B

Bachelor – an unmarried man.  See also Spinster.

Banns – A religious tradition where couples had to announce their intent to marry.  Had to take place at least a week or two before the actual ceremony.

Bar Mitzvah – A Jewish celebration in honour of a boy’s coming of age at 13. See also Bat Mitzvah.  Literally translates to “Son of the commandment.”

Bat Mitzvah – A Jewish celebration in honour of a girl’s coming of age, usually at 12 or 13, though far less common than the Bar Mitzvah.  See also Bar Mitzvah.  Literally translates to “Daughter of the commandment.”

BCE – Or BC, meaning Before Common Era or Before Christian Era (or Before Christ).  Literally referring to the years before the year 0 in the Julian or Gregorian calendars.  See CE and AD.

Beneficiary – A person due an inheritance in a will.

Bequest – A gift or legacy, usually received through a will.

Birth Name – See Given Name. 

Brick Wall – That ancestor which you are unable to find more information on.

Brit Milah – Also called the Bris. The Jewish circumcision ceremony for boys.