Bits and Pieces of Genealogical
to help the researcher
Genealogy researchers encounter many terms which are rarely used except in legal documents, or genealogical reports, this list is intended to aid with interpreting those terms.
Abstract - Summary of important points of a given text, especially deeds and wills.
Accordant (with) - Agreeing.
Acre - 43,560 square feet; 4,840 square yards; 160 square rods
Administration (of an estate) - The collection, management and distribution of an estate by proper legal process.
Administrator (of an estate) - Person appointed to manage or divide the estate of a deceased person.
Administratrix - A female administrator.
Ae. - (latin) Aged; Aet, "aetatis suae": at the age of.
Affidavit - A written statement confirmed by oath, for use as evidence in court.
Ahnentafel - A table of one's ancestors, from the German Ahnen (ancestor) and Tafel (table or list).
Ahnentafel Numbers - Numbering system used to identify each individual in a family tree. The numbers follow the format 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. Used in pedigree charts.
Alien - (1) To transfer property; as in a deed the seller "does grant, bargain, sell, alien, enfeoff, release, and confirm unto [the buyer]" certain property. (2) a foreigner.
ALARS - American Library Association Records Standards
American Revolution - U.S. war for independence from Great Britain 1775-1783.
Ancestor - A person from whom you are descended; a forefather.
Ancestor Chart - Report or chart that shows a person and all of their ancestors in a graphical format. As opposed to the Ahnentafel which is more of a narrative report.
Ancestral File - A database of names in linked genealogies on CD-ROM. Contains names and addresses of people that have submitted information. Maintained by the LDS FHL.
Ancestry - The lineage of all the ancestors of a person, from parents backward on time.
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.
Archive - Collection of public or corporate records; place where such records are kept.
Ascendants - lineal ancestors.
ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange - type of file on a computer that is usually readable/writable by most word processors.
Attest - To affirm; to certify by signature or oath.
Banns - Public announcement of intended marriage, usually read in church on three successive Sundays
Barton - Farmyard; farm not let with rest of manor.
Base born - born out of wedlock or of low parentage.
Beneficiary - One who receives benefit of trust or property.
Bequeath - To give personal property to a person in a will. Noun: bequest.
Biblography - List of sources.
Birth Certificate - Documentation about one's birth.
Bond - A binding agreement to perform certain actions or duties or requiring payment of a administrators or executors, grooms (for marriage), certain elected officials (such as constables).specified amount of money as a penalty; at different times required of estate
Bondsman - Person acting as surety for a bond (often, but by no means ordinarily, a relative)
Bordar - a small-holder, usually on the outskirts of a village
Bounty Land - Land promised as reward or inducement for enlisting in military service.
Bounty Land Warrant - A right to obtain bounty land, specific number of acres of an allocated public land.
Buried, partly - indicates the heart is buried in one place and the body in another, usually by directions of a will
Cascading Pedigree Chart - A series of pedigree charts that span multiple generations for an individual and then for each person in the last generation of the first chart.
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 - 100 links; 66 feet
Chattel - Any property other than freehold land, including tangible goods (chattels personal) and leasehold interested (chattels real).
Christen - To receive or initiate into the christian church by baptism; to name at baptism; to give a name to.
Christian Name - Name given at christening or baptism; given name; forename
Circa - About or approximately; usually referring to a date.
Citation - Page or section reference of a source.
Civil War - War between the States; war between North and South, 1861-1865.
Codicil - An addition explaining, modifying or revoking a will or part of one.
Collateral Ancestor - Descended from the same ancestral stock but not in the direct line.
Common Ancestor - Ancestor shared by any two or more people.
Confederate - (adj.) Pertaining to the Confederacy
Confederacy - Collectively the Confederate States of America; the southern american states which seceded from the United States in 1860-1861.
Consanguinity - Blood relationship.
Consort - A husband or (more commonly) a wife.
Conveyances - Transfer of property from one owner to another.
Cottar - a small-holder
Cousin - Child of a person's Aunt or Uncle; person with whom one shares a common ancestor (excluding one's direct ancestors and siblings); formerly used as a loose term for any close friend or relative. N.B. in many Native American societies the usage differs.
Cousin German - First cousin.
Daughter-in-Law - Wife of one's son.
Death Certificate - Documentation of one's death.
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 and ownership 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.
Descendant - A person who descends from another given person.
Descendant Chart - Report or chart that shows a person and all of their descendants in a graphical format. As opposed to the Modified Register which is more of a narrative report.
Devise - To give property in a will.
Devisee - One to whom property is devised in a will.
Devisor - One who devises property in a will.
Dissenter - One who did not belong to the established church, (particularly the Church of England).
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 (laws regulating dower rights are dependant upon the year and place: under common law it was 1/3).
Emigrant - A person leaving a country and moving (permanently) to another.
Enfeoff - To grant property in fee simple; as in a deed the seller "does grant, bargain, sell, alien, enfeoff, release, and confirm unto [the buyer]" certain property
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.
Executrix - Feminine form of Executor
Family Group Sheet - A report listing the father, mother and each child of a family.
Family History Center (FHC) - A smaller branch of the FHL, found nationwide.
Family History Library (FHL) - Holds over 2 million rolls of microfilmed records, 400,000 microfiche, and 300,000 books. It also houses an extensive collection of written manuscripts including family histories, local histories, indexes, periodicals, and aids to help in genealogical research. It is located in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Family Search - CD-ROM available at Family History Center produced by the Mormon church. Contains the International Genealogical Index, Ancestral File, SSDI, TempleReady and Military Death Index.
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 - Absolute ownership of land to sell or devise 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 interest.
Freehold - An estate in fee simple, in fee tail, or for life.
Free Person of Color (FPC) - A person who was neither (100%) caucasian nor a slave
Friend - Member of the Religious Society of Friends; a Quaker.
Furlong - 1,000 links; 660 feet
Gazetteer - A geographical dictionary; a book giving names and descriptions of places usually in alphabetical order.
Gedcom - An acronym for "GEnealogical Data COMmunication". A standard format created by the LDS Church that allows genealogical software programs to transfer data.
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 (in societies where the surname is inherited).
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 (also grand-aunt)
Great-Uncle - Brother of one's grandparent (also grand-uncle)
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.
Headright - System of land allocation in colonial Virginia
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 (the law generally recognises the children of a married woman to be those of her husband).
Immigrant - One moving (permanently) 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 - A person bound into service of another person for a specified number of years, often in return for transportation to America; a redemptioner.
Infant - (in law) A person not of full age; a minor.
Instant - Of or pertaining to the current month. (Abbreviated inst.)
Intentions - Public notification of an upcoming marriage, see banns.
International Genealogical Index (IGI) - an database created of names that have been extracted from various original records from all over the world and also entries submitted by LDS church members for temple ordinances. Created and maintained by the LDS FHL.
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; descendants; progeny.
LDS - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).
Late - Recently deceased; now deceased
Lease - An agreement which creates a landlord-tenant situation.
Legacy - Property or money left to someone in a will
Legatee - A person who inherits money or property through 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 debt.
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 - Length: 1/100th of a surveying chain; 7.92 inches
Lis Pendens - Pending court action; usually applies to land title claims.
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 woman's last name or surname before she marries.
Manse - Residense of a cleric.
Manuscript - A composition written with the hand as an ancient book or an un-published modern book or music.
Marriage Bond - A financial guarantee that no legal impediment to the marriage existed, furnished by representatives for the intended bridegroom and intended bride.
Maternal - Related through one's mother; on one mother's side of the family.
Messuage - A dwelling house.
Metes & Bounds - Property described by natural boundaries, such as 3 whites oaks and a locust tree etc.
Microfiche - Sheet of microfilm with greatly reduced images of pages of documents.
Microfilm - Reproduction of documents on film at reduced size.
