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300+ Family History Abbreviations Explained

What Does That Mean? 300+ Family History Abbreviations Explained

By Patricia Hartley

Abbreviations are nothing new and you’ve no doubt come across several in your genealogical research. Throughout the centuries, enumerators have abbreviated given names in the federal census, clerks have abbreviated common legal terms in court records, and genealogists have used abbreviations to succinctly notate relationships and research results.

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But they can also lead to a world of confusion. That’s that we’ve gathered together a list of more than 300, from Ad inf to yt, that you’re likely to encounter in your research – as well as a selection of common abbreviations for names. 

Please remember that some of these selections can have more than one possible meaning so it’s important to take the entire sentence, or the type of document, into context to best determine what the author meant. The most probable and common meanings are included here.

Abbreviations That You’ll Commonly Find in Your Family History Research, and Their Meanings

For more help with your family history research, explore our online courses and family history workbook.

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A

  • ad inf ~ ad infinitum (to infinity)
  • ad init ~ ad initium (at the beginning)
  • ad int ~ ad interim (in the meantime)
  • admix or admx ~ administratrix/female administrator
  • admr ~ administrator
  • afft ~ affidavit
  • agmt ~ agreement
  • agt ~ agent
  • agy ~ agency
  • ahl ~ ad hoc locum (to this place)
  • ano ~ annus (year) or another
  • appc ~ apprentice
  • appt ~ appointment
  • app’t ~ appointed
  • a quo ~ from whom
  • asr ~ assessor
  • at lge ~ at large
  • a/v ~ ad valorem (tax on goods)

B

  • Bas ~ bastard
  • b.h. ~ boarding house
  • bien ~ biennial (taking place every other year)
  • bns ~ banns (marriage)
  • b/o ~ brother of 
  • Bur Gr ~ burying ground

C

  • c. ~ baptized
  • ca. ~ circa
  • Cha ~ chambermaid
  • chan ~ chancel or chancery
  • chd ~ child
  • chh ~ church
  • ch/o or c/o ~ child of
  • chr ~ churches
  • civ ~ civil
  • Cl ~ child
  • cl cts ~ clerk of courts
  • cntb ~ constable
  • co/m ~ colored male
  • con/o ~ consent (of)
  • cons/o ~ consort (wife, husband, or companion) of
  • contl ~ continental
  • Ct ~ court
  • cty ~ county

D

  • d.s.p. ~ died without issue
  • dau/o or d/o ~ daughter of
  • db ~ deed book
  • dc ~ deceased, docket, or death certificate
  • demi/dem/di/d ~ one-half or smaller than
  • dft ~ defendant
  • dg ~ degree of gift or deed of gift
  • Dm ~ domestic
  • do/doo ~ ditto (the same, or same as above)
  • dt ~ deed of trust
  • dom ~ date of marriage or domicile
  • dom svt ~ domestic servant
  • ds ~ deserted, died single, or document signed
  • dto ~ ditto
  • dum ~ died unmarried
  • dy ~ died young

Listing using "do" abbreviation"

E

  • Ecclia ~ church
  • ecux ~ a female executor of probate
  • e.g. ~ exampli gratia (for example)
  • ehel/ehl ~ ehelich (legitimate)
  • eld ~ elder or eldest
  • emig ~ emigrant, emigrated, or emigration
  • eno ~ enough
  • et. al. ~ et alii (and others, usually at least two others)
  • et. seq. ~ et sequentes (and the following)
  • et ux ~ and wife or one other
  • ex/exec/exc’r ~ executor
  • exit. atta ~ attachment was signed and issued by the court
  • exon/excn/exec/execn ~ executed, as in a legal document

F

  • fa/o or f/o ~ father of
  • fc ~ federal census
  • fdry ~ foundry
  • feu ~ late (deceased)
  • ff ~ and the following or following pages
  • fgr ~ family group record
  • filia ~ daughter
  • filius ~ son

G

  • gb ~ guardian bond
  • gdn ~ guardian
  • gds ~ goods or guards
  • gt ~ great
  • guar ~ guarantee or guardianship

H

  • hds ~ hands
  • hic jacet ~ here lies
  • hic sit ~ here is buried
  • hls ~ hoc loco situs (laid in this place)
  • hjs ~ hic jacet sepultus (here lies buried)
  • hm ~ hoc mense (in this month)
  • ht ~ height or hoc tempore (in this time)
  • hy ~ heavy

I

  • i.a. ~ in absentia
  • ibid ~ ibidem (in the same place or the same)
  • i/c ~ in charge of 
  • id ~ idem (the same)
  • I.e. ~ Id est (that is)
  • ih ~ iacet hic (here lies)
  • Il/Ille/illg/illeg~ illegitimate
  • in loco ~ in place of
  • in loc citata ~ in the place cited
  • in pr ~ in principio (in the beginning)
  • inq ~ inquest or inquiry
  • ipso facto ~ by the act itself
  • iq ~ idem quod (the same as)
  • IRL ~ Ireland
  • it. ~ item

