- 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 proper
- ALIEN - Foreigner.
- AMERICAN REVOLUTION - U.S. war for independence from Great
- ANCESTOR - A person from whom you are descended; a forefather.
- 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 oath.
- BANNS - Public announcement of intended marriage.
- BENEFICIARY - One who receives benefit of trust or property.
- BEQUEATH - To give personal property to a person in a will. Noun
- 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 service.
- CENSUS - Official enumeration, listing or counting of citizens.
- 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
- 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
- CIVIL WAR - War between the States; war between North and South,
- 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 &
- COMMON ANCESTOR - Ancestor shared by any two people.
- CONFEDERATE - Pertaining to the Southern states which seceded
from the U.S. in 1860 - 1, their government and their citizens.
- 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.
- DECEASED - Dead.
- 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 colonies.
- 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 another.
- ENUMERATION - Listing or counting , such as a census.
- 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 person.
- ET AL - Latin for "and others".
- ET UX - Latin for "and wife".
- ET UXOR - And his wife. Sometimes written simply Et Ux.
- 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 restriction.
- 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
- 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 grant.
- 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 affairs.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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. (Abbreviated
- 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
- LATE - Recently deceased.
- LEASE - An agreement which creates a landlord - tenant
- LEGACY - Property or money left to someone in a will
- LEGISLATURE - Lawmaking branch of state or national government;
elected group of lawmakers.
- LIEN - A claim against property as security for payment of a
- LINEAGE - Ancestry; direct descent from a specific ancestor.
- 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
- LODGE - A chapter or meeting hall of a fraternal organization.
- LOYALIST - Tory, an American colonist who supported the British
side during the American Revolution.
- MAIDEN NAME - A girl's last name or surname before she marries.
- MANUSCRIPT - A composition written with the hand as an ancient
book or an un-printed modern book or music.
- MARRIAGE BOND - A financial guarantee that no impediment to the
marriage existed, furnished by the intended bridegroom or by his
- 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 or 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 reduced size.
- 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 adult.
- 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 died recently
- NEE - Used to identify a woman's maiden name; born with the
- 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 individual.
- PATERNAL - Related to one's father. Paternal grandmother is the
- PATRIOT - One who loves his country and supports its interests.
- 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
- POST - Latin prefix meaning after, as in post-war economy.
- 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 military
- 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
- PROGENITOR - A direct ancestor.
- PROGENY - Descendants of a common ancestor; issue.
- PROVED WILL - A will established as genuine by probate court.
- PROVOST - A person appointed to superintend, or preside over
- PROXIMO - In the following month, in the month after the present
- PUBLIC DOMAIN - Land owned by the government.
- QUAKER - Member of the Religious Society of Friends.
- QUITCLAIM - A deed conveying the interest of the party at that
- RECTOR - A clergyman; the ruler or governor of a country.
- RELICT - Widow; surviving spouse when one has died, husband or
- 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 original.
- SON-IN-LAW - Husband of one's daughter.
- SPINSTER - A woman still unmarried; or one who spins.
- SPONSOR - A bondsman; surety.
- SPOUSE - Husband or wife.
- STATUTE - Law.
- STEP-BROTHER / STEP-SISTER - Child of one's step-father or
- STEP-CHILD - Child of one's husband or wife from a previous
- STEP-FATHER - Husband of one's mother by a later marriage.
- STEP-MOTHER - Wife of one's father by a later marriage.
- 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 his death.
- TITHABLE - Taxable.
- TITHE - Formerly, money due as a tax for support of the clergy
- TORY - Loyalist; one who supported the British side in the
- 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, verbally.
- VITAL RECORDS - Records of birth, death, marriage or divorce.
- VITAL STATISTICS - Data dealing with birth, death, marriage or
- WAR BETWEEN THE STATES - U.S. Civil War, 1861 - 1865.
- WARD - Chiefly the division of a city for election purposes.
- 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
- YEOMAN - A servant, an attendant or subordinate official in a
royal household; a subordinate of a sheriff; an independent farmer.