Microform - Reproduction of images, reduced in size, as either: microcard, microfiche or microfilm
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
Migration - The move from one area 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 adult; an infant.
Minner - Person who surrenders land to another in exchange for release from contractual obligations.
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.
Mortscloth - Shroud to cover a coffin.
Mother-in-Law - Mother of one’s spouse.
Mulatto - Strictly a person of one caucasian and one negro parent, but commonly used for any person of mixed heritage
Namesake - Person named after another person.
Necrology - Listing or record of persons who have died recently
Nee - Born. Used to denote a woman's maiden name.
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.
Octaroon - A person with seven caucasian and one negro great grandparents; 1/8 black
Orphan - Person with one or both parents dead.
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 from Europe.
Patent - Grant of land from a government to an individual.
Paternal - Related through one’s father; on one's father's side of the family.
Patriot - One who loves his country and supports its interests.
Pedigree - Ancestry; bloodline; Family tree; lineage
Pedigree Chart - A chart which includes the direct ancestors (parents, grand-parents, etc.) of an individual. Does not include brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles or other relatives.
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 - 5 1/2 yards; a pole; a rod.
Pole - 5 1/2 yards; a perch; a rod.
Poll - Head or taxable person; list or record of persons, especially for taxing or voting.
Post - Latin prefix meaning after, as in post-war economy.
Posterity - Descendants; those who come after.
Post nominal - initials after name indicating rank, honors, or academic achievement.
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 build-up.
Pre-emption Rights - Right given by the federal government to citizens to buy a quarter section of land or less.
Prenuptial Agreement - Legal document (usually involving property) made by a couple before marriage
Primogeniture - The right of the eldest child (usually the son) to inherit the entire estate of the parents.
Probate - Legal process 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; creative works whose copyright has expired.
Quadroon - A person with three caucasian and one negro grandparents; 1/4 black
Quaker - Member of the Religious Society of Friends.
Quitclaim - A deed conveying the claim or title (usually to land) without guarantee of valid title.
Rector - A clergyman; the ruler or governor of a country.
Relict - Widow; surviving spouse when one has died, husband or wife.
Repository - The place where a source can be found. (i.e.: Library, FHC etc.)
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 - 5 1/2 yards; 16 1/2 feet; a perch or square perch; a pole.
Rood - 5 1/2 to 8 yards depending upon location; 1/4 of an acre.
Section - 640 acres; one of the 36 divisions of a township
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.
Social Security Death Index (SSDI) - Index of Social Security Death Benefit records which document how much the government has paid to an individual (spouse, child, etc.) as a result of a relative's death. An individual may appear in the Social Security Death Benefits Index if he or she died after 1967, had applied for Social Security during their lifetime, and if someone applied for their Social Security death benefits at the time of death. It is not a complete listing of deaths
Son-in-Law - Husband of one's daughter.
Soundex - A method of giving names sound codes. This was created in the 1930's due to the fact that names can be spelled in many different ways. By grouping together surnames that sound alike, individuals can search for ancestors even when the surname had several different spellings.
Source - A book, document, or other record that supplies primary information.
Spinster - Unmarried woman; woman acting in her own right.
Sponsor - A bondsman; surety.
Spouse - Husband or wife.
Statute - Law.
Step-Brother/Step-Sister - Child of one's step-father or step-mother.
Step-Child - Child of one's husband or wife from a previous marriage.
Step-Father - Husband of one's mother by a later marriage.
Step-Mother - Wife of one's father by a later marriage.
Succession - (1) Legal term in the transfer of property to legal heirs of an intestate estate, (2) probate; process of determining a will's validity, identifying heirs, etc.
Surname - Last name; family name.
Territory - Area of land owned by the united States, not a state, but having its own legislature.
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; a person who owes tax to a specified jurisdiction
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 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.
Tutor - (in Louisiana) A guardian of minor children
Tutrix - Feminine form of Tutor
Ultimo - In the month before this one.
umquhillo - (Scot.) late, deceased
Union - The United States; also the North during the Civil War, the states which did not secede.
Vendue - Public auction.
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.
War Between the States - U.S. Civil War, 1861-1865.
Ward - Chiefly the division of a city for election purposes.
Warranty Deed - Deed in which the seller guarantees a clear title to the buyer
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 farmer; a naval rating.
Zambo - A person with one native american and one negro parent
Genealogy researchers encounter many abbreviations both in modern compilations and in original records, this list aims to assist the researcher in deciphering those abbreviated terms.
AAONMS - Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine
AASR - Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (of Freemasons)
AASRFM - Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
AD - anno domini (Latin), in the year of the Lord
AEOS - Ancient Egyptian Order of Sciots (Masons)
AF - Ancestral File, database maintained by the LDS FHL
AF&AM - Ancient, Free, & Accepted Masons
AFAM - Ancient Free and Accepted Mason
AG - Accredited Genealogist (FHL credential)
AGBU - Armenian General Benevolent Union
AHOJB - Ancient and Honorable Order of the Jersey Blues
AISB - Ancient Illuminated Seers of Bavaria
altm - at liberty to marry (Quaker)
AMORC - Ancient Mystic Order Rosae Crucis
Am. Rev. - American Revolution, American War for Independence
AMVETS - American Veterans
AMOS - Ancient Mystic Order of Samaritans (Odd Fellows)
AOB - Air Order of Battle
AODC - Ancient Order of Degree Coopermen
AOD - Ancient Order of Druids
AOF - Ancient Order of Foresters
AOH - Ancient Order of Hibernians
AOUW - Ancient Order of United Workmen
APCWS - Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites
apd - attending places of diversion; appointed; appealed (Quaker)
APG - Association of Professional Genealogists
apt - appointed
AQM - Assistant Quartermaster (US Civil War)
AQRS - Assistant Quartermaster Remount Service (US Civil War)
ARC - American Red Cross
ARSS - Antiquariorum Regiae Societatis Socius (Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries)
ASFD - American Society of Freedmen's Descendants
ASG - American Society of Genealogists
ASN - Army Serial Number
assn - association
att - attached to; attended (Quaker)
AWOL - Absent Without Leave (military)
b. - born
B - black, Negro
bapt. - baptized
BAR - Brigade of the American Revolution
BARE - Benefit Association of Railway Employees
BC - (of a date) before Christ
BCG - Board for Certification of Genealogists
BCR - Battle Casualty Report
bef. - before
BG - burial grounds
b-i-l - brother in law
BK - Brother's Keeper (software)
BNL - Brotherhood of the New Life
BPOE - Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
bro. - brother
bur. - buried
c, ca. - circa, about
CAILS - Certified American Indian Lineage Specialist (BCG credential)
CALS - Certified American Lineage Specialist (BCG credential)
cem. - cemetery
cert. - certificate
cd - contrary to the Discipline (Quaker)
ch - child, children; church
CDA - Catholic Daughters of America
chm - condemned his/her misconduct (Quaker)
chr - charter
CG - Certified Genealogist (BCG credential)
CGI - Certified Genealogical Instructor (BCG credential)
CGL - Certified Genealogical Lecturer (BCG credential)
CMU - Concrete Masonry Unit
c/o - child of
co - chosen overseer (Quaker)
Co. - county or company
col. - colored (Negro, mulatto, fpc)
Col. - Colonel (military rank)
com/comp - complained (Quaker)
comm - committee
con - condemned (Quaker)
CGRS - Certified Genealogical Record Searcher (BCG credential)
chlw - Cotton Loom Hand Worker
CSA - Confederate States of America
