Glossary

Glossary
You might find the following words in a number of genealogical documents.

Decedent: Person who has died.
Dower: Share of husband’s real estate to which the widow is entitled.
Estate: The total property held by an individual and available after death.
Grantee: Recipient of proper either through purchase, gift or request.
Grantor: Individual who sells or gives property to another person.
Ibid: Same location. Identifies a document that has already been quoted.
Infant: A person below the age designated as adulthood.
Intestate: Died without leaving a will.
Issue: Offspring.
Nee: Identifies a woman’s maiden name.
Posthumous: After death.
Proximo: Used in dates for next, usually refers to the following month.
Relict: Widow of particular individual.
Sic: Shows that an incorrect fact has been copied faithfully.

Common Abbreviations
You may find the following terms on family trees or genealogical charts.

b. or bn. – Date of birth.
b. or bur. – Date of burial.
C. – abbreviation of latin word “circa” meaning an approximate date or time.
d. – Date of death.
dsp – Abbreviation of a latin term meaning died without issue.
et. al. – Abbreviation of latin term meaning others, indicating the presence of other names not listed on the document.
JP – Justice of the Peace.
m., m1, m2 – Marriage date, numbers indicate first, second marriage.
n.d. – No date known.
ob. – Abbreviation for the latin term “obit” meaning deceased.
Tutor – Guardian of underage person or minor.
Unm. – Unmarried.
Family Relationships
Family relationship terms can get complicated. Below are definitions to help you keep it all straight.

uncle: the brother of your father or mother.
Aunt: the sister of your father or mother.
Sibling: your brother or sister.
Cousin: the son or daughter of your uncle or aunt.
Second cousin: the son or daughter of either parent’s first cousin.
Nephew: the son of your brother or sister.
Niece: the daughter of your brother or sister.
Grandfather: the father of your father or mother.
Grandmother: the mother of your father or mother.
Grandson: your child’s son.
Granddaughter: your child’s daughter.
Great grandfather: the father of one of your grandparents.
Great grandmother: the mother of one of your grandparents.
Great uncle: the uncle of one of your parents.
Great aunt: the aunt of one of your parents.
Father-in-law: the father of your spouse.
Mother-in-law: the mother of your spouse.
Stepson: the son of your spouse’s former marriage.
Stepdaughter: the daughter of your spouse’s former marriage.
Stepmother: your father’s second (or subsequent) wife.
Stepfather: your mother’s second (or subsequent) husband.
Half-brother: the male offspring from the remarriage of one of your parents.
Half-sister: the female offspring from the remarriage of one of your parents.

Abbreviations Found in Genealogy

Abbreviations Found in Genealogy| B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J-K | L | M | N | O | P | Q-R | S | T | U | V | W | X-Y |

Note: The use of periods and capitalization may not be consistent in all sources.

