ABSTRACT-Summary of important point of texts, especially in Deeds and Wills

ADMINISTRATION (estate)- The collection, management and distribution of an estate by a proper legal process.

ADMINISTRATOR (estate)-Person appointed to manage and divide the estate of a deceased person. A female administrator is called "Administratrix"

AFFADAVIT-A sworn statement.

ANCESTOR-A person from who you are descended; a forefather.

ANTE-Latin prefix meaning "before", such as in " Ante-Bellum South", the South before the Civil War.

APPRENTICE-A person who is bound by indentures or legal agreement to serve a person for a specified time, usually with a view of learning an art or trade.

APPURTENANCE-That which belongs to something else such as a building or right or way etc.

ARCHIVES-A repository of records of a government, organization or institution.

ATTEST-To affirm; to certify by signature or oath.

BANNS- Public announcement of a forthcoming marriage.

BENEFICIARY-One who receives benefit of trust or property.

BEQUEATH-To give personal property to a person in a Will.

BOND-Written, signed and witnessed agreement requiring payment of a specified sum on or before a given date.

BOUNTY LAND WARRANT-A right to obtain land, specific numbers of acres of unallocated public land, granted for military service.

CENSUS-Official enumeration, listing or counting, of the citizenry.

CERTIFIED COPY-A copy made and attested to by officers having charge of the original document and authorized to give copies.

CHATTEL-Personal property, which can be animate or inanimate.

CHRISTEN-To receive or initiate into a church by baptism; to name.

CIRCA-About, near or approximate; usually referring to a date.

CODICIL-Addition to a Will.

COLLATERAL ANCESTOR-Belonging to the same ancestral stock but not in direct line of descent.

COMMON ANCESTOR-Ancestor shared by any two people.

CONSANGUINITY-Blood relationship.

CONSORT-Usually, a wife with a living husband.


COUSIN-Relative descended from a common ancestral grandmother or grandfather.

DECEDENT- A deceased person.

DECLARATION OF INTENTION-The first paper, sworn to and filed in court, by an alien citizen stating that he wants to become a citizen.

DEED-A document by which title in real property is transferred from one party to another.

DEPOSITION-Testimony taken down in writing under oath of affirmation in relply to interrogatories, before a competent officer to replace oral testimony.

DEVISE-Gift of real property by Will.

DEVISEE-One to whom 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.

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.

DOWER-Legal right or share which a wife acquires by marriage in the real estate of her husband, allotted to her after his death for her lifetime.

EMIGRANT-One who leaves a country and moves to another.

ENUMERATION-Listing or counting, such as in a census.

EPITAPH-An tomb or gravestone inscription in memory of the person buried there.

ESCHEAT-The reversion of property to the state when there are no qualified heirs.

ESTATE-All property and debts belonging to an individual.

ET AL.-Latin for "and others".

ET UX-Latin for "and wife". Sometimes written ET UXOR.

EXECUTOR or EXECUTRIX-One appointed in a Will to carrry out it's provisions.

FEE-An estate of inheritance in land, either fee simple or fee tail.

FEE SIMPLE-An absolute ownership without restriction.

FEE TAIL- An estate or inheritance limited to lineal descendants of the person to whom it was granted.

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.

GAZETEER-A geographical dictionary.

GENEALOGY-Study of family history and descent.

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.

GUARDIAN-Person appointed to care for and manage property of a minor orphan or an adult incompetent to manage his own affairs.

HALF BROTHER/HALF SISTER-Child by another marriage on one's mother or father. Siblings having 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 Testator's own handwriting.

ILLEGITIMATE-Born to a mother who was not married to the child's father.

INDENTURE-Today it means a contract in two or more copies. Originally made in two parts by cutting or tearing a single sheet across the middle so the two parts may later be matched.

INDENTURED SERVANT-One who may be bound to the service or another for a specified time, often in return for transportation to this country.

