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Glossary of Terms

Definitions of Old English Words

Ag. Lab
Agricultural Labourer
Agnate
Related on the Father’s side.
Alias
Is Latin for ‘otherwise’.  Sometimes shown as ‘als’ or ‘otherwise’.  If a mother re-married, her children might take the name of their new step-father with one of the surnames as an alias.  Illegitimacy was also a cause of the use of  an alias.  A child might have the maiden surname of the mother and the surname of the father.  When a couple were not married, the common-law wife may have her maiden surname entered in the records, with the surname of her partner as an alias.  Therefore, any children born to them might have a ‘double’ surname, i.e. Williams alias Larder.
Badger
Pauper.  Taken from the badge a pauper had to wear in order to receive parish relief.  Also a licensed peddler, hawker or chapman.
Banns of Marriage
A proclamation of intended marriage, repeated 3 times at weekly intervals, (usually on consecutive Sundays) in the parish churches of the bride and groom.  Banns being read and recorded, however is not always proof that the marriage went ahead.
Base born/child
Illegitimate
Buried in Woollen
This refers to the Burial in Woollen Acts of 1667 & 1678.  These Acts were attempts to protect the English Wool Trade, and required that all bodies should be buried in Wool with the exception of those who died from the Plague.  A Five pound fine was imposed for burials which did not comply with the Acts.  By 1814 the Acts were repealed.
Chapman
A buyer/seller (often both) of various goods.
Cognate
Related on the Mother’s side.
Cordwainer
Pronounced ‘cordner’. A worker or trader in leather goods.  Generally means a Shoemaker or Cobbler. 
Cottar
Tenant of a cottage, with or without a small piece of land.
Daughter-in-law
Likely in old records to mean a step-daughter.  Also a daughter-in-law may be referred to as ‘daughter’.
Foundling
Abandoned Child/infant.
Fullage
21 years of age or over.
Gossip
Godparent.
Half-baptized
A local term meaning ‘christened privately’ or not in church.  This was done by a parson in the house very soon after birth because the baby was weak and not expected to live.  If the child survived however, it was then expected to ‘be received into the church’ at a ceremony in the presence of the godparents and congregation.
Hamlet
A small group of houses separate from the village but still part of the parish.
Hiring Fairs
These were held annually to enable employers to find employees.  The employees were primarily Farm Labourers and were hired for a year.  The fairs would attract masters and servants from many miles away and this often explains why some of our ancestors can be found in parishes quite a distance from their birth place.
Husbandman
Small Farmer.
Interred
Buried without Christian rites – e.g. Unbaptized persons or excommunicates.
Journeyman
A person who has completed his apprenticeship and hires his labour out by the day or week.
Lady Day
25 March.
Larceny
Stealing
Grand Larceny:
Theft of goods above the value of 12 pence from the owners’ house, not the person or by night.  It was a Capital crime.
Petty Larceny:
Theft of goods to the value of 12 pence or less.  The punishment was imprisonment or whipping.  The distinction between Petty and Grand was removed in 1827.
Messuage
A dwelling house with ground around it and any out-buildings.
Michaelmas
29 September
Naked
This was a note made in the burial register when the body was unshrouded and the coffin was unlined.  This was often the case with the poor who couldn’t afford the fine for burying the dead in anything other than wool.
Nephew
Until the end of the 1600’s, this meant a Grandson, descendant, or kinsman.
Niece
Up until the 1600’s this meant a descendant, either male or female.  Occasionally it was used to mean any younger relative.
Recusants
Nonconformists, especially Roman Catholics.
Relict
Widow.
Siblings
Brothers and/or Sisters with at least one parent in common.
Single Person
A divorced person.
Single Woman:
One who had borne a child, though unmarried.
Sister
Often used to mean Sister-in-law.
Sojourner
A temporary resident in a parish.
Son-in-law
Often used to mean ‘step-son’.  When the surname is not mentioned the term can be lost under ‘son’.
Spurious
Illegitimate.
Yeoman
A more substantial Farmer than a Husbandman.
           

Definitions of Latin Words

australis
South(ern)
borealis
North(ern)
burgus
Borough, town
conjunctus/conjugatus
married
de
of
de hac parochial / de hujus parochie
of this parish
defuncti
of the deceased person
defunctus
dead, deceased
duxit
Led (in marriage)
ex
from
extraneus
A stranger
Famulus
Servant
filiolus (a)
Small son/daughter
filius ( a)
Son (daughter)
filius (-a) populi filius (-a) nulli
Illegitimate child/bastard son or daughter. Literally, son or daughter of the people. Illegitimate child/bastard.  Literally, son or daughter of no-one.
Generosa/Generosus
Lady/Gentleman
ignotus
unknown
Inferior
Lower, Nether
lanatus
Clothed in wool; buried in woollen
liberi
Children
Magna
Great
natus (-a)
born
nepos
Grandson, nephew, descendant
neptis
Niece
obiit
He or she died
occidentalis
West(ern)
orientalis
East(ern)
parochie
of the parish
Parva
Little, small
peregrinus
Pilgrim; traveller
preadictus
Aforesaid, above-mentioned
privignus (-a)
Step-son/daughter
proximus
Next
puella
Spinster
renatus (-a)
baptized
senex
Old man
sepultus (-a) erat
Was buried
Superior
Upper, Higher
uxor
Wife
uxoratus
Married; married man
viduus/vidua
Widower/widow
vir
Husband, individual man