Public Domain - land owned by the federal government open to public view or access, as a public federal park
public house -an inn, tavern, where food, lodging and drink could be had, for a fee
publican - one who keeps a public house (see); any collector of tithes, tolls, tribute, customs
puder - a misspelling found in many old documents referring to "pewter"
puerpual fever - a fever occurring during or after childbirth, perhaps caused by blood poisoning
puking fever - a term associated with milk sickness, a disease caused by drinking the milk or eating the meat of a cow that had eaten the poisonous white snakeroot plant
pulpit - an elevated platform or place from which a minister delivers his sermon, at the front of a church, or inside
putrid fever - diphtheria
quadrangle map - a map showing the divisions of the rectangular survey system
quadroon - the child of the union of a white and a Negro, i.e., one having one-fourth Negro blood
Quaker - a member of the Society of Friends, emphasizing belief in plainness or dress and in peaceful principles including non-service in the military
Quaker calendar - the Quakers did not use the name of the month in writing a date; until 1752 Quakers referred to March as the 1st month and subsequently , April (2nd month), May (3rd month), June (4th month), July (5th month), August (6th month), September (7th month), October (8th month), November (9th month), December (10th month), January (11th month), February (12th month).  Thus "15th, 12th month" would be February 15
Quaker records - in general, records maintained by the Society of Friends from Monthly Meetings, of births, deaths, marriages, admissions, and dismissions, but in particular to the six volumes of record abstracted and published by William Wade Hinshaw (Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy) and Volume VII of the same, in seven parts, by Willard Hess, subtitled Abstracts of the Records of the Society of Friends in Indiana
quarante - (French) forty
quarter section - a quarter of a square mile of land, 160 acres, under the rectangular survey system
quarterly court - a county court for minor offenses meeting four times a year in some states, as Kentucky
Quarterly Meeting - several Monthly Meetings of a local congregation of the Society of Friends
quarto - a book size, abbreviated "4to" of from 11 to 13 inches tall; any sheet of paper or page made by folding a whole sheet twice so as to form four leaves or eight pages
quatorze - (French) fourteen
quatre - (French) four
quartre-vingt-dix - (French) ninety
quartre-vingts - (French) eighty
Queens Attorney - see Kings Attorney
quick march - a march in quick or double time in comparison to usual pace of march
quick step - see quick march
quilting bee - a gathering of women held for the purpose of making a quilt and for enjoyment
quince - a hard, acid, yellowish, pear-like fruit used to qflavor or preserve other fruits
quince - (Spanish) fifteen
quinine - a bitter alkaloid made from cinchona bark, used in treating malaria and allaying, fever and pain
quinsy - inflammation of the throat or tonsils
quinze - (French) fifteen
quire of paper - one-twentieth of a ream of paper; "in quire", as yet unbound
quit-claim - a denial of any claim or interest to property of another
quit-claim deed - a deed often used to "quiet " title to land, in which the person giving a quit-claim deed formally acknowledges that he has no interest or claim to the property, and does not profess to have ever had any in some cases
quit rent - usually a token payment of rent which discharges him from any further obligation to pay
R. - abbreviation fro Range, as used in the location of land under the rectangular survey system
rail fence - a fence constructed of horizontal bars fixed upon upright posts, usually from poles cut from trees and sometimes in a zig-zag pattern
rail-splitter - one who split logs into rails which were to be used in the making of a rail-fence; Abraham Lincoln liked to be known as a rail-splitter in his early manhood
raising - a gathering of neighbors to assist in the building or raising of the framework of a house or barn, usually an opportunity also for entertainment and food and drink, a social affair
rake - a man or woman of loose habits and immoral character
range - a series of townships six miles in width, used in a land description in the rectangular survey system; an iron stove having one or more ovens at the sides, and closed on the top with iron plates beneath which the fire was laid
rank and file - a designation for military personnel lined up in (rows) ranks and (files) lines, according to rank and position, except for the commanding officers
R.C. - abbreviation for Roman Catholic
read out of meeting - a term indicating the reading out of the decision to dismiss from membership due to a violation of beliefs, principles, or action contrary to that condoned, as dismissal of a person from a church membership, and with particular reference to the Society of Friends
real - a small Spanish silver coin, worth approximately 1/8 of a dollar
real property - refers to that which is land or attached to the land, i.e., houses or buildings or structures, improvements; real estate; fast estate
ream - a quantity of paper, 20 quires or 480 sheets, but in actuality usually 500 sheets; sometimes used to denote a large quantity of paper without regard to the exact number of sheets
rebel - opposition or disobedience to a recognized government or authority
Rebs - a name given those who professed sympathy and support fro the Confederacy during the Civil War, and after
receipt - a written acknowledgment of goods, property or money received
recognizance - a bond or obligation filed with a court in which a person agrees to perform some act, to appear when called on, to pay a debt, or to keep the peace
record - a fact committed to writing
Recorder - see County Recorder
Reconstruction - a period of restoration in the south following the Civil War
recruit - one newly or recently enlisted in the military service and for which training has not been completed
rectangular survey system - land survey system adopted in 1785 which provided that public lands be surveyed and described in terms of subdivision, section, township, and range, prior to settlement
redcoat - the name given the British army in the American Revolution due to the color of uniform; also applied to sympathizers of the British (Tories)
Redemptioner - one who sold himself as a servant for a specified term of years to pay for the cost of his voyage to America.  The shipowner usually sold this indenture then to a planter, and the person became the servant of the planter until the debt was paid.  An indentured white man
reeve - an overseer of a parish, a churchwarden, or a minor parish official
refugee - one who seeks refuge in a foreign country due to religious or political persecution in his native land; also one who seeks refuge in another area of his own land, as in the Civil War; a name given, especially in New York, to marauders during the Revolutionary War who claimed British protection
regiment - a large body of troops more or less permanently organized under the command of a superior office
register - a book in which official or authoritative records are made on a regular basis, as births, deaths, marriages, etc.
