A-Z of Genealogy – All about the U, V, W, X, Y and Z’s

This week sees the last of my blogs all about words and phrases found in genealogy, family and house history research. This week they begin with the letters U, V, W, X, Y and Z’s


UBI – Where, When

UBICUMQUE – wheresoever

UNDIQUE – from all parts, on all sides, everywhere

UNICUS – only, sole

UNQUAM – ever

UPHOLDER – undertaker

USITATUS – customary, accustomed

UTERINE – born of the same mother but by a different father

UXOR – wife

UXORATUS – married man

UXOREM DUXIT – married (a wife), took a wife


VAGRANCY – being without regular employment or settled home

VASSAL a feudal inferior of tenant or a MESNE TENANT, of a TENANT-IN-CHIEF or of the King.

vendico/are – to claim

vendo/ire – to sell

Venit – come

veredictum/i – verdict(s)

vicarium – parish

videlicet (vz) – namely, to wit, that is, thus

vidua – widow

viduus – widower

VIEW OF FRANKPLEDGE a system of mutual responsibility for the maintenance of law and order, usually consisting of around ten households

villanus/i – villein(s)

VILLEIN tenants who occupied lands on condition of performing services for the lord of the manor

virgata/ae – virgate(s)

VIRGATE a measurement of land

VISITATION – official inspection of the parish bythe Bishop or his representative, the Archdeacon

visus franciplegii – view of frankpledge

Vocare – To call

Vocat – He calls


Wapentake – the equivalent of the HUNDRED in parts of the DANELAW

WARDSHIP – control and use of land od a tenant who is a minor; guardianship of an infant heir until the heir attains the age of majority (historically the age of 21 years)

WASTE – inferior land used for a common purpose

WAYWARDEN – Parish office responsible for the maintenance and repair of highways

WHIM – winding engine worked by horses or steam

WIDOW’S BENCH – share of husband’s estate the widow was entitled to claim for like or until she remarried (usually a third, sometimes a half)

WITNESSES – Godparents

WOODWARD – manorial office charged with the protection of woodland


X – sometimes used as an abbreciation for Christ


YARDLAND – measure of land the size of which varied greatly from area to area

YEOMAN – freeholder cultivating his own land; an occupying owner; small/medium farmer generally


ZINZIBER – ginger

ZONA – belt, girdle

ZONARIUS – girdle-maker

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

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