F genealogical glossary terms
Fæsteprotokoller, Denmark: Danish copyhold records, which are Danish land contracts that document agreements between landowners and farmers wishing to lease crown-held land. These contracts were made before 1850 and include the name of the former occupant, his reason for leaving the farm, the name and sometimes birthplace of the new leaseholder, the new leaseholder's relationship to the former leaseholder (if any), the date of transfer, and a description of the land. If there was no breach of contract, the landowner could not evict the leaseholder.
Fall of Acadia (1755-1758), Canada: A part of the Seven Years War (also called the French and Indian War) in which the last French forts in present-day Nova Scotia, Canada, surrendered to the British forces. As part of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, which ended the war, the French government gave Acadia and Québec to Great Britain.
Familienbücher, Germany: The German word for family register. This type of record is kept by parishes in certain areas of Germany and contains information about each family in the parish. It lists the names of the husband and wife, their birth and marriage information, their occupations, their residence, and the names of their parents. Children are listed in chronological order usually with birth dates, confirmation dates, marriage dates, and death dates.
Families Section, PERiodical Source Index: A section in the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) that indexes articles about specific families or surnames. The names are arranged alphabetically by the surname of the primary family discussed in the article.
Family and home sources: Sources containing family history information that individuals can obtain at home or from extended family members.
Family cemetery: A cemetery owned by a family.
Family civil registration booklet, France: In France, a booklet that a civil registrar gave to a newly married couple. The booklet included an extract of the marriage record and references to the marriage contract. The couple was responsible for taking the booklet to the registrar as each of their children was born. The registrar would update the booklet with the child's birth information and return the booklet to the family. The registrar also recorded deaths in this booklet. Families kept the booklets and often handed them down to their children. The French term for these booklets is livrets de famille.
Family group record: A printed form that lists a family—parents and children—and gives information about dates and places of birth, marriage, and death. Also called a family group sheet.
Family group record, Ancestral File™: A computer screen in Ancestral File that shows one set of parents and their children.
Family Group Records Collection: A collection of about eight million family group records that were created by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is divided into two sections: the Archive Section and the Patron Section.
Family group sheet: A printed form that lists a family—parents and children—and gives information about dates and places of birth, marriage, and death. Also called a family group record.
Family History Center™, Latter-day Saint: A facility sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that provides research support for Church members and others interested in identifying their ancestors. Centers also provide local access to microfilmed family history records of the Church and, where available, to Church family history computer programs.
Family History Department, Latter-day Saint: The department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that helps Church members fulfill their responsibilities to identify their ancestors, link them into families, and provide temple ordinances for them.
Family History File, Delaware: A set of alphabetical folders containing miscellaneous information about Delaware families, such as notes or even complete genealogies. The Family History File is indexed in the Family Surname File.
Family History Library Catalog™: A catalog that describes the records available at the Family History Library™. It is available on computer and on microfiche. The catalog provides a guide to family histories; birth, marriage, and death records; census records; church registers; and many other records that may contain genealogical information. These records may be in a book, on microfiche or microfilm, or in a computer file. Most microfilm and microfiche records can be sent to Family History Centers™.
Family History Library™, Latter-day Saint: A library sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for family history research. It is located at 35 North West Temple Street in Salt Lake City, Utah. It has the world's largest collection of genealogical information.
Family history, general: The study of an individual’s ancestors, descendants, or both. Also called genealogy.
Family history, written: A recorded account of the events occurring in one or more generations of a family.
Family newsletter: A small publication that contains information of interest to one or more generations of a family.
Family organization: An organization of people who are descended from one individual.
Family register, Germany: A record kept by parishes in certain areas of Germany that contains information about each family in the parish. It lists the names of the husband and wife, their birth and marriage information, their occupations, their place of residence, and the names of their parents. Children are listed in chronological order usually with birth dates, confirmation dates, marriage dates, and death dates. The German word for these family registers is Familienbücher.
