Choosing the Right Character Names for Your Training Scenario

I have a close friend who is having a baby and she pointed me to some very interesting websites she is using to help her select her son’s name. I often use baby name sites to find name ideas to use in my courses, but had never seen some of these sites that can help me truly narrow down the names I might want to the right country, region, and era.

Why would I use these? I recently created a course for learners who are retirement age. Because I was creating a course with stories about other retired individuals, I wanted to use names from the 1950s like James and Linda — rather than the current popular names like Jacob and Isabella — in my scenarios. Also, I use diverse names in my training, and I can use these websites to give me ideas that match the area of the country and age groups I’m targeting.

Here are the most useful sites I have found for selecting the right name for the scenario:

  • AGE-SPECIFIC NAMES: The Social Security Administration’s page for the popular baby names for a given year can tell you the most popular name for last year. Or, you can use their search engine to find the most popular names for every year after 1879! You can also search by decade.
  • REGION-SPECIFIC NAMES: The same website (from the Social Security Administration) can also give a list of baby names that were most popular for a particular U.S. state or U.S. territory (Puerto Rico vs. other territories) – which can also be searched at by year. This is a great site to find names for a specific area, and can add diversity to your course.
  • COUNTRY-SPECIFIC NAMES: You can find names from around the globe on this site. Just scroll down to the names by origin section of the website, and you can find names from Africa to India to Wales.
  • EXOTIC COUNTRY-SPECIFIC NAMES: If you need an exotic name from another country, you can go here to see the name, country of origin, and meaning.
  • GENDER-NEUTRAL NAMES: If you ever need a name in your course that is not gender-specific, click here.


Desiree Pinder
Artisan E-Learning

5 Responses to “Choosing the Right Character Names for Your Training Scenario

  • I like picking names with a theme. Such as old jazz musicians, football players, etc…

    • Anonymous
      10 years ago

      Interesting idea. Thank you for sharing it. I’m guessing a quick Internet search on the theme would get you the names of the “greats” for whatever theme you’ve chosen.

  • Tanya Coomes
    10 years ago

    I always struggle with variety. I like the following site that generates names for you: You pick gender and country — the site does the rest.

    • Anonymous
      10 years ago

      Thank you, Tanya, I have never used that site before. I’ll put that one at the top of my list from now on!

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Tanya mentioned a great site, and I don’t want you to miss it!

    A site called Fake Name Generator ( can create a full name for you (first name, middle initial, last name) – or an entire fake identity which includes such things as the address, telephone number, occupation, blood type, social security number, credit card number, birthday, etc. All of this information is a wonderful help when you need to create a realistic training database. You select the details of the name – including the country, gender, and, in the advanced features, age – and Fake Name Generator does the rest.

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