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Behind the Name - the etymology and history of first names

Have you ever wondered what your ancestor's name meant, or where it came from? Maybe you are curious to learn about your own given name.

Mike Campbell has spent thousands of hours compiling information about more than 14,000 given names from almost 100 different cultures. His work is now available online for everyone to use.

The site is easy to use. I typed in the given name of one of my immigrant ancestors - Hans. Very quickly it explained that Hans is the German, Dutch, and Scandinavian short form of Johannes. My Hans did come from Denmark, and I was reminded to search for him using other forms of his name.

Behind the Name will also translate given names into other languages. It listed five translations for Hans, and again, gave me other ideas by which to search.

The site also contains namesakes, a glossary, name days, and message boards. Mike's list of sources is impressive and quite comprehensive. This site is one worth adding to your bookmarks.

Search for your names here.


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Just paid the place a visit!

That was fun!

My Dad was Macedonian, going to Bulgarian schools in the 20's & 30's, so it was great to confirm the origins of my name. ;-D

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