Welcome to our Brand New Look Website

A guide to the changes and new features on ukphonebook.com

New Site Design and improved Home Page

Ukphonebook.com now has a fresh modern design across the website with more images and uniform styling, resulting in clearer, easier to use search forms.

ukphonebook.com Home Page

The new home page brings a lot of the information searches available on ukphonebook.com to the front of the website. From the home page you can now search for business, as well as person information, and see details of our other key services such as Address & Postcode Search and Age Verification.

New Navigation Menu

We’ve made it easier for customers to find the information search they are looking for by grouping each of our services under 5 main categories:

  • People
  • Verification
  • Addresses
  • Businesses
  • Marketing

Simply click on a main category in the new menu on the left hand side to reveal each of the services featured in that category.

New Home Owner Verification and Mobile phone number checking

With our new Home Owner Verification service you can find out who is the registered owner of a property and then view other details from HM Land Registry such as Title Plan documents. This is especially useful for some of our business customers like Estate Agents and Mortgage providers.

You can now check UK mobile phone numbers to verify that the number is correct, see if it is still an active number and also find out the mobile network provider.

Separate Telephone Directory Enquiries Searching

We listened to feedback from our customers and split the Directory Enquiries service into a separate Business Telephone number search and a Residential Telephone number search.

Business Telephone number search – this has now been simplified so that you can search on ANY type of business and/or the business name.

Improved Buy Credits page

The Buy Credits and Pricing pages have been combined to show more information such as the number of credits required for each service.

As well as prices, there is now a description for every service to inform customers exactly what information they can expect to receive in each search result. As with the menu, all services are now split into the 5 main categories of People, Verification, Addresses, Businesses or Marketing to make it easy to look for the search you want.

My Account section

The redesigned My Account section has been completely revamped so you can see all your account information more clearly on one page, making it easier to find and update your details.

When a customer is logged in, a ‘sticky’ footer bar remains at the bottom of every page displaying the number of credits, so you can see your remaining credit balance wherever you are on the site.

If you haven’t visited our website recently why not go to ukphonebook.com today and take a look around?

What’s in a name?
The most common surnames and their meanings explained

At ukphonebook.com we see people’s names every day but until now we’ve never stopped to think about what those names mean.
In this article we explore the most popular UK names on our website and look into their origins.

Top 10 UK Surnames and what they mean*

We ran the numbers and here is the top 10 most popular surnames on ukphonebook.com.

*From all surnames of people with a UK address taken from ukphonebook.com data in April 2022.

1. Smith

Unsurprisingly Smith is number one and probably the name a lot of people would say if they were asked for the UK’s most popular name.
Smith is thought to have evolved from the Old English word ‘smitan’ which means “to strike, hammer”. Hence Smith has come from the occupation of a worker in metal, from example a medieval Blacksmith who would make many items ranging from horseshoes to swords.

Smith has it’s roots in metal work trades such as blacksmiths

Silversmith, Goldsmith and Blacksmith are all occupations from this meaning dating back to Anglo-Saxon times and are still terms used today.

2. Jones

Jones is a genitive form of John or Johns and was used as a name for a person who lived or worked ‘at John’s house’.

Jones, which represents ‘gracious’, is common in England but extremely so in Wales, partly because it was taken by people there as a non-hereditary surname from as far back as the 16th century.

3. Williams

Quite simply, Williams has evolved from the name William with a post-medieval excresent ‘s’. The origin of William is from an Old Picard and Norman French name Willihelm, made up of the elements ‘Wil’ meaning will or desire and ‘helm’ meaning helmet or protection. The name started to grow in popularity from the days of William the Conqueror.

Williams dates back to William the Conqueror

Again, like Jones, Williams is extremely popular in Wales with a list of top counties in the UK dominated by Welsh counties with high proportions of Williams, such as Glamorgan and Caernarfonshire.

4. Brown

The surname Brown is originally derived from the Old English and Old French word brun as a nickname meaning people’s hair colour, the brown coloured clothing they were wearing, or their complexions.

5. Taylor

Similar to Smith, the name Taylor has it’s origins in the name of a trade cutting cloth, a tailor in modern day terms. Taylor has evolved from the Norman French word tailleur, which originally comes from the Latin taliare meaning ‘to cut’.

