Scroll down for books on my bookshelf, books on my wishlist, and web site recommendations. (See sidebar for Amazon Affiliate disclaimer.)
Books on my bookshelf
These are all books I own and refer to often.
The Baby Name Wizard, Revised 3rd Edition: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby by Laura Wattenberg
Almost always the place I start when doing name consultations; read my full review here.
Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names, 3rd Edition by E.G. Withycombe
I often refer to Withycombe in my posts; read my full review here.
A Dictionary of First Names (Oxford Paperback Reference) by Hanks, Patrick, Hardcastle, Kate, Hodges, Flavia (2006) Paperback
Sort of like an updated Withycombe, and also not; review forthcoming.
A Is for Atticus: Baby Names from Great Books by Lorilee Craker
Great commentary on each entry; review forthcoming.
“A” Is for Adam: Biblical Baby Names by Lorilee Craker
Great commentary and real-life naming stories; review forthcoming.
Puffy, Xena, Quentin, Uma: And 10000 Other Names for Your New Millennium Baby (Collateral) by Joal Ryan
One of my first and favorite name books; review forthcoming.
Beyond Shannon and Sean: An Enlightened Guide to Irish Baby Naming by Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran
A decent effort and fun read; review forthcoming.
The Catholic Baby Name Book by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
Not as complete as it claims, but a decent resource, especially re: the saints canonized by JP2 and B16; review forthcoming.
The Complete Christian Baby Name Book: Over 4,500 Catholic Names of Saints, Angels & Virtues by Nicole McGinnis
Pretty comprehensive list of saints and feast days (no commentary); review forthcoming.
African Saints, African Stories: 40 Holy Men and Women by Camille Lewis Brown, Ph.D
An interesting mixture of saints that I’d forgotten were/don’t think of as having been (or were likely, though not known for sure) African, as well as those I do know. More about it here; review forthcoming.
The Name Therapist: How Growing Up with My Odd Name Taught Me Everything You Need to Know about Yours by Duana Taha
Half memoir, half textbook — sort of like all the commentary of my favorite name books, without any of the name lists. More about it here; review forthcoming.
Beyond Charles and Diana: An Anglophile’s Guide to Baby Naming by Linda Rosenkrantz
Surnames of Ireland by Edward MacLysaght
Books on my wishlist
Or that I’m intrigued by. I’ve not read them and I can’t vouch for them.
Beyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana: What to Name Your Baby Now by Linda Rosenkrantz
Encyclopedia of Saints, Second Edition by Matthew Bunson
Behind the Name
Hands down the best, most trustworthy source for name meanings and origins, rivaled only by the DMNES (below); the comments for each entry are a great resource as well, and often lead to interesting nickname options, as well as pointing out cultural references to be aware of.
Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources
An academic project informed by current research, the DMNES offers a fascinating look at medieval names, including origins and meanings. Its associated blog is fantastic as well.
Also by Laura Wattenberg (Baby Name Wizard), I believe Nymbler was the original online name matchmaking tool before Name Matchmaker. I find it easier to use and more straightforward than Matchmaker (but I think Matchmaker might be more precise).
Baby Names of Ireland
Audiofiles of Frank McCourt pronouncing the names. Nothing more needs to be said. (Except, it’s not as comprehensive as I wish it was, but I find it very trustworthy.)
Social Security Administration (SSA)
Database of name popularity in the U.S. Top ten names for the most recent available year on the front page, or search for your favorite name’s popularity.