THE James McGrath

THE James McGrath July 22, 2014

My friend and colleague Chad Bauman mentioned on Facebook about someone else who shares his name, but who has chosen – how shall I put it? – a different path in life. Out of curiosity, I checked to see what would happen if I typed in my name, with no added middle initial or other identifiers. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I am now the top result if you Google “James McGrath.” Even if that were the only thing gained by blogging, it would be worth it!

That said, the other careers of other James McGraths who are among the top results is not too bad: Canadian politician, professor of chemistry, and best of all “James McGrath is an American, who has competed five times in the American Ninja Warrior…” I wonder if that last one has anything to do with why my blogging hasn’t resulted in my getting hate mail.

As I have mentioned here before, there is also a James McGrath who is a Star Trek actor. It isn’t me, but I’m open to being an extra if J. J. Abrams or anyone else wants to get in touch.

How high in Google’s rankings for your name are you? What do some other people who share your name do, and how worried or glad are you because of their prominence in Google results? Which is your favorite interesting statement about one of your namesakes?


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  • Jeff Carter

    Jeff Carter – the Canadian hockey player for the LA Kings pretty much dominates the first couple of pages of Google returns.

  • Paul Regnier, yo-yo freestyler: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-aDK2JhEL4

  • Receptionist: The Zaphod Beeblebrox?

    Zaphod: No, just a Zaphod Beeblebrox, didn’t you hear I come in six packs?

    (I have a globally unique name, as far as I know)

  • Pro tip: make sure you’re not logged in to your Google account when doing vanity searches, since Google’s algorithms will give preference to hits it deems more relevant, so your own results are much likelier to be favored.

    • Indeed! I suspect that even asking a friend may not help, since they may read your blog, although I will gladly Google you if you will Google me, and then swap results. Perhaps the best approach is to go to a library or other public computer?

      • Like I said, logging out in the upper right corner of the Google search page will work. But if you’re using Chrome, I’d recommend using an Incognito window (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + N) to do the search.

        • If I just use a browser that I don’t normally, where I am not logged in, I still end up as the top result, and seven of the first page of results relate to me (not counting images).

          • Yes, I tested yours out as well, and it shows this post on the first page!

  • Anonymous Coward

    I’m a thirty five year old white male Philosophy professor and college administrator. I have a namesake, including an unusual spelling, who is more internet-known than me, and who is a thirty five year old black male hip hop dancer and choreographer.

    I’m Facebook friends with him, which makes for some funny confusing moments when I momentarily mistake his status updates as one of my own. “Why would I have said that?!”

    • I would love to know how often this turns out to be the case… Any other philosophy professors with hip hop artist namesakes out there? 🙂

  • MattB

    Matt Brown – UFC fighter.
    Matt Brown – Football player from Temple U
    Matt Brown- QB for TCU

  • Brad Matthies

    Man but I am BORING. My name comes up as me in:

    – Twitter
    – Our library blog
    – My scholarship
    – Meeting minutes from professional associations
    – Various social media outlets

    4 pages of ME.

    The highlight is under related searches: “Brad Matthies Harvard”. I have no idea who is conducting that search but it probably relates to a week-long leadership institute I once attended at Harvard. Cool but not as cool as the search is without the back-story. e.g. Brad Matthies: Secret Rogue Harvard Scholar!

    No male strippers, secret agents, MMA fighters or anything remotely exciting. 🙁