d.b.a. - an abbreviation for "doing business as", i.e., John Jones, doing business as Jones Company

deacon - a church appointed official who would attend to the secular affairs of the congregation; in some churches, visit the sick, etc., and assist the minister.  In some early churches the deacon conducted the services in the absence of the minister

deanery court - an English probate court of ecclesiastical jurisdiction

death certificate - a certificate issued which officially registered the death.  A copy of such is of value to a researcher since it often contains the name of the parents, sometimes the maiden name of the mother, the date, place and cause of death, and the attending physician

death rattle - sound made by air passing with difficulty through mucus in the throat, often heard in a person near death

debarred - a person shut out or disqualified from serving in an official capacity

debate - an organized discussion or argument in which each party has equal time to present his contentions, and then time to answer his opponent's views

debility - the condition of being weak or feeble

de bonis non - an administration in which the administrator died before the estate was closed and another person was appointed to complete the administration

de bonis non cum - as above, but with will attached

dec'd - abbreviation for deceased, died

decedent - the deceased person

decembre - (French) December

decennial census - the federal census taken every ten years since 1790 by constitutional requirement

decessit sine parole - the death of a person without children

decessit vite patria - the death of a person within the father's lifetime

Declaration of Intent - the sworn statement of an alien that he intends to become a citizen of U.S., the first step towards citizenship

declaration of trust - a written statement of a person that the title of real property held by him is as a trustee

decree - a judgement given by a court as a decision; an order

decree of distribution - the final document in a probate administration, in which the heirs receive actual title to the property of the deceased.  Also known as a division

dedimus -a writ empowering someone who is not a judge to do some act in place of a judge

de facto - (Latin) of or as in the fact

deed - the document by which title in real property is transferred to another

deed, acknowledgment of - a deed in which the grantor appears in court, or before an official to acknowledge that he is indeed the person who signed the deed and that acknowledges he did

deed in fee simple - a conveyance of the absolute ownership of real property

deed of acquittance - a deed by which additional acreage is sold to the original patent owner when and if it was found that by survey the patented land had more acreage than was originally thought

deed of agreement - an agreement by which a person acquires land as a consideration for satisfying an obligation, such as care for a person during their lifetime

deed of decree - transfer of property or sale as decreed in court, usually as a result of a petition

deed of division - a deed in which division of inherited property held as a whole by two or more heirs divided, showing what tract taken by each

deed of gift - a transfer of property made without the usual consideration, as a deed to a child in consideration of natural love and affection

deed of mortgage - deed which gives property as security for a debt of money, payment of the sum due

deed of partition - when two or more persons hold undivided property left them as a result of a inheritance, and there is a desire to divide this property among those holding it, a deed of partition is made and upon recording shows the actual tracts taken by each.  Also known as a deed of division

deed of release - this is a deed made in a situation where a deed of mortgage had been made as security for a debt of money and upon payment in full a deed of release returns full ownership to the original grantor in the deed of mortgage

deed of trust - title to real estate is placed in the hands of one or more persons as security for a debt by making a deed of trust.  See also declaration of trust

defeasance - a condition upon the performance of which a deed is made null and void

defendant - the accused party in a court action

delirium tremens, or delirium tremors - a disordered mental state brought about by abuse by alcohol, resulting in trembling and delusions

Democracy - Abraham Lincoln defined this as "a  government of people, by the people and for the people"

Democrat Party - a political party which arose under Thomas Jefferson in opposition to the Federalist Party, emphasizing personal liberty and limitation of the powers of the Federal Government.  Now one of the two major parties

demesne - land possessed and held by the owner himself and not held of him by any subordinate tenant; or the land immediately attached to a house and held along with it for use or for pleasure.  Also the territory or the dominion of a sovereign state

demographic - pertaining to the study of statistics of births, deaths, disease, etc

demurrer - a pleading in court which, while admitting the facts are true as stated, denies that the other party is legally entitled to relief, thus temporarily stopping the action until thus is determined by law

denization - the giving of citizenship to a person habitually living in a country but who is not a native-born citizen

denizen - one who dwells within a country but is not a native born citizen; one admitted to residence in a foreign country

deponent - one who gives a written statement under oath, a deposition, to be used in evidence in a court case

deposition - a statement taken under oath which can be used as evidence in court, on behalf of either the defendant or the plaintiff

