This selective bibliography is based upon extracts from the three standard bibliographies on naming:
- Elsdon Smith Personal Names: a bibliography Detroit: Gale, 1965
- Edwin Lawson Personal Names and Naming Greenwood Press, 1987
- Edwin Lawson More Names and Naming Greenwood Press, 1996
Where available, I have included either Lawson's or Smith's shortened comments on the scope of a work. On the shoulders of Professor Lawson's and Smith's monumental work, I have added a few later references which do not yet appear in any standard bibliographies.
If you are interested in furthering an interest in personal names, I would urge you to seek out these excellent bibliographies. They are comprehensive in their coverage of English-language material on the subject.
Professor Lawson has gracefully allowed me to reproduce many of his citations and comments
- Royal Historical Society's online bibliography.
- Clark, Thomas. Surnames metrically arranged and classified,
with an introductory inquiry into their origin and use
. London: Simkin, Marshall and Co., 1859.
- Dunkling, Leslie. Guinness book of names. Enfield: Guinness, 1995.
Notes: previously published: 1974, 1983, 1986
Abstract: Lawson1: "wide coverage of many aspects of names and naming. Includes first name origins, fashions, nicknames, tradenames. Table of popular names"
- Ferguson, Robert. Surnames as a science . London: Routledge, 1883.
Notes: Reprinted by Heraldry Today in 1967
- Garfield, E. "What's in a surname." Current Contents , no. 7(1981): 5-9.
- Gaudart, Hyacinth. The trouble with names : forms of address
in Asia. Singapore: SNP Editions, 1999.
- Hanks, Patrick (ed.) Dictionary of American family names
New York: Oxford University Press, 2003
Note: This extensive compilation documents 72,000 surnames of Americans across the Usa. It surveys each surname
giving its meaning, nationality, alternate spellings, common forenames asociated with it,
and the frequency of each surname and forename
- Harder, Kelsie B. Names & their varieties : a collection
of essays in onomastics. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1986.
Abstract: Lawson: "collection of articles from Names
-includes some on personal names, Smith,Strawbinger,Brender,
- Gilbert Highet. New York: Jeffrey Norton, (n.d).
Notes: Cassette Recording
Abstract: Lawson1: "introduction to naming; surnames are
based on 4 major sources -patronymics, occupation, place, and
- Hook, J. N. The book of names. New York: Franklin Watts, 1983.
Abstract: Lawson1: "This general work written
with a light touch has 15 chapters on first names and surnames,
including national origins of surnames"
- Hope, Robert Charles. A glossary of dialectal
place=nomenclature : to which is appended a list of family surnames
pronounced differently from what the spelling suggests. London: Simpkin, Marshall, 1883.
Notes: 2nd ed. (158 pages)
- Ingraham, Holly. People's names : a cross-cultural reference
guide to the proper use of over 40,000 personal and familial names in over
100 cultures. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1996.
- Jacobs, Noah Jonathon. Naming-day in Eden : the creation
and recreation of language. New York: Macmillan, 1969.
Notes: 1st published 1958
Abstract: Lawson1: " a light general introduction to
onomastics. Begins with naming in the Garden of Eden and
explains different naming practices in other cultures and
- Lambert, Eloise and Mario Pei. Our names: where they came from
and what they mean. New York: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1960.
Abstract: Lawson1: "a general book in popular style
including family names"
- Lassiter, Mary. Our names, our selves : the meaning of names
in everyday life. London: Heinemann, 1983.
Notes: Reviewed in 'Nomina' 8
Abstract: Lawson1: "An introduction to names and naming.
Includes first names, nicknames, pet names, and surnames.
Raises questions about the custom of women changing their names
- Latham, Edward. A dictionary of names, nicknames, and surnames
of persons, places, and things. London: New York: G. Routledge & sons, ltd : E.P. Dutton & Co., 1904.
Notes: 334 pages (Reprinted by Omnigraphics in 1990
- Lawson, Edwin D. More names and
naming Greenwood Press, 1996.
Note: The second of Professor Lawson's excellent
bibliographies of onomastics
- ________. Personal names and naming
. Greenwood Press, 1987.
Note: The second of Professor Lawson's excellent
bibliography of onomastics
- Matthews, Constance. "History in the telephone book." Horizon , no. 9(Winter 1967): 105-11.
Abstract: Lawson1: " background material on surnames,
especially common ones. Included are Lewis (Welsh from Llewellyn),
Rosenbaum (rose tree), and Webster (weaver)"
- Pearce, Karen. Multicultural matters : names and naming systems. London: Building Bridges, 2003
Note: A comprehensive almanac of the world's naming systems
- Porteous, John Douglas. "Single-name surname studies: a
multi-operational methodology for family history." Family History; 12 (May 83), P.326-31 12 (May 1983): 326-31.
- Ptak, Diane Snyder. Surnames : determining origins with
biographical and ethnic references. Diane Snyder Ptak, 1995.
- ________. Surnames : their meaning and origins. Diane Syder Ptak, 1995.
- Smith, Elsdon Coles. "The significance of name study." 8th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences, 492-99. 1966.
Abstract: Lawson1: "the contribution names have made to
understanding culture, history, religion etc."
- ________. The story of our names. New York: Harper ; H. Hamilton, 1950.
Abstract: Lawson1: "general introduction to first
names, surnames and nicknames. Also includes names in other
- ________. Treasury of name lore. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.
Abstract: Lawson1: "covers about 175 categories of the social
aspects of names and naming"