[APG Public List] Abbreviations of given names

Bonnie Kohler kohlerbj at bellsouth.net
Tue Mar 8 10:16:02 MST 2011

----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Chad Milliner 
  To: apgpubliclist at apgen.org 
  Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 11:41 AM
  Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Abbreviations of given names

  The discussion of the Jno. abbreviation of "John" called to my mind something that has always puzzled me -- why?  If you include the period, then abbreviating John as Jno really saves no space and is the same number of characters.  How did this abbreviation become so commonly used?  There seems to me to be no obvious reason.

  I suppose that if a person felt that they HAD to abbreviate "John" then switching the "n" and the "o" might be useful in making clear that it was "John" that you abbrviated and not "Jonathan".  But since John is such a short word, why abbreviate it at all?

I have surmised that handwriting everything was laborious, especially for the ministers and clerks who wrote the same phrases over and over again. Writing "John" out does require the upstroke of the "h," while abbreviating it "Jno." keep the "n," the "o," and the period in the lower, easier, range of writing the letters.

Bonnie Dunphy Kohler
South Florida
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