Family Registry: An index of individuals and family organizations that are interested in sharing information and coordinating research on specific family lines. The Family Registry was created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is available at the Family History Library™ in Salt Lake City, Utah, and at Family History Centers™ worldwide.
Family relationship: The manner in which one individual is connected to another, either by blood, marriage, or legal adoption.
Family source: A source containing family history information that individuals can obtain at home or from extended family members.
Family Surname File: A card index to many biographical items. The index contains approximately 500,000 cards. It indexes church records, newspaper obituaries, the Catherine Harkness and Jeanette Eckmann research collection, and family history files that are kept in other collections at the Historical Society of Delaware.
FamilyFinder™ Index and Viewer: A computer index to the 1790 to 1850 censuses, most of the 1860 census, and many of the 1870 censuses ; scattered tax lists; state censuses; a few 1850 and 1860 slave schedules; and some federal mortality schedules. FamilyFinder is created by Brøderbund Software, Inc.
FamilySearch®: A computer system created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that can help people learn about their ancestors. Ancestral File™, the International Genealogical Index®, Military Index, Social Security Death Index, Scottish Church Records, and Family History Library Catalog™ are all part of FamilySearch.
FamilySearch® Center: A family history research facility located in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City, Utah. The center has available for public use over 200 computers with FamilySearch and a collection of records especially helpful for those beginning their family history research. Admission to the center and use of the computers is free.
Famine migration, Ireland: An extensive migration of people from Ireland to the United States, Canada, and other parts of the world because of a potato famine in Ireland that lasted from 1846 to 1852.
Farm lot, Canada: A division of a concession in Canada. (A concession is part of a township, which is part of a county.)
Faylene Hutton Cemetery Collection, Surname Index: A surname index of tombstone transcripts gathered from 1981 to 1991 by the Maine Old Cemetery Association (MOCA). There are a few cards from 1972. The index also notes individuals who are buried in the same plot.
Fealty and homage records: Registers of the pledges that a seigneur (lord) made to the king when he received land. These registers may show whether the person received the land by grant or by inheritance and may provide names of relatives.
Feast day: A periodic religious event or celebration when a feast occurs. Some older records may refer to the name of the feast day rather than the actual date. The French Republican Calendar had five to six extra days at the end of the year. Each of these was a feast day. In Germany and France (before the French Republican Calendar was used), each day of the year was a feast day to honor several patron saints.
Federal census: A count and description of the population of the United States and its territories.
Federal circuit court: A United States national court with jurisdiction over several counties or districts. Circuit courts have jurisdiction over all matters (especially criminal) covered by federal law. Before 1891 they heard appeals from district courts.
Federal Court of Appeals, Canada: A federal court in Canada that hears appeals from the Trial Division of the Federal Court of Canada, other federal courts, and decisions of federal boards and commissions.
Federal court, Canada: A court of the Canadian government (as differentiated from provincial courts).
Federal court, United States: A court of the United States government. Federal courts include the district and circuit courts and the United States Supreme Court. Federal courts are sometimes called national courts.
Federal Digest: An index to the records of the United States circuit courts of appeal.
Federal district court, Utah: A court established in 1850. Its responsibility was transferred to the state district courts in 1896. The United States District Court of the District of Utah currently hears civil and criminal cases involving citizens of different states, interstate controversies, violations of federal law, and immigration and naturalization cases.
Federal force: A military or law enforcement unit of the United States government.
Federal grants to the state, Ohio: Land grants on unclaimed land issued by the United States government to the state of Ohio. The Ohio State Legislature determined how these lands were used, granted, or sold.
Federal land grant: A land grant issued by the United States government.
Federal plat: A map that gives the legal description of a piece of land in the United States. It shows townships and the divisions within them. Federal plats are sometimes called federal township plats or township plats.
Federal population schedule: A census (count and description of the population) of the United States. It is funded by the federal government.
