Random British Name Generator

Name Generator Settings

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A random name generator is useful for anyone who needs, well, a list of random names! Uses include authors who want a realistic set of names they can put into fiction, roleplayers who want realistic names for their characters and programmers who want plausible looking names for test data.

You can choose from a database of current names, or the 1881 census if you want a historical feel. And you can select either male, female or mixed names. Some names, of course, are unisex and can show up in any list. The list defaults to 50 names, but you can go up to 200. Any more than that thrashes the server too much.

The British Surnames random name generator doesn't just pick names at random, it weights the selection according to the actual probability of finding that name in the population at large. So, for example, it's more likely to give you "John Smith" than "Edmund Sidebottom" even though the latter is a possible result. This makes it more realistic than many random name generators which simply pick randomly from a list and thus tend to overemphasise uncommon names.

Because it uses a weighted random selection it can occasionally give duplicates, especially when doing a large number of single-sex names. But this, too, is realistic - if you picked a large number of people at random from real life, there's a small but non-trivial probability that two (or more) of them will share the same name.

The names are based on databases of real forename and surname combinations, rather than picking them at random independently. This minimises the prospect of implausible combinations such as "Mohammed Cohen" which are more likely if the surname and forename are picked independently. On the other hand, a drawback of this approach is that it won't offer up any combination of less common names which don't exist in the database. This is more of an issue with the database of current names, as this is based on a statistical sample rather than including everyone in the country.

The 1881 names are taken from the census records themselves, but this can have the drawback that it also includes any typos made by the census takers or their later transcribers. So you need to be a little careful with using some of the less common names as they may, in fact, be erroneous.

The random name generator is based on names across the UK as a whole, and doesn't allow for regional differences. This is less of a problem for contemporary names, at least across most of England, but it won't give a particularly representative selection if you want a list of potentially Scottish or Welsh names. And for the 1881 census, that's more of a problem as names tended to be much more regionalised back then. If you need to focus on names with a particular local relevance, then at the moment the only way to do that is to check the one returned by the generator and weed out the ones you don't need. Given sufficient round tuits I may address this at some stage in the future, but it's unlikely to happen in the short term.

Random Names

Andrew Barnes
Deirdre Bray
Josefine Broadbent
Joan Brown
William Brown
John Bull
Kathleen Charles
Carol Collier
Martin Collins
Jacinta Conway
Nigel Coombes
Clare Dakin
Caroline Dawes
Debbie Deans
Tamanna Dutta
Keith Gale
Lynn Hirst
Margaret Ives
Henry Joseph
Yong Jung
Bruce Kirk
Andrew Lilley
Robert Manning
Razia Miah
Ian Nute
Scott O'Donnell
Allan Perkins
Graham Pickles
Steve Purnell
Gary Randall
Chevon Richards
Gary Ricketts
Melville Robins
Kevin Robson
John Rock
Lucinda Sanford
Mohammed Sharif
Jacob Shaw
Alan Smith
Valerie Smith
Martin Spencer
Colin Towers
Alison Turner
Craig Ward
James Watt
Nicholas Watts
Terence Wibberley
Marlyn Wood
John Wright
Karen Wynne