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CARDS: Handy Reference Data

For printing on 4x6 Index Cards
Handy Reference Data

Roderic A. Davis, 2nd

November, 2001
Revised, March, 2002

P.O. Box 118
Hyde Park, NY 12538


Here are some tables that I've found convenient to keep on 4x6 index cards within easy reach. I find that I consult them many times daily.

They are all in the form of .gif image files.

A. Printing these images

You should use a utility that will adjust the image size to fit the dimensions of the paper you are using. I use IrfanView for this. It is also a fine all-around image viewer that can handle almost any sort of image file you can find. And, it's freeware!

FinePrint is another useful utility that can adjust printed pages to fit the actual paper loaded in your printer. It has lots of other features to recommend it, too. It is not free, but is well worth the price -- as it will allow you to save on paper and ink/toner costs.

The images are designed to be printed on 4x6 index cards -- and to be readable when so printed. Here's how I do it:

  1. Get the image into IrfanView. You can set up your browser to pass all .gif files directly to a viewer such as IrfanView, or you may have to download the files and pass them to the viewer yourself.
  2. Click shift+P to bring up IrfanView's print menu. Select "Best fit", then click "Print".
  3. Printer selection: Select your printer, paper, and other options. These may be preselected, and the printer designated as "Default". As stated above, I use 4x6 card stock.
Each of the cards is shown in a thumbnail below. Click the thumbnail to see the full size image. Some of the cards are shown in pairs, intended to be printed on two sides of a single card.

Here's a trick to make the landscape oriented cards easier to handle when printed on both sides: Print them in "tumble duplex" so that when held by the left or right edge a simple finger twirl rotates the card about its long axis, bringing the reverse into view, properly upright. I find this more convenient than requiring rotation about the short axis, which requires a wrist motion.

B. Abbreviations, places


UK abbreviations, obverse
UK abbreviations, reverse
These are the three-letter UK postal codes in use before 1974. They are outdated for postal use, but still find application in the genealogical arena.

The front has the codes for the Channel Isles, England and Ireland, and the back has codes for Scotland, Ulster (Northern Ireland) and Wales.

US & Canada

US/CAN abbreviations These are the official US two-letter postal codes for the states and territories. Also included are the Canadian codes for the provinces and territories, distinguished from the US codes by printing in red.

C. Abbreviations, sources


UK source abbreviations Commonly cited sources relating to countries of the British Isles.

North America

US source abbreviations Commonly cited sources relating to Canada and the United States.

D. Ahnentafel Facts

A-facts, obverse
A-facts, reverse
This set of cards gives a brief explanation of Ahnentafel (ancestor) genealogical tables, and the numbering scheme that makes them so useful. The numbering is strongly connected to the powers of two, a table of which is provided (obverse), with powers from 20 to 239, which correspond to 40 generations on an Ahnentafel.

The reverse lists some essential facts about Ahnentafels.
Fixed: error in item #9, c/smallest/largest/

E. Relationship Calculations

relationships This table summarizes the procedure for calculating the relationship between two people. It works for people in an ancestor-descendant relationship, or in an indirect one where a common ancestor is known, such as cousins, or aunts and uncles.

The simple general rule is given so that relationships outside the scope of the table can be calculated.

A concise notation is suggested for denoting these relationships, e.g. 2C3=2nd cousin 3x removed.

F. Hex-to-Decimal, Decimal-to-Hex

X2D2X Allows simple conversion of number radix from base-10 (decimal) to base-16 (hexadecimal), and back. An example (of 6416=10010) is highlighted in yellow.

The range of numbers in the table is 0-255 (decimal), or 00-FF (hex).

G. Common Paper and Envelope Sizes

Paper sizes, obverse Paper sizes, reverse
Using IrfanView and FinePrint, I'm always fiddling with the size of my printed material, usually by selecting a common paper size to which the printing application should format its output, but then printing that to actual paper that fits my printer and is on hand. In this way, I can print some really large genealogical charts, for example, on ordinary letter- or legal-size paper. Sometimes the print is pretty tiny, but it's often worth it to see it all on one sheet.

This card, in two sides, lists most common paper sizes -- and some uncommon ones -- with their dimensions and aspect ratios, both US and metric. The US papers are shown in two tables, one sorted by size, and the other by aspect ratio. The metric papers, except for the few noted, all have the same aspect ratio, 1.414 -- which is the square root of 2.

All aspect ratios are for the paper in portrait orientation: height÷width. The corresponding AR in landscape orientation is the reciprocal of the portrait AR (i.e. 1÷AR).

The most common sizes (e.g. letter, legal, 6¾, A4) are highlighted in yellow.

H. Special Characters

I can never remember the codes that my laptop requires me to enter to get these special characters, and I had been looking them up using Windows' Character Map utility. Well, I got tired of that and composed this handy table.

If your computer had many more keys on its keyboard, all of these characters could be given their own keys. But it doesn't, so the computer and software manufacturers have provided several alternative ways to "extend" the keyboard.

