S genealogical glossary terms
A glossary of genealogical terms.
Sacramental records, Roman Catholic Church: Roman Catholic Church parish registers of baptisms (christenings), marriages, and burials. Confirmation and first communion are sometimes included.
Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre, France: A massacre that occurred in 1572 when 3,000 Huguenots gathered in Paris, France, to celebrate the marriage of Marguerite de Valois to Henry III of Navarre. The Roman Catholic government, under the authority of Charles IX, killed most of the attendants. This massacre led to a civil war in France.
Sale of property: A document that details the sale of goods in preparation for settling an estate or financing the care of a minor. Also called estate sale.
Salta atrás: A term used in Catholic Church registers to describe a person from Latin America whose ancestry is a mix of African and Caucasian. Racial classifications were often based on physical appearance or social status; therefore, they were not always accurate.
Salvation Army: A religious and charitable organization that was founded in 1865 by William Booth, a Methodist minister in London. The group focuses on fostering the love of God and providing help to the needy. The group's first name was the Christian Mission, but it became the Salvation Army in 1878.
Salzburgers: Immigrants from the Salzburg area of Austria. Many settled in Georgia in the United States.
Samuel M. Wilson Collection: A private collection of correspondence, genealogical notes, and abstracts of records about families from central Kentucky.
Santa Fe Trail: One of the largest commercial roads in the prerailroad United States. It extended 780 miles (1,255 kilometers) from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
São Tomé: A term used in Brazilian Catholic Church registers to describe a person from São Tomé in Africa. Racial classifications were often based on physical appearance or social status; therefore, they were not always accurate.
Sapper, British: A soldier in a British military group called the Sappers and Miners. Sappers dug covered trenches, built and repaired fortifications, did field work, and so forth. Miners planted mines. In 1859 the Sappers and Miners became the Royal Engineers. Privates in the Royal Engineers are sometimes referred to as sappers.
Sasine, Scotland: A document that records a land transfer in Scotland.
Saskatchewan Archives Board, Canada: An archive that has the church records for the Diocese of Qu'Appelle (Anglican), the Diocese of Saskatoon (Anglican), and the Saskatchewan Conference of the United Church of Canada (which includes the Congregational Church, the Methodist Church, and part of the Presbyterian Church, which merged in 1925). The Saskatchewan Archives Board also has court records to 1931.
Scandinavian: An individual from Denmark, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, or Iceland.
Scandinavian LDS Branch Membership Card Index: An index to records of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Finland. This index covers approximately 1850 to the early 1900s.
School lands: Public lands sold or leased to provide revenue for public schools.
School, 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 school records.
Schoolmaster, British navy: An officer in the British navy. During the 1700s, schoolmasters instructed all young persons, whether they were future officers or not. The title was changed to Naval Instructor and Schoolmaster in 1837 and to Naval Instructor in 1842. As the Naval Instructors' status and pay rose, they limited their teaching to future officers. Many chaplains acted as Naval Instructors from the early 1800s until 1903, when the Naval Instructors branch closed. In 1862 a lower petty officer's rating, called Seaman Schoolmaster, was created to teach boys and seamen.
Schoolmaster, general: A man who teaches school or the person in charge of the school.
Schools, Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize records related to schools.
Scotch-Irish: A Scottish Protestant who settled in Northern Ireland (Ulster) during the 1600s. Many Scotch-Irish emigrated to North America, beginning in the late 1600s. While found in every colony, most Scotch-Irish settled in the frontier areas of Pennsylvania and the southern colonies. Also called Ulster-Scots.
Scots: Pertaining to someone or something from Scotland, the Gaelic languages spoken by the Scottish people, or thee ancient tribe of Celts who came to Scotland from Ireland about A.D. 500 and merged with the Picts in A.D. 843.
Scottish: Something or someone from Scotland; also the Gaelic language of the Scottish people.
Scottish Association of Family History Societies: A coordinating organization for several family history societies in Scotland.
Scottish Church Records: A computerized index to the Old Parochial Registers of Scotland and a few nonconformist records. The index is on compact disc as part of FamilySearch®.
Scottish dissenters: Scots who dissented from the state church, or the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian Church). Many of them immigrated to South Carolina, beginning in 1682.