register of voters - a record of those entitled to vote in an election within a specified area, duly qualified
register of wills - in some states a county official who acts as clerk of the probate court
registrar - one charged with keeping the official records or register
registro de parroquia - (Spanish) church register
regulars - a soldier belonging to the standing army, a regular soldier as opposed to a reserve or other of a temporary nature
Regulator - a member of one of the groups formed at various times in various parts of the U.S. for the purpose of keeping order and supplying the need for justice, which in many cases, was abused by taking the law in their own hands
rejoinder - the defendants answer to the plaintiff's accusations
relay station - a point, way station, on the route of a pony express, at which a fresh horse could be obtained and at some points a change of rider
release - a conveyance of one person's interest or right in an estate to another person who also has rights or an interest; also, a release by an heir of his expectant rights in an estate; in general, a release from obligation
relict - the surviving spouse upon the death of the other, either husband or wife, specifically one of a surviving pair, not just a survivor of the person deceased
relief - that which is received in return for lessening some cause, or action; aid, help, or assistance given to a person of poverty usually by a governmental agency; assistance or a fresh supply (as of troops) in a time of stress or danger; remission of a tax
relinquish dower - a situation where a woman could give up claim to her rights to inherit a portion of the land owned by her husband, whether husband was deceased or not, by signing a joint conveyance after being examined separately by a court official in which the voluntary act or in return for a legacy in place of such rights
Remember the Alamo - see Alamo
remitting fever - a malarial type of fever in which the symptoms subsided for a period
removed - one's move from the place formerly inhabited, used interchangeably with "moved"
renegade - one who deserts a principle, party or person in favor of another, i.e., a turncoat
renounce - to give up, repudiate, or abandon in a complete and formal manner in favor of another, as one would renounce citizenship in one country in order to acquire citizenship in another
renunciation - a refusal to accept a transfer or conveyance as a result of a will; a disclaimer
replevin - the restoration or recovery of goods or chattels to a person, of property taken from him, upon his giving bond and agreeing to have the matter heard in a court of justice and the agreement to give up the goods if the decision was made against him
Republic - a form of government where the head of the government is elected
Republican Party - a political party founded in 1854 on the principle of opposing slavery and today one of the two major political parties
requiescat in pace - (R.I.P.) a Latin inscription meaning "rest in peace" found frequently on tombstones
requisition - the action of requiring a certain amount or number of anything to be furnished; such made upon a town during the Revolutionary War to supply or furnish anything required for military purposes
research - an investigation to discover and interpret the facts, including the revision of accepted theories if need be.  In genealogical research, this does not include just copying information supplied by others
reservation - the retention of some right or interest in property being conveyed to another
residuary legatee - one to whom the remainder of an estate is given after specific bequests have been made
rest - to cease or stop at a certain point, as in a lawsuit, the case is rested when all pertinent details have been presented and arguments stated
rest in peace - some times the interpretation of the abbreviation "R.I.P." found on tombstones, which actually means "requiescat in pace" meaning the same thing, rest in peace
retarded - to delay the process or accomplishment, to delay, hinder, impede
reticule - a net bag or lady's purse, or of some woven material, for carrying over the arm or in the hand
retrieval - the action of finding again material filed or recorded by means of a computer, or other indexing system
return - the report and the action of returning to the courts or officials any writ, license or permits authorizing a person to take specific action and to confirm that it has been done, i.e., return of a writ by a sheriff with a report on what has been done, or the return of a marriage authorization to a clerk with a report that the marriage has been preformed, and others
reunion - a meeting or social gathering of persons related to a family
revenuer - a federal officer enforcing the law against illegal manufacture of whiskey; a colloquial term applied by those engaged in the illicit venture
reverse index - an index to the beneficiaries of wills
revival - a religious meeting or gathering, sometimes in tents or outdoors, conducted for the purpose of reawakening religious interest
revocation of a will - the annulment of a will, by the making a new will, or a written declaration of such
Revolution - in a genealogical sense, refers to the American Revolution commencing in 1776 in which the colonies sought independence from Great Britain
revolutionary - of or pertaining to the revolution; in a genealogical usage, referring to the turn of events of the American Revolution
rickets -a disease of children characterized by the softening of the bones; also a blight in corn
riding habit - clothing worn by ladies when riding a horse, consisting of a cloth skirt, and a double-breasted tight fitting jacket
riffraff - persons of a disreputable character
rigadoon - a lively and spirited dance for two persons, or the music for such
right of survivorship - the right of the surviving one, of two persons jointly owning property, to that property
riparian - of or pertaining to the banks of a river, or situated on the banks of river
ripsaw - a saw used for cutting wood with the grain of the wood
road agent - a highway robber
road overseer - one whose duties it was to inspect and see that the roads passing by the property of a land owner were kept in good repair, a violation of which could result in a fine and a court order to take the proper action
road surveyor - see road overseer
road viewer - see road overseer
rod - a unit of measure, 5 « yards or 16 « feet, also called a perch or pole; a straight stick or a bundle of twigs used as punishment, as in a school, "spare the rod and spoil the child"
