[APG Public List] Abbreviations of given names

john at johnwylie.com john at johnwylie.com
Tue Mar 8 08:56:45 MST 2011

I don't recall the county, but back in the mid 90s, I found hand-written
instructions on the inside cover of a probate index telling which
abbreviations would be used for various first names. Wish I'd had a camera
that day. In any case this small mid Texas county (I think) had more than
two dozen names listed. I know we genealogists love to jump right into
every register we find, but sometimes it pays to look beyond just the names
we're searching.


John Wylie in Texas 

-----Original Message-----
From: apgpubliclist-bounces+john=johnwylie.com at apgen.org
[mailto:apgpubliclist-bounces+john=johnwylie.com at apgen.org] On Behalf Of
Barbara Vines Little, CG, FVGS
Sent: Monday, March 07, 2011 8:07 PM
To: apgpubliclist at apgen.org
Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Abbreviations of given names

The question is not whether examples can be found showing that Jo was 
used as an abbreviation for John (or Joseph), but how the person writing 
that particular document used it. Can you find other examples written by 
the person who wrote the document or failing that other documents from 
the area. Practices changed not only based on time periods but also 
based upon local practice at a given time.

Barbara Vines Little, CG, FVGS

PO Box 1273
Orange, VA 22960
bvlittle at earthlink.net

CG, Certified Genealogist, is a service mark of the Board for 
Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board certified 
genealogists after periodic evaluation, and the board name is registered 
in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

On 3/7/2011 5:15 PM, JFonkert at aol.com wrote:
> Dear List,
> I posted this question this morning on the APG-members list.  I've 
> received some helpful responses, including one that referenced an 
> interesting article at 
> http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wmeacham/abbrjo.htm 
> <http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/%7Ewmeacham/abbrjo.htm>
> The article deals with 17th Century English sources; I am working in 
> an 1830s Kentucky estate record.  I am hoping someone can add more 
> information about given name abbreviations in Kentucky/Viriginia 
> records from this period.
>  Here is my original post:
> /I ordinarily expect to find the name "John" abbreviated as "Jno," but 
> I have seen lists of abbreviations that indicate "Jo" is an 
> abbreviation of "John" -- for example at: 
> //
> /I need a more scholarly opinion.  Can anyone point me to an 
> authoritative source on the matter?  Thanks./
> Jay Fonkert, CG
> http://fourgenerationsgenealogy.blogspot.com/
> Saint Paul, MN
> Director, Association of Professional Genealogists
> (professional profile at www.apgen.org) <http://www.apgen.org%29/>
> Member, Genealogical Speakers Guild
> (professional profile at http://www.genealogicalspeakersguild.org/) 
> <http://www.genealogicalspeakersguild.org/%29>_
> _Member, International Society of Family History Writers and Editors
> CG (Certified Genealogist) is a service mark of the Board for 
> Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified 
> associates after periodic competency evaluations.

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