This is a set of guidelines and pointers for both editors and contributors to the submitted name database. Any policy questions not addressed here should be directed to the site administrators.
The goal of this database is to catalog the surnames of the world, as a supplement to the main name database.
The approach that should be taken to expanding this collection is top-down, meaning that more common and prominent names should be added before rare and obscure names.
Names may be added by anyone. To maintain the collection, there are several editors who are able to modify and delete names. Editors are encouraged to edit ruthlessly. This means they should make changes as they see fit to uphold the quality of the collection according to the policies laid out here, without regard to other considerations.
A name is eligible if it meets any of the following criteria.
- it is the legal and/or common surname of a real person
- it is used by a notable fictional character
Names which exist in the main name database should not be included in this database.
Duplicate names can be merged together or deleted by editors. However, same-names which have distinct origins and usages should be left as separate entries.
Names which are very rare or unique can be included here. However, in the spirit of the top-down approach you are encouraged to add more common names first.
When an editor encounters an obscure name, he or she may delete it if there is no freely available evidence that it is valid. The editor should research in good faith but cannot be expected to search exhaustively. The burden of proof for rare names rests upon the person who submitted it. The editor should err on the side of deletion if he or she cannot find acceptable proof that the name is valid.
If you are submitting a very rare name, you should add references to the notes section of the entry, to ensure an editor does not delete it. See the references section below for more information.
References can be added to the notes section of the entry. For rare names, it is important to add references which demonstrate that the name exists. References can be internet links or page numbers from a book. Social media sites and the like are acceptable, as long as they use real names, not usernames.
The fact that the name exists in another listing of names does not necessarily prove that the name is valid, and for this reason other name sites and books are considered to be poor sources to prove existence. An exception is made for more scholarly publications that themselves have similar standards of existence for names.
If no sources exist, you should explain why. For example, the name may belong to a culture which lacks written history and/or relies on oral tradition. At the very least, you should explain where, when and how you encountered the name. You should also include your name (or your username on this site) since YOU will be the reference in this case. Editors are encouraged to scrutinize such submitted names carefully, and may delete on a case-by-case basis if deemed appropriate.
Each name has a set of usages associated with it. A usage describes who uses the name. It can be a language, a nationality, a culture, or something else. It is NOT necessarily the language of origin.
A usage may be assigned for any of the following reasons.
- the name is well-established as being traditional to that culture/language/region
- the name is used by a broad segment of the population (relative to the level of use for other usages)
- the name's use is notable given its origins (for example if a particular Chinese name gained a bit of currency among English-speakers, which would not be typical, it might also be listed as English in usage).
Below is a sample of the interface for editing a surname.
- Usages: Culture/Language. What cultures/languages does this name "belong" to?
- Start typing and you will see suggestions.
- Each usage can additionally be marked Modern, Rare, Archaic, Anglicized, or Latinized for further clarity.
- Drag to sort the usages.
- Click to delete the usage.
- Add more usages by clicking the .
- Source for this culture/language.
- Pronunciation for this culture/language. See key for appropriate letter codes.
- Linguistic and historic description (see standards).
- Native spelling. The spelling in a non-Latin character set, for example in Arabic, Greek, or Chinese characters.
- Other forms. Variant spellings of the name.
- Notes. Any other relevant information that doesn't need to be displayed in the name's definition. References can go here.
Please try to abide by these standards when editing entries:
- Usages section
- Each usage should be a language or culture, not a place: e.g. French, not France.
- Fictional names should be designated Mythology, Literature, or Popular Culture.
- Ideally use a usage from the list below (click to expand)
- History and Linguistic Origin section
- Use complete sentences. Exception: the first sentence in an entry does not need to be complete.
- Put a period at the end of every entry.
- Surround meanings with "double quotes".
- Surround literary titles with 'single quotes'.
- Surround name elements with #hash marks#. This will italicize the text between the marks.
- When a surname is a form of another surname which is already in the database you can link to it using [square brackets]. Eg. for Smythe you can write: Variant of [Smith].
- To link to a name in the given name database use [!square brackets] with a ! symbol after the opening bracket. Eg. for Johnson you can write: Means "son of [!John]".
- Please do NOT include genealogical information in an entry.