Category: Classic Baby Names
Have you ever wondered which boys’ names might have been among the Top 1000 for all of the 130+ years the U.S. government has been tracking baby names? We’ve put together a list for you and divided it into relevant categories, from classics to outliers.
I’m starting this series with my favourite 19th century novelist, Thomas Hardy. If you’re looking for whimsical Victorian names, biblical rarities or wholesome old-timey nicknames, you’ll find them all in his books.
Hardy is famous for his stories of drama, scandal and (usually) doomed love set in rural southwest England, which he called by its historic name of Wessex. (Incidentally, that was also the name of his dog.) Besides the dramatics, his novels are also full of warm scenes of ordinary country life, which Hardy saw vanishing in his lifetime.
His two best-known characters both have short, sweet and successful names. You might recognise them from the title of their books.
Jude (the Obscure) is no longer an obscure name at all. It’s been rising in popularity over the last couple of decades, helped by Jude Law bringing it to public attention, and the Beatles song ‘Hey, Jude‘. In the US it ranks at 162 and might just break into the top 100 in the next few years. It’s already there in England and Wales, at 65.
Tess (of the d’Urbervilles) is declining in popularity on both sides of the Atlantic, ranking 998 in the US and 763 in England and Wales). That’s not the whole story, as there are probably a fair few girls called Tessa and Teresa who answer to Tess. In the Netherlands, where short girls’ names are very on-trend, Tess was the top name in 2013, and in 2015 was no. 7.
His characters cover the whole social range from servants and farmhands to landed gentry, and their names are equally varied. Let’s take a look at some of the naming styles he used.
The man referred to above is literary idol Odysseus, whose story is still taught in schools across the country and referenced in hundreds of books and films – including one of my favorites, O Brother Where Art Thou? Today we’ll be looking at just a few of the names of characters in his epic journey.
Viewers on both sides of the Atlantic have been enjoying the television show The Last Kingdom, based on novels by Bernard Cornwell. Set in the ninth century, it tells the story of the Danish invasion of what is now England, and the Saxon resistance.
A lot of the characters are real historical figures so we know their names are appropriate for their time and place (always a relief for name lovers). Many of the fictional characters also have names that were recorded around the same time.
Here are seven authentic Anglo-Saxon men’s names from the show, ranging from the familiar to the unheard-of. Characters’ names are spelled here are they are in the credits.
Whether you’d like to honor Yiayia and Papou but are worried about pronunciation issues, or you’re looking for a fresh take on classic names with long histories, the nicknames and variations of traditional Greek names below will give you numerous options when finding a suitable moniker for your little one.