rolling road - a roadway made by the use of pulling or rolling casks o tobacco to a waterway from whence shipment could be made
rolls - a list usually in scroll form
Roman Catholic - the legal and official designation of the Catholic Church
rood - a variable measure of length according to locality, but usually of about 5 « to 8 yards; also used to describe acreage of 1/4 acre
roomer - those who occupied a room as a lodger, sometimes sharing a room with another.  Does not indicate that meals were furnished
rooming house - a home, lodge or inn with rooms to let, on long or short term basis, not necessarily including the serving of meals
roots - a more or less modern term to indicate a line of family ancestry, i.e., the basis for a family tree
rosin - a petroleum distillate substance used for lubrication
roster - a list of the names of a certain set or group of persons, including at times their turns of duty
rough-hewn - roughly cut or shaped out; when applied to a person, one of blunt, unrefined, uncultivated, or plain nature
Roundhead - member of the Parliamentary Party of the English Civil War in the 17th century, so called because of the practice of having the hair close-chopped
Royalist - those who supported the British king during the Revolutionary War
rumfustian - a highly popular early American pioneer drink made from beer, sherry, gin, egg yolks, orange peel, nutmeg, spices, and sugar
R.W. - abbreviation for Revolutionary War
s. - abbreviation for shilling
saddlebag - a bag carried at the saddle for various purposes, usually one a pair laid across the back of a horse, behind the saddle
saddle bow - the arched front of a saddle
saddle cloth - a cloth or blanket placed on the horse's back, underneath the saddle, to prevent chafing
saddle tree - the framework forming the foundation for a saddle
safe conduct - the document or the privilege granted by someone in authority to a person traveling in a certain area or through a certain region, to allow this to be done without fear of arrest or molestation
sale - an auction for the sale of the personal property of a deceased person as by the administer or executor of the estate
sale bill - a record made of the goods and personal property sold at a sale (see) usually a detailed listing, item by item, and the amount each sold for
salt lick - a natural outcropping of salt frequented by animals, and by persons, in search and need of salt
salt spring - similar to a salt lick but marshy
saltbox house - a type of early architecture in which the house had two stories in front, one on the rear
sampler - a piece of embroidery serving as a pattern; a piece of canvas embroidery by a beginner as an example of her skill, usually with a motto, the alphabet, and various floral or decorative motifs
sanguineous crust - a term for the malady of Scab
S.A.R. - abbreviation for Sons of the American Revolution
sarsaparilla - a popular early beverage and tonic made from the roots of the various sarsaparilla plants
S.A.S.E. - abbreviation for self-addressed stamped envelope, a reminder that one should be enclosed with an inquiry if an answer is expected
sassafras tea - a tea made from the bark and roots of the sassafras tree or shrub, supposedly of some medicinal value, as "to thin the blood in the spring"
saw mill - a place where logs are sawed into boards or planks, usually rough-cut, by saws powered by horses, steam, or just cut by manual labor
scab - or scabies, a contagious skin disease due to a parasite, or any skin disease characterized by scaly eruptions
scarlet fever - an acute infectious disease, most prevalent among children and in winter, with painful sore throat, chills, nausea and vomiting and a scarlet skin eruption
schedule - (census) a completed census questionnaire, a form used in obtaining the information
Scotch-Irish - a designation given to those people of northern Ireland who were descended from Scotch settlers, many of whom emigrated to the U.S.
scout - one sent out ahead of the main body in order to determine the position and movements of an enemy
screws - a name used for rheumatism
scribe - a term for any public official concerned with writing, or keeping or accounts
scrimshaw - a general name for the handicrafts produced by sailors in their idle hours during long voyages, particularly those on whaling voyages in which small objects were carved from whalebone
scrip - paper currency of less than a dollar in amount; fractional currency; such to be exchangeable for something else, of like value
script writing - handwriting or type resembling handwriting
scrivener - one who received money to place out at interest, as a broker, and who loaned money to those who wanted to raise funds, on security; also, a notary public, or any penman, copyist, scribe
scrofula - a constitutional disease in which there is swelling and degeneration of the lymph glands.  Also called King's Evil
scroll - a roll of paper or parchment on which there is writing
scrumpox - a pustular disease of the skin
scurvy - a disease caused by improper foods or malnutrition, in which there is general debility, foul breath and soreness of the gums, and pain in the limbs
schwester - (German) sister
sealed - a ceremonial certification by the Mormons in which a woman is set apart to a man as his spiritual wife, and the children and descendants are confirmed
sealed and delivered - an indication that a document is authenticated by the affixing of a seal and the attesting by witnesses
secession - the formal withdrawance from a political or religious organization, alliance, or federations, i.e., as the southern states seceding from the Union at the time of the Civil War
secessionist - one who sympathizes and supports a secession
sechs - (German) six
sechzehn - (German) sixteen
sechzig - (German) sixty
secondary record - a record made by one who was not present at the time the event occurred; in genealogy, this can be a book or genealogy prepared by one who may or may not have done the proper research, and thus is not necessarily to be taken as proof
secret disease - a term used for various venereal diseases
section - a designation of one square mile, used in the rectangular survey system
security - a bond, or other property deposited by or on behalf of a person to guarantee the fulfillment of an obligation
"seeing (Nellie) home" - a term used to denote courtship, that of accompanying a girl to her home for the purpose of developing closer relations
seis - (Spanish) six
seite - (German) page
seize - (French) sixteen
seized - to take possession of goods in pursuant of a court order
