List of Words Used in Genealogical Records
Click on each letter to see the list of genealogical terms. Click on the underlined terms to read the Spanish definition of the word taken from the online version of the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española 22a. edición.
Because language is constantly changing and many words used in old records could have a different meaning from the common meaning used today, dictionaries from earlier years or centuries are a great resource for the researchers. The Real Academia Española dictionaries are a useful resource, be sure to click on the "word search" icon () to get started.
The Nuevo tesoro lexicográfico de la lengua española contains definitions of words with respect to the century.
abad : Abbot, rector of a parish (in some provinces).
abadengo : Abbey
abadía : Abbey
abogado : Lawyer
abrirse las velaciones : Begin the Church-allowed time to hold vigil for the dead.
abril : April
absceso : Abscess
abuela : Grandmother
abuelo : Grandfather; ancestor; forefather; old person
abuelos : Grandparents
aceptación : Acceptance; approval; approbation
acre : Acre
acta : Document; record; official act
acuerdo : Agreement
adelantado : 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
administración : Administration
adoptado(a) : Adopted
adulterio : Adultery, violation of the marriage vows
adúltero(a) : Adulterer
adviento : Advent, the four weeks preceding Christmas
adyacente : Adjoining
afinidad : Relation by marriage
agosto : August
agregación : Addition; attachment; appointment; assignment
agricultor : Farmer
ajuste : Settlement; arrangement; hiring
alabardero : Spanish Royal Guard
albacea : Executor of a will
albañil : Stonemason
albino : Mixture of Spanish and Morisco blood
alcalde : Mayor; magistrate; official to whom the mayor delegates power over a section of the city.
alcalde constitucional : Local magistrate during nineteenth century.
alcalde mayor : Justice of the peace; the administrative and judicial magistrate of a province or district (in some cases the Corregidor exercised this function); local magistrate.
alcalde ordinario : Mayor, the highest municipal office of a town council or municipal district.
alcalde pedáneo : Junior judge
aldea : Village, hamlet
alemán(a) : German
alfarero(a) : Potter
alférez : Ensign; army officer lower than lieutenant, sub-lieutenant; in Bolivia and Peru a municipal office in the Indian villages
algodón : Cotton
alguacil(a) : Constable, bailiff, officer who carries out the orders of the alcalde; minister of justice who executes the orders of the justices and tribunals.
algún(o, a) : Some, someone
alma : Soul; inhabitant; person
almoneda : Public auction; clearance sale
alquería : Hamlet
alquiler : Rent, renta
alteza : An honorary title given to the kings, princes, and officials of the high court (audiencia) and to some of the royal councils, highness
altitud : Altitude
alto(a) : High, tall
altura : Height
allá : There
allí/ahí : There
amanuense : Scribe, clerk
amarillo : Yellow
ambos(as) : Both
amigo(a) : Friend
amo(a) : Master, owner
amonestación matrimonial : Proclamation published during three successive Sundays before marriages; marriage banns.
anciano(a) : Elderly
anejo(a) : Annex; a church dependent upon another one; rural district joined to a borough
ánima : 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
aniversario : Anniversary
ante : Before, in front of, in the presence of; in view of, with regard to
ante todo : Above all, first of all
anteiglesia : Atrium or portico (of a church); parish church; parish or district
antepasado(a) : Ancestor
anterior : Former, previous
antes : Before
antiguo(a) : Old, ancient
anual : Annual
anuario : Yearbook
año : Year
año bisiesto : Leap year, the years in which the last two numerals of the year are divisible by four
año secular : The centenary years: 1500, 1600, 1700, 1800, 1900, and 2000 (the years 1600 and 2000 are also leap years).
aparecer : To appear
apartamiento : Judicial act or declaration by which one removes himself from a legal action or right.
apeamiento : Surveying; shoring up of a building.
apellido : Surname, family name, last name.
apéndice : Appendix
apodo : Nickname
apostólico(a) : Apostolic
aprendiz(a) : Apprentice
aprobación : Document establishing the evidence of a fact, such as a proof of the nobility of a person’s family.
