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Dictionary of Genealogy & Archaic Terms

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Last Updated: January 17, 2012

This file contains many of the common "buzzwords", terminology and legal words found in genealogy work. If you think of any words that should be added to this list, please notify Randy Jones.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J
K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

KAGAN

title of head of state among the turkic peoples -- Avars, Pechenegs, Khazars, etc. from the 7th Century CE

KALENDS

the first day of the month under the Roman calendar, with the abbreviation Kal.

KEELER

a cooler, broad shallow wooden vessel, where milk was set to cream or wart to cool.

KEEPER OF THE PEACE

see JUSTICE OF THE PEACE

KERMES

red dye

KHADIM

[Arabic] a servant

KHAN

[Turkish] a contraction of 'khaqan', it is a title of sovereignty over a group of tribes or territories.  The title was used by the Turks in Central Asia from the 10th Century onward, and later used by the Genghis Khan and his descendants, including the Mongol rulers of Persia and India

KHARAJ

[Arabic] taxes or tribute

KILDERKIN

a small vessel - the eighth part of a tun or vat, amounting to between 16-18 gallons

KINDRED

a group of blood-related persons

KING'S PEACE

originally a zone around the king within which any offense was a felony and tried before the the king.  Later the zone was extended to the full realm of the kingdom, and criminal offenses were tried in the king's court.

KITH AND KIN

friends and neighbors

KNIGHT

originally a warrior who could afford to fully equip himself, and who was recognized by the king as suitable to fight on his behalf.  His status was below a baron, but higher than a peasant of otherwise freemaen.  After 1400, the honor became hereditary and evolved into three knightly classes: knights, squires and gentlemen, who as a whole became known as the gentry.

KNIGHT HOSPITALLER

an order of knights charged with caring for the sick and protecting holy places during the Crusades

KNIGHT TEMPLAR

an order of knights originally created to protect Jerusalem, and specifically the Temple there, as well as to protect the pilgrims in transit there.  The order was suppressed beginning 1316, when the King of France feared their growing power and desired to seize their wealth

KNIGHTS FEE

Basically, the king owned all the land. He allowed the nobles to use it in exchange for a service they were to perform for the king, usually supplying soldiers in time of war for a specified period of time. Likewise, these big nobles sub-granted portions of their land to lesser gentry in exchange for a share of the military service owed. The number of knights (not actual single knights on horseback, but originally the knights, their retainers, servants, and serfs of military age, later simply a company of foot knights, soldiers, and/or archers) was determined (more or less) by the value of the territory infeudated. Thus, it was not the knights' fee that was valued per se, but the land with which the fee was associated. In the time of Edward I, the value of a knight's fee was worth 20£ per year, or up to 40 days service, if called upon. See French HAUBERT.

KYNAZ

[Slavic] prince

KREIS

See Landkreis.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J
K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Sources:

{A}The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

{B} Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Edition

{D} Dictionary.com

{E} Evans, Barbara Jean. The New A to Zax

{F}The Dictionary of Genealogy by Terrick V H Fitzhugh

{H} History of the Later Roman Empire,  Vol.1, J.B. Bury, 1958.

{O}The Oxford English Dictionary

{P} Pepys' diary

{R} Random House Unabridged Dictionary (2006)

{Q} Hinshaw, William Wade, "Encyclopedia of America Quaker Genealogy," (1938, Rpt., Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994)

{W} Webster's Collegiate Dictionary; Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.


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