Finding Me

Many people have many names and addresses. So have I.

A search for me within Danish reference sources in the iDQ tool gives the following result:

Green T is positive in the Danish Telephone Books. Red C is negative in the Danish Citizen hub. Green C is positive in the Danish Citizen Hub.

Even though I have left Denmark I’m still registered with some phone subscriptions there. And my phone company hasn’t fully achieved single customer view yet, as I’m registered there with two slightly different middle (sur)names.

Following me to the United Kingdom I’m registered here with more different names.

It’s not that I’m attempting some kind of fraud, but as my surname contains The Letter Ø, and that letter isn’t part of the English alphabet, my National Insurance Number (kind of similar to the Social Security Number in the US) is registered by the name “Henrik Liliendahl Sorensen”.

But as the United Kingdom hasn’t a single citizen view, I am separately registered at the National Health Service with the name “Henrik Sorensen”. This is due to a sloppy realtor, who omitted my middle (sur)name on a flat rental contract. That name was taken further by British Gas onto my electricity bill. That document is (surprisingly for me) my most important identity paper in the UK, and it was used as proof of address when registering for health service.

How about you, do you also have several identities?

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12 thoughts on “Finding Me

  1. I am sure I will have numerous identities scattered across the UK.

    I am one of those people who do not use their first name. My full name is Robert Andrew Dean. To my friends I am Andrew or Andy. I often use this (Andrew) when registering on web sites, purchasing on line – anything “unofficial”. If I know that the data I am giving will be matched to official data sources such as the UK electoral roll I will use my full name i.e. Robert.

    So I could in theory be Andrew, Andy, Drew, Robert, Bob, Bobby, Rob, Robby or to my very close friends Dino!

  2. Thanks a lot for commenting Andrew, Andy, Drew, Robert, Bob, Bobby, Rob, Robby and Dino :-)

    Yes, typos, nicknames and omitting some name parts is a challenge in data matching and master data search functionality as well.

  3. Great post on name variations Henrik.

    I too am somewhat of a live example of what all bad can happen with an individual’s name. Partly due to diversity and largely because of the complex name, I get represented by Prashanta, Prashant, Prasant, Prashanth etc. They can get even worse, but I will keep it at that. Added to that is an even longer and extremely complex last name I have. Its fun watching different people I interact with trying hard to pronounce my last name. To make things go smooth here in US, when I am in a fast food restaurant, I usually throw out an American name like John or Jim.

  4. Thanks a lot Prashanta, Prashant, Prasant, Prashanth, John and Jim for adding in :-)

    Surely dealing with foreign names is a challenge for data matching and master data search functionality as well.

    • Hi Henrik,
      Great post. Either we “data quality” people are very unlucky, or, more probable, most people have “multiple identities” due to no fault of their own. As we know, this poor quality data costs money. One of the biggest challenges facing us, is to put a financial value on the impact.

      With a good Irish family name of O’Connor, I regularly have difficulty. Just last week, I encountered my worst experience yet.
      I was provided with access to a system – but first had to enter my family name, which I did, but the system failed to recognise me. I tried all the usual suspects OConnor, Connor, O Connor, to no avail.

      I contacted the help desk, who eventually discovered that my name had been manually entered as Zero’Connor.

      Given that 0(zero) and O(as in Ouch) look similar to the human eye, I can understand the human error. However, to my knowledge, there are no names in the world that contain digits.

      Given the above, I suspect there will be ample work for data quality professionals for years to come.

      Rgds Ken

  5. What a wonderful collection of multiple identity woes! I’ve been variously addressed as Sophie Lizzard, Miss L. Izzard, and Ms. Sothielizard (by my utilities company, which as you now know can cause problems proving my identity).

    I was even, thanks to an intrusion of a business name into an item of B2C direct mail, the proud recipient of a mailing addressed to a Ms. Lizard Match2Lists!

    Let’s not forget the many social media handles we all have floating around us these days –some of which do include numbers– and the challenges of the 360 degree view in a world that may be both deliberately and accidentally suffering from multiple identites.

  6. Thanks Ms. Lizard von Match2Lists for joining :-)

    This is certainly a world that may be both deliberately and accidentally suffering from multiple identities.

  7. I think that everyone living in a modern communications society will have many identities. We have identities on twitter, facebook, and blogging platforms. We have identities for phone companies, credit agencies, loyalty cards and retailers. If we just restrict ourselves to “official” identities we will usually have several of those as well, even in countries which have single numbering/identification systems. This is due to the fact that different government agencies will have different views on what your identity consists of – even different values of the same attributes. They all need to manage identity data separately, and are concerned about different identity data – and so differences creep in. As someone working on identity management across government I can tell you that there are many vexing issues in this space!

  8. It’s true that in many countries/regions people use their middle name for non-official communication (very common in Scotland and the North of England where I’m from). For example my name’s Peter Arthur Nicholson and I go by Arthur: both my work emails, various computer log ins use Arthur and that’s how all my colleagues know me. So it’s understandable when the boss gets a letter from HR referring to Peter that it takes him a while to click.

    One of the most regular issues I have with my name is that, even though in English there is only one way to spell Arthur, surprisingly few people spell it correctly, very often people assuming it should have an extra ‘u’ in there somewhere. And of course, it has the English ‘th’ sound which is more often than not dropped in other European languages. When I lived in Poland a bank account had me down as Artur Nikolson and I got questionning looks every time I had to show my passport to prove my identity…

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