Research Tips From Sandi Gorin

Kentucky Research Tips 


Some old-time definitions that you might have run into during reading old documents, diaries, etc.
Some are rather obscure -

Fabrick lands - land given for the maintenance, building, repairing of churches, or earlier, cathedrals.
Factor - one appointed by law and who is charged for caring for an estate.
Fancy man - a male lover.
Fancy woman - a prostitute or mistress
Fanning mill - a machine used to separate dust & chaff from grain by using a stream of air.
Fardinagle - 1/4th of an acre
Farmer - not only one who farmed, but could also apply to a tax collector.
Farren - 1/2 an acre
Fashion baby - a doll used like a mannequin today to show the latest clothing styles. It was used       not only by stores but by traveling salesmen
Fashioner - tailor
Faverer - the Norman name for February
F C P - free person of color
Feather merchant - a loafer or idler who does not have an occupation
Federalist - member of a political party which endorsed the adoption of the Federal Constitution/

Feeder: servant
Filler: one who chopped down trees. They used a felling axe.
Fellmonger: one who removes hair from animal hides to prepare for tanning.
Feman: outlaw, fugitive
Feme-covert: married woman - wife
Feme sole trader: An unmarried woman who was allowed by law to hold, buy, sell, trade or dispose of property in her own name.
Fence viewer: one who supervised boundary lines & construction fences/walls along these boundaries.
Feefee: Grantee
Feoffer: Grantor
Festing penny: earnest money
Ficicion: doctor
Field bed: Either a small canopy bed or one used for sleeping outdoors
Field officer: an officer who was out in the field with other troops unlike the commanding officer who stayed in his quarters
Filia: daughter
Filia fratris: niece -brother's daughter
Filial portions: a child's inheritance
Filia Vsororis: niece - sister's daughter
Filia vitrici: step-sister
Fillus popula: a bastard child, also known as "a son of the people"
Fingerboards: a sign with a pointing finger on it showing the direction to the next town.
Fireship: prostitute
Five civilized tribes: Used to designate the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cree and Seminole Indiants - considered to be more civilized.
Flat milk: skimmed milk. Also called fleet milk.
Flirt-gill: a woman with low moral standards
Flirting and removing:: moving to another house
Flock bed: mattress is stuffed with cotton or wool pieces discarded from sewing and cut into small pieces.
F. L. T. - found on tombstones of those belong to the IOOF - "Friendship. Love, Truth"
Fluttergrub: one who labored in the fields
Fly-land: a small amount of land.
F. M. - free mulatto
F/O: father of
F. O. E.; Fraternal Order of Eagles
Folio: both sides of the page is used - sometimes the reverse side was not numbered but considered part of the first.
Foot pad: A thief that is on foot
Fore-elders: ancestors
Forestaller: broker
Form: In Quaker records, meant formerly
Forsary: one who worked in the kitchen as a slave
Foss: a pit full of water used to drown criminals

Garrison House - a house, usually log, which was fortified against invasion. Every village had one - well constructed, with a low door and small slits in order to fire through.
Gate Room - a yard or a horse's paddock.
Gatling gun - about 1862 - a light gun mounted on a pair of wheels & mobile - able to be fired rapidly.
Gauky - one who was a clown or awkward and clumsy.
Gazette - newspaper.
Gemman - gentleman.
Geneat - tenant farmer.
Gentleman of fortune - pirate
Genus - ancestry
German - one's brother
German Baptists - also called Brethren or Dunkers
Gib door - a dutch style door where one could let out the family cat or dog.
Ginner - cotton gin operator
Glass tax - a tax once imposed on glass windows
GLD - General Land Office
Glove money - tips given to slaves.
Goat house - brothel
Gold finder - a privy cleaner!
Good brother - brother-in-law
Goodfather - father-in-law or step-father
Goodman - a male head of the house in colonial days.
Goodsire - grandfather.
Goodsister - sister-in-law
Goodson - son-in-law
Goodwife - housewife
Goodwoman - wife
Goose Fest - Christmas
Goosehouse - a temporary prison - note - wonder if this became our hoosegow?
G O P - Grand Old Party
Gospeller - evangelist
Gossone - godson
Grace wife - midwife
Graduate - physician
Gramfer/grammer - grandfather and grandmother

