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Glossaire généalogique


Cliquez sur chaque lettre pour voir la liste des termes généalogiques.

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - Y - Z - Ra​cial Terminology


Parce que la langue change constamment et que de nombreux mots utilisés dans les anciens documents pourraient avoir une signification différente de la signification courante utilisée aujourd'hui, les dictionnaires des années ou des siècles précédents sont une excellente ressource pour les chercheurs.

Lettre A

abbé: abbot, rector of a parish (in some provinces)

abbaye: abbey

abcès: abscess

absent: absent; absentee, missing person

acceptation: acceptance; approval; approbation

accord: agreement

acre: acre

acte: document; record; official act

acte de foi: a public procedure in which those accused by the Inquisition were sentenced

administration: administration

adopté: adopted

adultère: adultery, violation of the marriage vows

adjoint: adjoining

affinité: relation by marriage

agrégation: addition; attachment; appointment; assignment

agriculteur: farmer

allemand(e): German

altesse: an honorary title given to the kings, princes, and officials of the high court (audiencia) and to some of the royal councils, highness

altitude: altitude

à la fois : both

âme: soul; those spirits consigned to purgatory; in the plural form, ánimas sometimes refers to the death mass or the tolling of the bells to summon to pray for the recently deceased person

ami(e): friend

ancien(ne): elderly

annexe: annex; a church dependent upon another one; rural district joined to a borough

aniversaire: anniversary

ancêtre: ancestor

antérieur: former, previous

antique: old, ancient

annuel: annual

annuaire: yearbook

année: year

année bissextile: leap year, the years in which the last two numerals of the year are divisible by four

année seculaire: the centenary years: 1500, 1600, 1700, 1800, 1900, and 2000 (the years 1600 and 2000 are also leap years)

août: August

apparaître: to appear

appendice: appendix

apostolique: apostolic

apprenti: apprentice

approbation: document establishing the proof of certainty of a fact, such as a proof of the nobility of a person’s family

approximatif: approximate

arbre: tree

arbre génalogique: genealogical tree, pedigree chart

archive: archives, place where records are kept; (office) files, file

archipresbytérat: land under jurisdiction of an archpriest composed of several parishes

archiprêtre: archpriest, a parish priest who also presides over several other parish priests

article: article

archevêché: archbishopric, ecclesiastical territory under the jurisdiction of an archbishop

archevêque: archbishop, the bishop of a metropolitan church to which other bishops are subordinate

ascendance: ascendency, a series of ancestors

ascendant: ancestor

asile: asylum, shelter

asthme: asthma

audience: regional high court; civil tribunal that dealt with the civil and criminal actions of the last resort (In the absence of a colonial viceroy this high court became the executive branch that represented the king.) A division of colonial government or viceroyalty.

avance: colonial title used for the following: governor of a frontier province, supreme justice of the kingdom, captain general in times of war; a discoverer, founder; pacifier of Indian lands

avant tout: above all, first of all

avant: before

avent: Advent, the four weeks preceding Christmas

avocat: lawyer

avril: April

awol: military, absent without leave

avantage:  beneficence; charity; welfare organization or institution, charity organization, 


Lettre B

bachellier : graduate of the equivalent of junior college in the United States; holder of a bachelor’s degree, baccalaureate; applied to priests who have graduated from the seminary

banque : bank; bench

banc de noblesse : seat in city council held by nobility

banco de roturier : seat in city council held by commoners

bateau : ship

baptême : baptism

baptiser : to baptize, to christen

bébé : baby

bénédiction : blessing

benefice : benefit, profit; development, cultivation (of land); ecclesiastical benefice; a position that is purchased; (law) right by law or privilege

beneficio de deliberar : (law) opportunity of deliberation in which the heir can postpone acceptance of inheritance until inventory has been made

beneficio de inventario : (law) benefit of inventory, right granted to heir to accept inheritance without being obligated to pay debts amounting to more than the inheritance

beneficio simple : ecclesiastical sinecure

biblioteca : library

bien : well, good

bienes : properties, goods, fee

bienes raíces : real property

bisabuelo(a)(s) : great-grandparent(s)

bisnieto(a)(s) : great-grandchild(ren)

blanco(a) : white

boca : mouth

boda : marriage, wedding

bodigo : bread taken to the church as an offering. Used in phrases such as  pan bodigo de aquartal (a cuartal)  o  pan bodigo de a medio

bozal : caste name given to Negros in Panama

braza : length measure, length formed by having both arms of a person open and extended—which commonly is taken to be 6 feet of width

brazo : arm

bueno(a) : good

bula : Papal bull or proclamation.

búsqueda : researche


Lettre C

caballería : military cavalry; knightly order, knights, eg. la  caballería de Santiago  (the Knights of Santiago), knighthood, rank and privileges of a knight; knight’s fee, a grant of land made on the condition of maintaining one mounted man-at-arms; land measure (in Spain about 95 acres, in Cuba 33, in Puerto Rico 194, in Mexico 106)

caballero : nobleman; knight; member of a military order; gentleman

cabeza : head

cabildo : municipal or town council; chapter of a cathedral or collegiate church

cabildo abierto : meetings of the town council and the citizens of the town

cabo : corporal (mil.)

cacicazgo : the territory governed by and/or the authority of a  cacique

cacique(ca) : the chief or ruler of some Indian tribes; local ruler

calle : street

callejo(n) : alley, small street

cambio : change, alteration; interchange, exchange; (law) exchange of posts by holders of government jobs or ecclesiastical benefices

cambujo(a) : mixture of one part of Indian blood, one part of Negro blood and one part of Chinese blood

cambur(a) : mixture of one part of Spanish blood, two parts of Indian blood and one part of Negro blood; taken from the parish registers of Mexico

camino : road

campesino(a) : peasant

campo : field

cáncer : cancer

canonicato : canonry (canons collectively), canonship

canónico : Prescribed by, in conformity with, or having reference to ecclesiastical edict or canon law.

caña de azúcar : sugarcane

capellán : a priest who has a chaplaincy, or says mass in a private chapel and who is paid by a trust fund or private individual to administer the affairs of said fund or individual. Military priest at a  presidio

capellanía : benefice or foundation subject to certain obligations; lay foundation without ecclesiastical intervention

capilla : chapel

capital : assets; principal of a trust fund

capitán general : supreme commander of a military region

capitanía general : captaincy general; territorial demarcation governed by a Capitán General during the colonial era; major military administrative unit in Spain

capitulación matrimonial : marriage contract

capítulo matrimonial : marriage articles, marriage contract, civil marriage

cara : face

cárcel : jail

carga : weight measurement, a certain portion of grain, which in Castile is 4 fanegas = 138,074 kg.

carga de tabaco o algodón : weight measure equivalent to 92 kg

carnicero : butcher

carpintero : carpenter

carretera : road

carta de pago : receipt (for payment)

carta de examen : diploma; license (practice a trade or profession)

casa : house

casa solar : ancestral home, manor house

casado(a) : married

casamiento : marriage, wedding

casar, casarse : to marry

casería : rural house with dependencies and lands, commonly used in the Basque countries. See also caserío.

caserío : hamlet, see also casería.

casta : caste; racial lineage; each one of the closed classes in which a society is divided (see the various “blood mixture” definitions and the racial terminology section in this glossary)—in many cases the caste distinctions are social rather than literal

castellano : native of Castile; Castilian Spanish; Spanish

castillo : castle

castizo : of a good caste; in Puerto Rico, a mixture of  meztizo  and Spanish blood; in Guatemala, a blood mixture of Spanish (15 parts) and  Criollo

catalán : native of Catalonia; Romance language spoken in Catalonia and other Spanish regions of Spain that were part of the old Crown of Aragon.

