To find the national origin of different first names, go to a website such as BehindTheName.com or BabynameWizard.com, and enter the desired first name into the search box. Other options for learning about the etymology of first names are name books such as "A Dictionary of First Names," which is published by Oxford University Press.
Sites such as BehindTheName.com provide information on the origin and history of thousands of names throughout the world. Site visitors can browse names by letter, gender or origin, or conduct a detailed search using parameters such as meaning, number of syllables, sounds and popularity of the name. For example, a search for the name "Elizabeth" shows that it is of Hebrew origin and comes from the name "Elisheva," which means "my God is an oath." BabynameWizard.com also provides information on the origin of first names, plus a list of the most popular names in the United States. The site has a graph of name trends that displays the popularity of first names over time.
"A Dictionary of First Names" is another option for those who want to use a book to research name origins. The book includes more than 6,000 given names that are commonly used in English-speaking countries. The book provides detailed information on each name, such as origin, meaning, popularity and any famous people with the name. The book also provides any alternative spellings of the name and assistance with pronunciation.