Federal record: A record kept by the United States government.
Federal repository library: A library designated by the United States government to receive copies of published federal records. Federal repository libraries are usually major university libraries.
Federal statutory law: A law passed by the United States Congress.
Federal territorial census: A census (count and description of the population) taken by the United States government of one of its territories.
Federal township plat: A map that gives the legal description of a piece of land in the United States. It shows townships and the divisions within them. Federal township plats are sometimes called township plats or federal plats.
Federal, American Civil War: Someone or something that was related or loyal to the Union forces in the American Civil War.
Federal, type of government: A type of government in which power is distributed between a central authority and several territorial units.
Federal, United States government: A term that refers to the United States national government as opposed to individual state governments.
Federation of Family History Societies, Great Britain: A coordinating organization for many family history societies in Great Britain.
Federation of Genealogical Societies: An umbrella organization of over 450 genealogical societies in the United States. The society can identify local genealogical societies and supply their addresses and telephone numbers.
Felony: A crime more serious than a misdemeanor, generally punishable by death or imprisonment for a term more than one year.
Fencible, Britain: An army unit raised in Britain for defensive service at home.
Fenian Raid of 1867, Canada: A series of raids conducted by Irish-Americans who hoped to take over Canada and force Great Britain to grant Ireland its independence.
FHL: The abbreviation for the Family History Library™. In the research outlines, this abbreviation with a call number identifies the books, microfilms, and microfiche available at the Family History Library. Most microfilms and microfiche can be sent
to Family History Centers™.
Fiats and warrants: Documents created by government agencies that state that a person is entitled to land.
Fiche number: A call number used to identify a microfiche available at the Family History Library™. Most microfilms and microfiche can be sent to Family History Centers™.
Fidalgo: A member of the untitled Portuguese nobility. The term fidalgo means son of status. It is the equivalent of the Spanish hidalgo. Originally, fidalgos were leaders who had been especially valiant during early days of Spain's effort to remove the Moors from Iberia. In later generations, people had to prove their noble lineage back to their great-grandparents. The status of fidalgo did not necessarily mean the person was rich. Many were shopkeepers or laborers, but they were entitled to social and legal rights granted to the nobility, such as freedom from commoner's tax and military conscription.
Fiduciary settlement: A record relating to the probating of an estate.
Fief: A feudal estate.
Field marshal: The highest ranking officer in the British army. The armies of France, German-speaking countries, and the Soviet Union also have or used to have marshals or field marshals.
Filiaciones: A type of military record used in Latin America, translated as enlistments. Enlistments are lists of soldiers in the military, excluding officers. They include the names of the soldier and their birth date, birthplace, parents' names, place of residence, religion, marital status, physical description, and possibly military history.
Film number: A call number used to identify a roll of microfilm available at the Family History Library™. Most microfilms and microfiche can be sent to Family History Centers™.
Film/Fiche Number Search: A type of search in the Family History Library Catalog™ that finds records by film or fiche number. This type of search is available on the computer version of the catalog.
Filson Club Surname Folders, Kentucky: A collection of folders containing records of approximately 3,000 Kentucky families. These have not been microfilmed.
Final account, guardianship: A document detailing all of a guardian’s services in support of a minor child that is presented when the child comes of age and the guardian is no longer needed.
Final account, probate: A document detailing how a deceased individual’s estate was divided among the heirs and how expenses and debts were paid. Also called a settlement.
Final certificate: A certificate issued when an individual has completed all payments and other requirements to own a piece of land. Also called a patent or first-title deed.
Final papers: The second and final legal document an alien files when he or she wishes to become a citizen of the United States. It is generally filed two to five years after the declaration of intent. The final papers are officially called petitions, and they are sometimes called second papers.
Finn: A person from Finland.
Fire insurance map: A map that shows the outline of each building, including homes and businesses, for each address in larger cities and towns.