ct - certificate
CVA - Confederate Veterans of America
CWSS - Civil War Soldiers and Sailors
d. - died
DAC - Daughters of American Colonists
DAR - Daughters of the American Revolution
dau. - daughter
DAV - Disabled American Veterans
DBE - Daughters of the British Empire
DCLI - Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry
dec. - deceased, dead
dec'd - deceased, dead
DED - Declared Dead (military)
desc. - descendant
d-i-l - daughter in law
dis. - disowned, disowned for (Quaker)
div. - divorce
DLI - Durham Light Infantry
DMWVI - Descendants of Mexican War Veterans
d/o - daughter of
do. - ditto, the same as the previous entry
DOB - Date of birth
DOD - Date of death
DOK - Daughters Of the King
DOW - Died of Wounds (military)
dp - dropped plain dress (Quaker)
dr - drinking to excess (Quaker)
drpd - dropped (Quaker)
DRT - Daughters of the Republic of Texas
d.s.p. - decessit sine prole (Latin), died without issue, childless
dt - daughter daughters
dtd - dated
DUP - Daughters of Utah Pioneers
DVA - Department of Veterans Affairs
d.v.p. - decessit vitae patre (Latin), died in father's lifetime
EM - Enlisted member (military)
ENHA - East Anglia National Heritage Area
end - endorsed (Quaker)
ETO - European Theater of Operations (military)
EUS - Evacuated to the U.S. (military)
F - female
F&AM - Free and Accepted Masons
FAAO - Fellow of the American Academy of Osteopathy
FACC - Fellow of the American College of Cardiology
FACCE - Fellow, American College of Childbirth Educators
FACD - Fellow of the American College of Dentists
FACE - Fellow, American College of Endocrinology
FACEP - Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians
FACFAS - Fellowship of American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons
FACP - Fellow of the American College of Physicians
FACS - Fellow American College of Surgeons
FAM - Free and Accepted Masons
fam. - family
FAS - Fellow of the Antiquarian Society
FASG - Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists
FBG - Friends burial ground
FGS - Family Group Sheet
FHC - Family History Center, branch of the FHL
FHL - Family History Library, genealogy library in Salt Lake City, Utah, maintained by LDS church
FIGRS - Fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society
f-i-l - father in law
fmc - free man of color
FNGS - Fellow of the National Genealogical Society
FNHC - Founders of the New Haven Colony
fo - folio
FoE - Fraternal Order of Eagles
FOP - Fraternal Order of Police (USA)
form - formerly
fpc - free person of color, neither Caucasian nor enslaved
fr - from
FRACP - Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians
FRAM - Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music
FRCP - Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians
FRCPE - Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
FRCSI - Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland
Frds - Friends (Quaker)
FSG - Fellow of the Society of Genealogists
FTM - Family Tree maker (software)
FTW - Family Tree Maker for Windows (software)
FUGA - Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association
fwc - free woman of color
fwf - free white female
fwm - free white male
GAR - Grand Army of the Republic
GAOTU - Great Architect of the Universe (Freemason Word)
gc - granted certificate (Quaker)
gct - granted certificate to (Quaker)
GCVO - Grand Cross of the (Royal) Victorian Order (knight)
GD - granddaughter
Gedcom - GEnealogical Data COMmunication, method of transferring genealogy files from one program to another
gl - granted letter
glt - granted letter to
govt. - government
gr dau. - granddaughter
gr s. - grandson
Gr.Yd. - grave yard
GS - grandson
GSSR - General Society, Sons of the Revolution
h. - husband
h/o - husband of
HLI - Highland Light Infantry, Herefordshire Light Infantry
HOSJG - Hospitaller Order of St. John of God
hus. - husband
ibid. - ibidem (Latin), in the same place
IIGS - International Internet Genealogical Society
inf. - infant
int. - intentions, public notice of an upcoming marriage
IGI - International Genealogical Index, created and maintained by the LDS FHL
inst. - instant (Latin), of the current month
IOF - Independent Order of Foresters
IOGT - Independent Order of Good Templars
IOJD - International Order of Job's Daughters (freemason)
IOOF - Independent Order of Odd Fellows (fraternal organization)
IOR - Independent Order of Rechabites
IORG - International Order of the Rainbow for Girls (freemasonry)
IORM - Improved Order of Red Men
IOUAM - Improved Order of United American Mechanics
j. - joined (Quaker)
jas - joined another society (Quaker)
jd - jonge dochter/ young daughter (Dutch)
jm - jonge man / young man (Dutch)
JP - Justice of the Peace
KC - Knights of Columbus
KC - Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
KCSG - Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory
KG - Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter
KGE - Knights of the Golden Eagle
KIA - Killed in Action (military)
KIPC - Killed in Plane Crash (military)
KLH - Knight of the Legion of Honour; Knights and Ladies of Honor
KNB - Killed non-battle (military)
KOSB - The King's Own Scottish Borderers
KOTM - Knights of the Maccabees
KOYLI - The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
KP - Order of Knights of Pythias
KSLI - The King's Shropshire Light Infantry
KT - Knight of the Order of the Thistle
KUV - Kranken Unterstuetzungs Verein
LCBA - Loyal Christian Benefit Association
LDS - Church of Jesus of Latter Day Saints, Mormon Church
LGAR - Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic
liv - living, lived
LOI - The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland
LOOM - Loyal Order Of Moose
LS - locus sigilli (Latin), where a seal is placed
ltm - liberated to marry
lvd - lived
lvg - living
LWA - Lightly Wounded in Action (military)
m. - married; month
m1, m (1) - married first
m2, m (2) - married second etc.
M - male
mbr - member
mbrp - membership
mcd - married contrary to Discipline (Quaker)
MCD - minor civil division (Census Soundex)
MG - Minister of the Gospel
MH - meeting house
mi - miles
MIA - Missing in Action (military)
m-i-l - mother in law
MM - monthly meeting
MOLLUS - Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
MOPH - Military Order of the Purple Heart
mos. - months; married out of society (Quaker)
mou - married out of unity (Quaker)
MOWW - Military Order of World Wars
Mr. - Mister, a title of respect
mnth - month
mt - married to
mtg - meeting
Mu - mulatto, person with one Caucasian and one Negro parent
mvd - moved
MWA - Modern Woodmen of America
na - not applicable; not attending meeting (Quaker)
NAT - North African Theater (military)
NATO - North African Theater of Operations (military, WW2)
NCWA - National Civil War Association (USA)
nd - no date, not dated
neg att - neglecting attendance (Quaker)
NEHGS - New England Historic Genealogical Society
nfr - no further record
NFMP - National Fraternity of Military Pilots
NGS - National Genealogical Society (USA)
NGSQ - National Genealogical Society Quarterly
nm - never married
nmn - no middle name
NOB - Naval Order of Battle
NOK - Next of Kin (military)
np - no page (or publisher) given
n.pub. - no publisher given
NR - not reported (Census Soundex)
NSDAR - National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
NSSDP - National Society Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims
OA - Order of the Arrow (Boy Scouts)
OBE - Order of the British Empire
OBLI - Ox and Bucks Light Infantry
OC - Order of Canada
OES - Order of the Eastern Star
OHC - Order of the Holy Cross
OM - Ordained Minister; Order of Merit
OMM - Order of Military Merit
OP - Order of Preachers (Roman Catholicism; Dominican)
OS - Old Style (referring to dates)
OSA - Order of St. Anne; Ordinis Sancti Augustini (of the order of St. Augustine)
OSB - Order of St. Benedict
OSIA - Order of the Sons of Italy in America
OSL - Order of St. Luke the Physician
OSM - Order of Servants of Mary
OSSB - Order of the Star Spangled Banner
ou - out of unity (Quaker)
OUAM - Order of United American Mechanics
p. - page
PAF - Personal Ancestral File (software)
PBA - Patrolman's Benevolent Association
PCC - Prerogative Court of Canterbury (UK)
PLAV - Polish Legion of American Veterans
PH - The Order of Patrons Of Husbandry (Grange)
PM - preparative meeting (Quaker)
POSA - Patriotic Sons of America
pp. - pages
prc - produced a certificate (Quaker)
prob. - probably
p.v. - prorare vexilla, patriotically
Qkr - Quaker
QM - quarter master (military); quarterly meeting (Quaker)
QOCH - Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders
RCA - Railway Carmen of America
rcd - recorded; received
RCJ - Rogationists Cordis Jesu (formal name for Rogationists, Roman Catholic Order of Men)
rec - received
