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Making sense of old handwriting

Common Latin Phrases

Common Phrases used in Parish Records

Reading old parish records can be much easier when one understands and becomes familiar with the format of those records. Most christening, marriage, and burial records written after the Council of Trent follow the same pattern and include basically the same phrases. The following is a list of commonly used phrases found in old christening, marriage, and burial records.


Latin PhraseMeaning
idem, eadem; eiusdemsame; of the same
dictus, -athe said
predictus, -a; prefatus, -a; anededictus, -athe aforesaid
infrascriptus, -a; subscriptus, -aundersigned
ut supraas above, as stated above [usually refers to the date]


Latin PhraseMeaning
Anno Domini milmo septingmo decimo octavoIn the year of the Lord one thousand seven hundred eighteen
sexto Martii 1601On the sixth of March of 1601
Die XXI ultimoOn the twenty-first day in the previous month
Mortuus est die octavo Octobris anno predictoHe died on the eighth day of October in the aforesaid year


Latin PhraseMeaning
Loci Londonie...In the town of London...
In situ Florentie...In the place of Florence...
Parochia...In the parish...
Diocesi...In the diocese...
Ecclesiae parochialis...Of the parochial church... 
IbdemIn the same place
Locus baptismiThe place of the baptism
Domicilium/iiResidence/of the residence
Civis municipalisCitizen of the municipality
Tenens ibdemTenant of the same place
Villa Monte GomeriTown of Montgomery


Latin PhraseMeaning
parochusparish priest
sacerdos, sacerdotispriest
bacallariusbachelor [refers to academic degree, not marital status]
fraterfriar, brother
Reverendus PaterReverend Father
cum licentiawith permission
ex licentia parochiby license of the parish priest
cum venia parochiwith permission of the parish priest
loci...of the place...

Relationship / Legitimacy

Latin PhraseMeaning
viduus; viduawidower; widow
relictus; relictawidower; widow
filius legitimatus / filia legitimatalegitimate child
filius/filia naturalisnatural-born child
filius spurius / filia spuriaillegitimate child
filius illegitimus / filia illegitimaillegitimate child
filius/filia populiillegitimate child
ignoti parentisof unknown parentage/parents
filius inventus / filia inventafoundling [literally "found child"]
filius expositus / filia expositaabandoned child
patris ignotiof unknown father

Witnesses / Godparents

Latin PhraseMeaning
Praesentibus testibus...Present witnesses...
Testes fuerunt...The (present/eye)witnesses were...
Patroni/susceptores fuerunt...The godparents were...
Praesens matrina...Present godmother


Latin PhraseMeaning
In quorum fidem...In confirmation whereof/of which (I sign)
His/Hiis testibusWith these (people) as witnesses
Signum fecitHe/she signed/made a mark
Manu propria(signed) in his/her/my own hand


Latin PhraseMeaning
baptisatus/-a est/erat/fuit(He/she) was baptized
baptisatus/-athe baptized
renatus/-areborn (in baptism)
natus/-a estHe/she was born
genitus/-a estHe/she was born
nomen baptisati/-aeThe name of the baptized
nomina baptisati/-aeThe names of the baptized
baptisavi/baptizaviI baptized


Latin PhraseMeaning
ab formatione Santi/Sancti Concilii Tridentini (ab formae S C T)according to the format of the Holy Council of Trent
fiat licentiaLet a (marriage) license be granted
Denuntiationibus praemissis tribus continuis diebus festivisWith the banns (having been) published/announced on three successive festival/holy days
inter missarum solemniain/during solemn mass
nulloque legitimo detecto impedimentoAnd with no legitimate impediment (having been) detected
nulloque impedimento detectoAnd with no impediment (having been) detected
cum dispensatione apostolicawith an apostolic dispensation
nomina nuptorumthe names of the married
nupti erant(they) were married
conjuncti fuerunt(they) were married
mariti fuerunt(they) were married
connubio juncti erant(they) were joined in matrimony
copulati sunt in matrimonio(they) were joined in matrimony
contraxerunt matrimonium(they) contracted matrimony
uxorem duxithe took as (his) wife / he took to wife
in facie ecclesiaein the presence of the congregation
per verba de prasentiusing words in the present (tense) [performing an actual marriage, as opposed to a promise to marry]
secundum Rituale Romanumaccording to Rituale Romanum [a book prescribing the form of Catholic ceremonies]
juxta ritum Sancti Matris Ecclesiaeaccording to the order of the Holy Mother Church
testes fueruntthe witnesses were
nuptiae solemnizataethe solemnized nuptials


Latin PhraseMeaning
mortuus/-a est(he/she) died
sepultus/-a est/erat(he/she) was buried
tumulatus/-a est/erat(he/she) was buried
sepeliviI buried
nomen defuncti/-aethe name of the dead
nomen sepulti/-aethe name of the buried
Missa pro defunctisa mass for the dead [usually in the context of a funeral]
Missa defunctoruma mass of/for the dead [usually in the context of a funeral]
omnibus sacramentis provisiswith all last rights (having been) provided
sacramentis totiis munitus/-a(he/she was) fortifed by the last rights
suum ordinaverat testamenum ante obitushe/she had put in order his/her will before his/her death


Paleography Introduction