Genealogy Glossary

A glossary of definitions for Genealogy and related terms and phrases. Other definitions may apply in different circumstances but are not included.

For reviews on online genealogy services, please see our Genealogy category.

Search for glossary terms (regular expression allowed)
Begin with Contains Exact termSounds like
Term Definition

Stands for Also Known As. A persons alias.

Hits: 669

Abbreviated transcription of a document or record that includes the date of the record, every name appearing therein, the relationship (if stated) of each person named and their description (ie. witness, executor, bondsman, son, widow, etc.), and if they signed with their signature or mark.

Hits: 683

An ancestor table. It tabulates the ancestry of one individual by generation in text rather than pedigree chart format. A comprehensive ahnentafel gives more than the individual's name, date and place of birth, christening, marriage, death and burial. It should give biographical and historical commentary for each person listed, as well as footnotes citing the source documents used to prove what is stated.

Hits: 618
Ahnentafel Number

The unique number assigned to each position in an ancestor table. Number one designates the person in the first generation. Numbers two and three designate the parents of number one and the second generation. Numbers four through seven designate the grandparents of person number one and the third generation. As the ahnentafel extends by generation, the number of persons doubles.

Hits: 692

A person from whom you descend; grandparents, great-grandparents, 2nd great-grandparents (also called great great- grandparents), 3rd great-grandparents, etc. Direct-line ancestor; forefather; forebear.

Hits: 619
Ancestral File

A genealogical system developed by the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), links individuals to ancestors in pedigree, family group, and descendant formats. It contains genealogical information about millions of people from many nations.

Hits: 588

Denotes all of your ancestors from your parents as far back as they are traceable. Estimates suggest that everyone has approximately 65,000 traceable ancestors, meaning ancestors whose existence can be documented in surviving records.

It is also an online genealogy service.

Hits: 633

Many types of genealogical presentations contain statements, record sources, documents, conclusions, or other historical information that require an annotation. Generally, annotations appear in footnotes, end-notes, or in the text itself. Genealogical software provides a field for documentation, comments, notes, and analysis. Genealogists use annotations to explain discrepancies between two or more documents, to add information from another source to support a statement or conclusion made in a different record, and other difficult to interpret situations.

Hits: 643
Cemetery Records

Cemetery caretakers usually keep records of the names and death dates of those buried at the cemetery. Maps of the grave sites may also be found.

Hits: 656
Common Ancestor

A person through whom two or more persons claim descent or lineage.

Hits: 640

The degree of relationship between persons who descend from a common ancestor. A father and son are related by lineal consanguinity, uncle and nephew by collateral sanguinity.

Hits: 626

Can be a wife, husband, spouse, mate, or companion.

Hits: 592

A child of an aunt or uncle; in earlier times a kinsman, close relative, or friend.

Hits: 605

The study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history.

Hits: 688