In June I will have lived more years as Erin Harty than I did as Erin Humphreys (my maiden name). It got me thinking about how much of our identity is tied to our name. It’s something we carry with us everywhere we go. We say it often, as do others. We use it to get into school and to pick up packages. We practice it in print and script. A name can hold a lot of weight- getting us in doors or creating barriers. Most people’s names are not unique though and there is usually one person out in the wider world who shares it. If you have a really common name, there could be thousands.  

I’m wondering if there are any commonalities between myself and other people who share my name? Does having the name Erin somehow imbue a person with certain personality traits or taste in music?  I’ve got a plan to find out. It’s not very scientific, and it may end up being a bust, but it could be enlightening and give me a few new pen pals.

Here’s the idea:

Reach out to five people who have the name Erin Harty.

I will do this by contacting the first five Erin Hartys that come up in a Google search- moving down the list if I am unable to find contact information.

Ask them a series of questions that I will also answer.

I have come up with 20 questions that I think will give me an idea of someone’s personality and our similarities or differences. (Again, not at all scientific.)

Compare answers to the questions.

I plan on comparing each person’s answers to my own, but also to one another. There may be pie charts and graphs involved but I haven’t gotten that far yet.

Write about the process and the findings.

I will chronicle the process and the results on my website. I will also include research I am doing along the way.

I have no expectations on the outcomes of my little project. I am looking at it as a writing opportunity, and anything else is just bonus material.

Look for updates in the coming days, weeks, months, years, or however long it takes me to find five willing volunteers. 

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