Help with names

Gopher gopher at
Sun Apr 11 06:12:55 EST 1993

Could some one explain to me how to address people with surnames
as follows (fictitious names)

Sean O'Keefe   (what does the O mean)
James MacDonald (Mac refers to ?)
Peter van der Ley (van der?)
Loius de la Maza (de la?)
Hans van Houten (van?)
Emil von Kruppen (von?)

How about Indian names, which is the surname/family name?

Thanks for any help rendered.

I will summarise the answers and combine them with a write-up I did for
Oriental names.

Tin Wee

Dept of Biochemistry, National Univ of Singapore
bchtantw at
(temporarily at RIKEN Institute in Japan)

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