The Soundex Coding System

Both Soundex and Miracode use the Soundex coding system. Every code consists of a letter and three numbers, such as S-650. The letter is always the first letter of the surname, whether it is a vowel or a consonant. Disregard the remaining vowels and W, Y, and H, and assign numbers to the next three consonants of the surname according to the Soundex coding guide found below. If there are not three consonants following the initial letter, use zeros to fill out the three-digit code. For example, Lee would be coded as L-000.

Soundex Coding Guide

Code Key Letters and Equivalents

1 b, p, f, v
2 c, s, k, g, j, q, x, z
3 d, t
4 l
5 m, n
6 r

Names with prefixes, double letters, or letters side by side that have the same number of the Soundex coding system as well as Native American, Asian, and female religious figure names are described below.

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NAMES WITH PREFIXES

If the surname has a prefix, such as van, Von, De, Di, or Le, code it both with and without the prefix because it might be listed under either code. The surname vanDevanter, for example, could be V-531 or D-153.

Mc and Mac are not considered prefixes!

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NAMES WITH DOUBLE LETTERS

If the surname has any double letters, they should be treated as one letter. Thus, in the surname Lloyd, the second L should be crossed out; in the surname Gutierrez, the second R should be crossed out.

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NAMES WITH LETTERS SIDE BY SIDE
THAT HAVE THE SAME NUMBER ON THE SOUNDEX CODING GUIDE

A surname may have different letters that are side by side and have the same number on the Soundex coding guide; for example, PF in Pfister (1 is the number for both P and F); CKS in Jackson (2 is the number for C, K, and S). These letters should be treated as one letter. Thus in the name Pfister, F should be crossed out; in the name Jackson, K and S should be crossed out.

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NATIVE AMERICAN AND ASIAN NAMES

A phonetically spelled Native American or Asian name was sometimes coded as if it were one continuous name. If a distinguishable surname was given, the name may have been coded in the normal manner. For example, Dances with Wolves might have been coded as Dances (D-522) or as Wolves (W-412), or the name Shinka-Wa-Sa may have been coded as Shinka (S-520) or Sa (S-000). If Soundex cards do not yield expected results, researchers should consider other surname spellings or variations on coding names.

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FEMALE RELIGIOUS FIGURES

Nuns or other female religious figures with names such as Sister Veronica may have been members of households or heads of households or institutions where a child or children age 10 or under resided. Because many of these religious figures do not use a surname, the Soundexes frequently use the code S-236, for Sister, whether or not a surname exists.

Abbreviations and Terms Used in Soundex Cards

A ........ Aunt

Ad ....... Adopted

AdCl ..... Adopted child

AdD ...... Adopted daughter

AdGcl .... Adopted grandchild

AdM ...... Adopted mother

AdS ...... Adopted son

Al ....... Aunt-in-law

Ap ....... Apprentice

Asst ..... Assistant

At ....... Attendant

B ........ Brother

Bar ...... Bartender

BBoy ..... Bound boy

BGirl .... Bound girl

Bl ....... Brother-in-law

Bo ....... Boarder

Boy ...... Boy

Bu ....... Butler

C ........ Cousin

Cap ...... Captain

Cha ...... Chamber Maid

Cil ...... Cousin-in-law

Cl ....... Child

Coa ...... Coachman

Com ...... Companion

Cook ..... Cook

D ........ Daughter

Dl ....... Daughter-in-law

Dla ...... Day laborer

Dom ...... Domestic

Dw ....... Dish washer

Emp ...... Employee

En ....... Engineer

F ........ Father

FaH ...... Farm hand

FaL ...... Farm laborer

FaW ...... Farm worker

FB ....... Foster brother

FF ....... Foster father

Fi ....... Fireman

First C .. First cousin

FL ....... Father-in-law

FM ....... Foster mother

FoB ...... Foster brother

FoS ...... Foster son

FoSi ..... Foster sister

GA ....... Great aunt

Gcl ...... Grandchild

GD ....... Granddaughter

GF ....... Grandfather

GGF ...... Great-grandfather

GGGF ..... Great-great-grandfather

GGGM ..... Great-great-grandmother

GGM ...... Great-grandmother

GM ....... Grandmother

Gml ...... Grandmother-in-law

GN ....... Grand or great nephew

GNi ...... Grand or great niece

Go ....... Governess

God Cl ... God child

GS ....... Grandson

Gsl ...... Grand son-in-law

GU ....... Great uncle

Gua ...... Guardian

Guest .... Guest

Hb ....... Half brother

Hbl ...... Half brother-in-law

He ....... Herder

Help ..... Help

H.Gi ..... Hired girl

Hh ....... Hired hand

Hk ....... Housekeeper

Hlg ...... Hireling

Hm ....... Hired man

HMaid .... Housemaid

HSi ...... Half sister

HSil ..... Half sister-in-law

Husband .. Husband

Hw ....... Houseworker

I ........ Inmate

L ........ Lodger

La ....... Laborer

Lau ...... Launderer

M ........ Mother

Maid ..... Maid

Man ...... Manager

Mat ...... Matron

ML ....... Mother-in-law

N ........ Nephew

Ni ....... Niece

Nil ...... Niece-in-law

Nl ....... Nephew-in-law

Nu ....... Nurse

O ........ Officer

P ........ Patient

Pa ....... Partner

Ph ....... Physician

Por ...... Porter

Pr ....... Prisoner

Pri ...... Principal

Prv ...... Private

Pu ....... Pupil

R ........ Roomer

S ........ Son

Sa ....... Sailor

Sal ...... Saleslady

Sb ....... Stepbrother

Sbl ...... Step brother-in-law

Scl ...... Step child

Sd ....... Stepdaugther

Sdl ...... Step daughter-in-law

Se ....... Servant

Se.Cl .... Servant's child

Sf ....... Stepfather

Sfl ...... Step father-in-law

Sgd ...... Step granddaughter

Sgs ...... Step grandson

Si ....... Sister

Sl ....... Son-in-law

Sm ....... Stepmother

Sml ...... Step mother-in-law

Ss ....... Stepson

Ssi ...... Stepsister

Ssil ..... Step sister-in-law

Ssl ...... Step son-in-law

Su ....... Superintendant

Ten ...... Tenant

U ........ Uncle

Ul ....... Uncle-in-law

Vi ....... Visitor

W ........ Wife

Wa ....... Warden

Wai ...... Waitress

Ward ..... Ward

Wkm ...... Workman

Wt ....... Waiter

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