To begin with, this post may not be very orderly like most of my writings, and it could go off on a tangent. I’m just espousing some ideas that I was thinking about, so bear with me as it unfolds. Sorry if it doesn’t make sense or lacks organization. I’m just rambling here, thinking out loud.
I just met a new employee at work by the name of Robert Jones. It’s interesting to note that I know eight people with that name going as far back as my childhood. Two of my Facebook friends are named Robert Jones, and both of them are named after their father: they are Robert Jones, Jr. Incidentally, one of them goes by the moniker, Son of Baldwin.
This reminds me of a post I made a couple of years ago, Love American Style, in which I talked about people who conduct background checks on people they are interested in dating. They do it themselves online, the way Neve does on the TV show Catfish. I personally think it’s not wise to do it yourself. You should hire a professional if you want to increase the likelihood of accuracy. In addition to the Keiths and Roberts, I also know of a few other people with that name. Other names are Keith Clark, Anthony Anderson, Michael Jones and many others too, and those are just the men. I know of lots of women with the same name too. I addressed the name issue previously (Say My Name: Tyrone), though with a slightly different context.
If you do choose to background check your dates that have common names like these, you most likely will find information that may not be your target. Even for less common names, you still might end up searching the wrong target. Wouldn’t it be unfortunate if you rejected someone because you found information on a different person with the same name? Add to the mix the people who may be known by a name other than their government name, and that can further complicate things. I’m not even talking about people who deliberately try to catfish you, like I addressed in my article Have You Been Catfished? from a few years ago. Some people merely prefer to use a different name or a nickname or perhaps they use their middle name rather than their first name. That’s one of the reasons why it can take so long for people seeking jobs requiring a security clearance. Investigating a person’s background can be complicated.
Years ago, the executive director of the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) had my name. I worked at the US Department of Education at the time. I would often receive calls or emails from people thinking I was him. I suspect he might have been contacted by people looking for me. I never worked for NABSE, but it’s odd that people jump to conclusions, logical conclusions, when it comes to names.
Once, the UPS delivery driver had my name. He told me he made thousands of deliveries during his decade of working for the company and he encountered several people named Will Saunders. For several years, one of the IT specialists at work had my name. I was often getting his calls and emails. The first time I got a call from someone telling me something was wrong with their DHCP settings or a problem with the DNS configuration, I wondered why they called me. One caller even asked, “But you are Will Saunders, right?” It took me a long time to realize there was another Will Saunders who was an IT technician. I was glad when he left the agency. I once read that the late pop singer Michael Jackson was confused with another Michael Jackson when he was a teenager. I’m sure it happens a lot. I’ve heard the same about Chris Brown too.
So, there you have it folks. Don’t rely on a name only if you need to look into someone. Be as thorough as possible, or better yet, hire a professional to do it for you.