Here are some resources for choosing and creating names for your characters.
Baby Name Wizard
Lists of popular names around the world. I’ve linked to the international list, so you can find all of them instead of the American default list. These are popular names now, so less useful for historical or less common names. Allows filtering for boys or girls, but not both at one time, and doesn’t list gender neutral names.
A standard American baby name repository. It’s a little too cutesy for me, and I really have no interest in celebrity baby news, but it’s still a potentially useful resource. If picking a Native American name, see the Wrong Names resource below so you can avoid names incorrectly attributed to these cultures.
Behind the Name
A database of names from around the world. Includes any meanings that go along with each name, and variations on names. Has some filtering for male, female, and unisex names. You can now search by meaning, pattern, and number of syllables in the advanced filters.
Fantasy Name Generator
Very simple name generator with some basic filters.
Fantasy Name Generators
This site features over 1200 name generators (real names, fantasy names, place names, pop culture names) and many description generators. While likely built with gamers in mind, it can be equally valuable to writers.
Fractal World Generator –
Includes fantasy, science fiction, weird fiction, and D&D filtered generators for names, calendars, worlds, demographics, adventures, and travel systems. The main page has a planet generator – enter percentages of water and ice, choose your output (you can have an animated globe if you like).
Open source. Free, but takes ko-fi donations.
Medieval Names Archive
Impressively thorough lists of names based on church and city records, so it’s great if you’re going for authenticity. It is delightfully NOT Eurocentric, which is unusual for most websites on this time period.
Mithril & Mages
This is a fantasy writer and role player’s playground that includes name generators for a variety of needs, utilities for role playing, and even a few generators using modern data (businesses, city blocks, college majors, criminal history, wound and disease prevalence).
This is a large name database and name generator. I’m not sure why sites like this specify that they are for “baby names,” since babies quickly grow to toddlers and teens and eventually adults, but if you’re able to ignore the baby pictures, this can be a useful site. You can search for names by origin, nationality, gender and starting letter. There’s a list of names that are not gender specific, which is nice to see. While this has some Hawaiian, Russian, Latinx and African names, the list tends to be pretty heavily European, completely lacking any Asian content.
Native Languages Wrong Names
Just as important as picking an accurate name, it’s critical to avoid names that are just plain wrong if you’re going for an accurate representation of an ethnic group. Apparently there are a fair number of names that are inaccurately attributed to Native Americans. This list will help you avoid some of those.
This site provides random generators to help name characters, design settings, and inspire people’s creativity. Generators include character types, equipment, names, magic, organizations, settings, and superheroes. Click Generator Types at the top of the page.
US Social Security Administration
You can find popular names by state, decade, or year for the United States.
Check out my other research and resources for writers posts here.