Department of Vital Statistics - the state bureau charged with keeping birth and death records

deputy - a substitute, or a person appointed to act for another or to assist another, as a deputy sheriff

derelict - that which is abandoned or deserted.  A derelict person is said to be one for which no one cares

desc. - abbreviation for descendants

descendants - those who are descended from a common ancestor, in direct line of descent

deserter - military personnel who leave their post or duty, or the service, without permission.  A somewhat milder form would be A.W.O.L., or away without official leave

despot - a tyrant, an absolute dictator who rules in a tyrannical manner

detached duty - assignment to another post or duty or to another military group other than ones normal post or duty or military group, temporarily

deux - (French) two

devise - the term used to give real property in a will, as a opposed to the term bequeath which is used to give personal property

devisee - the person to whom real property is given in a will

deviser - the testator of a will who gives real property (land) to someone.  At times, this has been used to mean anyone who makes a will

dezember - (German) December

dia - (Spanish) day

diarrhea - a disorder causing frequent fluid bowel movements, usually accompanied with gripping pains in the stomach

diciembre - (Spanish) December

diez (Spanish) ten

diez y neuve - (Spanish) nineteen

diez y ocho - (Spanish) eighteen

diez y seis - (Spanish) sixteen

 diez y siete - (Spanish) seventeen

diocese - the ecclesiastical district under the care of a bishop

direct index - a court index to the testators of wills

direct lineage - descent form an ancestor through succeeding children, and not through collateral ancestors

directory - see city directory, and cross-reference directory

discharge - the act of freeing from obligation, liability or restraint; dismissal as by an order of court; to be relived of military service; the discharge of a person acting in a probate case upon completion of his duties

disclaimer - a person or document disclaiming, renouncing or relinquishing a legal claim, or a refusal to accept a duty

discretionary trust - whereby a trustee, or one appointed to care for another, may use his own judgement, to a certain extent, in caring or handling for others

dismissions - a letter or statement that a church member was in good standing and was leaving the church for a good reason, usually moving to a different location

disowned - renouncing claim to property, or giving up one's own, as a child

dissenter - one who disagrees in matters or religious belief and worship

distaff - of or for the female, used at times to denote the type of work done by a woman

distressed goods - robbed or plundered goods

district - a portion of territory marked off or defined for purpose of administration, representation, or elections; also a school district, for purpose of allotting funds and for proportioning of school attendance

District Attorney - the prosecuting attorney in a court action who represents the governmental body

district court - a trial court with jurisdiction over a judicial district, and a state court in some cases with appellate jurisdiction, and probate

District Land Office - federal offices set up in districts where land was to be sold, handling the sale of such.  Records kept by these included maps of the area showing the exact location or each tract sold, the name of the person to whom sold and sometimes where he was from, and the terms of the sale

disturbing the peace - causing agitation, noise or trouble and annoyance to the public, so that they could not peacefully enjoy their position or possession

ditto - the same as what was written before, used to prevent lengthy repetition of words or explanations.  Abbreviated as do.  or do.

ditty bag - a bag used by sailors to contain their smaller necessities.  When used by a fisherman, a ditty box

divided - the individual portion or share of anything divided; also the interest payable on a loan or as share of profits.  Divided land, thus, was land allotted to one person

divinity - an old-fashioned sugary candy, usually white

divorce - the dissolvement of the marriage contract by process of law; the separation of one part from another

dix - (French) ten

dix-huit - (French) eighteen

dix-neuf - (French) nineteen

dix-sept - (French) seventeen

d/o - abbreviation of "daughter of"

do. - (or do.) - abbreviation of ditto used in many older records

doce - (Spanish) twelve

dock fever - a term used for yellow fever

docket - a calendar or schedule of the actions of a court, kept by the Court Clerk.  A brief summerized abstract or digest of the court actions; minutes

Docket Book - the minute books, in which the digest of the court action is kept, including the decisions made by the court.  An index to all cases coming into court

document - a written statement which furnishes evidence or information on any subject

dog leg - a direction or angle other than straight; a crooked path

dog leg, crooked as a - expression indicating dishonesty, or a line that is far from being a straight line

dogtrot - the space between portions of a house or cabin, separating such portions by a narrow space; sometimes this space between the living quarters of the house and the separate kitchen

dole - money or food distributed to the poor as a charitable gift

Domesday Book - the records of Great Inquisition, or survey of the lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities made by William the Conqueror in 1086.  So called, because it judged all men and spared no one, as "the Lord in that great day will do"

domestic - of or belonging to the home, house, or ones own country or nation; a household servant living with the family to which he or she is not related

domestic animals - tamed, not wild, animals living near the habitation of man

Last modified: Tuesday, January 17, 2006, 04:59 AM
Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict