impeach - the accusation and prosecution of a person by a high tribunal, of a high crime or misdemeanor, with subsequent removal from office upon conviction
impetigo - a name for various pustuler diseases of the skin, including leprosy
impressment - the act of forcibly taking or kidnaping for service, either private or military
imprimis - (Latin) first, or in the first place
improvements - enhancements or additions to property, such as a structure thereon, or the improvement of land by cultivation and occupancy
inc. - abbreviation for incomplete, or incorporated
incorporeal property - property which is intangible, which cannot be seen, but can be contemplated
incumbent - one who holds an office or occupies a position
indenture - an agreement in which two or more persons agree to do certain things or acts, and signed by all parties
indentured servant - one who agreed to perform certain services for a specified period of time in exchange for the satisfaction of a debt, either his own or of others.  An emigrant often was indentured to pay off his passage fee to a ship captain, in which the indenture was often sold to others
index - an alphabetical listing of the contents by name or subject
Index of Revolutionary War Pensioners - a book published by the National Genealogical Society in which the pension applications of those applying under the various Pension Acts applicable to veterans of the Revolutionary War are listed in alphabetical order with reference to the file held in the National Archives
indian file - the walking in a straight line, i.e., stepping into the footprints of the person in front of you, of a number of persons, so called from the custom of the American Indians of proceeding in this manner to avoid any tell-tale traces of the number of persons passing
indigent person - a needy, poor person lacking the necessities of life
infirmary - a building used for the treatment of the sick or wounded; a hospital
in-law - one who is related to another by marriage, as opposed to blood
in memoriam - in memory of
inn - a public house for the lodging and entertainment of travelers, in which food is served and care offered for horses
inquest - a legal of judicial inquiry into the suspected commission of a crime, as by a jury in a civil or a criminal case
insanity - lunacy, madness, insane
instrument - a document by which an action or conveyance is accomplished
insurgent - a person who rises in revolt against an authority of some nature
interim - that which happens in between, as a period of time
intermarriage - the union of marriage indicating that each person is married to the other by mutual agreement
intermittent fever - malaria, or a form of malarial-like fever in which the symptoms subside but the rise again
interment records - burial records, as kept by a city or county indicating the place of burial of those who died within its jurisdiction, usually listing the name of the deceased, the date of the burial, and the place of burial
interstate -when a person dies without having written a valid will, and the distribution of assets is by statute to the lawful heirs
inv. - abbreviation for inventory
inventory - a detailed listing of all the goods of a deceased person, usually made by an administrator or executor and filed as one of the estate records
ipso facto - by that very fact
ironclad ships - a ship in which the hull is sheathed with metal plates, notable example of which were used in the Civil War
issue - all lineal descendants of a common ancestor; not just his children as an erroneous usage
itch - a contagious breaking out of the skin, causing extreme irritation and the desire to scratch; scabies
item - meaning ; "also, likewise"
itinerant - one who travels from place to place, in the course of his occupation, as an itinerant preacher, an itinerant pedlar
jack-bed - a bed in which the bed rails were supported by the walls of a cabin on one end and a single post at the other end
jack-in-the-box - a toy consisting of a box, with a figure inside which is propelled or leaps up when the lid is raised; a person who appears on the scene but does not tarry long enough to be of help
jack leg - a person who attempts to do various types of skilled work without the proper knowledge
jack-of-all-trades - a person who claims proficiency in a number of skilled trades but lacking the knowledge or experience to do any of them properly
jail fever - typhus
januar - (German) January
janvier - (French) January
jaundice - a condition caused by the obstruction of bile resulting in a yellowish color to skin, fluids and tissues and usually constipation
Jehovah's Witnesses - a religious sect founded in 1872 by Charles Taze Russell centering on the second coming of Christ; usually with no churches or ministries, but circulating views by means of tracts
jehr - (German) year
jerky - jerked meat, meat cut in strips and dried in the sun to preserve it
Jew - a religious denomination, descendants of the tribes of Israel, adherent to the religion of Judaism
jim-dandy -a person, a man, who pays more than ordinary attention to his clothes, dressing elaborately
jobber - a broker of middleman in the sale of goods
John Barleycorn - a term denoting those the free use of  liquors; personification of barleycorn liquor, made from malt or barley
johnny-cake - a cake made of cornmeal or wheatmeal, toasted before a fire or baked in a pan
joiner - carpenter
joint tenancy - joint ownership of land not necessarily by husband and wife
joint will - a will made by two or more persons together, each signing it, to dispose of joint property or separately owned property for a common purpose
Josephite - the followers of Joseph Smith after the split in the Mormon Church at the time of the murder of Joseph Smith.  Settled in Missouri
jour - (French) day
journeyman - a qualified craftsman who has completed his apprenticeship, and who is entitled to work at his trade for a full day's wage
J.P. - abbreviation for Justice of the Peace
Judge Advocate - the officer in charge of a military court martial
judicial - of or belonging to judgement in a court of law
judgement - the judicial sentence or decision in a court of law
juillet - (French) July
juin - (French) June
juli - (German) July
Julian Calendar - the old style calendar in use under September 1752; inaccurate by three days every four hundred years
julio - (Spanish) July
juni - (German) June
junio - (Spanish) June
junior - used to denote the younger of two having the same name, not necessarily even in the same family; also, the son of the same name as his father, and sometimes (rare) the daughter, the same name as her mother.  Caution is advised researchers, that the use of the term does not necessarily refer to a family relationship
jurisdiction - the territory over which specific judicial power extends
juror - one of a body of men chosen to hear testimony, facts, and information in regard to a crime or an accused person, sworn to render a true answer or verdict
jury - a body of men sworn to render a true answer or verdict upon some question submitted to them, usually in reference to a crime
jury of inquiry - see coroner's jury
Justice of the Peace - a minor judicial official in some areas with limited powers, before which minor offenders can be heard, and who can perform marriages as a civil act
Kaintuck - an obsolete colloquialism for Kentucky, or one from there
Kaskaskia - an early French fort and Jesuit mission destroyed by the British in 1763, and taken by George Rogers Clark in 1778; located on the Kaskaskia Island in the Mississippi River.  Capital of Illinois Territory 1809-1818
keel - the lowest longitudinal timber of a boat, or which the framework of the whole is built
keelboat - a large flatboat used for river traffic
keelhaul - to lower a person down the side of a ship, under the keel, and draw him across to the other side
keep - the innermost and strongest structure or central room of a tower or castle, serving as a last defense or a stronghold.  A doorkeep was a stop in a door frame
Kentucky rifle - a long-barreled rifle used with powder and shot, invented by emigrants to Pennsylvania as a superior rifle to what had been known, and much favored by frontiersmen
kerosene - a liquid petroleum distillation made from coal and shale, used as a lamp oil particularly; also known as coal oil or paraffin oil
kerosene lamp - see coal oil lamp
kilometer - a measure of length of 1000 meters or 3280.89 feet, or nearly 5/8ths of a mile
kin - one's family, kinsfolk, relatives, a group of persons descended from a common ancestor and thus blood related
kind - (German) infant
kindred - a being related by blood; see kin
King's Attorney - the prosecuting attorney who served under the king; found in American colonies during the time in which the British held control
King's evil - scrofula, which was at one time thought to be curable by the touch of the king (or queen)
King's passengers - those convicts shipped to the American colonies by court order, thus paying no passage
King's ransom - an amount of money so great as to be affordable only by the king
kirche - (German) church
kirk - a Scottish term for church, used also in northern England
kith - one's friends, fellow countrymen or neighbors
K.K.K. - abbreviation for Ku Klux Klan
knapsack - a bag or case of canvas or leather, strapped to soldier's back, in which he carried his necessities
Koran - the sacred book of the Mohammedans, in Arabic, of the oral revelations of Mohammed committed to writing after death.  The Bible of the Mohammedans
Ku Klux Klan - a secret society originally founded by X-Convederates at Pulakasi, Tennessee in December 1865, to oppose radical Republican Reconstruction and maintain white supremacy, playing upon the fears and superstitions of the Negro
laborer - one who performs physical labor as a service for a livelihood; a manual laborer
la grippe - see grippe
laity - that of a layman, as opposed to the clergy
lamplighter - the person with duty to light the street lamps at night and to extinguish them at dawn, when the street lights were of the type which required the lighting of a wick
lancet - a small surgical instrument usually with two sharp edges and a point, used in bleeding, opening abscesses, etc.
land certificate - the document or certificate given to a grantee for a specified amount of land, and which could be sold or transferred
land descriptions - the description by which a specific piece of land could be identified to all, in accordance with the form of description used for that area
land entry - the filling or claiming of a specific piece of land with the proper authorities or land office, by usage of a warrant or by purchase or settlement
land entry book - the record book of land entries, usually limited to a specific area, and indexed by the names of the individual owners
land entry papers - bounty land warrants, applications, receipts, or any other documents concerned with an individual acquiring public lands
land office - the governmental office in a territory handling the sale of public lands
land patent - a certificate showing the permanent ownership of a piece of land and that the purchaser was the first to own it individually
land warrant - a written document issued by a land office by which one could obtain a specific amount of land in specified territory; negotiable
landgrave - in Germany, a title for a Count having jurisdiction over a territory, and usually with several inferior counts under him; in North Carolina one who held 48,000 acres
landlord - a person who rents to another living quarters, land, or buildings of any nature
lap robe - a heavy blanket, or furred animal skin, used to protect the lap from cold when riding in a buggy
latch string - a cord, running through a door, by means of which the latch could be raised and entry gained.  Cord, if left on the outside, was an invitation to enter; if kept on the inside, prevented entry
late - one living recently, but now dead
laudanum - a medication in which opium was the principal ingredient
lay crop by - a term used to indicate that the tending to a crop has been completed
lay preacher - minster's duties performed by one not a clergyman
laymen - one who is not a professional in an office or trade
league - a measure of distance, varying in different countries, but about three miles
lease - an agreement in writing which transfers the use of specified property by the owner to another for a set period of time
leasehold - the property one holds under a lease, a lessee
ledger - a book in which a record of mercantile transactions and accounts are kept
legacy - that which is bequeathed to another, or received from another as a bequest
legal age - the age at which a person, either by law or custom, becomes adjudged competent to act of his own decision
legal jurisdiction - jurisdiction which is established by law
legal residence - an address or location agreed by a person to which a message or summons sent thereto shall be deemed to be received; the permanent address of a person; home address
legatee - a person to whom a legacy is bequeathed; used frequently to refer to any person receiving property, real or personal, as a result of a will
legator - the testator or person making a will in which he leaves property to others
les pere et mere - (French) parents
lessee - a person to whom a lease is made; a tenant under a lease; a person who leases property from another
lessor - on who makes a lease, granting property or leasehold to another; the owner of the property leased to another
letter of administration - the probate court authorization for a person to administer an intestate estate
letter of admission - a certificate granted by a church, signifying that a person was a member in good standing, and used to gain admission as a member to a church in another locality
letter of attorney - the document by which one person legally authorizes another to do or act for him and in his place; a power-of-attorney
letters testamentary - the authorization by the court for a person named in a will to administer the estate as executor
letters of transfer - see letter of admission
letting of blood - see bleeding
levy - to raise money by the imposition of a tax or toll
lexicon - a dictionary, or a list of words and names
libel - any published statement damaging to the reputation of another, as opposed to slander, meaning a spoken statement
liber - a book, used as a term for record books kept by the early colonists
library - a large collection of books, manuscripts and other materials, public or private
Library of Congress - the U.S. National Library, originally only for members of Congress but now open to all, in which copies of all books copyrighted are deposited.  Established 1800
libro de bautizos - (Spanish) church register book
license - a permit or authorization to legally permit a person to do that which is specified and without which the act would be unlawful
lien - a claim by one party upon the property of another as security for a debt
lienholder - the person or institution holding a lien upon the property of another in security for a debt
lien release - a written acknowledgment that a lien is satisfied and no longer exists
life estate - ownership of property only during the lifetime of the person holding it, or during someone else's life as may be specified
light artillery - artillery of small caliber, mobile
light horse - soldiers mounted on horseback with small caliber guns, able to move swiftly as the case may be
lighter - a flat bottomed barge used in unloading (lightening the load) of a ship that cannot be docked for that purpose
limey - a British seaman
Line - as in Continental Line, Virginia Line, etc.  Troops organized first as militia, and then placed under the control of the Continental Congress, with those in the Continental Line paid by the federal government, those in a state line paid by that state
line of descent - the progression of generations, from father to son or daughter, in a direct line from a common ancestor
lineal - the relationship existing between persons of whom one is descended in a direct line from the other, as from father to son or daughter, and so on, in a descending line
link - a measurement of distance derived from a surveyor's chain, one link being approximately 7.92 inches
linsey-woolsey - a material of inferior wool, or a mixture of wool and flax, an economical usually homespun cloth
lintal - a horizontal piece of wood or stone placed over a door or window to distribute the weight
litigation - the action of carrying on a law suit
livery - the legal delivery of property into a person's possession.  Also, the delivery of goods; also the dispensing of food and clothing to servants
livery stable - a stable where horses are rented to the public.  Thus, livery horse, a horse rented to others
local history - the history of one locality, city, town, county
log book - or log; a book in which the details of the ship's voyage are entered daily, including the distance traveled
Long Hunter - those frontiersmen who were absent from home for a lengthy period on hunting trips
Long Knife - a term used by the American Indians to refer to any white settler
Long Sickness - tuberculosis
longshoreman - a man employed in loading or unloading ships, and who worked on the land or dock
loom - a machine in which thread is woven into cloth by the crossing of threads, called the welt and the warp
love apple - an obsolete name for the tomato
love seat - a couch in which two persons seated thereon faced opposite directions
Loyalists - the name given to many of the colonists in America who refused to take up arms against the British in the Revolutionary War.  Also known as United Empire Loyalists
lues venera - (Latin) venereal disease
lung fever - pneumonia
Lutherans - a religious faith based upon the teachings and beliefs of Martin Luther, that a sinner's hope lay entirely in grace of God and redemption by Christ
lyceum - an institution in which popular lectures were presented on scientific and literary subjects
lye soap - a homemade soap made of animal fats and lye made of green wood ashes
lynch - to condemn and punish by lynch-law
lynch-law - the practice of condemning to death by a self-constituted law without legal authority; at times punishment was whipping, or tar and feathering, or riding out of town on a rail
m. - abbreviation for marriage
m/1 - abbreviation for first marriage; likewise, m/2 would indicate second marriage
M.A. - abbreviation for Master's Degree, a college degree awarded usually after six years of college study
madam - a form of polite address to a woman, used generally by a servant when speaking to their mistress, and by people in general in speaking to a lady.  Also a term to refer to the keeper of a brothel
madre - (Spanish) mother
madrine - (Spanish) female sponsor
magazine - a building in which are stored arms and provisions for an army, particularly ammunition and powder
magistrate - a Justice of the Peace or salaried civil officer having jurisdiction on minor criminal matters
mai - (German) May
maiden - of or pertaining to an unmarried female
maiden name - the surname of a woman prior to marriage, being the surname of her family; the surname with which she was born or acquired by legal means
maize - a yellow, Indian, corn
malaria - a feverous disease caused by a blood parasite and conveyed by the mosquito
man-of-war - an armed ship belonging to the navy of a country
mandamus - a writ issued by a higher court to a lower court, or sometimes to a corporation or officer, commanding some specific thing be done
mania - a mental condition in which there is great excitement, hallucinations and in later stages violence
manifest - to make a public expression or to show plainly; also a ship's list of cargo
manifesto - a public declaration by a body of people whose proceedings are of public interest, usually a statement making known past actions and/or making an explanation of actions announced
mann - (German) husband
mannlich - (German) male
manor - or manor-house, the principal dwelling building of an estate
manse - the house of a minister in Scotland, now used to refer often to any parsonage; also the amount of land regarded as sufficient to support a family
manumission - the action of releasing from slavery or bondage.  Freed slaves were thus manumitted
manumit - to free from slavery legally recorded document
manuscript - documents, or books written by hand
marier - (French) married
mark - ("X") the mark made by a person in lieu of signature due to illiteracy or any condition by which he was unable to sign his name, as illness
marriage - the ceremony by which two persons are made man and wife
marriage bond - a bond given as a guarantee that there was no legal or moral reason why a couple should not be married, and that the man was capable of providing support for himself and his wife, usually not a cash bond, but a guarantee that could be enforced.  Such a bond was at times given by the man about to be married , along with another person, or could be entirely by others
marriage broker - one who received money or other consideration for arranging the marriage, usually on behalf of the parents of one of the parties, but at times on behalf of one of the parties themselves
marriage license - a permit issued by a county giving permission for the marriage to occur
marry out of meeting - the marriage of a Quaker man or woman to a person not of the same faith
marriage records - records maintained by a county or a minister of the marriages occurring in its or their jurisdiction.  Marriage records of a county usually provided for a record of the license, along with consent, and returns. Marriage records kept by a minister were those he actually performed, giving the actual date of the marriage ceremony.  Some records include names of parents, bondsmen and other information
marriage returns - the certification by the clergyman or official performing the ceremony that such has taken place, and the date
marriage settlement - an agreement made prior to marriage limiting the acquisition of one party's property by the other due to intent to pass on to the children by a prior marriage; also, the amount given to the bridegroom by the parents of the bride as an inducement for the marriage
mars - (French) March
marshal, town - an officer of the court, charged with custody of the jail and the prisoners, and in keeping order and peace
Maryland Archives Series - a series of published records of the colonial legislature and courts of Maryland
marz - (German) March
marzo - (Spanish) March
masulino - (Spanish) male
Mason-Dixon Line - boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania surveyed by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in 1763-1767 to settle boundary dispute; popularly used to distinguish between the North and the South
mast road - a road worn by the hauling of logs to be used in making ship's masts; a New England term
master - a man having control or authority; the captain of a sailing vessel; an employer to an apprentice or servant; the male head of a household; a term used with the name of a child giving respect to the child and his parents by referring to his manly attributes
maternal - inherited, derived or related through a mother or through a mother's family
matromonio - (Spanish) marriage
matron - a married woman usually with rank or dignity; a woman having charge of a female prison, school or hospital
Mayflower Society - a patriotic hereditary society basing membership prerequisite as having descended from a person who was a passenger on the Mayflower, a ship which in 1620 brought pilgrims from England to Plymouth, Massachusetts
mayo - (Spanish) May
M.D. - abbreviation for Medical Doctor
md. - abbreviation for married
meadow - land covered with grass that is usually mown for hay; any grass covered land, usually well-watered and near a stream
measles - an infectious disease with rose-colored skin eruptions, fever and catarrh
meeting house - a place used for worship, particularly as used by the Quakers; in England, a place for worship of dissenters
membership list - church - a list of members in good faith, recorded periodically or continually
memorial - anything preserving the memory of a person or thing; a petition, used particulary in the Carolinas pre-1800
Mennonites - members of a sect of Christians opposed to infant baptism, the taking of oaths, military service and the holding of civil offices; now found particularly in Pennsylvania
mercenary soldier - primarily soldiers serving in a foreign country solely for the money; any soldier who enlists for that purpose alone in the forces of a country other than his own.  As example, Hessian soldiers in the Revolutionary War
mercury reflector - an oil-lamp reflector coated with quick-silver to heighten the degree of light
mere - (French) mother
mes - (Spanish) month
metes - a boundary stone, mark, waterway or distance
metes and bounds - a description of the land that is being purchased, sold or surveyed, being the use of stones, trees, marks, waterways and other means of identification, with the names of adjoining landowners
Methodist - a Protestant religious denomination founded by John Wesley with emphasis on repentance, faith, santifcation and full, free salvation
mews - stables grouped around an open yard or alley
M.G. - abbreviation for Minister of the Gospel, or preacher
M.H. - abbreviation for meeting house
miasma - any malarial type of disease
microfiche - a small sheet of microfilm usually card-mounted, to be read with the use of a microfilm reader
microfilm - the photographic process of photographing and reducing an image (page document, letter, manuscript) on roll film, thus condensing bulky material into a small amount, as a means of providing copies, or preserving
microfilm camera - a camera for the purpose of microfilming.  See microfilm
microfilm reader - a device by which microfilm or microfiche is enlarged and read through a lighted screen
micrography - the art or science of reproducing in abnormally small size; microfilming
middle states - an obsolete term which once referred to Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania
midwife - a woman who is skilled in and assists other women in the birth of a child
migrant - one who leaves ones own area or country to move to another
mile - a measure of distance, 5,280 feet
milestone - a stone, or marker, placed to indicate the distance of a mile from a starting point, and subsequent miles
militia district - an area in which there was to be found one hundred men, of age and able for military service
military donation - land given to those who had served a required length of time in an area set aside for this purpose
military land - see military donation
military warrant - a certificate which entitled a veteran to receive a certain amount of land as compensation for his services.  Used frequently for land in Kentucky and Ohio
militia - a military force formed usually voluntarily by citizens of an area or state, for the purpose of defense
milk sickness - a disease, often fatal, caused by drinking the milk or eating the meat of a cow that has eaten a certain poisonous plants, with symptoms of vomiting, constipation and muscle spasms
mill - a building or apparatus for the grinding of grain into meal, in earlier times powered by wind or water; also a monetary value, 1/10th of a cent
mill race - the current of water which provides power to a mill
mill pond - the water retained in a pond or reservoir above a mill dam, which subsequently powers a mill
mill stone - one of a pair of large circular, flat stone disks used for grinding grain as a mill
mill wheel - a large wheel equipped with paddles or water buckets turned by the force of the water to supply power for a mill
millwright - a carpenter or mason who designed and built mills; also a person operating a mill
Minister of the Gospel - an ordained minister, as opposed to a lay preacher, although term may apply to both
minister's return - see marriage return
minor - one not of legal age
minute book - the record book in which the daily actions of a court or a commission are recorded.  Also known as order book
minute men - a militiamen during the American Revolution, who was ready to march at a minute's notice
misadventure - homicide committed by one accidentally in doing a lawful act
misdemeanor - one of a class of indictable offenses less serious than a felony
Missouri Compromise - measures passed by the Congress to end a crisis concerning extension of slavery, providing that Maine would enter the Union as a free state, Missouri as a slave state
mistress - the female head of a household, particularly with authority over servants, or a woman who has the power to control or dispose of something; contemptuously, a woman who serves as a wife but is not
mixed blood - a person born of parents of a different race is said to be of mixed blood, i.e., mulatto
M.L.W. - abbreviation for military land warrant
M.M. - abbreviation for monthly meeting
moiety - one-half of land or goods; one's share of two parts divided
mois - (French) month
monarchy - a country whose head of government, usually a king, is inherited
monat - (German) month
monk - one of a group of men living apart from the world, usually in a monastery, under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience , as a religious practice
Monroe Doctrine - a principle formulated by President Monroe expressing there would not be permitted any new colonization in America by foreign powers, and no European interference in American nations
Monthly Meeting - a local Quaker congregational meeting held monthly, a business meeting which included the recording of personal vital records, marriages, dismissions, and admissions, divided by male and female members
monument - a written legal document or record; any information given in writing; a structure of stone or other material erected over a grave in memory of the deceased person
moonshine - liquor distilled illegally
Moravain - one of a sect, Protestant, founded by emigrants in Saxony from Moravia (Austria-Hungary area)
morbo loacteo - milk sickness
Mormon - a member of the religious denomination of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, based on supposed divine revelations contained in The Book of Mormon
Mormon Church - see Mormon
mort - (French) death
mortality schedule - a supplementary census schedule for the years 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 in which the deaths were recorded of all persons who had died during the census year; however, only approximately 60% of actual; deaths were reported
mortgage - a conditional transfer of legal title to land as a security for the payment of a debt, with the provision that when obligation is satisfied, the transfer becomes void
mortgage deed - a deed by which a mortgage is accomplished.  See mortgage
mortgage release - a recorded acknowledgment that a debt secured by a mortgage has been satisfied and that all interest is voided
mortgagee - one who receives a mortgage on property of others as security for a debt
mortgagor - one who gives a mortgage as a lien on owned property to another to secure a debt
mortification - literally, death of a part of the body, as an infection, or gangrene
mortuary - a funeral-home, a temporary place for the body of a deceased person; also, formerly a gift claimed by the parish priest from the estate of a dead parishioner
mother-in-law - the mother of one's wife or husband; formerly used to denote step-mother which is incorrect usage
mountain people - those inhabiting the mountainous or hilly portions of a country, usually deemed to be limited in experience and knowledge of the way and life in a city
mourning period - the period of time in which sorrow is expressed for a death, sometimes exemplified by the wearing of black clothing or a mourning band or ring
mourning ring - a ring worn as a memorial to a deceased person
movables - personal property which can be carried from place to place, including animals, produce, and inanimate objects which are the personal property of the owner and for his use
ms. (or mss.) - abbreviation for manuscript(s)
mtg. - abbreviation for mortgage
muerto - (Spanish) dead
muffled drum - the drums used in a military funeral in which the sound is deemed as a mark of respect
muffled oar - the use of cloth wrapped around an oar to lessen the sound when stealth is desired
mulatto - the offspring of a white and a Negro, sometimes referring to the mixed blood child of any combination who looks like a mulatto
mule skinner - the driver of a team of mules who is proficient in the use of a whip
muniments - any document preserved as evident of rights, titles of privileges
muster - to assemble, enlist, enroll, gather together
muster day - the day in which soldiers were assembled, to be enlisted in a military force, or to be discharged, or to be assembled for an announced purpose
muster in - the day or process of enlistment or enrollment in a military group
muster out - to discharge from service
muster roll - the list or calling of the roll of members of a military unit
mutiny - open revolt against recognized constituted authority, usually in reference to men in military service
mutter - (German) mother
nacido - (Spanish) born
naitre - (French) born
National Archives - the national federal repository for records of governmental nature
National Highway - a road started about 1806, westward from Baltimore, Md., thru Frederick and Hagerstown, Md., Cumberland and Uniontown, Pa., Washington and Wheeling, W.Va., Zanesville and Columbus, Ohio, Richmond, Indianapolis and Terre Haute, Ind. and Vandalia, Illinois
National Pike - see National Highway
National Road - see National Highway
natural affection - love, affection or other natural feeling towards one usually of blood relation which is given as a reason for conveyance of property in a deed
natural born child - a child born out of wedlock, a b astard, although very early use referred to a child born to married parents
natural parents - parents related by blood, marriage or adoption to a child
naturalization - the process by which a person born in another country is invested with the citizenship and privileges of a native-born person
naturalized - one who has become a citizen by process of law, rather than by natural birth, of a country other than the country of birth
n.d. - abbreviation for "no date" known or available
necrology - a history of the dead, a register of deaths particularly in an ecclesiastical group
nee - as born, used following the name of a married woman to indicate her maiden name
nephew - the son of a brother, sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law and at times used to refer to any non-defined relative
nephritis - inflammation of the kidneys
nephrosis - a deterioration of the kidneys
neuf - (French) nine
neun - (German) nine
neunzehn - (German) nineteen
neunzig - (German) ninety
neuralgia - a nerve affection, especially of the head or face, causing intense but intermittent pain
new style calendar - see Gregorian Calendar
niece - a daughter of one's brother, brother-in-law, sister or sister-in-law but sometime referring to those of non-defined relation by blood
N igger Consumption - tuberculosis when affecting a Negro, found in old records
Night Riders - a reference to those who attempted to maintain white supremacy (Ku Klux Klan) or to take matters in their own hands, often disguised or riding under cover of darkness
nil - none, of no effect
nina - (Spanish) female child
nino - (Spanish) male child
non compos mentis - of unsound mind
noncupative will - a will declared or dictated by a testator, usually as by a person dying or a person in military combat; to be valid, must have been heard by a prescribed number of witnesses and be reduced to written form within a limited time.  Normally only for personal property
non-grant land transfer - land obtained by means of purchase for cash rather than by grant, and usually refers to land bought of the colonies
Non-Parochial Registers - those kept by the nonconformist churches (Quakers, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc.) as opposed to the Episcopalians, thus not listed in the parish registers, of births, death, marriages, etc.
non-resident - not resident in a particular place, or on one's estate; not residing in the area or state in which a matter is under consideration; not subject to tax because place of residence is elsewhere than in the jurisdiction of the taxing authority
Norman - a native or inhabitant of Normandy, in France, or in England, those descended from the Normans
norteamericano - (Spanish) American, citizens of U.S.
northern Negro - a Negro born or living other than in the southern states of the U.S., having not been subject to slavery and having higher social caste in the opinion of some
Northwest Territory - the area now comprised by Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, the first national territory of the U. S. under early French and then British control and acquired by the U.S. as a result of the Treaty of Paris 1783
notary, notary public - a very minor civil official who may administer an oath or witness and attest a signature
notary seal - the official seal or impression upon a document attesting to a signature by a notary public
note - a written promise to pay a certain sum of money at a later date, as a bank-note, used as currency
novembre - (French) November
noventa - (Spanish) ninety
noviembre - (Spanish) November
N,S,D,A,R, - abbreviation for National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution
nueve - (Spanish) nine
nun - a woman devoted to a religious life, usually living in a convent, with vows of poverty, chastity and obedience
nupcias - (Spanish) wedding
oath of allegiance - oath taken to support
oath of fidelity - oath taken to be faithful to
obit - a shortened form of the word obituary; a yearly commemorative service on behalf of the soul of a deceased person held on the anniversary of the death of such a person
obituary - an announcement of the death of a person, commonly in newspapers, including a short biography
obligation - a legal agreement where one person is bound to another to the payment of a sum of money or to do certain things
obligatory - the imposing an obligation; that what must be done
ochenta - (Spanish) eighty
ocho - (Spanish) eight
octavo - the most usual size of a book, usually from 5"x8" to 6"x9".  Octavo, abbreviated 8vo is one step smaller than quarto (4to) and one larger than duodecimo (12mo).  Literal meaning, 8 leaves, or the result of folding a single sheet of paper three times to produce 8 leaves or 16 pages
octobre - (French) October
Octoroon - a person having 1/8 Negro blood; sometimes referring to any mixed race
octurbre - (Spanish) October
Ohio Company - an organization formed in 1748 to extend Virginia's settlements west into the Ohio Valley, and rivalry with French claims helped cause the French and Indian War, which, with the Revolution, stymied the Company's plans
oktober - (German) October
Old Dominion - an old name for Virginia, probably arising from the use of the phrase found in old documents, "the colony and dominion of Virginia"
Old Northwest Turnpike - a rout of migration from Winchester, Virginia to the Ohio River at what is now Parkersburg, West Virginia
Old style calendar - see Julian calendar
Old Walton Road - a path of migration from about 1795 from Knoxville to Nashville, in Tennessee
olographic will - see holographic will
once - (Spanish) eleven
one-room school - a school held in one room comprising all the grades
onze - (French) eleven
o.p. - abbreviation for "out of print" signifying a book is no longer available from the publisher
open court - a court open to spectators
opium - a sedative and narcotic drug made from the juice and seeds of the poppy
ordain - to appoint or admit ceremonially to the ministry of the Christian Church or to confer holy orders upon, usually after training and completion of a course of study
order - see judgement
order book - a record book of the court in which judgements are recorded
orderly - a non-commissioned officer or private soldier attending upon a superior officer's personal needs, or to carry orders or messages
ordinance - the action of ordering, regulating, controlling directing
ordinary - an inn serving alcoholic beverages, or a tavern
ordnance - service concerned with the supply of military stores, particularly artillery and ammunition
organized militia - citizens banded together under recognized authority for military purposes
original lists - Customs Passenger Lists for Baltimore, Boston, New Bedford, Mobile, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia commencing in 1820 and partially complete to 1902
original records - a record recorded at the time of the event, i.e., not a copied record
original settlers - the pioneer settlers who first inhabited an area
orphan - a minor who is without parents due to their death or other reason
orphan book - a court record book in which the affairs of orphans, including their guardianship, is listed, such records terminating only when orphan reached legal age, removed elsewhere, died or other
orphanage - a home or institution for the care and raising of orphan children either private or public
outhouse - a detached building, away from the dwelling, used as wash-house, summer kitchen, or other purpose; also such a building used as a latrine
outlot - a piece of land away from the premises of inhabitation, or outside the town boundaries, used for pasture or tilling
overseer - a superintendent, supervisor; one appointed annually to perform various administrative duties connected with relief of the poor ("Overseer of the Poor")
ox - a domestic long-horned bovine animal used principally for a beast of burden, or for food
ox yoke - a curved bar of wood fitted with hoops as a neck harness, by which two oxen can be controlled as one
p. - abbreviation for pence, also abbreviated "d."
P.A. or P/A - abbreviation for Power of Attorney
packet boat - a small river steamer with established stops at various ports which carried mail, passengers and small cargos; a mail boat
packhorse - a usually small, wiry horse with good stamina used for carrying packs or bundles
packman - an itinerant peddler
pack-road - a narrow road formed by frequent passage of horses loaded with packs or bundles or freight, not wide enough to be used by wagon
paddle steamer - a river boat primarily for carrying passengers, and small cargo, propelled by steam-driven paddle wheels
paddle wheel - see paddle steamer; paddle wheels were large wooden wheel-like affairs with paddles or boards fitted radially around the circumference, so as to press backwards through the water as the wheel rotated, like successive paddles
paddy wagon - a vehicle used for the transportation of prisoners to jail
padre - (Spanish) father, Father
padres - (Spanish) parents
padrino - (Spanish) male sponsor
pagina - (Spanish) page
Palatinate - two regions of Germany; the Lower Palatinate extends west from the Rhine River to France and the Saar; the Upper Palatinate is a province of Bavaria.  The two are not geographically connected.  Many emigrants came from these regions
pale face - a term used by the American Indian to designate a white man
paleography - the study of ancient writing and inscriptions and the study of deciphering them
palpitations of the heart - an uneven throbbing or fluttering of the heart, as was thought to be caused by excitement, particularly in courtship
palsy - paralysis of sensation, and of the ability to control the muscles, resulting in tremulous moving and shaking of the hands and head in the aged
pannier - a basket used to carry provisions by a beast of burden, usually in pairs
pantaloons - a tight fitting type of trousers with ribbons or buttons below the knees and with straps passing under the boots
pantry - a room in the house where food, linens and dishes are kept, and usually unheated
papaw - a small tree with dull purple flowers and ovate leaves, and an edible fruit
parched corn - a dried, slightly scorched corn, treated such to preserve it
parchment - the skin of the sheep or goat, or similar, dressed, dried and prepared for writing; any membranous type of material resembling this
pardon - a remission of the legal consequences of a crime; to free; to forgive; to remit without blame or punishment
paregoric - a camphorated tincture of opium, used as a medicine to soothe the pain
parent country - the country of native birth of an emigrant
parent county - the county from which a new county is formed
parish - originally a township or several townships having their own church and clergy and to whom tithes were paid, later an ecclesiastical division only
Parish Council - a local administrative body for a civil parish (see parish), of usually more than 300 inhabitants
parishioner - of a civil parish, one of the inhabitants; of an ecclesiastical parish, one of the members of the church
parlor - an ordinary sitting room in a home, sometimes maintained particularly for guests entertainment; in an inn, a private room permitting private conversation
parochial - of or pertaining to a parish or church
parson - a rector, vicar, or, in general use, any clergyman
parsonage - in general, the house provided for the use of a clergyman at the expense of the church or as part of his compensation
partition - the division of real property among all owners according to their respective rights
partition deed - the deed by which all owners are invested in their share, in a partition (see)
partition suits - a suit brought by one of the co-owners of a piece of land to force partition , or division among all the owners, so that each would have title to his particular share
parrain marraine - (French) sponser
pass - a way or opening by which one is able to pass through an otherwise impassable area or region, i.e., a mountain pass
passage boat - a boat travelling regularly between two points, for the convenience of passengers
passport - a document issued by one's government allowing one to travel out of the country and to return
passport application - a written application filed to apply for a passport.  Many passport applications are in the National Archives, dating back to 1791, although passports were not a requisite until 1901; these contain various types of information some of which are of value to genealogists
pastor - a minister in charge of a church or congregation, with a charge to "care for his flock", hence the name
pasture - a piece of land covered with grass or other herbage providing food for livestock
patchwork quilt - a quilt top made by sewing together many small pieces of cloth, usually of different shapes and colors, in various designs
patent - documentary evidence of title to land granted; a license to own
patent entry book - the book in which land patents were recorded in a county, thus giving evidence of first private ownership of the land
patentee - a person who receives a patent
paternal - that which is inherited or derived from a father or related through the father or the father's family
patriotic services - this refers to aid or support given to the American Revolutionist during the Revolutionary War other than military service, such as providing food, supplies or clothing, or transportation
patron - one who advances his support in the interest of a person or cause
patroon - one who owns a landed estate and certain manorial privileges granted under the old Dutch governments of New York and New Jersey to members of the West India Company
pauper - a poor or destitute person unable to care for himself, and allowed to sue or defend in a court of law without paying costs
pawpaw - see papaw
peace bond - an obligation or bond posted by one who has disturbed the peace or threatened to do so, the penalty of which is forfeited upon such a disturbance
peace pipe - a long-stemmed decorated pipe, the smoking of such by the American Indian signifying the end of hostile feelings or warfare
peace warrant - a warrant for arrest of a person issued by a Justice of the Peace
pecuniary - consisting of money
pedagogue - a schoolmaster or teacher, now usually associated with one of pedantic or dogmatic manner, or of severe ways
pedigree - a line of succession of one's ancestors drawn up in tabular form
pedigree chart - see family chart
peeler - a nickname for the Irish police, founded by Sir Robert Peel; a bobby
peer - one of equal standing or rank before the law
Pennsylvania Rifle - see Kentucky rifle
pennyroyal - a small aromatic mint plant formerly cultivated for its supposed medicinal virtues
pension - a periodical payment made in consideration of past services, as such paid to veterans or their dependents as a result of military service
Pension Acts - pensions were granted by Congress to invalid or disabled veterans; to widows and orphans of men who were killed or died in service; to veterans who served a minimum period of time if they were living at an advanced age; to widows of veterans who served a minimum time if the widow were living at an advanced age; and in some instances to other heirs.  There were numerous acts of Congress accomplishing this, including public acts which included large groups and private acts which referred to an individual
Pension Claims - with reference to the Pension Acts, each claim for a pension was normally based upon a single Act, and the National Archives holds files of claims made and granted which consists of the pension application, documents which support the claim as to identity of the person and the service declared, and evidence of the action taken on the claim.  Many applications include family information and a record of his military service in detail.  The widow might apply for a pension after the death of the veteran, even though the veteran had been receiving such a payment, and widow's application like-wise are valuable for research
penwiper - a number of pieces of soft cloth folded or fastened together for use in wiping the ink from a pen
peppercorn - actually the dried berry of a black pepper, but used to stipulate a small, insignificant amount, a token payment, a nominal or quit-rent amount
per annum - per year, by the year
per diem - per day, by the day
per diem pay or allowance - an amount allowed or paid each day
per se - by itself
per stripes - a legal term indicating a method of dividing an interstate estate so that a group of children, as a group, take only the share of an estate that their deceased ancestor would have been entitled to had he been living
per testamentum - by will, as by will
perch - a unit of measure, 5 « yards or 16 « feet, also called rod or pole
pere - (French) father
personal property - movable, personal belongings, animals, tools, any property other than land
personalty - personal goods, belongings, a personal estate; other than land
petit - small in size or stature, or in importance, junior to that of another
petit jury - a jury in a court or for a matter of lesser importance
petition - a written application to a court asking for an exercise of judicial power in a matter not a law suit; any formally drawn up request to a person or body in authority
petitioner - one who presents, or signs a petition
petty officer - a minor officer in the navy corresponding in rank to that of a non-commissioned officer in the army
pewter - a grayish-silver alloy of tin and lead used in making plates, cups, and other utensils, of medium value
Philadelphia lawyer - a term used to compare a person's supposed knowledge to one who supposedly was able to use the law as a means to an end; a sharp person
photocopy - a photographic reproduction made by a photocopy machine; or the process by which such is made
picayune - an insignificant person or thing, sometimes used for a U.S. coin of 5 cent value, or other small coin of little value
picket fence - a fence made of pointed stakes or posts driven into the ground and usually connected with cross-bars
pig-in-a-poke - used to describe something offered for sale without the opportunity of inspection, i.e., an article in a bag, thus of unknown quality
pike - a main road or highway maintained or paid for, or at one time so treated, by a necessity to pay a toll for passage
Pilgrim - one who journeys, usually a long distance, to some sacred place for religious devotion; those English Puritans who founded the colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 due to religious persecutions in England
pill-pusher - a contemptous name for a doctor, who, supposedly, treated all manner of diseases with pills
pillory - a wooden framework erected on a post or pillar, having holes through which the head and hands of an offender were thrust and secured, thus leaving the offender subject to ridicule, and tormenting or molestation by others
pine box - a term for a coffin constructed of plain pine planks
pioneer - one who goes before others to prepare the way or place; a name given to original settlers in this country or an area not previously inhabited by white men
pious - devout; religious; faithful to the duties naturally owed parents
piroque - a small open boat with or without sails, used on a local basis
plague - a malignant disease of epidemic proportions, usually highly contagious
plainsman - settlers of a prairie area
plaintiff - the person who files a law suit against another; the complainant
plank road - see corduroy road; a plank road was made of planks rather than logs of a corduroy road, laid on a base of timbers running the length of the road