Scottish Record Office: An archive in Edinburgh, Scotland, that collects government, legal, and other records. Researchers need a reader's ticket to use the collection.
Sealing, Latter-day Saint: A term referring to priesthood ordinances performed in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that make it possible for family relationships to continue after death.
Search Strategies: A section of a research outline that provides information about how to do research.
Search tactic: A strategy used to find information about a topic.
Secession Church, Scotland: A church formed in 1733 by a group of people who broke away from the Church of Scotland over the practice of patronage (allowing wealthy landowners to choose the local ministers). In 1847 the Relief Church combined with the Secession Church to form the United Presbyterian Church.
Second 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. Also called a petition and final papers.
Secondary goal: A piece of information researchers look for because it may help them find another piece of information.
Secondary source: A source of information created or compiled from original records, compiled records, or both. Secondary sources are good sources of information, but they must be evaluated for accuracy.
Secret society: An organization that has limited membership and whose members and activities may not be known to the general public.
Secretary of state, state official: An official of a state government who is charged with formal state business. In New York and New Jersey the secretary of state recorded some pre-1810 land deeds.
Section, land: A piece of land within a township that is 640 acres (1 square mile) in size.
Section, military: A part of a military battalion or company assigned to a specific military action.
Seigneuries, Canada: A French term for manors. The lords of manors were called seigneurs. The seigniorial system was a method of landholding used in New France (now Québec) from the 1600s to the 1800s. Under this system, the king of France granted a large tract of land to nobles, religious groups, military officers, and merchants. These people received the land as a feudal obligation in return for oaths of fealty and promises to perform certain duties. The lords hired land workers and habitants (the French farming class) to work the land. The lords provided the workers with a church and flour mill. The workers gave the lords a part of the crop, a fee, and several days of unpaid work. The English government retained the seigniorial system when they acquired French-speaking Canada in 1763. The system was abolished in 1854.
Self-addressed stamped envelope: A separate mailing envelope sent with a request when a reply is desired. The empty envelope is already prepared for mailing, complete with the address where the reply is to be sent and sufficient postage to return the reply.
Seminole, Native Americans: A tribe of Native Americans who originally lived in Alabama and Georgia and were part of the Creek federation. They moved to Florida in the 1700s, where they joined the tribes who lived there. It was there that they adopted the name Seminole, meaning runaway. After 1835 they were forced with the rest of the Five Civilized Tribes to move to Indian Territory.
Señor: The Spanish title of address used much like Mister in English. It also refers to a lord, a title of nobility ranking below a barón (baron) and above a grande de españa (Grandness of Spain). When referring to Deity, El Señor means the Lord.
Separatists: Radical or orthodox Puritans who believed that the Church of England could not be cleansed from Roman Catholic practices. The Separatists decided to separate themselves from the Church and advocated the independence of each congregation. A group of Separatists settled Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Separatists in Great Britain and the United States became the Congregationalists.
Sépultures: The French term for burials.
Series L, Canada: A list of the names of immigrants in Ontario, Canada, whose passage was paid by sponsors. Its formal name is Applications for Passage Warrants.
Service of Heirs, Scotland: A document created when landowners in Scotland died and the ownership of the land was transferred to the heirs.
Service record: Documents detailing a person's military involvement, specifically his or her enlistment, assignments, and discharge.
Service sheets, Latin America: A type of military record used in Latin America. These records list military men, usually officers rather than common soldiers. Service sheets include the name of the military man and his birth date, birthplace, parents' names, ranks held, and assignments. Common soldiers are usually listed in the enlistments (filiacones). The Spanish term for service sheets is hojas de servicio.
Setting apart, Latter-day Saint: The act of consecrating an individual by the laying on of hands to an office or calling in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and giving the individual the authority to act in that office or calling.
Settlement pattern: The general manner in which people move into an area.
Settlement records, England: Records related to a person's legal place of settlement in England. Each parish of the Church of England kept these records.
Settlement, land: A community of people living in an area. The term settlement particularly refers to a group of people who take up residency in a new area.
Settlement, probate: Payment of all debts of a deceased individual's estate and identification of all heirs prior to the final distribution of the assets of the estate.