  • a. – about, age, acre, ante, aunt
  • a.a.r. – against all risks
  • AASP – American Antiquarian Society Proceedings
  • ab. – about; abbey
  • abbr. – abbreviation
  • abd. – abdicated
  • Abp. – Archbishop
  • abr. – abridged; abridgment
  • abs. or abstr. – abstract
  • abt. – about
  • AC – Ante Christum; ancestor chart
  • a.c. – attested copy; account current
  • acad. – academy
  • acc. – according to; account; accompanied
  • acco. – account
  • accu. – accurate
  • ackd. – acknowledged
  • actg. – acting
  • Ad – adopted; AdCl – adopted child; AdD – adopted daughter, etc.
  • AD – [Latin] Anno Domin
  • adj. – adjoining; adjutant; adjourned
  • adm. – admission; admitted
  • admin. – administration; administrator
  • Admon. – letters of administration
  • admr. – administration
  • af. or afft. – affidavit
  • aft. – after
  • a.k.a. – also known as
  • AL – American Legion
  • ald. – alderman
  • alleg. – allegiance
  • a.l.s. – autographed letter signed
  • als. – alias
  • anc. – ancestry; ancestor; ancient
  • annot. – annotated
  • ano. – another
  • anon. – anonymous
  • ant. – antiquary; antonym
  • antiq. – antiquary; antiquities; antiquity; antiquarian
  • a.o. – account of
  • AOP – American Order of Pioneers
  • Ap – apprentice
  • APG – Association of Professional Genealogists
  • APJI – Association for Protection of Jewish Immigrants
  • app. – apprentice; aprpoximately; appendix; appointed
  • App. Div. – Appelate division
  • appr. – appraisment
  • apprd. – apprised; appeared
  • approx. – approximately
  • apptd. – appointed
  • appx. – appendix
  • ar. co. – artillery company
  • arr. – arrived
  • ascert. – ascertain(ed)
  • ASG – American Society of Genealogists
  • asgd. – assigned
  • asr. – assessor
  • assn. or assoc. – association
  • asso. – associated; associate
  • Asst – assistant
  • At – Attendant
  • atty. – attorney
  • au. – gold
  • aud. – auditor
  • a.w.c. – admon. (letters of administration) with will and codicil annexed
  • AWOL – absent without leave

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  • b. – born; bondsman; banns; book; birth; bachelor; brother
  • ba. – bachelor; baptized
  • bach. or batch. – bachelor
  • bap or bapt. – baptized; baptism
  • B.B. – Bail Bond
  • BBoy – bound boy
  • bcer – birth certificate
  • BCG – Board for Certification of Genealogists
  • b.d. or bdt. – birth date
  • bd. – bound; buried
  • bec. – because; became
  • bef.– before
  • bet. – between
  • BGirl – bound girl
  • BIA – Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • b.i.l. or Bl – brother-in-law
  • biog. – biography
  • bish. – bishop
  • bks. – books; barracks
  • bl. – bibliography
  • BLM – Bureau of Land Management
  • BLW – Bount Land Warrant
  • B.M. – Bench Mark; British Museum
  • bndsmn. – bondsman
  • Bo – boarder
  • bo or bot. – bought; bottom
  • b.o.t.p. – both of this parish
  • bp. – baptized; birthplace
  • bpl. – birthplace
  • bpt. – baptized
  • Br. – British
  • br. or bro – brother
  • bro-i-l – brother-in-law
  • B.S. – in court records, Bill of Sale
  • B.T. – Bishop’s Transcripts
  • bur. or bu – buried

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  • c. – cousin; circa; codicil
  • ca. – circa
  • Cap or capt. – captain; captured; captivity
  • CAR – National Society, Children of the American Revolution
  • catal. – catalogue
  • cath. – cathedral
  • CC – County Clerk; county court, county commissioner; company commander
  • CCP – Court of Common Pleas
  • CDA – Colonial Dames of America
  • CDIB – Certified Degree of Indian Blood
  • cem. – cemetery
  • cen. or cens. – census
  • cent. – century
  • cer. or cert. – certificate
  • cf. – confer
  • CG – Certified Genealogist
  • CH – Court House
  • ch. – child; children; church; chief, chaplain
  • Cha – chamber maid
  • chan. – chancery
  • chldn. or chn. – children
  • ch/o – child of
  • chr. or chris.– christened
  • cir. – circa
  • civ. – civil
  • CJ – County Judge
  • Cl – child
  • clk. – clerk
  • cod. – codicil
  • CO – commanding officer; Colonial Office
  • co. – county; company
  • C of A – Coat of Arms
  • col. – colony; colonel
  • coll. – college; collections
  • com. – commissioner; commander; commentary; committee; common; commoner; communicate, companion
  • comm. – commissioners
  • comp. – company
  • confer. – conferred
  • conject. – conjecture
  • cont. – continued
  • contr. – contract
  • corp. – corporal
  • couns. – counsellor
  • cous. – cousin
  • coven. – covenant
  • c.r. – church report
  • CRA – Church Records Archives
  • crspd. – correspond; correspondence
  • c.s. – copy signed
  • CSA – Confederate States of America
  • csn. – cousin; cousins
  • ct. – court; citation; county
  • CW – Civil War; church warden

