Generally speaking, a card was created for each census household and those cards were then "indexed" using the Soundex code for the last name of the head of the household. With the online indexes available today, there is not as much need to use these indexes as there was in the past. However, in some cases, genealogists may still find using the indexes helpful.
The microfilmed version of the 1910 Soundex is online at Archive.org. Finding it takes just a little bit of work and knowing what name you are looking for in the census--keep in mind that usually the name of the head of household is necessary.
Using this page on the National Archives website, I determined the roll number I needed for the desired entry. The man I was looking for was Samuel Neill, who should have been living somewhere in Hancock County, Illinois. The Soundex code for Neill is N400 which was obtained on this site (http://resources.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/soundexconverter/).
The National Archives page needed was http://www.archives.gov/research/census/publications-microfilm-catalogs-census/1910/part-01.html.
I scrolled down to the roll of Soundex film for Illinois that would have Samuel's name on it. Unfortunately there were two rolls:
- 316. N-325 Isaac--N-400 Samuel
- 317. N-400 Samuel--N-425 Gustav
- Soundex 1910--for the year of the soundex
- illinois because there were different states
- roll 316/317 were the roll numbers
The 0023 indicates enumeration district 23.
The 0155 indicates family 155.
At this point, I'm not certain about the "123" that appears before the "0023."
Researchers still want to view the actual census--Maggie is shown as single--not divorced.
The Soundex is a finding aid--just like any other.
Sometimes we forget about these "older" tools that we used to use before online indexes became readily available. There are situations where they are still useful.