The rule for alphabetizing last names that contain hyphens is simple -- ignore the hyphen. The Modern Languages Association, the American Psychological Association and the Chicago Manual of Style all agree that writers should alphabetize hyphenated names beginning with the first letter of the first name in the sequence, paying no attention to the hyphen.

Examples of Hyphenated Names

Alphabetically, the name "Jones-Smith" would precede the name "Robinson" or "Smith-Jones" because "Jones-Smith" begins with J, which comes before both R and S. In the case of "Young-Parker" and "Young-Lee", the latter name would come first, because the letters following the hyphen are P and L, and L comes before P. The unhyphenated name "Young" would precede the hyphenated name "Young-Lee." The correct alphabetical order of these names is Jones-Smith, Robinson, Smith-Jones, Young, Young-Lee, Young-Parker.