P genealogical glossary terms
Padrón: A Spanish word for census.
Padrón de almas: A Spanish term used in the Philippines to mean censuses taken by the parish clergy. These are likely to be in narrative, rather than columnar, form.
Padrones: A Spanish word meaning censuses. These are lists of the Spanish, Mexican, and Indian residents of California prior to statehood.
Padrones de chinos: A Spanish term used in the Philippines to mean census records.
Pairs: The French term for peers, the highest group of noblemen. From highest rank to lowest, the French pairs include the titles of duc (duke), marquis, comte (earl), viscomte (viscount), and baron. The French peers were entitled to use a coat of arms.
Palatinate: A region in southwest Germany. The German word for this region is Pfalz.
Palatine: A person who emigrated from the Palatinate (Pfalz) region of southwest Germany. Some people in the United States referred to all immigrants as Palatines, regardless of whether they came from the Palatinate or not.
Pardo: A term used in Catholic Church registers to describe a person from Spanish-speaking Latin America whose ancestry is a mix of Indian (1/2), African (1/4), and Spanish Caucasian (1/4). In Brazilian registers, pardo refers to a person whose ancestry is a mix of African and Caucasian. Racial classifications were often based on physical appearance or social status; therefore, they were not always accurate.
Parent county: The original county from which another county was organized.
Parent Search: A search available in the International Genealogical Index®, Ordinance Index™, and Scottish Church Records that lists all children who may be from the same family.
Parish: A jurisdictional unit that governs a church's local affairs. The Church of England and Roman Catholic Church have parishes.
Parish archive: An archive that houses records from a church parish.
Parish chest records, Church of England: A type of record that relates to civil and other records, excluding christening, marriage, and burial registers, that were kept in parishes of the Church of England. These records were often kept in a chest (or strongbox), which was known as the parish chest. Parish chest records include vestry minutes, poor and other rates (taxes) assessed to parish members, bastardy bonds, churchwarden accounts, settlement and removal records, and apprenticeship records.
Parish court, Louisiana: A court in Louisiana with jurisdiction over a parish, which is similar to a county in other states. Parish courts had jurisdiction over criminal and minor civil cases. Most were abolished in 1846.
Parish history: An account of the historical events in a parish.
Parish of settlement, England: The parish in England where a person is legally authorized to live and claim welfare benefits.
Parish records, Louisiana: Records kept by a parish, which is similar to a county in other states. The term parish records also refers to records kept by a church that has jurisdiction over a local parish (usually a small town or village).
Parish register: A book of church records kept by the minister of a parish. Typically, a parish register contains christening, marriage, and burial records.
Parish, Canada: A division of a county in New Brunswick. Some parishes had their own municipal governments, although villages and towns within their boundaries may have had separate governments. Some parishes were only parcels of land.
Partage: A French word for a document that shows the division of a deceased person's property among heirs. Also called succession.
Particular court, Connecticut: The main court of jurisdiction in Connecticut for all matters of law, including appeals from town courts. This court lasted from 1636 to 1711 and was succeeded by the court of assistants.
Pasaportes de estranjeros: A Spanish term meaning passports of aliens. These records documented the emigration of non-Filipinos in the Philippines.
Passenger and Immigration Lists Bibliography: A list compiled by P. William Filby of more than 2,600 published sources about immigrants to the United States.
Passenger and Immigration Lists Index: An index compiled by P. William Filby of the names found in about 1,300 published sources about immigrants to the United States.
Passenger arrival list: A list of all of the people traveling as passengers (not as crew members) who arrived on a ship.
Passenger arrival record: A list of people who arrived in a country by ship.
Passenger list: A list of the people traveling on the same means of transportation, such as a ship.
Passenger Lists, PERiodical Source Index: A record type used in the Locality and Research Methodologies sections of the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) to identify articles that contain information about passenger lists.
Passport application: A document an individual fills out to request a passport.
Passport, general: A document that identifies a citizen of a country and allows that individual to leave his or her country, travel in another country, and return home.
Passport, Native American lands: A document that allowed United States citizens during the 1800s to pass through Indian lands or go to these lands to recover stolen goods or collect debts.
Passport, permission to emigrate: A document that some countries require before a person can travel or emigrate to another country.
Patent book: A compilation of land patents.
Patent number: An identification number for a land grant.
Patent, invention: A grant from the government giving an individual or institution the exclusive rights to make, sell, or use an invention.
Patent, land: A certificate that conveys ownership of a piece of land from the government to a private institution or individual. Also called a final certificate or first-title deed.
