Why do some surnames have two capital letters?

In this article we try to unearth why some surnames have two capital letters. e.g. FitzGerald, McDonald, MacIntyre, O Henry

Names and nomenclatures are important, interesting and fun. It’s why we make it a point to put a lot of thought into the ideas for the products that showcase them. Happily, all this hard work has helped us become India’s most accomplished maker of name plates and in the process, introduced us to hundreds of names, nicknames, family names, and stories connected to tens of thousands of names. Many of these stories are rather intriguing and we think worth sharing with you; something we are going to do in a series of blog posts centred around answers to quirky questions like ‘Are Dwivedis, Trivedis, and Chaturvedis related?’ or ‘Why do most Sindhi surnames ends with –ani?’ or ‘Why do some surnames have two capital letters?’, and more. And on that note, let’s get right into the history of name-calling.

In this article we try to unearth why some surnames have two capital letters.

Fitz, Mac, Mc (an abbreviation of Mac) and O’ are prefixes that denoted the family lineage (father/grandfather/head of tribe) of an individual – and future generations adopted these as their surnames.

Since they were used to prefix names which are proper nouns in themselves, the derived surnames have two capital letters. e.g. FitzGerald, McDonald, MacIntyre, O Henry etc. However, this isn’t a rule. You do see these same names/surnames with only 1 letter capitalized.

To read all our stories on names, surnames, and nomenclature, click here.

Nimish Adani

I am the founder & CEO of Engrave. I started off in 2011 with a workshop that engraved photos for customers on to wooden plaques. Soon, we were making plaques, nameplates, canvas prints, decals and dozens of other products for thousands of customers. To help us make these items, we engaged a group of dedicated craftsmen. By 2015, 3 of our dedicated craftsmen had built their own workshops, employing between 6-10 people. By showcasing their skills on a digital platform, these craftsmen had turned into successful entrepreneurs. This success motivated me to transform Engrave in to a platform which could help thousands of Indian artisans and craftspersons - and this lead to the launch of the maker's market in 2015.

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