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List of Surnames for Writers in one BIG Excel Spreadsheet
If you’re looking for a list of surnames for writers, your search might be over! Like most writers, I struggle to find names for my characters — first and last names! Scrivener has a name-generating feature, but I don’t like it much, and there are other name generating tools online, but a name needs to reveal its self to me so it strikes me like a light of bolting versus clicking on these name-generating apps.
I prefer to research online or even better… if I hear or see a cool sounding name, I jotted it down into one spreadsheet (I have amassed over 100 names that way). But even with all that, I was struggling to find a surname for the protagonist of my WIP.
I was on the second surname when it soured on me, so I started farting around Google (instead of writing) for a new surname. I want something cool, but not too douchy. A surname that’s not too common, but yet, not too weird. Eventually, I landed at the United States Census Bureau‘s website where I hit the jackpot of surnames!
Not only do they list the popular surnames in the country, like top 100, top 1000, but they also had a list of surnames occurring 100 times or more and that bad boy was a treasure trove of surnames! 151,672 rows of surnames.
I downloaded the files from the Census.Gov website. You can download it directly from me here. FYI: it’s a big Excel file (almost 11 MB).
If you prefer to download these files separately from the Census.Gov website you can do that here. You’ll find them at the bottom of the “most popular” names chart, under the “Related Files” heading which is in bold (see screenshot below).