Windows Name Gen Files

These files are formatted for Scrivener for Windows only.  Most of these same files are available for Scrivener for Mac here.

I’ve thrown together a few Scrivener name generator files for my own purposes.   As I create these files, I’ll throw them here, because there’s no point going through all this work to not share it.  To download any of the files in Windows, right-click the link and select “Save Link As…”  I’ve put together some instructions for uploading these files into the Name Generator here.

Virginia First Families:
A list assembled from this Wikipedia page.  274 last names.  Good for colonial era America onward.  Sorted as “Virginia” within Last Names.

1812 Roster:
This list was assembled from publicly available rosters of Illinois and Alabama soldiers who participated in the War of 1812 on the side of the United States.  Due to the nature of the sources, there are only male first names included.  1522 last names, 332 first names.  Sorted as “US 1812”.

US 1850 First Names:
These names come from a sampling of the 1850 US Census, so they span all age groups in 1850.  Unlike the 1812 and Civil War lists, it does include female names.  The sampling includes all names used by at least 0.01% of the population which…isn’t as many names as you’d expect.  On both the male and female side, five names accounted for more than one third of the population.  The list does include some potential transcription errors that I’ve let stand, especially some male names showing up in the female list.  I left these in because I don’t know how many are the result of gender migration of names, and how many are the results of women identifying themselves as “Mrs. Richard Lastname” on the census form.  732 male names, 663 female names.  Sort as “US 1850.”

Civil War Generals:
These were assembled from Wikipedia lists of the Union and Confederate generals during the Civil War.  969 last names, 340 first names.  Sorted as “US Civil War”.  First names list includes only male names, due to the source material.  First name list includes some compound first names to account for the popularity of “George Washington,” “Benjamin Franklin,” “William Henry,” and others.  Name meanings not included with first name list.

Civil War Andersonville
It’s a morbid source for a list, but it’s probably one of the bigger collections of names during the Civil War.  I pulled about half of the records of the Andersonville Prisoner of War camp and digested them down into a first and last name list that’s rather more in depth than the lists using just generals.  It’s still just male names, unfortunately, I suspect that 1850s census list above is the best list of Civil War era female names I’ll get.  These also show up as “US Civil War” so they’ll mingle with the Generals list if you install both.  1257 first names, 7352 last names.

US First Names By Decade:
Assembled from Social Security Administration records, these files each contain 2000 first names, 1000 male and 1000 female, representing the most popular first names in the United States for the year indicated.  I’ve long used the SSA records to come up with character names.  The trick is to remember these are birth years, so a 50-year-old character in a book set in the 1970s should draw from the 1920 list.  They show up in the Name Generator as “US 1880” etc.  These lists do not include name meanings.  I had the time to put the lists together, but not to research the meanings of the names.

Too many files for you?  Here they are all combined into a single 28000 name file.  It will still sort decade-by-decade in the name generator.  Warning: this file may take several minutes to import into Scrivener.

If you previously downloaded these files when they only contained the first 500 male and female names, I’ve created an “expansion pack” which contains all the names from 501-1000, just to make for a smaller file to download and install into Scrivener.  I’ve taken those same names and saved them off as a “rare” names list.  It’s the exact same 14000 names as the expansion pack, but they sort as “US 1880 Rare” for those times that you know you want a slightly less common name.  The rare names is a nice combination of unusual names and creative spellings, which aren’t just a modern phenomenon.

US Ethnicities
I’ve been playing with the American last name option in the full release of Scrivener, and it’s a respectable list.  The following two are specific ethnicity lists based on US Census figures for last names.  Each contains the 1000 most common last name for the given ethnicity.  Neither list is curated.  This means that Smith is on both lists, as there are enough Americans of both Latino and Asian origins for that name to show up in the top 1000.

The Census data was broken down into additional ethnic groups, but they weren’t significantly different enough from the basic list of common US surnames to make a difference.  They were sorted differently, but since the algorithm is purely random rather than weighted, there wasn’t a point.

US Census
As long as I had US Census data on hand for surnames, why not go for a nice long list of American surnames, even if there is the new American option in Scrivener.  These will show up under “US Census” in the name generator, and represent every surname that reaches the threshold of 0.001% of the US population.  That’s just shy of 19,000 last names.  So yes, it’s a long list, and it takes awhile to import.  And is probably way more last names than anyone actually wants.

