Genie Helper
"If you don't vote you let someone else pick your leaders."


- Soundex Coder Download

- Government Red Tape

- BLM Land Records


- Download GenoPro - free genealogy tree builder - imports GEDCOM files

- National Archives and Records Administration

- Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet

- Everton Publishers

- Hand Blown Glass

Vote to kill or keep this web page!

This web page has been up for 11 years, since Mary Ann H. at the Atlanta branch of the National Archives brought the W&H separator problem to light. I hope most people and coding systems are now corrected. Please vote using the email links below.

KEEP           KILL

Soundex Codes

Did you ever want to check a soundex code quickly without logging on to your internet service provider?

Many genealogy web pages offer on-line soundex coding. The National Archives and Records Administration maintains an online soundex coder The Soundex Machine, but I have (so far) been unable to locate a free DOS based program for off-line use on an IBM compatible PC. Therefore, I am donating my off-line PC soundex coding software to the public domain at no charge.
Users running Windows 98 or higher should see below for the best 32 bit program that I have seen so far.

As seen on the PBS series "Ancestors"

Sample screen
Download (195 k)

Soundex can be run on a computer running DOS, or in a DOS window in the Windows operating system. The software follows most of the same rules used by the government in creating soundex code filing systems and is suitable for geneological use (for those who worry, no dates are used, so it is Y2K compliant).

There is a slight bug (or perhaps a second method of coding) in this and most other conversion programs. The bug involves a little known Soundex rule: the letters W & H do NOT count as separators. Therefore letters that aren't really adjacent should get counted as being adjacent if they have a W or H between them.

An example of the rule can be seen in the name ASHCRAFT. The name is translated to A226 in most conversion programs, but should translate to A261 because both the S & the C are considered adjacent letters with the same code (2). Actual historic use of this rule is verified in the 1920 U.S. Census for New York where Ashcraft can be found under A261.

Many web sites finally have it correct. Please note, however, that sometimes the person doing the original assignment of the soundex code may not have followed all the rules properly.

TIP: When using conversion programs (including mine) try spelling names a second time leaving out any W or H. Of course, the first letter of a name must always be used.

Try here for an EXCELLENT free Win 95/98 soundex program
(The W&H error and other pronunciation variables can be set as options).

Try here for $hareware programs.

Soundex Coding Rules
As used by most US Government offices

Soundex coding is a method of grouping words that sound alike in the same category. It was historically used as a filing method where the spelling of names was uncertain, as in unfamiliar languages. Even if you couldn't be sure of the spelling of a name, you could code its sound and be relatively assured of finding it filed with other names that sounded similar.

The biggest use of soundex coding was in filing civilian employee personnel records during and after World War II, and in filing U.S. Census records from 1880 to 1930. Soundex codes are currently used as a tool in computer spell checkers, and by geneologists for researching records filed by soundex code.

1. The first character of the Soundex Code is the first letter of the surname.

2. The following letters are not coded and should be disregarded when coding: a, e, i, o, u, h, w, and y.

3. Two or more consonants next to each other having the same code number will only be coded one time. If the second letter has the same code as the initial letter then it is not coded. Alternate - In addition, letters separated by an H or a W will be treated as if they were next to each other.

4. Remaining consonants are assigned a number code as shown below. Zeros are added to complete the three required numbers in the code.

    Example: Aaron is coded as A650
Code Letters
1 b, p, f, v
2 c, s, k, g, j, q, x, z
3 d, t
4 l
5 m, n
6 r

Remember: several different names may have the same Soundex Code.

Mail to Bill Craig:
Established 03-31-98
Moved URL 6/20/2009

Last updated 06-25-2009