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.
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.
Arlene Eakle and Johni Cerny, eds. The Source: A Guidebook
of American Genealogy Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry Publishing,
Barbara Jean Evans. The New A to Zax: A Comprehensive
Genealogical Dictionary for Genealogists and Historians.
2nd ed. (Champaign, Ill.: the author, 1990.)