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No, actually, it’s not misspelled

The Legal Genealogist is on the road, so the blog during this extended trip is featuring terms we all need to understand and use as genealogists.

Today’s term is quot.

quotAnd no, actually, it’s not misspelled there, even though it sure looks wrong, doesn’t it?

The word quot, spelled just like that, without any “e” at the end, is a term from Scottish law, and it means a “twentieth part of the movable estate of a person dying, which was due to the bishop of the diocese within which the person resided.”1

So, you might ask, what’s the movable estate? Great question — and one you won’t find an answer to in Black’s Law Dictionary. It was simply personal property — everything not attached to the land.2

And why might we as genealogists care? Because if we know what the quot was, then even if we don’t have any other document saying what the value of the person’s personal property was, a bit of math — quot times 20 — gives us the total value of all the personal property that individual owned.

Just one more clue… at least if we have Scottish ancestors… who paid the quot.


  1. Henry Campbell Black, A Dictionary of Law (St. Paul, Minn. : West, 1891), 990, “quot.”
  2. See The Law Dictionary (http:// : accessed 7 June 2015), “movable estate.”
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