When tracing an ancestry it is common to encounter records filled with obsolete, archaic, or legal terms that can be difficult to interpret. Misinterpreting these terms can make the difference between linking persons to the right generation, parents, spouse or children. Understanding exactly what is stated in any record is vital before attempting to move to the next generation. Inexperienced or impatient genealogists undervalue the quality of their research by applying present-day definitions to documents created in an earlier century. Take the time to use the glossaries provided here and other excellent dictionaries, genealogical reference books and encyclopedias to interpret documents correctly.
Includes the following:
- Abbreviations: These are those most commonly used in genealogical records. It is not unusual to find, within the pages of one record, different variations used, but care should be taken to ensure that in these instances, it is a variation and not meant to indicate something else.
- Censuses: This describes what is listed on the census forms in each of the census years. Few, if any, records reveal as many details about individuals and families as do government census records. Substitute records can be used when the official census is unavailable.
- Illnesses: This describes the various old time Illnesses and Diseases that you will find in old documents, medical records or listed as causes of death on old death certificates or in old family Bibles.
- Occupations: This following list that describes the various old occupations of which many are archaic. These are useful to genealogists since surnames usually originated from someone's occupation. Ships passenger lists, census returns and other documents used in genealogy may give an ancestor's occupation, this list gives more modern interpretations of those terms. They also are useful to historians in general. The list is by no means complete.
- Terms: This page defines the Genealogical Terms used in genealogical research you will find in documents
- Nickname Meanings
- Worldwide Epidemics
- Tombstone Symbols
This is in addition to another Encyclopedia of Genealogy (eogen) by Dick Eastman