"In this great future you can't forget your past" ~No Woman, No Cry, Bob Marley


Just as with all things, genealogy has terms and “lingo” whose meanings can be beneficial to understand. The following are some of the more common terms you will see used regularly or at least often enough that they warrant being listed here. Other terms that may not be used as often should be defined within each individual post.




A person from whom one descends

Direct Ancestor

A person who has passed away that was your parent, grandparent, great-grandparent and so forth

Collateral Ancestor

A person who passed away that was a sibling of your parent, grandparent, great-grandparent and so forth

Free Person/People of Color (FPOC)

A person who had never been enslaved or was free before the American Civil War


A person—man, woman, or child whose freedom came as a result of the end of the American Civil War and with passage of the 13th and 14th Amendments


A record or account of the ancestry and descent of a person, family, et cetera. The study of family ancestries and histories. Genealogy uses set standards of proof to connect one person/family group to another

Family History

The combination of genealogy, family stories, social history, records and documents that help tell the story of a family and its members


Set free, especially or particularly an enslaved person

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