selectman - one of a board of annually elected officers to manage the various local affairs of a town or township in New England
seminary - a school or college, often for girls only
senile - an exhibition of various weakness, especially mental, of old age
senior - used after a persons name to denote the elder of two persons, not necessarily father and son, and not necessarily even in the same family
separate examination - the questioning of a married woman, out of hearing of her husband, as to whether she consents to joining her husband in the execution of a deed of her own free will
separated - the condition whereby a man and wife mutually agrees to live apart, or such by judicial decree; the cessation if conjugal cohabitation
separatist - one who belongs to a religious group separated from the Church or a particular church, or who advocates doing so, usually due to a different belief arrived at from what was originally believed
sept - (French) seven
septembre - (French) September
septiembre - (Spanish) September
septs - Scottish clans, tribes
sequester - to remove property from the possession of the own temporarily, as in seizing and holding property of a debtor until obligations have been satisfied
sequestration - the appropriation of property, or income from property, from the owner, to be held until an obligation is satisfied
seft - a person of servitude whose services are more or less limited by law or custom
servant - one who serves another either for pay or by compulsory obligation; in the early colonies, this was also used to mean a slave
sesenta - (Spanish) sixty
setenta - (Spanish) seventy
setting off the dower - a dower division, in which a widow's dower is assigned to her by means of a legal document, such as a deed, in the administration of her late husband's estate
settlement - the final accounting of an estate, being an itemized list showing the expenses of the estate, the payment of debts, and the amount remaining to be distributed
settler - on who settles in a new area or country, a colonist
seventh day - the Jewish Sabbath
Seventh Day ... - any religious group that celebrates Saturday as their day of rest and Sabbath, i.e., Seventh Day Adventists, Seventh Day Baptists
sexagenarian - a person sixty years old, or characteristic of one that age
sexennial - an event occurring every six years
sexton - a church official charged with having the care of the building and the contents, and the duties of ringing the bells and digging the graves
shakefork - a pitchfork, usually wooden with two prongs used by threshers
Shakers - an American religious sect which believe in celibacy and the living apart of men and women
shakers - those attending a religious revival who were caught up in the fervor and excitement and exhibited shakings and convulsions of the body
shakes - a term for malaria
shanghai - the act of impressing for military service or ship's crew without consent of the person seized
shandygraff - a beverage composed of a mixture of beer and ginger-beer
shanty - a small roughly constructed cabin, hut or house
shanty boat - a small flat decked boat with roughly or poorly constructed cabin used as a dwelling
sharecropper - one who farms ground owned by another, dividing the crops or the profit from the crops with the owner of the ground; at times the owner would advance the costs of the seed
sheaf - one of the large bundles in which it is customary to bind grain after harvesting
sheep's head - a term denoting a fool, a simpleton
sheepskin - a garment made from the skin of a sheep, usually with the wool left intact; the skin of a sheep used in bookbinding; a college diploma
shift - a woman's chemise, usually made of cotton
shift-marriage - see crossroad's wedding
shilling - an English currency, formerly worth 12 pence or 1/20 of a pound, now worth 10 pence of 1/10 of a pound
shingles - an eruptive disease often extending around the middle of a body like a girdle; an old belief was that if this "met" the person would die
shinny - an old children's game played with a ball, and sticks curved at one end similar to hockey; also used to mean to climb, as shinny up a tree
ship chandler - a person or store who dealt in provision for a ship
ship fever - typhus
ship's log - a book in which the daily progression of a ship was recorded, and any other events aboard ship, or of dockings, and other ships seen
shire - an English administrative land division, in which the sheriff is a principal officer
shroud - the white cloth in which a corpse is laid out for burial, a winding cloth
shuck - to remove the outer sheath, as from corn
shucks - the outer covering or husk, sheath, as from corn
sibling - children having one or both parents in common
sic - (Latin) "thus"
side arms - any weapon worn or hung from the belt when not in use, as a pistol
sideboard - a table from which meals are eaten; or a side table for holding dishes often having drawers and cupboards, Also the boards forming the side of a wagon
side-saddle - a saddle for a horse so made as to enable a woman to sit with both feet on the same, usually left side of the horse
sieben - (German) seven
siebzehn - (German) seventeen
siebzig - (German) seventy
siete - (Spanish) seven
signed, sealed and delivered - see sealed and delivered
Silent Brigade - see Night Riders
sister - a female in relation to another person having the same parents, sometimes loosely used to refer to a step-sister or half-sister; those female members of the same church congregation
sister-in-law - the sister of one's husband or wife; the wife of one's brother; the wife of one's husband's or wife's brother
six - (French) six
six-feet - the traditional depth of a grave; also called "deep-six"
skiff - a light boat of any kind, or a small sea-going boat equipped rowing or sailing and usually attached to a ship
skinflint - a miser, or one who would go to great lengths to be thrifty
slander - a false or malicious utterance intended to defame, discredit, disgrace, or shame a person
slave - one who is the property of and entirely subject to another person whether by capture, purchase or birth
Slave Declaration Book - a record book in which immigrants to a new area or state made a written declaration that slaves brought with them were for their own personal use and not for the purpose of selling for a profit
sloes - milk sickness
slop jar - a jar or container used in the home to temporarily hold refuse liquid, including bodily waste, and to be emptied when full
small arms - weapons that could easily be carried, as pistols, rifles, etc.
