A method of encoding words that sound alike. An application is surnames that are spelled differently but pronounced virtually the same. All names with similar sounds are given the same key, while some secondary algorithm is used to match the names. A soundex code for a name is in the form addd where a is the initial character of the name and ddd are three digits derived from the remaining consonants. For example, “Johnson” becomes J523 while “Johnstone” is J525.