Choosing a French 'Nom de Guerre'
For each new recruit that joins the 151st, one of the first steps is to choose a French name to use in the field at events. We have taken to calling this a nom de guerre. At minimum, a first and last name must be chosen. A middle name and Christian name are optional, as many Frenchman at the time had both.
When deciding on a last name, unit members typically chose a name from the actual rolls of the regiment. Over the years, we have gradually compiled the following list of names of men who actually served in the ranks of the 151st:
de la Ferrière
Please be mindful of which last names have already been taken by visiting the Unit Roll page. Choosing from the regimental roll is not the only method for picking a surname of course. If you have a French family name somewhere in your lineage you are more than welcome to use it. Please just avoid going with a name of celebrities (historical or contemporary) or brand names.
When choosing a first name, there are several web sites to use to check the prevalence of specific names of the time. Perhaps the most informative is this one:
At this site, you can search a database of both first and last names. It lists the number of French people with that name in a given period of time. For first names, a timeline starting in 1900 is displayed. For last names, the oldest searchable period is from 1891-1915. Another site that can be used is:
This site lists the top 200 most popular first names in France in the year 1900. By clicking on a name in the list, you can see its popularity over a century. Finally, the “Memoire des Hommes” web site, operated by the French Ministry of Defense, is a compiling of nearly all French soldiers killed in the war and includes a scan of their death certificate.
The "Memoire des Hommes" site is useful for seeing how popular a given name was along with which region the man originated.