It Runs in the Family: Unsupervised Algorithm for Alternative Name Suggestion Using Digitized Family Trees

Aviad Elyashar, Rami Puzis, Michael Fire

IEEE Transactions on Knowledge & Data Engineering, 1-1, 2021

Searching for a person’s name is a common online activity. However, Web search engines provide few accurate results to queries containing names. In contrast to a general word that has only one correct spelling, there are several possible legitimate spellings when a name provided as a query. Today, most techniques used to suggest diminutives and alternative spellings in online search are based on pattern matching and phonetic encoding; however, they often perform poorly. As a result, there is a need for an effective tool for improved alternative name suggestion for a name provided as a query. In this paper, we propose a revolutionary approach for tackling the problem of alternative name suggestion. Our novel algorithm, GRAFT, utilizes historical data collected from genealogy websites, along with network algorithms. GRAFT is a general algorithm that suggests alternatives for input names using a graph based …