(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek
Parents expecting a baby (or babies) don't have a corner on debating which name will be a perfect fit for the newcomer. Writers, likewise, chose carefully.
Names bear more thought an consideration than many writers realize. Exploring names and their meanings for your characters can be fascinating, as well as very enlightening.
BabyNamer.com, http://www.babynamer.com/ is fast, efficient and very useful for finding names, their origins and definitions, nicknames, etc.. Click a letter of the alphabet at the top to generate girl\boy lists alphabetically.
Click color button, pink or blue to get names by gender. Click name. The right side panel gives clickable options that return information about Name Page, Name Sakes, Similar and Drawbacks, each requiring only a mouse click to bring information lightening fast!
Behind The Name, the etymology and history of first names, http://www.behindthename.com/, is a terrific resource that lets you check popularity, related names, name day, name ratings, etc., arranged by nationality, mythology, biblical, and many more options. You'll like the Alphabetical Navigator in a box at the left.
Kabalarian's site is an invaluable and fascinating site that concerns names, Kabalarians Philosophy, http://www.kabalarians.com/ Although time ran out before I was able to download the alphabetical name list, by using the Search box near top right of page, typing in a name, and then checking What Does My Name Mean?, I gleaned some information. Kalabarian Philosophy Electronic Newsletter, The Newsline, contains a vast amount of information about names.
Find the top 100 names in any given year at Social Security Online, http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/. You can also search a name to discover the year(s) it was most popular.
After you've studied at these sites, you'll be much better equipped when naming your characters, and you'll probably visit repeatedly.