In 1803, Napoleon made a law which obliged all babies to be given French names (mostly those of saints or people from history) in French forms. In 1957 a list of French names and their French spellings was compiled. This has had some additions including optional spellings, some foreign names, nature and flower names and mythological names but the registrar can still refuse to record a child's birth if it is not being given a recognised name. Biblical and saints' names are very popular and many names show Latin and Germanic influence. Most people have a first name and a middle name which often shows some religious influence and is intended to place the child under the protection of a saint. It is not unusual for such names to be transferred from one gender to another (Marie for a boy, Joseph for a girl). Diminutives are usually formed from the second half of the name (Gustave/Tatave) or by attaching a different ending to the original name (Charles -Charlot).
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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