J

  • J.u. ~ jure uxoris (right of wife)
  • jur ~ juratum (it has been sworn), juror, jury, or jurisprudence

K

  • kh ~ keeping house
  • ki ~ killed by Indians
  • km ~ murdered

L

  • lab ~ laborer
  • led ~ ledig (unmarried)
  • lg ~ letters of guardianship
  • liv ~ livery
  • l/o ~ late of
  • loc cit ~ loco citato (in the place cited)
  • ltd ~ limited
  • lvg ~ living

M

  • malls ~ measles
  • mb ~ marriage book
  • mbn ~ marriage banns
  • mcd ~ married contrary to discipline
  • Mdn ~ maiden
  • mdse ~ merchandise
  • Messrs ~ Messieurs (plural of Mr./Mister)
  • Middx ~ Middlesex (county)
  • mlle ~ mademoiselle
  • Mme ~ Madam
  • moiety ~ one-half
  • mors ~ death or corpse
  • mris ~ mistress
  • mv ~ more vetere (in the old way)

Record from 1600s using various abbreviations

N

  • nat ~ natural/illegitimate
  • nc ~ name change
  • ncm ~ non compos mentis (mental unsoundness)
  • nd/ndt ~ no date
  • né ~ original, former, or legal name of a man
  • née ~ as born, precedes maiden name of a married woman
  • nfi ~ no further information
  • nfk ~ nothing further known
  • nil ~ nothing found, no information located
  • n/m ~ not married
  • nmi ~ no middle initial
  • nmn ~ no middle name
  • noia ~ nomina (names)
  • noie ~ nomine (by name)
  • nois ~ nominis (of the name)
  • non copos mentis ~ not sound of mind
  • non obs ~ non obstante (notwithstanding)
  • non seq ~ non sequitur (it does not follow)
  • ntop ~ not of this parish
  • npn ~ no page number
  • nunc ~ nuncupative (unwritten, an oral will)
  • NXN/nxn ~ no Christian name

O

  • o/oe/oi/oy/oye/oey ~ grandson or nephew (Scottish)
  • ob inf ~ obit infantia (died in infancy)
  • ob inf set ~ died whilst still a minor
  • Obk ~ order book
  • o.s.p. ~ died without issue
  • ob unm ~ obit (died unmarried)
  • ofc ~ office
  • oft ~ often
  • orp ~ orphan
  • Orph Ct ~ Orphans Court
  • otp ~ of this parish or of this place
  • Overs ~ overseer
  • o.v.m. ~ obiit vita matris (died in lifetime of mother)
  • ovp ~ obiit vita patris (died in lifetime of father)
  • owb ~ old will book

P

  • penult ~ penultimate, last but one
  • p.m. ~ postmaster
  • Pp ~ pauper
  • P&P ~ past and present
  • ppa ~ per power of attorney
  • pro tem ~ pro tempore (for the time being)
  • prox ~ proximo (next month)
  • prvd/pvd ~ proved
  • pty ~ proprietary
  • pw ~ per week
  • py ~ per year

Q

  • qaly ~ qualifying
  • q c ~ quit claim
  • qv ~ quod vide (refer to, which see)

R

  • rcd/rec ~ record or recorded
  • rcp ~ Roman Catholic priest
  • rcpt ~ receipt
  • re: ~ regarding
  • recd ~ received or recorded
  • relecta ~ widow
  • relectus ~ widower
  • rel/o ~ relict of (widow of)
  • req ~ request or requested
  • rmt ~ reported married to
  • rol ~ received on letter
  • rolf ~ received on letter from
  • Rot. ~ rotalus (roll or rolls, as in a collection of records)
  • Ry ~ railway

S

  • s-a ~ twice annually
  • s/b ~ stillborn
  • sch ~ school or schedule
  • sci. fa. ~ scire facias (and it is ordered that)
  • sd/sd ~ said or sine die (without setting a date for reconvening)
  • sgd ~ signed
  • shef ~ sheriff
  • sh. sh. ~ sharpshooter
  • sic ~ written thus, as copied, or as shown in the original
  • sine ~ without
  • sine die ~ without delay, indefinitely
  • s.l.p. ~ sine legitima prole (died without issue)
  • s-m ~ twice monthly
  • Smn ~ seaman
  • s.n. ~ sine nomen (infant who died without being given a name)
  • spl ~ special or sine prole legitima (without legitimate issue)
  • spm ~ sine prole macula (without male issue)
  • sps ~ sine prole supersite (without surviving issue)
  • spur ~ spurious, spuria (illegitimate)
  • Sra ~ Señora
  • strs ~ seamstress
  • suo juris ~ in his (or her) right
  • sv ~ sub verbo, sub voce (under the word)

