About "Good to Know: A Genealogist's Guide"

A multi-discipline approach to genealogy - A genealogist's way of working generally encompasses several different fields of study at once, thus the more well-rounded your genealogist is concerning various disciplines of study, the better that genealogist will be able to locate your ancestors, and maybe even tell you a little about what they were like.

This blog will discuss what types of things are "Good to Know" for a genealogist or for anyone researching his/her own family tree.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Part II: Terminology & Abbreviations

Besides knowing legal terminology, there are other terms that would be helpful to know when you are researching your family tree.  People living hundreds of years ago spoke and wrote with wildly different words than the general population of today.  Depending on how far back you have traced your ancestry, some of those words, most of us have probably never even heard of.  They may use antiquated words or archaic expressions that are no longer in use today.  Let's take occupations for example: we have heard of such occupations as lawyer, farmer, blacksmith, tailor, carpenter, surveyor and doctor.  Other occupations aren't so easy to figure out.  We can pretty much guess what a druggist, tanner, wigmaker or a tobacconist was, but do you know what people in the following occupations did?:

hostler, cooper, brickbearer, dowser, sawyer,
drover, yeoman, ditcher, carder, webster, drayman,
chandler, grubber, daguerreotypist, limeburner,
forgeman, nailer, chiffonier, ginner, tinker, spinner,
winder, cordwainer, milliner, apothecary

- If you find yourself in need of a definition of a legal term, rather than spending a ton on the most recent version of Black's Law Dictionary,
check out the one on google books.  It's free, searchable & downloadable.
Yes, it was published in 1910, but when you're looking up a term from an 1880 deed, you don't really need the 2009 edition.
- If you're interested in learning more about what kinds of jobs were around in different eras of history,
there is a good series playing on the Discovery Channel called "The Worst Jobs in History".
It's educational and quite humorous.
- If you're interested in learning some archaic words, try "Forgotten English" by Jeffrey Kacirk

Below is a list of some of the abbreviations you may come across in your research.  It is by no means a complete list.
If you know of more that you would like to be included on one of these lists, feel free to contact me so I can add them.
Abbreviations of Terms:
a (land) - acres
ackn - acknowledged
adminr - administrator (male)/administratrix (female)
afsd - aforesaid
approx. - approximately
atty - attorney
br (land/waterway) - branch
co - county
cr (land/waterway) - creek
dau(s) - daughter(s)
dau/o - daughter of
d.b.n. - de bonis non
dec'd or decd - deceased
dep - deputy
e (land) - east
esqr - Esquire (Lawyer)
exec or execr- executor/executrix
f - female
ft - feet
gent - gentleman/gentlemen
Junr or Jr - Junior
m - male
mi (land) - miles
n (land) - north
prob - probated
pt/o - part of
purch - purchased
rd - road
s (land) - south
s/o - son of
sd - said
Senr or Sr - Senior
tr - tract
twp - township
unk - unknown
uxor - wife
w (land) - west
w/o - wife of
wit(s) - witness(s)
Abbreviations of Names:
Abm, Abra. or Abrm - Abraham
Alxr - Alexander
And or Andw - Andrew
Benj. or Benja - Benjamin
Chas or Chs - Charles
Chrisr or Xpher - Christopher
Cors - Cornelius
Danl - Daniel
Edwd or Ed. - Edward
Eliz. or Elizth - Elizabeth
Eph or Ephm - Ephraim
Ez. or Ezkl - Ezekiel
Gabl - Gabriel
Geo - George
Hen or Heny - Henry
Jas or Jas - James
Jer., Jereh or Jerh - Jeremiah
Jno - John
Jona - Jonathan
Jos. - Joseph
Josh. - Joshua
Josh - Josiah
Marg. - Margaret
Maths - Matthias
Mattw or Matthw - Matthew
Mich or Michl - Michael
Nathl or Nathanl - Nathaniel
Nicho, Nich or Nicols - Nicholas
Rich or Richd - Richard
Robt - Robert
Saml - Samuel
Sar. - Sarah
Solo - Solomon
Stephn or Stepn - Stephen
Theo. - Theodore
Tho, Ths or Thos - Thomas
Wm or Willm- William
Zacha or Zach - Zachariah

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