The language of the law
To keep readers from feeling bereft while The Legal Genealogist is at summer camp for genealogists this week — otherwise known as the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Alabama — the blog this week will focus on terms — words and phrases — we may come across in legal documents that don’t always mean what we think they mean.
Words like today’s word of the day: recommendatory.
This is a very useful word for us as genealogists because it describes exactly what we come across in an awful lot of documents we use every day.
Because here’s what it means: “Precatory, advisory, or directory.”1
Shocked, I tell you.
Okay, how ’bout if I go on and give the rest of the definition: Recommendatory words in a will are such as do not express the testator’s command in a peremptory form, but advise, counsel, or suggest that a certain course be pursued or disposition made.2
Yep. We’ve all seen this: “To my son James, in the hopes that he will care for his sister Sarah.” Or “the home farm to my beloved nephew David, and I would leave the lower 40 acres in wheat…”
It’s not a “you must do this” type of comment. It’s a “I hope or recommend that you will do this” type of comment.