Last Updated on October 2, 2010 by Dave Farquhar
For some reason, both of my grandmothers’ genealogies have always been somewhat of a dead end. It took me about 30 seconds to trace my grandfathers back into the 1600s, but I could only go back a couple of generations on my grandmothers.
I had a breakthrough on my mom’s mom today. I had punched her grandfather’s name, Samuel L. Groves, into a genealogy search engine. My family had always accepted his wife’s name as Julie or Julia Breeden. I’d never been able to trace beyond her.
Today I noticed a couple of entries with a Samuel L. Groves, born in 1839, married to a Julia Breeding.
At first I dismissed it. Then I thought about it. Breeden. Breeding. Breedin’.
Breedin’. Then I thought about how my living relatives on that side of the family talk.
Breedin’ it is.
Breakthrough. The Breeding family left all sorts of traces of itself hanging around. Next thing I know, I’ve traced my grandmother’s line back to Baron Hans Jost Heydt, the first settler of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Another part of the line went back to Massachusetts in the 1600s. No Mayflower passengers, but they were in the area by the 1630s.
That part of the family had someone named Wallen in it. In that same tree, that woman’s father’s last name was listed as Walling.
Soundex is my friend.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.
2 thoughts on “Beware the -ing”
Soundex is probably the greatest lookup tool that most people have never heard of. I first learned of this tool in 1986, in Anchorage, Alaska of all places. The utility there used Soundex as their primary inquiry method, and it totally amazed me. Fairly simple to code, and returns much more than a simple text match. It’s probably one of the best practical applications of “fuzzy logic” I’ve ever seen, other than the de-bounce logic built into keypads and keyboards.
Will Rogers said it for me.
“My ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower, but they met the boat.”
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