Medieval Naming Guides: Frankish and French

French Names

France today is a unified country with a common language. That was not true in our period: It was a collection of dialects, some quite similar, some quite different. The most significant division was between the langue d'oil, or French, spoken in the north, and the langue d'oc, also called Occitan or Provençal, spoken in the south. These were different languages, not just dialects of the same language, and names in them were quite different. The region where Occitan dialects were spoken is shown on this map and this one.

This index contains articles on names in Frankish and Old French, languages of the north and ancestors of modern French. Articles on Occitan names are available elsewhere.

Frankish Names

Frankish Name Construction
A short excerpt from Stephen Wilson, The Means of Naming, compiled by Guntram von Wolkenstein. Also posted by Shire of Adamastor.

Masculine & Feminine Names from the Merovingian Line c.400-c.600 AD, by Aryanhwy merch Catmael
A list of names of members of the Merovingian royal family.

Early Germanic Names from Primary Sources, by Nicolaa de Bracton
Lists of masculine and feminine given names suitable for early Germanic personae, taken from Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks and from Two Lives of Charlemagne, published by Penguin Classics.

Academy of Saint Gabriel report 2397
The report discusses 9th century Frankish naming customs and offers a short list of feminine given names and a longer one of masculine names.

10th Century Frankish Names from the Survey of Neuillay, by Wil Yannacoulias
A list of masculine and feminine given names, with frequencies.

Academy of Saint Gabriel report 2011
Contains some masculine and feminine given names from 9th-11th century records from Brittany. Many are of Breton origin, some are Frankish or Latin.

Latinized Names from 12th Century Jerusalem, by Alys Mackyntoich.
Given names and bynames from a collection of charters issued by Melisande, Queen of Jerusalemn, between 1144 and 1160. The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem was Frankish in origin.

French Names

Academy of Saint Gabriel report 3009
This report discusses late-11th century Norman feminine names.

Latinized French Names from 12th and 13th C Parisian Cartularies by Aryanhwy merch Catmael
A collection of given names and bynames from Latin records.

Names from the Abbey of Auberive, 1219-1244, by Constanza of Thamesreach
A handful of masculine and feminine names from charters relating to the Abbey of Auberive, about 300 km south-east of Paris. The names are recorded in Latin.

An Index to the Given Names in the 1292 Census of Paris, by Colm Dubh
An alphabetical list of one example each of some of the given names appearing in the census. Gender is indicated by the associated byname. The census itself was recorded in the vernacular, so the spellings of given names in this list can be taken as an accurate record of period usage. However, the bynames do not always reflect their actual usage in the original source and so must be taken with care. At the end of the article, the editor has provided a separate list of the names of Parisian Jews, which are distinguished in the original source. An 1837 edition of the census may be found at Google Books.

Paris sous Philippe - le - Bel, Hercule Géraud
An 1837 edition of the 1292 Paris census. Some accents and punctuation are editorial additions, and do not reflect the original thirteenth-century text. The data in the census has been re-presented in Names in the 1292 census of Paris, by Aryanhwy merch Catmael.

Personal Names Found in the Armorial du Dénombrement de la Comté de Clermont en Beauvaisis 1373-1376: Some Names from Picardy in the 14th Century, by Brunissende Dragonette de Brocéliande
A collection of mostly masculine, but a few feminine, names from a late 14th C armorial.

Names from Bruges, 1400-1600, by Loveday Toddekyn
This collection of names was compiled from records of guild members. The names are mostly masculine, but a few are feminine. The names show a mixture of French and Dutch influence.

Names from Paris, 1408-1449, by Aryanhwy merch Catmael
A collection of personal names and names of households and hostels from the Journal de Paris from the reigns of Charles VI and VII.

French Names From Paris, 1423 & 1438, by Aryanhwy merch Catmael
Lists of masculine and feminine given names and surnames from two tax rolls.

Academy of Saint Gabriel Report 2904
This report contains a short list of 15th century women's given names from Lyon.

Names from Chastenay, France, 1448-1457, by Aryanhwy merch Catmael
Men's and women's names from court records in a town about 300 km. SSE of Paris.

Names Found in Commercial Documents from Bordeaux, 1470-1520, by Aryanhwy merch Catmael and Talan Gwynek
A list of names from several languages, recorded in French commercial documents. The article is incomplete, but the data are correct.

Names from Choisy, France, 1475-1478, by Aryanhwy merch Catmael
Men's and women's names from court records in a town about 25 km. from Paris.

Given Names from Brittany, 1384-1600, by Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn
Mostly 16th century names, some of uncertain gender.

Names from Lallaing 1384 - 1600, by Domhnall na Moicheirghe
Given names and bynames from the commune of Lallaing in the north of France near the Belgian border. The names show some Flemish influence.

Crew of the Le Christophe in 1535, by Michel Robert
A couple dozen masculine names.

Names from Bréhan-Loudéac, Brittany, 1536-1552, by Iago ab Adam (Michael Case)
Given names and surnames from baptismal records. Many are Latinized.

Names from Saint Dolay, Brittany, 1554-1582, by Iago ab Adam (Michael Case)
Names, surnames, and an analysis of name constructions from records written in French.

Sixteenth Century Norman Names, by Cateline de la Mor
Lists of masculine given names, feminine given names, and surnames collected from a history of 16th century Normandy.

Names from Sixteeenth Century Picardy, by Arval Benicoeur
A small collection of given names, surnames, and place names.

Names from the Rôle des taxes de l'arrière-ban du Bailliage d'Evreux, in 1562, by Brunissende Dragonette
A collection of names from a mid 16th-century tax role. There are lists of given names, ordered by frequency, and an alphabetical list of bynames, as well as the raw data.

Names from a 1587 Tax Roll from Provins, by Aryanhwy merch Catmael
About 150 men's and women's names from this small city southeast of Paris.

Some 16th Century Parisian Male French Names, by Chrestienne la pescheresse
A collection of masculine names from 1561 and 1583.

Names Found in Ambleny Registers 1578-1616, by Mari Elspeth nic Bryan
Given names and surnames from northern French baptismal records. There is a table of contents for frequent users.

Names from Artois, 1601, by Aryanhwy merch Catmael
Given names and surnames collected from tax rolls in two towns near the modern French/Belgian border.

Walloons and French, 1621, at Genealogy Quest
A list of 227 French and Walloon emigrants to Virginia, about half masculine and half feminine.

La Guide des Chemins de France, by Charles Estienne
An online edition of a sixteenth-century book on French geography. Written in French with modern table of contents.


Rob's Norman Bibliography: Section S: Toponymy and Onomastics
Part of a larger bibliography of Norman history and culture.

Names from Switzerland
See also German and Italian, as appropriate.

14th-16th C Names from Valais, Switzerland, by Aryanhwy merch Catmael
Men's and women's given names and surnames from a document written in Latin.

Occitan and Provençal Names

See the Occitan and Catalan names index.

Jewish Names in France

See the Jewish names index.

Breton Names

See the Breton index.

The Medieval Names Archive is published by Ursula Georges. It was historically published by the Academy of Saint Gabriel.
Copyright on individual articles belongs to their authors.