Patent-certificate, Canada: A document that is evidence of a crown land grant received by a person in what is now the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Québec. Quebec began issuing these grants in 1764 and Ontario in 1795. These grants were especially popular after the American Revolutionary War because all Loyalists or their children were entitled to free land in Canada. These grants were abolished in 1827 except for relatives and descendants of Loyalists. Patent-certificates give the name of the grantee, a description of the land, and the date of the grant.
Patriarchal Blessing Index: An index to Latter-day Saint patriarchal blessings given beginning in 1833.
Patriarchal blessing, Latter-day Saint: A blessing given to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by ordained patriarchs. A patriarchal blessing is “an inspired declaration of the lineage of the recipient, and also where so moved upon by the Spirit, an inspired and prophetic statement of the life mission of the recipient, together with such blessings, cautions, and admonitions as the patriarch may be prompted to give” (First Presidency letter, 28 June 1957).
Patriot Rebellion (1837-1838): Another name for the Rebellion of 1837 in Lower Canada (Québec). The rebels in Québec took the name of patriotes.
Patriot War (1837-1838): An unsuccessful attempt by people calling themselves patriots or "patriot hunters" to remove Canada from British control. These people were mostly farmers who lived along the Canadian border from Vermont to Michigan and Canadians who fled to the United States after unsuccessful rebellions in 1837.
Patriotic society: An organization of people who share common beliefs and interests about being a citizen of their country. These societies are involved in political, social, and financial activities.
Patron saint, Christian: A saint who is believed to offer intercession with God in behalf of or protection to a particular person, society, church, or place. In the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and some Lutheran churches, veneration of saints is common. Most Protestant churches do not venerate saints but may dedicate buildings to them. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the term saint refers to a Church member.
Patron Section of the Family Group Records Collection: A portion of the Family Group Records Collection that contains three million family group records. These records were gathered between 1924 and 1979 when members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were asked to submit family history records for three or four generations.
Patronage, Scotland: The Scottish practice of allowing wealthy landowners to choose local ministers. This practice caused many groups to leave the Presbyterian Church. Patronage was abolished in 1874, and by 1929 most of these groups had reunited with the Presbyterian Church.
Patronymic surname: A surname that is based on the father's given name. Patronymic surnames were commonly used in Scandinavia, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, parts of England and Germany, Latin America, and other parts of the world.
In Scandinavia, for example, -son or -sen was added to the end of the father's name to create the surname of his child. (Hans Pederson is the son of Peder.)
In Wales the letters ap or ab appeared between the child's given name and the father's given name, or the letter -s was added to the father's name. (David the son of Owen could have been called David ap Owen or David Owens.)
In Ireland Mac', O', or Fitz at the beginning of a surname indicates a patronymic surname (such as MacAllister, O'Henry, Fitzhugh).
In Spanish-speaking countries, the letters -ez, -es, and -iz at the end of a surname indicate a patronymic surname (such as Domínguez).
Patroon, New York: A member of the Dutch West India Company who was granted a patroonship (large tract of land) in New Netherland, which later became the state of New York. To keep the land, the patroon agreed to establish a settlement of at least 50 people within four years of receiving the land. Before the Revolutionary War, the patroon had the right to administer the land and control many aspects of the settlers' lives, including whom they could marry, whether they could move, and whether they could go into business. Some patroons had their own courts and exercised civil and criminal jurisdiction over the tenants who leased the land. All patroonships except the one owned by Kiliaen Van Rensselaer were ultimately unsuccessful.
Patroonship, New York: A method of landownership used in New Netherland, which later became the state of New York, during the 1700s.
Pauline Myrna Jones Gandrud Alabama Records Collection: A collection of transcripts that includes tombstone inscriptions; death, marriage, probate, land, church, court, and Bible records; newspaper obituaries; tax lists; military pensions; and other records concerning Alabama residents. Each volume is indexed.
Pauper register: A list of individuals who cannot support themselves financially and thus depend on public support.
Paymaster: A military officer charged with paying wages.
Peculiar court, England and Wales: An English court with jurisdiction over a parish or group of parishes. Peculiar courts frequently handled probates. A peculiar parish is not under the control of the archdeacon or bishop in whose area the parish is located because a church dignitary in the parish owns land within the diocese of another bishop.
Pedigree chart: A chart that shows an individual's direct ancestors—parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so forth. A pedigree chart may contain birth, marriage, and death information.
