Appendix:Abbreviations for English given names
This List of abbreviations for names shows common abbreviations of English given names.
Many historical records utilise standard abbreviations of given names in order to save time and paper. This was possible in various European countries, and globally in English-speaking countries, due to the relatively small number of personal names in use until relatively recently. Although very rare now, knowledge of these abbreviations is essential for genealogists when consulting very old records that list many names, such as parish registers. These are also seen in some traditional company names; a rare contemporary example is JoS. A. Bank Clothiers (abbreviation of “Joseph”, capital ‘S’ is just for style).
One may distinguish between contractions (words missing the middle part), and abbreviations (narrowly speaking, words missing the end part). Conventions vary about punctuation: in British English, only abbreviations are terminated with a full stop, which is followed here, in American English, abbreviations and contractions are both followed by a period; see Abbreviation: periods and spaces. In detail, in the below:
- Those abbreviations without punctuation are contractions, ending with the last letter of the full name, e.g. Josh / Josiah
- Abbreviations with punctuation do not include the end of the full name, e.g. Josh. / Joshua
Some of these abbreviations do not look like their full name equivalent. This is because the abbreviation is often derived from the Latin equivalent of the name.