recrq - received by request (Quaker)
relfc - released from care of (Quaker)
relrq - released by request (Quaker)
rem. - remove, removed
ret. - retired; returned
ret mbrp - retained membership (Quaker)
rev - reversed
RGLI - Royal Guernsey Light Infantry
RHF - Royal Highland Fusiliers
RJLI - Royal Jersey Light Infantry
RMC - Returned to Military Control (Military)
RMLI - Royal Marine Light Infantry
rm(t) - reported married (to)
RNA - Royal Neighbors of America
roc - received on certificate (Quaker)
rocf - received on certificate from (Quaker)
rol - received on letter (Quaker)
rolf - received on letter from (Quaker)
rpd - reported
RQM - Regimental Quartermaster (US Civil War)
rrq - request, requests, requested
rqc - requested certificate (Quaker)
rqct - requested certificate to (Quaker)
rqcuc - requested to come under care (Quaker)
RSF - The Royal Scots Fusiliers
RSOF - Religious Society Of Friends (Quakers)
rst - reinstate, reinstated (Quaker)
RTD - Returned to Duty (military)
RTT - Royal Templars of Temperance
s. - son
SAR - Sons of the American Revolution
SCV - Sons of Confederate Veterans
SDWA - Society of the Descendants of Washington's Army at Valley Forge
sep. - separated
SEYM - South Eastern Yearly Meeting (Quaker)
SI - sister
s-i-l - sister in law
sis - sister
s/o - son of
SOWD - Special Order War Department (US Civil War)
SSDI - Social Security Death Index (USA)
SUVCW - Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (USA)
SWA - Seriously Wounded in Action (military)
TAG - The American Genealogist (quarterly journal published since 1922)
temp. - temporarily
TMG - The Master Genealogist (software)
transfrd - transferred
TSSF - Third Order of St. Francis
TVC - Texas Veterans Commission
twp. - township, division of land
uc - under care of (Quaker)
UBCJA - United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America
UCV - United Confederate Veterans
UDA - United Daughters of America
UDC - United Daughters of the Confederacy
UFT - Ultimate Family Tree (software)
ult. - ultimo (Latin), of the preceding month
unm. - unmarried
upl - using profane language (Quaker)
USIGS - United States Internet Genealogical Society
USGW - USGenWeb (online collective providing genealogical resources via linked webpages)
USV - United States Volunteers (US Civil War)
VFW - Veterans of Foreign Wars (USA)
viz. - videlicet (Latin), namely
VRC - Veteran Reserve Corps (US Civil War)
VVI - Vermont Volunteer Infantry (US Civil War)
w. - wife
W - white, Caucasian
WAC - Women's Army Corp
w/c - with consent of
wid. - widow
wit. - witness
w/o - wife of
WOTW - Woodmen Of The World
WOW - Woodmen Of The World
w/pwr - with power (Quaker)
WRC - Women's Relief Corps
wrkd - worked
YM - yearly meeting (Quaker)
Research Paths and Byways
by Patricia Law Hatcher, FASG
I've been working lately trying to separate and/or connect several early colonial families of the same surname. Several of the records I worked with used terms for people and relationships that are not used in modern times, or that have different meanings. In early America, word usage was based on word usage in England.
Mr., Mrs., Goodman, Goodwife We think of Mr. and Mrs. as denoting marital status, but if we think of their long forms of Master and Mistress, we will come closer to the meaning in early America, indicating a level of standing in the community. Thus, even a small child might be called Mr. or Mrs.
The status below that of Mr. was Goodman. His wife would be called Goodwife or Goodie. These titles were not official, nor were they fixed. I noticed in the records I was studying, for example, that one man was called both Mr. and Goodman in two different records in the same court.
Spinsters and Relicts
To us, a spinster is a woman who never married. However, upon occasion we find it in records referring simply to a woman who is unmarried or acting on her own. The term single woman might also be used in the same context, both then and into modern times. The term spinster is also an occupation, but in legal documents women were almost always referred to by marital status rather than occupation.
Legally, relict means the survivor of a marriage and refers to either the husband or the wife. However, we normally see the term used for the widow.
Terms of relationship are most likely to trip us up. We have distinct understandings of the terms in-law and step. To us, our daughter-in-law is married to our son and our father-in-law is our spouse's father. On the other hand, a stepson is a child of our spouse's by an earlier marriage and a stepparent is married to our mother or father. In early America, these terms often seem to mean just the opposite. Legally, in-law refers to relationships that are not by blood. For example, a stepson could be called a son-in-law. When using any document, we should be open to both meanings.
Usage was flexible. I was almost tripped up when analyzing one will in my recent research. A man referred to his son-in-law. He was, indeed, referring to the husband of his daughter. Then he instructed his son to provide for his (the son's) mother-in-law, which meant his stepmother. I can't remember encountering a document in which both interpretations occurred. In the future I will be less rigid in my expectations.
Brother, Sister, Father, Mother
The usage of brother, sister, father, and mother have tripped up many an unwary genealogist. They have even caused problems for the most knowledgeable researchers. Whereas we consider them as explicitly defining blood relationships, our ancestors were perfectly comfortable using them as more generic terms, without modifiers. Thus, they could refer to a blood relative, an in-law, or a step-relative. A few years ago in an article in "The American Genealogist," I significantly rearranged the ancestry of some early Maryland residents when a careful reading of a will showed that the provisions made for "my Honoured Mother Margaret Nottle" were for the man's mother-in-law, not his mother.
Occasionally, these terms are used to refer to persons who are not related by blood, as when we sometimes find that someone was a brother or sister in the church.
Cousins, Nieces, Nephews, and Grandchildren
The exact relationship of the terms cousin (often spelled cuzin or cuzen), niece, and nephew weren't as fixed as they are today. In one of the documents I read during this recent research, bequests were made to two female cousins. I suspected this might be an important clue overlooked by other researchers. I was able to determine that the women were sisters and that their father was not related to the man writing the will. Chronology and other factors suggest that their mother was a heretofore-unidentified sister of the man who left money to them. In other words, they were his nieces.
Very rarely in early America we find interchangeability between the terms niece or nephew and grandson or granddaughter. This derives from the fact that in Latin, Old French, and Middle English, a single term was used for grandson, nephew, and other male descendants and another for granddaughter, niece, and other female descendants. However, before concluding that you have such a case, you should always research the whole family exceptionally thoroughly.
I should mention a term that occasionally was (and is) used and that could easily be misinterpreted. A cousin german is a true first cousin. It has nothing to do with nationality.
Natural Children and Now Wives
In wills we see terms that I have often heard misinterpreted by genealogists. Natural children are those related by blood, as opposed to in-laws and stepchildren, but it does not imply anything about the legitimacy of a child. An illegitimate child is a natural child, but a natural child is usually not an illegitimate child. When an illegitimate child was named in a will, the circumstances are usually very clear, with the mother named. I saw a will recently in which a man mentioned three illegitimate children. Each of their mothers were named. All three of them!
When a man mentioned his now wife in a will, he was not making any statement about the possibility of a previous marriage. He was simply trying to be completely unambiguous in indicating that he was referring specifically to the woman to whom he was at that moment married. In other words, if she died and he remarried, the new wife would not receive the bequest. (It is to be hoped that under those circumstances he remembered to write a new will or add a codicil.)
Sr., Jr., III
Sr., Jr., and III do not necessarily denote any blood relationship, but instead are used to distinguish among persons of the same name in the same locality, with Sr being the eldest. The terms were dynamic. When the eldest in the list died off, everyone moved up a notch.
