December 2005 “An International newsletter for Denbows” Vol. 12, No. 2
Denbow, Denbo & Soundex
This special, web only, issue of the Denbow Diaspora features the first Denbow Directory in about a decade. It used to be very easy to obtain CD-ROMs with all listed phone numbers in the United States and to extract specific last names from the data set. Neither obtaining such CD-ROMs nor the extraction process is something for the timid these days. In fact, it seems that only spammers have ready access to this kind of information any longer. Not to fear, however, the intrepid editors searched high and low, and discovered one source of a phonebook CD-ROM that was in the consumer price range. We acquired this disc and then proceeded to explore the nether world of data extraction. Unlike in the old, user-friendly days, we had to extract information from each state via a separate query.
The last directory issue featured only the Denbow and Denbo spellings. In compiling this directory we were able to use a quasi soundex algorithm which extracted not only the two most common spellings, but also such possible variants as Denboer, and Denbosky. This algorithm was not a true soundex and didn’t find such variants as Denbeau and Denbeaux. Previous research has determined that these spellings account for no more than two or three families in the whole country. In one case, an modern-day Denbeaux had a properly named “Denbow” ancestor who had changed the name because due to his occupation he wanted a more “theatrical” sounding name.