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Friday, September 3, 2010

Abbreviated Names in Genealogy Records

Mitch asked about a set of early ships passenger lists to Virginia found on my website at

Contained in the the following link on your site are a number of names beginning with "Tho:" Are you able to explain what that means, please? For that matter, "Jo:"? I hope you are able to help, as I am stumped!

ASK OLIVE TREE ANSWER: Hi Mitch. "Tho." refers to the given name Thomas. No doubt the original record had the small superscript "s" added, which is the common method of denoting this abbreviated name.

As for "Jo" you will find two schools of thought on this - that it refers to the given name John or the given name Jonathan. Usually you see it as "Jno" so perhaps "Jo" is a transcription error.

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