How Many Of You?


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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57 Responses

  1. Avatar Will Truman says:

    About 15,000 people with my last name.
    Almost three million with my first name.
    Around 150 with my first and last name. Including my father, for whatever that’s worth. Also, including some deadbeat in Tennessee whose creditors never stopped calling when we were young.Report

  2. Avatar zic says:

    I’m the only one. There was another (who oddly has the same middle name as I had before marrying, when I went to my maiden name for a middle name).

    I am unique, non?Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I am quite pleased to say that my name is shared by people who are not me that are famous. A major league baseball player as well as a couple of professionals out there (in different parts of the country including one from the state I was born in). Creepily, there’s also one of me out there who died recently. Looks like a nice guy.

    If you happen to google the name on my birth certificate, though, you get another group of people entirely.

    As it should be.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    There’s another one roughly my age who lives in the same town, and he has a son named Michael Jr.Report

  5. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    There is only one Burt Likko.

    My exact actual name has 5 bearers. I know of the careers of at least three of them. Eerily, I found one of them had a father with my father’s name. When I received the condolence call from the police, that was a bad day. I imagine the guy realizing he’d quite improbably found the wrong person had a bad day too. (My father is alive and well.)

    There is a common variant spelling of my first name. 44 of them.Report

  6. Avatar dhex says:

    1200 with same first and last.Report

  7. Avatar aaron david says:

    My son is an only, I am one of 10. There are approx 8600 with my last name, 3/4 of which are African American. Which I am not, so no relation to awesome singers, football players or comedians.Report

  8. Avatar Miss Mary says:

    I’m the only one.
    I have a common first name with a unique spelling. My last name is somewhat unique but the spelling was changed when my ancestors came to the US 200+ years ago, so only a few thousand folks.Report

  9. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    490. If they had included Ireland that number would have probably tripled.Report

  10. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    There are 2 people with my exact name. I googled and I think the other one is a female geologist.

    319,963 people have first name.

    2315 share my surname.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Interestingly enough I got roughly the same numbers. There are just a bit more people with my personal name in the United States. Only two with my name combination though.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        @leeesq I think I may have run across one of the other two on Facebook. At one point when I was bored and looked you and Saul up. The guy who came up with your name was like “Woah, that’s not how I pictured Lee at all*! And I’m really surprised he went to college at [university in the midwest], because I wouldn’t have guessed that.”… but the more I thought about it, the more I thought “different guy, has to be.”

        * – Guy seemed vaguely like a cross between frat boy and fan of rap music aesthetics.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        I was hoping for the other me to be an attractive female with similar interets. I could assuage you that I am no frat boy, I don’t listen to rap much, and I went to school on the east coast.Report

  11. Avatar Chris says:

    1,660,608 people with my first name, around 1700 with my last name, 37 with both.Report

  12. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    As you guys might guess, I’m the only one of me. Which, probably, in some eyes, might make using my real name on the Internet extremely foolish. But hey, if you want to find out I have liberal political views and like pro wrestling, you’ll find that out anyway in the long run.Report

  13. Avatar Anne says:

    241 with my exact name, I happen to know there would at least one more if they included Canada 364,758 with my first name and 211,616 my last name I use my maiden name professionally If I use my married name goes down to 8 peopleReport

  14. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    287,000 with my first name but only 409 with my last. Probably fifty or so of those are in my circle of cousins or closer. The website said “1 or fewer” for both. I happen to know for a fact that there is one at least: he’s a boat mechanic somewhere in Michigan (no surprise there; that’s where a lot of Dutch folks wound up). I accidentally got an email from a recruiter for him. Apparently our gmail addresses are almost identical.Report

  15. Avatar Kazzy says:

    1,179,064 with my first name (and that doesn’t count the very common variant).
    Fewer than 119 with last name.
    There are 1 or fewer people with my name.


    • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:


      You might have the least common surname on OT.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        Hey! We’ve got a bridge. And a mustard. And a town. And a mountain!!! Sorta!Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I have actually run across his name before while doing some European history research, but with a different spelling. So I know what region his name comes from.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        We’re related. He did some important work in the US in the late 18th century but then returned to Europe. When the family came back over, sloppy penmanship resulted in what we have today.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        So you are related to that famous Polish guy….. I’ve been on that bridge frequently.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        In my home state, there was a Polish community nearby. The Goldengateskis were nice people.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Wait… @jaybird … you’ve met more of my people??? Same spelling? The only one I’ve met are related. Also, my ?ranch of the family (starting with my dad and his brother) pronounce it differently than the rest of the American clan and the Polish clan. Apparently, we say it is a way that is more “American”. Which would be laughable if you heard us pronounce it because there really is no “American” way to say it.Report

    • Avatar Murali says:


      Holy crap, your surname is rarer than mine! There are 126 people with my surname. There are fewer than 1600 people with my first name. But if they are doing random associations, I think their algorithm is going to get the estimate wrong for south Asians and other minority groups which tend to have unusual (in the American context) names.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        Our surname was misspelled upon arriving in America. Meaning anyone not derived from that particular ancestor is going to have the alternate (i.e., correct) spelling. Though, I’ll say, I’ve never met anyone with that spelling either.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumber says:

      Do you make your students call you Mr [LastName] or do you take some pity on them and let them call you something else?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        The way we pronounce it, it is very easy for children to hear and repeat. They don’t all get it right, but I think there is value in teaching them to make the effort to say people’s names correctly.