catastro : census; census of the lands and resources

Catastro de Ensenada : census ordered in 1749 by the  Marqués de la Ensenada  for Charles III for the entire area ruled by Castile

cátedra : the chair or seat of a bishop in his church; hence, the episcopal see or dignity

catedral : cathedral, Episcopal church of a diocese or archdiocese

católico(a) : Catholic

catorce : fourteen

caudillo : military leader, captain,  cacique

cazador : hunter

c.c.=casado con : married to

cédula real : royal decree

celemín : dry measure equivalent to four cuartillos—4.625 liters

cementerio : cemetery; a place in the countryside where Christian Indians, slaves, and other poor persons are buried; a churchyard burial ground, behind, beside, or sometimes in front of the church; places within churches—in the floor, the walls, and special crypts, etc.; civil burial grounds which date from the beginning of civil registration within each country

censo : census of population, etc.; official register of citizens having the right to vote; head-tax, tribute, tax; annual stipend paid formerly by some churches to their prelates; (law) living pledge, contract, whereby an estate is pledged to payment of an annuity as interest on a loan without transfer of title.

centenario : centennial

cerca : near, approximate

cerrajero : locksmith

certificado : certificate

certificación : certification, attestation

cervecero(a) : brewer

chancillería : supreme Spanish tribunals of justice prior to the nineteenth century; courts of original jurisdiction for proof of nobility

chino(a) : in Peru, blood mixture: offspring of a  mulatto  and an Indian

chiticalla : person, thing or event kept anonymous

cholo(a) : in Peru, blood mixture: offspring of a  mestizo  and an Indian

ciego(a) : blind

ciento : one hundred

cimarrón(a) : in Mexico and Guatemala, mixture of one part of Spanish blood, one part of Indian blood, and two parts of Negro blood; in Panama, a rebellious slave

cinco : five

cincuenta : fifty

ciudad : city

ciudadano(a) : citizen

clase : class, type, kind; (military) non-commissioned officers

clérigo : clergyman; those who have been received into a sacred order (in military orders this is distinguished from  caballero )

codicilio / codicilo / cobdicilio / cobdecilio : codicil, amendment to a will.  

c.m.c.=contrajo matrimonio con : contracted marriage with

cofradía : congregation or brotherhood of religious individuals; confraternity; guild; trade union

cofrade / confrade : member of a cofradía

cojo(a) : lame

colector : collector of taxes, or of collection for the church

colecturía : death records listing collections of payments for funeral and masses

colegiata : collegiate church

colegio notarial : notarial college

colina : hill

colinda con : coterminous with

colonia : colony

colonial : time period beginning at the conquest and ending with the wars of independence, or approximately 1492-1825 (1899 for Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines); of or relating to that time period; relating to a colony

colorado(a) : red

comadre : midwife; godmother

comandancia general : military administrative unit, commandery

comerciante : merchant

comercio : business, commerce; business district or area.

comerciante : merchant

como : as, how

compañía : a legal association or society of several persons united for a single purpose, commercial, social, or ecclesiastical; military unit

comparecer : to appear officially

compraventa : contract of purchase and sale

compromiso : pledge, commitment, promise; engagement (to be married); (law) compromise, arbitration, agreement

comunidad : community, particularly a religious group; village, commune, community

comunión : communion, partaking of the Eucharist

con : with

concejal : councilman

concejo / concejil : council

concerniente : concerning

concierto : agreement, contract; arrangement, settlement

concilio : council

Concilio Tridentino : Council of Trent

concuñado(a) : spouse of one’s own spouse's brother or sister

condado : earldom, courtship (dignity, jurisdiction or possessions of an earl or count); county

conde : count, earl; overseer

confirmación : confirmation, affirmation, corroboration; the religious sacrament of confirmation administered by the bishop

congregación : congregation; assembly; Religious Brotherhood; committee of cardinals, or of a religious order

conocido(a) : known; acquaintance

conocido(a) como : known as

conquistadores : Spanish conquerors of the New World in the 16th century

consanguinidad : consanguinity, kinship, blood relationship, measures in degrees in canon law by counting from each person to the common ancestor

consejo : council

Consejo de Castilla or Real : of Castile, Royal Council, supreme administrative body in Spain

Consejo de Indias : royal council that governed the colonies

consentimiento : consent, compliance, acquiescence

consignación : consignment; deposit (of money)

consorte : spouse; partner associate

constar : to be recorded or registered

constipación : constipation

constipado : constipated; having a cold

consumimiento / consunción : consumption

contenido : contents

contra : against

contratación : marking; trade; Casa de Contratación, Spanish government entity located in Seville and overseeing all comercial activity and the colonies, 1503-1790

contrato : contract, agreement enforceable by law

contrato de aprendizaje : contract of apprenticeship

contrayente : contracting party, such as in a marriage

contribución : tax

convenio : agreement, covenant, pact

convento : convent

conversión : conversion

convulsión : convulsion

cónyuge : spouse, consort; (pl.) married couple

copia literal : literal or word-for-word copy

cordelero(a) : rope maker

cordillera : mountain range

coronel : (mil.) colonel

corregidor : Spanish magistrate, mayor appointed by the King; royal governor of the district

corregimiento : occupation of the  Corregidor , the territory in which he exercises his jurisdiction

corriente : current, present (week, month, year)

cortesana : court hand; paleographic term referring to the writing used in the courts during a period between 1500 and 1650 A.D.

cortesano : courtier, royal attendant

cosa : thing, something; affair, business

cosecha : harvest

coto : group of estates with one owner

coto redondo : group of estates with one owner

coyote : mixture of four parts of Spanish blood, three parts of Indian blood, and one part of Negro blood, taken from the parish registers of Mexico  

criada : maid

criatura : infant, child

criollo(a) : Creole; Latin-American colonial born of European parents

crisma : Chrism, consecrated oil

cristiano(a) : Christian

cronista : chronicler, historian

cuadra : stable; city block

cuál : which

cuándo : when

cuarenta : forty

cuaresma : Lent, the forty days before Easter beginning on Ash Wednesday; collection of Lent sermons

cuarteado : mixture of two parts of Spanish blood, one part of Indian blood and one part of  Negro  blood; the offspring of a  mestizo  and a  mulatto

cuarterón : mixture of three parts of Spanish blood, one part of  mulatto  blood; at times called  morisco

cuarterón de chino : in Peru, mixture of Spanish and  chino  blood

cuarterón de mestizo : in Peru, mixture of Spanish and  mestizo  blood

cuarterón de mulato : in Peru, mixture of Spanish and  mulatto  blood

cuartillo : dry measure equivalent to ¼ celemín, or 1.156 liters

cuarto : room

cuarto : fourth

cuate : in México, the word used for twins; usually the Spanish is  mellizos

cuatrero : mixture of one part of Spanish blood and three parts of Indian blood; the offspring of a  mestizo  and an Indian

cuatrillizos : quadruplets

cuatro : four

cuatrocientos : four hundred

cuenta : account, bill, report

cuerpo : body, volume, book, body of laws, of writings, of people; corps (diplomatic and military)

cumpleaños : birthday

cuñada : sister-in-law

cuñado : brother-in-law, spouse of any female relative, such as a nephew-in-law

cura : parish priest, vicar

curato : parish

curia : administrative and judicial organization under the bishop

cursiva : paleographic term: cursive, flowing handwriting, italic

curtidor : tanner

cuyo(a) : whose


Lettre D

dado : as long as, provided that, given that

data : date

de : of, from, belonging to

de los mismos : of the same, usually refers to previous wording, such as month and year

de primera instancia : (court) of original jurisdiction

de repente : suddenly

debilidad : weakness, disability

década : decade

decanato : deanship, deanery (post and residence of university dean)

décimo(a) : tenth

decimoctavo(a) : eighteenth

decimocuarto(a) : fourteenth

decimonono(a) : nineteenth

decimoquinto(a) : fifteenth

decimoséptimo(a) : seventeenth

decimosexto(a) : sixteenth

decimotercero(a) : thirteenth

declaración : declaration, statement, affidavit

declarado(a) : declared, stated

decreto : decree

dedicado(a) : dedicated

dedo : finger

defensor : defense, counsel

defunción : death

dehesa : pasture land

delación : relinquishment, abandonment; (law) assignment

delegación : delegation (delegating of power); group of delegates

demanda : demand, claim

dentición : teething

dentro : within, inside

denuncia : accusation, denunciation

departamento : district, department; one of the districts into which a country or state or province is divided

