Glossary of Genealogical Related Terms

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The letter “A”

  • Ancestors: a person, typically one more remote than a grandparent, from whom one is descended.
  • Ancestral: of, belonging to, inherited from, or denoting an ancestor or ancestors.
  • Ancestry: one’s family or ethnic descent.
  • Ancient: belonging to the very distant past and no longer in existence.
  • Archives: a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people.
  • Attest: the status of being born to parents who were not married

The letter “B”

  • BarSinister: To affirm; to certify by signature or oath.
  • Bequeath: To give personal property to a person in a will.
  • Biographer: someone who writes an account of a person’s life
  • Biography: The history of an person’s life

The letter “C”

  • Census: Official enumeration, listing or counting of citizens.
  • Codicil: Addition to a will
  • CollateralAncestor: Belong to the same ancestral stock but not in direct line of descent; opposed to lineal such as aunts, uncles & cousins.

The letter “D”

  • Descendants: a person that is descended from a particular ancestor.
  • Discovery: the action or process of discovering or being discovered

The letter “E”

  • Estate: All property and debts belonging to a person.

The letter “F”

  • FamilyHistory: the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history.
  • FamilyRoots: A progenitor or ancestor from which a person or family is descended.
  • FamilyTree: a diagram showing the relationships between people in several generations of a family; a genealogical tree.

The letter “G”

  • Genealogy: a line of descent traced continuously from an ancestor.
  • GenealogyRecord: A record or table of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or ancestors; a family tree.
  • Grantee: One who buys property or receives a grant
  • Grantor: One who sells property or makes a grant.

The letter “H”

  • Heir: a person who inherits or succeeds to the property of a deceased person legally; any successor to property or money by will or law
  • Heritage: property that is or may be inherited; an inheritance.
  • Historical: of or concerning history; concerning past events.
  • History: the study of past events, particularly in human affairs.

The letter “I”

  • Illegitimate: Born to a mother who was not married to the child’s father
  • Intestate: One who dies without a will or dying without a will.
  • Investigation: the action of investigating something or someone; formal or systematic examination or research.

The letter “L”

  • Legacy: property left to someone in a will.
  • Lineage: lineal descent from an ancestor; ancestry or pedigree.
  • Lodge: a chapter or meeting hall of a fraternal organization

The letter “M”

  • MaidenName: the surname that a married woman used from birth, prior to its being legally changed at marriage.
  • Maternal: of or relating to a mother during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth.
  • Messuage: a dwelling house
  • 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
  • Morality: death; death rate
  • Mortgage: a conditional transfer of title to real property as security for payment of a debt

The letter “N”

  • Names: give a name to.
  • Namesake: person named after another person
  • Necrology: listing or record of persons who have died recently

The letter “O”

  • Offspring: a person’s child or children.
  • OralHistory: the collection and study of historical information using sound recordings of interviews with people having personal knowledge of past events.

The letter “P”

  • Paternal: of or appropriate to a father.
  • Progenitor: a person or thing from a person is descended or originates; an ancestor or parent.
  • Progeny: a descendant or the descendants of a person; offspring

The letter “Q”

  • Quest: a long or arduous search for something.

The letter “R”

  • Records: a thing constituting a piece of evidence about the past, esp. an account of an act or occurrence kept in writing or some other permanent form.
  • Roots: the basic cause, source, or origin of something.

The letter “S”

  • Search: try to find something by looking or otherwise seeking carefully and thoroughly.
  • Sib: a person’s brother or sister, having one or both parents in common with another; sibling
  • Spinster: a woman still unmarried; or one whose occupation is spinning
  • Surname: family name; or last name


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