Origin of First Names

Top 10 first names

Discover the list of male and female first names indexed on Geneanet.

The history of first names is fascinating. Discover it for free on Geneanet!

Nowadays, the first name given to a child is chosen by the parents on the basis of the family's origins, the trend of the day or how it sounds, but this was not true in the times when our ancestors lived. First names weren't chosen, they were passed down. It was the mark of a family, a social environment, a geographical origin.Thanks to Geneanet, break through these rules of transmission and easily understand your first name and those of your family! The first names listed in your family tree will no longer have any secrets for you, and you'll find answers to your questions in just a few clicks.

What is the meaning of this first name?


Thanks to the huge Geneanet etymological dictionary, with thousands of first names, discover the meaning of the first names that appear in your family tree, whether they are modern or ancient, popular or rare.

What is the origin of this first name?


Do you want to know when a first name appeared? When it spread? Which saint made it popular? The section "About this first name" gives you the answers. In addition, the chart showing the popularity of a first name allows you to immediately see when a first name was given for the first time.

Where does this first name come from?


Some very popular first names have been given in many countries. On the other hand, rare first names are specific to a particular country or region. Thanks to the map showing the distribution of first names, you can easily find out the geographical origin of less common first names. If one of your ancestors has emigrated, this information may be very useful in unlocking your genealogical research.

How popular is this first name? Has its frequency changed?


Thanks to a genealogical database of billions of individuals, find out, exclusively on Geneanet, the popularity and frequency of a first name over more than 4 centuries, from 1600 to the present day. Geneanet's international database provides information on the evolution of any first name, whatever its geographical or linguistic origin. Simple and visual, the chart allows you to identify at first sight peaks in the popularity of a first name, the effects of fashion, the return of old first names or, on the other hand, the disappearance of some of your ancestors' first names. The frequency given as a percentage is calculated on the basis of all first names given each year and listed in the Geneanet database.

Which first name are we celebrating today?


Thanks to Geneanet, you'll never forget a saint's day! The saint of the day is systematically displayed in this section and on the Geneanet home page. In addition, Geneanet shows you the days on which a first name is celebrated, which may vary according to time and geographical area.

What are the variants of this first name?


First names have experienced many spelling changes over the centuries, depending on languages and countries, making them sometimes difficult to decipher and identify. That's why Geneanet systematically provides the different spelling variants found in the records, to increase your chances of finding a first name when searching, and to find the most common spelling of that first name. This feature applies particularly to Latin first names. Would you like to know which usual first names correspond to the Latin names Ludovica, Stephanus or Hieronimus? Just enter them in the Geneanet search engine!

A valuable genealogical tool


This section is a must for anyone curious about the origin, meaning or popularity of a first name. It can also be a valuable tool for your genealogical research, for example: to find out the usual variant of a first name written in Latin in a record, to check the spelling of a first name that is difficult to decipher, or to pinpoint the place where a migrant ancestor came from.