In England in the time period preceding the earliest American colonization, we find examples in which the same name is given to two children in the same family. I am currently working on the English origins of a seventeenth-century Rhode Island immigrant. The will of his grandfather mentions his "sonne John the elder" and "my sonne John the younger." In this case, I suspect they may have been by separate wives, but that was by no means always the case. American examples of this are extremely rare.
One of the most important things we can remember to do in genealogy is to remind ourselves constantly that our world, and our language, is not fully that of our ancestors. Words change meaning. When words describe a relationship, make sure that you seek other records to confirm their meaning.
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16 g grandparents
32 gg grandparents
64 ggg grandparents
128 gggg grandparents
256 ggggg grandparents
512 gggggg grandparents
1024 ggggggg grandparents
2058 gggggggg grandparents
4096 ggggggggg grandparents
... and people ask me, "Isn't your family tree finished yet?"
Epidemics in U.S. - 1657 - 1918
From the South Bend, IN Area Genealogical Society, April 1996
. Epidemics have always had a great influence on people -- and thus influencing, as well, the genealogists trying to trace them. Many cases of people disappearing from records can be traced to dying during an epidemic or moving away from the affected area. Some of the major epidemics in the United States are listed below:
1657 Boston: Measles
1687 Boston: Measles
1690 New York: Yellow Fever
1713 Boston: Measles
1729 Boston: Measles
1732-33 Worldwide: Influenza
1738 South Carolina: Smallpox
1739-40 Boston: Measles
1747 Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania & South Carolina: Measles
1759 North America (areas inhabited by white people): Measles
1761-61 North America & West Indies: Influenza
1772 North America: Measles
1775 North America (especially hard in New England): Epidemic (unknown)
1775-76 Worldwide: Influenza
1781-82 Worldwide: Influenza (one of worst flu epidemics)
1788 Philadelphia & New York: Measles
1793 Vermont: Influenza and a "putrid fever"
1793 Virginia: Influenza (kills 500 people in 5 counties in 4 weeks)
1793 Philadelphia: Yellow fever (one of worst)
1783 Delaware (Dover): "extremely fatal" bilious disorder
1793 Pennsylvania (Harrisburg & Middletown): many unexplained deaths
1794 Philadelphia: Yellow fever 1796-97
Philadelphia: Yellow Fever
1798 Philadelphia: Yellow Fever (one of worst)
1803 New York: Yellow Fever
1820-23 Nationwide: "fever" (starts on Schuylkill River, PA & spreads
1831-32 Nationwide: Asiatic Cholera (brought by English emigrants)
1832 New York & other major cities: Cholera
1837 Philadelphia: Typhus
1841 Nationwide: Yellow Fever (especially severe in South)
1847 New Orleans: Yellow Fever 1847-48 Worldwide: Influenza
1848-49 North America: Cholera
1850 Nationwide: Yellow Fever
1850-51 North America: Influenza
1852 Nationwide: Yellow Fever (New Orleans: 8,000 die in summer)
1855 Nationwide (many parts): Yellow Fever
1857-59 Worldwide: Influenza (one of disease's greatest epidemics)
1860-61 Pennsylvania: Smallpox
1865-73 Philadelphia, New York, Boston, New Orleans, Baltimore, Memphis, & Washington D.C.: a series of recurring epidemics of Smallpox, Cholera, Typhus, Typhoid, Scarlet Fever & Yellow Fever
1873-75 North America & Europe: Influenza
1878 New Orleans: Yellow Fever (last great epidemic of disease)
1885 Plymouth, PA: Typhoid
1886: Jacksonville, Fl: Yellow Fever
1918 Worldwide: Influenza (high point year) More people hospitalized in World War I from Influenza than wounds. US Army training camps became death camps --with 80 percent death rate in some camps. Finally, these specific instances of cholera were mentioned:
1833 Columbus, Ohio
1834 New York City
1849 New York 1851
Coles Co., Illinois
1851 The Great Plains
YOU ARE YOUR OWN COUSIN
From the column "Publisher's Corner"
by Graham Ponder in the Madisonian, Madison, Georgia.
Guy Murchie, in his book "The Seven Mysteries of Life" proves that we are all cousins. Murchie says, "Although few people seem to realize it, man's relation to himself is fairly easy to measure and is surprisingly close. In fact, no human being, of any race, can be less closely related to any other human being than approximately fiftieth cousin, and most of us are a lot closer. It means simply that the family tree of all of us, of whatever orgin or trait, must meet and merge into one genetic tree of all humanity by the time they have spread into our ancestries for about fifty generations."
"Just use simple mathematics, 2 parents equal 4 grandparents, equal 8 great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, etc. The thirtieth power of two 1,073,741,824 is greater than was the earth's population thirty generations ago, in the thirteenth century; great than the world's population at that time.
"You cannot go on doubling your ancestors for more than a few generations into the past for inevitably the same ancestors will appear on both your father's and your mother's sides of the family tree, reducing the total number. This does not allow you to double the rate during that generation, and surely this would begin to happen more and more often as you go back in time. Spouses are not just spouses, they also become very distant cousins, not only related by marriage but also by "blood" because somewhere in the past they share ancestors."
1st son = father's father
2nd son = mother's father
3rd son = father
4th son = father's oldest brother
5th son = father's 2nd oldest brother or mother's oldest brother
1st daughter = mother's mother
2nd daughter = father's mother
3rd daughter = mother
4th daughter = mother's oldest sister
5th daughter = mother's 2nd oldest sister or father's oldest sister
Old Occupations Explained
Accomptant -- Accountant
Almoner -- Giver of charity to the needy
Amanuensis -- Secretary or stenographer
Artificer -- A soldier mechanic who does repairs
Bailie -- Bailiff
Baxter -- Baker
Bluestocking -- Female writer
Boniface -- Keeper of an inn
Brazier -- One who works with brass
Brewster -- Beer manufacturer
Brightsmith -- Metal Worker
Burgonmaster -- Mayor
Caulker -- One who filled up cracks (in ships or windows or seems to them watertight by using tar or oakum-hemp fiber produced by taking old ropes apart
Chaisemaker -- Carriage maker
Chandler -- Dealer or trader; one who makes or sells candles; retailer of groceries
Chiffonnier -- Wig maker
Clark -- Clerk
Clerk -- Clergyman, cleric
Clicker -- The servant of a salesman who stood at the door to invite customers; one who received the matter in the galley from the compositors and arranged it in due form ready for printing; one who makes eyelet holes in boots using a machine which clicked.
Cohen -- Priest
Collier -- Coal miner
Colporteur -- Peddler of books
Cooper -- One who makes or repairs vessels made of staves and hoops, such as casks, barrels, tubs, etc.
