O genealogical glossary termsEdit This Page
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A glossary of genealogical terms.
O': A prefix meaning "grandson of" used on Irish surnames.
Oath of Allegiance, American Revolution: An oath whereby people declared themselves in support of the American Revolution.
Oath of allegiance, USA: An oath by which immigrants and others swear loyalty and bind themselves to the United States government.
Óbito: A Spanish and Portuguese word for death.
Obituaries, Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize articles published in newspapers that announce deaths and other sources, such as indexes, related to them. Obituaries may give an account of the individual’s life.
Obituaries, PERiodical Source Index: A record type used in the Locality and Research Methodologies sections of the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) to identify articles that contain information about obituaries.
Obituary, general: An article in a newspaper that announces an individual’s death. It may give an account of the individual’s life.
Occupation: The manner or trade by which people earn their living.
Occupational surnames: A last name based on the trade or occupation a person practices.
Occupations, Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize records related to the manners and trades by which people earn their living.
Ochavado: A term used in Catholic Church registers to describe a person from Spanish-speaking Latin America whose ancestry is a mix of African (1/8) and Spanish Caucasian (7/8). Racial classifications were often based on physical appearance or social status; therefore, they were not always accurate.
Ocoee District: A region of southeastern Tennessee, now in Polk County.
Office of the State Registrar, Michigan: A Michigan state government office that stores marriage and divorce records.
Officer: A person in the military or in another organization who has authority or command responsibility.
Officer files, Germany: A type of military record found in Germany prior to World War I. It gave the officer's age and identified his wife and children. The German word for these records is Offizier-Stammlisten.
Officer rolls, Germany: A type of military record used in Germany. These rolls identify whether the officer was of the nobility or a commoner. They provide the name of the regimental or company commander, which is needed to obtain further information. The German word for these records is Ranglisten.
Official Register of the United States: A list of officers and employees in the civil, military, and naval services of the United States government.
Offizier-Stammlisten, Germany: A type of military record kept in Germany prior to World War I. It gave the officer's age and identified his wife and children. The English translation is officer files.
Ohio Company: An association of officers and soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War and who came from Massachusetts and nearby areas. The company acquired land in Ohio to sell to settlers. Many people emigrated from Massachusetts to Ohio as a result of this company's work.
Ohio Company First Purchase: Land sold by Congress in 1792 to the Ohio Company. It was located in southeastern Ohio. The company sold this land to settlers.
Ohio Company Second Purchase: Land acquired by the Ohio Company in 1792 by redeeming military bounty land warrants. The company sold this land to settlers. This land was next to the First Purchase land.
Oklahoma Territory: A territory created in 1890 from the "unassigned lands" in central Oklahoma and the panhandle. It was separate from the Indian Territory.
Old Kentucky grants: A set of land grants that includes some grants based on warrants and some based on surveys issued by Virginia.
Old Parochial Registers of Scotland: Parish registers kept by the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian Church) from the time the church began keeping the registers to the year 1855, when the British government began keeping records of births, marriages, and deaths. Scottish parishes began keeping registers at various times.
Old Parochial Registers of the Church of Scotland: An index to records of the Church of Scotland.
Old soldier’s home: A place where elderly soldiers can live when they have nowhere else to stay.
Old Surname Index File: An index to family information found in some published family histories, periodicals, local histories, and other sources acquired by the Family History Library™ before 1964.
One-name groups: Organizations that gather information about all individuals with a particular surname.
Ontario Department of Immigration, Canada: A division of the Ontario, Canada, provincial government that was responsible for immigration into Ontario. This division was in operation from 1869 to 1897.
Ontario, Canada: A province of Canada. Its capital is Toronto. The capital city of Canada, Ottawa, is also located in Ontario. One third of Canada's population lives in Ontario. Ontario was originally settled by French fur traders. After the Seven Years War (French and Indian War), France ceded the territory to Great Britain. After the American Revolution during the 1770s and 1780s, many people who had been loyal to the British government settled in Ontario. In 1791 Ontario became Upper Canada. Later the name changed to Canada West. In 1867 Ontario became one of the first four provinces of the Dominion of Canada.
Oral history: An account of events or a genealogy that is passed on verbally rather than in a written form.
