Frequently Asked Questions

About the names

What can you tell me about my specific name?

The maps, tables and information presented about names on this website are derived from the analysis of large databases of name records across the world. We do not have intimate knowledge of each name, and as such we cannot comment on the origins or locations of specific names beyond the information presented on this website.

What are the most popular names in a specific area or place?

This is one of our most frequently asked questions, and we have added a facility to create the most popular surnames and forenames by many different areas in the world. Simply click the "Area Search" tab at the top of the page and search for a city, a region or a country to find out the most popular names in this areas.

How many names do you have information for?

We hold data for approximately 300 million people in 26 countries of the world, representing a total population of 1 billion people in those countries. In our database there are 8 million unique surnames and 5 million unique forenames.

What countries do you have data for?

We have data for 26 countries in Europe, America, Asia and Oceania. A definitive list of countries that we have data for can be found here [link].

What are the "Roots of this name"?

The roots of the names are derived using the OnoMap classification of names (www.onomap.org) which classifies names into groups of common cultural ethnic and linguistic origin using surnames and forenames. For more information on this classification see the FAQ on the onomap website: http://www.onomap.org/FAQ.aspx

Why do the most common forenames associated with a particular surname mainly show masculine names?

Most of our names data comes from telephone directories, and unfortunately since most telephone directories are still registered under a male forename, female forenames are hence unrepresented in our database. However, this is not the case for the countries in which we have used electrol registers. Both telephone directories and electrol registers present a further bias, since they only cover adult names. As a result the latest fashion in forenaming practices are not necessarily covered by our database.

About the maps and data tables

What data do you use to create the name maps?

All our names and location data are derived from publicly available telephone directories or national electoral registers, sourced for the period 2000-2005.

How do you create the scores used for the maps and the data tables?

We always use the relative frequency of a name compared to the overall population in an area. This is expressed as a 'Frequency Per Million' people living in an area, and is abbreviated on the website as FPM.

What are the areas shown by on the maps?

We have chosen a series of administrative geographic boundaries for mapping the names data on our website. These are broadly divided into three levels of geography:

- Country level, as shown in the initial World Map

- Region level, which divides countries in coarse administrative regions

- Locality level, which subdivides the above regions into finer administrative localities

A detailed list of the different geographical areas shown for each country can be found here.