The Soundex Utility will aide you in your search by helping you find family names in our databases that have different spellings but have similar sounds and show you how many records we have for each name. For example, if you enter Smith, you will also see Smythe and Smyth as well as a host of others.
What is Soundex?
Soundex is a means established by the US National Archives to index the US Census (beginning in 1880). It codes together surnames of the same and similar sounds but of variant spellings such as SMITH and SMYTH. Both of these names would have the same Soundex code. Thus, if you entered SMITH for a last name and used the Soundex option, your search would return all names that sound like SMITH even if they are spelled differently.
Limitations of Soundex
Surname prefixes such as La, De and Van are generally not used in the Soundex. However, Mc, Mac and O generally are not considered prefixes and are coded for Soundex.
Names that sound alike do not always have the same Soundex code. For example, Lee and Leigh are pronounced identically, but have different Soundex codes because the silent g in Leigh is given a code.
Names that sound alike but start with a different first letter will always have a different Soundex code. Names such as Carr and Karr will have different codes.