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  • d. – died; death; daughter
  • DA – District Attorney
  • da. – daughter; day
  • DAB – Dictionary of American Biography
  • DAC – National Society of the Daughters of the American Colonists
  • DAR – Daughters of the American Revolution
  • dau. or daugr – daughter
  • dau-i-l – daughter-in-law
  • daus. – daughters
  • DAV – Disabled American Veterans
  • DB – Domesday Book
  • DC – District of Columbia; Deputy Clerk; Deputy County Clerk
  • DCG – Descendants of Colonial Governors
  • d. & coh. – daughter and coheiress
  • d’d. – deceased
  • dea or deac. – deacon
  • dec. or dec’d – deceased
  • decis. – decision
  • degr. – degree
  • dep. – deputy; depot
  • dept. – department
  • desc. – descendant
  • DFPA – Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America
  • devis. – devised
  • d. & h. – daughter and heiress
  • dil. – daughter-in-law
  • dio. – diocese
  • dis. – discharge
  • discip. – discipline
  • dist. – district
  • div. – division; divided; divorced; divinity
  • d/o – daughter of
  • do. – ditto
  • doc or docum. – document
  • dom. – domestic
  • dpl. – death place
  • DR – Daughter of the Revolution; Diocesan Registry
  • dr. – doctor; dram
  • d.s. – document signed; died single
  • ds. – deaths; daughters
  • dsct. – descendant
  • d.s.p. – [Latin] descessit sine prole; died without issue
  • d.s.p.m. – [Latin] descessit sine prole mascula; died without male issue
  • dt. – date
  • dto. – ditto
  • dtr. – daughter
  • dt’s. – delirium tremens
  • dum. or d. um. – died unmarried
  • DVF – Society of the Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge
  • d.y. – died young

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  • E. – East or eastern
  • easi. – easily
  • ecux. – executrix; a female executor
  • E.D. – Enumeration District
  • ed. – edited; edition; editor
  • educ. – education; educated
  • Emp – employee
  • En – engineer
  • Eng. – England
  • eno. – enough
  • ens. – ensign
  • ensu. – ensuing
  • est. – estate;established
  • establ. – establishment
  • estd. – estimated
  • etc. – [Latin] etcetera; and so forth
  • et. vir. – and husband
  • exc. – except; excellency; excepted; exchange
  • exec. or exor. or exr. – executor
  • exox. – executrix
  • exs. – executors
  • exx. – executrix

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  • f. – father; female; folio; feast; feet; farm; following
  • fa. – father
  • F.A. – Field Artillery
  • FaH – farm hand; FaW – farm worker
  • fam. – family; families
  • FARC – Federal Archives and Records Centers (branches of the National Archives
  • FASG – Fellow American Society of Genealogists
  • father-in-l – father-in-law
  • F.B. – Family Bible
  • f.e. – for example
  • ff. – following (pages), foster father
  • FF’s – First Families
  • FFV – First Families of Virginia
  • FGRA – Family Group Record Archives
  • FGS – Federation of Genealogical Societies
  • FHC – Family History Center
  • FHL – Family History Library
  • Fi – fireman
  • fidel. – fidelity
  • fil. or f.inl or FL – father-in-law
  • f.m. – free mulatto
  • FM – foster mother
  • f.n. – free negro
  • foll. – following; followed
  • FR – Family Registry
  • freem. – freeman; freemen
  • ft. – foot; fort

