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Friday, 17 May 2013

Names galore!

This is a bit of market research really!
As my followers already know, I've got a selection of names of different eras posted here to help people out with their period heroes and heroines and secondary characters, and you may have gathered that names interest me.
I have been collecting names from around the world in a big book - an old desk diary - for many years, garnering them largely from athletics programmes of one kind or another, like the Olympics,  and I'm starting to get them onto the computer.  I've also been gathering names from different periods where I can in as many places as I can.  What I'm interested in knowing is, would anyone be interested in me publishing this as a quick guide for writers to find appropriate names by place and [where I have it] time?
I know the internet has quite a lot of name sites where you can search by place or culture but is there an interest in having it all gathered together?  I won't be going into meanings, it would be a tome several feet thick if I did that. 


  1. Dear Sarah

    Somehow I am always short of names, so it sounds like a very good idea to me.

    I have collected names from the Georgian period, but this certainly does not sum up to a tome of any respectable size.
    For last names, I often refer to a road atlas, but one still has to be careful: a great sounding place might not have been founded in the period one is writing about... .

    My interest would be in Georgian era, especially the Regency, mainly for England and France.

    You could to different volumes: Medieval names, Tudor names, Georgian names,...

    Best regards

    Anna M. Thane

  2. Many thanks Anna!
    Yes, I think a series of slimmer volumes might be a good idea, and I would in the medieval one then include my frequency of use charts that I did [I have a truncated version on the blog].
    There are a few really early OS maps online which it's worth checking out for placenames, but on the whole if the meaning of the name is either obscure or plainly from Saxon or Old Norse sources it's a fair bet that it's genuinely old. Some, like Brighton, changed their names, but then there was a tendency for people to modifiy and modernise their names - witness the Brunty family better known as the Bronte family, that Kat blogged about. I hope my charts of late Georgian/Regency names on this blog are of some use to you!

  3. Hello Sarah,
    thanks for the tip to check-out your blog for the name-section. Found it, love it!
    Meleager and Tryphena I defintively had not known yet. Hm ... Tryphena - I do feel inspired already :- ) .
    Best regards

    Anna M. Thane

  4. I had great fun researching that... glad that it was useful! I did include a Meleager as a secondary character in 'Cousin Prudence' and I have used Gedeliah Gatfield because I couldn't resist it. The assizes online are a good source of names!

    I'm starting more or less at the beginning and am currently wrestling Goths, Merovingians and Franks into some semblance of order with the anticipation of heading on to tackle Saxons, Old Norse and thence various periods of the middle ages, predominantly in France and England as my researches stand. This is going to take some time... I think I need to break it into volumes along the lines of 'ancient and classical' 'early Europe up to 16th c' 'post religious upheaval Europe to the early 19th c' and 'modern names by country' which was the initial point of the notebook I started...

  5. I look forward to reading about the trials of Tryphena one day...