Ordenes militares, Spain: An organization in Spain whose membership was restricted to persons of hidalgo status (untitled Spanish nobility). In Spanish, the terms órdenes militares, confradías and confraternidades refer to military orders of chivalry that were established during the Crusades (1100–1450) to provide a fraternal religious life among the Spanish nobility. The orders were dedicated to retaking Spain from the Moors and protecting pilgrimages to the Holy Land. These orders functioned under the direction of the Pope and were independent of other ecclesiastical or civil authority. However, as the orders grew in wealth and power, they came into conflict with the Spanish Crown. By 1587 most of the orders fell under the control of the monarch. The orders became honorary in nature.
Order book: A compilation of court orders (decisions on cases).
Order number: A five-digit number used to request items and publications from the distribution centers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Order-in-council, Canada: A document created by the committee of the executive council in a Canadian province that approved a person's land petition.
Ordinance date, Latter-day Saint: The date an ordinance of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was performed.
Ordinance Index™: A computer index that lists several hundred million names of deceased persons from throughout the world. It uses the International Genealogical Index® compact data discs for displaying information. In addition to displaying all of the information contained in the International Genealogical Index, it also displays Latter-day Saint ordinance information.
Ordinance, Latter-day Saint: A religious ceremony performed under the direction of the priesthood by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such ceremonies may be performed for an individual in life or by proxy after an individual’s death. Examples of such ordinances are baptism, confirmation, priesthood ordination, temple endowment, and the like.
Ordinance, legal: A local law or established rule.
Ordinary, heraldry: A book that describes British coats of arms and arranges them according to design.
Ordination, general: The process of investing an individual with ecclesiastical authority.
Ordination, Latter-day Saint: The process of investing a worthy male member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who is twelve years of age or older with authority or an office of the priesthood.
Ordnance Survey, Great Britain: A governmental unit of Great Britain charged with making the official topographical maps of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.
Oregon Donation Act: A federal law passed in 1850 that guaranteed land to those who settled and cultivated land in the Oregon Territory before 1855.
Oregon Territory: A territory created in 1848 that included the present-day states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho and parts of Montana and Wyoming.
Organic Act: An act of Congress passed in 1850 providing for the establishment of a territory and the form of its government.
Original document: A record that was created at or near the time an event took place by someone closely associated with the event. Also called original record, original source, or primary source.
Original record: A record that was created at or near the time an event took place by someone closely associated with the event. Also called original document, original source, or primary source.
Original source: A record that was created at or near the time an event took place by someone closely associated with the event. Also called original record, original document, and primary source.
Original temple record: A record created when a Latter-day Saint temple ordinance is completed.
Original will: The first copy of a will filed by a person.
Orphan: A child whose parents have died or disappeared.
Orphan train: A practice whereby orphans from large eastern cities were put on trains and shipped to small, rural areas in the midwestern United States for adoption.
Orphan's court, Delaware: A court in Delaware with countywide jurisdiction over property rights, estates of minors, guardianships, and adoptions. These courts have existed since 1683 and continue to operate today.
Orphan's court, New Jersey: A court in New Jersey with jurisdiction over probate cases from 1785 to 1947. County courts replaced Orphan's courts.
Orphan's court, Pennsylvania: A court in Pennsylvania with jurisdiction over orphan, guardianship, and estate issues. During the colonial period these courts were also the main equity court.
Orphanage: A place where orphans live until they are adopted or reach the legal age of adulthood.
Orphans and Orphanages, Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize information related to (1) children whose parents have died or disappeared and (2) places where these children live until they are adopted or reach the legal age of adulthood.
Ortssippenbuch, Germany: The German word for community or village lineage book. These books contain the ancestry of each family in a parish. They were compiled by German pastors or genealogists. Also called a Dorfsippenbuch.
Ortssippendbücher: A German word meaning village lineage books. These books are generally extracts of German church and other records that have been compiled into family groups and published.
Other, PERiodical Source Index: A record type used in the Locality and Research Methodologies sections of the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) to identify articles that contain information about topics not covered by other record types.
Overformynderiprotokoller, Denmark: Danish guardianship records. These records usually contain the name of the ward or minor, sometimes the age or birth date, the date on which inheritance was to be paid to the court and the estate reference involved, the name and residence of the guardian, the date on which the inheritance was to be paid to the ward or minor, and the status of the ward at the time the inheritance was paid.