I've been working on the Toronto Canada Tax assessment records and keep coming across strange notation. Anybody know what these symbols mean? These symbols are all found in the column labeled "name."
Hmm interesting. It looks like they must have meant something to the scribe. Obviously it appears to mean there are intermediate letters between the ones already written:
W^m = William so " symbol must mean intermediate letters between these - first and last
And^w = Andrew so the ~ symbol must mean the intermediate letters between the last of the first part (d) and the last (w)
Note: ^ commonly indicates superscript notation/letters when the editor being used does not allow superscript (which by the way FamilySearch Web Indexing app does not - but which is ignored for purposes of indexing. This means W^m is only indexed as Wm. I did notice the other day someone wrote upside down here in Community. Sometimes there are ASCII or other codes which can change arrangement of text - these should be ignored in FS Web Indexing although there is a Special Characters menu which may be used).
Here is a very interesting article from the BYU Script Tutorial that describes those superpositions and other things you will find in old documents. This is labelled for Italian documents, but, they are all basically the same marks.
Since we don't expand abbreviations on the given or surnames, you would just index Wm and Andw on those.
Those are what's called superscripted letters. Those are the last letters of the name. Abbreviations for William (Wm) and Andrew (Andw). I also see Alexr for Alexander a lot and Saml for Samuel. This scribe is simply underlining the superscripted letters.
BTW-You will find more examples of these 1800s period abbreviations with superscripted endings (with plausible expansions) at the conversation linked below. As mentioned above, we index the abbreviation as written, without superscripting, and not the expansion of the abbreviation. Still, it can be helpful to know what the abbreviation likely stands for in order to make sense of it and so record it accurately.