Culberson County. Texas

Genealogy Terms




administration:  Management and settlement of an estate

administrator:  An appointee of the court who settles the estate of a deceased person who died without leaving a will

abstract:  A summary of a particular record or document; usually contains only the most important information from the original document; may be used instead of original documents in genealogical research

ahnentafal:  A numbering system used to identify each individual in a family tree. The formula states that an individual's father is twice that individual's number, and that an individual's mother is twice that individual's number plus one. If your Ahnentafel number is 1, your father's is 2, and your mother's is 3. From the German Ahnen meaning ancestor, and Tafel, table or list.

ancestor:  Any person from whom one is descended, especially one earlier in a family line than a grandparent; forefather; forebear

ancestry:  1. Family descent or lineage 2. Ancestors collectively

ancestral:  Of or inherited from an ancestor or ancestors

Ancestral File:  A computerized file of individual and family records, created from records and pedigree charts submitted to the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1979. The purpose of the Ancestral File is to help people coordinate

apprentice:  1. One bound by indenture to serve another for a prescribed period with a view to learning an art or trade. 2. One who is learning by practical experience under skilled workers a trade, art, or calling

ascendant:  Ancestor

banns:  See marriage banns

baptism:  The ceremony or sacrament of admitting a person into Christianity or a specific Christian church by dipping the person in water or pouring or sprinkling water on them;

baptismal certificate:  A formal document normally kept by a church of baptisms that occurred in their congregation. It typically contains the names of the individuals baptized, the date of baptism, where it took place, the clergyman's name, and possibly the names of sponsors and place of residence.

base-born:  See illegitimate

bastard:  See illegitimate

beneficiary:  The person designated to receive the income of a trust estate.

bequest:  Legacy; usually a gift of real estate by will

biography:  The history of an person's life

biographer:  The author of a biography

birth certificate:  A formal document normally issued by a government body responsible for the registration of vital statistics within a particular jurisdiction

bond:  A contract to carry out specific duties, which if not performed satisfactorily, a penalty may be paid

bounty land:  Land given to military servicemen as payment for their services

burial record:  A formal account normally kept by a church of burials that occurred in their congregation. Besides the names of the deceased, it may contain the age of the person at death, their birth date, cause of death, the clergyman's name, and possibly the place of residence at the time of death.

cadastra:  A public record, survey or map for tax purposes showing ownership and value of land

canon law:  Church law\

cemetery record:  an account of the names and death dates of those buried within a cemetery

census record:  A government sponsored enumeration of the population in a particular area; contains a variety of information from names heads of household or all household members, their ages, citizenship status, and ethnic background etc.

christening:  Christian ceremony of baptizing and giving a name to an infant. See also baptism

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:  A major Christian religion founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith, the Mormons. In 1894 it founded the Family History Library to gather records which help people trace their ancestry. The Library has grown to acquire the world's largest collection of genealogical information. The Library is located at 35 North West Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150 (Telephone: 801-240-2331). You do not need to visit the Library to utilize its resources. Most of the library's films and microfiche can be loaned for use at one of their Family History Centers, located in many cities around the world. The key library resources include FamilySearch®, Family History Library Catalog®, the International Genealogical Index™ (IGI), Ancestral File™, Family Registry™, and Personal Ancestral File® (PAF). Many of the resources of the church are available at the Family History Centres without charge

church record:  See baptismal record, marriage record, and burial record

CG:  Certified Genealogist, BCG credential

CGI:  Certified Genealogical Instructor, BCG credential

CGL:  Certified Genealogical Lecturer, BCG credential

CGRS:  Certified Genealogical Record Specialist, BCG credential

chattels:  personal property, both animate and inanimate

clan  A Celtic group esp. in the Scottish Highlands comprising a number of households whose heads claim descent from a common ancestor

codicil:  An addition to a will to change, explain, revoke or add provisions which overrule the provisions in the original will

collateral ancestor:  An ancestor not in the direct line of ascent, but of the same ancestral family

collateral families:  The families with whom your ancestors intermarried and moved

connubial:  Of or relating to the married state; conjugal

consanguinity:  A close relation, kinship

conveyance:  An instrument by which title to property is conveyed

coroners inquest:  A legal inquiry, or inquest by a coroner, to determine the cause of a sudden or violent death.

cousin:  1. The son or daughter of ones uncle or aunt 2. A collateral relative more distant than a brother or sister, but descended from a common ancestor

daughter-in-law:  The wife of a person's son

deed:  A signed and usually sealed instrument containing some legal transfer, bargain, or contract

descendant:  A person who is an offspring, however remote, of a certain ancestor or family

descent:  Lineage, ancestry

directory:  A book listing the names, addresses, occupations etc., of a specific group of people; types include - city, telephone, county, regional, professional, religious, post office, street, ethnic, and school


Domesday Book :  Sometimes called just Domesday, it is a written record of a survey of England ordered by William the Conqueror in 1066. William was an attempting to register the landed wealth of the country in a systematic fashion and to determine the revenues due him. The survey was executed by groups of officers called legati, who visited each county and conducted a public inquiry. The set of questions that these officers asked of the town and county representatives constituted the Inquisitio Eliensis; the answers supplied the information from which the Domesday Book was compiled. Domesday is a corruption of Doomsday (the day of the final judgment); the work was so named because its judgments in terms of levies and assessments were irrevocable. The original manuscript was made in two volumes. The first and larger one, sometimes called the Great Domesday, included information on all England, with the exception of three eastern counties (Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk), several northern counties, London, and some other towns. The surveys of the three eastern counties made up the second volume, which was known as the Little Domesday. These documents were frequently used in the medieval law courts, and in their published form they are occasionally used today in cases involving questions of topography or genealogy.