Grange: A social & cultural society for and by farmers.
Granny: an old woman, grandmother or midwife.
Grant: a land grant was issued for military duty by a special Act of Congress
Grantee: Buyer of property
Grantor: Seller of property
Grass widow: An unmarried woman who has had a child.
Grave deed: Document issued by a church or cemetery company to the purchaser of a plot.
Grayback: Confederate soldier - also called a gray coat or gray jacket. Sometimes used to         refer to paper money issued by the Confederacy. Great guns: Canons.
Greenback: Member of a political party after the end of the Civil War who opposed the reduction in the amount of paper money in circulation at that time. Also refers to actual money.
Green sickness: Anemia.
Grenadier: soldier who threw grenades.
Grondy: Grandmother.
Groop: Cattle pen.
Groove: A mine or mine shaft.
Ground rent: Fee charged for farm land when it was rented to a tenant.
Growblor: digger.
Guardian: One appointed by the court to oversee the affairs of a minor. Those over age 14 or above were sometimes allowed to pick their own guardian. Mothers were not always considered fit to be the child's guardian but a father was.
Guardian ad litem: "for the term of" - appointed by court to handle one particular court action.
1/h, 2/h, etc: First husband, 2nd husband, etc.
Habeas Corpus: "That you have the body". Legal document ordering jailers to produce a prisoner in their custody.
Habere Facias Prossessionem: Writ of ejectment from land, restoring the land to the rightful          owner. Also shown as het fa.
Hack: a pick axe or hoe.
Hackle: Used to comb flax or hemp before spinning.
Hackle board: Tool used by a rope maker.
Half-baptized: Death bed baptism.
Half-blood: only one parent in common.
Half-dime: First coin minted in the USA in 1792.
Half-marrow: Spouse.
Half mourning: The period of time after the full mourning period of one year is over. The black attire was replaced by lighter pastels and lavenders.
Half-named: Privately baptized.
Half orphan: Only one parent is dead.
Hallucination: Delirium.
Handbarrow: Wheelbarrow - no wheel, pulled by two people.
Hand cannon: musket
Hand woman: Midwife
Hangby: dependent.
Hanging month: November

Hard Shell: Member of either a political party or a strict church.
Hard tack: Cracker eaten by troops.
Hardware: Liquor, weapons or tools
Harman-beck: A local constable.
Harrow: heavy beams fastened together in rectangular or triangular shape with 20-40 iron teeth or tines. Pulled over the ground to break up the soil.
Harvest lady: 2nd reaper in a row; first reaper was called the harvest lord.
Hashmark: Number of stripes on a slave's back or the number of stripes on an enlisted man's sleeve.
Hawk: to sell goods as a peddler or to spread rumors.
Hay house: hayloft.
Head money: poll tax.
Headright: public land which was given to the head of the family.
Headsman: Executioner, leader or commander.
Headswoman: Midwife.
Hedare: one who beheads others.
Hedgepriest: an uneducated minister.
Heir apparent: Individual most likely to receive an estate.
Heir-at-law: Normally the eldest son.
Heirs & Assigns: absolute ownership of land or property granted.
Hematemesis: vomiting blood.
Henter: thief
Hepatitis: liver inflammation.
Hereditaments: all property that can be inherited.
Heres esse alicul: naming of a person to make him one's heir.
Hic: here.
Hic lacet: "here lies ____ (name)
Hic sepulture: "here is buried ___ (name).
Hicksite Quakers: a branch of Quakers who believed women cannot participate in any church service.
High Church: Normally an Anglican (Church of England) church whose services are very      formal.
High Court: Superior court, Supreme Court.
Highwayman: a robber, usually mounted.
High Yellow: a black person whose skin is light.
Hip gout: osteomyelitis
Hireling Minister: Paid minister

H L S: Hic Loco Situs - laid in this place.

