I always thought that a semi-colon took the place of a period, tying together two separate thoughts or sentences, which it usually does. But I also thought that when it was tying together two complete sentences that it should be used as a period, therefore capitalizing the first letter following the semi-colon. WRONG! It is NOT necessary to capitalize the first letter following a semi-colon. Thank you to my free-lancing cousin Robin Lindamin for setting me straight! I had read this truth at Dr. Grammar (see below) but I didn't believe it until I ran it by Robin! Thanks Robin!
"A semicolon creates a brief reading pause that can dramatically highlight a close relationship or a contrast. The semicolon alone can't specify the relationship the way words like because or however can. Be sure, therefore, that the relationship you are signaling won't be puzzling to readers."
"Join two sentences with a semicolon. A semicolon joins main clauses that can stand alone as complete sentences.
[Example:] The demand for paper is at an all-time high; businesses alone consume millions of tons each year."
"Use a semicolon with words such as however and on the other hand. When you use a semicolon alone to link main clauses, you ask readers to recognize the logical link between the clauses. When you add words like however or on the other hand, you create a different effect on readers by specifying how the clauses relate.
[Example:] I like apples; however, I hate pears."
"Use a semicolon with a complex series. When items in a series contain commas, readers may have trouble deciding which commas separate parts of the series and which belong within items. To avoid confusion, put semicolons between elements in a series when one or more contain other punctuation.
[Example:] I interviewed Debbie Rios, the attorney; Rhonda Marron, the accountant; and the financial director." (Anson, Schwegler, and Muth, The Longman Writer's Companion 432-433)