smallpox - a contagious infectious disease, at times fatal, with fever followed by skin eruptions which often left pitted scars
smithy - a blacksmith's shop
smokehouse - a small windowless building containing a pit where meat could be cured by smoking
snake fence - see rail fence
s/o - abbreviation for "son of"
Society of the Cincinnati - a patriotic hereditary organization originally formed by officers who had fought in the Revolutionary War
Society of Friends - see Quakers
sod-house - a building covered or built of slices of earth with grass growing on it
soeur - (French) sister
sohn - (German) son
soixante - (French) sixty
soixante-dix - (French) seventy
solicitor - one properly qualified and formally admitted to practice as an attorney, but formerly one practicing only in a court of equity
Sons of the American Revolution - a patriotic, hereditary organization with perquisite for membership being one who has a direct ancestor who fought or provided services in the American Revolution
Sons of Liberty - an organization formed of those who fought against the British in the American Revolution; also a secret society active in helping those Confederate soldiers held in northern prisons escape
son-in-law - the husband of a daughter
sop - a dish composed of soaked bread, or a piece of bread dipped in water, milk, wine, or food juices before being eaten
sore throat distemper - quinsy
sorghum molasses - a thick, cheap grade of molasses made from sorghum, a type of sugar cane
sortie - a dash or sally by a besieged garrison
sound mind - in general, one of mental ability capable of making a will and the decisions thereto
soundex - an index to the 1880, 1900, and 1920 federal population censuses by which all names that sound alike, regardless of how spelled, are filed together as long as they commence with the same letter
source record - a record abstracted from the original record, i.e., record book, document
sourdough - flour, salt and water mixed and put aside to be kept warm until it fermented and rose
Southern Army - the army of the Confederacy
sparkin' - to engage in courtship
Special Collections - a library collection of manuscripts, books and other materials of a specialized nature
specie - money in the actual form of minted metal
spider - a type of frying-pan with legs and a long handle often used when cooking at a fireplace
spinning house - a room or building set apart for the purpose of spinning
spinster - originally denoting the occupation of a woman, but subsequently to describe one who was unmarried and past the age when she ordinarily have become married; an "old maid"
spirits - an alcoholic beverage obtained by distillation; any alcoholic drink
spite fence - an unsightly fence erected primarily to spite or injure a neighbor
spouse - one's husband or wife resulting from legal matrimony
squatter - a settler occupying ground for which he has no legal title, especially ground not open for settlement, and for which he has made no legal claim
squire - a country gentleman; a term of respect. Usually connotated land ownership
Sr. - abbreviation for "Senior"
stadt - (German) town
stage-coach - a coach pulled by two or more horses, running daily or on specified days between two points for the convenience of passengers and for the purpose of carrying the mail and small bundles
Stamp Act - a revenue law passed by the English Parliament in 1765 requiring publications and legal documents in the American colonies to bear a tax stamp.  Law was strongly protested and repealed in 1766
standard - a military or naval flag raised on a pole or carried to denote a rallying point, or the identification of the unit
starboard - the right side of a ship
state census - various states have taken population censuses at various times and for various purposes, separate from the federal censuses and usually in different years
statutes - a law or decree made by a legislative body
statutory - that which is required due to a statute
stave - each of the thin, narrow, shaped pieces of wood which, when placed together, form a barrel, cask or tub
step-father - the husband of one's mother by a subsequent marriage; likewise, a step-daughter or step-son, a daughter or son by a former marriage of one's wife or husband
still - an apparatus for making liquor by distillation, consisting of a boiler in which the grain or other substance is heated, and coils in which the vapor is condensed to liquid
stillborn - born lifeless or dead at birth
stockade - a fortification or defensive barrier or stakes placed around a building or town forming a fenced-in enclosure
stocks - see pillory
stone - a stone or structure of stone erected over a grave in memory of a deceased person; a grave-marker, with or without engraving to identify the person there buried
strangery - a rupture or stricture
strasse - (German) street
stray books - see estray books
stray notices - see estray notices
stucco house - a house or building in which the outer walls have been covered with a fine plaster as an exterior coating
suborn - to bribe, induce or procure by unlawful or underhanded means
subpoena - a judicial writ commanding a person to appear to answer charges against him, or to appear to give witness in a pending case, in a court of justice
subscription books - see country histories
subsidy - money granted to meet a special need
substitute soldier - one who served in a military force in substitute of another and in return for compensation by the one whose place he filled
sugaring off - the process of draining sap from a maple tree and then boiling it to make sugar
sugarplum - a small round or oval candy made of boiled sugar and flavored
suit broker - see marriage broker
suitor - one who seeks a woman in marriage and engages in courtship
sulphur and molasses - a mixture of refined sulphur (flowers of sulphur) and molasses, widely used as a spring tonic by ancestors, believed to thin and purify the blood, and as a laxative, but now largely discarded
summer complaint - diarrhea
superior letter abbreviation - a form of abbreviation of a word in which the word is shortened and the last letter or several letters of the word placed slightly above the line, as : "recvd"
surety - a person who agrees to become responsible for another's obligations should the other person fail; bondsman
surname - the name which a person bears in common with other members of his family; the "last name"
surrogate - a person that acts for or takes the place of another; in New York and some other states, a judicial officer having jurisdiction over probate
surrogate wife - a mistress
surrey - a four- wheeled, two seated carriage used or pleasure, both seats facing forward
survivor - one who outlives another; legally, one of two or more persons having a joint interest and living longer than the others
survivorship - a right contingent upon outliving others with whom one has a joint interest
sutler - one who lives in a garrison town or follows an army, selling them provisions
swain - a lover or sweetheart, usually with rural connotation
swamp sickness - usually a reference to milk sickness
sweetmeats - sugared cakes, preserved or candied fruits, sugared nuts, or any candy made of sugar with fruit or other flavoring
synod - an assembly of the clergy of a particular church, diocese, or country gathered for discussing and deciding ecclesiastical matters
T. - abbreviation for township, as used in a description of land in the rectangular survey system
table, to - "to table" is to postpone indefinitely, a pending act or proposal
tack - bridles, reins, saddles, and other equipment to be used on a horse, particularly those with buckles and fasteners
tack shop - a store specializing in selling equipment for horses
