Legal Definitions  

 HEIRSHIP submitted by Lucy Moye
Let me preface this by saying that my experience is with medieval English land law, not early American, but since the latter is derived from the former, I'll give this a shot...

First, "legatee"= the one to whom a legacy is left.

"It falling to the said William Adams by heirship"=William Adams inherited rather than bought it, i.e. he was the (or an) heir of the previous owner.

"and from him the said Wm Adams to Wm Adams Junr Heir at Law" This is the tricky one, depending on what the law said about inheritance. In general, an heir at law is one who is going to get your estate (or part of it) if you don't leave a will making other arrangements. My guess here, in the absence of the rest of the sentence (I'm assuming the sentence is setting out the sequence of owners of the land), is that William Adams Jr. is either the oldest or the only son, and that he inherited the land without his father's having willed it to him.
Lucy Moye
Department of History
Hillsdale College
Hillsdale, Michigan 49242
A legacy is a bequest or gift of PERSONAL PROPERTY by last will and testament.
"Legacy" and "bequest" are equivalent terms. But in strict common-law terminology "legacy" and "devise" DO NOT MEAN THE SAME THING AND ARE NOT INTERHCNAGEABLE, the former (legacy) being restricted to testamentary (by Will) gifts of PERSONAL PROPERTY, while the latter (devise) is property used only in relation to REAL ESTATE. But by construction, the word "legacy" may be so extended as to include realty or interests therein, when this is necessary to make a statute cover its intended subject-matter or to effectuate the purpose of a testator as expressed in his will.
There are numerous kinds of legacies, including absolute, additional, alternate, conditional, contingent, cumulative, demonstrative, general indefinite, lapsed, modal, residuary, special, specific, trust, and universal.
A DEVISE is a testamentary disposition of LAND OR REALTY; a gift of REAL PROPERTY by the last will and testament of the donor. Devisees are either contingent or vested.
I only add this because in reading a will of an ancestor, you can generally assume that if someone is named as a legatee, they received personal property; whereas, if they are named as a devisee, they received real property. It can make a difference in what you need to look for in the records. Although, it does state that a legatee CAN refer to someone receiving real property (under the conditions set forth in the above definition), generally if your ancestor was a legatee, you would not be looking for him/her to be grantees under an Executor's Deed, etc.
The above definitions are taken from Black's Law dictionary.
Marriage bonds and banns
submitted by Sue Guptill Before the NC Constitution of 1868, NC used marriage bonds rather than licenses. The bond was paid by the groom to ensure his good faith intention to marry the bride, and the fact that it was legal for them to marry. It was to prevent a young woman (or an old one, for that matter!) from being "seduced and abandoned." There should always have been a bondsman, because that was part of the "insurance" that all was on the up and up--if a man reneged on the wedding without good reason and the mutual consent of the bride, then not only he, but also the bondsman lost the money posted. If no bondsman showed on the bond, then it was probably technically not a legal bond. The bond was posted a short time before the wedding in the bride's county of residence.

A groom did not have to post a bond. The alternative was to have the upcoming wedding announced in the bride's church for 3 consecutive Sundays before the wedding. (This was "posting the banns"). The advantage to posting the banns was that it was free. Of course, you couldn't do it if the bride didn't have a church, or if you wanted to get married quicker than that. Also, a bond didn't mean that a wedding took place. A groom might post a bond, then for some perfectly legitimate reason, the wedding might be called off--maybe a death in one of the families, illness of rhe bride or groom, etc. The bond was not binding on the bride, either, so if SHE called off the wedding, there was no penalty. All of which means that just because there was a bond didn't mean there was a wedding, and just because there wasn't a bond doesn't mean there wasn't a wedding. Also, the wedding date was most likely not the bond date, although most of us use that in our databases.

(Supposedly there were some marriage bonds that didn't even name the bride, because during that time she had no property rights once she married, so there was no reason to "officially" name her. I've never seen a marriage bond without a bride's name, though).

Below is a list of the subtitles found in the North Carolina Research Outline.

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Here is a list of old occupations compiled by a Dan Burrows who put these 130 items together from many sources. This came on another list and thought it might be of intersest as we search old records. Hope they are of help to you, especially when reading census records or wills..

Accomptant-- Accountant
Almoner-- Giver of charity to the needy
Amanuensis-- Secretary or stenographer
Artificer-- A soldier mechanic who does repairs


Bailie-- Bailiff

Baxter-- Baker
Bluestocking-- Female writer
Boniface-- Keeper of an inn
Brazier-- One who works with brass
Brewster-- Beer manufacturer
Brightsmith-- Metal Worker
Burgonmaster-- Mayor


Caulker-- One who filled up cracks (in ships or windows or seems to make them watertight by using tar or oakum-hem fiber produced by taking old ropes apart

