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From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  PEDIGREE, descents. A succession of degrees from the origin; it is the state 
  of the family as far as regards the relationship of the different members, 
  their births, marriages and deaths; this term is applied to persons or 
  families, who trace their origin or descent. 
       2. On account of the difficulty of proving in the ordinary manner by 
  living witnesses, facts which occurred in remote times, hearsay evidence 
  (q.v.) has been admitted to prove a pedigree. 1 Phil. Ev. 186; 1 Stark. Ev. 
  55; 10 Serg. & Rawle, 383; 2 Supp. to Ves. jr. 110; 8 Com. Dig. 583 1 Pet. 
  337; 6 Pet., 81; 13 Pet. 209 1 Wheat. 6; 3 Wash. C. C. R. 243; 4 
  Wash.C.C.R.186; 3Bouv.Inst.n. 3067. Vide Descent; Line. 

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