Table 3

Techniques for identifying matched records with discrepant first, middle and/or last names

Extent of discrepancySource of name discrepancyRetrieval techniquePlace of application*
Slight or moderateMisspelling, entry errors, and so onJaro-Winkler distanceThroughout all steps
Phonetically similar but different spellingEncoded all names using the Soundex function in R to allow matching of phonetically similar names36 Throughout all steps
Shortened or expanded/hyphenated versions of same namesAllowed for substring matches between name fieldsStep A: name bins 3, 4, 5
Step B: name bins 2a, 4
Step D: name bin 5
ExtremeUse of nicknames and contractions (eg, Elizabeth—Betty, Tommy Joe—TJ)Allowed for matches to common nicknames (see section VII of online supplementary appendix)Step A: name bins 1, 2, 6, 7, 9
Step B: blocking key; substep 1 bin 2a, 2b, 3a, 4; substeps 3(2)(a) and (b)
Step C: blocking key; substep 2
Step D: blocking key; name bin 1
Change or concatenation of last names among femalesRelaxed last name matching criteriaStep C
Allowed for matches between current last names (in purchaser and mortality records) and former last names (in voter records)Throughout all steps
Switches in name orderAllowed for reverse matching of first-middle and first-lastStep A: name bins 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9
Step D: name bins 1, 5
  • *Refers to locations in the charts of linkage algorithms provided in section V of the online supplementary appendix.