Pedigree, Ancestral File™: A computer screen in Ancestral File that shows a person's direct ancestors (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.).
Peers: The highest class of British and French noblemen. Peers (pairs in French) include the titles of duke (duc in French), marquis, earl (comte in French), viscount (viscomte in French), and baron. All nobles are entitled to use a coat of arms. In Great Britain, the peers compose the House of Lords in Parliament. Women who hold titles of peerage in their own right are also in the House of Lords. Peers may not serve in the House of Commons, which is the lower house of Parliament. Peers are also exempt from jury duty and free from arrest in civil cases for 40 days after a session of Parliament. Until 1948 peers accused of treason and felonies were tried in the House of Lords. A title of peerage passes to the title-holder's oldest son or closest male relative.
Penal Laws, Ireland: Laws passed to persecute Roman Catholics in Ireland. The clergy were banished, and the Catholic Church was forbidden to keep records. Catholics also lost the rights to own property, hold office, and vote.
Pennsylvania Encyclopedia Biography Field Notes for American Guide Series: Abstracts of biographical sketches found in local histories and various biographical encyclopedias. The Federal Writer's Project, which was part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), compiled this collection before World War II.
Pension: Money given to an individual (or the individual’s spouse or dependents) who has retired from the military or another organization that provides this benefit.
Pension application: A formal, written request for a pension. A pension is money given to an individual (or the individual’s spouse or dependents) who has retired from the military or another organization that provides this benefit.
Pension list: A list of individuals receiving money and other benefits from a government in return for past military service.
Pension records: Records created as part of the process of applying for and receiving a pension. A pension is money given to an individual (or the individual’s spouse or dependents) who has retired from the military or another organization that provides this benefit.
Pensioner’s schedule: A lists of veterans and widows receiving pensions. The 1840 United States federal census recorded pensioners. A pension is money given to an individual (or the individual’s spouse or dependents) who has retired from the military or another organization that provides this benefit.
Pentecostalism: A group of religions that grew out of the religious revival of the early 1900s. Its doctrines include the infallibility of the Bible, the fall and redemption of man, divine healing through prayer, baptism by immersion, eternal punishment for the unsaved, and the return of Christ to rule on earth. Pentecostals believe that every Christian should be filled with the Holy Spirit.
People of Ontario 1600-1900: An Alphabetized Directory of the People, Places, and Vital Dates: An index to people from Ontario, Canada, who are listed in many published biographies, cemetery records, census records, directories, family histories, Loyalist listings, marriage records, and vital records in newspapers.
PERiodical Source Index: A bibliography of articles appearing in genealogical periodicals and an index to the people and topics covered in the articles.
Periodical, general: A publication produced at fixed intervals that deals with topics of interest to specific groups of people.
Periodicals, Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize publications produced at fixed intervals that deal with topics of interest to specific groups of people.
Permission to emigrate: An official document that authorizes an individual to move from the country where he or she currently lives.
Permit: An official document authorizing a person to do something, such as drive an automobile, use federal land, operate a business, and so forth.
Perpetual Emigrating Fund: An immigrant aid society organized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help Church members move to the United States. It existed from 1849 to 1887. The money came from Church assets and private contributions. It was loaned to members, who repaid the loan as they were able. Many members of handcart companies received funds from the Perpetual Emigrating Fund.
Personal Ancestral File®: A computer program used to record, manage, and share genealogical information. Personal Ancestral File® is created and distributed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Personal petition files, Latin America: A type of military record used in Latin America. The files contain personal requests, such as petitions for military promotion. They may include a number of documents of genealogical interest, such as family baptismal and marriage certificates or an ancestor's military record. The Spanish term is expedientes personales.
Personal property: An individual’s belongings, not including land or the resources and buildings on the land.
Personenstandsregister: A German word for civil registration records.
Personnel files, Germany: A type of military record used in Germany. The files may contain the enlisted soldier's name, date and place of birth, possibly parents' names, muster date, conscription information, occupation, and any changes of address. The German word for these records is Stammrollen.
Petite noblesse: The French term for gentry, which is the lower group of noblemen. From highest rank to lowest, the petite noblesse included the titles of chevalier (knight), écuyer (esquire), and gentilhomme (gentleman). The French gentry was entitled to use a coat of arms.
Petition for Naturalization (Form 2204): A form an alien uses to formally request United States citizenship.
Petition, citizenship: The second and final legal document an alien files when he or she wishes to become a citizen of the United States. It is generally filed two to five years after the declaration of intent. The petition is sometimes called second or final papers.
