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ROOTS


Dictionary of Genealogy & Archaic Terms

[L]

Last Edited: 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.

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LAADRING
guide
LABEL
[Heraldric] A line with points horizontally across the top part of the shield  
LÆNLAND
land held on conditional lease
LÆTUS
a member of the class of coloni
LAGAN
the right to items thrown up by the sea and on the shore
LAHSLIT
a fine for offenses committed by Danes
LAND PATENT
a grant of land in colonial America
LANDCEAP, LANDCOP
purchase of land
LANDGABLE
rent paid for a messuage of land
LANDGRAVE/LANDGRAVINE
are another pair of German titles that have achieved their own regular word in English. It corresponds roughly to a count or earl, but in the case of Hesse-Homburg, it was a ruling title. The German forms are Landgraf and Landgrafin.
LANDKREIS
[German] a governmental administrative body one level higher than village, equivalent to the American county (but not French/English county).  Sometimes shown just as "Kreis".
LANDRICA, LANDHLAFORD
landlord
LANDS AND TENEMENTS
real property, as opposed to personal property
LAS
[Welsh blue]
LASTAGE
(1) a toll exacted at markets or fairs
(2) a custom exacted on a ship's lading 
LATE
1. died recently (although this term is relative and may span a number of years)
2. formerly belonging to, or living at  
LATELY DWELT
[archaic] livived at a location until recently
LAUDS
part of the monastic timetable for liturgy, called horarium.  This worship service typically occurred between 6am-7am in winter and 4am-5am in summer
LAUNDER
one who washes linen
LE
surnames with "le", for example "le Palefrayor", were occupational names, in this case, "the chap who looked after the nobleman's horse". The name itself was not a surname, but an identifier name, but it later developed into a surname. -- Renia Simmons (edited)
LEASE AND RELEASE
a simple and ancient method of conferring all rights, title and interest from a buyer to a seller.  The "buyer" is put in possession of the land through a lease, then at a later date, say a year, the property is transferred by seizen, recombining the title and the leasehold.
LEASE FOR LIVES
a legal instrument dating back to the English manorial system, and sometimes used in Colonial America.  Under this instrument, a property is leased to three individuals for their lifetime.  From a genealogical standpoint, the three individuals are almost always related.
LEASEHOLD ESTATE
a lease of land for life, but not the title
LEET
a subdivision of land in Kent equivalent to a hundred
LEFT HAND INDENTURE
in medieval times, indentures were cut into three pieces along a wavy line, so the bearers could compare them later for authenticity.  The portions were the left and right halves of the page, as well as a third bottom piece.  The left portion as the left hand indenture.
LEGACY
money or property bequeathed to someone by will
LEGATEE
one who is named as a recipient of part of an estate under a will
LEOD
man, people
LEODGELD
a fine paid for killing a man.  Also called manwryth.
LESTAGE
see LASTAGE
LETTER OF ADMINISTRATION
a document from a probate court authorizing the administrator of an estate to settle the estate
LEVIRATE
when a man dies one of his brothers has the right and obligation to marry the wife and raise children "to the name of'" the dead man.
LEVY, LEVE
(1) a capitation or poll tax
(2) a fee for permission to trade 
(3) to draft; a draftee
LEVY FREE
exemption from the tithe requirement due to some service or status or in some cases a "prepayment" such a large gift to a church such as an irrevocable codicil in a will giving property (usually land) to the church. On occasion, levy free can indicate a waver of Tithe. This is occasionally seen for widows, particularly if the husband died in service to the community (defense against Indians or the French).
LEYWRITE
a fine paid by an unmarried pregnant woman
LIBERTI
freedmen
LIBLAC, LYBLAC
witchcraft
LIBRATE
[Medieval English] the quantity of land with an annual value of £1.
LIDUS
one of the class of coloni
LIFE ESTATE
a property held by a person for the duration of  their lifetime.  This device is common for widow/widowers, for use of property ultimately intended for one's children, but for which the surviving spouse must use until their decease  
LINEAL DESCENDANT
being in the direct line of descent from an ancestor.  Synonymous with direct descendent.
LITURGY
public prayer
LIVERY
(1) to be given land by the king
(2) the right to wear a lord's colors  
LIVERY OF SEISIN
Delivery of possession; called by the feudists "investiture." The appropriate ceremony, at common law, for transferring the corporal possession of lands or tenements by a grantor to his grantee. It was livery in deed where the parties went together upon the land, and there a twig, clod, key, or other symbol was delivered in the name of the whole.Livery in law was where the same ceremony was performed, not upon the land itself, but in sight of it.{B}
LLEIAF
[Welsh smallest]
LLWYD
[Welsh brown, grey] Also as 'lloyd'.
LOCO
[Latin to place, to establish, to give in marriage]
LOCUS
[Latin place]
LOGRIA
gain or profit
LOOSE PAPERS
original papers supporting any type of court record - law, criminal or chancery actions; probate records; land records; bonds of all sorts; road orders; bridge orders; Free Negro certificates, etc.
LORD
anyone holding land with feudal tenants was a lord, that is, a landlord, whether a king or lowliest landholder. Lordship here simply refers to his tenurial position. Only if he were a peer of the realm, no matter what degree, would he be referred to as Lord Cockburn. -- Ivor West. Not all lords were Barons. Some had multiple titles. A lord is generally known by the family's superior title, and his son by the next superior title, until the father dies, when the son takes on the superior title, and his son is known by the lesser title. For example, today, Earl Spencer's son is known as Lord Althrop, being Viscount Althrop, another of the family's (lesser) titles. When Princess Diana was married, she was escorted up the isle by her father, the then Earl Spencer, while her brother was still Viscount Althrop. -- Renia Simmons. See also HOUSE OF LORDS
LORD LIEUTENANT
after the 16th C., was the English Crown's representative in each county
LORD OF THE MANOR
this was someone who held a manor, but not necessarily a barony. Today, gullible people are buying up Lord of the Manor titles, which are totally worthless, because the manor (a system of local government, in effect) no longer exists, and neither does the title, except as a piece of paper. Lords of the manor have never been entitled to sit in the House of Lords, nor have they ever been peers. -- Renia Simmons
LORD OF SESSION
a member of a court of justice comprising the Chancellor and other persons chosen by the king who met three times a year to deliberate on cases which had previously brought before the king and council.
LOYALIST
a Tory (person who remained loyal to England during the Revolutionary War) who later moved to Canada or to another British possession
LOZENGE
[Heraldry] a diamond-shape used in place of a shield to denote a widow or spinster
LOZENGY
[Heraldy] a diamond-shaped checkered pattern
LUMENARIUS
an individual who pays a tax in wax for lighting a church
LUNARIUS
an individual who ploughed a field, taking a month to do so
LYSWE
injury to kin

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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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