depósito : deposit, depository

derecha : right

derecho : law; right

derecho canónico : canon law

derrame : stroke; spill

desacuerdo : disagreement

desaveniencia : disagreement

descendiente : descendant

desconocido(a) : unknown

descripción : description

desde : since

despachar : to finish or shorten at a section; to resolve or determine the causes; to send a person or thing

despoblado : unpopulated

después : after

detrás : after, behind

día de los reyes : Day of the Kings or Magi, Twelfth Night, January 6th

diario : daily

diarrea : diarrhea

diccionario : dictionary

diccionario corográfico : geographical dictionary

diciembre : December

dicho(a) : stated, said, the above mentioned; (law) declaration, statement made by witness

diecinueve : nineteen

dieciocho : eighteen

dieciséis : sixteen

diecisiete : seventeen

diente : tooth

diez : ten

diezmo : tithing

difo.=difunto : deceased

difunto(a) : deceased

dignidades reales : Your Royal Highness; royal concessions or grants

digno(a) : worthy

digo : I say, I mean, frequently used by scribes in records to correct errors as they wrote

diligencia matrimonial : premarital investigation conducted by parish priest

diócesis : diocese, unit of the Catholic Church presided over by a bishop

diputado(a) : deputy

discernimiento : judgment; appointment of a guardian

disentería : dysentery

dispensa / dispensación : exemption, permission

dispensa apostólica : apostolic dispensation or grant given by a pope or bishop, depending upon its nature

dispensa de su santidad : apostolic dispensation or grant given by a pope or bishop

dispensa matrimonial : exception to canon law regulation given by bishop to bride and groom to permit marriage, e.g. , for being related within the 4th degree

disposición : arrangement, disposal

dista / distante / distancia : distance (from)

distrito : district

divorciado(a) : divorced

divorcio : divorce

doce : twelve

doctrina : doctrine; ritual; a village of Indians that as yet has not been designated as a parish ( curato  or  parroquia ), a district under the direction of a priest expressly called to indoctrinate the Indians; Latin American parish

documento : document

documento nacional de identidad : personal identity document issued by the civil government (used throughout much of the Hispanic world)

domicilio : dwelling, residence

domiciliado en : residing in

domingo : Sunday

don : title of respect prefixed to Christian names, which prior to 1832 usually referred to nobility or to political or ecclesiastical office holders

donación : donation, gift, grant

donde : where

doña : lady (see  don ); woman; (Chile) gift, bequest; (pl.) bridegroom’s presents to the bride

dos : two

doscientos : two hundred

dotación : endowment, dowry

dote : dowry, that property which a woman takes into marriage

d.s.p. = defunctus sine prole : died without issue

ducado : the coin of gold or silver that the Catholic monarchs created, established in the value of 375  maravedís  de  vellón , which varied; dukedom, duchy

ducado de plata : its value was 375  maravedís  of silver and corresponded in  vellón  with the variety—according to the increase or decrease which silver had at different times

dueño(a) : owner

duodécimo : twelfth

duque : duke, title of honor which follows that of prince


Lettre E

eclesiástico(a) : ecclesiastical

ecónomo : priest temporarily in charge of a parish.

edad : age

ejecutor(a) : executor

ejecutoria : court or administrative body that issues  ejecutorios

ejecutorios : legal patent of nobility; (law) writ of execution (of a judgment)

ejército : army, military

él : he, him

el : the

elección : election

ella : she

ellos : they

emancipación : emancipation, the act of freeing from servitude

embarazada : pregnant

embarcar : to pack, crate, bale; to go aboard a vessel

emigración : emigration, population movement, leaving one’s native country to go and establish oneself in another country

emigrante : emigrant

empleado(a) : employee

encinta : pregnant

en tierra : on land

encomendero : one who had Indians assigned to him in an  encomienda  during the first centuries of the colonial era (see  amparo )

encomienda : patronage, commandery; dignity of military order to which a geographical territory and certain income therefrom was attached; a village or territory of Indians that was under the jurisdiction of an  encomendero who was charged with the supervision of the moral and civil education of a group of Indians in exchange for a tribute collected from the Indian labor

enero : January

enfermedad : disease

enterrado(a) : buried

entierro : burial, funeral, interment

entrambos(as) : both

entre : between, among

envejecido(a) : elderly

epidemia : epidemic

epilepsia : epilepsy

episcopal : of the bishop

era : (I, you, he, she, it) was/were

éramos : (we) were

eran : (you, they) were

eras : (you) were

es : (you, he, she, it) are/is

escarlata : escarlet fever

esclavitud : slavery

esclavo(a) : slave

escribanía : noraty office; court clerkship, office of the court clerk; writing desk

escribano : notary; court clerk, judge’s secretary

escribiente : scribe

escritura : writing, handwriting; document, e.g., deed; instrument contract, indenture

escritura encadenada : chain writing, a form of  procesal  handwriting used extensively before the sixteenth century

escuela : school

ese / esa : that

español : the Spanish language

español(a) : of or relating to Spain; in colonial records, racial designation indicative of white or of pure Spanish blood

español criollo : Spanish creole; that individual born of Spanish parents within the Spanish colonies

espera : (law) adjournment

esposo(a) : husband (wife), spouse

espurio(a) : illegitimate

está : (you, he, she, it) are/is

estación : season; station

estado : status, e.g., marital status; state, nation, country, government

estamos : (we) are

están : (they, you) are

estar : to be

este : east

este(a, o) : this

estómago : stomach

estoy : (I) am

evangélico(a) : evangelical

examen(a) : see  carta de examen

exhumación : exhumation, removal of a corpse from its grave, niche, or mausoleum

expediente : the written proceedings of a particular action; petition; file

expediente de quinta : conscript’s file; the written conscription proceedings

expediente matrimonial : marriage proceeding or application

expósito(a) : abandoned, foundling child (frequently used as the surname for such children)

extracto : extract

extracto del certificado : summary or abstract of the certificate (not a literal copy)

extramuros : outside the city walls

extranjero(a)  : foreigner

extraño(a) : stranger

extremaunción : extreme unction, last rite (fifth of the Seven Sacraments) administered to a gravely ill person, usually just before death


Lettre F

fábrica : factory; construction; church property funds

fallecer : to die

fallecido(a) : deceased

familia : family; all persons of the same blood, such as uncles, cousins, nephews, etc.

familiar : pertaining to a family; domestic; servant of the clergy; local representative or servant of the Inquisition

fanega : unit of measure equating 1.5 bushels; dry measurements—12 celemines, which is equivalent to 55.5 liters; weight measurement— measurements of grain and other seeds, it is the fourth part of what in Castile is called a “carga” of wheat, because this has about 4  arrobas

fe : certificate; faith

febrero : February

fecha : date

feligrés(a) : parishioner, person belonging to a given parish

feligresía : parish congregation.

