G U I D E    T O    G E N E A L O G I C A L    M A T E R I A L S     
in the New Orleans Public Library's Louisiana Division & City Archives     

          A P P E N D I X   C :   The Soundex/Miracode System

Guide to Genealogical Materials Home
Selected Books
Louisiana Library Connection Databases
Note on Vital Records
Birth Records
Death Records
Burial Records
Marriage Records
Civil Records (Parishes other than Orleans)
Census Records
Orleans Parish Civil Court Records
Slavery, Free People of Color & Freedmen
Immigration Records
Naturalization Records
Hospital & Insanity Records
Church Records
Military Records
Land Records
Voter Registration Records
Employment Records
New Orleans Police Department Records
Records of Correctional Institutions
Additional Sources
Appendix A: Ordering By Mail
Appendix B: Genealogical Periodicals
Appendix C: Soundex/Miracode System
Appendix D: Orleans Parish Civil Courts

The following explanation of the Soundex/Miracode system has been adapted from 1910 Federal Population Census (p. 39), published by the National Archives Trust Fund Board, 1982.

The Soundex/Miracode Coding Guide

The letters A, E, I, O, U, Y, W, & H are not coded.

Code   Key Letters & 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 Soundex/Miracode filing system, alphabetic for the first letter of surname and numeric thereafter as indicated by divider cards, keeps together names of the same and similar sounds but of variant spellings. To search for a particular name, one must first determine the code number for the surname of the individual. No number is assigned to the first letter of the surname. If the name is "Kuhne," for example, the index card will be in the "K" segment of the index.

Every Soundex/Miracode number must have three digits. A name yielding no code numbers – such as "Lee" – would thus be L000; one yielding only one code number would have two zeros added – such as "Kuhne" – K500; and one yielding two code numbers would have one zero added – such as "Ebell" – E140. Not more than three digits are used.

When two key letters or equivalents appear together, or one key letter immediately follows or precedes an equivalent, the two are coded as one letter, by a single number, as follows: "Kelly"=K400; "Buerck"=B620; "Lloyd"=L300; and "Schaefer"=S160.

Even if several surnames have the same code, the cards for them are arranged alphabetically by given name.

The 1910 Louisiana Census for New Orleans and Shreveport has been indexed by the Miracode system, which uses the same coding as the Soundex system. At the top of each index entry are three numbers that indicate the volume number, enumeration district number, and family or visitation number in the census schedules. Soundex cards have four numbers, representing volume number, enumeration district number, page or sheet number, and line number.

Note that although the Soundex and Miracode indexes give preliminary information on each household, the census rolls they reference will include additional information not found on the Soundex card. Be sure to follow the reference.

Soundex Help

Steuart, Bradley W. The Soundex Daitch-Mokotoff Reference Guide. 2 v. Bountiful, Utah: Precision Indexing, 1994.
For many (but not all) names, codes have already been worked out and published in alphabetical lists. This 2 volume set provides Soundex codes to over 125,000 surnames. Also included for each surname is the Daitch-Mokotoff code, a numerical code developed to compensate for the Soundex's weaknesses for coding ethnic names. GenR 929.3 S724 [Ask at the reference desk]

Automated Soundex converters can also be found online at a number of locations. These converters allow you to type in a surname and get an instant coded response. Search engines such as GOOGLE will turn up a number of converter sites, using the keywords “Soundex converter.”