Name Variant Generator

The Name Variant Generator provides potential variants for names and enhances fuzzy searching by doing so.

Problem 1: Transcription

The written word more or less reflects the spoken one. Rules define how sounds are put into letters. But why then is Muhammad from Arabic or Gorbatchev from Russian written in many different ways? Because there are no standard rules.

Problem 2: Naturally evolved variants

Two hundred years ago many people could not read and write. They knew their names but not the rules for spelling - if there were any. Because of this, and with the influence of local pronunciation differences, many variants of family names evolved. For example: Shakespeare, Shakespere, Shakespear, Shakspeare, Shackspeare, Shakspere etc.

Problem 3: Data transfer

Errors occur when transmission techniques fail to work properly:
  • oral data transfer, for example by telephone
  • typewriting, especially from handwritten originals
  • scanning errors - mistakes in optical character recognition (OCR)
  • language differences and wrong assumptions

Solution: Name Variant Generator

The variant generator helps by listing known variants from the database source, and extending the list based on rules. The rules are especially helpful for names transcribed from foreign alphabets.

Variant Examples

  • Margaret: Margarethe, Margareth, Margrethe, Margareta, Märta, Peggy, Peggi, Meg, ...
  • Schmidt: Schmitt, Schmied, Schmid, Smith, Smythe, Laforge, ...
  • Mohammed: Muhammad, Mihammad, Mohamed, Mohamet, Mohammad, Mahmed, Mahmood, Mahmoud, Mahmud, ...
  • Andrey: Andrei, Andrej, Andy, Andi, Andrew, Andreas, ...

Example of use

Does your database query only deliver exact matches? With the variant generator you'll find the name you're looking for even if it is stored or indexed with a different spelling. To ensure optimal results, a search incorporates an n-gram index to find spelling mistakes as well.

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Confucius' name was actually Kong Qiu. The name we know as Confucius is a combination of the family name (Kong), the polite address (fu zi), and the Latin ending (us). In China he is known as Kong Tse (Master Kong), where Tse is derived from zi, which is the shorter form of fu zi.
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