Cordwainer -- Shoemaker, originally any leather worker using leather from Cordova/Cordoba in Spain
Costermonger -- Peddler of fruits and vegetables
Crocker -- Potter
Crowner -- Coroner
Currier -- One who dresses the coat of a horse with a currycomb; one who tanned leather by incorporating oil or grease
Docker Stevedore, dock worker who loads and unloads cargo
Dowser -- One who finds water using a rod or witching stick
Draper -- A dealer in dry goods
Drayman -- One who drives a long strong cart without fixed sides for carrying heavy loads
Dresser -- A surgeon's assistant in a hospital
Drover -- One who drives cattle, sheep, etc. to market; a dealer in cattle
Duffer -- Peddler
Factor -- Agent, commission merchant; one who acts or transacts business for another; Scottish steward or bailiff of an estate Farrier A blacksmith, one who shoes horses
Faulkner -- Falconer
Fell monger -- One who removes hair or wool from hides in preparation for leather making
Fletcher -- One who made bows and arrows
Fuller -- One who fulls cloth;one who shrinks and thickens woolen cloth by moistening, heating, and pressing; one who cleans and finishes cloth
Gaoler -- A keeper of the goal, a jailer
Glazier -- Window glassman
Hacker -- Maker of hoes
Hatcheler -- One who combed out or carded flax
Haymonger -- Dealer in hay
Hayward -- Keeper of fences
Higgler -- Itinerant peddler
Hillier -- Roof tiler
Hind -- A farm laborer
Hostler -- A groom who took care of horses, often at an inn
Hooker -- Reaper
Hooper -- One who made hoops for casks and barrels
Huckster -- Sells small wares
Husbandman -- A farmer who cultivated the land
Jagger -- Fish peddler
Journeyman -- One who had served his apprenticeship and mastered his craft, not bound to serve a master, but hired by the day
Joyner / Joiner A skilled carpenter
Keeler -- Bargeman
Kempster -- Wool comber
Lardner -- Keeper of the cupboard
Lavender -- Washer woman
Lederer -- Leather maker
Leech -- Physician
Longshoreman -- Stevedore
Lormer -- Maker of horse gear
Malender -- Farmer
Maltster -- Brewer
Manciple -- A steward
Mason -- Bricklayer
Mintmaster -- One who issued local currency
Monger -- Seller of goods (ale, fish)
Muleskinner -- Teamster
Neatherder -- Herds cows
Ordinary Keeper -- Innkeeper with fixed prices
Pattern Maker -- A maker of a clog shod with an iron ring. A clog was a wooden pole with a pattern cut into the end
Peregrinator Itinerant wanderer
Peruker -- A wig maker
Pettifogger -- A shyster lawyer
Pigman -- Crockery dealer
Plumber -- One who applied sheet lead for roofing and set lead frames for plain or stained glass windows.
Porter -- Door keeper
Puddler -- Wrought iron worker
Quarrier -- Quarry worker
Rigger -- Hoist tackle worker
Ripper -- Seller of fish
Roper -- Maker of rope or nets
Saddler -- One who makes, repairs or sells saddles or other furnishings for horses
Sawbones -- Physician
Sawyer -- One who saws; carpenter
Schumacker -- Shoemaker
Scribler -- A minor or worthless author
Scrivener -- Professional or public copyist or writer; notary public
Scrutiner -- Election judge
Shrieve -- Sheriff
Slater -- Roofer
Slopseller -- Seller of ready-made clothes in a slop shop
Snobscat/Snob -- One who repaired shoes
Sorter -- Tailor
Spinster -- A woman who spins or an unmarried woman
Spurrer -- Maker of spurs
Squire -- Country gentleman; farm owner; justice of peace
Stuff gown -- Junior barrister
Stuff gownsman -- Junior barrister
Supercargo -- Officer on merchant ship who is in charge of cargo and the commercial concerns of the ship
Tanner -- One who tans (cures) animal hides into leather
Tapley -- One who puts the tap in an ale cask
Tasker -- Reaper
Teamster -- One who drives a team for hauling
Thatcher -- Roofer
Tide waiter -- Customs inspector
Tinker -- An itinerant tin pot and pan seller and repairman
Tipstaff -- Policeman
Travers -- Toll bridge collection
Tucker -- Cleaner of cloth goods
Turner -- A person who turns wood on a lathe into spindles
Victualer -- A tavern keeper, or one who provides an army, navy, or ship with food
Vulcan -- Blacksmith
Wagoner -- Teamster not for hire
Wainwright -- Wagon maker
Waiter -- Customs officer or tide waiter; one who waited on the tide to collect duty on goods brought in
Waterman -- Boatman who plies for hire
Webster -- Operator of looms
Wharfinger -- Owner of a wharf
Wheelwright -- One who made or repaired wheels; wheeled carriages, etc.
Whitesmith -- Tinsmith; worker of iron who finishes or polishes the work
Whitewing -- Street sweeper
Whitster -- Bleach of cloth
Wright -- Workman, especially a construction worker
Yeoman -- Farmer who owns his own land
(for Gentlemen) from Harper's Bazaar (C.1868)
"Visiting cards for the coming season are of unglazed card board, large and almost square. Tinted cards, especially buff, are fashionable. The lettering is in old English text, or in script. The expense of fifty cards is $3.50.
One corner of the card is turned down to denote the object of the visit. In different cities a different signification is attached to these broken cards. We give the custom of New York society. On the left hand upper corner the word Visite is engraved on the reverse side. This corner is turned downed, displaying the word on the front of the card to signify that an ordinary call is made. On the right hand corner is Felicitation, to be used when making a visit of congratulation on some happy event, such as a marriage, or the birth of a child. On the left lower side is Conge, or Good-by. The remaining corner is marked Condolence."
Medieval And Obsolete English Trade And Professional Terms
Aquarius (Ewer) ~~ Waterman
Aurifaber ~~ Goldsmith.
Avenator (Plantifene) ~~ Hay and Forage Merchant.
Barker ~~ Tanner.
Baxter ~~ Baker
Belhoste ~~ Tavern keeper.
Belleyetere ~~ Bellfounder.
Bowyer ~~ Bowmaker.
Brasiler ~~ Dyer.
Burneman ~~ Carrier of barm or water for brewers.
Cancellarius ~~ Chancellor.
Cardmaker ~~ Maker ~~ of cards or instrumets for combing wool.
Carnifex ~~ Butcher.
Carpentarius ~~ Carpenter.
Chaloner ~~ Dealer in shalloon, a material made in Chƒlons.
Chapman ~~ Merchant.
Chirugion ~~ Apothecary or Surgeon.
Cissor ~~ Tailor.
Clericus ~~ Clerk
Cocus (Keu) ~~ Cook
Combere ~~ Woolcomber
Corvisor (Cordewanarius, Cordwainer) ~~ Shoemaker, originally a worker in Cordovan leather.
Cotiler ~~ Cutler
Cuhreur (Cunreur) ~~ Currier.
Cuper ~~ Cooper; a barrel maker.
Dexter ~~ Dyer.
Dubbere ~~ Cloth dubber, i.e., one who raises the nap of cloth.
Dudder ~~ Probably a maker of coarse cloaks.
Daunsel ~~ Gentleman in waiting, groom or squire.
Dysshere ~~ Probably a ditcher, or in some cases a disher.
Elymaker ~~ Oilmaker.
Faber ~~ Smith.
Ferur (Ferator) ~~ Farrier or blacksmith.
Fisher (Fishdryver) ~~ Victualler.
Flauner ~~ Confectioner.
Fleshewer ~~ Butcher.
Fletcher ~~ Arrowmaker.
Forestarius ~~ Forester.
Frereman ~~ Servant of the Friars.
Fuller ~~ One who trampled cloth. See alsoWalker.
Furber (Furbour) ~~ Furbisher of armour.
Furner ~~ Baker.
Garcifer (Garcio) ~~ Groom, attendant.
Garlekmonger ~~ Dealer in gaarlic.
Glassewryght ~~ Maker and mender of glassware.
Gynour ~~ Engineer.
Hamberghmaker (Hamberow) ~~ Horse collar maker.
Harper ~~ Musician (?).
Hetheleder ~~ Provider of heather for fuel.
Hosteler ~~ Innkeeper.
Husbandman ~~ Tenant farmer .
Kepegest ~~ Innkeeper.
Latouner ~~ Worker in latten, a metal resembling brass.
Limner ~~ Draughtsman or Artist.
Lokeer ~~ Locksmith.
Lorimer ~~ Bridlemaker.
Macun ~~ Mason.
Marescallus ~~ Marshall.
Medicus ~~ Leech, Doctor.
Mercator ~~ Merchant.
Molendinarius ~~ (Muner) ~~ Miller.
Mustarder ~~ Grower and grinder ofmustard.
Nedder ~~ Needle-maker.
Palmer ~~ A Pilgrim, one who had been, or pretended to have been, to the Holy Land.
Paneler ~~ Saddler.
Pannarius ~~ Clothier and Draper.
Pannebeter ~~ Pan-hammerer, or perhaps clothdriver.
Pardoner ~~ One licensed to sell Papal Indulgences.
