Sunday, December 2, 2007

Genealogical Terms

Legal terms appear often in documents used by genealogists. If you have a working knowledge of the meaning of those terms, you will also have a better understanding of the document and its value. Below are some of the often found terms and their meanings.

Administrator/Administratrix = Appointed by the county court to settle the estate of a deceased person who left no valid will.

Administrator de bonis non = Appointed to finish settling an estate which had a previous executor or administrator. The estate has been partially settled.

Bondsman = Co-signer on a bond; also called surety or security.

Consort = Spouse of a living person. Often seen on old tombstones.

Curator = Appointed by the county court to conserve the estate of a deceased person or of a minor child. Often appointed until a dispute over a will has been settled.

Dower Portion (1/3 in Kentucky) = wife or widow is entitled to 1/3 of her spouse’s estate.

Executor/Executrix = Named in the will by the decedent to settle the estate. Has the same duties as an administrator.

Femme Sole = A single woman.

Grantee = Person buying land or person to whom property is being conveyed.

Grantor = Person selling land or person who is conveying property to someone else.

Indenture = Written agreement.

Nuncupative Will = Commonly called an oral will or death bed will; must be reduced to writing and signed by those who heard the decedent say the words. Presented to county court and an administrator appointed.

Orphan = Child whose father has died. Mother may still be living.

Relict = A widow or widower; the survivor in a marriage. Often seen on old tombstones.

Testator/Testatrix = One who made a will; one who died leaving a will. Testator is a male and testatrix is a female.


Admr. Administrator
Admrx. Administratrix
CC Chain Carrier [used in land surveying]
Clk Clerk
CM Chain Marker [used in land surveying]
Exr. Executor
Exrx. Executrix
JP Justice of the Peace
Jr. or Junr Junior
MG Minister of the Gospel
O.R. Ordered recorded
Sr. or Senr Senior

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