Genealogy 101 What are Brackets ! Square Brackets or Box Brackets! Braces ! Brackets ! Angle Brackets ! Chevrons ! Round Brackets ! Parentheses ! Curly Brackets ! Squiggly Brackets ! Flower Brackets ! Braces_Washington County PA Genealogy and Family Hi

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Washington County 'Little Washington' Pennsylvania
 Genealogy and Family History



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History of and Other Families (o_f) from 
The City and County of Washington Pennsylvania

Enhance your genealogy research about families in Little Washington, Washington County PA using  newspaper articles, birth, death, marriage, notices, obituaries (often with cemeteries named), probates, deeds, surname finds, family trees, family histories, reunions and other information. Site Search or Page Search (Ctl Key+F) easily finds items of interest.

Washington County Pennsylvania History and Families

Genealogy 101:
What are Round Brackets !  Parentheses !
Brackets ! Square Brackets or Box Brackets! Braces !
Brackets ! Angle Brackets !  Chevrons !
Curly Brackets ! Squiggly Brackets ! Flower Brackets !  Braces !

( ) or [ ] or < >  or ⟨ ⟩  or { }

With all these different names, no wonder that most of us are confused about these sets of characters and their proper uses!  From the Latin etymology, "breeches", these symbols vary depending on the country you're in, the particular need of use, and how well you paid attention in Grammar / English classes.

Luckily, most American writing --including writing in genealogy-- only needs the square brackets.  But first, let's look at the different "brackets" and their uses.

There are four main types of brackets, used in pairs (Information from wikipeda which I compiled into a chart):

Names  Symbols Additional information
brackets: round brackets, oval brackets, open brackets or parentheses  ( )  parentheses (chiefly American)

round brackets (chiefly British)

brackets: square brackets, closed brackets or box brackets [ ] chiefly British, but Americans use for specific situations
brackets: curly brackets, squiggly brackets, "swirl-y" brackets, brace or braces, flower brackets { } Americans: curly brackets, squiggly brackets

British: brace, braces

{  } flower brackets, in prose

angle brackets, diamond brackets, cone brackets, wickets, chevrons < >  or

 ⟨ ⟩ 

Chevrons:  ⟨ ⟩  used in Chinese language.  And as code created by some computer programs, such as Word

Most are used as plural (in pairs), but some can be used as singular (just one side) in certain circumstances.  

An example of singular is the use of "angle brackets to indicate a "path" or "direction" online for pages or content.  These have a space before and after the symbol, such as: 
Math > Algebra > Linear Numbers
Forums > Family > Relationships > Gay relationships > Jealousy > 

The chart on the next page shows the specific uses of each set of brackets for specific fields, such as mathematics or computing.  

On this page, we'll cover how writers use different types of "brackets".

Area / Field Type of bracket Is used ...
Other Uses see how other fields use brackets, please go to page 2 of this section.
All writers, General Writing, per the Grammar Rules Box brackets or square brackets [ ] enclose explanatory or missing material added by someone other than the original author, especially in quoted text.  Example: "She gave me one [a kiss] that made me blush" if quoted, say from a book about kissing.  Can be used for known initials, "The V.F.W. Post 333 [Veterans of Foreign Wars] supported the recent war," but are mostly used to explain unknown or possibly confusing text, such as "The A.M.A. [American Marketing Association] has had no comment about the proposed health care plan."

"sic" is from Latin, and translates to "thus," "so," or "just as that."  Writers often remember [sic] best as "as it was in the original writing".

[sic] is not an abbreviation; thus, no period. indicate errors that are “thus in the original”  When quoting text with a spelling or grammar error, transcribe the error exactly as written, but insert [sic] in italics 
directly after the mistake, and enclose it in brackets. This shows the mistake is not yours but that you reproduced exactly what you found.  The boy's [sic] said the baseball wasn't theres [sic].  [sic] goes before the punctuation used.  "Sally, Johns girlfrend [sic], was caught cheeting [sic].  The punctuation always goes outside the right-bracket. 
[sic=the corrected word]


Note: Not true in grammatical rules. place the corrected word after the error.  For personal and non-school writing, it may be easier to include the correction after "sic", especially if the error may not be easy to detect.  For example, if most readers will not recognize the spelling error  "Doctors often recommend acetimanophen [sic=acetaminophen].  Or, "The family lived in Amvile [sic=Amwell] Townhip, Washington Co. PA."  While this  does make it easier for readers who might be guessing about the correct word or what is the exact error, this  is not correct for grammar.  It should not be used for term papers, school assignments, etc.  Also, writers online often omit the italics, but again, this is not technically the proper method for how to write [sic].
[...]  a bracketed ellipsis


