First names, religious names, and some nick names are indexed in the Surname Index. Some people are known by their 2nd or middle given name. This is particularly common in Germany and in German speaking areas of Switzerland, where many males are named Johann followed by a second name. Second names are not indexed unless the preponderance of records suggest the middle name is the given name used by the individual. In these cases the middle name is indexed as a nickname. Nicknames that are a short version of the first name are neither listed nor indexed, e.g., Pat for Patrick, Frank for Francis, Tom for Thomas, etc.
Surnames present a different problem for the index because a surname is not always spelled the same way. Some individuals listed on this site didn't spell their own name consistently throughout their lifetime. We have not normalized surnames but have maintained the spelling in the records. However, where an individual's records use different spellings, our convention is to use the spelling in the last official record for that individual - tombstone, obituary, will, probate, civil death record - whichever seems appropriate. We considered normalizing the index so that various spellings of a surname would be listed under one entry in the index but decided that would cause more confusion than be of help. Besides, the universe of names indexed is small enough that similarly spelled surnames are usually very close to each other in the index (but not always - see NOTE). Of course, claiming close proximity for various spellings only holds true for surname variations that start with the same first letter!
NOTE: Umlauts present a special problem. The software used to generate the index sorts letters with umlauts after the a-to-z alphabet. For example, the surname Sagesser would be listed at the beginning of surnames starting with "S" while the surname Sägesser would be listed at the end.
Married women are indexed twice. Once, by their maiden name and in that case their married name follows their given name in the listing. And second, they are indexed by their married name in which case their maiden name is in brackets  following their given name(s).
Places are listed using typical heirarchical structure. On pages displaying personal details the format for a United States location consists of detail, city (town or township), county, state, country (see example). The Place Index arranges these alphabetically in the reverse order, i.e., country, state, county, city (town or township). The first field, the detail field (which if present contains the name of a cemetery, church, etc.), is not indexed. Sometimes not all of these fields are in the source. In these cases, we are trying to identify the missing fields ourselves - not always successfully. For instance, when a town is so small that it isn't shown on maps or gazeteers to which we have access, we may not be able to verify the county, or even state, where it's located. Or, the town name might have been changed (see more about name changes below). Or, the town might have been abandoned or absorbed into a larger town and thus no longer in existence.
When we can't list one of the fields this causes a perceived problem in the Place Index because, at each level, blank fields are listed first (before "A").
The (US) format has been adapted for other countries. For example, Ireland townland names are in the city field, Ireland civil parish names in the county field, and Ireland county names in the state field.
We also research place names outside the United States in order to list them as properly as we can. We have chosen to list place names in English, thus, we use Germany (instead of the official Federal Republic of Germany) for Deutschland (officially Bundesrepublik Deutschland), etc. Also, problems identifying places as described above arise in other countries.
Place Name Changes
Place names change for a variety of reasons. To give some examples (without the reasons):
1. County Fermanagh, Ireland became County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland in 1922.
2. Cobh, County Cork, Ireland was Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland from 1849 until 1922.
3. Hansweiler, Zweibrücken, Germany became Jägersburg, Zweibrücken, Germany in 1749.
4. Jägersburg, Zweibrücken, Germany became Jägersburg, Rhein, Bavaria, Germany in 1816.
5. Jägersburg, Rhein, Bavaria, Germany became Jägersburg, Homburg, Saarland, Germany in 1935.
We have tried to record the place names that were in effect at the time of the event. This may cause some confusion for the reader using the place index because of the sort.
The biographys are not biographical in the usual sense. They are not so much life storys as they are collections of facts, although a few are much more detailed than others. The bio's abound with the mundane and the trivial because usually we have little else - these include places the subject lived, occupations, etc. The names of christening, marriage and funeral participants are included where known for whatever value those may have for the reader.
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Compilers: tom & gerry mccarthy
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