tag - (German) day
tail, estate - see estate tail
tallow - hardened animal fat used for making candles, and soap, and dressing leather or other purposes
tallow candle - a candle made from tallow (see)
tally - to count, or to count and enter on a list; to deal on credit, a credit-account
Tally-ho - the call cried out by huntsman on catching sight of the fox
tallyman - a clerk, or one who counts up an account
tanglefoot - a term for any intoxicating liquor, arising from the fact that one drinking such cannot negotiate walking normally
tankard - a tall one-handled mug or jug for drinking, usually of pewter and with a lid; also any wooden-staved tub for holding water
tanner - one who tans hides as an occupation
tannery - a place or shop where hides are tanned, i.e., animal hides are turned into leather by soaking in an astringent solution
tap house - an inn, tavern, where drinks "on tap" are sold.  A tap is properly the long notched stick used to close the bung hole in a cask, and to re-open it.  A tap room would be a room in a tavern in which liquors are sold
taps - the bugle call of a military force signifying that lights must be put out and noise cease; also, the bugle call played at military funerals
tart - a woman of immoral character
tartan - a woolen cloth woven with strips at right angles to each other to form a distinctive pattern.  Each clan of the Scottish Highlanders had their own distinctive pattern
tavern - early use indicated a public house of tap-room where wine was sold; subsequently, such for the sale of any liquor, or beet
tax - a compulsory duty levied upon persons, property, income, commodities, transactions, or other, for the support of a governmental body
tax deed - a conveyance of property sold by judicial order for failure to pay a tax levied on such property
tax sale - a public sale of property on which there is delinquency in payment of tax, such property being conveyed to the purchaser by means of a tax deed, and the funds derived from such a sale are used to satisfy the tax debt, insofar as possible
temoigner certificer  - (French) witness
temporal court - any civil court, as opposed to an ecclesiastical court
tempus fugit - as time passes (flies)
tenancy - the occupancy or holding by any title of ownership; also that which is held by a tenant
tenancy by the entirety - concurrent ownership by husband and wife with right of survivorship
tenancy in common - concurrent ownership, by separate titles. Of undivided portions of the same real property
tenant - a person who hold land or property by any type of title or right; usually, however, referring to one who occupies land in accordance with a lease or rental agreement, with right of occupancy for a specific time
tenant in common - see tenancy in common
tender - a formal offer made by one person to another; also a ship used to supply provisions or supplies to a larger ship, or a ship acting under express orders of a larger ship
tenement - land or buildings which is held, used, or occupied, and which is owned by another
tenure - the act or condition of holding or occupying land, buildings, or a position during a specified period, as one holding an office for a term of time, or one renting or leasing land or buildings for a time
terr. - abbreviation for territory
territory - land or area or country under the dominion of, or belonging to, a state or country.  For example, certain areas were owned by the United States, and had a certain degree of self-government and recognition, but had not yet been admitted as a state
Territorial Papers of the United States, The - a long series of books complied and edited by Clarence E. Carter, a compilation of various papers and documents pertaining to the areas of the U.S. which were known as territories (prior to admittance to statehood), including official correspondence and other official papers passing between the governors and officials of the territory and various governmental offices, military papers, petitions relating to land titles derived from the French, British and Virginia periods
testable - a condition of a person capable of making a will
testament - a formal declaration in writing of a person's wishes as to the disposal of his property after his death; a will
testamentary - pertaining to a will
testamentary bond - bond or security posted by an executor of a will to insure that he will properly administer the estate in accordance with the terms of the will and legal procedures
testate - the situation of a person dying who made a proper will; as opposed to intestate, one who died without making a valid will
testator - one who declares in writing his wishes as to the disposal of his property upon his death; the maker of the will
teste - one who authenticates the signature or validity of a document by another; a witness
testigo - (Spanish) witness
testratrix - the female form of testate; a woman who dies leaving a valid will
Texas Panhandle - the narrow portion of the state of Texas lying between NM and OK, so called because of the general shape of the state being somewhat akin to a pan with a handle, the "handle" portion being in the northern part of the state
Texas Rangers - a mounted fighting force organized in 1835 during the Texas Revolution, later becoming a type of policing force for guarding the frontier and against rustlers and outlaws; served in Mexican War and Civil War, and in 1935 incorporated into the state highway patrol
thatch - a roof covering made of straw, grasses, reeds or leaves woven together
throw out land - an expression used by early settlers when land was no longer utilized for a crop because it was "worn out", i.e., the same crop grown year after year depleted the mineral content of the land
thrush - a fungus infection of the mouth, usually in infants, in which white spots form and then become shallow ulcers, with accompanying fever and stomach distress; fungus may spread to other parts of the body
tillage - the cultivation of soil for the purpose of raising a crop; plowing
tiller - a farmer, one who tills the soil
timwhisky - a high, light carriage drawn by one horse or two horses in tandem; a gig; also a whisky
tinker - a person who mends pots, kettles and other household metal utensils
tintype - a photograph taken on a tin plate
tipple - (tippler) one who drinks an alcoholic beverage more or less on a steady basis, each drink being a relatively small quantity
tithable -subject to a tax of a tithe
tithing - the act of pay or contributing a tithe, now usually used on connotation with a contribution to a church
to go Dutch - the practice of each person paying for his own
to wit - namely therefore
tobacco barn - a barn used for the storage of tobacco, with a number of tall, narrow windows or openings that can be opened to admit air, facilitating the drying of the tobacco
tobacco knife - a flat bladed knife, with curved end, used to cut or harvest tobacco from the field
tobacco box - a small flat, usually tin, box that could be carried in a pocket, to hold tobacco
tochter - (German) daughter
token rent - payment of a small amount of money indicating that a debt is not repudiated
tomahawk - a hatchet-type weapon used by the American Indians in warfare, for scalping , and as a tool and agricultural implement, originally made from a shaped sone wedged and fastened in the fork of a handle, and later metal blades purchased of the white men.  During warfare, these would be decorated with colors and with feathers
tombstone - originally the cover of a stone coffin, subsequently the stone, either horizontal or upright, used to cover or mark a grave; also, that stone erected to preserve the memory of a deceased person, whether or not engraved
