Carl Smith Collection: common abbreviations | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Carl Smith Collection: common abbreviations

We've had a couple of questions about the meanings of the abbreviations used in the Carl Smith Card Collection. I checked with the PRO, but they don't have any summary, so let's start one here.

If you've seen one it took a while to work out, please could you leave a description in the comments below? Similarly if you see one you don't understand, feel free to ask in the comments below.

Here are the first couple that have been asked about.

"SP:" = sponsor

  • Colette wrote: The exact exerpt from the card is below .  I understand everything except the last line (which I think means that the source of the information is from the godfather G.T.Cruz) I don't know what "SP:" means other than possibly Spanish or sponsor.  Has anyone else found something similar and knows what it means please?

     "...Baptisms at R.C. Cathedral, H.K

    1895, 12th July, Henrici Ilarii, b. 30 Apr., bapt. at Canossian Convent Chapel, illegitimate child (?) (sic) of Reolandi Henrich Rochfort Wade and Chinese woman Qui Fook.

    SP: de fuente patrino G.T. Cruz......."

  • Patricia replied: Yes, SP does regularly mean sponsor i.e. godparent in the catholic records in Carl Smith.  It turns up a lot in the records I've searched, and just to confirm, where I've managed to get a (modern) copy of the birth cert, these names appear there.


"Macau B-13" = ???

  • Liz asked: I have a Carl Smith Card 114055 part of which has the following text: "Macau B-13 P.255 - 21 May 1887"

    Another reference on the cards says: B-14 P.150 - 29 Dec 1887"

    The subject matter is about a property being sold between two people in Macau.  My question is this:

    What document/book/record is Carl Smith referring to with these references and are they accessible at the HK PRO.

  • philk replied: Maybe the Macau Govt Gazette? The B might stand for Bulletin? Just a uninformed guess of course.
  • HO Lim-Peng replied:

    P. = Pataca, Macau currency?

    Comminest currency in Macau was Pataca Mexicana (Mexican silver dollar, as also used in HK and elsewhere) until 1894, Macau Pataca thereafter.


I would have thought that P. stands for Page rather than Patacas.

I agree with Adam.  Looking at the reference again, I would say that its Page 255 of some old Macau book, periodical, paper, gazette, etc.

I have well over 500 Carl Smith Cards, and I have gone through them today and tried to pick out some abbreviations that he consistently used.  List below are some of the abbreviations he used.  I hope they are of use.

Carl Smith Abbreviations


DP – Hong Kong Daily Press

SCMP – South China Morning Post

CM – China Mail

Teleg – Hong Kong Telegraph

HK Telg.Sup. – Hong Kong Telegraph Supplement

WP – Weekly Press

SP – Special Juror

CJ – Common Juror

St. J. Cath. – St. John’s Cathedral

Pro. Cal. – Probate Calendar

Prob.f. – Probate File

R.C.C. – Roman Catholic Cathedral

Pol. Const. – Police Constable

Affad. – Affidavit

Lic. – Licence

Resid. – Residence

Indent. – Indenture

Art. Of Assoc. – Article of Association

SP - Sponsor




Liz, thanks very much for those. I must confess I've yet to see a Carl Smith card, so can't be of much help here. Does anyone else have any explanations for abbreviations they think would be helpful to others?

Regards, David

David, you haven't seen a Carl Smith card yet? You don't know what you're missing! :)

Just trying to pace the excitement - got to have something in reserve for the day we run out of Jurors Lists!!

Now there's a project! Digitising and putting on line the Carl Smith cards! Oh yes please!  It would be easy for the PRO - they only have to release them to to the public on their website......sigh......if only!

The funny, ok sad, thing is that the cards have already been digitised. Their website says:

In 1995, the Collection was microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and a copy was donated by the Reverend Smith to the PRO in the same year. To facilitate access and use, we started to digitize and index the entire Collection in 1997. The project was subsequently completed in November 2001.

But, they continue...

For the protection of personal data, this site provides only the index to the Carl Smith Collection that includes the names of persons, organizations, places, covering years and card numbers recorded in each data card.

It's a valid concern that personal information should be protected, but if it refers to events over, say, a hundred years ago, is anyone still worried about the privacy?

Does anyone have any experience of an age-limit on personal data protection laws? It would be interesting if other countries say it only applies to data newer than a certain limit, and the same approach could be introduced in Hong Kong.

Regards, David

David, this is something very interesting and defintely not a uniform thing across the internet by any means.  If you are a fully paid up member of (as I am), you can acess quite a lot of personal information from only about 2 or 3 years ago. Phone books which obviously include addresses as well as current phone numbers,  and of course the obvious birth marriage and death records almost as they happen.This is effectively hundreds of thousand of personal data available via subscription. is another site where you can buy access to electoral lists up to the most recent one they have which is likely to be last years.  The British library used to have all personal birth marriage and deaths records available online on their India Office website, but they have removed details of people from around the 1930's ish onwards, still leaving a substantial amount of data for resaerchers to view. At which is a website for the Families in British India Society, they use the 100 year cut-off.

Out of the 500 copies of the Carl Smith cards I have as part of my on going research not one of them refers to anyone who is still alive.

Here in the UK you can look up anything if you make an application to the ONS (Office of National Statistics).  Maybe the Hong Kong PRO could use the 100 year cut-off system?



Liz, thanks for those examples.

Interesting that you wrote:

Out of the 500 copies of the Carl Smith cards I have as part of my on going research not one of them refers to anyone who is still alive.

Back on the PRO website, the last sentence about the Carl Smith Collection reads:

To comply with the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, those digitized images containing personal data will be released for only research and statistical purposes.

So I took a look at the Privacy Comissioner's website, which states the objective of the Ordinance as:

The purpose of the Ordinance is to protect the privacy interests of living individuals in relation to personal data.

If we take 100 years as a reasonable cut-off, it would suggest that Carl Smith cards that only refer to people who have died, or only refer to events dated over 100 years ago, could be made publicly available on the internet without breaching the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance. Whether the PRO has the resources available to do that is another question, but it's a useful guideline to be aware of. It could also be applied to churches, and their records.

Regards, David

I think we'e a lot more free and easy here in the UK. Records, churches or otherwise very easily available to ANYONE, even if you aren't related, which is why genealogy is so easy here.  I think the 100 year rule (like the UK Census rule) is quite adequate.  Resources is probably what will keep the PRO from doing it though.

When 'B' is encountered in Macau cards, I wonder if the reference is to the Boletim Eclesiastico, followed by the volume number and page number.

Hi found these abbreviations in Carl Smith Card 156629, any idea what they mean?

Sur stands for Surety 

Here's the card:

It looks to be related to the death of Mr Mahomed, so I'll guess that Adm. refers to the Administrator, see

Anyone responsible for dealing with the estate is generally known as a 'Personal Representative', who will either be the 'executor' or 'administrator' depending on whether there is a Will.

If there is a Will, this person will be named as the 'executor'.
If there is no Will, the law of intestacy will apply and the immediate next of kin will usually be named as the ‘administrator’.

Then could the HKRS be something like a Hong Kong Register of Sureties? The Government Records Service will probably be able to give you the answer:

I'm just wondering what '(al)' means after a name. Might it mean alias? I've found it in lists of names associated with business activities but not all names have this after them.

Please could you give us a few example cards to look at that show the (al) in use?

So an example is 'Lam Dore' card

Will - 281/1936/4323 Lam Dore (al) Lam Ki Dgiu (al) Lam Sh? Chun (al) Lam Sze Chun etc etc.

They always appear to be Chinese Hong Kong names.

Most likely 'alias' as you suggested. Certainly fits in context of example you gave.