Hoc mense: This month
Hogshead: Barrel containing 60-140 gallons of liquid or 750-1200 pounds of tobacco.
Holographic will: One thought to be written in the handwriting of the one who wrote it.
Home lot: The piece or plot of land where a home is situated.
Homestead: Where the family lives - can include house, barns & other buildings.
Homestead Act of 1862: Law passed by Congress which gave a settler 160 acres of land after he
had planted and cultivated it for 5 years. He was then made exempt from cash payment.
Hora: Hour
Horcap: Bastard
Horse & foot: Calvary and infantry.
Horse Artillery: Part of the artillery which serves in cooperation with calvary units - has cannoners on horseback.
Horse leech: Vet for horses.
Hot evil: Fever
Hougher: One who publicly whipped criminals or executed them.
Household: All people living in one house whether they were related or not.
HRIP: Hic Requiescit in Pace - here rests in peace.
Huckster: A peddler who traveled the streets. Also called badgers
Hunk: A mean older man of miser.
Hydrothorax: Excess fluid in the chest cavity.
Icterus: Jaundice
Idlemen: Gentlemen
Ignoramus: When less than 12 members of a jury agree; case was dismissed & party freed.
Ignota/ignotus: Unknown
Ileus: An intestinal obstruction - colic.
Imparl: To settle a case in peace or get a delay.
Impedigo: Inflammation of the skin, normally found in children.
Impressment: Forced service in a battle.
Imprimis: "In the first place" - found mainly in wills
Improved: Where a home had been built or crops planted.
In articula mortis: Near the point of death.
In chancery, upon petition: A case in chancery court has received a petition relating to the case.
Incognitus: Unknown
Incompetent: One who is unable to handle his own affairs.
Indebitatus: Indebted.
Indentured servant: One who was unable to pay his own fare to America and worked out the cost
of the trip to someone. The Captain "sold" him to another monied passenger, the individual      had to serve this individual for a given amount of years.
Independent Planter: One who farmed his own land with only help from the family.
Indian Wars: 1838-1891 when Indians were pushed to the western part of the US.
Indictment: Written notice to the court stating a grand jury has found reason to bring a criminal matter to court.
Indigent: Pauper
Ind. W. C.: Indian Wars Widow's Certificate
In esse: Alive. Indicated sometimes when a child is not named or a child conceived but not born.
In extremis: "In hs last moments".
Infair: Days following a wedding where the party continued.
Infany: Disgraced
Infans: Child

Madstone: a poultice composed of natural or man-made materials which has been soaked in warm sweet milk or water. Very well know; it was believed to cure rabies when applied to the site of the wound. In this area of the state, a madstone was taken from the body of a deer; if the bite was not poisonous, the stone would fall off. If the wound
was poisonous, the stone would adhere. Madstones were passed from generation to generation.
Magistrate: government official, non-military, allowed to issue arrest warrants.
Mail coach: a special wagon used by the post office, built for speed; carried 3 passengers.
Maisterman: husband, governor or ruler.
Mala fide: in bad faith; a person attempting to deceive.
Mandamus: special order which demanded an individual who had signed a contact to do what he had been ordered to do.
Mania: insanity.
Mango: a child who was 7/8ths black.
Mania puerperium: postpartum blues.
Manufactory: factory
Manumission: freeing of a slave
Marasmus: wasting away of the body - also called emaciation
March stone: a stone used to mark a boundary.
Mariti: marriage - also shown maritus.
Marker: surveyor's assistant who marked the lines.
Marriage bond: money which was promised, normally by the parent or close relative. Showed there was no legal or moral reason why the couple couldn't marry. If the marriage was not conducted, the money was paid.
Marriage certificate: document completed by the minister showing the marriage took place.
Marriage contract: Normally found when one or both of the parties had been married previously,they sought to protect their holdings from the previous marriage.
Marriage contrary to discipline: A Quaker term implying the individuals had been married in a civil ceremony
Marriage license: issued by the county who gave consent for the marriage to take place.
Marriage register: Book listing all the marriages issued, kept in county clerk's office.
Marriage return: Completed by the minister showing the names & dates of the marriage.
Marriage settlement: document completed by the couple if necessary before marriage which could handle things such as inheritances, raising of children from a previous marriage - a pre-nuptial agreement.
Mason: one who shaped or laid bricks, stones, etc.
Masonic lodge: fraternal organization.
Master-in-Chancery: assistant judge who heard various cases & made recommendation to the judge.
Matron: married or mature woman.
Mattock: a digging tool similar to a pick axe.
Maw bound: constipated
McClellan saddle: standard issue saddle in the US Cavalry units.