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  • g. – grand; great
  • GA – great aunt
  • GAR – Grand Army of the Republic
  • G.B. – Great Britain
  • gch. or gcl – grandchildren
  • GD – granddaughter
  • gdn. – guardian
  • GEDCOM – GEnealogical Data COMmunication
  • GF – grandfather
  • GGF – great-grandfather; GGGF – great-great-grandfather, etc.
  • GH – Genelaogical Helper
  • giv. – given; giving
  • GLC – Genealogical Library Catalog
  • GLO – General Land Office
  • gm. – grandmother
  • GGM – great-grandmother; GGGM – great-great-grandmother, etc.
  • Go – governess
  • godf. – godfather
  • godm. – godmother
  • gp. – grandparents
  • GPAI – Genealogical Periodical Annual Index
  • gr. – grand; great; grant; graduate
  • g.r. – grave record
  • grf. – grandfather
  • grmo. – grandmother
  • grs. or GS – grandson
  • g.s. – grave stone
  • GSW 1812 – General Society of the War of 1812
  • Gt. Br. – Great Britain
  • gt. gr. – great grand
  • GTT – Gone to Texas
  • GU – great uncle
  • Gua – guardian

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  • h. – husband; heir; heiress
  • hdgrs. – headquarters
  • HEIC – Honourable East India Comapny
  • her. – heraldry
  • hers. – herself
  • Hh – hired hand
  • Hk – housekeeper
  • HM – His or Her Majesty, or hired man
  • HMS – Her (or His) Majesty’s Service or Ship
  • hims. – himself
  • Hist. – History
  • hist. – historian
  • hon. – honorable
  • hon. dis. – honorably discharged
  • honor. – honorary
  • honora. – honorably
  • HSA – Huguenot Society of America
  • hund. – hundred
  • hus. – husband

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  • I – inmate
  • ibid. – [Latin] ibidem; same (reference)
  • IGI – International Genealogical Index
  • ign. – ignorant
  • illus. – illustrated
  • imp. – importation
  • inc. – incorporated; incomplete
  • incl. – included; inclusive
  • Ind. – Indians
  • IND.S.C. – Indian Survivors’ Certificates
  • Ind. T. or Ind. Ter.– Indian Territory
  • Ind. W.C. – Indian Widow’s Certificate
  • inf. – infant; infantry; informed
  • info. – information
  • inh. – inherited
  • inhab. – inhabitant
  • inq. – inquiry
  • ins. – insert
  • inst. – institute; institution
  • int. – intentions; interested; interred
  • inv. orinvt. – inventory

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  • JA – Judge Advocate
  • JNH – Journal of Negro History
  • JP – Justice of the Peace
  • Jr. – Junior
  • jud or judic. – judicial; judicious
  • junr. – junior
  • jur. – [Latin] jurat; certification that a document was written by the person who signed it
  • k. – killed; king
  • kn. – known
  • knt. or kt. – knight
  • l. – license; law, or lodger
  • la or labr. – laborer
  • Lat. – Latin
  • Lau – launderer
  • lb. – pound
  • LBC – Letter Book Copy
  • LC – Library of Congress
  • ld. – land
  • ldr. – leader
  • LDS – Chuch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • l.e. – local elder in a church
  • lib. – library
  • lic. – license
  • lieut. – lieutenant
  • li. or liv. – lived; living
  • liv. abt. – lived about
  • ll. – lines
  • lnd. – land
  • l.p. – local preacher
  • ltd. – limited

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  • m. – month; male; mother; married; marriage
  • m/1, m/2 – married first, married second, etc.
  • mag. – magistrate
  • maj. – major
  • mak. – making
  • mat. – maternal
  • m.bn. – marriage banns
  • MCA – Microfilm Corporation of America
  • MCC – Microfilm Card Catalog
  • MCD – Municipal Civil District
  • MD – Doctor of Medicine; Middle Dutch
  • md. – married
  • mem. – member; membership; memorials; memoir
  • ment. – mentioned
  • messrs. – plural of mister
  • Mex. S.C. – Mexican Survivors’ Certificates
  • Mex. S.O. – Mexcian Survivorr’s Originals
  • Mex. W.C. – Mexican Widows’ Certificate
  • MG – Minister of the Gospel
  • m.h. – meeting house
  • MGH – Middle High German
  • m.i. – monument inscription
  • mi. – mile; miles
  • MIA – Missing in Action
  • mil or milit. – military
  • min. – minister
  • m-in-l or ML – mother-in-law
  • MLG – Middle Low German
  • MLW – Military Land Warrant
  • MM – abbreviation for Monthly Meeting of Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • m.o. – mustered out
  • mo. – mother; month
  • mors. – death; corpse
  • mov. – moved
  • MQ – Mayflower Quarterly
  • Mr. – Mister
  • Mrs. – Mistress
  • ms. – manuscript
  • mss. – manuscripts
  • mtg. – meeting; mortgage
  • mvd. – moved
  • my/d – my daughter

