Genealogy Terms

These genealogy terms were abstracted from a wide variety of sources, including Genealogy.com glossary, "Reasearcher Guide to American Genealogy" by Val D. Greenwood, and GenealogyPro.




ABSTRACT - Abbreviated transcription of a document or record that includes the date of the record, every name appearing therein, the relationship (if stated) of each person named and their description (ie., witness, executor, bondsman, son, widow, etc.), and if they signed with their signature or mark.

ACCRETION - The right of inheritance by survival.

ADMINISTRATOR - A court appointed person who settles the estate of a deceased person who died intestate (without a will).

AHNENTAFEL - Ancestor table, tabulates the ancestry of one individual by generation in text rather than pedigree chart format. A comprehensive ahnentafel gives more than the individual's name, date and place of birth, christening, marriage, death and burial. It should give biographical and historical commentary for each person listed, as well as footnotes citing the source documents used to prove what is stated.

ASCEDANT - Ancestor

ASSIGNMENT - Grant of property or a legal right, benefit, or privilege to another person.

BANNS - Public announcement of intended marriage.

BOUNTY LAND - That land which is given to a person in the military in exchange or as payment for his service.

CHATTEL - Personal property which can include animate as well as inanimate properties.

CODICIL - Supplement or addition to a will; not intended to replace an entire will.

CONSANGUINITY - The degree of relationship between persons who descend from a common ancestor. A father and son are related by lineal consanguinity, uncle and nephew by collateral sanguinity.

CONSORT - Wife, husband, spouse, mate, companion.

DEVISEE - Person receiving land or real property in the last will and testament of the donor.

DEVISOR - Person giving land or real property in a last will and testament.

DOWAGER - Widow holding property or a title received from her deceased husband; title given in England to widows of princes, dukes, earls, and other noblemen.

DOWER - The life interest which a wife has in the real estate of her deceased husband. Under the common law which amounts to one third of the real property. Any property which the husband has procured during their marriage is subject to her dower right claim. This means that even though a man sells land, his widow can come back after his death, even if it has been fifty years since the sale and legally claim dower in it. Thus, when a person bought a piece of land he was usually pretty careful to see that the wife of the grantor signed the deed or executed a release of her rights and through such, she relinquished all claims. Generally, a widow may not be deprived of her dower by the terms of her husband's will but she may elect to disregard what her husband has given her in his will and take instead her legal interest in his estate. The law regulating her legal interest vary in different states of the United States. Release of the dower will ordinarily not be found in public domain states, it is more common in these states that the wife signed the deed. The release of dower genealogically may tell no more than the wife's name but that name may provide evidence which may be found in another place.

EXECUTOR - A person who carries out instructions left in a will.

GOODWIFE - Wife or mistress of the household.

GRANT - Property transfer by deed.

GRANTOR - One who sells or gives the land.

ILLEGITIMATE - Born of parents were were not married to each other.

INDENTURE - A contract binding one person to work for another for a given period of time.

INTESTATE - One who dies without a will or dying without a will.

LIS PENDENS - Pending court action; usually applies to land title claims.

NECROLOGY - Records of death, listing of obituaries in newspapers.

NE'E - Born, usually referring to a woman's maiden name.

PROGENITOR - An ancestor in the direct line, forefather.

PRIMOGENITURE - The right of the eldest child (usually the son) to inherit the entire estate of the parents.

QUITCLAIM - A deed conveying the claim or title (usually to land) without guarantee of valid title.

RELICT - Widow; surviving spouse when one has died, husband or wife.

SINE PROLE - Without issue; without children.

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.

TESTATE - A person who dies leaving a valid will.

TESTATOR - A person who makes a valid will before his death.

TUTOR - (in Louisiana) A guardian of minor children.

UMQUHILLO - (Scot.) late, deceased

WARRANTY DEED - Deed in which the seller guarantees a clear title to the buyer.

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