Parmentor ~~ Probably a parchment maker, or tailor.
Parcheminer ~~ Parchment maker.
Pattenmaker ~~ Maker of iron-rimmed pattens for footwear.
Pelliparius (Peltarius ~~ Skinner.
Perukemaker ~~ Wigmaker.
Pictor ~~ Painter.
Pinder ~~ Keeper of the Pound or Pinfold.
Piscarius ~~ Fishmonger.
Piscator ~~ Fisherman.
Pistor ~~ Miller or Baker.
Plantifene (see Avernator).
Plomer ~~ Plumber.
Pynner ~~ Pin-maker.
Roper ~~ Ropemaker.
Rotarius ~~ Wheelwright.
Safernman ~~ Grower of Saffron.
Samitere (Samite) ~~ Maker of a kind of heavy silk suff.
Sauntere ~~ Probaby Salt maker.
Sausere ~~ Salter.
Seinter ~~ Girdlemaker.
Seler (Sellarius) ~~ Sadder.
Serviens ~~ Sergeant.
Servus ~~ Servant.
Sherman (Shearman) ~~ One who raised the surface of woolen cloth and then sheared it to a smooth surface.
Shether ~~ (See Vaginarius).
Sifker ~~ Sievemaker.
Sissor (Cissor) ~~ Tailor.
Sleymaker ~~ Maker of instruments to part threads in weaving.
Soper ~~ Soapmaker.
Spittleman ~~ Hospital Attendant.
Spicer ~~ Grocer.
Spurrier ~~ Spurmaker.
Stabler ~~ Ostler.
Stasyon (Stawsun) ~~ Probably a Stationer.
Sugarer ~~ Dealer in sugar. (Grocer ?)
Sumner ~~ Summoner or Apparitor.
Sutor ~~ Shoemaker or cobbler.
Tabernarius ~~ Taverner, Innkeeper.
Tannator ~~ Tanner.
Teinter ~~ Dyer.
Textor ~~ Weaver.
Tinctor ~~ Dyer or possibly a painter.
Upholder ~~ Upholsterer; also a cheapjack and seller of secondhand goods.
Vaginarius, Sheather ~~ Scabbard maker.
Venator (Venur) ~~ Huntsman.
Vintner ~~ Wine Merchant.
Walker (Same as Fuller) ~~ Cloth trampler or cleaner.
Webster ~~ Weaver.
Whittawer ~~ Preparer of white leather.
Yeoman ~~ Freehold farmer.
Thanks to Evelyn Cataldi for transcribing these professions from "First Settlers of South Carolina 1670-1700" by Agnes Leland Baldwin.
Bever ~~ Beverage maker
Blockmaker ~~ One who crafted pulleys
Castor ~~ Hat maker
Felmonger ~~ Hide dealer forges
Nailor ~~ Nail maker
Sempster ~~ Seamstress
Sil kmaker spinster ~~ Female spinner
Silkmaker throster ~~ Male spinner
Simpler ~~ Agriculturist that we would call herbalist today
Swordcutter ~~ Smith who fashioned swords
Vineroon ~~ Wine grower
Whitesmith ~~ Tinsmith; or one who finishes & polishes after the Smith
ALMONER Giver of charity
ANANUENSIS Secretary or Stenographer
BLUESTOCKING Female writer
BONIFACE Keeper of an inn
COLPORTEUR Peddler of books
CORDWAINER Made shoes
COSTERMONGER Peddler of fruits and vegetables
DOWSER Water finder
FLETCHER Made bows and arrows
FULLER Cleaned and finished cloth
GLAZIER Window glassman
HATCHELER Combed or carded flax
HOOPER Made hoops for casks
HOSTLER (or Ostler) Groomed horses
LEECH or SAWBONES Physician
MINTMASTER Issued local currency
PEREGRINATOR Itinerant wanderer
PETTIFOGGER Shyster lawyer
PUMBUM WORKER Plumber
RATTLEWATCH Town watchman
SCRUTINEER Election judge
SNOBSCAT Repaired shoes
STUFFGOWNSMAN Junior barrister
TIDE WAITER Customs inspector
WEBSTER Operated looms
WHARFINGER Owner of a wharf
This information from "Old Farmer's Almanac," reprinted in Dec. 1986
by "Roots Digest," Ronald A. Bremer, Publisher
Glossary of Diseases
Abcpsia - blindness
Ablepsy - Blindness
Addison's Disease - Anemic condition caused by kidney disease
Aegrotantem - sickness
Ague - Malarial Fever
American plague - Yellow fever
Anasarca - Generalized massive edema
Aphonia - Laryngitis
Aphtha - The infant disease "thrush"
Apoplexy - Paralysis due to stroke
Ascites - Dropsy of the abdomen
Asphycsia/Asphicsia - Cyanotic and lack of oxygen
Atrophy - Wasting away or diminishing in size.
Bad Blood - Syphilis
Bilious fever - Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis or
levated temperature and bile emesis
Biliousness - Jaundice associated with liver disease
Black fever - Acute infection with high temperature and dark red skin lesions and high mortality rate
Black Lung - disease from breathing coal dust
Black plague or death - Bubonic plague
Black pox - Black Small pox
Black vomit - Vomiting old black blood due to ulcers or yellow fever
Blackwater fever - Dark urine associated with high temperature
Bladder in throat - Diphtheria (Seen on death certificates)
Blood poisoning - Bacterial infection; septicemia
Bloody flux - Bloody stools; dysentery
Bloody sweat - Sweating sickness
Bone shave - Sciatica
Brain fever - Meningitis
Breakbone - Dengue fever
Bright's disease - Chronic inflammatory disease of kidneys
Bronze John - Yellow fever
Bule - Boil, tumor or swelling
Cachexy - Malnutrition
Cacogastric - Upset stomach
Cacospysy - Irregular pulse
Caduceus - Subject to falling sickness or epilepsy
Camp fever - Typhus; aka Camp diarrhea
Canine madness - Rabies, hydrophobia
Canker - Ulceration of mouth or lips or herpes simplex
Catalepsy - Seizures / trances
Catarrhal - Nose and throat discharge from cold or allergy
Cerebritis - Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning
Chilblain - Swelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold
Child bed fever - Infection following birth of a child
Chin cough - Whooping cough
Chlorosis - Iron deficiency anemia
Cholera - Acute severe contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing
Cholera morbus - Characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, elevated temperature, etc. Could be appendicitis
Cholecystitus - Inflammation of the gall bladder
Cholelithiasis - Gall stones
Chorea - Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing
Cold plague - Ague which is characterized by chills
Colic - An abdominal pain and cramping
Congestive chills or fever - Malaria
Consumption - Tuberculosis
Congestion - Any collection of fluid in an organ, like the lungs
Congestive chills - Malaria with diarrhea
Congestive fever - Malaria
Corruption - Infection
Coryza - A cold
Costiveness - Constipation
Cramp colic - Appendicitis
Cretinism - congenital hypothyroidism
Crop sickness - Overextended stomach
Croup - Laryngitis, diphtheria, or strep throat
Cyanosis - Dark skin color from lack of oxygen in blood
Cynanche - Diseases of throat
Cystitis - Inflammation of the bladder
Day fever - Fever lasting one day; sweating sickness
Debility - Lack of movement or staying in bed
Decrepitude - Feebleness due to old age
Delirium tremens - Hallucinations due to alcoholism
Dengue - Infectious fever endemic to East Africa
Dentition - Cutting of teeth
Deplumation - Tumor of the eyelids which causes hair loss
Diary fever - A fever that lasts one day
Diptheria - Contagious disease of the throat, spread by infected milk
Distemper - Usually animal disease with malaise, discharge from nose and throat, anorexia
Dock fever - Yellow fever
Dropsy - Edema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease
Dropsy of the Brain - Encephalitis
Dry Bellyache - Lead poisoning
Dyscrasy - An abnormal body condition
Dysentery - Inflammation of colon with frequent passage of mucous and blood
Dysorexy - Reduced appetite
Dyspepsia - Indigestion and heartburn. Heart attack symptoms
Dysury - Difficulty in urination
Eclampsy - Symptoms of epilepsy, convulsions during labor
Ecstasy - A form of catalepsy characterized by loss of reason
Edema - Nephrosis; swelling of tissues
Edema of lungs - Congestive heart failure, a form of dropsy
Eel thing - Erysipelas
Elephantiasis - A form of leprosy
