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Glossary

Ahnentafel List: An Ahnentafel list (from the German for "ancestor table") is a simple way to list all known direct ancestors. It is based on a simple numbering system where the "root", or first person in the list, (me in this case!) is given the number 1, and all other numbers are derived from this following a simple formula.

To calculate the number of any person's parents, simply double for the father, then add one to that for the mother, hence my father's number is 2 (double my number) and my mother's number is 3 (my father's number plus 1). Following this to the next generation, my paternal grandparents are numbered 4 & 5 (double my father's number, and double my father's number plus 1), while my maternal grandparents are numbered 6 & 7 (double my mother's number, and double my mother's number plus 1).

The only time that a deviation from this formula occurs, is when an individual appears in a person's ancestry more than once, for example in my own Ahnentafel list, John Flint (c1732-1789) is my "5 x great" grandfather on my father's side as well my "6 x great" grandfather on my mother's side via two of his children Hugh and Thomas. In cases such as this, it is normal to use the lower number, and reference this from the higher one. In practice this means that the my list contains entries for Ahnentafel number 80 (Hugh Flint) and 204 (his brother Thomas). Their father appears as number 160 (double Hugh's number), while an entry for number 408 simply points back to 160 as being the same person.

Frankpledge: A frankpledge was a compulsary agreement whereby all the males in a small community (usually 10 households or less) would guarantee the behavior of each other.

IPM or Inquisition Post Mortem: An IPM was an official inquiry, following the death of a "tennant in chief" of the crown, to decide upon the succession of the lands they held. These took place from the 13th to the 17th century. The amount of information recorded varies, but generally gives details of the land held, the deceased and their heir(s), often giving the age of the heir(s).

Julian/Gregorian Calendar: The Gregorian Calendar (the one we use today) did not come into force in England until 1752. Prior to this date, using the Julian Calendar, New Year’s Day fell on March 25th. This means that 31st December 1710 was immediately followed by 1st January 1710, and 24th March 1710 was immediately followed by 25th March 1711.

This was changed in 1751 when an Act of Parliament decreed that 31st December 1751 would be followed by 1st January 1752, and also (to take care of some leap year issues, and only in 1752) 2nd September 1752 would be immediately followed 14th September 1752.

As is common practice I have amended all Julian dates to Gregorian ones. This means that any date between 1st January and 24th March before 1752 has had one added to the year where a contemporary source is being used. Caution is needed when a later transcription of a pre-1752 source is used, as it is not always clear whether the adjustment has already been made. It is also common in later transcriptions, and sometimes in contemporary sources, to see a style similar to 3rd February 1735/6, which would mean 1735 in the Julian Calendar and 1736 in the Gregorian one.

Visitation (Visitation of the heralds or Herald's visitation): In the 16th and 17th ceturies visitations were carried out by heralds from the College of Arms. They visited each county in turn (very) roughly each generation, in order to police the use of arms. Any family which claimed the right to bear a coat of arms was required to prove their right to do so to the heralds. This proof consisted of showing a descent from the person the arms were originally granted to (or who it was accepted had the right to bear them). Whilst the standard of proof accepted by the heralds would have differred somewhat, the genealogies presented were generally proved via a decent standard of documentary evidence. Whilst there were undoubtably a small number of deceitful claims, as well as errors in recording the lineages, visitations are generally considered to be "fairly" reliable, and in the absense of the documents used to originally prove them, are often all that we have to go on for some links.