  1. By designing "national keyboards" that have all the glyphs associated with the specific national language engraved on the keytops. Windows provides a method whereby you can tell it which of these keyboards you are using so that when you strike a certain key you may get "Æ" displayed on your screen (and entered into your application), while a different keyboard definition may display a different glyph. The keyboards are electronically the same and differ only in the glyphs engraved on the keytops -- which, of course, Windows cannot see! That's why you have to tell him which keyboard is plugged in.
    Glyphs available with the United States International keyboard.
    Special characters on the U.S. International keyboard

    I find one "national keyboard" to be of particular utility: United States International. It allows direct entry of the accented characters with just a pair of keystrokes each. For example, is entered by the right quote, ' followed by e. The grave accent uses the left quote ` followed by the e to give . The others use similar look-alike glyphs. In addition, there are numerous additional symbols obtainable in combination with the right ALT key. See the card.

    Oh, yes. The quotes themselves (and the other "trigger" keys, such as the tilde, ~) are obtained by hitting the space bar after the trigger instead of one of the letters.

    And don't worry about having to purchase additional hardware. This is strictly a software definition!

  2. By assigning multiple glyphs to each key and then using key combinations to select the specific glyphs. The simplest example is the use of the shift key to distinguish upper and lower case in combination with the keys for letters of the alphabet, and for certain other glyphs that share the number keys.

    The keyboards supplied with most desktop PCs have a numeric keypad off to the right. For the most part, those keys have the same functions as the similar-appearing keys on the main part of the keyboard, and are mainly used by "power typists" to speed up the entry of numeric data. codes for special characters

    Windows also uses these numeric keys (but not the numeric keys on the second row of the main part of the keyboard) to allow entry of special characters. If you are typing in a document, you may do this to enter, say, a Yen currency symbol:

    1. Press and hold Alt
    2. Press (and release!) in succession: 0 1 6 5 (using the numeric keypad)
    3. Release Alt
    A Yen glyph (¥) should appear at the cursor on your screen. (Computers sometimes use different procedures for this process, so you should consult your computer's instructions if this demonstration didn't work.)

    Note that the number entered (0165) is the same as appears above the Yen glyph in my reference card!

    Laptop keyboards usually don't have a separate numeric keypad, but instead share those keys with other keys on the keyboard. For example, my Compaq Presario 1700 shows the keypad by additional glyphs (in blue) on the trapezoidal diagonal block of keys defined by the glyphs 7-0-/-M. To access the numeric keypad, Compaq requires this cumbersome process:

    1. Fn+NumLk to enter Numeric Lock mode
    2. the Alt+... process to enter a character
    3. Fn+NumLk to leave Numeric Lock mode
    Other laptops have more convenient procedures. (Fn and NumLk are special keys on this keyboard.)

    Note: The four-digit codes in the above examples (e.g. 0165) are the ANSI codes. There is a different, smaller set of three-digit ASCII codes. See Valerie Zimmerman's page,, which shows both sets of codes.

  3. By the Windows Character Map utility. This program, which probably lives in your WINDOWS folder: C:\WINDOWS\CHARMAP.EXE, displays a table similar to my reference card. You can click on a glyph and the program will tell you the keystroke sequence to enter it (e.g. Alt+0165), -- but you are supposed to "know" that the numbers must be entered on the numeric keypad. You can also place characters on the clipboard, from whence you can paste them into your document.
  4. By special entity symbols in HTML documents. These are fully defined in the HTML 4.0 Character Entity References. You will notice that most of these special glyphs can be represented in two ways: by a mnemonic flavored entity or by a numeric code entity. For example, capital A, umlaut by Ä or Ä, both of which give this: Ä. Note that the numeric code for the glyphs on my card are the same as these numeric entities. For the most part, that is. Only the codes from 16010 through 25510 (A016-FF16) are valid as HTML numeric entities, indicated by the red line on the card. See the reference above for the complete set of character entities.
My reference card just provides an easier (for me, at least) way to find the numeric codes that you need in order to use the numeric keypad method of entry. The number appears just above the associated glyph.

The hexadecimal characters along the top and left edge simply identify the hexadecimal equivalent of the numeric. For example, 16310 (£) is A316.

Using the codes in a webpage (HTML)

The same numeric codes can also be useful when composing a webpage, to ensure that the proper glyph is displayed when the page is viewed with a browser. Instead of entering one of these characters directly into the text of the document, it is generally "safer" to use a corresponding HTML entity code. These are just the numeric code with some "decoration" allowing the browsers to recognize it as something they have to do something special with. For example, the last line of the preceding paragraph actually looks like this:
For example, 163<sub>10</sub> (&#163;) is A3<sub>16</sub>.
So the "decoration" is "&#" before and ";" (semicolon) after. The HTML specifications also define names for these and other glyphs. See the Index of HTML 4.0 Character Entity References


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Roderic A. Davis, 2nd
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Email: Rod Dav4is
 dav4is @
 Genealogy, et Cetera
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 Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
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