Given names Given names are often called first names and middle name, or forenames. In English speaking countries they normally come before surnames or family names, but in some cultures they come after. They are the names which are given when we are born. They are somtimes called Christian names, but of course it’s not only Christians who have given names. (MS) This map of Great Britain shows the distributon of one given name, George, in 1881: (Map created with Surname Atlas © Archer Software) Why study personal names? Because such a study provides a great opportunity to study tastes and preferences and how these vary amongst males and females, between different cultures and between different times.