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  • N. – Negro; North
  • n. – nephew; name
  • NA – National Archives in Washington, D.C.; Native American
  • na. – naturalized
  • NARA – National Archives and Records Administration
  • NARS – National Archives and Record Service
  • nam. – named
  • nat. – [Latin] natus; birth; son; offspring
  • n.d. – no date
  • N.E. – New England; North Eeast
  • NEH – National Endowment for the Humanities
  • NEHGR – New England Historic Genealogical Register [publication of NEHGS]
  • NEHGS – New England Historic Genealogical Society
  • neph. – nephew
  • neph-i-l – nephew-in-law
  • nfi – no further information
  • nfk – nothing further known
  • NGS – National Genealogical Society
  • NHPRC – National Historical Publications and Records Commission
  • Ni – niece
  • nm. – name
  • nmed. – named
  • not. – noted
  • NP – Notary Public
  • n.p. – no place
  • nr. – none recorded; not recorded; naturalized
  • NS – New Style calendar; Nova Scotia
  • NSCDA – National Society of the Colonial Dames of America
  • NSDAR – National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution
  • Nu – nurse
  • NUCMC – National Union Catalog of Manuscript Colletions
  • nunc. – nuncupative
  • N.W. – North West
  • NWC – Navy Widow’s Certificate
  • NW. Terr. – North West Territory
  • n.x.n. – no christian name

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  • o. – oath, officer
  • O.B. – Order Book
  • ob. – obiit
  • obit. – obituary
  • o.c. – only child
  • O.E. – Old England; Old English
  • offor offic. – official
  • oft. – often
  • OM – Organized Militia
  • o.p. – out of print
  • ord. – ordained; ordinance; order; ordinary
  • org. – organization
  • orig. – origin; original
  • OS – Old Style calendar
  • o.t.p. – of this parish

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  • p. – page; per; populus; parentage; parents; pence, patient
  • Pa – partner
  • p.a. – power of attorney
  • pam. – pamphlet
  • par. – parish; parent; parents
  • pat. – patent; patented; paternal
  • pchd. – purchased
  • PE – Presiding Elder
  • peo. – people
  • perh. – perhaps
  • petitn. or petn. – petition
  • petr. – petitioner
  • ph. – parish, physician
  • PI – Preliminary Inventories
  • pion. – pioneer
  • PJP – Probate Judge of the Peace
  • PLB – Poor Law Board
  • plt. – plantiff
  • P.M. – Post Meridiem; afternoon; Post Mortem; after death; Police magistrate
  • P.O. – Post Office
  • POA – Power of Attorney
  • POE – Port of Entry
  • Por – porter
  • pp. – pages
  • PPA – per power of Attorney
  • pr. – proved; probated, prisoner
  • p.r. – parish record
  • preced. – preceding
  • PRO – Public Record Office
  • pro. – probate; proved
  • prob. – probable; probably
  • prop. – property
  • propr. – proprietor(s)
  • provis. – provision
  • pt. – point; port; petition; pint
  • ptf. – plaintiff
  • Pu – pupil
  • pub. – public; published; publisher; publication
  • pvt. – private
  • pymt. – payment

