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Most Hebrew and Yiddish names are well-defined by their first three or four letters.  This fact is very useful in searching the GNDBs.

For the case where you know one or two Yiddish names (say) and want to find all the other Yiddish, Hebrew, and European secular names which were linked to your one or two, the best initial approach is probably to use option one with the first few letters of the name, along with the asterisk, e.g., "Not*".  However, it might be worthwhile to back this up with a second trial in which your input is "[Not]l" using option two (DM Soundex).  After trying the last one using the Lithuania GNDB, you might also have a go at the input "Notl" using option two (interesting?!)

The above case is probably the most popular use of the GNDBs.  In general, a combination of both search options would work the best and minimize the possibility of missing names of which you should be aware, but some of these trials may give you lots of false positives.

For the case where you want to enter an English vernacular name (for US, UK, SA...), say Morris, option one would give twenty hits for the Lithuania GNDB.  However, option two (Soundex) with input Morris would yield 29 hits -- it finds a number of names of females which have the same DM Soundex as Morris.  In general, for English vernacular names, option two is NOT a good choice because DM Soundex was not set up for English names and does not work well with them.  The use of the old NARA Soundex for English (and perhaps other foreign) names is currently under consideration.

Entering foreign vernacular names is useful when you want to find all of the possible vernacular names an immigrant might have used, or when you are looking for all the Hebrew, Yiddish, and European secular names from which the vernacular name might have come -- this could turn out to be a large number of possibilities because many different European Jewish names were translated into the same English vernacular foreign name.

Searching on foreign names is probably the second most interesting use of the GNDBs.  You undoubtedly will work out alternative approaches which will work for you and your own special needs.

For a detailed, field-by-field description of the fields' contents, see the  Description of the Data Bases. 

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