Genealogy Dictionary

Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope. An envelope that has been fully addressed to you with adequate postage. A SASE is included in queries to ensure the person responding to a query does not have to spend money on providing the reply.
Descendants of Presbyterian Scots who came to North America by way of Northern Ireland. Their ancestors had been moved or were enticed to move to Northern Ireland early in the 17th century. The purpose was to settle Ireland with a more loyal (e.g., not Catholic) subjects. Those who already occupied the land were dispossessed. Later, many came to the North American colonies and settled first in Pennsylvania then moved south and west.
secondary evidence
Evidence that is inferior to primary evidence. It is usually evidence that was created after the event, possibly several months or years after the event occurred.
See Junior for a complete explanation.
service records
Military records about individual soldiers including enlistment, muster rolls, discharge, re-enlistment, etc. See NATF 80.
A person — either a church officer or employee — who takes care of the church property, sometimes the person responsible for ringing the bells, and may also dig graves. In some areas this term has come to describe the person or organization responsible for the care of a cemetery. The sexton may have the cemetery records.
A brother or sister. People with the same parents.
A Latin term indicating the text reads exactly as shown. A good way to remember the meaning of this term is the phrase spelling in context… meaning that the words and phrasing are exactly as intended or as copied from the original document.
See Brother for an explanation.
Slave Schedule
A part of the U.S. Federal census in 1850 and 1860 completed to count slaves.
A highly contagious viral disease characterized by fever and weakness and skin eruption with pustules that form scabs that slough off leaving scars.
smoothbore musket
A musket with a smooth barrel. These weapons shot a round ball of lead that usually broke the skin and fractured the bone if struck. The ball rarely had enough energy to enter and exit the body so most wounds caused by these balls could easily get infected from dirt and other things that might cling to a metal ball.
Abbreviation for Society.
Social Security Death Index (SSDI)
The SSDI is an index of those individuals who died with an active Social Security claim in the U.S. The index is an excellent resource for finding death date and (possibly) location for a person. Though computerized record keeping didn't begin until the 1960s, these records generally include some deaths in the 1950s. Efforts are underway to expand this index to be more inclusive of all Social Security death records. Related Topic: Social Security.
Social Security Number
The account number for each participant in the U.S. Social Security System. Related Topic: Social Security.
Social Security System
A government sponsored and run old age pension system in the U.S. first established in 1937 during the Great Depression. Related Topic: Social Security.
Society of Friends
One of the religious groups to form in England during the 17th century. Their strict beliefs and refusal to accept the Established Church in England led to religious persecution. Many immigrated to North America and settled along the eastern seaboard, especially in the north. William Penn, founder of the Pennsylvania colony was a Quaker and welcomed his brethren as well as other groups that were persecuted at home. Quakers would not use words based on pagan cultures so their records, grave stones, etc. reference "the second month" instead of February since the name was derived from a Roman **********
A way of indexing information based on how the word sounds rather than how it is spelled. A phonetic indexing system.
The record that provides information supporting a fact, claim, or assertion. Some sources provide definitive proof — these are usually called primary evidence — while others provide support of the claim through a preponderance of evidence. Sources should be listed in a bibliography at the end of the report or document.
spinster In many records this could refer to any unmarried woman over the age of 18.
spouse A husband or wife.
See Social Security Death Index.
Abbreviation for Social Security Number. See Social Security Death Index.
Abbreviation for Saint or street (as in an address).
The government of a nation. In the U.S. and many other countries this term also applies to a geo-political subdivision of the nation (i.e., the State of New Jersey). See Also: Province.
State Archives
Each state in the United States maintains an Archive library containing information specific, but not limited, to that state. State Archives can be critical when researching a Confederate soldier but don't limit your search to just that.
statute A law.
Used to indicate degree of kinship.
The son of one's stepparent by a former marriage.
A child of one spouse by a former marriage who has not been adopted by the other spouse of the current marriage.
The husband of a child's natural or birth mother by a later marriage.
The wife of a child's natural father by a later marriage.
Either a stepfather or stepmother.
The daughter of one's stepparent by a former marriage.
A person who follows troops in the field or in garrison to sell food, drink, and other supplies not provided by the army.
The name of the family to which a person belongs. In the so-called Western Civilization the surname appears last; in Asian cultures the surname usually appears first. 

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