T

  • T/A ~ trading as
  • testr ~ testator
  • tn ~ tenant, toon, town, or township
  • t & p ~ true and perfect
  • tw ~ tri-weekly

U

  • u.d. ~ ultimo die (final day)
  • ult ~ ultimo (last, a date last month)
  • usw ~ und so weiter (and so forth)
  • ut sup ~ ut supra (as above)
  • ux/uxor/uz ~ Mrs. or wife

V

  • v.d. ~ various dates
  • ve/vve ~ widow
  • verch ~ daughter
  • verh. ~ verheiratet (married)
  • verl. ~ verlobt (engaged)
  • vid. ~ viduus, vidua (widower, widow)
  • vide ~ see
  • vix ~ lived
  • viz. ~ namely
  • v.m. ~ vita matris (during mother’s life)
  • vp ~ vita  patris (in the father’s lifetime)
  • vv ~ vice versa

W

  • wag ~ wagoner
  • wdr ~ widower
  • wds ~ wounds
  • wi ~ witness
  • wp ~ will proved
  • w/pwr ~ with power
  • wt/wth ~ with
  • wtn ~ witness
  • wwr ~ widower

Y

  • ye ~ the, you, or your
  • yere ~ there
  • yis ~ this
  • ym ~ them
  • yst ~ youngest
  • yt ~ that or yet

Common Name Abbreviations

  • Ada ~ Adelaide
  • Ar ~ Arthur
  • Bertie/Berty ~ Albert, Alberta, Bertha, Herbert, Robert, or Roberta
  • Brid ~ Bridget
  • Bx ~ Beatrix
  • Car ~ Charles
  • Chas ~ Charles
  • Cis/Cissie/Cissy ~ Cecelia
  • Danl ~ Daniel
  • Ebenr ~ Ebenezer
  • Edw ~ Edward
  • El/Elis/Eliz/Elizth/Eliza ~ Elizabeth
  • Eli ~ Elijah or Elisha
  • Ell ~ Ellen
  • Ella ~ Eleanor, Elinor, or Isabella
  • Ellie ~ Alice
  • Elnr ~ Eleanor
  • Elsb ~ Elsbeth

Census records using several name abbreviations

 

  • Elsie ~ Alice, Elisabeth, Elisa, or Elizabeth
  • Eml ~ Emaline, Emeline
  • Ez ~ Ezra or Ezekiel
  • Gail ~ Abigail
  • Geo/Geo ~ George
  • Gert/Gertie/Trudy ~ Gertrude
  • Gottf ~ Gottfried
  • Gottl ~ Gottlieb
  • Guliel/Gul ~ William
  • Gus ~ Augustus or Gustave
  • Hank ~ Henry
  • Hans ~ Johann or John (in German)
  • Hattie ~ Harriett
  • Ioh ~ John (I interchangeable with J)
  • Isa/Isab/Isb ~ Isabel or Isabella
  • Jas/Jas ~ James 
  • Jb ~ Jacob or Jakob
  • Jenny/Jennie ~ Jane, Jean, or Jennifer
  • Jer/Jera/Jere/Jerma ~ Jeremiah
  • J Jb ~ Johann Jacob or Johann Jakob
  • Jos ~ Joseph, Josephine, Josiah
  • Josh ~ Josiah
  • Josie/Josy ~ Josephine
  • Jro ~ Jerome
  • J Rud ~ Johann Rudolf
  • Jud ~ Judith
  • Kit ~ Christopher, Catherine, Katherine, or Katharine
  • Lawr/Laur/Laurie ~ Lawrence or Laurence
  • Leo/Lend ~ Leonard
  • Lk ~ Luke
  • Ma ~ Maria
  • Mab ~ Mabel
  • Madge ~ Margaret
  • Magd ~ Magdalena
  • Mat/Matty/Mattie ~ Martha, Matilda, or Matthew
  • May ~ Maria, Marie, or Mary
  • Meta ~ Margaret
  • Mgy ~ Margery
  • Ph/Phil ~ Phillip
  • Polly ~ Mary
  • Rb/Rob/Robt/Bobby ~ Robert
  • Sal/Sallie/Sally ~ Sarah
  • Thos/Tom ~ Thomas
  • Wm/Will/Willie/Willy ~ William
  • Winnie/Winny ~ Winifred
  • Xper/Xr ~ Christopher

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For nearly 30 years Patricia Hartley has researched and written about the ancestry and/or descendancy of her personal family lines, those of her extended family and friends, and of historical figures in her community. She has a B.S. in Professional Writing and English and an M.A. in English from the University of North Alabama in Florence, Alabama, as well as an M.A. in Public Relations/Mass Communications from Kent State University. She’s a member of the Alabama Genealogical Society, Association of Professional Genealogists, National Genealogical Society, International Society of Family History Writers, Tennessee Valley Genealogical Society, Natchez Trace Genealogical Society and the International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review. 

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