Retrospect Publishing - Pennsylvania Genealogy Books on CD-ROM 

Pennsylvania Retrospective CD-ROM Series

Retrospector Software Overview


 Soundex Search

Beginning with our Chester County Tax List CD-ROM, the Retrospector Viewer has the capability to perform searches based on the Soundex used by the US Census Bureau.  The Soundex, or sound-index, groups names together based on the way they sound.  This tool is especially useful for finding names with spelling variations.  For example, "Smith" and "Smythe" have the same Soundex code.

While the use of wildcard characters in a search criteria can beneficial when spelling variations exist, they can be more complicated to use.  For example, to find variations of the name "Junkins," a Super Wildcard search could be conducted the criteria "j + nk + n +".

As an alternative, the Soundex search could be conducted simply by using "junkins" as the criterion.  The illustration below is based on a search in the Chester County CD-ROM.  "Junkins" is typed in the box and the Soundex code is generated automatically.  When the Use Soundex button is clicked, all the words on the CD-ROM with the identical code are displayed for use in an advanced search. 

There are searches that work less well with the Soundex, for example, "lewis" with a code of L200 is a fairly ambiguous criteria, and will generate many words which are not of interest.  Use of the Super Wildcard is advantageous with names of this type.  With the two tools, very complete and fast searches can be conducted.

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