Note: ellipsis is three dots indicate part of a sentence or paragraph that was deleted without affecting the meaning; deleting parts may make the point stronger.  Original sentence: "The researchers concluded that based on a number of factors that make men different from  women that men may be reluctant to visit a doctor."  Altered version:  "The researchers concluded that based on a number of factors that [...] men may be reluctant to visit a doctor." 
  [  ] as bracketed comments indicate when original text has been modified for clarity: “I’d like to thank [long list of co-workers] and my grands [sic] for their love, and life-long support.”
  [emphasis added]  At the end, a statement should say WHO added the emphasis. indicate that bold or italics has been added to a word or phrase within the original text. "Washington County, PA may be considered as the original 'Gateway to the West', preceding St. Louis, MO. [emphasis added by this webmaster]"
[  ] insert explanatory information

If the explanatory section is mid-sentence, it may need no extra punctuation, or it may need a comma AFTER the bracketed material IF part of a clause. "When the sun rises [generally around 7AM Eastern Standard Time], residents nearby can hear school buses arriving with students to unload." 

If the explanatory section is at the end of the sentence, the period is moved to AFTER the end of the closing bracket.  "The pianist played Lohengrin's [ "Wedding March" is used interchangeably for the "Bridal Chorus" from Richard Wagner's opera Lohengrin].

All writers, General Writing, per the Grammar Rules (  )  Parentheses, sometimes called round brackets, curved brackets, oval brackets, or just brackets;  colloquially, parens enclose words that could be omitted without destroying or altering the meaning of a sentence.  "College students (especially students with families) struggle to pay for books and other required supplies."
  (  ) enclose words that add supplementary information, “Sen. John McCain (R., Arizona) spoke at the luncheon.” 
  (  )  

But not {  } enclose words that could be added without destroying or changing the meaning of a sentence. Often used by one writer quoting another writer, to clarify or expound a point.  Example: "Kate Jackson visited the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh, Pa."  Another writer quoting the first might add this to clarify the meaning: "Kate Jackson (of "Charlie's Angels" fame) visited the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh, Pa."  Usually, parentheses can be replaced by commas without changing the meaning. Example: Sally and Jane (half-sisters) had the same father. 
  AVOID: Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary. indicate that you [not Shakespeare, for example] are giving people [but not illiterate people] information so that they [the readers] know about whom you are speaking [writing]. Do not use brackets [excessively] when making these references [to other authors]. 
(Also avoid (as in the last rule) overuse of parentheses [or brackets {or braces <or other symbols for parenthetical thoughts>.}]).  Quoted from
  (  ) As shorthand for “singular OR plural” for nouns — e.g., “the claim(s)", "the page(s)".
  (  ) set off one word, for emphasis, with the punctuation after the quote mark.   The toilet didn't work "properly".
  (  ) insert a definition.  Think (a verb indicating the use of one’s mind) vs. feel (a verb indicating the lack of use of one’s mind or the use of sensory perception or the nonintellectual exercise of emotion). 
(  ) cite references by number at the end of sentences surrounded by parentheses [not brackets], example (14).  The period goes after the closing parentheses.  The references are numbered in a list as footnotes or at the end of a paper or article. indicate doses or measurements so that a sentence doesn't begin with a number.  The recipe calls for sugar (1 cup) but bakers can substitute a sugar substitute.
braces, squiggly brackets {   } 
Used to contain “two or more lines of text or listed items to show that they are considered as a unit.”   "Doctors say that fruits {apples, oranges, pears, berries} are good for nutrition."
Technical writers   squared off notations [  ]  [  ] used for technical explanations. For example, uses them around word definitions.
Proofreadng Various types of square brackets (called move-left symbols or move right symbols), proofreaders add these to the sides of text to show where text should be moved; see wikipedia
  [  ] to denote parts of the text that need to be checked when preparing drafts prior to finalizing a document
  [  ] to denote points for review in legal drafts and the year in which a report was made for certain case law decisions

See Sources for Genealogy 101: Brackets ! Square Brackets or Box Brackets! Braces ! Brackets ! Angle Brackets !  Chevrons ! Round Brackets !  Parentheses ! Curly Brackets ! Squiggly Brackets ! Flower Brackets !  Braces 

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