Need Help with Creating Authentic Names

Hello,

I’m working on developing a character based in [name_f]California[/name_f] but with family ties to Oaxaca State, Mexico. It’s important to me to portray their cultural heritage accurately and respectfully. To ensure this, I’m doing thorough research to understand and honor their traditions and background. I also seek assistance to ensure that the character’s name respects and preserves the cultural integrity.

The character’s paternal grandfather immigrated from Oaxaca in the 1960s, and his mother followed in the late 1970s to early 1980s. The character’s name is Ángel [name_m]Mateo[/name_m], a graduate student in Northern [name_f]California[/name_f] studying International Studies and Political [name_m]Science[/name_m]. His career goal is to influence international policy within a government agency.

Ángel is defined by resilience, determination, and a deep understanding of people and life. He is dedicated to advocating for the well-being of others and aims to bring about positive change. His inspiration comes from his grandfather’s enduring strength, and he strives to honor his family’s heritage through his accomplishments.

As someone with a [name_m]Dutch[/name_m] immigrant lineage, I want to authentically represent Ángel and his heritage. I’m also seeking suggestions for a suitable middle name and surname for this character and would appreciate any other advice or input. Additionally, I have autism, which can sometimes affect the clarity of my communication, so I appreciate your understanding and patience.

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No worries bud, I’m an Autist too. I’m glad there’s another person who’s hyper focused on cultural accuracy like I am when it comes to my characters. Anyways, you said one of your primary issues is authenticity with naming and culture, and while I can’t exactly help with the latter, I think I have the perfect solution to your naming dilemma. There’s this stupidly useful website called Forebears.io that has information about names and their frequency in every single country in the world, including lists about the most common names in a single state/province of a country. I use it frequently to gage the types of names that are common in a specific country or region in accordance with my characters. After a quick search, I found the top 1000 most common names and surnames in Oaxaca. Keep in mind that I’m unsure how frequently updated this site is, so I’d advise taking each ranking with a pinch of salt as there’s no telling if those statistics have changed over the years.
Here’s the specific link you’ll need: Most Common Names in Oaxaca, With Meanings (forebears.io). Hopefully, navigating this site won’t be too much of a hassle.

As for some cultural advice, Mexico tends to operate under the naming system of (first name), (second name/“middle name”), (father’s paternal surname), & (mother’s paternal surname).
This website describes it fairly well: (Mexican - Naming — Cultural Atlas)

Best of luck with your writing!

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I unfortunately don’t know much about Mexican naming traditions, but something I’m wondering about is, was your character born in California or Mexico? As far as I can tell, California law doesn’t allow for non-English characters, so his name would be Angel instead of Ángel if he was born there. Just something to think about! Everything else I know about has already been covered by the previous poster regarding the first name / middle name / two surname format. Good luck!

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