"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 3 May 2001


Last week, a reader wrote to ask about how to use the Soundex indexes. During the Depression the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Historical Records Survey (HRS) division created the Soundex indexes for the 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920 Federal Censuses.

The Soundex is a method of indexing surnames by a process of elimination of some letters and substitution of numbers for other letters based on a code. The 1880 Soundex lists only those households that have a child 10 or under. The 1900 Soundex is fairly well complete, while the 1910 Soundex indexes were created for only 21 states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Soundex index cards generally give the names, ages, and birthplaces of all members of the household plus state and county of residence, relationship to the head of the household, etc. Each card also lists the volume number and enumeration district number of the census schedule from which the information was obtained.

To search for a particular surname, you must first work out the number code. No number is assigned to the first letter of the surname. For example, if the surname is Johnson, the Soundex code will begin with "J" plus the number code numbers resulting in J-525.

Soudex Coding Guide

Code Letter 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

The letters a, e, i, o, u, y, w, and h are not coded. The first letter of a surname is not coded.

Every Soundex number must be a 3-igit number. A name yielding no code numbers, as Lee, would be L-000. Such prefixes to surnames as "van," “vun,” "Von," "Di," "de," “la,” "le," "Di," "D'," "dela," or "du" are sometimes disregarded in alphabetizing and in coding.

For a detail discussion of the Soundex, go to: http://www.outfitters.com/genealogy/what-soundex.html.

For an on-line surname soundex converter, go to the Soundex Machine at the National Archives: http://www.nara.gov/genealogy/soundex/soundex.html.

“Book Review”

The "Expanded" Richard Dole Family, David W. Dole, PGCS, Inc., 8102 Highwood Dr., Suite B-125, Bloomington, MN 55438-1406. Soft-cover, 8½"x11", 66 pages, 1996, $25. (including shipping).

Booklet contains over 1,900+ names in family order based on the LDS International Genealogical Index (IGI Record) New England microfiche entries between 1638 and 1895. Mr. Dole stated that he compiled this list because he thought the Richard Dole (born 1622) line, that includes James Drummond Dole (founder of the pineapple company) was one and the same line. He learned that in 1868, while living in Ottawa Ontario Canada, his grandfather, Alexander M. Dole, had changed the family name from McDole to Dole.

Undoubtedly, individuals who are researching the Dole surname will find this booklet a valuable and useful resource.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 4 May 2001 and was last revised on ___________ 2001

Copyright © 1999, 2001 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604