Names were (and still are to a certain extent) really difficult for me to get used to when I first came to Haiti. First there is the fact that French names are very different than English names. Then you have to take into account that all names, even ones I recognize on paper, are pronounced with a French accent. Names like Stephen and David are harder to recognize when they sound like Stef-on and Da-veed.
In the past 6 months I've noticed some interesting trends in Haitian names.
1. Absolute most common names in Haiti: for women Marie (sounds like my-ee)followed by any other name. For men Jean (sounds kinda like the end sound of garage) followed by any other name.
Ex: Marie Claire, Marie Ange, Marie Claude, Marie Rose2. E, M, P, and Y are very popular letters.
Ex: Jean Claude, Jean Robert, Jean Pierre, Jean Bertrand
Male names: Evens, Etienne, Erick, Exumene, Emmanuel, Michel, Marc, Mackenson, Pierre, Peterson, Peter, Paul, Patrick, Yves (sounds like Eve), Yvner3. Often there is a common base with various endings.
Female names: Esther, Edline, Emmanuela, Mirlande (sounds like Mirror-lahnd), Monique, Mimose, Patricia, Philomene, Yvonne, Yvette, Yvrose
Rosena, Rosemene, Rosita, Rosina, Rosilien, Rosilia, Rosette, Rosemita, Rosemina, et.4. Common female name endings: -line (Ameline & Cloline), -lande (Mirlande & Nerlande), -ette (Rosette & Yvette)
Fred, Fredson, Fredo, Frednel, Frederick
Dieuseul, Dieuy, Dieumene, Dieumaitre, Dieujuste, Dieufort, Dieubon (this base means God)
5. Common male name endings: -son (Robenson & Davidson), -nel (Fritznel & Kesnel), -ner (Yvner & Fredner)
6. There seem to be some common names that are not originally French: Manouchka (Ma-noosh-ka), Shnider/Schneider, Natacha (Natasha), Nephtalie, Lovensky, Djoumy, Dieuseul
7. Names I think are tragic for little girls, but are very common here: Guerda/Guertrude, Bernadette, Bertha/Bertony, Fedna, Medjine
8. While not overly common, the use of the words "love" and "wood" in names still baffles me.
Ex: Ruth Love, Mylove, Michaelove, Woodson, Wood Kelly, Woodjerry