Expand your genealogy knowledge with this four-week genealogy challenge: the Genealogy Dictionary Challenge!
Metes and bounds: A land survey method employing compass directions, natural landmarks and distances between points.
Quaker: A member of the religious group called the Society of Friends. Quakers kept detailed records of their congregations, including vital statistics.
Quarter section: One-fourth of a section of land in the rectangular survey system, equal to 160 acres.
Rectangular survey system: The land survey method that the General Land Office used most often. It employed base lines, one east-west and one north-south, that cross at a known geographic position. Two large rectangles, called townshipseach generally 24 miles squareare described in relation to the base lines. Townships are subdivided into sections.
Pension (military): A benefit paid regularly to a veteran (or his widow) for military service or a military service-related disability.
Social Security Death Index: An index of Social Security death records. Generally the index includes the names of deceased Social Security recipients whose relatives applied for Social Security death benefits after their passing, making them valuable for genealogists. Also included in the millions of records are approximately 400,000 railroad retirement records from the early 1900s to 1950s.
Y chromosome: Genetic material passed down from father to son. Because surnames also pass from father to son, Y-DNA tests can confirm (or disprove) genealogical links through a paternal line. Y-DNA surname studies are the most popular application of genetic genealogy.
Witness: A person who sees an event and signs a document attesting to its content being accurate. Although family members often served as witnesses, dont assume that witnesses on a record are relativesfriends, neighbors and business associates also commonly witnessed documents.
Primary source: A record or other source created at the time of a particular event. A primary source is always the original recordfor example, birth and death certificates are primary sources for those events. But an original record is not always a primary source: For example, a death certificate isn’t a primary source of birth information.
Zouaves: A name adopted by some Civil War Union volunteer regiments, who wore brightly colored uniforms, similar to the French light infantry units of the same name.
Intestate: Description of a person who died without leaving a will.