INFANT-Any person not of full age; a minor.

INTESTATE-One who dies without a Will.

INVENTORY-An account, schedule or catalog made by an executro or administrator of all goods and chattels (and sometimes real estate) of a deceased person.

ISSUE-Offspring; 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 on a Will.

LIEN-A claim against property as security for payment of a debt.


LINEAL-Consisting of or being in direct line of ancestry or descendants.

LIS PENDENS-Pending court action.

LOYALIST-Tory, An American colonist who supported the British during the American Revolution.

MAIDEN NAME-Female's last name or surname before she marries.

MANUSCRIPT-A composition written with the hand.

MARRIAGE BOND-A financial guarantee that no impediment to a marriage existed, furnished by the intended bridegroom or his friends.

MATERNAL-Related through one's mother.


     Link 7.92 inches;

     Chain-100 Links or 66 feet;

     Furling-1000 Links or 660 feet;

     Rod-5 1/2 yds or 16 1/2 ft.

     Rood-From 5 1/2 yds to 8 yds, depending on the locality

     Acre-43,560 square feet ot 160 square rods

MESSUAGE-A dwelling house.

METES AND BOUNDS-Property descibed by natural boundaries, such as "bank of the meandering river".

MICROFICHE-Sheet of microfilm with greatly reduced images of pages of documents.

MICROFILM-Reproduction of documents on film at a reduced size.

MIGRATE-To move from one country, state or region to another.

MILITIA-Citizens of a state who are not part of the regular armed forces but who can be called onto service in an emergency.

MINOR-One who is under legal age.

MOIETY-A half; an indefinte portion.

MORTALITY-Death; death rate.

MORTALITY SCHEDULES-Enumeration of persons who died in the year prior to June 1 of 1850, 1860 and 1880 in each state of the United States in which a census was conducted.

MORTGAGE-A conditional transfer of title of real property as security for payment of a debt.

NAMESAKE-Person named after another person.

NECROLOGY-Listing or record of the recently deceased.

NEE-Used to identify a woman's maiden name.

NONCUPATIVE WILL-One declared or dictated by the testator, usually for persons in last sickness or sudden illness.

ORPHAN'S COURT-Orphans being recognized as wards of the states, provisions were made for them in special courts.

PATENT-Grant of land from a govenment to an individual.

PEDIGREE-Family tree ancestry.

PENSION-Money paid regularly to an individual, especially by a government for military service.

POLL-List or record of persons, especially for taxing or voting.

POST-Latin prefix meaning after


POWER OF ATTORNEY-When a person is unable to act for himself, he appoints another to act on his behalf.

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.

PROGENY-Descendants of a common ancestor; issue.

PROVED WILL-A Will established as genuine by probate court.

PROVOST-A person appointed to superintend.

PROXIMO-In the following month, in the month after the present one.

PUBLIC DOMAIN-Land owned by the government.

QUITCLAIM-A deed conveying the interest of the party at that time.

RELICT-Widow; surviving spouse when one has died, husband or wife.

REVOLUTIONARY WAR-U.S. war for independence from Great Britain 1775-1783.

SIBLING-Persons having one or more parents in common.

SIC-Latin meaning thus; copied exactly as the original reads.

SPINSTER-A woman still unmarried; a woman who spins.

SPONSOR-Bondsman or surety.


TERRITORY-Area of land owned by the United States, not a state, but having it's 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 death.


TOWNSHIP-A division of U.S. public land that contained 36 sections, or 36 square miles.

TRANSCRIBE-To make a copy in writing.

ULTIMO-The month before this one.

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 and divorce.

WILL-A document which states how the deceased wants his property divided after death.

WITNESS-One who is present at a transaction, such as a land sale or the signing of a Will; can affirm that it took place.


Compiled by Jacqueline King

Copyright © 2003 - present Vicky Chambers

This page was last updated Wednesday, 07-Sep-2011 09:22:43 EDT