• Apr 26, 1937
    (b.) - ?

Bio/Description

An American genealogist who focuses primarily on Jewish genealogy, he is known for his application of computers to genealogy. Among his accomplishments is the 1985 co-authorship with Randy Daitch of the Daitch–Mokotoff Soundex System; the JewishGen Family Finder, a database of ancestral towns and surnames being researched by some 84,000 Jewish genealogists throughout the world and the Consolidated Jewish Surname Index. He was a pioneer of the computer software industry, joining IBM in 1959. From 1959 to 1963 he was with the Applied Programming Department where he developed the systems software that IBM delivered with its first commercial computer, the IBM 1401. He is the co-creator of the 1401 Autocoder and sole author of SPS1 and SPS2. The Daitch–Mokotoff Soundex System is a phonetic algorithm and is a refinement of the Russell and American Soundex algorithms designed to allow greater accuracy in matching of Slavic and Yiddish surnames with similar pronunciation but differences in spelling. The criteria of the Daitch–Mokotoff Soundex System are: Coded names are six digits long, resulting in greater search precision (traditional Soundex uses four characters); The initial character of the name is coded; Several rules in the algorithm encode multiple character n-grams as single digits (American and Russell Soundex do not handle multi-character n-grams); and Multiple possible encodings can be returned for a single name (traditional Soundex returns only one encoding, even if the spelling of a name could potentially have multiple pronunciations). From 1963 to 1965, he was with the U.S. Army where he installed the first computer at Fort Dix, New Jersey. In 1965 he returned to IBM Commercial Analysis Department where he developed IBM's strategy for marketing software in its competitive environment. In 1968 he joined Data Universal Corporation as President. The software company focused on serving the retail chain industry, installing the first computer at such retail chains as Linens n' Things, The Children’s Place and Bed Bath & Beyond. He was with Data Universal until 1993. He is the first person to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies for which he was president (1989–1995). He is the author/coauthor of a number of books including “Where Once We Walked”, a gazetteer which provides information about 23,500 towns (citing 37,000 place names) in Central and Eastern Europe where Jews lived before the Holocaust; “How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust”; and “Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy”. He was co-editor with Sallyann Amdur Sack of, “Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy”. He is co-owner of Avotaynu, a company that publishes books of interest to Jewish genealogical researchers as well as the journal Avotaynu. He is or was on the Board of Directors of a number of organizations including the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), Association of Professional Genealogists, Jewish Book Council, Association of Jewish Book Publishers, and JewishGen.
  • Date of Birth:

    Apr 26, 1937
  • Noted For:

    Pioneer of the computer software industry for the IBM 1401 - co-creator of the 1401 Autocoder and sole author of SPS1 and SPS2
  • Category of Achievement:

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