My granddaughter came to visit a few weeks ago. We played endless games of Splash! – basically the old card game of Spoons, only with squeaky rubber dolphins instead of kitchen cutlery. She wanted to collect all the dolphins, though sometimes she would generously share one or two with me. And after each game, Grandma had to “shovel” the cards. (That skill I learned around my own childhood card games, “bridges,” is a source of continuing amusement to the next generation.)
Why is Splash! with my granddaughter fodder for my genealogy blog? It’s the way she directed my activity – I was to “shovel” the cards. Yes, of course she meant shuffle, but she’s almost four and can’t quite spell, and is still learning pronunciation. She heard and expressed the “F” as a “V,” a natural leap.
When I was a baby genealogist, in order to find my ancestors in census records, needed to use a Soundex calculator. Soundex sorts the consonants in the English language into one of six groups. For example “F” and “V” are also grouped with “P” and “B.” The sounds these letters make emanate from the same part of the mouth with the lips and tongue in a similar position. That’s why they sound alike. And can be easily confused.
So take a lesson from my granddaughter. When you’re looking for your “Baresh” ancestors in newspapers or census records, think about searching for “Parish” records as well. And if you’re looking for “Lefflers” and “Fellers” look for “Levelers” and “Vellers,” too.
 Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org), "Soundex" rev. 15:03, 3 April 2021.
Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.