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  • q. – [Latin] quarto; oversize book
  • q.y. – query
  • r. – rector; rex; rejected; river; road
  • R. – Range; Rabbi; River; Road
  • rat. – rated
  • R.C. – Roman Catholic
  • rcdr. – recorder
  • rcpt. – receipt
  • RD – release of dower rights
  • re. – regarding
  • rec. – record
  • reg. – register
  • Reg. Gen. – Registrar General
  • rel. – relative
  • reld. – relieved
  • rel-i-l – relative-in-law
  • ren. – renunciation
  • rep. – report; representative; reprint; reprinted
  • repl. – replaced; replacement
  • repud. – repudiated
  • res. – research; residence; resides
  • respectiv. – respectively
  • ret. – retired
  • Rev. – Reverend; Revolutionary War
  • Rev. War – Revolutionary War
  • RG – Registered Genealogist
  • rgstr. – registrar
  • RIP – [Latin] requiescat in pace; rest in peace
  • rinq. – relinquished
  • Rom. – Roman
  • RR – railroad

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  • s. – son(s)/ soldier; survivor; spinster; successor; shilling
  • s. and h. – son and heir
  • Sa – sailor
  • Sal – saleslady
  • SAR – Sons of the American Revolution
  • SASE – self-addressed stamped envelope
  • Sb – stepbrother
  • Scl – step child
  • SCV – Sons of Confederate Veterans
  • s’d – said [found in legal documents]
  • scatt. – scattering; scattered
  • SDA – Seventh Day Adventists
  • Se – servant
  • S.E. – southeast
  • sec. – second; secretary; section; sector; security
  • serg. – sergeant
  • serv. – service; servant
  • sett. – settlers; settler
  • sev. – several
  • Sf – stepfather
  • sh. – share; ship
  • Si – sister
  • sil or Sl – son-in-law
  • sin. – [Latin] sine; without
  • sis. – sister
  • Sm – stepmother
  • sn. – [Latin] sine; without
  • s/o – son of
  • SO – Survivors’ Originals
  • soc. – society; societies
  • s.p. – [Latin] sine prole; without offspring
  • s.p.l. – [Latin] sine prole legitima; without legitimate offspring
  • s.p.m. – [Latin] sine prole mascula; without male offspring
  • spell. – spelling; spelled
  • spr. – sponsor
  • sr. – senior
  • srnms. – surnames
  • Ss – stepson
  • st. – saint; street
  • sup. – supply; superior
  • supt. or Su – superintendant
  • surg. – surgeon
  • SUV – Sons of Union Veterans
  • sw. – swear; sworn
  • syl.– syllable

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  • T. – Township
  • tak. – taken
  • Ten – tenant
  • terr. – territory
  • test. – testament
  • tho. – though
  • thot. – thought
  • thro. – through
  • TIB – Temple (Records) Index Bureau
  • tn. – town; township
  • top. – topographical
  • Tp. – Township
  • t.p. – title page
  • t.p.m. – title page mutilated
  • t.p.w. – title page wanting
  • tr. – troop; translated; translation
  • transcr. – transcribed
  • transl. – translation
  • treas. – treasurer
  • TRIB – Temple Records Index Bureau
  • TVA – Tennessee Valley Authority
  • twn. – town
  • twp. – township
  • ty. – territory

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  • U – uncle
  • UDC – United Daughters of the Confederacy
  • U.K. – United Kingdom
  • unasgd. – unassigned
  • unc. – uncle
  • unit. – uniting; united
  • unk. – unknown
  • unm. – unmarried
  • unorg. – unorganized
  • USCG – United States Coast Guard
  • USCT – United States Colored Troops
  • USMC – United States Marine Corps
  • USN – United States Navy
  • USWPA – United States Works Progress Administration

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  • v.a. – [Latin] vixit annos; (s)he lived (a certain number) years
  • var. – various; variation; variant
  • VFW – Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • Vi – visitor
  • VIP – Very Important Person
  • Vis. or Visc. – Viscount; Viscountess
  • vit. – vital
  • viz. – [Latin] videlicet; namely
  • V.L. – Vulgar Latin
  • vols. – volunteers; volumes
  • v.r. – vital records
  • vs. – versus
  • v.s. – vital statistics