plantation - an estate or farm, especially but not necessarily in the south, on which cotton, tobacco, sugar-cane, coffee or other crops are cultivated, usually with slave or servile labor.  The term is used frequently in older records for any farm
plantation house - the principal dwelling house on a plantation, or any farm, not necessarily of pretentious size
planter - a farmer, or cultivator of the soil for purpose of raising crops, used frequently in the south, but also elsewhere.  One who inhabits a plantation
planting by the moon - a custom of attention to the phases of the moon (full moon, half-moon, etc.) in determining the time to plant and harvest crops
plat - a piece of ground, or a diagram of such, usually surveyed or divided into lots or smaller portions
plat book - or plat map; the book in which a chart of map of an area, usually a township, is maintained, showing surveyed divisions of the land within the area, the size of each plat, and the owner
platoon - a small body or squad of foot soldiers organized or detailed for a certain purpose
play party - a rural gathering where the younger guests amuse themselves by singing, dancing and acting certain traditional songs and games without musical accompaniment.  Some of these were "All Go Down to Rowser's", "Billy Boy", "All Chaw Hay on the Corner","The Girl I Left behind me", "Captain Jenks", "Go in and out the window", "Old Dan Tucker" and others
plea - a pleading or allegation made in court by a party in support of his case; also a formal statement made by a prisoner as to guilty or not-guilty of an accused crime; a formal request made in court for abatement of an action or to bar an action
pleadings - a formal statement usually written, in which a plea or defense of a plea is made
plebe - a freshman or member of the lowest class at a military or navel academy
plebian - of the lowest class, birth or rank; the common person
pleurisy - inflammation of the membrane in the chest
plumb line - a string or cord with a weight attached to one end, by which a measurement of depth is made
pneumonia - a serious inflammation of the lungs, at times fatal
poke - a bag or small sack; a woman's purse
poke-bag - a small woman's purse
poke-berry - the small black berry of the poke plant, used as a dye in earlier times; plant itself was known as Indian tobacco, smoked by the American Indians
poke-bonnet - a bonnet worn with a projecting brim, such as favored by the Quakers, and now by the Salvation Army
pole - a unit of measure, 5 « yards or 16 « feet, also called a rod or perch
polecat - a name for a skunk
poll - a counting of "heads" as for a census, vote, or for purpose of taxation
poll tax - literally, a tax on the head of a person, a counting of persons for the purpose of tax
poltroon - a cowardly, mean- spirited person
Pony Express - an established delivery system on set routes for the carrying of mail and small parcels by men on horseback who traveled rapidly between stations.  Wells Fargo Company was a notable example.  Used primarily in frontier areas, particularly in the western parts of the U.S.
poor white trash - a contemptous term for a "worthless" or disreputable person or family
porridge - a soft food made by stirring cereal, meal or oatmeal into boiling water or milk; sometimes vegetables with a thickening
porterhouse - an inn or tavern which sold malt liquors
posse - a band or group of citizens or law officers brought together for the purpose of tracking down or capturing a supposed offender; at times taking the law into their own hands
post mill - a type of wind mill, being a small house like structure which turned to face the wind
post mortem - actually an investigation into the cause of death; after death
posthumous - an action or situation continued after death, i.e., the birth of a child after the death of his father, the publication of a book after the death of its author, etc.
posterity - all succeeding generations of a common ancestor
pot hook - a hook suspended over a fireplace for hanging a pot or kettle
pot house - a tavern, usually a small unpretentious one
pot metal - an alloy of lead and copper of which pots were formerly made
pot pie - a meat made into a pie
pottage - a thick soup made of vegetables with sometimes meat added, boiled to a softness in water and seasoned
poultice - a soft mass on bread, meal, bran, etc. made with boiling water and spread upon a cloth (soft) to apply to the skin as a soothant
pound - an English money, originally the weight of a pound of silver, formerly equal to 20 shillings or 240 pence, and in modern times equal to 10 shillings or 100 pence
power-of-attorney - the legal document which authorizes one person to act for another and in his place, to transact business, make conveyances, and certain other acts as may be specified
praline - a confection made from boiled, brown sugar and nuts, popular in the south
precinct - a sub-division of a county or ward for the purpose of election and police purposes
pre-emption - to occupy or appropriate before others; purchase before the opportunity is offered to others; the right to obtain public land when conditions set have been fulfilled
prerogative court - a probate court
presents - in legal use, "this document", as "by these presents"
press gang - a group of men employed by a ship's captain or under the command of an officer to impress men into military service, or to serve on a ship
primary record - an original record, made at the time an event occurred
primogeniture - the earliest ancestor; first parent
Prince - a son or grandson of a king or queen
Princess - a daughter or granddaughter of a king or a queen
private land claim - a claim to land in Alabama, Arizona Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, and New Mexico based upon a grant made during British, French, Mexican or Spanish sovereignty
privateer - a privately owned vessel commissioned by a government authorizing attack on ships of an enemy country
privy - a secret or private knowledge of one's own group or circle; a private place, as a latrine
privy council - a council of state of a foreign country; a confidential council
prize court - a division of the British Admiralty Court dealing with anything captured or seized especially in war
pro tem - temporarily
probate - actually "to prove" as to prove a will is what it purports to be; in general, anything dealing with the probate of a will, including administration and settlement of an estate
Probate Book - the bound record book of the matters under the jurisdiction of the probate court
probate court - any court having the jurisdiction over the proving or probate of wills, and the administration of the estate
probate district - the area over which a probate court has jurisdiction
probate records - records retained by the court which contain information of the probate of a will and the administration and settlement of an estate
processioner - literally, a person marching around the boundaries of a piece of land in order to formerly determine its boundaries and to confirm same; with church connotation, one who proceeds around the boundaries of a parish for this purpose
professional genealogist - one who professes to have a thorough knowledge of the subject and will do research for others for a fee
professional mourners - one who provides service as a mourner for pay
progenitor - a direct ancestor, one in direct line; a forefather
progeny - descendants of a common ancestor
promissory note - a written agreement to pay a certain sum; a promise to pay
proof - documentary evidence, attested to in such a way that a fact or situation is proven true
proprietor - one who has the exclusive right of title to the use or disposal (as in land); the owner and manager of an establishment
prosecute - to institute or exercise legal proceedings against a person for some offense, crime or wrong
prothonotary - the official who is the principal clerk in certain courts
proved - as a will, probated
province - an administrative division of a country, not necessarily within the country
provisioner - one who furnished supplies, as a provisioner to an army
provost marshal - an officer serving as the head of the military police for a camp, base or encampment, or area in which the military has jurisdiction
Prussians - a citizen of Prussia, a former German state occupying roughly the northern half of Germany
pseudoym -a false name, a fictitious name
puberty - the condition or age at which a person becomes capable of having children

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