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Genealogy Glossary


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


When tracing an ancestry it is common to encounter records filled with obsolete, archaic, or legal terms that can be difficult to interpret. Misinterpreting these terms can make the difference between linking persons to the right generation, parents, spouse or children. Understanding exactly what is stated in any record is vital before attempting to move to the next generation. Inexperienced or impatient genealogists undervalue the quality of their research by applying present-day definitions to documents created in an earlier century. Take the time to use the glossary provided here and other excellent dictionaries, genealogical reference books and encyclopedias to interpret documents correctly.

Additional Resources

Henry Campbell Black. Black's Law Dictionary. 6th ed. St. Paul, Minn.: West Publishing Co., 1990.

Paul Drake. What Did They Mean by That?: A Dictionary of Historical Terms for Genealogists. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, Inc. 1994.

Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, eds. The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2006.

Barbara Jean Evans. The New A to Zax: A Comprehensive Genealogical Dictionary for Genealogists and Historians. 2nd ed. (Champaign, Ill.: the author, 1990.)

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