Name generator oddness

What’s up with the name generator (Windows)? I choose First name male, Origin American, beginning with J, and I get, over and over in random order:


Real American.

And no John, Jack, James, Jim, Josh, Jules, Julian, Joseph, Joe, or Jake?


It’s only as good as the name lists its given. I can’t say I know anyone named those names, myself…

This might be way too much work, but the name generator is one of my favourite features of Scrivener, so I thought I’d give it a bash. I’ve also noticed the slightly odd names and what about allowing users to set an obscurity factor, like a factor of 1 produces names like James or John that occur commonly in the population, while a factor of 90 would produce really obscure names? There used to be a name generator based on US census data with an obscurity factor at, but it appears to have stopped working.Quick Character Namers-Generates basic names, based off of census data for America. Uses common names only. Special thanks to the man behind This Page for making the data available. His generator is, honestly, far superior to this one, but I created this so I had a convenient utility on-page for people.

I’m not aware of all the sources that went into creating the database for the name generator, but they include census info and a lot of (baby) name lists which probably verge off into the obscure. These are likely names from various lists where parents have gotten creative and combined names, changed spellings, etc. to give their child something unique, and these originals have been credited to parents in the U.S., probably not incorrectly. (As a flip of that, though, there are some unique spellings of traditional names from other backgrounds that still get credited as being Italian or German or so forth, even though they’re probably not common that way in those original countries; that crops up a lot on name sites or books with “alterations” on a name of X origin.) More traditional names like John have an earlier origin.

I do recognise that the data in the generator could be improved, but given that it’s a minor just-for-fun feature in Scrivener, spending the time needed to go through all of that hasn’t been high on the to-do list yet. You can however create your own lists to add to the database.

Hi Jennifer -

I realize this feature is just a toy, but it would be nice if it at least included the most common names, particularly if the database was drawn from a census.

In any case, yoiu mentioned that one can add to the database. I’ve seen that mentioned elsewhere, but no details on how to do it. Can you explain?

Hello Major,
Tools/Writing Tools/Name Generator and then click on the import tab; the rest is pretty self explanatory.
Good luck with your writing.

Thanks very much, Shass!