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Legal Terms

These are common terms we find when doing family research. This list is by no means all inclusive. If you have comments, a better definition, or additional terms, please contact me at the email below.

a.a.s.: died in the year of his/her age (anno aetitis suae) (86 years old and died in the year 86)

affinity: one's relationship to the spouse's relatives as opposed to the blood relationship of one's own relatives.

bond: marriage, indenture, guardian

d.s.p.: died without issue (decessit sine prole legitima)

d.s.p.l.: died without legitimate issue (decessit sine prole mascula supesita)

d.s.p.m.s.: died without surviving male issue (decessit sine prole mascula supersita)

d.s.p.s.: died without surviving issue (decessit sine prole supersita)

d.unm.: died unmarried

d.v.p.: died in the lifetime of his father (decessit vita patris)

d.v.m.: died in the lifetime of his mother (decessit vita matris)

Et al: other parties are involved, but not listed in the name of the case. There can be many other defendants. (et alia)

Ex P: sometimes used at the beginning of the name of a case, for example, Ex P Charles Smith. It is usually used to refer to a case that has been appealed as another way to designate that other parties are involved and multiple appeals have been filed. It can also be used when one party may want to remain anonymous and files a motion with the court. (Ex Parte)

Heirs at law: anyone who would legally be considered an heir to a deceased person

Inst: present month (instans)

Intestate: one who dies without a will

Liber: book or volume

Nepos: grandson

Nunc Nuncapative: will, an oral will, written by a witness

Ob: he/she died (obit)

Relict: widow or widower (relicta/relictus)

Right of Affinity: see Affinit

Sic: so or thus, exact copy as written

Testator: one who dies with a valid will

Testis: witnesses

Utl: late (ultimo)

Ux or vs: wife (uxor)

Viz: namely (videlicet)

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