you ever "Googled" yourself?
the technologically challenged, "to Google" something
is to conduct a search on the Internet. The two most
famous "Search Engines" are Yahoo and Google and you've
probably used one or both of them to find a shoe repair
shop or book a hotel room in Chicago. But, the question
is, have you ever done a search on your own name?
step-sister Judith Sarazua used Google to find me last
year after we'd lost touch. She told me she entered
Frank Hall and Sierra Madre into Google, pressed "Search"
and up popped a copy of my Rotary Club's weekly bulletin.
Of course, she could have looked me up in the Phone
Book, but, the Web is so much more fun.
recently created my own website, with the help of my
friends Tom Brady, Dave Nardoni and my son John. I'm
now "THE Frank Hall" of frankhall.com. I wanted to find
out if people could find my site through Yahoo and Google,
so I simply searched them both for "Frank Hall."
found my site, but I also found other Frank Halls. Dozens
names "Frank" and "Hall" are not that uncommon. In my
recent essay, "THE Frank Hall," I wrote about growing
up under the shadow of other Frank Halls, including
(1) my Grandfather; (2) the Quarterback when I was at
USC and (3) the Insurance Man who founded the Frank
B. Hall Company. They were THE Frank Hall as I grew
up, but I only remember actually meeting 3 other Frank
Halls in my whole life. One was the Quarterback and
the other two were members of Rotary Clubs I attended
over the years.
is a fairly common name; it's of English and Scottish
derivation and originally designated the person in the
Manor House who was in charge of the Great Hall. If
your name is Hall, Butler, Gardner or Cook, it probably
means your ancestors were servants to the nobility.
Obviously, a Hall can also be a building, as in Carnegie
was a very common name in the 19th and early 20th Centuries,
but you will seldom meet a Frank under the age of 40
except those named for a wealthy relative. In the 1930s
and 40s lots of babies named "Franklin" for President
Roosevelt or "Francis" for Francis Albert Sinatra and
most were nicknamed Frank. In my case Frank wasn't a
nickname, I was named for my Grandfather and an Uncle,
common as it sounds, there aren't that many Frank Halls
around. I found only one each in the phone directories
in Brooklyn, Omaha and Minneapolis and not a single
one in Manhattan or Los Angeles. We are, as you might
say, a dying breed.
I found all those Frank Halls in Google I felt an immediate
kinship with them. They are English, Irish, Scottish,
Canadian, Australian, and Americans of both European
and African decent. I'm not sure whether to count the
Australian, his name is hyphenated, Frank Hall-Bentick,
an employee of the Aussie Government. Wherever in the
world we are, we have things in common that I'd like
to discuss with all the other Frank Halls.
I'd like to know if they have the same problems I
do having a name with only two syllables. When you
have a name so common, how is it so many people get
it wrong. My name has appeared in print as Hale, Howell,
Hull, Hill and Howe. I have been called "Fred" so
many times I want to scream and when, as is my habit,
I answer the phone "Frank Hall," how is it possible
that I receive some idiot's follow up letter addressed
to "Mr. Frankel?" Does this stuff happen to them,
Do people say, "Frankly, Frank" to them and then break
up laughing as if they have just invented the funniest
joke ever uttered?
they ever tried to explain to a Spanish speaking person
how to spell our name? "J. O. L.?" the Spanish speaker
will inquire. "No, H.A.L.L,." I will insist, knowing
full well the message is not going to get through.
In my High School Spanish class our instructor called
me "Pancho Corredor" because he said "Hall" is not
possible to say in Spanish without having your neighbor
immediately begin CPR on you. Has this happened to
the other Frank Halls, too?
should have a convention, us Frank Halls, to discuss
these insults and develop common retaliation strategies.
We will all make reservations at the same hotel and
eat at the same restaurant. We'll have name tags. It
boggles the mind, doesn't it?
very proud to share the name with most of the Frank
Halls living and dead I located in Google. Unfortunately,
most are dead.
the most famous Frank Hall, outside of the Insurance
man, was an Irish television performer and satirist
who, I was told by an Irish waiter at Santa Anita Racetrack,
was the Johnny Carson of Irish television. He died about
10 years ago, but he still has more Google references
than any of the rest of us. Unfortunately, Frank Hall
was just his stage name, he was born Frank Newry in
I found no famous athletes aside from the Frank Hall
who quarterbacked the USC Trojan Football team during
the mid 1950s. There are a number of Halls in Professional
sports including John Hall the Kicker for the NFL Redskins
and Dante Hall the Wide Receiver/Kick Returner for the
NFL Chiefs. But there are no Halls in the Halls of Fame
for Baseball, Football, Basketball or Hockey. There
are, of course, the Gary Halls, Senior and Junior, who
excell at swimming and earned Olympic medals.
I did find several distinguished Academics. One Dr.
Frank Hall, an African American, is an Assistant Professor
of Geology and Geophysics at University of New Orleans
specializing in Marine Biology. Another Dr. Frank Hall
is a Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Georgia
State University. Both have published books on their
areas of interest which can be found in their respective
University Libraries. Pretty impressive, Huh?
