Tag Archives: People

Support for Surnames in CAPS

I have read several rants against using CAPS for surnames in genealogy. In most places in the techie world it is considered shouting. I recently decided to update all SURNAMES to CAPS and here is why. This seems to have been a widely used practice by genealogists before computer programs. They did this because, when filling out paperwork in on multiple sheets, it simply helped to keep the names straight. Well, I found the same thing applied in FTM/Mac when I was looking for people without-last-names. I wanted to add UNKNOWN in place of the missing surname. Since FTM/Mac doesn’t have separate fields for first and last names it is very easy to make a mistake and forget to put the “\” around the last name. When I converted the surname to CAPS it became very¬†obvious when a first name was used as a last by mistake. I have since converted surnames found in the ‘Parents-of-Non-Related’ field and in¬†Source Citations as well.

I am also practicing last-name-first as much as possible. This makes it easier to find sources because going by first names is problematic – there are nicknames, etc. I wish that Ancestry.com would utilize and recommend this practice in their sources too.

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