Old West Name Generator

Apr 16, 2012
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The Old West is cool genre. The rich history is something I enjoy in games and reading material. So I decided to whip up a quick Old West Name Generator. The process was not quick or easy. Unlike name data from modern times, only a few databases exist for names during the latter half of the 1800’s. Most of those databases only allow minimal interaction due to the prodigious amount of work spent assembling the data from hand written census, military, and other records.

Strangely, the United States National Park Service has a searchable database of six million individuals from the Civil War. The NPS is a government funded organization but apparently has no released the database to the public. I settled on using a number of public rosters of Civil War veterans along with data on popular given names from the Social Security Agency. What started as around 40,000 records resulted in just under 14,000 unique names [10K surnames, 2.3K male names, and 1.3 female names]. The data set is significantly smaller than I envisioned initially. Tip of the hat to the individuals who have endeavored to transcribe the oft illegible records from that era.

Much like the data for the Medieval Name Generator, this database will take additional effort and research to flesh out fully.

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