I found a great website called "The Political Graveyard"
which details the exploits of politicians. The most
illustrious Frank Hall was a member of the Colorado
State Supreme Court 1957-64. Another Frank Hall is a
current member of the Virginia House of Delegates. City
Councilman Frank Hall in Teaneck, New Jersey is the
narrator of a "Living History of Teaneck" in the local
library. Long ago politicians include the Lt. Governor
of Indiana 1909-13; a member of the New York state assembly
from Niagara County 1922-28, and the Mayor of Fairmont,
West Virginia in the 1860s. Some other less well known
politicians include a Socialist candidate for Congress
from Rockford, Ill in 1919 and the U. S. Vice Consul
in Lyon, France in the same year. Perhaps the last two
are the same person, a pesky American Socialist appointed
by President Wilson to the position in France to get
rid of him. Maybe he preached Socialism in France and,
as they say, "the rest is history." Interesting to speculate,
Besides the Irish Johnny Carson, there is a Frank Hall
who is a newscaster for Channel 6 News in Philadelphia
and there is a fiddler Frank Hall from Bloomington,
Indiana who plays in the "Easy Street String Band."
There is a guitarist from Minneapolis who published
a particularly poignant web page entitled, "Does anybody
remember Frank Hall?" which details his fall into alcoholism
and subsequent recovery. He now is residing near Nashville
composing and performing. Others include an amateur
musician from Amarillo (instrument unspecified) and
the leader of the "Frank Hall Band", an alternative
Rock Group in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.
gone entertainment luminaries include Frank Hall an
early 20th century silent comedy film producer in England.
There was Frank Hall a Stage Manager on Broadway from
1933 to 1950 and Frank Hall who owned a traveling Menagerie
(Circus) in England in the 1890s. "Frank Hall," was
also the stage name for a well known performer, manager
and songwriter born in England in 1838. His real name
was Herbert Stewart.
HEROS: We have some genuine heroes named Frank Hall,
too. One was a Union Army Chaplain awarded a Congressional
Medal of Honor for his heroism at Chancelorsville. His
wartime letters to and from his wife Fanny have been
published. My friend Dick Ingle, a civil war buff, tells
me that there were 44 Frank Halls who fought each other
in the Civil War. I'll bet there aren't many in the
armed services today.
real Marine hero, an African American Frank Hall, lost
his life in Vietnam in 1969 and is honored on the Vietnam
Memorial Wall in Washington D. C. Finally, there is
another Marine Frank Hall who fought and survived Iwo
Jima during WWII. He now serves as publicity Chair for
"the Gooney Birds," his Reunion Group.
OF THE CLOTH: Several Frank Halls were ministers. Frank
A. Hall of Westport, Connecticut is a Universalist Minister
whose sermons have been published in a book entitled
"Frank's Sermons." Then there was B. Frank Hall a famous
southern Baptist preacher of yesteryear.
GUYS: There are lots of plain ordinary Frank Halls,
like me and my Grandfather who was a Traveling Salesman.
There's the Frank Hall who has a Concrete Service in
Charlotte, N.C. and another who has a Boat Yard in Westerly,
Rhode Island. Frank Hall of London has a tailor shop
that specializes in clothing for British equestrians
and Frank Hall of Norco, California serves on the Riverside
County Transportation Commission. One Frank Hall, a
Maintenance Director at Makemie Woods Camp, a Presbyterian
Church Retreat Facility in Virginia, was so beloved
that when he died on Easter Sunday, two pages of the
organization's newsletter were devoted to his obituary.
ARTIST: Not all Frank Halls are "Good Guys", I'm sorry
to say. There is an email to an unsuspecting "Mark"
on the internet from a Frank Hall who claims to be the
Head of the Foreign Exchange Department for the Oceanic
Credit Bank in Spain who says there is $10 Million unclaimed
in his bank that is just waiting for the Mark to claim
it. He will only have to send Frank a couple of thousand
dollars to pay for a "confirmation study." Does anybody
really fall for that stuff? I like to think the Con
Man selected the name Frank Hall as a pseudonym because
it sounded trustworthy.
One day when I was driving past Santa Ana College in
California I noticed a building on campus named "Russell
Hall." My father's name was Russell Hall. I remember
thinking at the time, "What a great way to be remembered,
maybe somewhere there is a "Hall Hall" or even a "Frank
Hall." Well, sure enough my Google search turned up
a Frank Hall dormitory on the campus of Appalachian
State University in North Carolina.
Hall Elementary School is located in Aurora, Illinois,
named for a pioneer 19th century Aurora educator. This
Frank Hall was originally from Maine, where my ancestors
hibernated for 5 or 6 generations, so, perhaps we are
Idaho there is a Frank Hall Ranch near Cascade Lakes
that is being subdivided and sold in small parcels.
Sounds like a sound investment to me. "Frank Hall of
Frank Hall Ranch" has a certain ring to it, doesn't
it? But, I'm afraid I won't be able to survive the winters.
NEXT GENERATION: As I mentioned earlier, there aren't
many Frank Halls under the age of 40. I suspect the
guy who has the Alternative Rock Band in Ontario is
probably in the younger generation, don't' you?. Then
there is Frank Hall III, a student at SUNY in Potsdam,
New York who hosted a radio show on a local FM station
called "TGI FRANK." The program got cancelled and he
used his website to whine about it. GROW UP, FRANK!
ALL FRANK HALLS I'm going to post this on my website
and hope that some of my name-partners respond to my
convention idea. It could be a lot of fun. As to you.
Why don't you just go "Google yourself" I hope it is
as much fun for you as it was for me.