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  • w. – wife; will; west; widow
  • Wa – warden
  • wag. – wagoner
  • Wai – waitress
  • W.B. – Will Book
  • W.D. – War Department
  • w.d. – will dated
  • wd. – widow; ward
  • wf/o – wife of
  • wh. – who; which
  • wit. – witness
  • wk(s). – week(s)
  • Wkm – workman
  • wnt. – wants
  • W.O. – Widow’s Originals
  • w/o – wife of
  • W.O. – Warrant Officer
  • w.p. – will probated; will proved
  • WPA – Works Progress Administration
  • WRHS – Western Reserve Historical Society
  • W.S. – Writer to the Signet
  • Wt – waiter
  • wtn. – witness
  • ww. – widow
  • ww/o – widow of
  • wwr. – widower

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  • X – a mark made by a person instead of a signature; Christ; Christian
  • x ch. – exchange
  • Xn. – Christian
  • Xnty. – Christianity
  • Xped. – Christened
  • Xr. – Christian
  • Xt. – Christ
  • Xtian. – Christian
  • Xty. – Christianity
  • y. – year
  • yd. – graveyard
  • yr. – year; younger; your

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Recording Names

When recording your genealogical data on charts there are some important conventions which should be followed with regard to names, dates and places. By following these standard rules, you can help to ensure that your genealogy data is as complete as possible and that it will not be misinterpreted by others.

  1. Record names in their natural order – first, middle, last (surname). Use full names if known. If the middle name is not known, you may use an initial.  Example: Shawn Michael THOMAS
  2. Print SURNAMES in upper case letters. This provides easy scanning on pedigree charts and family group sheets and also helps to distinguish the surname from first and middle names. This convention is widely used, but is not necessary.  Example: Garrett John TODD
  3. Enter women with their maiden name (surname at birth) rather than their husband’s surname. When you do not know a female’s maiden name, insert only her first (given) name on the chart followed by empty parentheses (). Some genealogists also record the husband’s surname. Both ways are correct as long as you are consistent and follow all naming rules. In this example, your ancestor Mary Elizabeth’s maiden name is unknown and she is married to John DEMPSEY.  Example: Mary Elizabeth () or Mary Elizabeth () DEMPSEY
  4. If a women has had more than one husband, then you would enter her given name, followed by her maiden name in parentheses followed by the names of any previous husbands (in order of marriage). If the middle name is known then you may enter that as well. This example is for a woman named Mary CARTER at birth who was married to a man named Jackson CARTER prior to marrying your ancestor, William LANGLEY.  Example: Mary (Carter) SMITH or Mary (Carter) SMITH LANGLEY
  5. If there is a nickname that was commonly used for an ancestor, include it in quotes after the given name. Do not use it in place of a given name and do not enclose it in parentheses (parentheses between a given name and surname is used to enclose maiden names and will cause confusion if it is also used for nicknames). If the nickname is a common one (i.e. Kim for Kimberly) it is not necessary to record it. Example: Rachel “Shelley” Lynn BROOK
  6. If a person is known by more than one name (i.e. due to adoption, name change, etc.) then include the alternate name or names in parentheses after the surname, preceded by a.k.a.  Example: William Tom LAKE (a.k.a. William Tom FRENCH)
  7. Be sure to include alternate spellings when your ancestor’s surname has changed over time (possibly due to it being spelled phonetically or due to the surname being changed upon immigration into a new country). Record the earlier usage of the surname first, followed by later usages.  Example: Michael HAIR/HIERS
  8. Don’t be afraid to use the notes field. For example, if you have a female ancestor whose birth name was the same as her husband’s surname, then you will want to make a note of that so that it is not assumed in the future that you had just entered it incorrectly.