Petition, court: A request made in court.
Petition, general: A written request made to a higher authority. An oral request is called a motion.
Petition, governmental: A document written to a government body that specifies some action the people would like the government to take. Government petitions are useful if one cannot find tax lists or census records for an area.
Petition, land: The formal, written request submitted by an individual seeking a land grant.
Petition, probate: An application to a court requesting the right to settle a deceased individual’s estate.
Pfalz: The German term for the Palatinate region in southwest Germany.
Phelps and Gorham Purchase: A large tract of land in New York purchased by Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham that contained present-day Ontario, Yates, and Steuben Counties; the eastern portions of present-day Monroe and Livingston Counties; the western parts of Wayne and Schuyler Counties; and part of Allegany County. This land was originally part of the land given to Massachusetts as part of the Hartford Treaty of 1786. Phelps and Gorham could not meet the payments for the land and ended up giving most of it back to the state of New York.
Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902): A conflict between the United States and the Philippines in which the Philippines tried to obtain its independence.
Phonetic index: A type of index that groups together names or words that sound alike but that are spelled differently. Soundex and Miracode are examples of phonetic indexes.
Phonetic spelling: Spelling that is based on how a word sounds. The phonetic spelling may or may not be considered correct in modern usage. However, spelling was not standardized when most early records were made. For example, a name might be spelled differently than it is today or even spelled differently in different records about the same individual.
Photocopy: A paper copy of a document created by a photostatic process.
Photoduplication: The process of making a photostatic copy of a document.
Photoduplication order form: A form used to request a photocopy from an institution.
Physical age: A person's age as calculated from the birth date.
Picts, Scotland: An ancient group of people, probably descendants of pre-Celtic aborigines, who lived in the north of Scotland. The Romans called them Picts, meaning "Painted People," because they painted or tattooed their skin. After the Romans invaded what is now Britain, the Romans built many forts and walls, such as Hadrian's Wall, to protect themselves from attacks by the Picts and other native groups. The Picts began merging with the Scots and disappeared as a race about A.D. 900.
Pièces annexes: A French term for a type of marriage record filed by a bride or groom to support a civil marriage application. Also called pièces justificatives. The English translation is marriage settlements.
Pièces justificatives: A French term for a type of marriage record filed by a bride or groom to support a civil marriage application. Also called pièces annexes. The English translation is marriage settlements.
Pioneers Foundation Collection: A collection of 520 oral interviews from Caucasian families in southwest New Mexico. It is held in the Special Collections Room of the University of New Mexico Library. The recordings are restricted to members of the family, but photocopies of the index and transcripts are available for a fee.
Piscataqua Pioneers Membership Applications: A collection of applications that people made to become members of the Piscataqua Pioneers, a lineage society for descendants of pre-1776 settlers along the Piscataqua River. The applications, which give detailed lineages, are arranged alphabetically by the name of the applicant.
Place of arrival: The place where an immigrant first arrived in the new country. Though many immigrants stayed in their place of arrival for many years, the place of arrival may not be the place where the immigrant settled permanently.
Place of departure: The place from which an immigrant left. The place of departure may or may not be the immigrant’s birthplace.
Plaintiff: The individual who initiates a lawsuit. Also called the accuser.
Plantation of Ulster, Ireland: A plantation that James I, king of England, started in 1605 when he sent thousands of Presbyterians from Scotland to live in northern Ireland (Ulster). The king did this to displace Irish Catholics and to strengthen English rule.
Plantation, general: A large farm. Plantations usually produce one main crop, such as tobacco, cocoa, sugar cane, rice, or rubber. Many plantations are found in rich, level land, especially in tropical and subtropical regions. In the American colonies and later in the Southern states, slaves and indentured servants provided most of the labor on these farms. After the Civil War, low-wage hired hands and sharecroppers (people who work for a share of the crop) provided much of the labor. Many of these plantations also abused workers, forcing them to purchase all of their supplies at high cost through a plantation store. The workers would accumulate high debt and be forced to work that debt off. In more modern plantations, skilled labor and machinery perform much of the work, and abuses happen less frequently.
Plantation, Ireland: Land in Ireland granted to English and Scottish families. Queen Mary I started this practice in 1549 as a means of strengthening English rule of Ireland.
Plantation, New England: The system used to establish new settlements.
Plat book: A compilation of plat maps.
Plat map: A map that gives the legal description of a piece of land by lot, street, and block numbers. It shows townships and the divisions within them.