femenino(a) : feminine

ferrería : iron works

ferrocarril : railroad

feudo : fee

fianza : deposit, guarantee, bond, bail

fichas : index cards

fichero : filing cabinet; index-card system, filing-card system, card-catalog

fiebre tifoidea : typhoid fever

fiel de fechos : individual authorized to act as a notary in towns where no notary is available

filiación : military register of a soldier; parental ties between parents and children

filial : relating to a son; dependent institution

finado(a) : deceased

finiquito : closing of an account

firma : signature

flaqueza : weakness

floresta : forest, grove

folio : page of a book, notebook or bundle ( legajo )

fondos : funds

fornicación : fornication, sexual union outside of the marriage contract where the persons involved are not married

foro : tribunal court; bar, legal profession; lease, rent

fortaleza : fortress, strength

francés(a) : French

frente : front, in front of

frontera : border, frontier

fue : (you, he, she, it) were/was

fuego : fire, hearth

fuente : fountain, source

fuero : jurisdiction; right, the privilege of the clergy and military to be tried in their own courts; traditional regional law

fueron : (you, they) were

fui : (I) was

fuimos : (we) were

fundación : foundation endowment

futuro : future


Lettre G

ganado : cattle

gemelo(a) : twin; word used to distinguish one or two or more children born at the same time                                                                                                              

gemelos(as) : twins

genealogía : genealogy

gente : people

gobernación : government, governing

gobernador : governor, the supreme ruler of a province, department, city or territory

gota : gout, drop

grado : degree, grade, rank

gran / grande : grand, great, large

gremio : guild, society, association, brotherhood

gripe : influenza

guarda : guard, warden

guardia : guard, body of soldiers; keeper, custodian

guía : guide; advisor, instructor, trainer


Lettre H

h.= hijo : son

habitante : inhabitant

hace ya dos años : two years ago already

hacienda : farmstead, estate, farm, a rural establishment; the Treasury Department

hecho(a) : completed, done

hembra : female

hemorragia : hemorrhage, bleeding

heráldica : heraldry

heredad :  a.  Portion of cultivated land, traditionally inherited to a family.  b.  Inheritance.

heredero(a) : heir

herencia : inheritance

hermanastro(a) : stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister

hermandad : brotherhood, confraternity, fraternity, sisterhood

hermano(a) : brother, sister

hermano(a) político(a) : brother-in-law (sister-in-law)

hermanos : brothers, siblings, born of the same parents, or of the same father, or of the same mother

herrero : blacksmith

hidalgo : noble, of noble blood, gentry; from  hijo de algo  literally “son of something”

hidropesía : dropsy

hijastra : stepdaughter

hijastro : stepson, stepchild

hijo(a) : child, son, daughter (usually appears in documents modified by some adjective such as  legítimo ,  ilegítimo ,  natural , etc.)

hijo(a) adoptivo(a) : adopted child, a person that legally uses the name of another

hijo(a) legítimo(a) : legitimate child, a child born of a legal union

hijo(a) natural : common-born child, a child born of unwed parents who could have been legally married if they had desired, an illegitimate child

hijo(a) político(a) : son-in-law (daughter-in-law)

hijodalgo : see  hidalgo

hijos : sons, children

hijuela : document listing the assets that a person is to receive from a decedent’s estate; the assets to be received from a decedent’s estate; little daughter, little girl; anex or subordinate church

hinchazón : swelling

hipoteca : mortgage, pledge

Hispaniola : colonial name for Haiti and the Dominican Republic

historia : history

h.l. = hijo legítimo

h.n. = hijo natural

hogar : home

hoja : leaf, sheet of paper, page of book

hoja de lámina : plate (book)

hoja de servicios : service record, document of an officer containing the personal and professional antecedents of government employees, used extensively in the military

hoja familiar : family group sheet

holandés(a) : Dutch

hombre : man, husband

honesto(a) : honest

hora : hour

hospedero : innkeeper

huérfano(a) : orphan


Lettre I

i : and

i.=ilegítimo  : illegitimate

idioma : language

iglesia : church

Iglesia Católica : Catholic Church

igual : equal

ilegítimo : illegitimate

ill.=ilegítimo  : illegitimate

impedimento : obstacle, hindrance, obstruction; impediment, in particular one of those imposed by canon law to prevent marriage by related persons, married persons, etc.

imperio : empire

imponible : taxable

impuesto : tax

in facie ecclesiae : Latin phrase meaning  before the church ; used in marriage documents to describe full church marriage

incógnito(a) : unknown, unrecognized

incontinente : immediately, promptly

indemnidad : indemnity (security or protection against injury, damage, or loss)

Indias : Indies; the Americas, including the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America

índice : written index, list, catalog

indígena : indigenous, native, Indian

indigente : indigent

indio(a) : Indian, a person living with the Indians who adopts their customs, a social designation

industria : industry

información : declaration or statement of fact

información matrimonial : a bundle of papers or an entry in a parish book which originates from pre-marriage proceedings that include the publication of banns ( amonestación matrimonial ), declarations by the contracting parties and witness, and at times a copy of the marriage ceremony, copies of baptismal records of bride and groom, and consents of parents to marriage or copies of their death records

infrascrito(a) : written hereafter; undersigned person

inglés(a) : English

inhumación : burial

inmigración : immigration, population movement between two countries, entry to a foreign country with the intention of establishing permanent residence there

inmigrante : immigrant

inmoble : real estate

inmueble : real estate

ino.=indio : Indian

instancia : petition, request

instancia, corte de primera : lower court, court of original jurisdiction

intendencia : intendency, territorial division under the direction of the intendente, which originated in the Americas during the last quarter of the eighteenth century under the reign of Carlos III and continued until the Independence Era

intendente : mayor

intestado(a) : intestate, without testament

intestinos : intestines

inventario : inventory

inventario de bienes de difunto : inventory of the deceased person’s assets

investigador : investigating, researching; investigator

invierno : Winter

Islas Fortunatas : Colonial name for the Canary Islands

italiano(a) : Italian

itálica : paleographic term, italic, cursive script introduced during the sixteenth century in Spain and the Americas.  Bastarda.

ítem : used to introduce a new fact or statement, or, more frequently, each new article or particular in an enumeration, esp. in a formal list or document, as an inventory, or will.

izquierda : left


Lettre J

jardinero : gardener                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

jesuita : Jesuit

jornalero : journeyman, day laborer

jubilado : retired

judío(a) : Jewish

jueves : Thrusday

juez : judge, juryman; governor of Castile

julio : July

junio : June

junto(s) : together

junto a : next to

jurado : juryman

juramento : oath

jurisdicción : jurisdiction

jurisdicciones : jurisdictions; boundary; district

juro(s) : right of perpetual ownership, perpetual annuity; pension

justicia : justice, rightness, fairness; court (of justice); tribunal

juzgado : local court

juzgado de comarca : region or district court

juzgado de primera instancia : court of original jurisdiction (the first petition)


Lettre L

l., leg. = legítimo : legitimate

la : the (feminine)

labrador : farmer, peasant

ladino(a) : mixture of three parts of Spanish blood, and one part of Indian blood; a name given to those Indians who speak Spanish; in Panama, a Christian Negro who spoke Spanish; in Costa Rica, a name indicating a social position, or a Spaniard with a small amount of Indian blood

ladrillero : brick mason, bricklayer

lago : lake

lasto : receipt given to a person who pays for someone else

latifundio : large landed estate typical of Andalucia and large parts of Latin America

latitud : latitude

lechero : dairyman

legajo : bundle of loose papers that are usually tied together because they deal with common subject; most common unit of filed papers in Spanish archives  

legal : legal

legítimo(a) : legitimate, lawful

legua : league (3 ½ miles); length—land measurement which varies depending on the nation, equivalent to approximately 5.572m.  

lengua : language, tongue

levante : east

ley : law

liberación : exoneration, exemption from taxes or obligations

libertad : freedom, liberty; privilege, right

liberto(a) : freed slave

libra : weight measure, weight which commonly is 16 oz., even though it can change depending on the place; the measurement by which some liquids, such as olive oil, are sold—it is divided in 4 cuarterones, which is the same as 16 ounces (in the drug stores this measure has 12 ounces)

libramiento : deliverance; warrant or order of payment

libranza : draft, bill of exchange, money order

libro : book

libro de actas : minute book

libro de familia : book of the family, often issued by the government for recording births, marriages, and deaths

libros sacramentales : parish registers

licencia : permission, authority; leave, furlough

licenciado : release; licensed, authorized; licentiate, holding master’s degree

lícito(a) : legal

límite : boundary

limosna : alms

limpieza de sangre : purity of blood; a phrase used in the records of the Inquisition, civil fraternal orders, and some other governmental employment records indicating that a person and his ancestry were not contaminated with heretic religion nor the blood of Moors, Moriscos, Jews, or Negros; records showing the purity of ancestry of the person applying for a position

liquidación : liquidation, winding up; liquidation of debts

lobo(a) : mixture of one part of Indian blood and three parts of Negro blood

longitud : longitude

lonja : public exchange, market

lugar : village, hamlet; place, spot, site

lunes : Monday


Lettre M

macho : male

madrastra : stepmother, the woman with respect to the children of her husband born of another marriage

madre : mother

madre política : mother-in-law

madrina : godmother, a woman who assists in one of the sacraments of baptism, marriage, etc. (many times the godmother is a near relative), sponsor, protectoress

maestro : master, teacher

magistratura : judgeship

maíz : corn

mancipación : transfer of property

mandas : bequests

mano : hand

mañana : tomorrow; morning

mapa : map

Mar del Norte : the North See; the Atlantic and Caribbean in early colonial records

