About: Soundex

As of Monday, July 20, 2020, the Washington State Archives branches in Olympia and Ellensburg are open to researchers by appointment only. For more information, please visit our page regarding the closure

The Records Search utilizes the soundex system. The soundex is a coded surname (last name) index based on the way a surname sounds rather than the way it is spelled. Surnames that sound the same, but are spelled differently, like SMITH and SMYTH, have the same code and are filed together. The soundex coding system was developed so that you can find a surname even though it may have been recorded under various spellings.