Dave’s Anthology of Genealogy and Land Terms

ABSTRACT – a brief statement of the main parts of a document.

ABSTRACT BOOKS – List individual entries chronologically by district land office (Old Federal books are at Bureau of Land Management)

ABSTRACT OF TITLE – a condensed history of the title of a piece of real property, including any liabilities to which it may be subject.

ACQUIRED LANDS – Federal lands obtained by purchase, condemnation or gift under laws other than public land laws

ADMINISTRATOR – one legally authorized by the court to manage and settle an estate when the deceased has not left a will and named and executor. (female, ADMINISTRIX)

AFFINITY – a relationship by marriage, rather than by blood

ANNO DOMINI – a Latin term meaning “in the year of our Lord”.

APPURTENANCES – Things belonging to another thing such a yards and gardens to a building

APPURTENANT – An accessory incidental to land in which a person owns an estate. Such as an agreement or right f way across the land of another.

APPRENTICE – a person, often a minor, bound (sometimes by law) to a master for the purpose of learning a trade.

ARCHIVES – 1. chives from Arkansas. 🙂 2. a place where records are kept.

ASSIGNS – To transfer property, particularly personal or moveable property voluntarily or for consideration

ATTEST – to bear witness to something and affirm formally with your signature that it is true.

BANNS – public announcement, especially in church, of intention to be married.

BENEFICE – A kind of land tenure adopted in the Frankish kingdom in the eighth century whereby a seigneur leased land to a freeman in beneficium (for his benefit) usually for the tenant’s life but sometimes hereditary; later an ecclesiastical office to which church attached perpetual right of receiving income.

BENEFICIARY – a person for whose benefit a trust is created.

BEQUEATH – to give personal property by a will.

BEQUEST – a gift of personal property by a will.

BOUNTY LAND WARRANT – A right to obtain land, a specific number of acres of unallocated public land granted for military service. BLW or BLWT

Caveat emptor – Let the buyer beware.

CENSUS – a count of population which includes various kinds of statistics.

CERTIFIED COPY – a copy of a document signed and certified as a true copy by the officer to whose custody the original was entrusted.

Cestui que trust – A beneficiary of property held by a trustee in trust.

Cestui que use – A person whose property was transferred for the benefit of another person.

Cestui que vie – A life estate transferred to a person

CHATTELS REAL – Rights derived out of real estate, devolved on personal representatives, not heir

CHILD OF TENDER YEARS – a child under age 14.

CHRISTEN – to baptize an infant.

CLOSE – Field or piece of land separate from others or from common land by a bank or hedge, legally unjustified entry into such is trespass (quare clausum fregit)

CODICIL – a P. S. to a will.

COLLATERAL – belonging to the same ancestral stock, but not in the direct line of descent. (i.e. aunts, cousins, etc.)

CONSANGUINITY – a relationship by blood.

CONSORT – wife or husband of a living spouse.

CONVEYANCE DEED – Transfer of property from one person to another.

COPYHOLD – A tenure of land in England (feudal) abolished in 1925, when it all became freehold

CORPOREAL HEREDITAMENT – Right to inheritance of tangible property, e.g. an estate in land

CORPOREAL RIGHTS – Tangible rights in property, such as an estate in land as opposed to “incorporeal” rights.

CROFT – A small parcel of land.

CURTESY – The life estate of a widower n the lands of his deceased spouse, if he sired issue by her which were or was borm alive

CUSTOMARY FREEHOLD – privileged copyholds

DECEDENT – deceased person.

DEED – A document in writing, if signed and acknowledged by which an estate or interest in land is transferred from a grantor to a grantee, or donor to a donee if a gift deed.

DEED POLL – A deed executed or signed by one person only, even though other grantors were involved, and in some instances the names of the grantees were added later.

DEMISE – A lease, transferring from a lessor to a lessee a leasehold estate for a term of years, for life, or “at the will” of the landlord.

DEPONENT – person who gives evidence, especially in writing.

DESCENDANT – offspring to the furthest generation.

DEVISE – a gift of real property by will.