Plymouth Colony: The second English settlement in the United States, located in what is now the state of Massachusetts. Settled by the Pilgrims in 1620, Plymouth Colony became part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691. The Congregational Church has its roots in Plymouth Colony.
Poland Act of 1874: A federal law that limited the jurisdiction of probate courts to matters pertaining to estates, guardianships, and divorces. It was passed, in part, to discourage the practice of polygamy in Utah.
Police census: Censuses taken by the police.
Police court, Arizona: A court with citywide jurisdiction over violations of state law committed within the city's limits. Police courts share jurisdiction with the justice courts. Also called magistrate's court.
Police court, general: In some states, a court with jurisdiction over minor offenses and violations of city ordinances.
Police court, Massachusetts: A court in Massachusetts with jurisdiction over a municipality, such as a city or town.
Police court, Ohio: A court in Ohio with local jurisdiction over some criminal and civil cases.
Police list or registration, Germany: A record kept by the police that listed the residence (address) of each person. Germany started keeping these lists in the 1830s. When citizens of the city moved, they had to tell the police their new address. The German word for these records is Politzeimelderegisters.
Police registration: A list kept by the police of the citizens or transients in a city. Police registrations were common in Germany and other European countries beginning in the 1830s.
Poliskammaren, Sweden: A Swedish word for police authorities. In Sweden passenger departure lists were kept by the police authorities.
Political boundary: A dividing line that separates two countries, states, counties, cities, or other governmental units.
Political division, geographical: A dividing line that separates two countries, counties, cities, states, or other governmental units.
Political division, social: A disagreement between individuals or groups regarding a political issue.
Politzeimelderegisters, Germany: A German term for police lists or registrations, which are records kept by the police that listed the residence (address) of each person. Germany started keeping these lists in the 1830s. When citizens of the city moved, they had to tell the police their new address.
Poll book: A book that lists people who are eligible to vote. Also called a voting register.
Poll tax, taxation: A tax of a fixed amount required of all persons in a group, regardless of their personal assets. A person subject to such a tax is tithable (qualified to be taxed). The tax is also called a head tax.
Poll tax, voting: A tax paid to be eligible to vote.
Poor law union, Ireland: One of 159 districts in Ireland set up to care for the poor. These districts were established in 1838 and named after market towns. Poor law unions are also the Irish Civil Records districts.
Poor rates, Great Britain: Taxes assessed on parishioners to care for the poor.
Poorhouse: A government-sponsored place where poor people are cared for.
Poorhouses, Poor Law, Etc., Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize records related to the care and support of poor people.
Population: A term referring to the people living in a particular area.
Population register: A list of people living in an area. Population registers were common in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Population schedule: The part of a census that lists and describes the residents of an area.
Population trend: A pattern of changes over time that affect or characterize the people in an area, such as births, deaths, immigration and emigration, gender, ethnicity, and so forth.
Population, Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize information that describes the people who live in an area.
Port city: A city in which a ship can load or unload passengers and cargo.
Port of entry: The place where people enter a new country.
Post-Revolutionary War records: Records kept after 1783, when the Revolutionary War ended.
Postal and Shipping Guides, Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize information about postal and shipping guides.
Postal directory: An alphabetical list of everyone living in an area.
Postleizahlenbuch, Germany: A German term for the postal code book. This book contains the postal codes for each city in modern-day Germany.
Postmark: A stamp or other mark placed on a letter or package being mailed that identifies where it was mailed from.
Prairie provinces, Canada: A grouping of Canadian provinces comprising Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.
Precinct: A subdivision of a town, city, or county organized for a specific purpose, such as voting.
Preemption grants: A grant given to a settler in Texas who lived on a tract of land for three years. These were given from January 1845 to 1899.
Preemption law: A law passed by the United States Congress in 1841 to protect the rights of those who had settled and improved public land before they had obtained a legal title. It allowed the head of a family, including a widow, to make a claim and purchase that land from the government.
Prefect's court, New Mexico: A court in New Mexico with statewide jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. Prefect's courts were used from 1846 to 1850.
Prerogative Court of Canterbury, England: A court with jurisdiction over (1) probates in which the deceased owned property in more than one diocese or owned property outside of England, (2) people who were not English subjects who owned property in England, and (3) military personnel.
Prerogative Court of York: A court with jurisdiction over probates in which the deceased owned property in more than one diocese.
Prerogative court, New Jersey: A court in New Jersey with jurisdiction over probates beginning in 1670.
