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Tappan Genealogy Assistance: Know the Lingo

Common terms

•    Ahnentafel - a German word that literally translates as "ancestor table". It is a list of all known ancestors of an individual and includes the full name of each ancestor as well as dates and places of birth, marriage, and death whenever possible. It also has a strict numbering scheme: the base person is assigned the number one. The father of each person is assigned a number equal to double the child’s number. The mother of each person is assigned a number equal to double the child’s number plus one.

•    consanguinity - Relationship by blood. That is, two consanguineous individuals are related because they share one or more common ancestors.

•    family group sheet - A form which presents genealogical information about a nuclear family -- a husband, a wife, and their children.

•    GEDCOM - an acronym that stands for GEnealogy Data COMmunications. In short, GEDCOM is the language by which different genealogy software programs talk to one another. The purpose is to exchange data between dissimilar programs without having to manually re-enter all the data on a keyboard.

•    pedigree - Pedigree refers to a person's direct ancestors. A modern pedigree chart shows a person's pedigree in a graphical format and typically uses lines and/or the relative position of names to make the relationships clear.

•    soundex  - Coding system that identifies "sound alike" surnames. The Soundex Code of a surname is always one letter followed by three numbers, such as E235 or W-262 (the hyphen is optional and can be disregarded).

definitions from  Encyclopedia of Genealogy

Proprietary terms

•    Ancestral File - A computerized file of individual and family records, created from records and pedigree charts submitted to the Family History Department of the LDS since 1979. The purpose of the Ancestral File is to help people coordinate their research. It is currently available online as part of the FamilySearch web site.

•    FamilySearch - a genealogy organization established and run by the LDS. It is the largest genealogy organization in the world.

•   FHC/FHL - Family History Centers are branch facilities of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Centers provide access to most of the microfilms and microfiche in the Family History Library to help patrons identify their ancestors. Most Family History Centers are operated by LDS. Family History Centers are open to everyone, regardless of religious belief.

•    IGI - The International Genealogical Index (IGI) is a database created by the Family History Library. It contains approximately 600 million names of deceased individuals. An addendum to the International Genealogical Index contains an additional 125 million names. These names have been patron submitted or extracted from thousands of original birth, christening and marriage records.

•    LDS - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons).

definitions from  Encyclopedia of Genealogy

Specialized Vocabularies

Some documents you will read need special definitions you probably do not use in your every day life. Keep a link to handy web-sources