Sunday, July 23, 2006

Encyclopedia of Genealogy

Richard Eastman started a genealogy "wiki" some time ago, which he called the "Encyclopedia of Genealogy." Material is added frequently, making this an extremely handy one-stop place for a definition of genealogy terms. The web site is

There is an alphabetized list of words, acronbyms and abbreviations from all areas of genealogy and social history.

Browsing through the listings, I wondered what the terms childwite, lairwite, chevage and villein meant. Now I know! Those medievals had a name for everything! What is childwite you ask?

In medieval England, a fine paid by men to the lord of the manor for illicitly impregnating his bondswomen. See OED Online. For genealogists, this term, as found in manor court cases, signifies an illegitimate birth.

I also found out that I am Grand climacteric. Oh no! Don't tell my wife.

There are also archaic medical terms in case you run across something like meteorism. Aren't you glad you couldn't resist clicking on it?


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