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Maiden names
In the Odom Library newsletter, I found an interesting tidbit: "In the 1800s and before, it was traditional when the daughter got married, as part of her dowry, to either cover the loan or carry the note for his son-in-law. If you know the husband's name, but not the father's (sic) maiden name, find out to whom they are making their mortgage payment. About 70% of the time it was the father.

Another clue: in the lower left-hand corner of most deeds, you will find signatures of two to four witnesses.  The first one is always from the husband's side. The next one is most always from the wife's side.  That is to protect her one-third dower right under the law. Nothing you will ever use will give greater clues to maiden names than witnesses to old deeds."

Source: Peggy Allen: 10/24/1998

Initials
Initials after your ancestor's names may provide useful information that you'd not expected. The following list includes initials you may come across when reading old wills or other documents.

a.a.s.

died in the year of his/her age (anno aetitis suae) (86 y/o died in year 86)

d.s.p.

died without issue (decessit sine prole legitima)

d.s.p.i.

died without legitimate issue (decessit sine prole mascula supesita)

d.s.p.m.s.

died without surviving male issue (decessit sine prole mascula supersita)

d.s.p.s.

died without surviving issue (decessit sine prole  supersita)

d.unm

died unmarried

d.v.p.

died in the lifetime of his father (decessit vita patris)

d.v.m.

died in the lifetime of his mother (decessit vita matris)

Et al

and others (et alia)

Inst

present month (instans)

Liber

book or volume

Nepos

grandson

Nunc

Nuncapative will, an oral will, written by a witness

Ob

he/she died (obit)

Relict

widow or widower (relicta/relictus)

Sic

so or thus, exact copy as written

Testes

witnesses

Utl

late (ultimo)

Ux or vs

wife (uxor)Viz         namely (videlicet)
 

Source: 'Olde Mecklenburg Genealogical Society'

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