Search for a UK person at ukphonebook.com

6. Davies

Davies is a variant of the name David. In fact it is thought it’s origin lies in the Hebrew name for ‘Son of David’ which is Davies. Davies is the second most popular name in Wales and is also thought to be a term for people who came from Dyfed in South West Wales.

7. Wilson

Wilson is a patronymic name found as early as the 1300s, mostly in England and Scotland. It is quite a literal derivation as the name of a person who is the ‘son of Wil or William’.

8. Evans

The surname Evans is a derivative of Evan which is the Welsh name for John and dates from the 1500s. So using the patronymic suffix of ‘s’ for a ‘son of Evan’ we arrive at Evans. Unsurprisingly with it’s roots in the Welsh language, Evans is the fifth most common surname in Wales.

9. Thomas

The name Thomas has it’s roots in Thomas as a first name, originally derived from the Hebrew word Ta’om, which means twin.
Thomas has biblical connections as one of Jesus’s disciples and it’s meaning as ‘twin’ has been suggested as having two hearts in this context, with his doubting leading to the name ‘doubting Thomas’!

Thomas is derived from the Hebrew word for twin

10. Johnson

Like Jones, ranked the second most popular UK surname in our list, Johnson is another (and the immediate) derivative of John. John passed only rarely into a surname but instead took the popular form of ‘Son of John’ known as Johnson.

Your surname not in this Top 10 list?

Check out the British Surnames website where you can search on your surname for information on it’s meaning and origins.

Other resources include: Family Search and Find My Past websites.

Feature spotlight: Find a person

This is perhaps the most powerful search feature on ukphonebook.com and Orbis and one that many of our users don’t make the most of. You will be surprised by the amount of information that can be found on an individual (which many find disconcerting, but we’ll save that discussion for another blog post!).

I’m going to take you through some of the ways you can use the find a person feature that you may be unaware of.

Search by name, email address or phone number

The most obvious way to search for a person is by entering their name. It is a good idea to narrow your search further by also adding a location, especially for more common names e.g. John Smith, York.

But did you know you can also search for someone using their email address or telephone number? Both these features are available with our corporate service, Orbis. This data comes from opted in sources so is fairly limited but useful nonetheless!

Location only

I find this one of the most useful ways to search for people. You can find all residents at an address, on a street or within a specific postcode by entering the location only. This can sometimes bring back a large number of results, in which case you can refine your search further using the other parameters such as name, date of birth, gender etc.

Wild card searching

If you do not know a person’s full name or email address you can use our wild card search tool. Start typing the name or email followed by a * e.g. smi* or [email protected]*

Specify second resident

This method of searching is useful if you’re unsure of the location of a person you are looking for but you know the names of other occupants at their address. Simply enter one of the names in the first search box and then there is space to specify a second resident at the bottom of the form.

So, what information do you get once you’ve found who you’re looking for?

Our find a person data comes from the edited UK electoral roll, the telephone directory and opted in consumer data and includes information on the following:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • full address, including postcode
  • landline and mobile telephone numbers
  • email address
  • other occupants at that address (including historic occupants)
  • house details
  • occupation details
  • linked records

It is important to note that not all of this information is available with every record as many people opt out of sharing information such as telephone numbers and email addresses.

We also access Companies House data and can show Director details where relevant, which includes information on companies that person is associated with.

So, there we have a brief overview of how find a person can be used. The more you use it, the deeper you’ll find you can delve!

GDPR – What are the implications?

GDPR has been heavily in the news recently and there is still a lot of confusion about what it means and what the implications, both on the consumer and supplier side, actually are.

Simunix, as a company, are fully committed to understanding our obligations under the new legislation and we will ensure our affiliated products – ukphonebook.com, Orbis and t2a.co – are fully compliant. We are not burying our heads in the sand about GDPR. This has been at the forefront of our minds for the last 12 months.

 

Firstly, we think GDPR is a great thing.

The general consensus is that GDPR will put the data industry into a tailspin. Certainly, some businesses that are heavily leveraged against consumer data may want to batten down the hatches and ride out the storm that is GDPR.  We at Simunix don’t see it that way.

Firstly, we believe GDPR will be beneficial to individuals as they will now have more control over what data is held on them and they will have the right to have it withdrawn at any time (see details below).

