Family Tree Magazine and their online counterparts do a great job of providing information and helpful hits for any genealogist. I subscribe to the online newsletter, which I find very informative. Recently they posted a limited genealogy glossary.
When doing your research the proper terms can help you to understand what may be available and what you may need to find.
Please take a look at a few of these terms that you may not be familiar with.
banns (or marriage banns)
Church-generated documents publicly stating couples’ intent to marry. The custom dates back to Colonial America; banns were posted or read on three consecutive Sundays.
Land granted by the Colonial and federal governments as a reward for military service. Bounty-land warrants—documents granting the right to the land—were assigned to soldiers, their heirs and other individuals.
declaration of intention
An alien’s sworn statement that he or she wants to become a US citizen, also called “first papers.” These records, which were filed in federal court, list personal details such as name, age, occupation, birthplace, last foreign residence and more.
A male released from slavery; an emancipated person.
The calendar used from 46 BC to 1582, named for Julius Caesar. It’s often referred to as the “Old Style” calendar and was replaced by the Gregorian calendar.
An indexing system similar to Soundex that was used to organize the results of the 1910 census. Miracode index cards are computer generated rather than handwritten, and are organized first by Soundex code, then alphabetically by county, then alphabetically by given name.
Periodical Source Index (PERSI)
A print and online index to more than 2000 genealogy and local history periodicals published in the U.S. and Canada between 1847 and 1985. PERSI is a project of the Allen County Library in Fort Wayne, Ind., and available through HeritageQuest Online (access through a subscribing library).
A record created after an event occurred, such as a biography, local history, index, oral history interview or computer database. Original records also can be secondary sources for information about earlier events—for example, a marriage certificate would be a secondary source for a birth date because the birth took place several years before the time of the marriage. Use the details you find in secondary sources as clues until you can verify them in original records.
What the signer of a document would often write if he couldn’t write his name. A witness would typically label this “his mark.”
A name adopted by some Civil War Union volunteer regiments, who wore brightly colored uniforms, similar to the French light infantry units of the same name.
For more information please visit: http://familytreemagazine.com/Glossary
Many families and cultural groups also have their own terms. If you run across words that do not register with you, take a minute to look them up on the internet. They may just mean something totally different than we believe them to be. It makes our work go much smoother and easier.
Examples-taken from http://anthro.palomar.edu/language/glossary.htm
the social dialect spoken by many African Americans. It also known as Ebonics .
a pidgin language that has become the mother tongue of a population. In Haiti, for example, a French-African pidgin became the creole language that is spoken in that nation today by the majority of the population as their principle or only language.
the phenomenon in which different dialects of a language or different languages are spoken by a person in different social situations. Diglossic people may quickly switch back and forth between dialects or languages, depending on the person they are talking to at the time. This is the case with the educated elite of Haiti. They usually speak standard French among themselves but use the Haitian French creole language on the street dealing with poor uneducated Haitians. Diglossia is also referred to as “code switching.”
a simplified, makeshift language that develops to fulfill the communication needs of people who have no language in common but who need to occasionally interact for commercial and other reasons. Pidgins combine a limited amount of the vocabulary and grammar of the different languages. People who use pidgin languages also speak their own native language. Over the last several centuries, dozens of pidgin languages developed as Europeans expanded out into the rest of the world for colonization and trade. There have been pidgins developed by non-European cultures as well.
I hope this will help you along your search.