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ROOTS


Dictionary of Genealogy & Archaic Terms

[W]

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.

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WALLOON:
From southern Belgium, the language of the Walloons is a dialect of French. Cornelis May of Flanders, Holland and about 30 to 40 families came to America in 1624 and established Fort Orange. This town is now known as Albany, NY.
WALREAF
despoiling the dead
WAPENTAKE
[Anglo-Saxon wapen-getaec, weapon-taking] a name given subdivisions in the formerly Danish areas of shires of York, Lincoln, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Rutland, although in some of these the word hundred is also used, similar to the hundreds of southern counties and the wards of more northerly counties, so called from the inhabitants being formerly taught the use of arms. The theory is that wapentake is the Danish equivalent for the hundred, as the word is only found in parts settled by this people. It was used for a meeting before it became the name of a district, and originated in the ceremony of touching the chief's spear as a sign of homage. Like the hundreds, the wapentakes vary in size, and in early times had their own courts of justice.
WAQF
a form of endowment or trust, or income-producing land
WARD
a political subdivision of a city, typically represented by an alderman. in medieval times, the ward had its own court called the Ward-Moots Court
WARDEN
a keeper, head officer, or guardian.  This term is used in the Anglican church, as well as for other purposes.
WARDSHIP
the right of a lord to income of a fief during the minority of its heir, ostensibly to support the minor, but most frequently just to enrich the lord.  The lord was theoretically required to maintain the fief, and return it to the minor was he was of age.
WARRANT:
a commission or document giving authority to do something; especially : a writing that authorizes a person to pay or deliver to another and the other to receive money or other consideration. See also Treasury Warrant 
WARRANTY DEED
a deed guaranteeing from the seller to the buyer that it is a clear title to the property
WÄS/WAES
[German (Volgan)] aunt
WATTLE
a mat of woven sticks and weeds
WAVY
[Heraldic] curved in waves 
WAY OFFICE
a way station; a station intermediate between two principal stations, such as on a railroad
WED
pledge
WERGILD
[Saxon] price paid to a slain man's relatives
WEY
a measure of weight equal to a pondus
WHIPCORDER
maker of whips
WHITEFRIARS
see CARMELITES
WHITE MONKS
see CISTERCIANS
WIC, WICH, WYCH
town
WIDOW
a woman whose husband has died
WIDOWER
a man whose wife has died  
WILL
the legal document containing the statement of a person's wishes regarding the disposal of his or her property after death. Prior to 1786, a will in VA did not have to name the wife or eldest son. A widow received her 1/3 dower and eldest son received remaining 2/3, unless otherwise specified in the father's will. Eldest son also received his mother's share if she died. If eldest son had died, eldest grandson of the whole blood became the heir-at-law, not the second son. If a man were unmarried, his heir-at-law was his eldest brother, never his father or uncle. See also Birthright.
          Variarions:
(1) unsolemn will -- a will in which the executor is unnamed
          (2) non-culpatory will -- a verbal will
(3) holographic will -- a handwritten will
WITAN
[Anglo-Saxon] a council which advised the king, who was elected by it
WITE
payment for punishment
WITHIN AGE
in medieval times, a male or female being above the age of seven, and below the age of majority, that is fourteen for males, and twelve to fourteen for females, depending upon the onset of puberty. [RT, Winter 2001 TPC, pg. 229]
WITNESS
an individual present at an event such as a marriage or the signing of a document who can vouch that the event took place.
WOODWARD
a forester  
WRIT
a court, king's or parliamentary order.  Types of writs:
(1) Writ of attachment  -- a court order authorizing seizure of property sufficient to satisfy the debt and court costs
(2) Writ of Capias
(3) Pone 
          (4) Writ of diem clausit extremium (Lat. He as closed his final day) -- the writ served by the king upon the death of one of his tenants-in-chief
WUDE
wood
WUDEHEWET
cutting of wood

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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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