aproximado(a) : Approximate
aquel(la) : That
aquí : Here
arancel : Official tariff or custom
árbol : Tree
árbol genealógico : Genealogical tree, pedigree chart
archivo : Archives, place where records are kept; (office) files, file
arciprestazgo : Land under jurisdiction of an archpriest composed of several parishes
arcipreste : Archpriest, a parish priest who also presides over several other parish priests
arrendamiento : Rent, letting, lease
arroba : Weight measure equivalent to 25 lbs. of 16 oz. each; liquid measurement equivalent to about 3 gallons; the fourth part of a quintal.
artículo : Article
arzobispado : Archbishopric, ecclesiastical territory under the jurisdiction of an archbishop
arzobispo : Archbishop, the bishop of a metropolitan church to which other bishops are subordinate
ascendencia : Ascendency, a series of ancestors
ascendiente : Ancestor
asiento : Seat on a tribunal or council; contract or obligation made to provide money or goods for the army
asilo : Asylum, shelter
asma : Asthma
audiencia : 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.
aún : Still
ausente : Absent; absentee, missing person
ausente sin licencia : Military, absent without leave
auto : Judicial sentence; warrant; edict; various legal documents both judicial and administrative, not including wills or inventories
auto de fe : A public procedure in which those accused by the Inquisition were sentenced.
ayer : Yesterday
ayuntamiento : Municipal government; town council; city hall
azúcar : Sugar
azul : Blue
bachiller(a) : 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.
bajo(a) : Low, short
balazo : Gunshot, bullet wound
banco : Bank; bench
banco de caballeros : Seat in city council held by nobility
banco de comuneros : Seat in city council held by commoners
barco : Ship
barrio : City ward
bautismo : a. Baptism. b. The first of the sacraments required by many Christian churches, that is administered by pouring water over the head or by immersion.
bautizar : To baptize, to christen
bebé : Baby
behetría : Free town under its own chosen prince or seigneur
bendición : Blessing
beneficencia : Beneficence, charity; welfare organization or institution, charity organization, public welfare office.
beneficio : 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. Synonym of casamiento.
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 : Research
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(a) : 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 : General captaincy; 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 / casa solariega : Ancestral home, manor house
casado(a) : Married
casamiento : Marriage, wedding
casar, casarse : To marry
caserío(a) : 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 mestizo and Spanish blood; in Guatemala, a blood mixture of Spanish (15 parts) and Criollo.
catalán(a) : 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, certified
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(a) : Collector of taxes, or of collection for the church.
colecturía : Death records listing collections of payments for funeral and masses.
colegiata / iglesia colegia : Collegiate church. Church that, not being the proper headquarters of the archbishop or bishop, which makes up the abbey and secular canons. In the church the divine offices are celebrated just as in cathedrals.
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 / Concilio de Trento : 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(sa) : 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, exhaustion
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)
[letra] cortesana : Court hand; paleographic term referring to the writing used in the courts during a period between 1500 and 1650 A.D.
cortesano(a) : 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(a) : 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 : c = 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(a) : 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(a) : In México, the word used for twins; usually the Spanish is mellizos.
cuatrero(a) : 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(a) : Tanner
cuyo(a) : Whose
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; part of one's increase, normally the tenth, that the faithful pay to the Church.
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. See carta de dote.
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(sa) : Duke, title of honor which follows that of prince.
eclesiástico(a) : Ecclesiastical. Related to the Church, particularly the clergy.
ecónomo : Priest temporarily in charge of a parish.
edad : Age
ejecutor(a) : Executor
ejecutorio(a) : 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(a) : 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 : 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 / escarlatina : Scarlet fever
esclavitud : Slavery
esclavo(a) : Slave
escribanía : Noraty office; court clerkship, office of the court clerk; writing desk.
escribano(a) : 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, bastard
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. Summary of any document, expressing in precise terms only the most fundamental aspects.
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.
