“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is a commonly quoted part of a dialogue in William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet argues that the names of things do not matter, only what things “are”.   When it comes to background screening, we are trying to determine who someone “is” but we have to rely on data and information that is tied to the name they have used.   In other words, Julie, what is in a name really matters in today’s world of background screening.

For anyone who has ever looked at the billions of records that exist in the United States criminal system alone, you quickly realize that changes to your name impact what people are able to find out about you.  Legal name changes (those done properly with the social security administration, state driver’s record, voting record, utilities, etc.) are rather easily tracked down.  However, what I call “adjustment” name changes (like no longer going by Billy but instead being called William) can impact record results in many cases.

In our world two types of “name” issues operate very differently:

  1. We always search our datasets for the top 3 name deviations or variations
  2. We need you to provide to us any known alias/former/maiden/aka names so that additional searches can be conducted on those

In the former, we search our ever changing name variation database to identify the most commonly used variations on a name and to conduct searches on the three most common variations each time we report records to you.

One of the things we hope to educate our clients about this month is the value of searching on every possible name a person has used (i.e. alias, maiden, former, also known as) in order to obtain the most possible information about them.  So, Juliet, what is in a name really does matter after all.