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Latin Words to Recognise

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First, do not be in awe of old registers written in Latin. There are only a few words to learn to recognise! Something that looks like "baptize" is baptize, something that looks like "matrimony" is a marriage, and something that looks like "mortus" is a burial. "Gemini" .... sure... is twins. There are a few more, but you get the idea?

filius		son of      (I remember this as: ends in "us" = male)
filia		daughter of (I remember this as: ends in "a"  = female)
		(the same often applies to male and female names)
et		and
baptizavi	I have baptised
natus		born (male)
nata		born (female)
gemelli, gemini	twins
trigemini	triplets

nupsit		married
matrimonium	matrimony
licentiam	by licence
bannum		by banns

		Any word that looks like mortuary or obituary!
mortus		died
sepultavi	I have buried
dormit		sleeping
corpus		the body

parochia	parish
in comitatu	in the county of (I remember this as "community")
in agro		in the county of (literally in the field of)
ibidem		of the same place
extraneus	a stranger

So you see that when transcribing registers into a baptism database, we are just looking for key words such as "filia" (daughter) or "filius" (son), "baptizavi" plus the names. Don't worry about the latin grammar of names with "es" and "is" endings. You will recognise the names anyway. For example: "Baptizi Johannes filius Johannis et Joanna Smith". "I have baptized John son of John and Joan Smith".

Marriages have two surnames, and the word "matrimonium" or "nupsit" (married).
Watch out for "parochia" (parish) with a different place name ("John Smith of the parish of Littledean")

Burials have "sepultavi" or "mortus".

And bear in mind that a great number of clergymen didn't really understand Latin that well either, so they made mistakes. And when in doubt, wrote it in English and make it look like Latin !

If you want to refer to a really excellent booklet on Latin, look no further than
"Simple Latin for Family Historians" by Eve McLaughlin.

(No apologies for the blatant plug. She deserves it!)

Eve McLaughlin, Varneys, Rudds Lane, Haddenham, Aylesbury, Bucks. HP17 8JP

see also:
Latin names
Old English and abbreviated names
Numbers and dates to recognise

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