ABSTRACT ACRE - See measurements. ADMINISTRATION (of estate) - The collection, management and distribution of an estate by proper legal process. ADMINISTRATOR (of estate) - Person appointed to manage or divide the estate of a deceased person. ADMINISTRATRIX - A female administrator. AFFIDAVIT - A statement in writing, sworn to before proper authority. ALIEN - Foreigner. AMERICAN REVOLUTION - U.S. war for independence from Great Britain 1775 - 1783. ANCESTOR - A person from whom you are descended; a forefather. 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. ARCHIVES - Records of a government, organization, institution; the place where records are stored. ATTEST - To affirm; to certify by signature or oath. BANNS - Public announcement of intended marriage. BENEFICIARY - One who receives benefit of trust or property. BEQUEATH - To give personal property to a person in a will. Noun -- bequest. BOND - Written, signed, witnessed agreement requiring payment of a specified amount of money on or before a given date. BOUNTY LAND WARRANT - A right to obtain land, specific number of acres of unallocated public land, granted for military service. 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 - See measurements. CHATTEL - Personal property which can include animate as well as inanimate properties. CHRISTEN - To receive or initiate into the visible church by baptism; to name at baptism; to give a name to. CIRCA - About, near, or approximate -- usually referring to a date. CIVIL WAR - War between the States; war between North and South, 1861-65. CODICIL - Addition to a will. COLLATERAL ANCESTOR - Belong to the same ancestral stock but not in direct line of descent; opposed to lineal such as aunts, uncles & cousins. COMMON ANCESTOR - Ancestor shared by any two people. CONFEDERATE - Pertaining to the Southern states which seceded from the U.S. in 1860 - 1, their government and their citizens. CONSANGUINITY - Blood relationship. CONSORT - Usually, a wife whose husband is living. CONVEYANCE - See deed. COUSIN - Relative descended from a common ancestor, but not a brother or sister. DAUGHTER-IN-LAW - Wife of one's son. 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 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. DEVISE - Gift of real property by will. DEVISEE - One to whom real property (land) is given in a will. DEVISOR - One who gives real property in a will. DISSENTER - One who did not belong to the established church, especially the Church of England in the American colonies. 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. EMIGRANT - One leaving a country and moving to another. 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. Female = Executrix 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 - An absolute ownership 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. FREE HOLD - An estate in fee simple, in fee tail, or for life. FRIEND - Member of the Religious Society of Friends; a Quaker. FURLONG - See measurements. GAZETTEER - A geographical dictionary; a book giving names and descriptions of places usually in alphabetical order. 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. 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. GREAT-UNCLE - Brother of one's grandparent. GUARDIAN - Person appointed to care for and manage property of a minor orphan or an adult incompetent of managing his own affairs. - Child by another marriage of one's mother or father; the relationship of two people who have only one parent in common. 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 to the child's father. IMMIGRANT - One moving 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 - One who bound himself into service of another person for a specified number of years, often in return for transportation to this country. INFANT - Any person not of full age; a minor. INSTANT - Of or pertaining to the current month. (Abbreviated inst.) 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; lineal descendants of a common ancestor. LATE - Recently deceased. LEASE - An agreement which creates a landlord - tenant situation. LEGACY - Property or money left to someone in 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 - See measurements. 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 girl's last name or surname before she marries. MANUSCRIPT - A composition written with the hand as an ancient book or an un-printed modern book or music. MARRIAGE BOND - A financial guarantee that no impediment to the marriage existed, furnished by the intended bridegroom or by his friends. MATERNAL - Related through one's mother, such as a Maternal grandmother being the mother's mother. MEASUREMENTS - Link - 7.92 inches; Chain - 100 Links or 66 feet; Furlong - 1000 Links or 660 feet; Rod - 5 1/2 yds or 16 1/2 ft (also called a perch or pole); Rood - From 5 1/2 yards to 8 yards, depending on locality; Acre - 43,560 square ft or 160 square rods. MESSUAGE - A dwelling house. METES & BOUNDS - Property described by natural boundaries, such as 3 notches in a white oak tree, etc. MICROFICHE - Sheet of microfilm with greatly reduced images of pages of documents. MICROFILM - Reproduction of documents on film at reduced size. 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. (Noun : migration) 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 legal adult. 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. MOTHER-IN-LAW - Mother of one's spouse. NAMESAKE - Person named after another person. NECROLOGY - Listing or record of persons who have died recently. NEE - Used to identify a woman's maiden name; born with the surname of. 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. ORPHAN - Child whose parents are dead; sometimes, a child who has lost one parent by death. 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 US from Europe. PATENT - Grant of land from a government to an individual. PATERNAL - Related to one's father. Paternal grandmother is the father's mother. PATRIOT - One who loves his country and supports its interests. PEDIGREE - Family tree; ancestry. 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 - See measurements. POLE - See measurements. POLL - 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. 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-EMOTION RIGHTS - Right given by the federal government to citizens to buy a quarter section of land or less. PROBATE - 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. QUAKER - Member of the Religious Society of Friends. QUITCLAIM - A deed conveying the interest of the party at that time. RECTOR - A clergyman; the ruler or governor of a country. RELICT - Widow; surviving spouse when one has died, husband or wife. REPUBLIC - Government in which supreme authority lies with the people or their elected representatives.r for independence from Great Britain 1775 - 1783. ROD - See measurements. ROOD - See measurements. 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. SON-IN-LAW - Husband of one's daughter. SPINSTER - A woman still unmarried; or one who spins. 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. SURNAME - Family name or last name. TERRITORY - Area of land owned by the united States, not a state, but having its own legislature and governor. 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. 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 Northeastern and Midwestern 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. ULTIMO - In the month before this one. UNION - The United States; also the North during the Civil War, the states which did not secede. 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. 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.

These legal terms were made available to us by Dan Burrows of the Orange County New York Genealogical Society

Copyright 2004 by Bobbie Ross