Firelands: Land in the Western Reserve, which is now in north central Ohio. Towards the end of the Revolutionary War, nine towns on the coast of Connecticut suffered heavy losses at the hands of the British. Beginning in 1808 the state of Connecticut granted land in the Firelands to the sufferers, their heirs, or their assignees. Also called Sufferers Lands.
First class volunteer, British: An officer in the British navy working to become a commissioned officer.
First name: A first name, often from the Bible, used to identify an individual. Also called Christian name or given name.
First papers, United States naturalization: The first legal document an alien files when he or she wishes to become a citizen of the United States. Filing this form signifies that the alien intends to become a citizen and will renounce all allegiance to other governments. First papers are officially called the Declaration of Intent (Form 2202) or a declaration of intention.
First title: The original title to a piece of land. It is usually provided by a federal or state government. Subsequent titles are obtained from individuals and may be found recorded at the county level.
First-title deed: A certificate issued when an individual has completed all payments and other requirements to own a piece of land. Also called a patent or final certificate.
Fitz': A prefix meaning "son of" used on Irish surnames.
Five Civilized Tribes: A term used by white settlers during the 1800s to describe the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, and Chickasaw Indian tribes. Settlers considered these tribes to be more advanced and civilized than others because they adopted many European customs.
Flag officer: Any officer in the navy or coast guard above the rank of captain, including admiral of the fleet, admiral, vice admiral, and rear admiral.
Floppy disk: A removable storage device used for computer information. Also called a disk.
Florida Combined Death Index, 1877-1969: An index of death records for Florida residents.
Florida Combined Divorce and Annulment Index, 1927-1969: An index of divorces and annulments in Florida.
Florida Combined Marriage Index, 1927-1969: An index of marriage records for Florida residents.
Florida War (1836-1843): A war between United States troops and the Seminole Native Americans, who were led by a chief named Osceola. By the end of the war, most of the Seminoles had been killed. Most of the surviving Seminoles moved west; a few moved into the Florida Everglades. Also called the Second Seminole War.
Flyttningsattest, Sweden: A Swedish moving certificate, which was a document that a parish minister gave to a person who moved away from the parish. The person was to give this certificate to the minister of the destination parish. The certificate contained the name of the person moving and the birth date and birthplace. If a whole family was moving, it gave the same information for each member of the family. The certificate often contained other information, including marital status, reading ability, knowledge of religion, worthiness of partaking of Communion, character reference, vaccination, and the place where the person was registered for taxation.
Födda: The Swedish word for births.
Folkeregistre, Norway: The Norwegian Registers of Vital Statistics, which were community records kept in Norway after 1915. They contain information about all persons in the community and the dates when they moved into or out of the area. They also contain information regarding taxes, voter registration, and other official business. These registers are not generally available to the public. Before 1946 the government funded the keeping of these records, but all information was submitted voluntarily. Since 1946 registration has been mandatory.
Foreclosure: The act of terminating the ownership of and equity in a piece of property due to lack of payment.
Form 2202, United States naturalization: The first legal document an alien files when he or she wishes to become a citizen of the United States. Filing this form signifies that the alien intends to become a citizen and will renounce all allegiance to other governments. First papers are officially called the Declaration of Intent (Form 2202) or a declaration of intention.
Form 2204, United States naturalization: A form used by an alien to formally request United States citizenship. The form’s name is Petition for Naturalization.
Form 2207, United States naturalization: A certificate given to an alien who has become a citizen of the United States. Also called Certificate of Naturalization.
Form 42FP, Latter-day Saint: A report completed by clerks in missions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of all blessings, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, ordinations, missionary service, and divorces that occur in a mission during a given year. These reports were used from 1907 into the 1970s. Also called annual report.
Form BC-600, United States census request: A form sent to the Bureau of the Census that is used to request information from United States censuses dating from 1930 to the present.
Form E, Latter-day Saint: A report completed by stake and ward clerks in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of all blessings, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, ordinations, missionary service, and divorces that occur in a stake or ward during a given year. These reports were used from 1907 into the 1970s. Also called annual report.
Form NATF 80, USA: A form used to request pre-1914 military records from the National Archives.
Form NATF 81, USA: A form used to request a search of customs and immigration passenger lists at the National Archives.
Foster parents: Parents who raise another person's child but have not legally adopted the child.
Frame number, Index to the Old Parochial Records of Scotland: A number on the Index to the Old Parochial Records of Scotland that indicates the exact place on a microfilm where the entry will be found in the original Church of Scotland parish register. A frame number is given when the entry in the original parish register was not in chronological order.
Franchise court, Scotland: A type of Scottish court where the Crown allowed specific landowners to administer justice to their tenants. Most of these courts were abolished in 1747. Franchise courts were also called regality, barony, stewartry, and bailiary courts.
Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871): A war between France and Prussia and the other German states. The war started when Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was offered the Spanish throne. France, fearing that this would give the Hohenzollern family too much power, insisted that Prussia guarantee that Leopold would never hold the Spanish throne. Leopold's father refused the throne, but Prussia refused to guarantee that he would never hold the throne. The two countries had been anxious for war, and Prussia's refusal triggered one. France, which was largely unprepared for the war, was defeated and lost most of Alsace and part of Lorraine in the peace settlement. The Franco-Prussian war created a new German empire and helped set the stage for World War I by increasing tensions between Germany and France.
Frank T. Calef collection: A manuscript collection of genealogical information about people who are descended from Puritans or Mayflower passengers.
Fraternal organization: A society of people, usually men, organized to pursue common interests, purposes, or pleasures.
Free and Accepted Masons: The world’s largest fraternal organization. The Freemasons, as they are commonly called, stress charity, morality, and service to God. Many of their symbols and rituals are secret. Any man who has a belief in God may join the Freemasons, though traditionally most members are Protestant.
Free Church, Scotland: A church formed in Scotland in 1843 when a third of the ministers and laity of the Presbyterian Church, led by Thomas Chalmers, broke away. The Free Church opposed state support for the church and the practice of wealthy landowners choosing ministers for local churches. In 1900 the Free Church united with the United Presbyterian Church to form the United Free Church. In 1924 the United Free Church reunited with the Church of Scotland.
Free emigrant: A person who leaves his or her native country and moves to another. Free emigrants did not receive any passage money or land grants.
Free People of Color: African-Americans who were living in the United States before the Civil War who were not slaves. They were usually considered citizens.
Freedman: A former slave who has been granted freedom.
Freedman's Savings and Trust Company: A financial institution that was created to help former slaves and other people manage their money. This institution functioned between 1865 and 1874. The institution's records contain many personal details about the people who deposited money there.
Freedmen's Bureau: Another name for the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.
Freedom of Information Act: A law passed by the United States Congress in 1966 to discourage secrecy in government. The act guarantees free access to most records created by the executive departments of the United States government. Records excluded in this act are documents that may put national security at risk, personnel files of government employees, records of criminal investigations, and some business records (such as sales records or patent applications). If a government agency withholds documents, the law allows a person seeking access to them to challenge the government in court. In 1974 the law was strengthened, requiring government agencies to respond within ten working days to requests for information and outlining disciplinary action for government officials who illegally withhold information. In 1976 the law was strengthened again with the "Government in the Sunshine Act," which requires most meetings of federal agencies to be open to the public.
Freeman, England: A merchant or craftsman who could vote in elections.
Freeman, United States: A man who was not a slave or indentured servant, owned real estate or other substantial property, and was allowed to vote. In the United States the practice of distinguishing freemen from other people was discontinued after the Revolutionary War.
Freemason: A name for a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, the world’s largest fraternal organization.
Freemen’s oath: An oath given to men in New England that made them eligible to vote.