Chaisemaker-- Carriage maker
Chandler-- Dealer or trader; one who makes or sells candles; retailer of groceries, ship supplier
Chiffonnier-- Wig maker
Clark-- Clerk
Clerk-- Clergyman, cleric
Clicker-- The servant of a salesman who stood at the door to invite customers;one who receive the matter in the galley from the compositors and arranged it in due form ready for printing; one who makes eyelet holes in boots using a machine which clicked.
Cohen-- Priest
Collier-- Coal miner
Colporteur-- Peddler of books & hoops, such as casks, barrels, tubs, etc.
Cordwainer-- Shoemaker, originally any leather worker using leather from
Cordova/Cordoba in Spain
Costermonger-- Peddler of fruits and vegetables
Crocker-- Potter
Crowner-- Coroner
Currier-- One who dresses the coat of a horse with a currycomb; one who tanned leather by incorporating oil or grease



Docker-- Stevedore, dock worker who loads and unloads cargo

Dowser-- One who finds water using a rod or witching stick
Draper-- A dealer in dry goods
Drayman-- One who drives a long strong cart without fixed sides for carrying heavy loads
Dresser-- A surgeon's assistant in a hospital
Drover-- One who drives cattle, sheep, etc. to market; a dealer in cattle
Duffer-- Peddler


Factor Agent-- commission merchant; one who acts or transacts business for another; Scottish steward or bailiff of an estate

Farrier-- A blacksmith, one who shoes horses
Faulkner-- Falconer
Fell monger-- One who removes hair or wool from hides in preparation for leather making
Fletcher-- One who made bows and arrows
Fuller-- One who fulls cloth;one who shrinks and thickens woolen cloth by moistening, heating and pressing; one who cleans and finishes cloth



Gaoler-- A keeper of the goal, a jailer

Glazier-- Window glassman


Hacker-- Maker of hoes

Hatcheler-- One who combed out or carded flax
Haymonger-- Dealer in hay
Hayward-- Keeper of fences
Higgler-- Itinerant peddler
Hillier-- Roof tiler
Hind-- A farm laborer
Holster-- A groom who took care of horses, often at an inn
Hooker-- Reaper
Hooper-- One who made hoops for casks and barrels
Huckster-- Sells small wares
Husbandman-- A farmer who cultivated the land


Jagger-- Fish peddler

Journeyman-- One who had served his apprenticeship and mastered his craft, not bound to serve a master, but hired by the day
Joyner / Joiner-- A skilled carpenter


Keeler-- Bargeman

Kempster-- Wool comber


Lardner-- Keeper of the cupboard

Lavender-- Washer woman
Lederer-- Leather maker
Leech-- Physician
Longshoreman-- Stevedore
Lormer --Maker of horse gear


Malender-- Farmer
Maltster-- Brewer
Manciple-- A steward
Mason-- Bricklayer
Mintmaster-- One who issued local currency
Monger-- Seller of goods (ale, fish)
Muleskinner-- Teamster


Neatherder-- Herds cows


Ordinary Keeper-- Innkeeper with fixed prices


Pattern Maker-- A maker of a clog shod with an iron ring. A clog was a wooden pole with a pattern cut into the end
Peregrinator-- Itinerant wanderer
Peruker-- A wig maker
Pettifogger-- A shyster lawyer
Pigman-- Crockery dealer
Plumber-- One who applied sheet lead for roofing and set lead frames for plain or stained glass windows.
Porter-- Door keeper
Puddler-- Wrought iron worker
Quarrier-- Quarry worker
Rigger-- Hoist tackle worker
Ripper-- Seller of fish
Roper-- Maker of rope or nets
Saddler-- One who makes, repairs or sells saddles or other furnishings for horses
Sawbones-- Physician
Sawyer-- One who saws; carpenter
Schumacker-- Shoemaker
Scribler-- A minor or worthless author
Scrivener-- Professional or public copyist or writer; notary public
Scrutiner-- Election judge
Shrieve-- Sheriff
Slater-- Roofer
Slopseller-- Seller of ready-made clothes in a slop shop
Snobscat / Snob-- One who repaired shoes
Sorter-- Tailor
Spinster-- A woman who spins or an unmarried woman
Spurrer-- Maker of spurs
Squire-- Country gentleman; farm owner; justice of peace
Stuff gown-- Junior barrister
Stuff gownsman-- Junior barrister
Supercargo-- Officer on merchant ship who is in charge of cargo and the commercial concerns of the ship.


Tanner-- One who tans (cures) animal hides into leather
Tapley-- One who puts the tap in an ale cask
Tasker-- Reaper
Teamster-- One who drives a team for hauling
Thatcher-- Roofer
Tide waiter-- Customs inspector
Tinker-- Am itinerant tin pot and pan seller and repairman
Tipstaff-- Policeman
Travers-- Toll bridge collection
Tucker-- Cleaner of cloth goods
Turner-- A person who turns wood on a lathe into spindles


Victualer-- A tavern keeper, or one who provides an army, navy or ship with food

Vulcan-- Blacksmith


Wagoner-- Teamster not for hire

Wainwright-- Wagon maker
Waiter Customs officer or tide waiter-- one who waited on the tide to collect duty on goods brought in.
Waterman-- Boatman who plies for hire
Webster-- Operator of looms
Wharfinger-- Owner of a wharf
Wheelwright-- One who made or repaired wheels; wheeled carriages,etc.
Whitesmith Tinsmith-- worker of iron who finishes or polishes the work
Whitewing-- Street sweeper
Whitster-- Bleach of cloth
Wright-- Workman, especially a construction worker

Yeoman Farmer-- who owns his own land