Will the real William Wires please stand up!

Today a package deliverer alleged that the last digit in the machine-readable part of the German identity card reveals the number of people living in Germany with the same name. According to my identity card there would be six people in Germany with the name „William Wires“. But, I know there are only three people living in Germany who even have the surname „Wires“: two of my children and myself.

„That misconception is easy to refute by the fact that there is only a single digit. Using the example of the name „Karl Müller“ it’s obvious that there must be more than nine people with the same name in Germany. In fact, the last single digit only verifies the previous digits in the line.“

Of all known descendants from my earliest researchable ancestor, John Wires, born in the year 1771 in the state of Massachusetts, shortly before the United States became an independent nation, there are now very few carrying the name “Wires”: a fifth cousin who recently married, a first cousin (unmarried, no children), my youngest son, my daughter and, of course, myself. Even though my Wires were most likely of British origin, during the next generations they may all be Germans! That’ll depend on my fifth cousin in the USA.

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