Monday, January 25, 2010

Some Good European Resources, With Soundex


One branch of my family harks back to the Sarotchkin clan.  Or maybe it was the Sarochkin's.  Or Sorotchkin.  Sarotzkin?  Who knows?

Localized spelling of family names, non-Latin alphabets like Hebrew, Cyrillic, Arabic or Greek, and the whimsical nature of official papers like passenger manifests and immigration forms all contrive to make family history research even more complex than it otherwise is.

Which is why I'm writing today to suggest a visit to the slightly oddly-named Genealogy Indexer.  This site (currently in beta) does two very interesting and very useful things.

One, it compiles some primary European resources that you don't see all the time, like historical directories, military records, and Yizkor books (memorials to the Jewish dead).  The focus is primarily Eastern Europe, though there are resources here from France and the UK, among other countries.

Secondly, it incorporates three search functions:

  • exact search on a name or keyword (as spelled)
  • a Soundex search, which returns a wide variety of phonetic spelling variations
  • an OCR-adjusted search.  This last also returns word variations, though I'm not very clear on what its underlying logic might be.  


Try all three search types to compare results.  And if the Soundex results are a bit overwhelming, you can use the Advanced Search features to narrow things down a bit.


Don't forget to also check for your family history at Ancestry.com and  NewspaperArchive. These are subscription databases, but they are among the most powerful research tools available for looking into family roots..

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