It is also beneficial for Simunix and our products as we can be confident that the data we continue to supply is of high quality and fully compliant. There will never be any confusion or ambiguity over permissions, as our data is always sourced from compliant and opted in data controllers, as it has been since we started out as the first online directory enquiries service in 1997.

I will be attending further courses on GDPR over the next few days and I will update my findings and share them with you in due course.

For now, here is an overview of what GDPR is.

What is GDPR?

For those unfamiliar with it or those coming to it fresh, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most important change in data protection legislation in the last 20 years.

The legislation was approved by the EU on the 14th April 2016 and will be enforced from the 25th May 2018. On this day, GDPR will replace the current Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC.

The main thrust of the new legislation will be to standardise data protection laws across all EU states and enforce a new approach on how organisations handle personal data.

GDPR key changes;

Ultimately, the aim of GDPR is to protect EU citizens from privacy and data breaches in an increasingly globalised world where technological advances have allowed the sharing of data on an unprecedented scale. Although the key principles of data protection from the outgoing legislation are still relevant, many changes have been proposed to the regulatory policies. In brief, these are;

Increased Territorial Scope (extra-territorial applicability)

The biggest change that new legislation will introduce will be the extended jurisdiction of the GDPR, as it applies to all businesses who process personal data of subjects residing in the EU, regardless of the organisation’s location.

Penalties

Under the new legislation, organisations in breach of GDPR can be fined up to 4% of their annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is greater). This is the maximum penalty that can be applied to an organisation that flouts the core directives. There will be a tiered system of penalties applied to lesser misdemeanours, but these penalties will still be severe.

Consent

The granting and withdrawal of consent will be improved for EU subjects. The granting of consent will no longer be camouflaged under legal jargon, buried within a data controller’s terms and conditions. The consent granted will be clearly cross referenced with the data for which it was requested. An EU subject will also have the ability to withdraw their consent from a data supplier without difficulty.

The rights of Data Subjects.

Breach Notification

Under GDPR, an organisation will be expected to notify parties affected by a data breach within 72 hours of a data breach occurring.

Right to Access

As part of the expanded subject rights, an individual now has the right to view their personal data held by a data controller, complete with the original purpose for which that data was held.

Right to be Forgotten (data Erasure)

This allows a data subject to request that their data be erased by the data controller, not quite as draconian as demonstrated in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film ‘Eraser’, but similar in principle. This can potentially halt third parties from processing the data too. Personally, I’d like to seek clarification on this last point as I believe responsibility should lie solely with the data controller. It makes more sense for a record to be removed from the source.

Data portability

GDPR introduces the right for a subject to retrieve the data held on them  in a machine readable format. The subject then has the right to port this information over to another source if they desire.

Privacy by Design

The concept of privacy by design has been around for some time. GDPR places more responsibility on data controllers to assume the data subject wants to remain anonymous rather than them make their information available to the controller and affiliated 3rd parties.

Data Protection Officers

Article 29 of the GDPR states that in scope organisations must appoint a data protection officer (DPO). Organisations who require a dedicated DPO will be;

  • Public authorities.
  • Organisations that carry out large scale monitoring of individuals e.g. asset protection.
  • Organisations that carry out processing of individual data relating to criminal activities.

The main tasks of the DPO are to;

  • Inform their fellow employees of best practice regarding GDPR.
  • Monitor compliance.
  • Be the first point of contact for supervisory authorities.

The DPO does not need to have a specific qualification to fulfil this role.

Note – I can envisage little need for even large organisations to have a dedicated DPO. More likely there will be several ‘GDPR champions’ dispersed across the organisation.

 

As mentioned above, I will be attending some seminars on GDPR in the near future and I will post more soon.

How to save on call costs while traveling

Cheaper overseas calls to/from the UK

I recently went on holiday to South Africa to see my family and introduce my son to all his aunties, uncles and cousins. I’m quite a thrifty person and try not to waste money so the trip was planned well in advance to try get the best flight prices. We even booked some accommodation in advance to take advantage of a weaker currency (I booked a safari when it was R24 to the pound a few months back, on our holiday it was about R18). I even saved big on currency conversion as I have a credit card that charges no ATM fees or conversion fees and uses a genuine exchange rate.
After all this planning it would be a shame to waste money on calling costs which can be extortionate.  My mobile phone would have cost 80p a minute to make a call!

