SOUNDEX CODE SHEET
The SOUNDEX code is based on the phonetic
sound of the surname.
The code consists of the name's initial letter, followed by a three-digit code.
Code Number and the Equivalent Letters
1 B, F, P, V
2 C, G, J, K, Q, S, X, Z
3 D, T
5 M, N
The initial letter of the surname is
The vowels A, E, I, O, U, and Y are never coded.
The consonants H and W are never coded.
The consonants of the surname, other than the initial letter and H, W, are converted to their respective values in the order in which they appear in the name:
HOLMES H452 GUILFOYLE G414
H 4 5 2 G 41 4
The code always consists of three and only three digits. The codes for names which do not contain three equivalent letters are completed by adding zeros:
GRAHAM G650 SHAW S000
G6 5 S
The codes for names which contain more than three equivalent letters are complete when a three digit code has been obtained:
V 5 3 6
Two or more equivalent letters in sequence are treated as one letter and are converted into one soundex number:
BALLOU B400 JACKSON J250
B J 2 5
An equivalent letter immediately following an initial letter of the same group is not coded:
SCANLON S545 SCKLAR
S 54 5 S 4 6
Equivalent letters separated by A, E, I, O, U or Y are coded separately:
HANNON H550 SALKIEWICS S422
H 5 5 S 4 2 2
Equivalent letters separated only by H or W are coded as one:
SOKWZY S200 SCHKOLNIK S452
S 2 S 4 5 2
Abbreviated prefixes such as "Mc" or "St" are coded as if spelled out:
McILHANY MACKILHANY M245
M 2 4 5
St. JOHN SAINTJOHN S532
An apostrophe in a name is disregarded:
O 5 4 D 5 6
If you have trouble finding a Surname in the Soundex films after you've coded it, try coding the other spelling variations of that Surname. How a Surname is spelled NOW, might not be the way it was spelled in the past! The Census-taker might have heard it incorrectly, accents would make some names sound differently and thus be spelled wrong on the Census. Also in the past, some people, not being able to read or write, wouldn't KNOW if their Surname was spelled correctly or not, and therefore couldn't correct the Census-taker.
© Jeffrey L. Elmer All Rights Reserved