Placer County CA - Misc. Information

Today is: part of CA GenWeb


As I discover information you might find useful and/or helpful in your research, I will post it here. Do YOU have a suggestion for your fellow researcher? Let me know and I will include it for everyone to view!

Item 1 - Soundex

Soundex - What is it?

It has come to my attention that not everyone doing family research knows about the American Soundex. What is it and why / when is it used?

I just thought I would share a little information about the Soundex system. I, personally, started using it when employed by the State of California. This was a way we 'coded' member names for organizational purposes.

åAs I started researching my family tree and progressed to Census Indexes I was able to easily determine the Soundex code for family members.

From the National Archives website I found the following information:

"...To use the census soundex to locate information about a person, you must know his or her full name and the state or territory in which he or she lived at the time of the census. It is also helpful to know the full name of the head of the household in which the person lived because census takers recorded information under that name.

The soundex is a coded surname (last name) index based on the way a surname sounds rather than the way it is spelled. Surnames that sound the same, but are spelled differently, like SMITH and SMYTH, have the same code and are filed together. The soundex coding system was developed so that you can find a surname even though it may have been recorded under various spellings.

To search for a particular surname, you must first work out its code."

So who actually uses Soundex I wondered? Querying Google I found the following:

"...The most well-known genealogical use of Soundex is on parts of the 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 United States federal censuses. It is also used by the federal government for selected ship passenger arrival lists, certain Canadian border crossings, and some naturalization records. A few county governments have also used a version of Soundex for courthouse kinds of records. More recently, and other Internet companies have featured a Soundex search for their huge online genealogical databases."

Last year I 'discovered' the State of Pennsylvania has quite a few on-line indexes that rely on Soundex coding - having access to HOW to code Soundex really is a helpful tool! You can find a link from this website on how to code as well as many on-line helps whether accessing,, etc.