Seven Week's War (1866): A war that occurred from July to August in 1866 over a dispute involving the former Danish territories of Schleswig and Holstein. The German states of Austria, Hesse, Saxony, and Hanover battled Prussia, who allied with Italy. Prussia won the war, resulting in Prussia's dominance in Germany and Austria's removal from the German Confederation.
Seven Years' 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 the United States it was also called the French and Indian War.
Seven Years' War of the North (1563-1570): A war in which Frederick II of Denmark tried to win control of the Baltic Sea from Sweden. This attempt failed. Also called the Nordic Seven-Year War.
Sex code: A letter used in various family history computer programs to indicate a person's gender. The sex codes used in Personal Ancestral File® and FamilySearch® are M for male, F for female, and U for unknown.
Sexton: The caretaker of a cemetery.
Sexton’s record: A record kept by the caretaker (sexton) of a cemetery.
Sheriffs court, Scotland: A Scottish court with jurisdiction over all or part of a county. A sheriffs court handles local civil and criminal cases. Since 1823 these courts have also dealt with probate matters.
Ship manifest: A passenger list a shipmaster submits to the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (and its predecessors). Also called an immigration passenger list.
Ship officer: A naval officer of any rank who serves on a ship.
Ship’s name: The name of the ship on which an immigrant arrived.
Sidney S. Rider Collection, Rhode Island: A valuable though difficult to use collection of 5,000 books and 10,000 pamphlets at the John Hay Library at Brown University. The collection covers Rhode Island families and includes periodicals, correspondence, newspaper clippings (with an index for these from 1808 to 1868), church histories, military records, city directories, local histories, biographies, and manuscripts (journals, deeds, wills, and so forth).
Six-Dollar Bonus Refunds, Canada: An amount of money paid during the 1870s as a bounty to certain immigrants when they arrived in Ontario, Canada.
Sjeleregister, Norway: The Norwegian word for the clerical register of souls, which was a census taken by the Lutheran clergy in Norway during the mid-1700s. It lists all members of a family and all persons living with the family.
Slave: An individual who is considered the property of another individual.
Slave schedule: A part of a census that lists slave owners and their slaves by only age and gender, not name. The 1850 and 1860 United States censuses have slave schedules.
Slavery and Bondage, Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize information related to slavery and other types of bondage.
Small cause court, New Jersey: A court in New Jersey presided over by a justice of the peace. Small cause courts had authority to perform marriages, issue summons for debts, and rule on minor civil suits. They also had criminal jurisdiction over bastardy, domestic 1900s, most of these courts were replaced by district and superior courts. Also called justice courts.
Small claims court, Canada: A provincial court in Canada that hears minor civil cases.
Small claims court, Utah: A division of the circuit courts and justice of the peace courts. Small claims courts handle civil and criminal cases involving up to $1,000.
Smith-Rife Collection of New River Genealogy and Local History, West Virginia: A collection created by Aubrey O. Smith and Winton A. Rife. The collection focuses on families from Boon, Fayette, Greenbriar, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, and Wyoming Counties in West Virginia.
Social Life and Customs, Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize information about a society’s customs and way of life.
Social Security Act: An act passed in 1935 to provide citizens of the United States with a pension from the federal government.
Social Security Administration, USA: An agency of the United States government that administers assistance as called for in the Social Security Act of 1935. Through federal and federal-state programs, the Social Security Administration provides the following: old age benefits, assistance for the aged, the blind, and dependent children; unemployment compensation; maternity care; crippled children's services; and child welfare, public health, and vocational rehabilitation services. People who are employed in the United States pay a social security tax to this program.
Social Security Death Index: A resource file in FamilySearch® that contains records of deaths reported to the United States Social Security Administration. Most records start in 1962, but the file does contain a few records of deaths that happened before that date.
Social Security number, USA: A personal identification number assigned by the Social Security Administration of the United States government to track payments to and claims upon the Social Security trust fund. Every individual who pays income tax in the United States or is claimed as a dependent of another on income tax returns must have a Social Security number.
Social Security, USA: A pension fund established by the Social Security Act of 1935 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" administration, which was a response to the Great Depression. The fund provides for federal and federal-state programs to give relief in the following areas: old age benefits; assistance for the aged, blind, and dependent children; unemployment compensation; maternity care; crippled children's services; and child welfare, public health, and vocational rehabilitation services.
Societies, Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize sources about organizations in which membership is based on interest in or descent from individuals who served during a particular military conflict; participated in a certain patriotic cause; immigrated from a particular country; founded or pioneered a state; had royal, noble, or baronial lineage; had a particular occupation or interest; or lived during a certain time period, such as the United States Colonial period.
Societies, general: Organizations in which membership is based on interest in or descent from individuals who served during a particular military conflict; participated in a certain patriotic cause; immigrated from a particular country; founded or pioneered a state; had royal, noble, or baronial lineage; had a particular occupation or interest; or lived during a certain time period, such as the United States Colonial period.
Society of Friends: A religion that originated in England during the 1600s. The Friends stress inward spirituality over outward ordinances and ordained ministers. They believe that the Inner Light is in the hearts of all people. If people follow it, they are following God’s will. The Friends teach peace and oppose war. They do not practice external ordinances, such as baptism or sacraments. The largest congregations are in the United States and England. Some are in Kenya and other countries in the world. Also known as Quakers.
Society of Genealogists, England: A society that collects genealogical records from all over England. It also publishes several books on how to do English research.
Society of Mayflower Descendants Collection, California: A large collection of alphabetized family group records for California families.
Sons of Italy: A fraternal society for men of Italian descent. It promotes the preservation of Italian cultural heritage.
Soundex index: A type of index that groups together surnames that sound similar but are spelled differently. Each surname is assigned a code that consists of the first letter of the name. The next three consonants are assigned a number. Vowels are ignored. Soundex has been used to index the 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 United States censuses and some other types of records, such as naturalization records and passenger lists.
Southern District, New York: A division of the state of New York over which a federal circuit or district court has jurisdiction. The Southern District has one New York City division, which includes the Bronx, New York County, and nearby counties.
Spaniard: A person from Spain.
Spanish Archives of New Mexico: A collection of official records in Spanish kept between 1621 and 1821. They include censuses, petitions, military correspondence, journals, civil and criminal cases, and legislative records. It has an index in English.
Spanish cabildo: The Spanish government for the province of Louisiana from 1769 to 1803.
Spanish censuses: Censuses taken by the Spanish government, including those taken by the Spanish government in areas that are now part of the United States.
Spanish land grant: A land grant given to a person or organization by the Spanish government.
Spanish records: Records kept in the American Southwest when the Spanish government controlled that area.
Spanish Revolution (1868): A revolution that occurred in Spain when Isabella II, who had succeeded her father Ferdinand to the throne of Spain, was overthrown by army officers who supported her uncle, general Carlos Maria de la Torre.
Spanish service records: Records of people who served in the Spanish military in New Spain between 1786 and 1800.
Spanish-American Mission Collection: A collection of family group records showing the ancestry of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the American Southwest.
Spanish-American War (1898): A war between the United States and Spain that focused on the liberation of Cuba. It was fought in Cuba and the Philippines. As a result of this war, the United States acquired Puerto Rico and Guam and bought the Philippines. Cuba became independent.
Special rights of citizenship: Rights granted by the Republic of Hawaii (1893–1898) to people who were not citizens of Hawaii. This did not grant them naturalization.
Spelling variations: Different ways that a name or other word may be spelled. Spelling was not standardized when most early records were made. One may find a name spelled differently than it is today or even differently in different records about the same individual.
St. Albans District Manifest Records of Aliens Arriving from Foreign Contiguous Territory, Canada: A Canadian border crossing list. This list has a Soundex index and the original manifests of people who crossed the border from Canada into the United States.
St. Augustine, Florida: The first permanent white settlement in the United States, located in present-day Florida. It was founded in 1565 by the Spanish.
Stake history, Latter-day Saint: A historical account of a stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Stake, Latter-day Saint: One of the organizational and administrative units of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A stake is composed of a number of wards or branches. It generally has a set of geographical boundaries and conforms to the tent image described in Isaiah 54:2, "Lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes."
Stammrollen, Germany: A type of military record used in Germany. These records may contain the enlisted soldier's name, date and place of birth, possibly parent's names, muster date, conscription information, occupation, and any changes of address. The English translation of this term is personnel file.
Standesamt: The German word for civil registration office.
State archive: A place where a state government keeps its records. Some churches also deposit their records in a state archive.
State census: A census taken by a state rather than the federal government. Also called a state enumeration.
State church: The official church of a country. Such a church receives support from the government and frequently keeps vital records for the government. The United States has had no state church except during a few periods in some early colonies.
State court, United States: A court that is part of a state's judicial system in contrast to the federal court system.
State district court, Utah: A court in Utah that presides over one of eight court districts. The court hears criminal felony cases and civil actions. It also has jurisdiction over divorces, separations, child custody, adoptions, naturalizations, name changes, and will and estate settlements.
State enumeration: A census taken by a state rather than by the federal government. Also called a state census.
State grant: Land given to a state. The state may, in turn, sell or lease the land to individuals or institutions.
State Guard: Local militia units organized during the Civil War that usually served only within the state but sometimes had to serve federal duty.
State land grant: A land grant issued by a state government.
State library: A library authorized by the federal government to receive copies of published government records.
State of Franklin: An independent state formed in 1784 shortly after North Carolina ceded her western lands to the United States. The State of Franklin lasted until 1788, when North Carolina regained control of the region. In 1789 North Carolina again gave its western land, including what had been the State of Franklin, to the United States. This land became part of Tennessee in 1796.
State of Utah: A state created in 1896.
State records: Records kept by a government, such as a state government of the United States.
State unit: A military force organized at the state level.
State-land states: States that did not give the unclaimed land within their borders to the federal government when they became part of the United States. These include the original 13 colonies and Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia.
Statewide index: An index to one state in a federal census or other type of federal record.
Statewide registration: The keeping of birth, marriage, and death information at the statewide level.
Statistika Centralbyrån, Sweden: The Central Bureau of Statistics in Sweden. This office keeps statistics about the Swedish population. Swedish ministers were required to send extracts of their records to this office.
Statute labor list, Canada: A list that shows the names of Canadian citizens and the number of hours they had to spend maintaining local roads.
Statutory court, West Virginia: A type of court created at various times by special acts of the West Virginia legislature. The jurisdiction of the statutory courts varies, but it has included limited civil and domestic cases and appeals from municipal and justice courts. Statutory courts have been called criminal courts, intermediate courts, and common pleas courts.
Stepparent: The status of a person who marries a person who already has children.
Sterben: The German word for deaths.
Stillborn: A baby born dead. In some countries, children who lived shortly after birth were listed in vital records as stillborn. Countries that have sometimes listed live births as stillborn include Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, the German states (Baden, Bavaria, Germany, Hesse-Darmstadt, Prussia, Saxony, Thuringia, Württemberg), Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Strategy: A plan or method for accomplishing a goal.
Street directory: An alphabetical list of the principal streets in an area and the people who live there.
Street index: An alphabetical list of the street names in an area and the coordinates that describe where to find the streets on a map or in a directory. It may also, as is the case for the 1910 United States census, identify the enumeration district for that address.
Stub entries to indents: Claims recording payments for services and goods given to the military during the Revolutionary War.
Subdistrict, Canada: A division of a Canadian census district. In some provinces, a subdistrict is equivalent to a township.
Subdivision: A geographical area in which a supervisor or marshal was required to take a census. Beginning in 1880 subdivisions in the United States were called enumeration districts.
Subject heading: A heading used in the Family History Library Catalog™ to categorize records by topic.
Subject Search: A type of search in the Family History Library Catalog™ that finds records by topic. The Subject Search is available on the microfiche version of the catalog only.
Submitter List: A list available in Ancestral File™ that shows the names and addresses of people who have contributed information about a person listed in the file.
Succession: A French word for a document that shows the division of a deceased person's property among heirs. Also called partage.
Sufferers Lands: 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 Sufferers Lands to the sufferers, their heirs, or their assignees. Also called Firelands.
Summary, court records: An index to court records.
Summary, general: A short report that lists the salient points of an article or record.
Summary, land: Publications containing indexes to land, pension, bounty land, and other land claims presented to Congress from 1789 to 1909.
Superintendent registrar, England: The official who is over a registration district.
Superintendent registrar, Ireland: A government official in Ireland who keeps the records of a district. Each quarter the registrar sends a copy of the civil registration records created in the district to the General Register Office.
Superior court of chancery, Virginia: A court in Virginia with districtwide jurisdiction over equity cases. In 1831 the superior courts of chancery were combined with the superior courts of law to form the circuit superior courts of law and chancery.
Superior court of judicature, Massachusetts: A court in Massachusetts that hears appeals from lower courts. It was replaced by the supreme judicial court in 1782.
Superior court of judicature, Rhode Island: A court in Rhode Island that replaced the general court of trials in 1729 and still operates today. It has statewide jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters.
Superior court of law and equity, Tennessee: A court used in the larger counties of Tennessee that had jurisdiction over minor equity and civil cases until 1809.
Superior court, Arizona: A court with countywide jurisdiction over major civil cases, cases of law and equity involving property, criminal cases, probates, divorces, juvenile cases, naturalizations, and appeals from the justice of the peace courts.
Superior court, California: A court with countywide jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases, probates, juvenile cases, and appeals from justice and municipal courts. The superior courts replaced the district courts.
Superior court, Canadian province: A Canadian provincial court with jurisdiction over divorces, serious civil and criminal cases, and appeals from other courts. In provinces that have a superior court, the superior court is the highest provincial court. Some provinces have a supreme court instead of a superior court.
Superior court, Connecticut: A court with countywide jurisdiction over major civil and criminal cases. The superior courts replaced the courts of assistants in 1711.
Superior court, Delaware: A court with countywide jurisdiction over major civil and criminal cases and naturalizations. The superior courts replaced the courts of common pleas.
Superior court, District of Columbia: A court that replaced the district's supreme court in 1928. It has civil and criminal jurisdiction.
Superior court, general: A type of state or county court. In some states, a superior court has jurisdiction between trial courts and the highest court of appeals. In other states, a superior court is a trial court or probate court.
Superior court, Georgia: A court with countywide jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases, divorces, naturalizations, military discharges, homesteads, slaves (before 1865), and prisons.
Superior court, Indiana: A court with jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases, naturalizations, and some appeals from lower courts.
Superior court, Iowa: A court with jurisdiction over minor civil and criminal cases. Most were replaced by municipal and district courts.
Superior court, Maine: A court in Maine with countywide jurisdiction over felonies and civil cases. Superior courts were established by individual counties in various years. By 1929 each county had a superior court.
Superior court, New Hampshire: A court in New Hampshire with countywide jurisdiction over divorce and alimony cases, marriages, equity matters, and some appeals.
Superior court, New Jersey: The major trial court in New Jersey. Superior courts have countywide jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters.
Superior court, Pennsylvania: A court in Pennsylvania with intermediate appellate jurisdiction. The superior court hears cases before they go to the state's supreme court. Superior courts were established in 1895.
Superior court, Washington: A court with countywide jurisdiction over criminal cases and major civil cases. The court also has jurisdiction over probates and juvenile cases.
Supervisor or marshal’s district: A geographical area in which a supervisor or marshal was required to take a census. Before 1880 districts in the United States were called subdivisions. They were called enumeration districts after 1880.
Supervisor's or marshal’s district: A geographical area in which a supervisor or marshal was required to take a census. Before 1880 districts in the United States were called subdivisions. They were called enumeration districts after 1880.
Supplemental schedule of handicapped and indigent persons: A part of the 1880 federal census that listed people who had disabilities and people who were homeless.
Supreme Court Digest: The index to the records of the United States Supreme Court.
Supreme Court of Appeals, West Virginia: The highest court in the state of West Virginia. This court hears appeals from the circuit courts.
Supreme Court of Canada: The ultimate court of appeals for civil and criminal cases in Canada. It is a federal court as opposed to a provincial court.
