Genealogy Terms F - J

If you're just starting out, or have been researching for a while and have come across a word you're not familiar with, check our list below. If it's not listed, please feel free to send it on to us at and we'll research it's meaning and add it to our glossary.
Words starting the letters F through J:
Family Group Sheet
A worksheet for recording a pedigree ancestor's children, brothers, sisters, etc.
Family tree
A graphic representation of the ancestral lines of a family or one person.
Fire insurance records
The 17th, 18th and 19th century records of insurance policies of companies operating in London, England. Family historians can find much information as these policies often contain information to individual's names, status, occupations, address of the policyholder, details of the property insured, and names of tenants.
First Papers
A common term for the paperwork necessary for this first step is known as the Declaration of Intention. Typically, the first step in the U.S. Naturalization process. After residing in the United States for at least two years, an alien could declare his or her intent to become a citizen.
Fleet marriages
In England, these were marriages pereformed at Fleet Prison up to 1754.
An enfranchised citizen. The right to be called a freeman was a political right dependent upon specific qualifications imposed by law. A freeman was not a freed slave, nor a released indentured servant. 
  .  In the South this was usually a freed slave.
  .  In New England, it usually meant a land owner, church member,
     entitled to vote.
  .  In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, it usually meant a bachelor
     over 21 years of age.
Term used in a lawsuit, where the plaintiff is "next" or "best" friend of another person. This was a family member, not a parent, grandparent or brother or sister, but probably a son-in-law.
Full sibling
One who has the same biological mother and father (thus the same ancestry) as another individual.
Future Interest
To be inherited at a later date.
Gateway Ancestor
A particular ancestor who provides a link from one culture or time period to another.
A book that shows all the towns in a particular country, and how they are organized into political jurisdictions (provinces, counties, districts, etc.)
It is the name given to a standard file format for genealogical information, such as those used in software programs. It is derived from "Genealogical Data Communication.”
Genetic Cousins
They are individuals whose DNA test results match one another. You may have cousins who aren't genetic cousins—that is, you and your cousin don't match on DNA tests because you didn't inherit enough of the same DNA from the same ancestor.
The study of family ancestries and history.
All the genetic material in the chromosome set of an organism. 46 chromosomes make up the human genome.
The genetic makeup of a particular individual.
Farm or plantation owner who hires others to farm their land.
Also referred to a retired man.
A person who buys or receives property
A person who sells property.
Gretna Green
Has been synonymous with eloping couplkes for hundres of years. Gretna Green was one of the first places over the border in Scotland to offer marriage ceremonies which were officiates by locals. If you have been unable to find marraige records for English ancestors try looking at these records to see if your ancestors used this opportunity to marry.
In Louisville, Kentucky in the 1800's, it was a liquor store before they started selling food.
One who has one of the same parents (and therefore shares only one side of the lineage) as the other.
Haplogroup A collection of related haplotypes with a common ancestor. The haplogroup (also called a clade) is usually defined by a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mutation that arose in an ancestor hundreds or thousands of years ago, and is found in all of the descendant haplotypes.
An individual’s set of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or DYS markers. Males who are recently related through their paternal line will have similar haplotypes and belong to the same haplogroup. The more diverse two haplotypes are, the more time has passed since their most recent common ancestor.
During the Colonial period of roughly 1619 to 1705, the British government offered 50 acres of land for every "head" (person) transported to the Colonies. Headright papers list the names of those people—the person who sponsored the transportation as well as those transported, i.e. his relative or an indentured servant.
Those who inherit, including a wife.
The art of settling the rights of persons to bear arms, recording genealogies and blazoning coats of arms.
A payment to a manorial landlor on the death of a tenant.
17th century nickma,e for a farmer or ploughman whose showes were frequently repaired with large headed nails or bobnails, and patched or tipped with pieces of metal.
Holding in Tenure
Holding property as tenants, but not actual ownership.
Holographic Will
Hand written by a deceased person, signed and dated, but need not be witnessed.
A right to continue to live in the residence.
Hourglass Chart
This starts at the selected person and goes down through the descendants and up through the ancestors.
Once meant property owner and could be used for male or female.
Hudson Bay Company
The oldest merchandising Company in the English-speaking world.
A term for French Protestants in the 16th century.
An ancients territorial division of a shire or county introduced by the Saxons. The most probable meaning is of an area made up of 100 families or 100 fighting men.  By the 19th century in England, hhundres were phased out in favor of poor law unions and parliamentary divisions.
A farmer who does not own the land he farms.
International Genealogical Index.
Children whose parents are not married at the time of their birth are termed illegitimate.
Persons who have fallen in later life into a state of chronic dementia.
An ancestor who arrived in America after 1783.
The process of immigrating.
In contemporary society, a term used to designate someone to whom you are related by your own marriage or that of a sibling. In colonial society, this term also referred to relationships created by the marriage of a parent, currently called step relationships. Thus a “mother-in-law” in the seventeenth century may have been a father’s second wife.
The process of creating an index normally by Surname or combined Surname and Forename to material such as the census. 
Males, under the age of 21 years. 
Females under the age of 18 years.
One who rented his land from a landlord.
Refers to a man living in the home of another person, but not necesarily in an institution.
Without a will.
Irregular marriage
A legal marriage ceremony conducted by an ordained clergyman but without banns or license.
The supporters of Catholic King James VII of Scotland (or James II of England) and his heirs after his deposition in 1689, in preference to a Protestant monarchy.
Written after a man's name did not necesarily mean the same as his father, it might be an uncle or an older cousin.
Updated: 17 May 2019
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