts by cutting or tearing a single sheet
across the middle in a jagged line so the two parts may later be matched.
- INDENTURED SERVANT:—One who bound himself into
service of another person for a specified number of years, often in return
for transportation to this country.
- INFANT:—Any person not of full age; a minor.
- INSTANT:—Of or pertaining to the current month.
- INTESTATE:—One who dies without a will or dying
without a will.
- INVENTORY:—An account, catalog or schedule, made
by an executor or administrator of all the goods and chattels and sometimes
of the real estate of a deceased person.
- ISSUE:—Offspring; children; lineal descendants of
a common ancestor.
- LATE:—Recently deceased.
- LEASE:—An agreement which creates a
- LEGACY:—Property or money left to someone in a
- LEGISLATURE:—Lawmaking branch of state or national
government; elected group of lawmakers.
- LIEN:—A claim against property as security for
payment of a debt.
- LINEAGE:—Ancestry; direct descent from a specific
- LINEAL:—Consisting of or being in as direct line
of ancestry or descendants; descended in a direct line.
- LINK:—See measurements.
- LIS PENDENS:—Pending court action; usually applies
to land title claims.
- LODGE:—A chapter or meeting hall of a fraternal
- LOYALIST:—Tory, an American colonist who supported
the British side during the American Revolution.
- MAIDEN NAME:—A girl's last name or surname before
- MANUSCRIPT:—A composition written with the hand as
an ancient book or an unprinted modern book or music.
- MARRIAGE BOND:—A financial guarantee that no
impediment to the marriage existed, furnished by the intended bridegroom or
by his friends.
- MATERNAL:—Related through one's mother, such as a
Maternal grandmother being the mother's mother.
- MEASUREMENTS:—Link - 7.92 inches; Chain - 100
Links or 66 feet; Furlong - 1000 Links or 660 feet; Rod - 5 1/2 yds or 16
1/2 ft (also called a perch r pole); Rood - From 5 1/2 yards to 8 yards,
depending on locality; Acre - 43,560 square ft or 160 square rods.
- MESSUAGE:—A dwelling house.
- METES & BOUNDS:—Property described by natural
boundaries, such as 3 notches in a white oak tree, etc.
- MICROFICHE:—Sheet of microfilm with greatly
reduced images of pages of documents.
- MICROFILM:—Reproduction of documents on film at
- MIGRANT:—Person who moves from place to place,
usually in search of work
- MIGRATE:—To move from one country or state or
region to another. (Noun : migration)
- MILITIA:—Citizens of a state who are not part of
the national military forces but who can be called into military service in
an emergency; a citizen army, apart from the regular military forces.
- MINOR:—One who is under legal age; not yet a legal
- MISTER:—In early times, a title of respect given
only to those who held important civil officer or who were of gentle blood.
- MOIETY:—A half; an indefinite portion
- MORTALITY:—Death; death rate.
- MORTALITY SCHEDULES:—Enumeration of persons who
died during the year prior to June 1 of 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 in each
state of the United States, conducted by the bureau of census.
- MORTGAGE:—A conditional transfer of title to real
property as security for payment of a debt.
- MOTHER-IN-LAW:—Mother of one's spouse.
- NAMESAKE:—Person named after another person.
- NECROLOGY:—Listing or record of persons who have
- NEE:—Used to identify a woman's maiden name; born
with the surname of.
- NEPHEW:—Son of one's brother or sister.
- NIECE:—Daughter of one's brother or sister.
- NONCUPATIVE WILL:—One declared or dictated by the
testator, usually for persons in last sickness, sudden illness, or military.
- ORPHAN:—Child whose parents are dead; sometimes, a
child who has lost one parent by death.
- ORPHAN'S COURT:—Orphans being recognized as wards
of the states, provisions were made for them in special courts.
- PASSENGER LIST:—A ships list of passengers,
usually referring to those ships arriving in the US from Europe.
- PATENT:—Grant of land from a government to an
- PATERNAL:—Related to one's father. Paternal
grandmother is the father's mother.
- PATRIOT:—One who loves his country and supports
- PEDIGREE:—Family tree; ancestry.
