E genealogical glossary terms
A glossary of genealogical terms.
E-mail: A computer service allowing an individual using one computer to send a message or document via a modem or network to another individual on a different computer.
E. E. Barton Collection of Northern Kentucky Families: A collection of biographies, guardian bonds, appraisements, marriages, and church records for the residents of Kentucky in Pendleton County and neighboring counties.
Earl: The third highest title in the British and French peerage, ranking below a marquess and above a viscount. The wife of an earl is called a countess. Earl is the oldest title in Britain, dating back to the Danish nobles who ruled much of England from the 800s to the 1000s. It was the highest title until 1337, when the Black Prince was made the Duke of Cornwall. In continental Europe, the title of earl corresponds to a count.
Early Church Information File, Latter-day Saint: An alphabetical index to over 1,000 sources of information about early Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and non-Mormons who lived in areas populated by the Latter-day Saints. Most of the sources cover 1830 to the mid-1900s. The Early Church Information File is one of the first sources an individual should check to find information about an individual living in areas heavily populated by Latter-day Saints.
Earmark: A method of identifying the ownership of cattle by placing a tag or distinctive mark or notch on the animal’s ear. These marks were registered with town officials. Earmarks transfer from father to son.
Ease of use: A term referring to how easily a type of record can be found and understood.
East Jersey: A separate province formed in 1676 when New Jersey was divided. East Jersey was owned by Sir George Carteret until his death in 1680.
Eastern Canada: A portion of Canada comprising Québec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. After 1949 it also included Newfoundland.
Eastern Cherokee Reservation census rolls: Censuses taken between 1898 and 1939 of many Cherokee Native Americans who did not move from North Carolina during the forced exodus in 1838.
Eastern District: An early designation describing the area east of the Cumberland Plateau.
Eastern District, New York: A division of the state of New York over which a federal circuit or district court has jurisdiction. The Eastern District has three divisions the Brooklyn Division, which covers Brooklyn, Kings, Queens, and Richmond; the Hauppauge Division, which covers Suffolk County; and the Uniondale Division, which has an office in Brooklyn but has no specific counties assigned to it.
Eastern European: Pertaining to something or someone from Eastern Europe, which is usually considered to be all countries east of Germany. Many eastern Europeans emigrated to the Americas and other places in the world.
Eastern Orthodox Churches: A group of churches that broke away from the Catholic Church in 1054. The churches are usually called by their national names, such as Greek Orthodox, Ukranian Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox.
Ecclesiastical court, Church of England: A court with jurisdiction over a church's internal affairs.
Ecclesiastical court, Utah: A court in Utah that was used from 1847 to 1849, when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided the only government structure. Ecclesiastical courts handled all civil and criminal cases.
Ecclesiastical jurisdiction: The power, right, and authority of a church to make, enforce, and interpret its laws; also the geographical area covered by a church's authority.
Écuyer: The French term for esquire, which is the second highest ranking title in the French gentry, below a knight (chevalier).
Edict of Nantes, France: An edict signed by King Henry IV of France in 1598 that granted limited freedom of worship to Huguenots. This was the first official recognition of religious freedom in Europe. It remained in force until King Louis XIV canceled the edict in 1685 and began persecuting the Huguenots. About 200,000 Huguenots left France as a result. Religious freedom was not restored until 1787 with the Edict of Tolerance.
Edict of Tolerance, France: An edict signed by King Louis XVI of France in 1787 that granted limited religious freedom to Protestants and Jews.
Edmunds Act of 1882, USA: A federal law passed to discourage the practice of polygamy.
Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887: A federal law passed to discourage the practice of polygamy. The act also abolished woman suffrage; authorized the administering of an oath of obedience to antipolygamy laws for all prospective voters, jury members, and office holders; dissolved the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company; eliminated some civil rights to more harshly prosecute polygamy laws through the court systems; gave the federal government control over territorial schools, probate courts, and the Utah Militia; required that all marriages be publicly recorded; and disincorporated The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Edythe Rucker Whitley Collection, Tennessee: A collection of 100,000 alphabetized surname folders containing information about Tennessee residents.
