APG-L Archives

Archiver > APG > 2004-09 > 1096231002

From: Valorie Zimmerman <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Computer convention-surname CAPS
Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2004 13:36:46 -0700
References: <200409261840.i8QIeGnb002618@mail.rootsweb.com>
In-Reply-To: <200409261840.i8QIeGnb002618@mail.rootsweb.com>

On Sun, 26 Sep 2004 13:40:51 -0500
"Mills" <> wrote:

> Tom wrote: < Having read
> it is genealogically correct protocol to use all CAPS
> in surnames, I've been using this in my databases and
> in communication. What is correct when dealing with
> McD etc. surnames?>
> Tom, old habits die hard -- but you've pointed out a very good reason why
> today's level of genealogical precision requires us to question many of
> those old habits.
> Putting surnames in all caps was a practice adopted by early genealogists
> because that made it easier to skim a page full of dense text in search of a
> specific surname.


I think that this is still a good practice in emailed queries and message board postings. I capitalize the first time the surname is mentioned, not every time. Since my mother's surname was McBEE, I come up against Tom's situation all the time. If the surname is capitalized, I prefer to see the M', Mc or Mac not fully capitalized. The difficulty is with names preceded by a small uncapitalized word -- what does one properly do with de Guise, for instance?

In databases, fortunately most programs allow you to automatically capitalize *in a report* if necessary, so that we don't have to capitalize during data entry.

I hope people will continue to capitalize surnames in emailed queries and message board postings, however. Being able to quickly scan and see if the message is worth closer examination is a great time-saver.

http://valoriez.blogspot.com <--- genealogy link blog

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