Prerogative court, New York: A court in New York City with jurisdiction over probates in the New York City area and over larger estates in the New York Colony. The prerogative court lasted from 1686 to 1877 and was presided over by the governor or his delegate. The court also registered marriage licenses but did not have jurisdiction over matrimonial proceedings like divorce.
Presbyterian Church: A type of Protestant church that developed out of John Calvin's teachings during the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s. Presbyterianism is distinguished by its form of church government. Local congregations are overseen by a board of ministers and lay elders. All ministers have equal rank, and the lay elders and ministers participate equally in church government. The ministers and lay elders participate in meetings called sessions or consistories, which send representatives to councils called presbyteries or classes. The presbyteries or classes oversee the congregations in an area. Presbyterianism became the official church in Scotland in 1690, known as the Church of Scotland.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): A church formed when the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the Presbyterian Church in the United States merged in 1983. Presbyterianism came to the United States in the 1600s with the Puritans, who preferred the Presbyterian system of church government over the Congregational, which was favored by the Separatists. Also during the 1600s, many Scots-Irish and English Presbyterians came to America. In 1706 some local congregations formed a presbytery, which was expanded into a synod in 1716.
Presbyterian Church of Wales: A religion, also known as the Calvinistic Methodist Church, that began to spread throughout Wales during the late 1730s. At first leaders advocated reforming the Church of England but not separating from it. Members would meet weekly for singing and preaching but attend their local parishes for communion. In 1811, however, members began ordaining their own ministers and keeping their own records, thus distinguishing themselves as a separate church. Their beliefs are based on the teachings of John Calvin.
Presiding Bishop, Latter-day Saint: The General Authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who is responsible under the direction of the President of the Church to serve as a judge in Israel, to oversee the temporal affairs of the Church, to receive offerings for the care of the poor, and to preach and build up the kingdom of God on earth.
Presumed dead: A person who has been missing for long enough that it is assumed he or she has died.
Preto: A term used in Brazilian Catholic Church registers to describe a person from Africa. Racial classifications were often based on physical appearance or social status; therefore, they were not always accurate.
Previous research: A source of information created or compiled from other records or sources. Previous research is an important source of information, but it must be evaluated for accuracy.
Previous residence: The place where an individual used to live.
Previous submission: A name that has already been submitted for temple work.
Priesthood records, Latter-day Saint: Records kept by early priesthood quorums of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Priesthood records may be more complete than early ward or branch membership records and may contain personal histories.
Prieto: A term used in Catholic Church registers to describe a person from Latin America whose ancestry is a mix of African (7/8) and Spanish Caucasian (1/8). Racial classifications were often based on physical appearance or social status; therefore, they were not always accurate.
Primary goal: The main piece of information for which someone is looking.
Primary source: A record that was created at or near the time an event took place by someone closely associated with the event. Also called original document, original record, or original source.
Primitive Methodist Church: A church that broke away from the main Methodist Church due to the autocratic habits of some ministers.
Prince Edward Island, Canada: An island off of the coast of Nova Scotia. It was called Abegweit by the Micmac Native Americans who originally inhabited the island. The French were the first Europeans to settle the island, which they called Ile-Saint-Jean. In 1763 the French ceded the island to Britain, who placed it under the jurisdiction of Nova Scotia. The island separated from Nova Scotia in 1769, and its name was changed to Prince Edward Island in 1799. It became a province of Canada in 1873, with its capital in Charlottetown.
Prison: A building where people who commit crimes are confined.
Private cemetery: A cemetery owned by an individual or institution.
Private claim: A claim registered by landowners to verify their ownership of land received before the Louisiana Purchase.
Private land claim: A claim on a piece of property that is now within the United States but that was previously owned by another country and was allegedly sold or given to an individual by the other government.
Privy Council, Great Britain: A court that heard final appeals from the court of arches after 1832. The Privy Council is composed of cabinet members or people selected by the king or queen to serve on the council.
Probate: The process of dividing an individual’s belongings among the heirs and paying expenses and debts.
Probate (not including Wills), PERiodical Source Index: A record type used in the Locality and Research Methodologies sections of the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) to identify articles that contain information about probate records, except for wills.
Probate court, general: A court with jurisdiction over paying a deceased individual’s debts and distributing his or her property.
Probate court, Idaho: A court with jurisdiction over probates, adoptions, and minor civil cases. These courts were abolished in 1971.
Probate court, Missouri: A court established to handle probates. Probates in Missouri are sometimes handed by courts of common pleas and circuit courts.