Epitaxis - Nose bleed
Erysipelas - Contagious skin disease, due to Streptococci with vesicular and bulbous lesions
Extravasted blood - Rupture of a blood vessel
Falling sickness - Epilepsy
Fatty Liver - Cirrhosis of liver
Fits - Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity
Flux - An excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea
Flux of humour - Circulation
French pox - Syphilis
Galloping Consumption - Pulmonary Tuberculosis
Gathering - A collection of pus
Glandular fever - Mononucleosis
Great pox - Syphilis
Green fever / sickness - Anemia
Grippe/grip - Influenza like symptoms
Grocer's itch - Skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour
Heart sickness - Condition caused by loss of salt from body
Heat stroke - Body temperature elevates because of surrounding environment temperature and body does not perspire to reduce temperature. Coma and death result if not reversed
Hectical complaint - Recurrent fever
Hematemesis - Vomiting blood
Hematuria - Bloody urine
Hemiplegy - Paralysis of one side of body
Hip gout - Osteomylitis
Horrors - Delirium tremens
Hydrocephalus - Enlarged head, water on the brain
Hydropericardium - Heart dropsy
Hydrophobia - Rabies
Hydrothroax - Dropsy in chest
Hypertrophic - Enlargement of organ, like the heart
Impetigo - Contagious skin disease characterized by pustules
Inanition - Physical condition resulting from the inability to assimilate food
Infantile paralysis - Polio
Intestinal colic - Abdominal pain due to improper diet
Jail fever - Typhus
Jaundice - Condition caused by blockage of intestines
King's evil - Tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands
Kruchhusten - Whooping cough
Lagrippe - Influenza
Lockjaw - Tetanus or infectious disease affecting the muscles of the neck and jaw. Untreated, it is
fatal in 8 days
Long sickness - Tuberculosis
Lues disease - Syphilis
Lues venera - Venereal disease
Lumbago - Back pain
Lung fever - Pneumonia
Lung sickness - Tuberculosis
Lying in - Time of delivery of infant
Malignant sore throat - Diphtheria
Mania - Insanity
Marasmus - Progressive wasting away of body, like malnutrition
Membranous Croup - Diphtheria
Meningitis - Inflations of brain or spinal cord
Metritis - Inflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge
Miasma - Poisonous vapors thought to infect the air
Milk fever - Disease from drinking contaminated milk, like undulant fever or brucellosis
Milk leg - Post partum thrombophlebitis
Milk sickness - Poisoning from milk of cattle which had eaten leaves of the white snakeroot plant
Mormal - Gangrene
Morphew - Scurvy blisters on the body
Mortification - Gangrene of necrotic tissue
Myelitis - Inflammation of the spine
Myocarditis - Inflammation of heart muscles
Necrosis - Mortification of bones or tissue
Nephrosis - Kidney degeneration
Nepritis - Inflammation of kidneys
Nervous prostration - Extreme exhaustion from inability to control physical and mental activities
Neuralgia - Described as discomfort, such as "Headache" was neuralgia in head
Neurasthenia - Neurotic condition caused by worry; disturbances of digestion, circulation attributed to emotional conflict
Nostalgia - Homesickness
Palsy - Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles. It was listed as "Cause of death"
Paroxysm - Convulsion
Pemphigus - Skin disease of watery blisters
Pericarditis - Inflammation of heart
Peripneumonia - Inflammation of lungs
Peritonotis - Inflammation of abdominal area
Petechial Fever - Fever characterized by skin spotting
Puerperal exhaustion - Death due to child birth
Phthiriasis - Lice infestation
Phthisis - Chronic wasting away or a name for tuberculosis
Plague - An acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate
Pleurisy - Any pain in the chest area with each breath
Podagra - Gout
Poliomyelitis - Polio
Potter's asthma - Fibroid pthisis
Pott's disease - Tuberculosis of spine
Pox - Syphilis
Puerperal exhaustion - Death due to childbirth
Puerperal fever - Elevated temperature after giving birth to an infant
Puking fever - Milk sickness
Putrid fever - Diphtheria.
Quinsy - Severe attack of tonsilitis which resulted in abscess near the tonsils
Remitting fever - Malaria
Rheumatism - Any disorder associated with pain in joints
Rickets - Disease of skeletal system
Rose cold - Hay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy
Rotanny fever - (Child's disease) ???
Rubeola - German measles
Sanguineous crust - Scab
Scarlatina - Scarlet fever
Scarlet fever - A disease characterized by red rash
Scarlet rash - Roseola
Sciatica - Rheumatism in the hips
Scirrhus - Cancerous tumors
Scotomy - Dizziness, nausea and dimness of sight
Scrivener's palsy - Writer's cramp
Screws - Rheumatism
Scrofula - Tuberculosis of neck lymph glands. Progresses slowly with abscesses and pistulas develop. Young person's disease
Scrumpox - Skin disease, impetigo
Scurvy - Lack of vitamin C. Symptoms of weakness, spongy gums and hemorrhages under skin
Septicemia - Blood poisoning
Shakes - Delirium tremens
Shaking - Chills, ague
Shingles - Viral disease with skin blisters
Ship fever - Typhus
Siriasis - Inflammation of the brain due to sun exposure
Sloes - Milk sickness
Small pox - Contagious disease with fever and blisters
Softening of brain - Result of stroke or hemorrhage in the brain, with an end result of the tissue
softening in that area
Sore throat distemper - Diphtheria or quinsy
Spanish influenza - Epidemic influenza
Spasms - Sudden involuntary contraction of muscle or group of muscles, like a convulsion
Spina bifida - Deformity of spine
Spotted fever - Either typhus or meningitis
Sprue - Tropical disease characterized by intestinal disorders and sore throat
St. Anthony's fire - Also erysipelas, but named so because of affected skin areas are bright red in
St. Vitas dance - Ceaseless occurrence of rapid complex jerking movements performed involuntarily
Stomatitis - Inflammation of the mouth
Stranger's fever - Yellow fever
Strangery - Rupture
Sudor anglicus - Sweating sickness
Summer complaint - Dysentery, usually in infants caused by spoiled milk
Sunstroke - Uncontrolled elevation of body temperature due to environment heat. Lack of sodium in the body is a predisposing cause
Swamp sickness - Could be malaria, typhoid or encephalitis
Sweating sickness - Infectious and fatal disease common to UK in 15th century
Tetanus - Infectious fever characterized by high fever, headache and dizziness
Thrombosis - Blood clot inside blood vessel
Thrush - Childhood disease characterized by spots on mouth, lips and throat
Tick fever - Rocky mountain spotted fever
Toxemia of pregnancy - Eclampsia
Trench mouth - Painful ulcers found along gum line. Caused by poor nutrition and poor hygiene
Tussis convulsiva - Whooping cough
Typhus - Infectious fever characterized high fever, headache, and dizziness
Variola - Smallpox
Venesection - Bleeding
Viper's dance - St. Vitus Dance
Water on brain - Enlarged head
White swelling - Tuberculosis of the bone
Whitlow - Boil
Winter fever - Pneumonia
Womb fever - Infection of the uterus.
Worm fit - Convulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature or diarrhea
Yellowjacket - Yellow fever.
Page Created April 2, 2005
©2005 Jane Combs All Rights Reserved