More than 50 years into the Information Age, computers are still getting confused by the apostrophe. It's a problem familiar to O'Connors, D'Angelos, N'Dours and D'Artagnans across America.
It's not just the bad luck o' the Irish. French, Italian and African names with apostrophes can befuddle computer systems, too. So can Arab names with hyphens, and Dutch surnames with "van" and a space in them.
Michael Rais, director of software development at Permission Data, an online marketing company in New York, said the problem is sloppy programming.
"It's standard shortsightedness," he said. "Most programs set a rule for first name and last name. They don't think of foreign-sounding names."