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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice  by Louise St Denis, Brenda Dougall Merriman and Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Consistency in Format and Use of Abbreviations

Be consistent in your work, for example decide right now:

  • What standard abbreviations you will use, especially where it comes to the ‘B’ problem in genealogy. B stands for born, birth, baptism, banns, burial, both and bachelor. It is common to use b. for birth, c. for christening, m. for marriage, d. for death, and bur. for burial. Make yourself a list that you will use and tape it inside your workbook.
  • Whether you will write all surnames last or first. Surnames are always capitalized and maiden surnames used for women. Have you ever been frustrated by a name written as Henry Augustus Senior? Is he Henry AUGUSTUS, senior or is he Henry Augustus SENIOR? Likewise, because there are so many condensed patronymic names in the English language, names like Henry JAMES need to have their surnames capitalized to avoid confusion with Henry, James and James Henry.
  • What spelling of the surname you are going to use. There are three standard conventions:
  • standardized name for all the family
  • the spelling most often used by (or for) that person
  • the spelling first used for that person at birth or christening

Then stick to your chosen formats!


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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online courses Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about these courses or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com <br>

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.

  • This page was last modified on 17 December 2013, at 16:52.
  • This page has been accessed 343 times.