- PENSION:—Money paid regularly to an individual,
especially by a government as reward for military service during wartime or
upon retirement from government service.
- PENSIONER:—One who receives a pension.
- PERCH:—See measurements.
- POLE:—See measurements.
- POLL:—List or record of persons, especially for
taxing or voting.
- POST:—Latin prefix meaning after, as in post-war
- POSTERITY:—Descendants; those who come after.
- POWER OF ATTORNEY:—When a person in unable to act
for himself, he appoints another to act in his behalf.
- PRE:—Latin prefix meaning before, as in pre-war
- PRE-EMOTION RIGHTS:—Right given by the federal
government to citizens to buy a quarter section of land or less.
- PROBATE:—Having to do with wills and the
administration of estates.
- PROGENITOR:—A direct ancestor.
- PROGENY:—Descendants of a common ancestor; issue.
- PROVED WILL:—A will established as genuine by
- PROVOST:—A person appointed to superintend, or
preside over something.
- PROXIMO:—In the following month, in the month
after the present one.
- PUBLIC DOMAIN:—Land owned by the government.
- QUAKER:—Member of the Religious Society of
- QUITCLAIM:—A deed conveying the interest of the
party at that time.
- RECTOR:—A clergyman; the ruler or governor of a
- RELICT:—Widow; surviving spouse when one has died,
husband or wife.
- REPUBLIC:—Government in which supreme authority
lies with the people or their elected representatives.
- REVOLUTIONARY WAR:—U.S. war for independence from
Great Britain 1775 - 1783.
- ROD:—See measurements.
- ROOD:—See measurements.
- SHAKER:—Member of a religious group formed in 1747
which practiced communal living and celibacy.
- SIBLING:—Person having one or both parents in
common with another; a brother or sister. SIC - Latin meaning thus; copied
exactly as the original reads. Often suggests a mistake or surprise in the
- SON-IN-LAW:—Husband of one's daughter.
- SPINSTER:—A woman still unmarried; or one who
- SPONSOR:—A bondsman; surety.
- SPOUSE:—Husband or wife.
- STEP-BROTHER / STEP-SISTER:—Child of one's
step-father or step-mother.
- STEP-CHILD:—Child of one's husband or wife from a
- STEP-FATHER:—Husband of one's mother by a later
- STEP-MOTHER:—Wife of one's father by a later
- SURNAME:—Family name or last name.
- TERRITORY:—Area of land owned by the united
States, not a state, but having its own legislature and governor.
- TESTAMENTARY:—Pertaining to a will.
- TESTATE:—A person who dies leaving a valid will.
- TESTATOR:—A person who makes a valid will before
- TITHE:—Formerly, money due as a tax for support of
the clergy or church.
- TORY:—Loyalist; one who supported the British side
in the American Revolution.
- TOWNSHIP:—A division of U.S. public land that
contained 36 sections, or 36 square miles. Also a subdivision of the county
in many Northeastern and Midwestern states of the U.S.
- TRADITION:—The handing down of statements,
beliefs, legends, customs, genealogies, etc. from generation to generation,
especially by word of mouth.
- TRANSCRIBE:—To make a copy in writing.
- ULTIMO:—In the month before this one.
- UNION:—The United States; also the North during
the Civil War, the states which did not secede.
- VERBATIM:—Word for word; in the same words,
- VITAL RECORDS:—Records of birth, death, marriage
- VITAL STATISTICS:—Data dealing with birth, death,
marriage or divorce.
- WAR BETWEEN THE STATES:—U.S. Civil War, 1861 -
- WARD:—Chiefly the division of a city for election
- WILL:—Document declaring how a person wants his
property divided after his death.
- WITNESS:—One who is present at a transaction, such
as a sale of land or signing of a will, who can testify or affirm that it
actually took place.
- WPA HISTORICAL RECORDS SURVEY:—A program
undertaken by the US Government 1935 - 1936 in which inventories were
compiled of historical material.
- YEOMAN:—A servant, an attendant or subordinate
official in a royal household; a subordinate of a sheriff; an independent