Mar del Sur : the South See, the Pacific

maravedí : ancient Spanish coin, sometimes it has been understood by a certain coin and others by number or quantity of them. Their value varied at different times, because of their different quality and metal; because they were of gold, silver, and copper. In eighteenth-century Spain, there were 34  maravedís  in one  real .

margen : margin

marido : husband

marina : Navy

marinero : sailor

marítimo(a) : maritime

marqués : marquis; in ancient times, a lord over the lands situated on the frontiers of a kingdom; in later times, a noble title between that of count and duke

martes : Tuesday

marzo : March

más : more

masculino : masculine

más joven : younger, youngest

materno(a) : maternal, pertaining to the mother’s family

matrícula : register, list, roster, roll census

matrimonial : matrimonial, relating to marriage

matrimonio : marriage

mayo : May

mayor : larger, elder

mayorazgo : family estate, entailed on the eldest son; a legal term indicating priority right to authority, inheritance, or succession; first-born son with the right of primogeniture

media anata : payment made to obtain a title position or benefice original equal to one-half year’s income from the title, position, or benefice

media noche : midnight

médico : doctor

medio hermano : half-brother (sister), being brother (sister) only by father or mother

mejora : special bequest, additional bequest; development, improvement

mellizo(a) : twin, (pl.) two children born of one pregnancy

memoria : memory, recollection; report; study account

mendigo : beggar

menonita : Mennonite

menor : smaller, younger; smallest, youngest

menos : less

mercadería : wares, goods

mercado : market

mercante : merchant

merced : grant or privilege given by the monarch or lord to his vassals; these came to be associated with control over income-producing property and required an initial payments as well as payment when a transfer was made by death, gift, or sale to another person (see  media anata )

merindad : jurisdiction and post of a district judge; district whose interests were looked after by the chief town within that territory; township district

méritos : merit; accomplishments

mes : month

mestizo : a person born of parents of different races, usually Spanish and Indian; crossbreed

mi : my, me

miembro : member

miércoles : Wednesday

mil : thousand

milicia : (mil.) militia

militar : pertaining to the military or to war; a person serving in the army

milla : mile

mina : mine

minero : miner

ministro : minister

mío(a) : mine

misa : celebration of the Eucharist, Mass

misión : indian parish under control of one of the religious orders

mismo(a) : same

mita : tribute paid by the Indians of Peru and Bolivia; forced labor in the mines, factories, and on public works for which the Indians were selected by lot during Inca and Spanish dominion—minor compensation was sometimes given (see  repartimiento )

mitad : half

m.n.=more novo : according to the new manner of dating (the Gregorian calendar)

molino : mill

monasterio : monastery

monje(a) : monk (nun)

montaña : mountain

monte : hill

montero(a) : hunter

morada : dwelling

morador(a) : resident

morar : to live (location)

moreno(a) : mixture of two parts of Spanish blood, one part of Indian blood, and one part of Negro blood; offspring of Spaniard and  zambaigo

morir : to die

morisco(a) : Moorish, those baptized Moors that lived in Spain and the colonies; Mexico, mixture of Spanish and mulatto blood

mozo(a) : single, unmarried, bachelor; lad, young man; the youngest or junior

muchacho(a) : boy, girl

muchas veces : often

muchos(as) : many

mudo(a) : dumb

muebles : furniture, household

muerte : death

muerto(a) : deceased

mujer : woman; wife

mulato(a) : mulatto, a person having one white and one black parent. A person of mixed race resembling a mulatto

municipal : of or relating to the  municipio

municipio : municipality, the territorial jurisdiction which includes the inhabitants governed by a town council

murió : died, third person singular in the past tense of morir


Lettre N

n.=nació, nacido : born

n.=nombre  : name

nac.=nacido(a) : born

nacer : to be born

nacido(a) : born

nacido(a) muerto(a) : stillborn

nacimiento : birth

nació : third person singular in the past tense of  nacer , he was born

nacionalidad : nationality, citizenship

nariz : nose

natural : native of, born in a given locality; born outside of the marriage contract

naturaleza : nature; nationality; place of origin

nave : ship; nave, aisle

navío : ship

necesidad : necessity, need

negocio : business

negro(a) : Negro, black or dark-skinned, native of various tribes of Africa

negro(a) fino(a) : mixture of one part of Spanish blood and three parts of Negro blood; offspring of mulatto and Negro

nene : baby, child

nieta : granddaughter

nieto : grandson

nietos : grandchildren

ningún(o, a) : none, not one

niño(a) : child

no : no

no.=número : number

nobiliario : nobiliary, peerage list; pertaining to the nobility

noble : noble

nobleza : nobility

noche : night

nombramiento : appointment, election, nomination, commission

nombrar : to elect or appoint; to name, to mention by name.

nombre : name

nombre de pila : given or Christian name, e.g., name given at baptismal font

nono(a) : ninth

noreste / nordeste : northeast

noroeste : northwest

norte : north

nosotros : we

notable : notable, noteworthy, outstanding

notario : notary, authorized official for preparing and certifying public actions, contracts, deeds, bonds, wills, etc. Before 1869, those using this title were usually ecclesiastically appointed, and the civil notaries of that era were generally called  escribanos .

novecientos : nine hundred

noveno(a) : ninth

noventa : ninety

novia : bride, fiancée

noviembre : November

novio : groom, fiancé

novios : betrothed

nuera : daughter-in-law, wife of the son

nuestro(a) : our, ours, of ours

Nueva Andalucía : region of Tierra Firme between the Cabo de la Vela in the gulf of Uraba or Darien in modern Colombia ; the region and city of Cumana, Venezuela

Nueva Castilla : northern part of colonial Peru, its southern boundary 25 but more than 60 leagues south of the San Juan de Chincha River

Nueva Córdoba : Venezuela during the early colonial era

Nueva España : colonial Mexico

Nueva Extremadura : early colonial Chile, the northern part of Chile; the territory of Coahuila, Mexico

Nueva Galicia : colonial Aguascalientes, Jalisco, and parts of Durango, Zacatecas, Nayarit, San Luis Potosí, and Coahuila in Mexico (its capital was Guadalajara)

Nueva Granada : the Californias in the early colonial period

Nueva Vizcaya : separated from Nueva Galicia 1573-1576, included Sinaloa, Sonora, Durango, Chihuahua, and parts of Coahuila in Mexico (its capital was Durango)

Nuevo León : Nuevo Leon, Mexico and its surrounding areas, including part of Tamaulipas

Nuevo Santander : the northern part of colonial Colombia; northeastern Mexican State of Tamaulipas and Texas south of the Nueces River before 1848