Ehekontrakte: The German word for marriage contract. A marriage contract is a document created to protect the legal rights and property of spouses.
Ehen: A German word for marriages.
Eheverkündigungen: The German word for marriage banns or proclamations.
Electoral county: A division of Ontario organized for voting purposes. The electoral counties often have different boundaries than the municipalities that have the same names.
Eleven-Year War (1709-1720): A war in which Sweden went to war with Denmark and Norway.
Elias Boudinot Stockton's Collection: A collection of about 75,000 cards and 1,500 file folders containing information about families from New Jersey and New York.
Elisha B. Iams Collection: A collection of over 70 volumes of information extracted from records of 16 counties in Ohio, West Virginia, and southwest Pennsylvania. It is an important source of information about early Virginia and Pennsylvania residents.
Emigrant: An individual who is leaving one country to live in another country.
Emigration: The process of leaving one country or place to live in another.
Emigration and Immigration, Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize records of people moving into or out of a country.
Emigration record: A record documenting an individual's move to a different country.
Encyclopedia: A reference tool, usually in book or compact disc form, that provides general information about all branches of knowledge or specific information about a particular topic. Articles in encyclopedias are generally arranged alphabetically.
Encyclopedias and Dictionaries, Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize encyclopedias and dictionaries.
Endowment date, Latter-day Saint: The date on which an individual received his or her endowment in a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Endowment House: A building in early-day Salt Lake City where an individual received his or her endowment. Since 1890, all endowments have been performed in Latter-day Saint temples.
Endowment, gift: A gift to an individual or institution.
Endowment, Latter-day Saint: A priesthood ordinance performed in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The endowment explains the purpose of life and Heavenly Father’s plan for the exaltation of his children.
Endowment, probate: The process of giving a widow her portion of her husband’s estate.
Engagement: An agreement between two people or two families for a couple to marry.
Engagements: A French term for indenture records. These are labor contracts. French men contracted to labor in Canada for a specific length of time in exchange for compensation. Notaries in French ports, such as La Rochelle, drew up the earliest engagements.
Engineer: The person on a ship or train who runs and cares for the engines; also the person in the army who deals with ordnance (supplies such as ammunition, weapons, and tools). The term engineer also refers to a professional who applies scientific and mathematical principles to practical applications.
English: Something or someone from England; also the language spoken by people in Great Britain, the United States, Canada, and other countries.
English Civil War (1642-1649): A war that occurred when Charles I, who believed that kings rule by the right of God rather than by the support of their people, reigned with absolute power from 1629 to 1640. During that time, he refused to let Parliament meet. In 1640 he needed additional funds, so he convened Parliament. Parliament refused to give him any money unless he agreed to limit his power. Charles I refused, and war broke out between the king's supporters (Royalists or Cavaliers) and Parliament's supporters (Roundheads). Oliver Cromwell led the Parliament's forces, supported by the Puritans, to a series of victories. After this round of fighting, Parliament began fighting among itself. The Presbyterians, who held more seats in Parliament than the Independents, believed that Parliament should share power with the king. The Independents believed that Parliament should rule England as a republic. Cromwell supported the Independents. Fighting broke out again and ended when the Independents seized and executed Charles I, removed the Presbyterians from Parliament, and established the Commonwealth of England.
Enlistment: The process of voluntarily joining a branch of the armed services.
Enlistment register: A record of soldiers who enlisted in the military.
Enlistments, Latin America: A type of military record used in Latin America. The Spanish word is filiaciones. Enlistments are lists of soldiers in the military, excluding officers. They include the names of the soldiers and their birth date, birthplace, parents' names, place of residence, religion, marital status, physical description, and possibly military history.
Enrolled decrees, New Jersey: Records of decrees of a New Jersey court of chancery.
Ensign: The fifth-ranking commissioned officer in a British cavalry. The ensign carries the colors. The rank is equal with the cornet in the cavalry. In the United States navy and coast guard, an ensign is a commissioned officer that ranks between the chief warrant officer and lieutenant junior grade.