DEVISEE – One to whom real property is given in a will. (Devisor – one who gives the property)

DIRECT DEED – Pertaining to grantor deeds

DISPOSAL – A transaction which leads to the transfer of the title of public lands to non-Federal ownership

DISSEISIN – The ouster or removal of a person from possession of real property.

District Land Office Plat Book – A book of maps which show the location of the land of the patentee (In Cartographic Branch of the National Archives)

DONATION APPLICATION – Application for frontier land in Florida, New Mexico, Oregon or Washington.

DOWER – After the death of a husband, a widow’s one-third interest in his land for the rest of her life (There is no dower in community property states.)

EASEMENT – A right of way, right of use but not possession over or in the lands of another person.

EMINENT DOMAIN – The right and power of government to condemn private property for public use if just compensation is paid the property owner.

ESTATE – the total of a person’s property, both real and personal.

ET AL – a Latin term meaning “and others”.

ET UXOR – a Latin term meaning “and his wife”.

EXECUTOR – a person appointed by a testator (person writing will) to carry out the directions and bequests in the will. (female, EXECUTRIX)

GAZETTEER – a geographical dictionary.

GENEALOGY – an enumeration of the history of the descent of a family.

GRANT – a general term applicable to all transfers of real property.

GRANTEE – the person to whom a grant is made.

GRANTOR – the person by whom the grant is made.

HEIR – the person(s) who succeeds, by rules of law, to an estate upon the death of his ancestor by right of relationship.

INDENTURE – a deed to which two or more persons are parties, and in which these enter into reciprocal and corresponding grants or obligations towards each other.

INFANT – a minor, a person not of full legal age. (This legal term does not apply only to babes in arms.)

INTESTATE – a person dies without a will.

ISSUE – all lineal descendants of a common ancestor are his issue–not just his children.

LEGACY – a bequest or gift of personal property by last will and testament.

LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION – often known as ADMON. The instrument whereby the probate court appoints someone to administer an estate of a person who died without leaving a will.

LINEAL – being in direct line of ancestry.

MARRIAGE LICENSE – a license whereby permission is granted by a public authority for persons to be married.

MORTGAGE – conditional transfer of title to property, as security for payment of debt.

NUNCUPATIVE WILL – a will which depends merely upon oral evidence, having been dictated or declared by the testator in his last sickness before a sufficient number of witnesses, and afterward written down.

PEDIGREE – recorded ancestry or line of descent…often in chart form.

POSTERITY – descendants.

POWER OF ATTORNEY – When a person isn’t able to act for himself and appoints another to act for him, the document by which he does so is call a “power of attorney” or “letter of attorney”. The person appointed becomes “attorney in fact”.

PRESENTS – means literally “this document or instrument”. The phrase “by these presents” is used to refer to the document or instrument in which the phrase occurs.

PROBATE – the act or process of proving a will. Also used as an inclusive term referring to all matters under the jurisdiction of the probate court.

QUITCLAIM DEED – an instrument by which a person releases all title, interest, or claim which he may possess in real property without making a warrants thereto.

RELICT – a widow or widower, the surviving spouse.

PROGENITOR – an ancestor in the direct line.

TENANT – a person who possesses the lands by any right or title.

TESTABLE – capable of making a will.

TESTAMENTORY – pertaining to a will.

TESTATE – one who dies leaving a valid will.

TESTATOR – one who makes a will.

TO WIT – namely.

TRACT – a piece of land of any size.

TRACT BOOK – A book which lists individual entries by range and township

TRANSCRIBE – to write a copy of.

TRUST DEED – This is a type of mortgage.

VITAL RECORDS – statistics relating to birth, death, marriage, etc.

WARRANTY DEED – a deed whereby the grantor warrants the title and should the title become faulty for any reason, the grantor (or his heirs) can be sued on the warranty.

WILL – a legal expression of a person’s wishes as to the disposition of his property after his death.

YOUNGER CHILDREN – all children not entitled by rights of the eldest son–this includes daughters even though they may be older than the eldest son.

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