tomo - (Spanish) volume
tonic - a medical drink, a patent medicine or home-made medicine, of some claim for being good for various aliments; a bracing medicine.  A "spring tonic" was a sassafras tea, which supposedly puried and cleansed
top - a small toy of some cylindrical shape pointed at the bottom, by which a pulled string made spin
topography - the art or science of accurately describing a piece ob land, a particular place, a town, city or parish usually as a map
tort - an injury, a wrong, or a right to sue for damages as the result or the breach of duty by others
Tory - a person thought to be loyal to King George II or III in the American colonies; also one of the major political parties of England until 1832
tote-road - see pack-road
town crier - one who patrolled the streets of an early town, announcing the time and calling out notices for lost animals or articles
town hall - the building housing the local administration or government and usually judicial offices
town meeting - a general meeting of the citizens of a town to transact certain business of the town and with limited powers of local government
township - a local division of a large parish, in which there was a town and usually a church; a division of a county having certain powers of local administration; a division of land under the rectangular survey system, usually six miles square, or 36 square miles
trace - a beaten path made through an undeveloped region, by the passage of men and animals
tract - a short pamphlet usually of a political or religious nature; also a piece of land of any size, a region, area, district
tract book - a geographical record of the individual ownership of land within a county or public land office
traditional jurisdiction - events carried on by a church, institution, business, or fraternal organization traditionally in behalf of their members
traitor - one who betrays his allegiance to his country or superior officer
traverse jury - a minor or petit jury to hear evidence of minor offences
tread road - a road surface composed of planks, boards or rocks which cover only the tracks on which the wheels of vehicles traverse
treason - treacherous action in betrayal of the allegiance to one's country
treasury bill - an instrument, written, by which a government borrows money for a specified time
trece - (Spanish) thirteen
tree-mark - a blazon or other mark on a tree used to mark boundaries and in surveying an undeveloped area, used particularly in pioneer times
treinta - (Spanish) thirty
treize - (French) thirteen
trente - (French) thirty
tres - (Spanish) three
trespass - to enter unlawfully onto or across the land of another, to make an improper, uninvited intrusion on the rights or land of another
trial jury - the examination and the determination of guilt by a jury, of a person accused of a violation of law
trico cloth - a woven cloth invented by the Tricault family, French Huguenots
trois - (French) three
trundle bed - a low bed on wheels or castors, that could be pushed or slid under a higher bed when not in use.  Also called a truckle bed
trust - the legal right or title to property held or used for the benefit of another
trust deed - when used, a type of a mortgage deed, in which title to a property is placed in the hands of others to secure the payment of a debt
turncoat - one who changes his principles, party, or allegiance for another
turnpike - see pike
twp. - abbreviation for township, usually used in conjunction with a land description under the rectangular survey system
typhoid fever - or, typhoid; and infectious sometimes fatal bacterial disease, spread through contaminated food or bodily excretions, with symptoms that include chills, fever, headache, exhaustion and diarrhea
typhus - or typhus fever; a bacterial disease of sometimes plague or epidemic dimensions, spread by the body louse of rat flea, occurring most likely in crowded, poverty situations, often after war or famine, and in slums, asylums, and prisons
Ulster - the northern most provinces of Ireland, the counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, Tyrone, Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan, or which the first six are in Northen Ireland and the last three in the Irish Republic
ult. - abbreviation for ultimo
ultimo - (Latin) last
un - (French) one
uncle - one's father's or mother's brother, or an aunt's husband
underground railroad - a secret system more or less organized, of helping fugitive slaves from the south, prior to the Civil War, to reach "free" northern states and Canada.  Slaves were guided, mostly at night, over fixed routes, by "conductors" from one "station" to another, often homes of abolitionists
underground station - see underground railroad
undertaker - on who "undertakes" to do a task or contract for compensation in many early records, the term is used to denote one who had agreed to build something
Union List of Newspapers - a bibliography and place of deposit for collections of newspapers.  One who is seeking to research in a particular newspaper can determine from this whether such newspaper have been preserved and where they may be found
United Empire Loyalists - a name given to those in the colonies who remained loyal to Great Britain, during the American Revolution
unk. - abbreviation for unknown
uno - (Spanish) one
unofficious will - a will in which a testator's natural heirs are disregarded
unseated - one who is removed from office during term of office and prevented from fulfilling the term for which he is elected or appointed; also, those taxed for land the did not inhabit
unsolemn will - a will in which there is no executor named
usury - originally, the practice of lending money at interest, but subsequently, the lending of money at an excessive rate of interest
ux - (uxor, uxoris) - (Latin) wife.  The term "et uxor" would be "and wife"
v. - abbreviation for versus
valid - that which is legally binding, or well founded and applicable
validate - the make, declare or confirm the validity of an act, contract, deed, or other; to legalize
vanity book - see county histories
vater - (German) father
vault - a burial chamber, originally with arched roof or sometimes beneath a church, or free standing and partially underground
veinte - (Spanish) twenty
vendor - one who sells something to another
vendue - a public sale; auction
venerable - one who is highly respected
venesection - the opening of a vein as a medical remedy; bleeding
venire facias - a judicial writ that is directed to a sheriff requiring him to summon a jury to try a cause that is at issue between parties
venire facias de novo - an order for a new trial, upon the same evidence, owing to a irregularity in the first trial
venue - the county, district or locale in which a judicial case is to be heard, and where a jury is summoned to hear the trial.  Thus , a "change of venue" is to change the place for such a trial to a different locality
verbatim - word for word; in the exact words
verh, - (German) abbreviation for verheiratet
verheiratet - (German) married
versus - against; used in legal matters to denote one person against another, as Jones versus Smith
vestry - a room or part of a church in which records, vestments, etc. are kept and in which the clergy and the choir robe for divine service
vestry book - see vestry minutes; these sometimes include births, deaths, and marriage records
vestry minutes - a record book of parochial business conducted by an assembly or meeting of the parishioners in the vestry
vestryman - a member of a parochial committee formed to transact parish business
veteran - one who has served in military service
veuf - (French) widower