Historic English
Taken from a few lists on this resource of British names dating back to the 1200s, these provide a nice sample of English names in the 1200s, 1300s, and 1600s.  The 1200s First Names list is the most extensive, coming from the Fine Rolls of Henry III, a fantastic cross sampling of first names from the era.  This might be just me talking, but as I’ve run these names in the generator, they have a great high fantasy feel about them.  I did some curating of the 1296 last names, removing all the “filius” and “uxor” names, which mean “son of” and “daughter of.”

Historical Russian
This was a combination request/challenge from a friend of mine who had a MASSIVE list of Russian first names from the 13th to 15th centuries.  I really do mean massive, this list is actually larger than the combined US first name list above, which means it takes a few minutes to install.  Be patient.  I probably haven’t crashed your Scrivener.  As with the English lists, these feel fantastic for use in fantasy.  Sorts as “Russian Period”.  Skews very heavily male, but even the fact that only 5.5% of the names are female still means over 1000.

NEW! Historical German
These are a little less historical than the others. 1872 to be specific. These names were taken from a list of emigrants leaving Germany that year. Which means they lived there. Right? Which means it’s a cross sampling of names used in German in the mid 19th century. Sadly, while the list includes first and last names, the first names aren’t gendered. So there’s only a last name list. These sort in as “German 1872.”

Biblical Names
I’ve pulled this list together from a couple sources, and I can’t promise I won’t be expanding it in the future (in fact, I hope to).  This list plays very well with both the Virginia First Families and Civil War Generals last names lists.  The names on the list are a combination of Greek, Hebrew, and even some Egyptian in origin.  It skews male, but then, so does the Bible itself.  I’ve included name meanings in the database, but they don’t seem to show up in Scrivener itself.

  • Biblical (804 male names, 359 female names)
  1. avatar

    #1 by Barb on May 11, 2012 - 4:52 am

    Thank you so much! This must have been a lot of work for you. Thank you for sharing them.

    Kind regards,

    • avatar

      #2 by DLThurston on May 11, 2012 - 10:00 am

      I’m just glad they’re of use to anyone other than just me.

  2. avatar

    #3 by Jacob on August 5, 2012 - 2:08 pm

    Wow. Thanks a million for those lists! The Russian names are great! I’m trying to create unusual sounding names from Earth’s history for the characters in my novel , which is set on a distant planet about 1000 years from now.

  3. avatar

    #4 by fiona on April 15, 2013 - 10:57 am

    This is so awesome! I’ve just started using Scrivener and historically one of my biggest stumbling blocks is coming up with names. (I’ll be in the middle of writing a scene, someone enters the room, I blank out on a name, then lose myself in baby name web sites and never get back to the scene.)

    Thank you!

  4. avatar

    #5 by Darin on May 27, 2014 - 11:59 pm

    Thanks for doing the biblical names so I didn’t have to. ^_^ The second import will be the Asian last names to go with them, because I have a bizarre sense of humor and like to name characters things like “Jebediah Nguyen.”

  5. avatar

    #6 by Marcus on July 26, 2014 - 9:54 pm

    Thank you for this. Very helpful.

    I created a list of 381 Korean last names in CSV format that is importable to Scrivener. I would like to share it with you, since you were so kind to share your work with the rest of the world. How can I send it to you?

  6. avatar

    #7 by Marcus on November 21, 2014 - 12:40 pm

    Thank you for doing all this—it’s a fantastic resource. I have a question though, when I try and import the .csv files or .txt files into Scrivener (Win ver. I get an error that says something about line 1 containing 3 commas when there should be only 1 and nothing gets imported. I was able to get the very first file imported but nothing else works. Am I doing something wrong?

    Thanks again for posting all these names!

  7. avatar

    #8 by Fiona on November 23, 2014 - 7:48 pm

    Wow, thanks so much for posting your lists :) I’m taking them all.

  8. avatar

    #9 by Rosy on September 23, 2015 - 5:25 am

    I’ve been doing some of this myself but since I’m mid writing you have saved me a LOT of time. Thank you so much.

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