Entail: A provision in a will that specifies how real property is to be inherited in the future. An entailment prevents subsequent inheritors from bequeathing the property to anyone except the heirs specified in the original entail.
Enterros: A Portuguese word for burials.
Entierros: A Spanish word for burials.
Entry docket: Records of cases introduced in court.
Enumeration district: A geographical area in the United States in which a supervisor or marshal was required to take a census. Before 1880 these were called subdivisions. They may also be called census districts.
Episcopal: A form of church government that has three levels of clergy: bishops, priests, and deacons. The Roman Catholic, Church of England (and other churches of the Anglican Communion), and Lutheran churches are among the churches that have an Episcopal form of government.
Episcopal Church: A term for the Anglican Church in the United States. After the American Revolution, the Anglican Church separated from the Church of England and was called the Protestant Episcopal Church from 1789 to 1967, when a general convention adopted the name Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion, and its doctrine and practices are based on the Church of England, though the Book of Common Prayer has been revised significantly for the United States congregations.
Episcopal court, Church of England: The highest court in a diocese of the Church of England. These courts also had superior jurisdiction over lesser courts in probate matters. Episcopal courts are also called bishop's, commissary, diocesan, exchequer, and consistory courts.
Equity case: A court case in which parties disputing over a matter that does not involve a violation of law ask a court to make a fair decision. Equity cases commonly involve disputes over property rights or probate matters. Also called chancery.
Equity court, general: A court that administers justice and decides controversies in accordance with the rules of equity as opposed to the rules of law. These courts commonly hear cases that involve disputes over property rights or probate matters. Also called chancery court.
Erie Canal: A canal that runs from Albany to Buffalo, New York, and Lake Erie. The canal was finished in 1825 and stimulated the settlement of the midwestern United States. It also reduced the cost of shipping goods between the East and the West.
Eskimo: A name for a group of people who live in the Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, Siberia, the Islands in the Bering Sea, and Greenland. Most scientists believe these groups originated in northeast Asia and that they crossed a land bridge into North America 10,000 years ago. Eskimo, meaning eaters of raw meat, is an Indian term for this people. They call themselves by different names, each of which means people. In Canada they call themselves Inuit. In Alaska they call themselves Inupiat or Yuipic. In Siberia and the St. Lawrence Island of western Alaska, they call themselves Yuit.
Español: The Spanish word for Spanish. It also refers to a person in Latin America who is directly from Spain.
Español Criollo: A person born in Latin America whose ancestors are from Spain.
Esquire: The third highest title in the British gentry, ranking immediately below a knight. In France, an esquire (écuyer) is the second highest rank in the gentry (petite noblesse), ranking immediately below the knight (chevalier). An esquire was originally a lord or knight's attendant who was responsible for carrying the shield and armor. During the 1800s the title became a courtesy title. In current usage, esquire is commonly an honorary title applied to attorneys.
Estadísticas: A Spanish term for statistics. It may also mean census records. Also used in the Philippines.
Estado de almas, Philippines: A Spanish term for censuses taken by the parish clergy in the Philippines. These are likely to be in narrative, rather than columnar, form.
Estate: An individual’s real and personal property.
Estate file: A file of all documents relating to the settlement of an individual's estate. Also called case file, estate packet, loose papers, probate estate papers, or probate packet.
Estate files: A file of all documents relating to the settlement of a person's estate. Also called estate file, estate packet, loose papers, probate estate papers, or probate packet.
Estate packet: A file of all documents relating to the settlement of an individual’s estate. Also called estate files, probate estate papers, probate packets, loose papers, or case files.
Estate records, Ireland: A type of record kept by agents of Irish landowners that documents transactions between the landowner's family and tenants. These records may include deeds, leases, rent rolls, and account books.
Estate records, Wales: Welsh land and property records that are valuable sources of information. Content varies but can be grouped into three categories: personal records (letters, diaries, household accounts, memorabilia), business records (deeds, conveyances, rent rolls, receipts, disbursements, and duty books), and governmental records (land tax records, court minutes, official correspondence).