Nuevo Toledo : the southern part of colonial Peru, that jurisdiction which from 1559 was known as the Audiencia de Charcas, its southern boundary being the straits of Magellan; Chile

nueve : nine

nuevo(a) : new

num.=número : number

número : number

nunca : never

nupcias : marriage, wedding, nuptials


Lettre O

o : or

obispado : bishopric, episcopate

obispo : bishop, spiritual and ecclesiastical leader of a diocese

óbito : death

obituario : obituary, book wherein are registered deaths and burials, section of death notices in the newspapers

obligación : obligation, responsibility, duty; liability, bond

obras pías : foundation or donation created or given for church work or for charitable works, literally, pious works

obrero : worker, laborer

observaciones : comments, marginal notes

occidente : west

octavo(a) : eighth

octubre : October

ochenta : eighty

ocho : eight

ochocientos : eight hundred

oeste : west

oferta : offering

oficio : occupation, job, work, craft, trade; office, post, position; function; written communication.

ofrenda : offering

oidor : magistrate who, in the royal courts ( audiencia ), heard and sentenced disputes and lawsuits

ojo : eye

óleo : blessed oil used in the ceremonies of the Church

once : eleven

onomástico(a): onomastic (referring to names)

onza : weight that is worth 16 adarmes and is equivalent to 28,7 grams; the twelfth part of a Roman libra

onza de oro : a Spanish ancient gold coin minted from the time of Felipe III until that of Fernando VII and worth 320 reales, meaning 80 pesetas

operario : worker, laborer

oración : prayer

orden militar : religious order of knights, such as Santiago, Calatrava, Alcántara, Malta, San Juan de Jerusalén                                                                                

orden regular : religious order that takes vows, such as that of the Franciscan, Dominican, Jesuit, etc.

oreja : ear

orfanato : orphanage

oriente : east

originario : native of a given place

oro : gold

o.s.p.=obiit sine prole : died without issue

otoño : autumn

otorgar : to set forth, establish, offer, grant, stipulate or promise something usually used when the notary is preparing the actual document

otro(a) : other, another

otrosí : furthermore, besides, moreover; (law) each additional petition after the principal one


Lettre P

padrastro : stepfather, the husband of one's mother and not one's natural father.  

padre : father; (pl.) parents; (pl.) ancestors; priest

padre político : father-in-law; stepfather

padrino : godfather, a man who assists in one of the sacraments of baptism, marriage, etc., usually a friend or relative; (pl.) godparents

padrón : list or census of the residents or inhabitants of a village, parish, city, or military unit.

pag.=página  : page

país : country

palacio : palace

paleografía : paleography, study of ancient handwriting

panadero : baker

panteón : cemetery, funeral monument where the dead are buried

para : for, to

pardo : mixture of one part of Spanish blood, two parts of Indian blood, and one part of Negro blood; dark, mulatto

parecer : to appear, seem, look; manner of viewing, e.g.,  a nuestro parecer

parentesco : kinship

pariente : relative

párrafo : paragraph

párroco : parish priest

parroquia : parish, territory covered by the spiritual jurisdiction of a parish priest; the church of the parish

parroquiano(a) : parishioner

parte : part, fragment; part, share, portion

partera : midwife

partición : division, partition, separation, especially a division of assets following death

partida : act, certificate

partido judicial : district, usually made up of several villages in a province, in which a judge exercises original jurisdiction over civil and criminal judicial matters (judicial district)

parto : labor, birth

párvulo(a) : small child

pasado : past

pastor : pastor, minister, shepherd

paterno(a) : paternal, from the father's line

patrimonio : inheritance

patrón : master, employer

pd.=padre : father

pechero(a) : taxable, taxpayer; plebeian, commoner

pedimiento : petition; petition or claim presented to judge and each separate case therein

peninsular : peninsular, born in Spain or Portugal

penitenciaria : penitentiary

perdón : pardon, forgiveness, grace, reprieve

periódico : periodic, periodical, newspaper

permiso : permission

permuta : exchange, usually of two public or ecclesiastical offices or benefices; interchange, barter

pero : but

pescador : fisherman

peseta : Spanish monetary unit

peso : weight; Spanish coin used in colonies

peste : plague

pie : foot, length measurement which in Castile was equivalent to 28 cm., and today in England to 30.5 cm., in France to 33 cm.

pierna : leg

pieza de indias : one slave in good condition; various young slaves or women in poor condition

plaga : plague

plata : silver

plaza : main square of a town; space or place for a person with others of similar type; office, position, employment

plazo : term, period of time; installment

pleito : lawsuit, suit, court or judicial action or proceedings

población : population; town, village

poblado : town, village; populated

pobre de solemnidad : notoriously poor

poder : power, strength; power of attorney; (pl.) authority  

polaco(a) : Polish

político(a) : when applied to a term of blood relationship, indicates the same relationships by marriage, e.g., padre político (father-in-law)

por : by, for, through, along, over, by way of, via, around, about, in, at; by means of, with, in exchange for, in return for; times, multiplied by

por qué : why

porque : because

portero : doorman

portugués : Portuguese

posada : hostel, shelter

posadero : innkeeper

posesión : possession (in all senses); (pl.) possessions, property, estate

postura : posture, position, attitude; bid, offer; agreement; stake, wager, bet

prelado : prelate, ecclesiastical dignitary, superior of a convent

prenda : gifts exchanged between the bride and the groom before marriage

preñada : pregnant

presente : present

presidente : head or leader of the courts ( audiencias ) and chancery ( chancillería ), one of the titles of the viceroy, president

presidio : fort, military installation

pretendiente : claimant, seeker, petitioner; candidate (for office); suitor (for a woman’s hand)

previsto : anticipated

primavera : spring

primero(a) : first

primo(a) : cousin, child of an uncle or aunt

primo(a) carnal : first cousin, child of an uncle or aunt

primo(a) hermano(a) : first cousin, child of an uncle or aunt

primogénito : firstborn

priorato : priorate, priory

prisión : prison

privilegio : privilege, grant, concession; exemption; franchise, patent

probanza : (law) prove, proving; (law) proof, evidence

procesal : (law) legal, of a trial; paleographic term, handwriting style used in Spain from 1300 to 1500, replaced by itálica

proceso : process, (law) trial, lawsuit, action

procurador : city representative to Spanish Cortes, local city attorney.

profesión : profession

profesor(a) : teacher, professor

progenitor : progenitor

prohijación : adoption of a child as one’s own

prole : progeny

promesa : promise, offer; vow, pledge

propiedad : property, land

propietario : proprietor, owner

prorrogación : extension or postponement for a specified period of time

protesta : protest, protestation, declaration, affirmation, promise

protestante : Protestant

protesto : declaration made before a notary or judge to protect one’s right, declaration made before a notary when a letter of exchange is not paid to protect one’s right

protocolo : book generated and preserved by the notary publics

provincia : province, territorial division representing different extensions of jurisdiction depending on the country

Provincias Internas : Interior Provinces; that region of northern Mexico which included the states of Durango, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Nuevo Mexico, Sonora, Tamaulipas, and Texas

próximo(a) : next

pueblo : town, village, people; in the colonies, a geographical area under the administration of royal officials as compared to the  encomienda  or  mission  which were administered by private and ecclesiastical personnel, respectively

puente : bridge

puerto : port

pulgada : length measurements, measurement that is the twelfth part of a  pie

pulmón : lung

pulmonía : pneumonia


Lettre Q

que : that

qué : what

quién : who, whom

quince : fifteen

quinientos : five hundred

quinta : country house, manor, villa; (Peru) group of town houses with a common entrance; (Spain) annual draft, induction of recruits for the army                                           

quinto(a) : fifth

quintal(es) : weight measurement, equivalent to 100 pounds or four  arrobas , even though it varies in some places; the fifth part of a hundred

quinterón : in Peru, mixture of Spanish and  cuarterón  blood

quizás : maybe


Lettre R

rancho : ranch, often large enough to be a small community, even with its own chapel

ratificación : ratification, confirmation

real : royal, of or pertaining to the Crown; a kind of Spanish coin

real audiencia : the supreme court or tribunal of the colonial Americas, the court of last resort. It served as a representative of the king; its decisions were final and only the king could reserve them

real(es) : coin of value of 34  maravedís , which were called real de  vellón  or, in some places, the silver real

rebisabuelo(a) : great-great-grandparent

rebisnieto(a) : great-great-grandchild

rebusca : research

recepción : reception, receiving, receipt; admission, (law) examination of witnesses

recibo : receipt (document acknowledging payment)

reclamación : claim, demand; objection, protest, complaint; (law) remonstration

reconocimiento : recognition, admission, acknowledgment; inspection, examination

redención : redemption, salvation; (com.) redemption (of a pledge, mortgage, etc.)

