Trails To The Past

Resources: Dictionary

Abstract - summary of important points of a given text, especially deeds and wills.

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 authority.

Alien - foreigner.

Ancestor - a person from whom you are descended; a forefather.

Ante - Latin prefix meaning before.

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. 

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.

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.

Codicil - addition to a will.

Collateral Ancestor - belonging 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 people.

Consanguinity - blood relationship.

Consort - usually, a wife whose husband is living.

Conveyance - see deed.

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 become 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 the 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.

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.

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".

Executor - one appointed in a will to carry out its provisions. 

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.

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.

Gazetteer - a geographical dictionary; a book giving names and descriptions of places usually in alphabetical order.

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.

Guardian - person appointed to care for and manage property of a minor orphan or an adult incompetent of managing his own affairs.

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.

Illegitimate - born to a mother who was not married to the child's father.

Immigrant - one moving into a country from another.

Indentured Servant - one who bound himself into service of another person for a specified number of years, often in return for transportation to a country.

Instant - of or pertaining to the current month; abbreviated inst.

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 landlord - tenant situation.

Legacy - property or money left to someone in a will.

Lien - a claim against property as security for payment of a debt.

Lineage - ancestry; direct descent from a specific ancestor.

Lineal - consisting of or being in a direct line of ancestry or descendants; descended in a direct line.

Lis Pendens - pending court action; usually applies to land title claims.

Lodge - a chapter or meeting hall of a fraternal organization.

Maiden Name - a girl's last name or surname before she marries.

Manuscript - a composition written with the hand as an ancient book or a non-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 friends.

Maternal - related through one's mother.

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.

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.

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 surname of.

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 or Canada, from Europe.

Patent - grant of land from a government to an individual.

Paternal - related to one's father. 

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.

Poll - list or record of persons, especially for taxing or voting.

Post - prefix meaning after.

Posterity - descendants; those who come after.

Power of Attorney - when a person is unable to act for himself, he appoints another to act in his behalf.

Pre - prefix meaning before.

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 probate court.

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.

Quitclaim - a deed conveying the interest of the party at that time.

Rector - a clergyman.

Relict - widow; surviving spouse when one has died, husband or wife.

Sic - Latin meaning thus; copied exactly as the original reads.

Spinster - a woman still unmarried.

Sponsor - a bondsman; surety.

Statute - law.

Surname - family name or last name.

Territory - area of land owned by a country, not a state or province, 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 or church.

Township - a division of U.S. public land that contained 36 sections, or 36 square miles. 

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; abbreviated ult.

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 divorce.

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.

Yeoman - A servant or attendant; a subordinate of a sheriff; an independent farmer. 

Source: Provided freely for redistribution by Dan Burrows.

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