double date:  A double date appears on some documents as a result of two changes introduced by the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 to resolve the error caused by the Julian calendar in use up to that time. Scientists resolved that a year was slightly longer than the 365 ¼ specified by the Julian calendar, which resulted in the loss of 10 days. The new calendar also changed the first day of the year from March 25th on the Julian calendar to January 1st. Different countries adopted the new calendar at different times and the practice of providing a double date was common. The British Commonwealth and the United States adopted the new calendar in 1752. By this time, the calendar was behind by 11 days. So, the day following September 2, 1752 was decreed to be September 14, 1752

dower:  The portion of an estate that a widow is entitled to upon the death of her husband

emigration:  The process of leaving one's home country to live in another country

enumeration:  Process by which persons are counted for purposes of a census

enumerator:  census taker

executor:  The individual who carries out the instructions and provisions of a will

Family History Library:  35 North West Temple Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84150:

family group report:  A form which contains genealogical information about a nuclear family - a husband, a wife, and their children. It usually includes the dates and places of birth, marriage and death.
family tree:  A genealogical diagram

gazetteer:  An alphabetically organized book describing the names and places of a particular region.

GEDCOM:  A standard file format for exchanging information between genealogy programs. The acronym GEDCOM stands for GEnealogical Data COMmunications. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) developed the GEDCOM standard.

genealogy:  1. The science or study of family descent 2. A chart or recorded history of the descent of a person or family from an ancestor or ancestors 3. Descent from an ancestor; pedigree; lineage

genealogist:  A person who pursues the science or study of family descent. A professional genealogist is one who compiles family histories and genealogies for clients for a fee.

grantee:  A person who buys or receives land

grantor:  A person who sells or gives the land

husband:  A married man; a man in his relationship with his spouse

indenture:  A contract binding one person to work for another for a given period of time

intestate:  1. Having made no valid will. 2. Not disposed of by will. 3. When an owner of real property has died intestate, title to the property is said to pass by descent to the heirs. See also testate

illegitimate:  Born of parents not married to each other

LDS:  See Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

lineage:  Direct descent from an ancestor

marriage banns:  A religious tradition by which engaged couples had to announce their intention to marry. This announcement allowed anyone in the congregation to voice their protest. The marriage banns normally took place a few weeks before the actual marriage date. In many churches, they banns were read aloud on three successive Sundays.

marriage record:  A formal document normally kept by a church of marriages conducted within their congregation. Besides the names of the individuals being married, it may also contain their ages, occupation and residence, the clergyman's name, and possibly the names of sponsors.

née:  Born, usually refers to a woman's maiden name

nuclear family:  A family group that consists only of father, mother, and children

pedigree:  1. A list of ancestors; record of ancestry; family tree 2. Descent; lineage; ancestry 3. A recorded or known line of descent

pedigree chart:  A report showing an individual along with parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. for a specified number of generations

peerage:  A book containing a list of peers with their genealogy, history, and titles

posthumous: 1. Born after the death of the father 2. Published after the death of the author 3. Following or occurring after death

primary record:  A record created at the time of the event (birth, marriage, death, etc.) as opposed to records written years later

primogenitor:  ancestor, forefather

primogeniture:  1. The state of being the firstborn of the children of the same parents 2. An exclusive right of inheritance belonging to the eldest son

probate:  1. an action or process of proving in a court of law that a document offered for official recognition and registration as the last will and testament of a deceased person is genuine. 2. The officially authenticated copy of a probated will

progeny:  Descendants, children

progenitor:  An ancestor in the direct line, forefather

onomastics:  The science or study of the origin and forms of proper names of persons or places

record agent:  A person specializing in the knowledge of records and sources

redemptioner:  An immigrant to the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries who obtained passage by becoming an indentured servant

relict:  widow

secondary record:  A record created some time after the event

sepulchre (sepulcher):  A place of burial, tomb

sibling: A brother or sister

soundex:  A filing system, usually for recording surnames, using one letter followed by three numbers. The Soundex system keeps together names of the same and/or similar sounds, but of variant spellings.

sponsor:  A person who presents a candidate for baptism or confirmation and undertakes responsibility for the person's religious education or spiritual welfare

spouse:  A partner in marriage; one's husband or wife

stepbrother: A person's stepparent's son by a former marriage

stepchild:  The child of a person's spouse by a previous marriage; stepdaughter or stepson

stepdaughter:  A person's stepparent's daughter by a former marriage

stepparent:  The person who has married one's parent after the death or divorce of the other parent's stepmother or stepfather

testament:  The act by which a person determines the disposition of his or her property after death

testate:  Adjective, having left a valid will. When he has died testate, or leaving a will that has been probated, the property passes by devise to the person or persons so designated in the will.

testator:  A person who dies leaving a will or testament in force

tithe:  A tenth part of something paid as a voluntary contribution or as a tax especially for the support of a religious establishment

trustee:  A natural or legal person to whom property is legally committed to be administered for the benefit of a beneficiary.

widow:  A woman whose husband has died; particularly such a woman who has not yet remarried

widower:  A man whose wife has died; particularly such a man who has not yet remarried

wife:  A married woman; a woman in her relationship with her spouse

will:  A legal statement of a person's wishes concerning the disposal of his or her property after death

witness:  An individual present at an event such as a marriage or the signing of a document who can vouch that the event took place