Probate court, Montana: A court established to handle probates, marriages, and minor civil and criminal cases. These courts were abolished in 1889 and their authority was transferred to the district courts.
Probate court, Ohio: A court in Ohio with jurisdiction over guardianships, general probate, land sales, some divorces, and naturalizations.
Probate court, Ontario, Canada: A central court in Ontario, Canada, that handled probate cases that involved a certain amount of money. This court operated from 1793 to 1858. The surrogate courts took over this responsibility after that time.
Probate court, Utah: A court established in 1850 by the provisional government of the State of Deseret to handle probates. These courts were also used when Utah was a territory but were abolished when it became a state. The authority was assumed by the state district courts.
Probate court, Washington: The primary probate court in Washington until 1891, when the authority was transferred to the superior courts.
Probate court, Wisconsin: A court in Wisconsin with jurisdiction over probate cases. Probate courts operated from 1839 to 1849, when county began courts handling probate cases.
Probate district: The area over which a court has probate jurisdiction.
Probate estate papers: A file of all documents relating to the settlement of an individual’s estate. Also called probate packets, case files, loose papers, or estate files.
Probate file: A file of all documents relating to the settlement of an individual’s estate. Also called probate packet, probate estate papers, case files, loose papers, or estate files.
Probate minutes: Brief daily accounts of actions taken by a probate court.
Probate packet: A file of all documents relating to the settlement of an individual’s estate. Also called probate file, probate estate papers, case files, loose papers, or estate files.
Probate proceedings: An account of how an estate was probated in court.
Probate Records, Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize legal documents dealing with the distribution of an individual’s property after his or her death.
Probate records, general: Legal documents dealing with the distribution of an individual’s property after his or her death.
Professional directory: A list of the names and addresses of people engaged in a specific occupation.
Professional researcher: An individual who specializes in family history research and does research for a fee.
Property dispute: A legal claim involving a disagreement over land or other real property.
Proprietary colony land grants: Land grants given by the Lords Proprietors of Carolina to other people. The Lords Proprietors had received this land from King Charles III in 1663. In 1729, seven of the eight Lords Proprietors sold their land to King George II, making North Carolina a crown colony.
Proprietary court, South Carolina: A type of court used in South Carolina before 1769.
Proprietary land: Land that a king gives to a proprietor, who has the right to sell or give the land to other people.
Proprietor: An owner or manager of a piece of property. Historically, a proprietor was the person who received the land for a town or colony from the king. This person had the right to give or sell the land to other people.
Proprietors' records: Records kept by colonial proprietors of land grants they issued. In New England proprietors' records were the earliest town records kept.
Protestant churches: A term referring to hundreds of Christian churches that deny the universal authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Most Protestant churches rose out of the Reformation movement in Europe during the 1500s. In general, Protestant churches believe in salvation by faith alone and believe that the Bible is the only source of religious authority. The Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational Churches are examples of Protestant churches. While Christian, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a Protestant church.
Protestant Episcopal Church: A church that was formed in 1789 when Anglicans in the United States separated from the Church of England after the American Revolution. The church is part of the Anglican Convention. The Protestant Episcopal Church was known by that name until 1967, when a general convention changed the name to Episcopal Church.
Protestant Irish: An Irishman who belongs to a Protestant church. The term can also refer to an Ulster Scot (a person of Scottish descent who lives or lived in Northern Ireland). Most Ulster Scots are descended from a group of Presbyterians that King James I sent to live in northern Ireland. The king did this to displace Irish Catholics and to strengthen English rule.
Protestant Records in Montréal, Canada: An index to Protestant church records.
Protestant Reformation: A religious movement that began in Germany in 1517 when Martin Luther, a German monk, publicly condemned several Catholic teachings and practices. The movement quickly gained momentum throughout Europe and led to the creation of many different churches. Members of these new churches were called Protestants, meaning those who protest.
Protocolos: A term used in Spain, Latin America, and the Philippines to mean judicial records. The term notarios may also be used.
Protonotaire: A French term for the government official who receives and stores records from individual notaries.
Province of Canada: A province that existed between 1841 and 1867. It consisted of Canada West (Ontario) and Canada East (Québec).
Province of Maine of the Massachusetts Bay Colony: A section of the Massachusetts Bay Colony that was formed between 1652 and 1658 when Massachusetts increased her claim to include parts of what is now Maine. In 1660 the heirs of Fernando Gorges, the original owner of Maine, disputed Massachusetts' ownership of Maine. In 1664 an English board of commissioners gave Maine back to the Gorges family. Massachusetts bought Maine from the Gorges family in 1677. Maine became a separate state in 1820.