I needed to call my family to discuss our plans before we arrived and my wife needed to keep in touch with her granny whilst we were away so it was important we found a solution to keep costs down. Here are my tips based on my recent experience.

1)      Call over Wi-Fi when you can. With things like WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime even messenger you can call each other for free. If you both have Wi-Fi (i.e. not using your data allowance) you can use several apps to make calls. Unfortunately for me this wasn’t really an option as my brother and my wife’s granny have no Wi-Fi at home!

2)      Make sure your phone is not SIM locked and get a local SIM card when you are abroad. When you are travelling around whilst on holiday you usually need to make a few local calls (see if attractions are open, hotel information etc.) so instead of using your UK SIM, use a local Pay-As-You-Go one that you top up. You can also use your local SIM to call the UK as it’s sometimes cheaper. In my case my UK SIM would cost 80p a minute to call the UK, the local one would cost about 7p (depending on currency fluctuations).

3)      Save on your mobile data/Satnav hire. Whilst travelling from place to place we needed a Satnav or Google maps for directions. Satnavs are quite expensive to rent with your car hire firm & Google Maps use mobile data (though I think you can save directions offline) which is not too bad if you have a local SIM. My plan, which worked well, was to download the HERE maps app on my android phone, then download the South African map (about 500MB) to use offline. So on our travels around the Western Cape, Cape Town and Garden Route I set HERE maps to offline mode and then searched for directions. Sometimes I needed to go online to find certain less popular places, but we could normally do this when we had Wi-Fi.

4)      Sign up to your mobile providers travel bundle. Now this one is my last choice as it could be the most expensive (depending on how many calls you make). My provider charges a flat fee per day and you can use your monthly minutes/texts/data while abroad.

I hope the tips above help you save your money for something more worthwhile, like a Boerie roll and a bottle of Castle lager!

 

Look Like You Know What You’re Talking About

Have you ever been thrown off course during a conversation where someone drops in an obscure acronym? It often happens during conversations with teenagers as new abbreviations pop up on social media every second and leave you feeling lost and confused. A few that I recently learned the meaning of include:

  1. TL;DR: Too Long; Didn’t Read. Indicating a passage of text is too long to invest the time to digest.
  2. BAE: Before Anyone Else. Not just an acronym, this has now become the name of the thing it is referencing e.g. “My BAE and I are staying in tonight”.
  3. NSFW: Not Safe For Work. Signifying that a post or article is considered inappropriate for the workplace e.g. contains nudity.

However, I’ve also found myself stumped when mixing with certain professionals such as accountants or lawyers. In any industry there are a number of acronyms that become part of that industry’s language but leave the rest of us wondering what on earth they’re talking about.

In the directory enquiries and tech industry we have an endless list of such abbreviations. Here are a select few that are used regularly in the Simunix offices:

  1. DQ:Directory Enquiries. A telephone service used to find someone’s telephone number e.g. ukphonebook.com.
  2. XD: Ex-directory. When a person chooses not to have their telephone number listed in a telephone directory or available through directory enquiries.
  3. ER: Electoral Roll. An official list of people in a district who are entitled to vote in an election.
  4. TPS/CTPS: Telephone Preference Service/Corporate Telephone Preference Service. A register of telephone numbers whose users have indicated that they do not wish to receive sales and marketing calls.
  5. TBR: The Bereavement Register. A central database that acts as the main register of deaths with the aim of stopping direct mail being sent to the deceased.
  6. PAF: Postcode Address File. A database which contains all known postcodes in the UK.
  7. OSIS: Operator Services Information System. This database holds directory listings for all UK Communications Providers.
  8. OS: Ordnance Survey. The national mapping agency providing large-scale detailed maps of Great Britain.
  9. GPS: Global Positioning System. A satellite navigation system that allows land, sea and airborne users to determine their exact location.
  10. API: Application Program Interface. A set of functions and procedures that allow the creation of applications which access the features or data of an operating system, application or other service.

So next time you find yourself in the company of a directory enquiries expert, you can impress with your knowledge of industry acronyms. If you really want.

TTFN

Clarifying UK Calling charges for 118 numbers

YORK – July 24, 2015 – 118 365, one of the UK’s cheapest directory enquiry services, is aiming to clarify the new charges for 118 numbers that came into effect on 1 July 2015, amidst growing consumer confusion.

