How strange is this guy's name?
July 28, 2008 9:20 PM   Subscribe

Where do I look for unique names listed in the social security system?

I have an acquaintance who claims that his first name is unique in the U.S. To be more precise, he said that he is the only person with a social security number who has his first name. I get the feeling that this guy likes to fib a little and I would love to figure out if this claim is true. When I google around all I can find is a listing for popular names in the social security system. Anyone know where to find the very unpopular or unique names?
posted by shesbookish to Law & Government (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This won't necessarily give you an answer, but it's worth a shot:

The Social Security Administration's "Popular Baby Names" page

Many tools there, including one where you can type in a name. If that name was in the 1000 most popular male names or the 1000 most popular female names for any of the past bunch of years, it will tell you so.

You may think, "But his name is not popular". Yeah, well, 2000 names is a lot of names. For example, the name "Unique" shows up. About a thousand girls are born and named "Unique" every year in the United States.
posted by Flunkie at 9:49 PM on July 28, 2008


I'm sorry - part of what I said is not true. It's not 1000 girls per year - it's that the rank of "Unique" is near 1000 each year.
posted by Flunkie at 9:51 PM on July 28, 2008


Which is still hundreds of girls per year.

The point is, give it a shot. OK, I'll shut up now.
posted by Flunkie at 9:52 PM on July 28, 2008


Social security records for living individuals are not, to my knowledge, public information. You can search the records for deceased SSN-holders at various places around the web; the term you want is Social Security Death Index.
posted by enn at 9:54 PM on July 28, 2008


Social Security names and numbers are most certainly restricted information.

Try this search. Apparently searches all the first and/or last names from the 1990 census.
posted by Ookseer at 1:21 AM on July 29, 2008


Let us know if it's true!
posted by thilmony at 4:21 AM on July 29, 2008


I'm really curious how it is he claims to have learned this.
posted by Bokononist at 4:56 AM on July 29, 2008


I'm really curious what his first name is.
posted by jeffrygardner at 5:49 AM on July 29, 2008


Ookseer said: Try this search. Apparently searches all the first and/or last names from the 1990 census.

My first name wasn't in the census. I guess I wasn't counted and my name is unique. (Not Unique)
posted by JJ86 at 6:02 AM on July 29, 2008


It's possible somebody at a social security office told him that after doing a search. Doing so would probably not be revealing a state secret. But it can't be confirmed from outside the social security system.

Ookseer's link purports to search census records, but it comes up empty on real names of several people I know, so I'd take it with grains of salt.
posted by beagle at 6:08 AM on July 29, 2008


What's his name? I'll look it up on E-Verify.
posted by banannafish at 7:16 AM on July 29, 2008


MeMailed you.
posted by DMan at 9:26 AM on July 29, 2008


Response by poster: Just to point out: I'm not interested in getting the guy's ssn, just want to find out if his name is truly individual. Also, the name searches won't be terribly effective for me, because I only know him by a nickname as he says that his full name is too embarrassing to reveal. I guess I was hoping that there was a list somewhere of the most rare names found in the social security system, just like they do the lists of the most common names. It looks like there isn't one, though.
posted by shesbookish at 11:37 AM on July 29, 2008


I only know him by a nickname as he says that his full name is too embarrassing to reveal.
Ummm... huh?

Then what information could we possibly have given you which could have helped you determine the answer to your question?
posted by Flunkie at 3:01 PM on July 29, 2008


Well, if you don't know his real name, the only way you can figure out the answer is to either extrapolate the full name from the nickname (rather difficult, especially if he's right) or to find out his name. I have a way to look up stuff like this up and it seems like banannafish does too. But it's hard when we don't know the name :)

What's the nickname, at least? Is that also unique, or is it common?
posted by DMan at 5:24 PM on July 29, 2008


Response by poster: Flunkie, the information I was looking for was a list of unique or singular names on file with social security or some other government agency. Apparently such a list doesn't exist or at least isn't available to the public.

I'm not comfortable sharing the nickname, as it would completely embarrassing for me if the guy with a strange name googled and found this question.
posted by shesbookish at 5:28 PM on July 29, 2008


Yeah, my question is how such a list would help you with what you told us you wanted to do:
he said that he is the only person with a social security number who has his first name. I get the feeling that this guy likes to fib a little and I would love to figure out if this claim is true.
I'm not asking you to share his nickname. I'm asking you how you expect a list of uncommon names would help you figure out whether his name is unique, when you don't even know his name.
posted by Flunkie at 6:46 PM on July 29, 2008


Response by poster: I guess I thought that such a list would be short enough that I could use the knowledge I have on hand (his nickname, ethnicity, etc.) to narrow down or determine which name from the list was his.

I know it seems like a stretch, but it's just been nagging at me for a while so I thought I'd toss it out there.
posted by shesbookish at 7:34 PM on July 29, 2008


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