Next friend/next best friend: An individual who was not the legal guardian, but one who filed suit for an infant or one incapable of doing it themselves. Usually a relative but could be a lawyer or other individual.
Night riders: Men on horseback who rode together after dark to subdue the recently freed Blacks but who also attacked tobacco growers in KY re forming an association. Also known as the Ku Klux Klan or Silent Brigade.
Ningimmer: Surgeon
NMI: No middle initial.
NMN: No middle name
Nolle prosequi: No further prosecution
Nola contendere: I will not contest it.
Non assumpsit: He did not promise.
Non compos mentis: Not of sound mind.
Non culpabilis: Not guilty
Non ficet: He did not make it.
Non-resident: Lived outside the area cited.
Non vivus: Still born or not alive.
Note of hand: an IOU.

Old Lights: Orthodox Colonial clergymen.
Old milk: Skimmed milk.
Old Style Calendar: Before 1752
Onset: a house or out building.
Onus: Burden
Opiate: Sedative or narcotic to induse sleep.
Opine: State your opinion.
Opium: Drug made from the dried juice of poppies.
Oral will: Spoken - normally a death-bed will.
Ordinary: tavern or inn
Orphan: Minor child who has lost one or both parents. Sometimes called this when only the father has died.
O. S. Old style calendar.
Ostery: Inn
Out-crier: auctioneer.
Outhorne: Outlaw
Outlot: Land outside the city limits
Outpartners: Thieves
Outriders: Baliff hired by the sheriff to issue summons
Outsettler: One who lives in a distant area.
Over live: Outlive.
Oyer: to hear
Oyer & Terminal Court: Occurred when a circuit rider judge appeared in the county.

Pace: approximately 2 1/2 feet
Pack Monday: First Monday after the 10th of October
Pantalets: Long bloomers for a lady which showed under the dress
Pantaloons: Close-fitting trousers with straps down to under the soles of the feet
Parcel: Land with a specific boundary.
Passage: Ferry
Passing Bell: A bell (normally a church bell) rung announcing a death.
Patent entry books: Kept by county clerks, recorded original land patents for county.
Patent land: The 1st deed to land from the government.
Pennyroyal: Plant of the mint family found in parts of KY. - rare
Per diem: Per day or by the day.
Piet court: Small claims court.
Photograph type- positive: Daguerreotype (1839-1860)  " Ambrotyes - 1850s and 1860s  " Tintypes - 1850-1930s  " Salted paper prints - 1839 - 1860s  " Albumen prints - 1850s-1860s  "Silver gelatin prints - 1880s to present  "Gelatin dry plates - 1880s-1920s
Phrennitis: Inflammation of the brain, causes deliriums
Phtiriasis: Lice infested
Phthsis: TB of the lungs, coal mainer's black lung
Phthisic: Asthma
Pigeon pair: Twins, one of each gender.
P. J. P. : Probate Judge of the Peace
Plaintiff: One who starts a lawsuit against another.
Plank road: Made of wood which didn't last but a few years. Normally found only on the right side of the road into a town with the left side left dirt for the farmers.
Plantation: Large house or homestead.
Plantation house: Main dwelling on a farm.
Planter: Farmer with normally more than 100 acres
Plot: Small piece of land similar to a garden sized plot.
Ploughman: Farmer or laborer.
Plow tree: Handle of a plow to be pushed or pulled by man and horse.
Pointing horse: A farmer's tool.
Poke day: An appointed day when a farmer paid an allowance in cord to his laborers.
Pole: 16 1/2 feet.
Poleman: Assistant to the surveyor
Poll: Person was free to vote if he had paid his taxes and was 21 years of age or older. At age 50, many were exempted from paying the toll.
Poor accounts: Records of the distribution of money to the poor.
Poor school: Public school *
Postage currency: When money was short after the end of the Civil War, postage stamps were used as legal tender. This failed because the stamps sold out - got wet, stuck to the men's purses, etc.
Posthumous child: Born after the death of the father.
Post Rider: Mail person who rode a horse to deliver the mail.
Post road: The mail route taken by the post rider.
Post town: The town with the main post office.
Potagre: Gout
Potter's field: Cemetery for paupers, those who had committed suicide and those who had been executed. It could be an area set aside in a main cemetery.
Prairie breaker: One who received free land from the government and lived there while improving it.
Pre-exemption: The legal right to obtain land when the government requirements had been fulfilled.
Presents: The statement of the grand jury in a court case.
Pretermitted child: Child was born after the father's will had been executed - thus the child was not mentioned in the will.
Prima facie: at first view
Probate: The process of settling an estate
Processioner: A surveyor who determined property boundaries.
Public domain land: Belonging to the government, reserved for special purposes such as parks, reservations, etc.
Pueperal: refers to childbirth.
Putative father: Alleged father of an illegitimate child.
Putrid fever: diptheria