redención de cautivos : the efforts to provide for the redemption of Christian prisoners during the Middle Ages

redondilla : paleographic term; the round hand, distinguished by its straight and circular strokes

reducción : reduction; a village of Indians converted to Christianity, usually directed by a religious order such as the Jesuits

regidor : alderman, prefect

regimiento : military unit headed by a coronel

registro : register, record, record book; registration, registry; examination, inspection, search; entry, record, register

registro civil : civil registry

registros : registers, records

registros civiles : civil records, vital records

reglamento : regulation; regulations, bylaws

regular : regular monk or priest who is a member of a religious order that takes vows

reina : queen

reinado : reign

reino : kingdom, realm

religión : religion

religioso(a) : religious; one who has taken the vows of an order, i.e., monk, priest, or nun

renta(s) : revenue, income; rent, alquiler; annuity; government bonds, public debt

renunciación : renunciation; resignation; (law) waiver, disclaimer

repartimiento : distribution of lands after reconquest; the assessment of work assignments and the subsequent distribution of those so assessed to their work stations in the mines, haciendas, public works, etc. In many cases, this was an involuntary servitude, especially by Indians in the colonies

repudiación : repudiation

requerimiento : request, requisition, demand, summons; (law) injunction

requinterón : in Peru, mixture of Spanish and  quinterón  blood

requinterón de mestizo : in Peru, mixture of Spanish and  quinterón  de mestizo blodd

residencia : residence, residing in

residente : resident

resguardo : protection, shelter; security, voucher; frontier customs guard

retatarabuelo : a great-great-great-grandfather

retirado(a) : retired

retiramiento : retirement

retrato : portrait

revista : review, inspection of troops

revocación : revocation, abrogation; annulment; (law) reversal

rey : king

rezo : prayer

riachuelo : stream

río : river

rito : rite

rojo(a) : red

rompimiento : a fee payed to the church by the owner of a sepulchre to have it opened for the burial of another body

rostro : face, countenance

ruso(a) : Russian


Lettre S

s.=señor : sir, mister

sábado : Saturday

sacerdote : priest

sacramento : sacrament, one of several religious rites or symbols believed in by several religions (e.g., baptism, marriage, etc.); the Eucharist

sacristán : sacristan, sexton, the individual who took care of the ecclesiastical cemeteries

sagrado(a) : sacred, holy

sala : parlor, hall, lounge, salon; court, tribunal

san : saint

sangradura : bleeding

Santa Cena : the Eucharist

santo(a) : holy, saintly, hallowed, sacred, blessed; saint

santos óleos : holy oil

sarampión : measles

sargento : seargent

sargento mayor : (mil.) major

sastre : tailor

secular : secular, priest who is not a member of an order that takes vows

segundo(a) : second, secondary

seguridad : safety, security; certainty, assurance; surety bond

seguro : safe, secure, steady; insurance policy; permit, warrant, license

seis : six

seiscientos : six hundred

semana : week

señalamiento : designation, appointment, indication (of place, time)

señorío : domain

separado(a) : separate

septentrional : northern, septentrional

septiembre : September

séptimo(a) : seventh

sepulcro : grave, sepulchre

sepultado(a) : buried

sepultura : interment, burial; tomb, grave,; burial place, sepulchre

ser : to be

servicio : service, serving; voluntary donations given to king or state; (pl.) emergency direct tax

sesenta : sixty

setecientos : seven hundred

setenta : seventy

sexo : sex, gender

sexto(a) : sixth

: yes

si : if, whether

siempre : always

sierra : mountain range

siete : seven

sigla : paleographic term, abbreviation by use of initial letters to represent entire words

siglo : century

signatura : filing mark (to facilitate filing of documents), library number; (ecclesiastical) Roman Catholic court of justice and pardons

sínodo : sinode, ancient name given to ecclesiastical councils of a diocese

sirviente : servant

sitio : place, site

sitio de ganado : place or part of the land which the cattle occupies

situación : location, situation

situado : located

sn.=san : saint

sobre : about, above, concerning

sobrenombre : surname, nickname

sobreviviente : surviving

sobrino(a) : nephew (niece), child of a brother or sister (known as first nephew/niece or  sobrinos carnales ) or of a cousin (known as second nephew/niece or  sobrinos segundos )

sobrino(a) bisnieto(a) : great-grand nephew (niece); that relationship of individual to his great-grand uncle (the brother of the great-grandfather)

sobrino(a) nieto(a) : grand-nephew (niece), the relationship of an individual to his grand uncle (the brother of the grandfather)

sociedad : society

solar : manor house

solar para casa : portion of land that has been constructed on, or when one is going to build; stockyard or orchard adjacent, or around, the home

soldada : salary, wages; soldier’s pay

soldadera : female soldier

soldado : soldier; (mil.) private

solemnemente : solemnly

solo : only

soltero(a) : single, unmarried; bachelor, unmarried woman

somos : (we) are

son : (they, you) are

sordo(a) : deaf

soy : (I) am

su(s) : your, his, her, their

subrogación : subrogation, substitution

subsecuente : subsequent

sud/sur : south

sudeste : southeast

sudoeste : southwest

sueco(a) : Swedish

sufragáneo(a) : suffragan, one who is under the jurisdiction or authority of another

suegra : mother-in-law

suegro : father-in-law

suizo(a) : Swiss

sur/sud : south

sustitución : substitution, usually an agreement for one man to fulfill the military service of another

suyo(a)(s) : yours, his, hers, theirs


Lettre T

talabartero(a) : leather worker

tal vez : maybe

también : also, too

tarde : afternoon; late

tarjeta : card (visiting, personal, or invitation card); index card, etc.; heading, title (on map)

tasador : public appraiser

tatarabuelo(a) : great-great-grandparent

tataranieto(a) : great-great-grandchild

tejedor(a) : weaver

temprano : early

tenemos : (we) have

tener : to have

tengo : (I) have

teniente : assistant, deputy, substitute; (mil.) lieutenant

tercero : third; (ecc.) tertiary; third party

término : term, word, expression; end, finish, conclusion; limit, boundary, landmark; time limit, term, period, space of time; district

terreno : tract of land, field

territorio : territory

testador : testator, person who writes a will

testamentario : executor, person who oversees distribution of decedent’s assets in accordance with last will and testament

testamento : will, a document in which one declares his last will and in which he disposes of his property and makes other arrangements for after his death

testamento abierto o nuncupático : will that is dictated by a dying person before witnesses and in some cases the notary and is later recorded by the notary in his  protocol

testamento adverado : a will—in accordance with local law ( derecho foral ), especially in Galicia—dictated before the  párroco  and two or more witnesses, and later recorded by the  párroco  in his parish records or by the notary in the  protocolo  to make it a public record

testamento cerrado : a will that is written in secret and then sealed before a notary and witnesses to be opened after the death of the testator

testamento ológrafo : holographic will, written and signed in the hand of the testator

testigo : witness

testimonio : testimony

tía : aunt

tía abuela : grand aunt, the sister of the grandparent

tía bisabuela : great-grand aunt, the sister of the great-grandparent

tiempo : time

tiene : (you, he, she, it) has

tienen : (you, they) have

tintorero : dyer

tío : uncle, brother of the father or mother

tío abuelo :grand uncle, the brother of the grandparent

tío bisabuelo : great-grand uncle, the brother of the great-grandparent

tío(a) carnal : brother or sister of the father or mother, uncle or aunt

tío(a) segundo(a) : cousin of the father or mother

título : title, name, sobriquet; caption heading; section (into which laws and regulations are divided); (law) title, such as a title of nobility; diploma

