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Somerset County MDGenWeb

Interesting Miscellany

Here's where I'm going to stick the miscellaneous stuff that won't fit anywhere else, like interesting factoids, tips on exploring your roots in this area, important announcements, and anything else I feel like putting up. Got an idea for something that should go here? Let me know!




UNUSUAL / UNEXPECTED PRONUNCIATIONS
PLACE NAMES THAT HAVE CHANGED
PARISH BOUNDARIES OF OLD SOMERSET COUNTY
SOMERSET LAND AND PROBATE RECORD NUMBERING
OLD NAMING CUSTOMS
PROBLEMATIC COLONIAL TERMS
SURVEYOR'S TERMS
SURVEYOR'S MEASUREMENTS

Unusual / Unexpected Pronunciations:
I have learned that many of the place names and family names are pronounced much differently that I had been pronouncing them for years. Here are the ones I've gathered:

Beauchamp
Surname, pronounced as Beech'-um, not as Bow'-shahmp.
Bowden
Surname, pronounced as Bow'-in or Bow'n (the "ow" to rhyme with "snow", not "cow"). The "d" is usually not pronounced. Occasionally, though, heard as Bow'-din (again, though, with the "ow" to rhyme with "snow", not "cow").
Bozman
Surname, pronounced as Bahz'-man, not as Boze'-man.
Manokin
Place name, pronounced as Muh-no'-kin, not as Man'-i-kin.
Mattapony
Place name, pronouced as Mat-uh-puh-nye', not as Mat'-a-poh-nee.
Monie
Place name, pronounced as Muh-nye', not as Moan'-ee.
Sayers
Surname, pronounced as Seers (or "Sears", like the store), not as Say'-ers.
Wetipquin
Place name, pronounced as Wee-tip'-kin or as Wee-tip'-kwin (depending on who you ask ).
Wicomico
Place name, pronounced as Wye-cahm'-ih-co, not as Wih-co'-mih-co or (God forbid) Wee'-co-mee'-co.
Winder
Surname, pronounced as Winn'-der (as in, " 'Deed, he done thrown her out'n the winder"), not as Wine'-der.
Worcester
Place name, pronounced as Wooss'-ter (the "oo" to rhyme with "book", not "boot"), not as War'-chess-ter.

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Some Eastern Shore Place Names That Have Changed:
(Thanks to Becky Miller for adding to this list)

Old NameNew Name
Barren Creek SpringsMardela
Brewerton / BrewingtonAllen
CapitolaClara
Damned QuarterDame's Quarter
Derrickson's CrossroadsPittsville
Devil's (De'il) IslandDeal Island
Disharoon's CrossroadsFruitland
ForktownFruitland
HabnabVenton
HancocksWillards
Holly SwampWillards
Hungary NeckMt. Vernon
JamestownManokin
Old NameNew Name
Johnson's ForksParsonsburg
Potato NeckFairmount
ReedvilleLibertytown
Rockawalkin RiverWicomico River
Rock CreekChance
RussumMardela
St. Peter'sOriole
Sandy HillStockton
Somers CoveCrisfield
Twiford's WharfSharptown
Upper TrappeAllen
WaltersvilleBivalve
Windsor Cove LandingJesterville

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Somerset County's Parishes
Old Somerset County (which includes today's Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties in Maryland, along with a portion of Sussex County in Delaware), was divided into four Parishes in the Anglican Church (Episcopalian). Each Parish was comprised of two Hundreds, which were early geographical boundaries.

If you are unfamiliar with the boundaries of Somerset's Hundreds, check out the Eastern Shore Maps page on the Handley's Eastern Shore Maryland Genealogy Project web site. About half-way down the page, you'll see a clickable link with the words "Somerset Hundreds". Clicking on this link will show you a map outlining the geographic boundaries of all eight Somerset County Hundreds.

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Somerset County Land and Probate Record Numbering
Land and probate records in Somerset County seem to have an odd numbering scheme, consisting of Libers numbered with a letter or series of letters. The earliest land records start with Liber B Number 1, and go on to CD, IK, IKL, EI, L1, L2, etc. Then, the records started being numbered with the initials of the clerk in office at the time. For instance, Liber LW indicates that it was recorded during Levin Woolford's term as clerk. Probate records are also numbered according to the initials of the clerk, such as EB - Esme Bayley.

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Naming Customs:
Since many on the Eastern Shore come from Scotch or Scotch/Irish ancestry, this tidbit of information from "In Search of Scottish Ancestry" by Hamilton Edwards may be helpful:

In addition, I've also seen further information on naming practices:

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Problematic Colonial Terms:
Some of the terms we come across in wills, deeds, and other documents may lead us in the wrong direction unless we are aware of how the meanings of these terms may have been different in colonial times.

brother / sister
May indicate blood relations, step-brother or sister, church brother or sister.
brother-in-law / sister-in-law
Any kinship through marriage; could be a step-child or step-parent, for instance.
cousin
Any relative not in the immediate family.
goodman / goodwife / "goody"
Social position one step below the "gentleman" or "gentlewoman".
indentured servant
A person whose passage to America was paid in return for an agreement to serve for a specified number of years.
Jr. or Sr.
This designation did not always imply a father-son relationship. It was used to distinguish individuals with identical names. The term may be dropped if one dies.
Mr. / Mrs. / Mistress
Titles of social position; Mrs. was used for both married and unmarried women.
mother / father
Could mean in-law.
"my now wife" or "my present wife"
This was a legal phrase and did not necessarily mean there was a former spouse.
"natural son"
Usually meant not adopted; did not imply illegitimacy.
nephew / niece
The Latin "nepos" or "neptis" means grandson or granddaughter. This term may occasionally have this earlier meaning.
servant
One who serves; not necessarily socially inferior, such as an apprentice.

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Surveyors Terms:

METES AND BOUNDS
The precisely described boundary lines of a parcel of land (course and distance).
PATENT
Document issued by the government granting right of title of public land to an individual.
WARRANT
Assignment of land to an individual. Authorization to survey and patent the land.
DEED
Document under seal which, when delivered, transfers a present interest in property to another.
GRANTOR
Person selling land.
GRANTEE
Person buying or receiving land.
COURSE
A line or bound described in a survey, running in a given distance and direction.
COURSE REVERSED
To follow a line or course in a survey in the opposite direction that it was first described, but with the same distance (usually the line of an adjoining survey).
HOME LINE
The last line or course called in a survey. The line that returns to the beginning, or first boundary (right line to the beginning).

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Surveyors Measurements:
1 Perch, Pole or Rod = 16½ feet or 5½ yards
(Perch, pole and rod are the same measurement)
1 Chain = 4 Rods or 66 feet
80 Chains = 1 Mile
1 Acre = 10 Square Chains
40 Rods = 1/8th of a Statute Mile or 1 Furlong
640 Acres = 1 Square Mile
1 Chain = 100 Links of 7.92 Inches
16 Square Rods = 1 Square Chain
10 Square Chains = 1 Acre
1 Acre = 160 Square Rods
1 Acre = A square parcel of land measuring 208.7 feet x 208.7 feet

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© 1996 - Shari Handley

Saturday, 04-Jun-2011 17:58:16 EDT