Freemen, Ireland: People who were given special privileges, such as the right to vote, in an incorporated city, town, or borough by birth, apprenticeship, servitude, marriage, or by gift (grace especial).
Freiherr: The German word for lord, a title of the nobility.
French: Pertaining to something or someone from France or French-speaking Canada; also the language spoken by people in France, French-speaking Canada, and other parts of the world.
French and Indian War (1756-1763): The last of the French and Indian Wars. Nearly every country in Europe was involved, as was much of North America. The war was fought between Prussia (allied with Great Britain) and Austria (allied with France and Spain) over who would control Germany. Fighting spread to America as Great Britain and France fought for control of American seas and territories. The British also captured Manila, Philippines. The war ended with the Treaty of Paris. In Europe and Canada, this war was also called the Seven Years' War.
French and Indian Wars (1689-1763): A series of four wars that occurred in America between the French, Spanish, and British governments and their Indian allies.
French Canadian: A French-speaking person from Canada. Most French Canadians live in Québec.
French census: A census taken by the French government of the areas in Canada under French control. Censuses that name all household members were taken in Newfoundland in 1671, 1673, 1691, and 1693. Censuses that list only the heads of households were taken in 1698, 1704, 1706, and 1711. Similar censuses were taken in other French colonies in Canada during different years.
French grants, Ohio: Two land grants along the Ohio River in south central Ohio that Congress gave to 101 Frenchmen who had bought land from the Scioto Company, which had no land to sell.
French Huguenot: A member of the Reformed Church in France during the 1500s and 1600s. Many Huguenots emigrated to England, the Netherlands, Prussia, and the United States to avoid persecution.
French Republican Calendar: A calendar system used from 24 October 1793 to 31 December 1805 in France and areas governed by France. It was introduced during the French Revolution and was based on scientific rather than Christian principles. This calendar system can be found in the records of France; Belgium; Luxembourg; and parts of the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. It is also in some records of Egypt, Malta, Reunion, Louisiana, Guiana, and some Caribbean islands.
French Revolutionary Wars: A revolt by the lower classes against the aristocracy and monarchy in France. On 14 July 1789 an angry Paris mob, looking for guns and ammunition to defend themselves from the army of Louis XVI, stormed the Bastille prison and sparked the revolution. At the same time, leaders in Paris formed a revolutionary city government. By August the rebels had issued the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which guaranteed all citizens basic rights and forced Louis XVI to accept a limited, constitutional monarchy. Dissatisfied with the new government, Louis plotted with the French aristocracy and rulers of other nations to restore his full rule. In 1792 the National Convention abolished the monarchy and organized a new republican government. Louis XVI was executed in January 1793, and his wife, Marie Antoinette, was executed nine months later. The leaders of the new republic began quarreling among themselves, and Maximilian Robespierre, an extremist, took control, beginning the Reign of Terror. Under Robespierre, the government actively sought out dissenters and imprisoned and executed them. Executions, which were done with a guillotine, drew large numbers of spectators. The Reign of Terror ended in 1794 when Robespierre himself was arrested and executed. A new government was formed, but it extended the right to vote only to citizens who paid a certain amount of taxes. The revolution officially ended in 1799 when Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of the French government. Two additional revolutions occurred in France. In 1830 revolutionaries overthrew King Charles X and put Louis Philippe on the throne. The third revolution occurred in February 1848 when the government was again overthrown and Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, was elected to a four-year term as president.
Friends: A name for members of the Society of Friends. Also called Quakers.
Full description, Family History Library Catalog™ on compact disc: A computer screen on the compact disc version of the Family History Library Catalog that shows you all the information in the catalog about the source.
Funeral home record: A record kept by funeral homes. It may contain details about the deceased individual and his or her family.
Funeral sermon: A minister's remarks made regarding the life of a deceased person. In Germany funeral sermons were frequently collected and published. The German word for funeral sermons is Leichenpredigten.
Fylker: The Norwegian word for county.