todavía : still

todos(as) : all, everyone

tomo : volume

tonelero : cooper

tos : cough

tos ferina : whooping cough

trabajador : worker, laborer

traducción : translation

transacción : transaction, negotiation; settlement, agreement, compromise

traspaso : transfers of property not involving a sale

trece : thirteen

treinta : thirty

treinta y uno : thirty one

tres : three

trescientos : three hundred

tres días festivos sucesivos : three successive Sundays or holidays; a phrase used in marriage documents referring to the three successive Sundays or holidays in which the publications or banns are made

tribunal : court

tributo : tribute, tax; tribute, respect

trigésimo(a) : thirtieth

trigésimo primero(a) : thirty-first

trigo : wheat

trillizos : triplets, each one of the three children born of one pregnancy

trinidad : trinity

trueco / trueque : trade

tuberculosis : tuberculosis

tumba : tomb, grave

tumor : tumor

tutela : guardianship, the authority conferred by law to an individual to care for the fortune and at times the person of a minor; the documents generated from a guardianship

tutela dativa : (law) guardianship by court appointment

tutela ejemplar : (law) guardianship of the mentally incapacitate

tutelas : records of orphans


Lettre U

último(a) : last

un (uno, una) : one

undécimo(a) : eleventh

universidad : university                                                                                                                                                                                               

ut supra : (Lat.) as above


Lettre V

valle : valley

vara : length measurement equivalent to 835 millimeters and nine tenths  

varón : male

vasco : Basque, of or pertaining to the Basque portion of Spain; Basque language spoken in the Basque country

vascongado : Basque, native of the Basque country; of or pertaining to the Basque portion of Spain

vascuence : Basque, of or pertaining to the Basque portion of Spain; Basque language spoken in the Basque country

véase : look at

vecindad : neighborhood, local area

vecindario : persons taken together, who reside in the same vicinity or neighborhood; list or census of the residents of a town

vecino(a) : legal resident, citizens of a local town, village, or city, usually owning a home and contributing to the local tax collections; by law this status was available only after residing for a fixed number of years in the town; neighbor

veinte : twenty

veinte y cinco : twenty-five

veinte y cuatro : twenty-four

veinte y dos : twenty-two

veinte y nueve : twenty-nine

veinte y ocho : twenty-eight

veinte y seis : twenty-six

veinte y siete : twenty-seven

veinte y tres : twenty-three

veinte y uno : twenty-one

veinticinco : twenty-five

veinticuatro : twenty-four

veintidós : twenty-two

veintinueve : twenty-nine

veintiocho : twenty-eight

veintiséis : twenty-six

veintisiete : twenty-seven

veintitrés : twenty-three

veintiuno : twenty-one

vejez : old age

velación : vigil, watch; (eccl.) veiling ceremony of bride and groom in nuptial mass

velado(a) : veiled; having received the  velación

velar : the giving of the  velación

vellón : copper coin, real de vellón; mix of silver and copper of which the coin was made in ancient times

vender : to sell

venta : sale, selling

venta real : sale of real property

verano : summer

verde : green

vez : time, turn, occasion

viático : sacrament of the Eucharist administered to the sick in danger of death

vicaría : vicarage; the territory over which a vicar presides, an area similar to a parish in size but not yet advanced in its development sufficiently to be elevated to the position of a parish; a vice-parish

vicario : vicar, the religious functionary who, as an assistant, takes full charge when his superior is gone, the functionary in charge of a parish times

vicario general : vicar general, the alternate bishop or assistant to the chief judge of the diocesan courts and head of the  curia  of the diocese

viejo(a) : elderly

viernes : Friday

vigésimo(a) : twentieth

vigésimo cuarto(a) : twenty-fourth

vigésimo nono(a) : twenty-ninth

vigésimo octavo(a) : twenty-eighth

vigésimo primero(a) : twenty-first

vigésimo quinto(a) : twenty-fifth

vigésimo segundo(a) : twenty-second

vigésimo séptimo(a) : twenty-seventh

vigésimo sexto(a) : twenty-sixth

vigésimo tercero(a) : twenty-third

vigilia : vigil, the eve of a festival or holy day, as an occasion of devotional watching or religious observance. A prayed or sung Mass pronounced in honor of the deceased.

villa : town or small populated area that has been granted privileges which distinguish it from  aldeas  and  lugares

vínculo : bond, tie, link; (law) entail, entailment in which assets are linked to a family or position (civil or ecclesiastical) according to the instructions of the creator or donor

viña : vineyard

viñedo : vineyard

virreinato : viceroyalty, the territory governed by a viceroy

virrey : viceroy, the personal representative of the king in colonial America

viruela : smallpox; pockmark

visita : visit, call, inspection

viudo(a) : widowed; widower, widow

vivir : to live

vivo(a) : alive

vizconde : viscount, a title of nobility which follow that of count in its rank

volumen : volume

vuelto(a) : verso, reverse side


Lettre Y

y : and

yerno : son-in-law                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

yo : I


Lettre Z

zambaigo : offspring of Negro and mulatto; in Venezuela mixture of one part of Indian blood and one part of Negro blood; in Chile and Colombia this mixture is called mulatto

zambo de indio : in Peru, offspring of Negro and Indian  

zapatero : shoemaker


Racial Terminology Found in Latin American Genealogical Records

albarazado : Cambujo and Mulato

albino : Spanish and Morisco

allí te estás : Chamizo and Mestizo

barcino : Albarazado and Mulato

barnocino : Albarazado and Mestizo

calpamulo(a) : Zambaigo and Lobo

cambujo : Indian (¾) and Negro (¼)

cambur : Negro (½), Spanish (¼), and Indian (¼)  

castizo : In Puerto Rico: Mestizo and Spanish. In Guatemala: Spanish and Indian (1/128)  

chamizo : Coyote and Indian

chino : In Peru: Mulato and Indian

cholo : In Peru: Mestizo and Indian

cimarrón : In Mexico and Guatemala: Negro (½), Spanish (¼), and Indian (¼)

coyote : Spanish (½), Indian (3/8), and Negro (1/8)  

cuarteado : Spanish (½), Indian (¼), and Negro (¼)

cuarterón : Spanish (¾) and Negro (¼)  

cuarterón de chino : In Peru: Spanish and Chino  

cuarterón de mestizo : In Peru: Spanish and Mestizo  

cuarterón de mulato : In Peru: Spanish and Mulato  

cuatrero : Indian (¾) and Spanish (¼)  

español : Spanish  

español criollo : Colonial-born Spaniard  

indio : Indian  

jíbaro : Lobo and Indian  

ladino : Spanish (¾) and Indian (¼)  

lobo : Indian (¾) and Negro (¼)  

mestizo : Spanish (½) and Indian (½)  

moreno : Spanish (½), Indian (¼), and Negro (¼)  

morisco : Spanish and Mulato. In Spain: a baptized Moor  

mulato : Spanish (½) and Negro (½). In Chile and Colombia: can also be Indian and Negro  

negro : African Black  

negro fino : Negro (¾) and Spanish (¼)  

no te entiende : Tente en el aire and Mulato  

no me toques : Mixture of Spanish, Indian, and Negro  

ochavado : Spanish (7/8) and Negro (1/8)  

pardo : Indian (½), Spanish (¼), and Negro (¼)  

prieto : Negro (7/8) and Spanish (1/8)  

quartarón : See  cuarterón 

quinterón : In Peru: Spanish and Cuarterón  

requinterón : In Peru: Spanish and Quinterón  

salta atrás : Spanish and Albino  

tente en el aire : Calpamulato and Cambujo  

torna atrás : No te entiende and Indian  

tresalbo : Spanish (¾) and Negro (¼)  

zambaigo : Spanish and Chino  

zambo : In Peru: Negro and Mulato. In Venezuela: Indian (½) and Negro (½)  

zambo de indio : In Peru: Negro (½) and Indian (½)  ​​​ ​​


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