I have copied and pasted the explanation directly from Jewishgen as below. In this case they describe searching options for a town. The Surname search also has options for Phonetic and for DM Soundex.
Searching 'Hurwitz' in the Surname option DM Soundex will produce results for spelling variations including 'Horvits'.
For each search, you can choose one of four different types of matching, for Surnames and Town names:
- Is Exactly (Standard) — match on exact spelling only
- Starts With (Wildcard) — match based upon a prefix
- Sounds Like (D-M Soundex) — match based upon a name's sound
- Contains (Partial Text) — match based upon text matching anywhere within a name
Selecting the Is Exactly option will search for all instances of your surname or town based upon exact spelling only. For Surnames, this option is not very useful, since surnames were rarely spelled consistently in historical records. For Towns, you can also opt to use the Town Synonym database, if a specific country is chosen.
Selecting the Starts With option will let you search for all combinations of your surname or town based upon your input prefix. For example, selecting the Starts With option for the name "Stein" will match all names that start with the letters "Stein", such as: "Stein", "Steinberg", "Steiner", "Steinman", etc.
Selecting the Sounds Like option will let you search for all similar-sounding names, according to the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex system. For example, "Rosenstein", "Rozenstine" and "Rojzensztejn" will all be searched if you request a Sounds Like search of "Rosensteen".
Selecting the Contains option will let you search for all data records which contain that text anywhere within the surname or town field. For example, selecting the Contains option for the name "Blatt" will match "Blatt", "Blattman", "Blattenberg", "Feinblatt", "Greenblatt", "Steinblatter", etc.
Pieter Hoekstra <sold@...>