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Terminology

Now What Was That Again?

(Ancestors Teachers, PBS.org)

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A
Affidavit:
A legal written statement often made under oath or affirmed by someone with legal authority.
Archive:
A place in which public records or historical documents are preserved and researched. Unlike a Library, archived records cannot be checked out but can be used in the building.
C
Census:
A count of the population in a specific place, such as a state or country; a record made of the count.
Close-ended questions:
Questions that can be answered with a very short, specific response, usually about some fact (e.g., "What is your maiden name?", "What year did your grandfather die?").
Compiled Record:
A record (usually in book form) consisting of information that has been gathered from original records, other compiled records and verbal testimony. Examples include "The Life of Thomas Walpole Tyrrell" or "The History of the Wright Family" because these books will include information from living people as well as various record sources.
D
Dailies:
A term indicating that a newspaper is printed every day.

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E
Enumerator:
A person who counts. In the case of the census, it is the position filled by a person counting the residents of a particular assigned area.
Epitaph:
The engraving on a tombstone in memory of the person buried there.
F
Family Group Record:
A form used to write information about parents and children of the same family.
Furlough:
To be absent from duty.
G
Gene:
The chemical unit that contains the dominant and recessive traits that are passed on from one generation of species to the next.
Generation:
The average span of time between the birth of parents and that of their children (approximately twenty to twenty-five years).
Genetics:
A branch of biology that deals with the traits inherited through genes.
Given name:
A person–s first name(s).

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J
Jurisdiction:
The territory within which authority may be exercised.
M
Maiden name:
A female–s surname at birth.
Maternal Line:
The line of descent on a mother–s side.
Muster:
The roll call for a military unit
N
Naturalization:
The process by which an immigrant becomes a citizen. Immigration: The process by which a person leaves the land of his or her birth to obtain citizenship or to live in another country.
O
Open-ended questions:
Questions that can be answered with a free response, such as the answer to an essay question (e.g., "What do you remember about growing up on a farm?").
Oral History:
A conversation with someone, such as a parent, grandparent, uncle or friend, in which open-ended and close-ended questions are asked to learn information about a person or family.
Original Record:
A record created at or close to the time of an event by an eyewitness to the event. e.g., a birth record by the doctor who delivered the baby.

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P
Paternal Line:
The line of descent on a father’s side.
Pedigree:
An ancestral line or descent.
Pedigree Chart:
A chart that indicates a person’s descent.
Pension records:
Payment made to a soldier after his service.
Primary Source:
A record created at or near the time an event occurred, often by an eyewitness.
Q
Query:
To pose a question. In genealogical terms, this refers to online and print services that allow you to post questions such as "Looking for information on Ancestor X of (county, state) during (year). Can you help?"
R
Repository:
A place, room, or container where something is stored.
Research Log:
A document that helps a researcher keep track of sources searched and where those sources are held.

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S
Secondary Source:
A record created after an event occurred by someone who either remembers the event or has compiled the information from a primary source.
Service records:
A group of military records that detail a soldier’s military activities.
Social Security Death Index:
An online database of more than sixty million people; including their birth and death dates, social security number and place of death.
Soundex:
An index for the census that is coded by the way a name sounds in addition to its actual spelling.
Surname:
A person’s last name or family name.
V
Vital Record:
A birth, marriage, or death certificate as kept by a government official.

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Baby - A new acorn on the family tree.


Rules for our ancestors

-OR-
How to confuse your descendants

(1) Thou shalt name your male children: James, John, Joseph, Josiah, Abel, Richard, Thomas, William.

(2) Thou shalt name your female children: Elizabeth, Mary, Martha, Maria, Sarah, Ida, Virginia, May.

(3) Thou shalt leave NO trace of your female children.

(4) Thou shalt, after naming your children from the above lists, call them by strange nicknames such as: Ike, Eli, Polly, Dolly, Sukey.---making them difficult to trace.

(5) Thou shalt NOT use any middle names on any legal documents or census reports, and only where necessary, you may use only initials on legal documents.

(6)Thou shalt learn to sign all documents illegibly so that your surname can be spelled, or misspelled, in various ways: Hicks, Hicks, Hix, Hixe, Hucks, Kicks.

(7) Thou shalt, after no more then 3 generations, make sure that all family records are lost, misplaced, burned in a court house fire, or buried so that NO future trace of them can be found.

(8) Thou shalt propagate misleading legends, rumors, & vague innuendo regarding your place origination.

(A) you may have come from : England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales....or Iran.

(B) you may have American Indian ancestry of the______tribe......

(C) You may have descended from one of three brothers that came over from______

(9) Thou shalt leave NO cemetery records, or headstones with legible names.

(10) Thou shalt leave NO family Bible with records of birth, marriages, or deaths.

(11) Thou shalt ALWAYS flip thy name around. If born James Albert, thou must make all the rest of thy records in the names of Albert, AJ, JA, AL, Bert, Bart, or Alfred.

(12) Thou must also flip thy parent's names when making reference to them, although "Unknown" or a blank line is an acceptable alternative.

(13) Thou shalt name at least 5 generations of males, and dozens of their cousins with identical names in order to totally confuse researchers.


My family tree needs more wood and less sap.


My family tree must be a pecan because it is full of nuts.


Old genealogist never die, they just lose their census.


Genealogy is not fatal, but it is a grave disease.


When your mind goes blank, don't forget to turn off the sound!