Supreme court of judicature, New Jersey: A court in New Jersey with statewide jurisdiction over appeals of civil matters and original common law matters and with criminal jurisdiction over capital crimes, such as treason and murder. In earlier times, this court also heard criminal cases concerning matters such as trespass, adultery, prostitution, breaking the peace, malfeasance, assault, and rape. In 1947 it became the highest court in the state.
Supreme court, Canadian province: A Canadian provincial court with jurisdiction over divorces, serious civil and criminal cases, and appeals from other courts. In provinces that have a supreme court, the supreme court is the highest provincial court. Some provinces have a superior court instead of a supreme court.
Supreme court, Cherokee: The highest court in the Cherokee Nation.
Supreme court, colonial: The highest court in a colony. It often heard appeals.
Supreme court, New Hampshire: A court in New Hampshire with statewide jurisdiction to hear appeals from lower courts.
Supreme court, Ohio: A court in Ohio with statewide jurisdiction over appeals from lower courts. It originally had jurisdiction over common law and chancery matters.
Supreme court, Pennsylvania: The highest court in Pennsylvania. It hears appeals from lower courts.
Supreme court, state: The highest appellate court in most states.
Supreme court, Wisconsin: The highest court of appeal in Wisconsin.
Supreme judicial court: Generally the highest appellate court in a state or country.
Supreme judicial court, Maine: The highest court of appeal in Maine.
Supreme judicial court, Rhode Island: A statewide court in Rhode Island that was created from the superior court of judicature in 1842. It became the Supreme Court in 1843, the highest court in Rhode Island.
Surety: An individual who signs another individual’s bond, agreeing to fulfill the bond if the first individual fails to do so. Also called bondsman.
Surgeon, British military: A doctor in the British army or navy.
Surname: A name used by a family that is passed from generation to generation. Also called last name.
Surname book: A book that lists family names and their origins.
Surname index: An index that is usually organized alphabetically by surnames. In areas where patronymic surnames are common, the index may be organized by given name.
Surname Index, 1881 British census: An index in the 1881 British census that lists individuals by county. The Surname Index can help to quickly find individuals who were living in a certain county.
Surname localization: The process of identifying a country or region where a particular surname is common.
Surname Search: A type of search in the Family History Library Catalog™ that searches for surnames in the description of family histories. This search is available on both the microfiche and computer versions of the catalog.
Surrogate court, Canada: A type of court in Ontario, Canada, that has handled probate cases from 1793 to the present. These courts operate at the county or district level. Between 1793 and 1858, a central probate court handled probates that involved a certain amount of money. The surrogate court took over this responsibility when the probate court was abolished in 1858.
Surrogate court, New York: A court in New York with countywide jurisdiction over probates, some adoptions, and guardianships. These courts began in 1787 and continue today. Before 1787 the surrogate courts were appointed to act in the place of the prerogative courts.
Surrogate Register's Office, Canada: A government office in Manitoba, Canada, that houses probate records from 1871 to 1982.
Survey notes: Notes kept when a piece of land is surveyed.
Survey, land: A written, legal description of the location and size of a piece of land; also the process used to create the description.
Survey, questionnaire: A printed questionnaire designed to gather information about a topic.
Surveyors' report: A document describing a parcel of land.
Svensk Arkivinformation, Sweden: A division of the Swedish national archive. Its goal is to make the materials in the archive available for research and education.
Svenska Kyrkan, Sweden: The Swedish term for the Evangelical Lutheran Church. It became Sweden's state church in 1527. As such, it is an arm of the national government. The government appoints church officials and pays their salaries. The monarch is required to be a member of this church. All other Swedes have complete religious freedom.
Swede: A person from Sweden.
Symmes Purchase: Land between the Great and Little Miami Rivers in Ohio that was purchased partly with military bounty land warrants by John Cleves Symmes. The survey for this land was done privately and does not conform to the rectangular survey system. Also called the Miami Purchase.
Synagogue: A place of worship, especially for those of the Jewish faith.
Søruller, Denmark: Danish naval levying rolls, which are records kept by the parish that list all males up to age 34 in a parish. Beginning in 1788 these records were taken every three years and used as a list of potential navy draftees. If a male age 34 or younger moved to a new parish, the levying roll usually notes the new parish's identification number. These records can help establish where a male ancestor was living when other important records were made.