Acronyms and AbbreviationsEdit This Page

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There are many acroymns and abbreviated words unique to genealogy and family history research that may not be easily found in any other industry's terminology. Here are some of the more commonly used acronyms and abbreviations:

About or Circa; an guessed date, e.g., "Abt. 1745"
Allen County Public Library; library in Fort Wayne, Indiana with extensive genealogy collections. Librarians at the Allen County Public Library maintain PERSI, the Periodical Source Index, which indexes genealogical and local history sources from periodicals.
Ancestral File; Ancestral File is a collection of over 35 million names linked into family groups and pedigrees. The records include information voluntarily contributed to by patrons from 1978-1991.
After. The date is known to be later than a specified date, e.g., "Aft. 1900."
American Genealogical Biographical Index; A large name index of genealogies published by the Godfrey Memorial Library. The data also include unindexed and partially indexed genealogies and several specialized vital record collections and census data from 1790.
Before. The date is known to be before the specified date, e.g. "Bef 1930".
Births, Marriages, and Deaths; sometimes written BDM.
Calculated. The date was calculated from a source. If you can only calculate, for example, a birth/marriage date based upon a census or the birth date based upon the death date, e.g. "Cal 1854".
Computer File Index, later known as the International Genealogical Index (IGI).
c / ca. / circa
approximately (ex. "ca. 1535" means "in about 1535")
Cannot Be Located
Daughters of the American Revolution; Lineage society for female descendants of soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War. The DAR Library in Washington, D.C. houses significant genealogical collections and is open to the public.
Date of Birth
International Society Daughters of the Utah Pioneers; Lineage society for female descendants of early Utah settlers. Sponsors Pioneer Memorial Museum, and Pioneer Histories Digitization Project.
Estimated. The date was estimated based upon family stories / traditions / standard genealogical estimations, e.g. "Est 1848". Standard genealogical standards include: man marrying at 25, woman marrying at 21, first child one year after marriage, and subsequent children every two years. For example, marriage in 1825, would give the husband's birth "Est 1800", wife's birth "Est 1804", first child's birth "Est 1826", second child's birth "Est 1828", etc.
Family Group Records Archive. This file was maintained by the Genealogical Society of Utah, a forerunner of the current Family History Library and FamilySearch. The archive consists of Family Group sheets in two parts: a MAIN section containing patron submissions from 1942-1969; and a PATRON section containing patron submissions from 1962-1979.
Submissions to the MAIN section were verified for accuracy and received additional processing when they were submitted. Both sections were microfilmed and made available to Family History Centers.
Family History Center (to find a Family History Center near you, click here)
Family History Library, largest genealogical library in the world.  Located in Salt Lake City, Utah and sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Family History Library Catalog; searchable catalog of microfilm, fiche, books and periodicals available through
GEnealogical Data COMmunications (instustry standard file format used by genealogy software programs to transfer data)
Illegitimate (often recorded on birth certificates and other birth records)
Inernational Genealogical Index
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Library of Congress; Research arm of the US Congress. Digital collections include historic newspapers, photographs, family genealogies, biographies and other items of interest to family history researchers.
National Archives Records Administration; repository of official US government records including census, military, immigration, and other documents of interest to family history researchers.
New England Historic Genealogical Society
National Genealogical Society; provides education and training in genealogical research methods and works to promote access to and preservation of genealogical records.
The Periodical Source Index maintained by the Allen County Public Library of genealogical and local history periodicals, listed by source. PERSI's objective is to, over time, compile a complete subject index of all such periodicals--past and present.
Personal Ancestral File; freeware genealogy software available at
Pedigree Resource File (a database within
Public Records Office; National Archives repository for official public records (birth, marriage, death, census, etc.) for the United Kingdom.
Social Security Death Index; master file of US death records reported to the Social Security Administartion available for free on-line through,, and other web sites.
Temple Records Index Bureau, a card-file index system maintained from 1927-1970 containing references to births, christenings and marriages for deceased (dating from 1500) and living persons (to 1970). The TIB was replaced by the CFI (later the IGI).

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