History: Viking and Saxon Names

There are lots of Viking name sites on the interwebs, if you want to make yourself a new name.

A lot of Viking and Saxon names are made by taking two name elements and shoving them together, like Eadmund, Beornwulf or Thorhelm. Others are single-element names, like Olaf, Alf or Hauk.
Names all mean something, but don't worry about that too much. After all, modern names all mean something but most people don't care that much about it…

As well as the names, there are other things added to names. These can be either patronymics (things that say who's son/daughter you are, like Ingibjorg Ragnarsdottir or Olaf Sigurdsson) or nicknames (which are made up by other people, and describe you…)

So one person can have many names. Hauk can be just Hauk, Hauk Ragnarsson, Hauk Magnusfostirson, Hauk the Bastard, or Hauk Habrok ("high-breeches"). Or whatever people call him behind his back…

Here are some of our favourite sites giving you names:

  • The Viking Answer Lady is always brilliantly researched and presented, and this page is no different. This is the introduction to names page by her, with links to her pages on male names, female names, Russian/Varangian names, god names, how to pronounce names…
  • Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England is a wonderful database with 'structured information relating to all the recorded inhabitants of England from the late sixth to the late eleventh century' so not only can you find that Titstan is a genuine name, you can see when and where he lived and what King Edgar gifted to him!
  • Regia has a good collection of names, for Saxons, Vikings, Normans and Welsh. It includes a good list of name-elements as well, so you can mix & match to make your own name.
  • DAS has lovely lists of Saxon names and some Viking ones specifically from the 9th-10th century (which avoids the Medieaval Icelandic distortion of using sagas).
  • Viking Names found in the Landnámabók is funky because it sorts names by popularity.
  • A Collation of Viking Names by Stephen Francis Wyley is an ace list, with lots of references to where the names have been found in sagas and runestones.
  • Anglo-Saxon names from Bede: especially good for early Anglo-Saxons.

For the Vikings among you, Omniglot has a guide to pronouncing Old Norse.

If you are feeling truly lazy then here is a Viking Name Generator.

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