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.
Names which exist in the main name database should not be included in this database.
Duplicate names may be merged together or deleted by editors. However, same-spelled names which have distinct origins and usages should be left as separate entries.
Names which are very rare or unique may 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 may 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 might 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 might 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.
Usages may be marked Rare, Modern or Archaic. As a rule of thumb, Rare might be assigned when the name has never been in the top 1000 names, Modern might be assigned when it has only been in the top 1000 for the last 35 years, and Archaic might be assigned when it was only in the top 1000 over 100 years ago. Since just a few countries publish top 1000 lists, this rule of thumb cannot be applied to most usages. The American SSA publishes a top 1000 list going back to 1880, which can aid with English names, but keep in mind that some English names are more popular in non-American English-speaking countries, such as the U.K., Canada or Australia. Also keep in mind that popularity lists typically only record the birth name, not diminutives used informally, so this rule of thumb should not be applied to diminutives.
Usages may be marked as having a particular style, for example Latinized or Anglicized. This is used to indicate that the name is written to reflect the orthography or phonology of a secondary language.
The usage for purely fictional names should be Mythology, Literature, or Popular Culture. Popular culture covers movies, television, video games and comic books. The character behind the name must be somewhat notable. As a rule of thumb, if the character does not have their own Wikipedia page (or a subsection on a Wikipedia page), then that character is not notable enough to support the Popular Culture usage.
Below is a sample of the interface for editing a surname.
Please try to abide by these standards when editing entries: