Right to a certain number of acres guaranteed in advance to a settler in a new territory. The purpose was to encourage settlement of an area by giving land to those who could work and improve it for free. To immigrants who had no chance of buying land in the "old country" this was a huge incentive.
A tax on people. Also called a poll tax or a capitation tax.
A person who inherits all or part of the estate of another person.
A person whose right of inheritance is established, provided he or she outlives the ancestor. See Also: Primogeniture.
Heirs proscribed by local law. Heirs-at-law usually include a person's spouse, children (by any marriage), parents, and siblings. The judge handling the probate proceeding may have latitude allowing a broader definition, especially when no "near" blood relatives exist.
A system of numbering individuals in a family tree based on a selected individual. Using this system you can determine the relationship of any person to the selected individual. The Henry system uses a "x.y" format where "x" is the standard Ahnentafel number assigned to an individual in the chart and "y" is the Henry Code. The Henry Code numbers each child in a given family, starting at "1" and continuing through "9" then using "A", "B", etc. The spouse of one of these children has an "sz" appended to the Henry Code where "s" is the actual letter "s" and "z" is the marriage number. For example, "2.3s1" indicates the selected individual's father ("2."); the father is the third child ("3") in the family and he has been married once ("s1"). This coding system can get complicated since each generation is only allowed one digit. For example, "4.13" is the third child of person "4.1", who happens to be the grandfather of the selected individual.
The practice of identifying specific individuals by symbols and emblems granted by special authority (usually the king or queen). The primary device is the coat of arms.
The highest-raking sheriff (as opposed to deputy sheriffs). The term used used in England and colonial America.
A document written entirely by the hand of the person who signed it.
The 1862 Homestead Act gave a settler 160 acres (80 within railroad grant areas) for living on a tract of land for 5 years and showing improvement to the land. Improvements consisted of clearing the land for farming, building a house, ranching, etc. Other land grant acts were also issued over the years but the Homestead Act is probably the most famous.
French Protestants who fled from religious persecution. This group migrated to several locations including Prussia, the German Palatinate, and North America. Others went to the French West Indies but were forced out and many settled the southeastern coast of the U.S. Some went to England and Ireland.