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. Document where a primogeniture's clauses appear.
futuro : Future
ganado : Cattle
gemelo(a) : Twin; word used to distinguish one or two or more children born at the same time.
genealogía : Genealogy. Series of someone's ancestors and descendants.
gente : People
gobernación : Government, governing
gobernador : Governor, the supreme ruler of a province, department, city or territory.
gota : Gout, drop. Illness caused by the accumulation of acid crystals in the joints, in which very painful swelling is induced.
grado : Degree, grade, rank
gran / grande : Grand, great, large
gremio : Guild, society, association, brotherhood. Corporation formed by teachers, officials, and apprentices of the same profession or office, governed by ordinances or special statutes.
gripe : Influenza
guarda : Guard, warden
guardia : Guard, body of soldiers; keeper, custodian.
guía : Guide; advisor, instructor, trainer.
h. = hijo : Son
habitante : Inhabitant
hace ya dos años : Two years ago already. May be used with any number.
hacienda : Farmstead, estate, farm, a rural establishment; the Treasury Department.
hecho(a) : Completed, done
hembra : Female
hemorragia : Hemorrhage, bleeding
heráldica : Heraldry; art of coat of arms.
heredad : a. Portion of cultivated land, traditionally inherited to a family. b. Inheritance.
heredero(a) : Heir. By will or law, person who receives an inheritance.
herencia : Inheritance. Collection of goods, rights, and obligations that, when someone dies, are transmitted to his or her heir(s).
hermanastro(a) : Stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister
hermandad : Brotherhood (religious or by blood), confraternity, fraternity, sisterhood.
hermano(a) : Brother, sister; siblings, born of the same parents, or of the same father, or of the same mother.
herrero : Blacksmith
hidalgo(a) : Noble, of noble blood, gentry; from hijo de algo literally “son of something”.
hidropesía : Dropsy, edema. Illness caused by an excess of liquid in some part of the body that may present itself as swelling.
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; annex 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
i : (y) And
i. / ill. = 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) 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) / infrascripto(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. Also inmovible.
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(a) : Mayor
intestado(a) : Intestate. Someone who dies without a valid will/testament.
intestinos : Intestines
inventario : Inventory. Entry of the goods and other belongings of a person or community, done with order and precision.
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
itálico(a) : Italic. Paleographic term, italic, cursive script introduced during the sixteenth century in Spain and the Americas. Synonym of bastarda.
ítem : Item. 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
jardinero : Gardener
jesuita : Jesuit
jornalero(a) : Journeyman, day laborer
jubilado : Retired
judío(a) : Jewish
jueves : Thursday
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)
l., leg. = legítimo : Legitimate
la : The (feminine)
labrador(a) : 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 (usually tied together) that deal with common subject; most common unit of filed papers in Spanish archives.
legal : Legal
legítimo(a) : Legitimate, lawful. See hijo legítimo.
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
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 four 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. Something that is given on behalf of God's love to fill a need.
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
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. In ancient Roman law, transfer of a property with certain formalities and in the presence of five witnesses.
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(a) : 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(a) : 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(a) hermano(a) : 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(a) : 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) : 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 calculating the date (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, to dwell (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) : 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.
n. = nació, nacido(a) : 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, with two or three
navío : Ship with three poles and sails, with a deck or bridges and many other cannon batteries.
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(a) : 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
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. Gift that is dedicated to God or the saints, to ask for its assistance or something that is desired, or else to fulfill a vote or obligation.
oidor(a) : 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 (study of the history and origin of names).
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.
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(a) : 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. Link by blood, affinity, adoption, marriage, or other stable relationship of affectivity (emotion) similar to this.
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. Register or entry of baptism, confirmation, marriage, or burial, and is written in parish books or civil registers.
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, young 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(a) : 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. a. Adornment of soldiers that is put in plazas, castles, and fortresses for their custody and defense. b. City or fortress that can be used to adorn soldiers.
pretendiente(a) : 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
priorato : Priorate, priory. District of territory that has the prior's (head firar's) jurisdiction.
prisión : Prison
privilegio : Privilege, grant, concession; exemption; franchise, patent. Exemption from an obligation or exclusive or special advantage that someone enjoys by concession of a superior or their own proper circumstance.
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(a) : City representative to Spanish Cortes, local city attorney.
profesión : Profession
profesor(a) : Teacher, professor
progenitor(a) : Progenitor. Relative in someone's ascending direct line.
prohijación : Adoption of a child as one’s own.
prole : Progeny
promesa : Promise, offer; vow, pledge
propiedad : Property, land
propietario : Proprietor, owner
prorrogación : Prorogation. 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 : Inch. Length measurements, measurement that is the twelfth part of a pie.
pulmón : Lung
pulmonía : Pneumonia
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
ratificación : Ratification, confirmation
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) : a. Royal, of or pertaining to the Crown. b. 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(a) : 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. Registry in which competent authorities record births, marriages, deaths, and other facts relevant to people's civil state.