        And real Poles delight in telling me we not only pronounce it wrong, but spell it wrong. However, I’ve heard it pronounced differently than your colleague says it. But I don’t know jack about the language.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber says:


        I think there is value in teaching them to make the effort to say people’s names correctly.

        I agree.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumber says:

      A Polish woman I know laughs at the way the traffic reporters on 1010 WINS pronounce your last name.

      They tend to use 4 syllables and say Kos-see-oo-sko, while she says it with 3 syllables Kosh-koo-sko.Report

  16. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    There is one person in the U.S. with my first and last name. I can’t figure out if that person is supposed to be me.Report

  17. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    I have two answers, depending on whether I use my actual birth first name or the middle name with the uncommon spelling I use as a first name.

    Using my real birth name, there are waaaaay less than I thought there would be: 4,866

    Using the name I use, there are waaaaay more than I thought there would be: 8Report

  18. Avatar Maribou says:

    If I use my *real* last name (the one on my identity papers and the one I think of myself as, insofar as I think of myself even having a last name), there are 67,000ish with my first name, fewer than 119 with my last name (I don’t think it handles double-barreled last names very well), and 1 or fewer with my name. (*high-fives @kazzy *)

    If I’m lazy and just use the part of my last name that I usually bother with, it jumps to 20,000ish with my last name and 4 people in the country with both.

    So either way I’m fairly infrequent.Report

  19. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Four million plus with my first name (from 1953 through about 2008, Michael was one of the three most common names given to male babies, and was the most common more years than not); 68,000 with my last; 906 with both. I couldn’t write checks at stores when I was an undergraduate because a “Michael Cain” had written lots of bad checks. For years at a large employer only the research staff had access to the internet and I was “”. When IT decided to use internet-style e-mail addresses for everyone, it was another “Michael Cain” who had seniority and would let me continue to use that only after I explained to him (and the IT department, in writing, repeatedly) how much e-mail he was going to get from people who thought it was me. There are still references to that address out there.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      “I couldn’t write checks at stores when I was an undergraduate because a “Michael Cain” had written lots of bad checks. ”

      … better than “could not write checks because of poor penmanship”Report

  20. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    There are 508 people with the same name as me. 509 if superheroes count.Report

  21. My real name: about 1.5 million share my first name, about 140,000 share my last name, and about 690 share my full name.

    Gabriel Conroy: surprisingly (to me) only 7 people share both that first and last name.Report

  22. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    75. One of them is a gay activist in Portland. I get his e-mail a lot!

    Another one signed up for Twitter using my e-mail address. I passed up the opportunity to hijack his account and post embarrassing stuff, more out of laziness than scruples.Report

  23. Avatar gingergene says:

    Huh. There are actually more people with my first name (187,180) than my last name (154,172). That does not track with my personal experience at all. My guess that it’s part generational (I’m named after my grandmother; I think it was much more popular when she was born than when I was) and part cultural (of the few people I’ve known that shared my first name, most did not share my ethnicity).

    There are 90 people with my first and last name. I’m guessing a significant portion are collecting social security and that there will be fewer and fewer each year.Report

  24. Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

    There are thousands of me. My last name is common enough that I shared it with an earlier resident of one of the apartments I rented and ended up getting all of her junk mail “stuck” to me when I moved and set up a forwarding address. If I Google myself, I need to add some extra qualifiers to find any records of me among the people who share my name.

    Googling Mrs. Troublesome Frog’s married name produces only results for her.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Chuckling at the last name Frog reminds me that it’s time for me to go change my last name to Birdwhistle. Alternatively, Pussmaid.

      (I got that link from Will, on Twitter, where you should totally be following him. Not in a creepy way, just in the usual social media way.)Report

  25. Avatar ScarletNumber says:

    My name is unique.

    That is because my first name is a very common English first name, while my last name is an uncommon one in this country. People with my last name come from a part of the world where my first name isn’t used.

    My brother, on the other hand, has a first name that is common in the part of the world where our last name is used, and as such, there are multiple people with his name.

    As for my online name, there is the Scarlet Pimpernel, and the cartoon parody, the Scarlet Pumpernickel.

    On a related topic, in honor of Pi Day you can look up where your birthday falls in Pi. @will-truman ‘s birthday falls in digits 81,404,626 through 81,404,633. Try your own.Report

  26. Avatar Mo says:

    It says that I am the only one. However, I know this is false because I was once asked to speak at a conference because they thought I was one of the others (I believe there are 3). The problem is this site uses pure probability of name commonality without taking into account naming patterns by ethnicity. For example, if you find an Arabic last name, you should presume that Mohammed is going to be significantly more common than in the US population as a whole.Report