Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Emma, eternal enigma

It's been a while since I've posted here; I have several ├╗ber-geeky projects in various stages of completion, but I just can't seem to get them across the finish line.

Just a quick update to say that as things stand, I don't think the mystery of men named Emma around the year 1900 is solvable without another source of data; reader Muhanned had a great idea, to look at what states these births were recorded in, but unfortunately, the U.S. Social Security Administration does not release any birth records that do not have a minimum of five records. For example, 21 boys named Emma are recorded as having been born in the year 1900, but there was no single state with at least five of them, so they do not appear at all in the state-by-state records. The government agency has this rule, they state, in order to protect people's privacy; after all, they don't want you knocking on 114-year-old mens' doors and making fun of their girly names.
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