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William Pattison 's Blog

Name Runs: A Brief Lesson
by William Pattison | 2014/07/21 |

   As abstractors come and go in our insustry, it behooves us to engage them in prper training before sending them out alone.  Searching names on the Tee-Tor indices is a key component to many title projects.



William Pattison 's Blog ::

   As such, a proper understanding of names is important tu the task.


  Surnames (sometimes called family names or Christian names or last names) can have many different uterations of spelling.  A great example of this is the common name of "Smith."

    Historically, the spelling has varied to include such permutations as:  Smithe, Smithee, Smyth, and many more. 

  Such permutations do not address the related and equally serious issue of spelling errors both on the document and on the index.  My "Smith Test" is a standard that is used to determine (roughly_ the indexing error rate on a database.


  1.  enter into the search field the surname of Smith BUT spell it purposefully WRONG.  "SIMTH" or "SMIHT" will do, just fine.

  2.  use the maximum allowed date range and hit SEARCH.

  3.   Count the dozens or hundreds of results.

  4.  Pick a few and review them carefully, asking these questions"  Has there been any correction of this on the index to add the correcct data?   If so, can you reciew system metadata to see how long it was WRONG on the index prior to the correct data being added-in?   View the underlying official document to ensure that it was indeed indexed wrong vs speeled wrong on the original paper and indexed accurately.  

  A final word on name runs:  keep a cell modem handy so that you can jump on Wikipedia and check for first name permutations.  I recall testing a Chief Title Officer once by asking her if I should pull  up a doument under the first name of :Sam" if my search target was "Salvadore".  She said "no", so I explained to her that I knew for a fact that the two names were equivalent as that is my dad's name. lol










































447 words | 1832 views | 3 comments | log in or register to post a comment

Maybe Something to add as a thought

In the OLD days, back in the late 1970's to early 1980's, most of the surname losses on the west coast where I was working, were actually searching errors relative to either hyphenated last names, or, names whic consisted of multiple POTENTIAL surnames. At that time, anyone doing searching from the plant or the Courthouse KNEW both why things were posted the way they were, and why if certain stuff seemed to be missing, where ELSE you might have to look to find it..

Though it may in fact politically IN-correct for me to bring these issues up in some circles, the fact remains that if you are actually SEARCHING AND EXAMINING the Title on a party with potentially MULTIPLE surnames that they carry by reason of a respect for their own culture, then you must also run each and every of those potential surnames as their PRIMARY surname. Additionally, in some cultural ethnic groups within this country it is in fact common practice for members of a group to have two or more names, unhyphenated, EACH of which serves  the members of that group as a surname depending upon who THEY are having dealings with at the time.

Anybody who does abstracting by computer or in an "analog" plant environment might want to consider how it was done fundamentally, in that most of the computer systems were actually designed to mimic those systems. The two I am familiar with are the SOUNDEX System, in which you took the first Letter of the party whose name you were searching in your case "Smith", so that letter would be "S", and then you assigned a number to the rest of the vowels which appeared subsequent, up to 3 total. The name "Smith therefore, would be account "S-300", and under the LMNRT system, the coding mechanism was essentially the same but subject only to those defined letter, so the account would have simply been the first letter of the surname, followed by on of the listed consonants. After the book showed you the account for that surname, all matters relative to the parties first name where simply posted to a specific column designated as that letter. There are many systems that accomplished the same function within separate companies.

But my relief with respect to the use of computers in this industry hasn't changed to date. I worked from December of 2010 thru December of 2013 in a facility that had access to every conceivable computer search plant format on the face of this earth. The fact remains that to search/abstract Title from any computer plant requires the operator of the computer doing the SEARCHING to know in how many directions THEY must look with the information THEY have and are using for inputting to access accounts, in addition to having the ability to look up simply names  or numbers or addresses each would input into that system. My experience over the course of almost 30 years in that business has always led me to the exact same conclusion; 1.) That the designers of the search engines for plant formats seem to design the plants only for the areas that they themselves are operating in, and which therefore do not necessarily take into account the uniformity inherent in the underlying system by reason of those factors which are in fact uniform across the board, and 2.) The Insurer's who have constructed and sold access to these products whose interest is to generate revenue from sources outside of their own industry are simply holding true to their concept of "acceptable losses" on their own bottom lines and have no real interest in insuring that any of their customers for information services for THEIR businesses purchased from their computer plants have the capability to access those extra "details' that they themselves can access.

by Donald Petersen | 2014/07/28 | log in or register to post a reply

Excellent analysis
An important message, Donald.  My last year examining in SoCal, 2010, I noticed so many bizarre postings on documents on Name Chains.  Think this is due to posters from off-shore firms for whom English is a second language.  Another problem is that the IT whizzes who set up the computer programs have no background in title and aren't interested in feedback from customers.  As you mentioned, Fidelity/Chicago, etc have little interest in the quality of the databases.  The title business has shifted from "Risk Elimination" to "Risk Management", at least in SoCal.  The big players can write off loses since they bring in large revenues from doing more volume.   
by Robin Banks | 2014/07/28 | log in or register to post a reply

*GASP* They aren't indexing by legal description any longer WHAT?HOW?WHY?!!!!

*GASP* They aren't indexing by legal description any longer WHAT?HOW?WHY?!!!!

I guess because NOTHING IS EVER  recorded out of the name chain of title!!!  (In case you haven't guessed, the previous statement is dripping with sarcasm)  YIKES!!!  I did not panic immediately - after all I could check the books (remember those?). Denied!  "Where are the subdivision tract books?" I asked naively.  We don't have those - the answer.  Still not panicking, sometimes staff really doesn't know where it is so I'll just check EVERYWHERE.  Nothing!  What am I supposed to do?  "Subject to matters of record not indexed in the nonexistent subdivision tract "book""? GRRRR!  It's only someone's home, folks can blow that off right? 


Seriously, though - anybody work this one out?  The only thing I know to do is run for Clerk and implement some changes! 


by Teresa Wright | 2014/09/09 | log in or register to post a reply
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