This template includes a page in a surname category listed in order of "page name" (which generally means that the given name or "Christian name" will be first, which is what we want for sorting people who have the same surname). The pipe and following template override the DEFAULTSORT template, which is used on the same page to list the individual in surname order in most other categories.

TO USE IT, just type or paste {{surname|}} then add the surname between the pipe and the closing brackets.

As a special case, {{surname|Unknown}} includes the page into the category Category:Unknown surname.

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