In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there is a small stream named Sam’s Creek. Way up close to Sam’s Creek’s headwaters, Starkey Creek merges with Sam’s Creek and continues down the mountain. One of my fishing buddies happens to be named Sam Starkey. This past weekend we hacked and hiked our way up to the confluence of Sam’s and Starkey Creeks and took a picture of Sam Starkey standing at the juncture. We then started discussing the likelihood of some other Sam Starkey ever having done so or doing so sometime in the future.
Now, Starkey is not totally obscure as a surname, but isn’t really all that common either. Is there a way, accessible to us mere mortals, to determine how many Sam, Samuel, Samantha, or other variant Starkeys have existed to date? I believe there is a way to search the Social Security death records for such things, but have no idea how to go about doing so. What other resources could be used in such a search? What about restricting the search to just the people who have lived in that particular region? Any ideas on how to go about conducting such an investigation would be greatly appreciated.