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. a. Judicial act that intimates something's execution or failure to execute something. b. Notice, statement, or question, generally made under notarial faith, to someone demanding or being interested in it to express and declare its attitude or response.
requinterón : In Peru, mixture of Spanish and quinterón blood.
requinterón de mestizo : In Peru, mixture of Spanish and quinterón de mestizo blood.
residencia : Residence, residing in
residente : Resident
resguardo : Protection, shelter; security, voucher; frontier customs guard
retatarabuelo : Great-great-great-grandfather
retirado(a) : Retired
retiramiento : Retirement
retrato : Portrait
revista : Review, inspection of troops
revocación : Revocation, abrogation; annulment; (law) reversal. Legal act that renders an earlier null and void by the will of the grantor.
rey : King
rezo : Prayer
riachuelo : Stream
río : River
rito : Rite
rojo(a) : Red
rompimiento : 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
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(a) : Sacristan, sexton, the individual who took care of the ecclesiastical cemeteries. Man whose responsibility was to clean and guard certain ornaments of the church.
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. a. Consecrated oils. b. Consecrated oil that some Christian churches use in sacraments and other ceremonies. The oils include el crisma, el óleo de los catecúmenos y el óleo de los enfermos.
sarampión : Measles
sargento : Seargent
sargento mayor : (mil.) Major
sastre : Tailor
secular : Secular. a. Priest who is not a member of an order that takes vows. b. Priest who lives in religious seclusion.
segundo(a) : Second, secondary
seguridad : Safety, security; certainty, assurance; surety bond. a. Small piece of paper, with the official stamp of figures or engraved signs, that is pasted on certain documents to give them value and efficacy. b. Utensil that serves to stamp arms, divisions, symbols, and other images engraved on it, and it used to authorize documents, close documents, and other similar uses.
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. Territory related to the señor.
separado(a) : Separate
septentrional : Northern, septentrional
septiembre : September
séptimo(a) : Seventh
sepulcro : Grave, sepulchre, tomb. Work commonly made of stone, that is constructed above ground, to bury cadaver(s).
sepultado(a) : Buried
sepultura : Interment, burial; tomb, grave,; burial place, sepulchre. Site that a church had assigned to a family member to place an offering for the deceased.
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
sí : 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
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(a) : Public appraiser. Person who decides the value of goods.
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(a) : 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(a) : Testator. Person who writes a will.
testamentario(a) : 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 protocolo.
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(a) : Uncle, brother of the father or mother.
tío(a) abuelo(a) : Grand uncle, the brother of the grandparent.
tío(a) bisabuelo(a) : 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(a) : Cooper. Person who makes barrels.
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. Monetary obligation established by law, whose import is destined for the sustaining of public responsibilities.
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
último(a) : Last
un (uno, una) : One
undécimo(a) : Eleventh
universidad : University
ut supra : (Latin) As above
valle : Valley
vara : Length measurement equivalent to 835 millimeters and nine tent.
varón : Male
vasco : Basque, of or pertaining to the Basque portion of Spain; Basque language spoken in the Basque country.
vascongado(a) : 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 = veinticinco : Twenty-five
veinte y cuatro = veinticuatro : Twenty-four
veinte y dos = veintidos : Twenty-two
veinte y nueve = veintinueve : Twenty-nine
veinte y ocho = veintiocho : Twenty-eight
veinte y seis = veintiseis : Twenty-six
veinte y siete = veintisiete : Twenty-seven
veinte y tres = veintitres : Twenty-three
veinte y uno = 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 / virreina : 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(sa) : Viscount, a title of nobility which follow that of count in its rank
volumen : Volume
vuelto(a) : Verso, reverse side
y : And
yerno : Son-in-law
yo : I
zambaigo(a) : Offspring of Negro and mulatto; in Venezuela, a mixture of one part of Indian blood and one part of Negro blood; in Chile and Colombia this mixture is called mulatto.
zambo(a) de indio : In Peru, offspring of Negro and Indian
zapatero(a) : Shoemaker, cobbler
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(a) : Spanish (½) and Indian (½)
moreno : Spanish (½), Indian (¼), and Negro (¼)
morisco(a) : 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)