Subsister - a prisoner who had no money
Substitute soldier - one who served in the service for another, paid by the man who should have served.
Sunday Saint - One who was always in church for services but was also known as a cheat or reviler the rest of the week.
Surety - one who volunteered to be liable for the debts of another if the other person defaulted.
Surrogate wife - mistress
Survey - locating land accurately by metes and bounds
Sustre - sister
Sutor/Sutter - a cobbler or shoe maker
Sutton's Law - named for Dr. William Sutton, 1st president of the KY State Medical Assn regarding the collection of vital statistics for KY of births and deaths & marriages. Law was in effect Jan 1852 through 29 Aug 1862.
Swamp sickness - milk sickness
Sward - a sodded acre of land
Sweating sickness - caused profuse sweating & also known as day fever.
Swele - tumor or swelling
Swinacle - quisy
Swizzle - mixture of ale and beer
Tabellarius - record keeper
Tabler - one who kept boarders
Taedium vitdae - weakness of life
Talesman - the last man chosen to complete  a jury when other had been excused for various reasons.
Tall cock - Grandfather clock
Tansy - a herb used in cooking
Ta house - inn or tavern
tapster - bartender
tattoo - nighttime bugle call that preceded taps - also known as the evening gun.
taxables - Those liable for paying takes - 16 & older males; some paupers, disabled individuals and some ministers excluded. If a man was over 53 and didn't have any males in his household of military age, they were sometimes double taxed for their real & personal property.
Tax list - the list of those due to pay tax for themselves, white males over 16, cattle, horses, carriages, etc. If a woman's name is found, she was normally a widow. If a young man is shown with very  little and there is a man nearby and that man suddenly has one less horse, cow &c, it is possible that this is the father.

Teamer - a team of 5 horses
Temulence - drunk
Tenancy at will - a rental agreement continuing as long as the parties desire and ended by a written notice.
Terce - a widow's life rent allowed as part of her husband's estate. She must have been married for at least a year and a day and have a child.
Test/teste - attest
Testamentary guardian - one named by the father in his will or in a deed.
Testament testamentor - executor was named by the deceased in his will.
Testate - died without leaving a will
Testator - one making the will
Testatrix - female who makes a will.
Tetter - skin eruption
The Late Hostility - Civil War
The Lost Cause - Civil War
The Recent Unpleasantness - Civil War
The Southern Uprising - Civil War
Third father - great-grandfather
Thorowstone - flat gravestone
Throw-out land - land that has become worthless because the land wasn't rested or the same crop was planted year after year.
Thundering minister/preacher - a visiting or itinerant preacher known for his "hell & brimstone" preaching.
Tintype - a positive style photograph on a thin iron plant which has been coated with a thin layer of tin to keep it from rusting. Also known as ferrotype.
Tippling house - tavern
Tirewoman - milliner

* Note that in older times, it was considered that the "subscription schools" were far superior to the "public schools" that we have now. It was felt that if the parents were willing to pay for their child's attendance at a subscription school, that they would receive a better education. Many subscription schools, though taught sometimes by an individual with limited education themselves, taught Latin, Greek, Astronomy, higher literature, higher math etc. than the public schools. Many times, but not always, when one reads in a biography that an individual attended the "common schools" of the county - it was referring to a government run, public school.

to be continued - Sandi