A-Z of Genealogy – All the A’s

Welcome to my first post of 2023. My intentionin the first half of this year is run a series of blogs on the A/Z of genealogy, family history and house history in which I will highlight and define a selection of perhaps some of the more obscure words or phrases. This will also include some more common/obvious words and phrases and some latin.

So, starting with the letter A, of course it has to be ANCESTOR and ANCESTRY (not just the company but ones own ancestry). I would hope these take no explaining?

AB HINC/ABHINC – from here, hence

AB INDE/ABINDE – from that time, thereafter

ABSTRACT – often found in relation to wills and administration records , these are a summary of the salient points of the will or administration (inc. names, relationships, place names, property, legacies, witness details etc)

ACCOMPTANT – An accountant (now obsolete)


AC ETIMA – and also

ACRAS TERRARIUM – acres of land

AD HANC CURIAM VENIT – at this court comes/to this court comes

ADMITTO/ADMITTERE – to admit (in manorial court records admitting to land)

AD OPUS ET USUM – to the use and behoof of

ADVERSUS – opposite, against, towards

ADVACO – to claim, to confirm, to appeal against

AETAS/AETATIS – age, period of time

AFFEER – to settle/assess the amount of an AMERCEMENT (see below)

AFFEERER/AFFERATORE – the officer of the manorial court who assessed AMERCEMENTS

AFFIRMA – to let to farm, to lease out

AGER/AGRI – field/fields

AGIST – to pasture/pay for pasture

AGNATE – a male ancestor on the fathers line

AGUE – acute fever (largely obsolete now but may be found on death records/inquest records etc)

AGNUS – a lamb

AISIAMENTUM – EASEMENT, right over another’s property

ALDERMAN – a senior councillor whose rank is just below the Mayor

ALIENO – to transfer by sale, to alientate (usually of land)

ALLEGATION – A formal statement setting the names, ages, marital status, places of residence of parties to marry along with an oath confirming there is no impediment to marriage, which would be required by the church, along with a BOND, in order to obtain a marriage licence (pre civil registration)

ALLOTMENT – the allocation of parcels of land under an ENCLOSURE AWARD

ALMERYE – a cupboard

ALMSHOUSE – Charitable organisiations which offered the poor and elderly accomodation

ALTERA DIE – on the next day

AMANUENSIS – someone who took dictation, a copier of manuscripts


AMERCIO – to fine, to amerce

AMERCEMENT – Fine/monetary penalty of a manorial court

AMITA – aunt

AMITTO/AMITTERE/AMITTMISI/AMITTMISSUM – to lose, surrender, handover/

ANILEPMAN – a small hoder or sub-tenant of a manor

ANNO DOMINI – in the year of our Lord

ANNO REGNI REGIS (DOMINUS NOSTRIL) (DOMINA REGINA) – in the year of the reign of (Our Lord King) (Our Lady Queen)

ANNOQUE – and in the year

ANNUATIM – every year, annually

ANNUS – year

ANNUUS – yearly, annual

ANTEDICTUS – aforesaid

APPARENS/APPERENTIS – clear, certain

APPENDANT – common land to be used only for grazing animals which was attached to an arable holding

APPENNE/APPTENCE/APPURTENANT – common land attached to a house

APUD – at, by, near, to, towards

AQUILO – North

ARABILIS – arable land

ARATRUM – Plough, plougland, measure of land

ARKWRIGHT – A skilled worked who makes chests or coffers

ARMIGER – someone who is entitled to bear heraldic arms


ARRIAGE – an office or futy which a tenant would carry out


ASSIGNATUS – assign, assignee

ASSISA – assize, standard (usually of price/quantity), action, claim, tax, cahrge

ASSIZE OF BREAD AND ALE / ASSISA PANIS ET CERVISIE – Statutory regulation/setting of the price of bread and ale with reference to the price of a grain

ASHMAN – a dustman

ASSISUS – fixed, assessed

ASSUMPTIO – feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15th August)

ATTAINDER – forfeiture of someone’s estate by reason of there sentencing to death for treason or felony

ATTORNMENT – the tranfer of tenant’s HOMAGE and service to the new Lord of the Manor following the death of the previous Lord which would be entered in the court roll of the new Lord of the Manors’ first court after their inheritance/acquiring/succession to the manor

AURUM – gold

AUSTER – South

AUT – or

AUT…..AUT – either ….. or

AUTEM – but, moreover, however

AVA – grandmother

AVERIUM – cattle, livestock, draught animal

AVERUS – farm horse, drought ox


AVUS – grandfather

And lastly favorite I came across which is frequently still used today, but of which I never knew the origin, is AFTERMATH – herbage or herbaceous vegetation which was left after a hay harvest.

I would love to hear what obscure words and phrases you have found in your research – sarah@spfhhistory.co.uk

Leave a ReplyCancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.