The subject of names comes up frequently on the Kazakh adoptive parenting lists. Unfortunately, there are very few resources on-line. Below is a list of resources for ethnic and general names and a list of names, some with meanings.
Whether or not to change a child's name is a very personal decision. Quite a few adoptive parents will keep their child's original first name as a middle name, and give them an "American" first name. Others "Americanize" the original name. Some children are abandoned, and therefore named by the birth certificate office or other officials, which means that the name would have less sentimental value. One thing to keep in mind is that the child's name on paper is not necessarily what they are actually called; nicknames and diminutives are frequently used.
General Baby Naming Resources
These may include multiple ethnicities.
Behind the Name : the etymology and history of first names. Search and large lists by ethnicity, including Russian and Kazakh.
The Kabalarians web site offers the following Kazak names; they don't really list a meaning of the name, but a "personality" description, similar to numerology, based upon mathematical principles. "The extent to which English has been a part of your life determines the degree of influence of the spelling of your name using the English alphabet." The names listed below have been listed on the site, and they say they have a total of 500 Kazakh name. Male Kazakh Names : Akmetzhan, Alen, Alibek, Arman, Askar, Baltabek, Camran, Daniar, Dastan, Eric, Erkin, Erzhan, Garri, Hojanias, Jean, Kairat, Kemhebek, Marat, Mukhametkali, Nazer, Nurlan, Nursultan, Oraz, Ravil, Serik, Serikbek, Talgat, Taras, Abai, Ablai, Achmedjan, Amanet, Aniyar, Assylhan, Baurzhan, Beibitzhan, Borat, Daniyarbek, Ershat, Fauske, Fomenko, Kapan, Kenes, Khazretgali, Kholmatzhon, Kuanyshbek ,Madiyar, Magjan. Female Kazakh Names : Aigoul, Asel, Auken, Jean, Mariam, Raikhan, Aiaulym, Aigerim, Ainagul, Ainura, Aiselu, Aizhan, Alaphia, Aquanika, Aruzhan, Assel, Assem, Ayia-Napa, Batima, Binagurung, Bota, Botagoz, Dilnara, Enlik , Gulfiya, Gulshaim
They also have listings for Russian male and Russian female names, and many other categories . This site will at least tell you the ethnic origin of a name.
From Virtual Excursion over Kazakhstan (quoted in Issue 1 of the Kazakh Kids newsletter).
The Kazakhs have no special made up names. All names come from the condition of their personal existence and the style of life they lead. It is not uncommon for names to be given that reflect certain events that occur at the time of the child's birth. Often the names reflect the hope of parents that the child will demonstrate certain character qualities. Women's names correspond to beauty, grace, elegance. Some names are derived from animals and their special characteristics. We can also see the geographic names. Sometimes names are given as a determination of the age of father. Oftentimes the names reflect some folk's traditions and customs. Just as many other nations, Kazakhs use a lot of different short-cut names. They are created by subtracting the ends of names and adding 'sh' or 'ken': Satuilgan = 'Satish', Auinagul = 'Auinash', and Saducas = 'Saken'. Parents, relatives and elder very often call children by diminutive names associated with the names of animal young.
Kazakhs traditionally believe that your name affects your fortune. Every name has a meaning, but modern young people don't always know the meaning of their names. Some Russified parents give their child a pretty Kazakh name without really knowing the meaning, but it is still considered shameful not to know what your name means. Traditionally there is a naming ceremony for infants. The baby is laid in his/her crib, and his mother, mother's friends, and female relatives gather around him. One woman approached the cradle and tells the baby his or her name, saying three times: "Cening ating ____" ... which means "Your name is ____" (fill in the blank)! With that, the child is properly named. In selecting a name, it's not appropriate to use ancestors' names (going back for seven generations), to use names of local holy people to whom you pray, or to use names from the Koran without the approval of local elders. My teacher said that her aunt named her cousin a name from the Koran without approval, and the cousin was very unlucky and accident-prone until the name was changed! (Thank you, Celia, for the preceding information.)
The following names with meanings comes primarily from Virtual Excursion over Kazakhstan , Issue 4 of the Kazakh Kids newsletter, Oriental Express Central Asia and other parents. Dictionary of Period Russian Names helped fill in some of the blanks. I make no claims to the accuracy of the spelling, origins, or meanings. In some cases, I have found very different meanings. Generally, an (R) indicates that the name is Russian. If there is nothing listed, it is either Kazakh or of unknown origin. I encourage you to research your child's name and let me know if what I have is correct. Please e-mail me if your child's name is not here.
There are some basic roots of the names. These may help you figure out the meaning of the name. You could also look at the words on the Language page for parts of the name.
ai = moon
ghul, gul, goul = flower
mir = world (R)
ak = white
bota = child of camel
altyn = gold
er = brave, courageous, hero
zhan = literally: soul; precious
nur = shine
bazyl = generosity
zhas = young
bek = masculine ending; hard, tough, ruler
sh = suffix for loveable
tan = dawn, morning
dos = friend
bai = rich, used for sons, supposed to give good fortune
Kazakhs don't repeat a name in a family for 7 generations; they believe that doing so means that the relative doesn't exist any more and can cause a family feud.