Province, general: An administrative division of a state or country. Canada and Ireland, for example, have provinces. The term province can also refer to a region of land that has the same type of geographical features.
Province, Ireland: An administrative division of Ireland. Present-day Ireland has four provinces: Connacht, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster. The provinces are divided into counties, and counties are divided into baronies. In ancient times, Ireland had five provinces, also called the "fifths" of Ireland: Leinster, Munster, Connaught, Ulster, and Meath. A king ruled each province. When the English took control of Ireland, the provinces were reorganized, and the province of Meath was abolished.
Provincial archive, Canada: A governmental archive established in each province of Canada to collect records about that province.
Provincial archive, general: An archive that collects records from and about a province within a country.
Provincial archive, Sweden: One of seven archives in Sweden that house records pertaining to the province they cover. Most Swedish records of genealogical value are kept at the provincial archives, including church records, census records, land records, emigration records, and court records.
Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada: An archive that collects records about the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador. This archive is one of the main sources of family history information for Newfoundland residents. It has land records, census records, church records, some emigration and immigration records, and probate records.
Provincial census, Canada: A census taken of a Canadian province and not the entire country.
Provincial court, Canada: A court with jurisdiction over a Canadian province. Many provinces have several levels of courts: a superior or supreme court, a court of appeals, midlevel county or judicial district courts, and lower-level provincial courts.
Provincial court, Maryland: A court in Maryland with statewide or colonywide jurisdiction over capital crimes, land disputes, and other civil matters. This court existed from 1637 to 1805. It was also called the general court.
Provincial court, Pennsylvania: A court in Pennsylvania with jurisdiction over appeals from lower courts and criminal and civil cases. Provincial courts were used from 1684 to 1722.
Provincial marriage license: A marriage license that the government in colonial America required unless a couple published the banns in church.
Provisional Government of the State of Deseret: A temporary government created in 1849 to replace The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the civil government in the Utah Territory. It provided the territory with a government until the Utah Territory was formed in 1850. The State of Deseret included parts of present-day California, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.
Provisioning list, Canada: A list of American Loyalists for whom the British government provided provisions after the American Revolution.
Proxy, court: An individual who is appointed to act for and in behalf of another individual in legal matters.
Proxy, Latter-day Saint: An individual who acts on behalf of a deceased individual in receiving a temple ordinance.
Public Domain Index: A computerized index to all federal land patents in Illinois. This index was compiled by the Illinois State Archives.
Public domain, copyright: Works or records that are not protected by copyright law. Works in the public domain may be copied and used freely, without consideration of United States copyright law.
Public domain, land: Land and water owned and managed by federal or state governments.
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland: An archive in Belfast, Northern Ireland, that collects records for all of Ireland but focuses particularly on counties in the province of Ulster. The Public Record Office has an excellent collection of church records (all denominations) for all of Northern Ireland as well as the counties of Donegal, Cavan, and Monaghan in Ireland. The office also has estate papers, gravestone inscriptions, census records, Tithe Applotment books, valuation lists, and other historical and genealogical sources.
Public Record Office, England" An archive in England that collects records of the central government, such as parliamentary papers and court records.
Public Records, Family History Library Catalog™: A subject heading used in the Family History Library Catalog to categorize information about records available to the public.
Public service claim: A claim that a private citizen made at a county courthouse to receive compensation for crops, cattle, weapons, and labor used by the military during the Revolutionary War.
Publicationes de mariage: The French term for the publication of the banns, a religious custom in which a couple announced to their local congregation that they planned to marry.
Published collection: A collection of materials that have been produced for wide distribution.
Published index: An index to records that has been published.
Published source: A source of information that has been formally published.
Puritans: Members of a religious movement in England whose original goal was to cleanse the Church of England of its Roman Catholic beliefs and practices. The Puritans established the Massachusetts Bay Colony. A related group, known as the Separatists, believed that the Church of England could not be purified and decided to break away from it. The Separatists settled Plymouth Colony. Presbyterianism and Congregationalism developed out of Puritanism.
Purity of blood report, Latin America: A type of record used in Latin America that served as proof of nobility so that hidalgos (members of the untitled Spanish nobility) might join fraternal orders or obtain government positions. The Spanish term is limpieza de sangre.
Purser: An official on a ship who manages finances and provisions.