Bulgarian names usually consist of a given name, which comes first, then a second one – the father’s first name and then the third one (the family name) usually the grandfather’s first name. Traditionally Bulgarian given names might have Latin, Greek, Thracian, Bulgar or Hebrew origin. The idea of parents naming their child after an older relative is his/her name to live on in the family. Nowadays, the parents often ignore these conditions.
When marrying, like in America, a woman may choose to adopt her husband’s family name, retain her maiden name or combine the two using a hyphen. According to the Bulgarian law the husband may also take or add his wife’s family name.
Usually the last name of Bulgarian ends with “-ov”, “-ev” or “-ski” for males (e.g. Ivanov, Nikolov, Andreev, Asenov, Lalev, Sofianski and “-ova”, “-eva” or “-ska” for females (e.g. Ivanova, Asenova, Petrova, Tsvetanova).
Amongst the ten most popular given names are:
GIRLS: Maria, Ivanka, Elena, Alexandra, Viktoria, Desislava, Petya, Violeta, Gergana, Margarita
BOYS: Georgi, Alexandar, Ivan, Dimitar, Martin, Nikolay, Petar, Stefan, Vasil, Yordan