Support provided by:
Genealogy - Glossary
Sometimes genealogy seems to have its own language. Documents often contain phrases or words that are no longer used. Historians have often reverted to abbreviations on family charts and documents in order to include more information.
Below is are examples of words you might come across as you research. A more comprehensive version can be found in genealogical dictionaries, which are available in most good book stores.
You might find the following words in a number of genealogical documents.
Decedent: Person who has died.
Dower: Share of husband’s real estate to which the widow is entitled.
Estate: The total property held by an individual and available after death.
Grantee: Recipient of proper either through purchase, gift or request.
Grantor: Individual who sells or gives property to another person.
Ibid: Same location. Identifies a document that has already been quoted.
Infant: A person below the age designated as adulthood.
Intestate: Died without leaving a will.
Nee: Identifies a woman’s maiden name.
Posthumous: After death.
Proximo: Used in dates for next, usually refers to the following month.
Relict: Widow of particular individual.
Sic: Shows that an incorrect fact has been copied faithfully.
You may find the following terms on family trees or genealogical charts.
b. or bn. - Date of birth.
b. or bur. - Date of burial.
C. - abbreviation of latin word “circa” meaning an approximate date or time.
d. - Date of death.
dsp - Abbreviation of a latin term meaning died without issue.
et. al. - Abbreviation of latin term meaning others, indicating the presence of other names not listed on the document.
JP - Justice of the Peace.
m., m1, m2 - Marriage date, numbers indicate first, second marriage.
n.d. - No date known.
ob. - Abbreviation for the latin term “obit” meaning deceased.
Tutor - Guardian of underage person or minor.
Unm. - Unmarried.
Family relationship terms can get complicated. Below are definitions to help you keep it all straight.
uncle: the brother of your father or mother.
Aunt: the sister of your father or mother.
Sibling: your brother or sister.
Cousin: the son or daughter of your uncle or aunt.
Second cousin: the son or daughter of either parent's first cousin.
Nephew: the son of your brother or sister.
Niece: the daughter of your brother or sister.
Grandfather: the father of your father or mother.
Grandmother: the mother of your father or mother.
Grandson: your child's son.
Granddaughter:your child's daughter.
Great grandfather: the father of one of your grandparents.
Great grandmother: the mother of one of your grandparents.
Great uncle: the uncle of one of your parents.
Great aunt: the aunt of one of your parents.
Father-in-law: the father of your spouse.
Mother-in-law: the mother of your spouse.
Stepson: the son of your spouse's former marriage.
Stepdaughter: the daughter of your spouse's former marriage.
Stepmother: your father's second (or subsequent) wife.
Stepfather: your mother's second (or subsequent) husband.
Half-brother: the male offspring from the remarriage of one of your parents.
Half-sister: the female offspring from the remarriage of one of your parents.