Estate sale: The sale of goods in preparation for settling an estate or financing the care of a minor. Also called sale of property.
Estate settlement: The process of paying a deceased individual’s debts and distributing the individual’s property.
Estimated date: An event date that is derived using family traditions or standard genealogical averages. For example, one can estimate that a man was married at age 25 and a woman at age 21, that the first child was born one year after the parents' marriage, and that subsequent children were born every two years after that.
Estray: A record book that contains descriptions of missing or stray animals or slaves.
État civil, Canada: A French term for civil registration. In Québec, état civil refers to a person's birth, marriage, and death information, whether recorded in church or civil records.
Ethnic: Relating to a group of people who have common racial, social, religious, cultural, tribal, or linguistic backgrounds or origins; also refers to a minority group who maintains its ethnic identity within a larger society.
Ethnic distribution: The settlement patterns of ethnic groups within an area.
Ethnic society: An organization of people who have a common ethnic background. These societies are involved in political, social, and financial activities.
European: Pertaining to something or someone from Europe. Many European people emigrated to the Americas and other places in the world.
European Emigration Card Index: A list of Latter-day Saints who left Great Britain and Europe between 1840 and 1925 to settle in the western United States. Also called the Crossing the Ocean Index.
Evangelical Lutheran Church: The state church of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. In Norway it is called the Norske Kirke or Statskirke. In Denmark it is called the Danske Folkekirke. In Sweden it is called Svenska Kyrkan. The church became Sweden's state church in 1527. It became Norway's and Denmark's state church in 1536. The government appoints church officials and pays their salaries. The monarchs of the countries are required to be a member of this church. All other citizens have complete religious freedom.
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America: The largest Lutheran denomination in North America. It was formed by a merger of the Lutheran Church and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in 1988. Membership is concentrated in the eastern and midwestern states. Its roots go back to German and Scandinavian Lutherans who immigrated in the 1800s. Church headquarters are in Chicago, Illinois.
Evangelical Reformed Church: A Protestant church formed in Germany and based on the teachings of John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli. It is sometimes called the German Reformed Church, which combined with several Congregational churches to form the United Church of Christ.
Evangelical United Brethren in Christ: A branch of Methodism that formed when the United Brethren in Christ and the Evangelical Church merged. In 1968 the United Brethren in Christ merged with the Methodist Church to form the United Methodist Church.
Event: An occurrence, such as a birth, marriage, or death, in a person's life.
Evidence: Testimony, writings, or material objects offered in a court of law to prove a fact.
Exchequer court, Church of England: The highest court in a diocese of the Church of England. These courts also had superior jurisdiction over lesser courts in probate matters. Exchequer courts are also called episcopal, commissary, diocesan, bishop's, and consistory courts.
Excommunication: The act of revoking a person's membership in a church.
Execution dockets: A list of court orders to be carried out by an official.
Executive Council, Canada: The governing body of Ontario, Canada, during its early history. The Executive Council operated under the direction of the lieutenant-governor.
Executive mate, British: An officer in the British navy working to become a commissioned officer.
Executor: An individual who is named in a will as the individual responsible to see that all terms of the will are met.
Expedientes personales: A type of military record used in Latin America, translated as personal petition files. These are personal requests, such as petitions for military promotion. They may include a number of documents of genealogical interest, such as family baptismal and marriage certificates or an ancestor's military record.
Extracts of birth, marriage, and death records, Swedish: A copy that parish ministers made annually of the birth, marriage, and death information in their registers. The ministers copied the information onto special forms and sent them to the Statistica Centralbyrån (Central Bureau of Statistics) in Stockholm, Sweden. The Swedish term for these records is utdrag ur födelse-vigsel-och dödböker.
Extracts of clerical survey, Sweden: An extract that a parish minister made every tenth year of the clerical surveys. The ministers copied the information onto special forms and sent them to the Statistica Centralbyrån (Central Bureau of Statistics) in Stockholm, Sweden. The Swedish term for these records is utrag ur husförhörslängder.