When Ofcom announced a new system that would make the cost of calling these numbers more transparent and easier to understand, many people were still left confused. The cost of calling a service number is now split by a service charge and access charge. The access charge is set by caller’s phone service provider and the service charge is set by the service provider.

However, many 118 services are still charging an amount per call, plus their own service charge with the access charge added on top of that. In addition, it is not immediately clear what the access charge will be and callers are having to contact their phone service provider to find out.

For example, a one minute call to 118 118 from a BT landline costs £2.75 per call plus £2.99 per minute with an access charge of 9.58p, totalling £5.84.

John Lewis, Managing Director of 118 365 says, “We aim to make our charging as simple as possible and do not charge customers per call. Our service costs 55p a minute plus the cost of the access charge, that’s it. Although the total price of a call has gone up slightly due to the introduction of the access charge, we remain one of the cheapest directory enquiry options out there.”

To help callers determine what their access charge will be, 118 365 has included links on its FAQ page to information pages provided by the main telephone companies that bill their callers. Access charges appear to be varying from 5p for TalkTalk landline calls up to 25p for O2 calls.

118 365 is urging its callers to remember that the access charge is paid per minute and is not just a one-off charge.

People can find more information on the cost of calling directory enquiries by checking this daily updated infographic which charts the cost of a one minute call to different 118 numbers.

-ends-

Clear Call Rates for 08, 09 and 118 Numbers

Numbers beginning 08, 09 or 118 are known as ‘service numbers’ and the cost of calling these numbers can vary from a few pence to several pounds. It is not always clear just how much you are being charged for calling one of these service numbers.

This is all set to change from 1 July 2015. Ofcom has announced a new system that is being introduced to make the cost of calling 08, 09 or 118 numbers much clearer. The changes apply to both consumer mobiles and landlines.

The cost of calling a service number will be made up of two parts: an ‘access charge’ going to the caller’s phone company (e.g. BT), and a ‘service charge’ set by the organisation or service you are calling.

So what does this mean for our 118 365 number?

The cost of a one minute call to 118 365 will increase slightly. We will continue to charge 51p a minute but the access charge will now be added to the total cost of the call. For example, a one minute call to 118 365 from a BT landline will cost 51p for the service charge plus 9.8p for the access charge, making that about 61p for the whole call.

Remember, the access charge may differ slightly depending on your phone company.

Also on this day, calls to Freephone (0800 and 0808) numbers will become free from all consumer phones – including mobiles, making this the biggest overhaul of phone calls in more than a decade.

#Mobilegeddon

Google will start penalising websites that are not mobile-friendly from April 21st. The search engine is making significant changes to its mobile search algorithm to promote sites which are responsive to different browser screen sizes.

A Google survey found that a staggering number of people browse the internet from mobile devices, even if they can get to a desktop computer. Websites which are not mobile-friendly will appear much lower down in Google search results.

It is generally recommended that web designers make use of Responsive Design when developing websites. This type of design dynamically adapts content to suit the size of the browser window, changing menu layout, scaling pictures and reducing the number of columns displayed.

A recent article on TechCruch reported that almost half of the Fortune 500 websites are not currently mobile-friendly. Simunix has been working to make sure all of our websites adapt to varying screen sizes.

Ten Easter Eggs

The Easter weekend is over and the more restrained amongst you may still have some chocolate eggs lurking in your kitchen cupboards. However, did you know there may also be some Easter eggs hanging about in your favourite films, or even on your computer?

I’ve rounded up a few of my favourites:

1. There’s a Starbucks cup visible in every scene of Fight Club.

2. An X appears before the death of someone in The Departed.


3. R2D2 and C3PO appear in Raiders of the Lost Ark.


4. The Chrome “unable to connect” dinosaur turns into a game when you press the space bar.


5. The Spotify app updates – look at the last one in “What’s New”.

6. A strange bug in the Windows calculator – find the square root of 4, then subtract 2, the answer isn’t 0.


7. This product page – just wait.


8. On IMDb, the rating for This is Spinal Tap goes up to 11.


9. The Facebook globe icon changes depending on where you are in the world.


10. Enter the Konami code on Buzzfeed.com (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a).