D

Genealogy Dictionary

death certificate
An official record of an individual's death.
deceased
The deceased, or person who has died who is the subject of a document or discussion.
decedent
A person who is descended from a specific individual. i.e., your children, grandchildren, etc.
Declaration of Intent
In the U.S., an official document filed by a non-citizen (alien) in a court of record declaring his or her intention to apply for citizenship after fulfillment of the residency requirement. Many immigrants thought this was the only step in becoming a citizen in the U.S. so they would never file the necessary naturalization papers. Also, there was no requirement that the Declaration of Indent and the final naturalization had to occur in the same court, town, county, or state. Sometimes called First Papers. See Also: Final Papers.
deed
A document signed, sealed and delivered according to law and conveying title to real estate. In the U.S. deeds are usually recorded at the county clerk's office for property bought and sold in that county. Deeds are usually filed in chronological order or alphabetically by the buyer.
de jure
Legal term which means "by law" or "lawfully".
denizen
A foreigner permitted certain rights of citizenship.
deposition
A written testimony by a witness for use in court in his or her absence.
descendant
An immediate or remote offspring.
devise
To transmit property by a will.
devisee
The person to whom a devise is made.
die
Day.
direct heir
One who is an individual's direct line of ascent or descent.
directory
Before the advent of the telephone (in the late 19th century), the town or city directory came into being in the U.S. This was a listing of every household in the area covered by the directory (sometimes several towns were included in the same book), usually by surname or street address. Many directories included the names of the spouse, names of adult children (who were also working), and occupation of the head of household. Renters were also included.
discharge
To release from service. Military service usually.
discharge papers
Documentation indicating the man was legally out of uniform and had served his term of service. Usually, a record was made in his service file but the actual (read only copy) discharge document was given to the soldier.
dissenter
A person who refused to belong to the established Church of England.
distributee
A person who is entitled to a share in the estate of a person who died without a will.
divorce
The legal dissolution of a marriage.
docket
A brief written summary of a document. See Also: Abstract.
dowager
A widow holds title or property derived from her dead husband.
dower
The part of interest of a deceased man's real estate allotted by law to his widow.
dowry
Property a bride brings o her husband for the duration of a marriage.
D. S. P.
Died sine prole (without offspring).

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