Plugins Onomastics

What does "Onomastics" mean?

Onomastics is the science of names, naming conventions, and the origin and history of names.
Onomastics is the study of proper names of all kinds and the origin of the name. The word is derived from the Greek word ounouma, (name). Toponymy, the study of place names, is one of the principal branches of onomastics.

And what can it do for us?

Whenever you have a DB with personal information, you want a good quality of your data. It can be a phone book, a member list, client list, whatever.

Think of what happens if your company sends the same 2 letters to the same client, one to "Bill Clinton" and one to "William Clinton". Or when Julia receives a letter to "Mr. Julia Roberts".

Besides the extra costs, the client will have a bad impression of your organization.

Things like that happen way too often when entering a form:
  • Someone selected the wrong gender radio button.
  • Someone adds "Rick Miller" as new client because the existing record is listed as "Richard Miller".
The BlueShoes Onomastic plugin can reduce these kind of errors before they happen.

Problem areas:

  • typo: simth instead of smith.
  • foreign characters: mueller or müller, juerg or jürg. note that some systems use juerg instead of jürg cause of character sets, and some ppl need to be written that way. If your name is written "juerg müller" in your passport, you can't go and open a bank account as "jürg müller".
  • nicknames: peggy for margaret, bill for william.
  • short forms: b. gates for william gates (ouch!).
  • localization: andreas from germany, andré from france, andrei/andrej from russia and andrea from italy is the same name, just translations. moved to the us, and all become andrew because those americans can't make a difference. mr. hundertwasser may also become hundredwater or so. with italians 'andrea' we have another problem, cause in germany andrea exists too, but is feminin.
  • name families: adelheide, adelheidi. especially nowadays it's cool to invent new names, or at least new spellings. the americans might be different, having michael as #1 baby name since 1964 *shakes head*. in this example, heidi may be a different family member and a nickname, both is possible.
  • titles and qualifiers: dr. prof. ph.d. nat. ... may be written as "dr. smith" or "smith, dr."
  • prefixes: Di Caprio, D'Agostino, Al Afif, Mc Donald, ...
  • married: "peggy smith" becomes "margaret johnson". bingo. she may aswell become "peggy johnson-smith" or so, which leaves us a chance to still find her.
  • write form: john peter, johnpeter, john-peter
  • localization again: once french was the world language #1, it was used to translate names from russian etc into 'european'. a real example is a person that was named Lejnine and now became Lezhnin (with passwort change and everything).
  • sex operation: mister thomas smith becomes miss emelie smith.
  • with spanish names and fulltext indexing we have to be more strict because everyone is called jose maria fernandez garcia gonzalez rodriguez. You'll find a match of those in nearly every name.

Do better than soundex!

The package offers functionality to find duplicates in your db, calculate the similarity of 2 name pairs, find out the gender of a first name, check if a name pair ("peter johnson") is in the wrong order ("johnson peter") etc.

It uses databases with thousands of names, plus additional information (name prefixes, titles etc) to do so.

Name-Relation Editor:

A browser-based svg editor helps managing the relations between given names. If you would like to help with that project, please contact us. You can take a look at it (with restricted rights). Note that internet explorer is needed to see the relations (svg).


Name Manager

Name Manager - Take a look.




Available with
  • BlueShoes commercial licenses
Check the license overview page for details.

Let us know

Have you done something interesting with BlueShoes or one of its components?