veuvre - (French) widow
vicar - a person acting as priest in a parish in place of the rector or parson; a bishop's deputy; one acting in the place of another particularly for administrative duties
videlicet - (Latin) namely
vier - (German) four
vierzehn - (German) fourteen
vierzig - (German) forty
viewer - see road viewer, fence viewer, chimney viewer
vigilante - a self-appointed person or group for the maintenance of justice and order, or to bring a person to justice
village - a collection of dwellings and other small buildings smaller than a town and of more limited administrative powers
ville - (French) town
vingt - (French) twenty
Virginia fence - see rail fence
Virginia Panhandle - that part of West Virginia comprising Pendleton, Grant, Hardy, Hampshire, Mineral, Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson counties, so named due to the shape of the state being somewhat in the form of a pan with a handle, and these counties comprising the "handle", in the extreme northeast
visa - a government endorsement on a passport of one country testifying that it has been examined and is in order, for passage to the country granting the visa
viscount - the deputy or representative of a Count in the administration of a district
visitations - in England, a periodic visit made to a district by heralds to examine and enroll arms and pedigrees
vital records - of genealogical sense, civil records of births, deaths and marriages
viz. - abbreviation for videlicet
void - to have made empty, vacant; null
Vols. - abbreviation for Volunteers
Volunteers - a military group formed of those who had enlisted of their own free will, and patriotic desire
voucher - a written document or note serving to attest that a monetary transaction, an account, or a delivery of good, is correct
vs. - abbreviation for versus
wagon train - a convoy of horse or oxen drawn heavy wagons by means of which emigrants to the western part of the U.S. traveled as pioneer settlers, or for the carrying of provisions for the army
wagon master - the person in charge of a wagon train
waif - one, especially a child, who is without family, home or friends
wainwright - a wagon maker
wainscot - panel work of fine wood used to line the walls of a room, hallway, or stairwell
waistcoat - an elaborate and costly garment, covering the upper part of the body down to the waist, worn under a coat of jacket and partly exposed to view, an ordinary part of earlier male clothing; a woman's similar piece of clothing usually worn under a gown and intended to be seen
walking inspection - see processioner
walloon - a person of French descent, from southern Belgium
wampum - cylindrical beads made from polished shells and strung on a string used as currency by the American Indian
ward - one who is the guardian of a minor, a child, or one incapable of conducting his own affairs
warden - one who has the care over something
warrant - a court order, or an order by which land can be obtained as compensation for a service
warranty deed - the most common form of deed, in which the grantor warrants good title to the land sold, and if some defect in title should arise, the grantee may sue for recovery of his payment, or for a correction in title
water closet - a small room fitted up to serve as a toilet, in which water is connected to flush the bowl
way station - see underground railroad
weak in body - a term frequently used in former times by a testator in a will to indicate that he is not of the best of health, or has some physical infirmity but is "strong in mind" and therefore capable of making a will
Weekly Meeting - the weekly meeting of the local congregation of the Society of Friends, to conduct religious services
weiblich - (German) female
Western Reserve - a large tract of land in Northeastern Ohio, from the Pennsylvania line to west of Sandusky, on the south shore of Lake Erie, reserved by Connecticut for its own settlers when it ceded its western lands in 1786.  See also "Firelands"
wheelwright - a craftsman who made wheels usually of wood or iron-shod
Whig - the political party whose members resented British control in the colonies and supported the American Revolution
Whiskey Insurrection - In 1794, those in western Pennsylvania who depended upon the distillation of liquor from their corn, as a means to sell and transport their crop, rebelled when there was a sizable tax imposed upon whiskey by the Congress
wid. abbreviation for widow
widow - a woman whose husband is dead and who has not remarried
widower - a man whose wife is dead and who has not remarried
widow's tax - see dower division
Wilderness Trail - see Boone's Trace
will - any document properly executed whereby a person declares who shall have his property after his death
will and testament - the words are somewhat duplicative, but essentially a will in which there is deposed both real and personal property, but in custom, loosely used
will contest - a legal cause in which there is question as to the validity of the will for probate, although in use, also commonly refers to a dispute as to the contents of a will and particularly by those who are not beneficiaries
winding sheet - see shroud
window box - a box, made of wood or sheet-metal, or tin, designed to fit into the opening left by a window partly opened, for the purpose of keeping cold food of a perishable nature, during winter months.  During summer months, an "ice box" was used, prior to refrigerators
witness - one who gives evidence in relation to matters of fact; one who attests a fact, event, statement, testimony or evidence, by testimony or by signing as to the veracity of presence
witwe - (German) widow
witwere - (German) widower
w/o - abbreviation for "wife of"
woods colt - a child born to an unwed mother
worm fence - see rail fence
W.P.A. - abbreviation for Works Progress Administration, a federal "make-work" program established in 1935 by President Roosevelt to combat unemployment, under which many courthouse records were copied and index, and a series of guidebooks written
W.P.A. Inventories - see W.P.A., among the work paid for by the federal government was that of inventorying the records contained in various court houses and these inventories today provide a ready record of what is available there
writ - a written document, or formal order, issued by a court in which a person is directed to do something, or enjoined from doing something
writ of certiorari - a formal order from a higher court to a lower court requesting the record of a case
writ of restitution - a formal court order by which property must be restored to a person who had previously lost it as a result of a court order and had appealed and won the appeal
wwe. - (German) abbreviation for witwe
wwet - (German) abbreviation for witwere
xerox - although this a trademark of the Xerox corporation and intended to apply only to their photocopy equipment, the term has become a common term for any photocopy machine.  See photocopy
Yankee - although used by the Dutch as early as 1683, this has become a thoroughly American term as a name for any native or inhabitant of the U.S., and particularly as a name for those who lived in the northern states and sympathized with the Union forces during the Civil War
ye - an obsolete term for "the"
yeoman - a man owning and cultivating a small farm
yeoman farmer - see yeoman
"Your obedient servant" - the subscription of a letter, written immediately before the signature, in more respectful times, meaning essentially the same as the presently used "Yours Truly"
zehn - (German) ten
zeuge - (German) witness
zwanzig - (German) twenty
zwei - (German) two
zwolf - (German) twelve

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