A Selective Bibliography of International Web Sites Relating to Toponyms, Anthroponyms and Miscellaneous Name Sites:  For use in Conducting Onomastic Research

Compiled by 

Lynn C. Hattendorf Westney

Associate Professor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Richard J. Daley Library (MC/234)

Box 8198, Chicago, IL 60680-8198





 Place Names (Toponyms)


Aboriginal Place Names: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada


    The name of Canada itself, and the names of some provinces and territories, come from place names in Aboriginal languages.  Many Canadian towns, cities, rivers and mountains also have names that come from Aboriginal sources.


Aussie Placename Hypocoristics/Hypocoristics of Placenames in Australian English


    Hypocoristics refers to the formation and use of pet names, often referred to as "baby talk."  This is an unusual and amusing site which identifies placename nicknames in Australia.


Geoscience Australia Placename Search


    National Mapping Division (formerly AUSLIG).  This site searches the Gazetteer of Australia 2001 which is a compilation of over 274,000 geographic names in Australia provided by members of the Committee for Geographic Names in Australia. As well as being fully updated by the Commonwealth and State Government authorities, the gazetteer now includes many extra, unofficial Homestead names added by Geoscience Australia.


The Canadian Geographical Names Data Base (CGNDB): Canadian Geographical Names / Les noms géographiques du Canada


    The Canadian Geographical Names Data Base (CGNDB) is the data bank of Canada's geographical names, maintained by the Geographical Names Section, part of the Centre for Topographic Information, Geomatics Canada, Natural Resources Canada.  Its purpose is to store names (over 500,000 currently) that have been approved by the Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographical Names (CPCGN)  and to make these authoritative records available for government and public use.  Published in both English and French.


Geographical Names Board of Canada (GNBC)


    In Canada, names on official federal government maps have been authorized through the Geographical Names Board of Canada (GNBC).  This national committee, which dates back to 1897, now comprises representatives from each province and territory, and from various federal departments concerned with mapping, translation, statistics, archives, defense, national parks and Indian lands. Published in both English and French.


Chinese Conventional Place Names


    The Library of Congress revised the Chinese place names currently established in a conventional English-language form to the form used by the United States Board on Geographic Names.  This process began in August, 1998 when the Library conducted a pilot project to test the feasibility of making these changes.  This list appeared in Cataloging Service Bulletin, no. 83, Winter 1999.  The list consists primarily of the provinces, provincial capitals and other major cities.  


The Lurline Coltharp Collection of Onomastics at University of Texas at El Paso Library


    The Place Name Survey of the United States has designated this collection as one of two national research centers for toponymics, which is the study of names related to a place or region.  A bibliography of the collection is published biannually and may be accessed on the internet. There are currently 1,800 individual sources listed in the fifth edition which is available also in paper, free upon request from Roberta Arney (Onomastics Bibliographer) at rarney@libr.utep.edu 


The New Zealand Geographic Board Nga Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa


    The process of accepting or rejecting geographical and hydrographic names within New Zealand and its territorial waters is the responsibility of the New Zealand Geographic Board, Nga Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa.  The Board recognizes that placenames should be the product of careful and informed decisions.  Constituted under the 1946 New Zealand Geographic Board Act.


Place Name Servers on the Internet


    This site, created and maintained by Arizona State University, has links to the following:  United States Place Names; United States State PlaceName Sites; World Place Names; Country Place Names; Planetary Place Names; and Just for Fun PlaceNames.


Place Names Lookup


    This is a commercially produced Web site from Melissa Data Corporation.  Placenames Lookup includes lakes, streams, populated places, schools, mountain summits, dams, mines, reservoirs, historical buildings, churches and more.  There are over 1,000,000 geographic names listed for the United States of America.  For each placename, the state, type of place and county are given.


Placenames of Europe


    Europe is a relatively small area with a rich mosaic of languages.  Divergent forms of place names have often been an element in national rivalries: a sad legacy, clearly, of past conflicts.  The compilers of this site, which is accessible in 50 European languages, aim to draw attention to the rich complexity of the European cultural environment as revealed by placenames.


Scottish Place Name Society



    The Society, launched in February, 1996, exists for the support of all aspects of toponymic studies in Scotland, and in particular the work of the Scottish Placename Database which is maintained at the Universities of St. Andrews and Edinburgh.


USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)


    The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), developed by the USGS in cooperation with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN), contains information about almost 2 million physical and cultural geographic features in the United States.  The federally recognized name of each feature described in the data base is identified, and references are made to a feature's location by state, county, and geographic coordinates.  The GNIS is the United States official repository of domestic geographic names information.


Personal Names (Anthroponyms)


Baby Names 


    This site contains links to additional sites which give the most popular baby names of individual years; names for twins; Shakespearean names; celebrity baby names, etc.


Behind the Name - The Etymology and History of First Names


    This site claims that over 700 million names are searchable in most languages.  Try it out!


Cool Baby Names


    Cool Baby Names is a site for identifying baby names and their meanings.


Eponym: International Names


    This truly international site allows one to search for the meaning of a name (or a name for a meaning), receive naming hints and tips and examine names from specific cultures.  It contains a series of general (Anglo-oriented) name lists.  It contains also an extensive catalog of name links from regions and cultures worldwide and links to hundreds of personal name sites.


Modern British Surnames: Frequency and Distribution


    Gives the distribution, incidence and analysis of the surnames of Britain, mainly post-1837, but does not provide the history or etymology of an individual surname.


Surnames: A Selected List of References about Personal Names, Compiled by Paul J. Connor, Reference Specialist, Library of Congress, Research Guide No. 8.


    This bibliography currently contains 148 entries on personal name publications.




American Name Society


    The American Name Society was founded in 1951 to promote onomastics, the study of names and naming practices, both in the United States and abroad.  It is a non-profit organization that seeks to find out what really is in a name, and to investigate cultural insights, settlement history and linguistic characteristics revealed in names.


Canadian Society for the Study of Names (Société canadienne d'onomastique)


    Founded in 1967, the principal objectives of the Canadian Society for the Study of Names (CSSN) are to promote the study of all aspects of names and naming in Canada and elsewhere, as well as the exchange of ideas among onomatologists, toponymists and scholars in the related fields of literary onomastics and linguistic aspects of names.


The International Council of Onomastic Sciences (ICOS)


    The International Council of Onomastic Sciences (ICOS) is the international organization of all scholars who have a special interest in the study of names (placenames, personal names, and other proper names).  The aim of the Council is the advancement, representation and co-ordination of name research on an international level and in an interdisciplinary context.  The site is published in English, French and German.


Medieval Names Archive


    This collection of articles on medieval and renaissance names is intended to help historical re-creators to choose authentic names."  There are sections on choosing a medieval name, names in specific cultures, and names of places, things, and animals.


Who Was Who in North American Name Study


    This site was created as one of the ways to celebrate the 50th anniversary (December 29, 2001) of the American Name Society.  Coordinated by Alan Rayburn and created by Michael McGoff.