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.

Surnames- General

  • 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, Rennick,Davies

  • 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 appearance"

  • 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 times"

  • 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 at marriage."

  • 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 -isbn 1558889019)

  • 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.
    Reprint: 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 countries"

  • ________. Treasury of name lore. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.
    Abstract: Lawson1: "covers about 175 categories of the social aspects of names and naming"