Character names

edited July 2015 in - Resources
I recently lost my bookmarked sites, and I'm trying to build up my collection of sites on names in common usage in different eras. This one has proved helpful:

Links to other sites would be appreciated. Thanks.


  • Behind the Names is good too if you're looking for a general all round site for names, meanings, different nationalities and creating names for fantasy and sci-fi.
  • I just call all my characters Bob.
  • Ha ha! In fact I have actually done that - I wrote a sketch where the characters were Bobby, Rob, Robert and Old Bob.
  • I use my late mother-in-law's crossword solver's book - it has lists of names, towns, food, flowers etc. Jolly useful for all sorts of things.
  • Mine are Pete and not Pete
  • I use a book called 'Name Your Child' by Eric Partridge
    ...In fact it says on the front Name Your Child Eric need look no further than the cover.
  • edited August 2015
    Apparently, there are four categories for surnames;
    1) 'son of' i.e. Abner Hanson, Lee Philipson
    2) 'descriptive' i.e. Dawn Stammers, Fred Little,
    3) 'of place' i.e. David Essex, Cyril Chorley
    4) 'trade/profession i.e. Ginger Baker, Steve Butcher
  • The category 'son of' also includes possessives such as Edwards, Phillips, Charles, Andrews etc.
    And in fact, I read somewhere once that anyone with names such as those are likely to have initially descended from royalty way back in the day but I'm not sure how true that is.
  • Get any book edited or written by Leslie Dunkling or/and William Gosling - you can probably pick one up in a second hand shop. Experts in names through the ages and their meanings. I have loads of name dictionaries - love them, and one of theirs has lists of the top 50 names in successive years.
  • My WriteItNow has a whole list of names from every nation one can think of. Choose carefully to get the best impact as you would when choosing a child's name
  • There are lists online as well - very helpful if, like me, your mind gets stuck on one letter!
  • I just wait for a reality show with 14 kids crammed into a five-bedroom council house.

    Usually steal a good bunch of names from there!
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