Did you ever wonder about how names written in other alphabets became codified in the Latin alphabet, indexed by how they sound?
Take the Yiddish name ט ק ל.
The Soundex Codes help us unravel how that name came to be pronounced either Tekel or Tackle (or Tockle). They have the identical Soundex Code. Typically, when searching for a name (that’s often misspelled) you’ll need to check many possible spellings (e.g. Greenberg, Grinberg, Grimberg, Gruenberg). With certain databases you’d have to search one combination at a time. But, if the database uses Soundex, you can search a group of potential names at once.
Here’s how it works:
- Except for the first letter of surname, disregard these letters: A, E, I, O, U, W, Y, H.
- Each code begins with the first letter of the SURNAME.
- Code the first 3 consonants (do not include the first letter of the surname).
- Begin coding the first consonant AFTER the first vowel in the surname.
Example: S C H W A R T Z
……………S 6 3 2 = S632
- Double consonants (or two consecutive consonants with the same code number are CODED AS ONE letter.
Example: S U SS M A NN
……………S 2 5 5 = S255
- Each code must have first letter of surname and three numbers. If surname lacks enough consonants to create 3 numbers, add one or two zeros.
Example 1: H A SK E LL
……………..H 2 4 + 0 = H240
Example 2: B U LL
………………B 4 + 0 + 0 = B400