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Posted September 23rd, 2013
32 Responses to “Classic Baby Names: 10 timeless choices”
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September 23rd, 2013 at 10:37 pm
Great list. Just wanted to add that Will Smith is actually a Willard, not a William.
September 24th, 2013 at 12:01 am
I think there are better choices than Jane and sophia, lovely names but I think Maria would be more classic ? And I also was looking for more biblical boy names Paul and John.
September 24th, 2013 at 12:59 am
I’m surprised centuries chart-toppers John or Mary didn’t make the list.
September 24th, 2013 at 2:12 am
I’m not a classic name person. I find all of these boring except James and Jane.
September 24th, 2013 at 2:44 am
Great post ! Personally I would replace Sarah with Mary and David with John.
September 24th, 2013 at 5:14 am
Margaret. Edward. Anne. Joseph.
September 24th, 2013 at 5:17 am
I wouldn’t say Sophia is a classic. I’d replace that with Mary.
September 24th, 2013 at 6:19 am
I love that you have Jane, but I wouldn’t have included Sophia.
September 24th, 2013 at 6:43 am
Yes, Sophia has a classic, elegant feel, but it was definitely considered an old-fashioned name not that long ago and will probably sound dated to the early 21st century to the next generation, who will no doubt want to name their kids anything but! I realize it’s difficult to find completely trend-proof names, though.
September 24th, 2013 at 6:47 am
I absolutely adore classic names and I don’t find them boring at all. My own top 10 would be:
David, Joseph, Peter, Thomas & William and Alice, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Emma & Jane
Not exactly the most popular, but they’re all favourites of mine. If I was to do ‘core classics':
James, John, Robert, Thomas & William and Anne, Elizabeth, Jane, Mary & Sarah
But there are so many other beautiful ones that miss out!
September 24th, 2013 at 7:54 am
Oh, this blog is my baby! I love the classics, and Elizabeth and James have been my favorites for a long, long time. I would have included Margaret or Mary rather than Sophia, though. There are great vintage nicknames to be derived from Margaret or Mary, of course, like Elizabeth: Molly, May, Maisie, Millie, Maidie, Maggie, Meggie, Meg, Daisy, Polly. I’ve seen some of these applied to either, historically.
I’ve witnessed Sukey used as a Sarah diminutive, although more commonly, of course, for Susannah or Susan.
While classics for males have been commonly adopted the past few decades in their long form, I do witness the mid-century short forms in use for little boys in Irish-American neighborhoods, for one: Jimmy, Ed, Johnny, Billy, Dan, Joe. I love the long forms, but also enjoy the mid-century America associations of the diminutives.
September 24th, 2013 at 8:23 am
I would also replace Sophia and Sarah with Anne and Margaret. Great blog though!
September 24th, 2013 at 8:24 am
and Mary too, of course..
September 24th, 2013 at 8:55 am
As a mom to a Sofia and a James, I clearly adore the classic names. As a name nerd, I first hesitated to give our kids “popular” names but after much thought, I realized I would rather give them classic names with a strong history behind them rather than something unique that may become trendy a few years down the road.
September 24th, 2013 at 9:47 am
I agree with most of these choices as classics except Sophia. Like someone else pointed out not long ago it was an old lady name and now it feels very trendy. I think Victoria, Margaret, Mary, Claire or Rebecca seem more like true classics. But I feel that there are more classic names for boys than for girls. I think my favorite classic name for boys is Andrew, but I may be a bit biased as it is my husband’s name.
September 24th, 2013 at 9:49 am
A lot of good points. It’s definitely hard to limit to ten and there are excellent arguments for all the names people suggested adding.
September 24th, 2013 at 12:01 pm
Love this post! Two of my five children’s names are on this list. I have a James and a Katharine. You’ve boosted my courage to push for Sarah if this next little one is a girl.
September 24th, 2013 at 3:59 pm
Ah I love this post!!
Classic names are so gorgeous. They’ve stood the test of time and despite being popular never gain trendiness and just feel effortless. I disagree with many about Sophia I think she classic yes she’s gained popularity and many consider her trendy but for me she’s a classic. For Europeans Sophia is on many family trees, for many American’s the name is on family trees, she has the elegance of Catherine and the strength of Elizabeth – she is a classic.
September 24th, 2013 at 4:04 pm
My mother wanted to name my sister Sarah, but Dad vetoed her. She was happy because in first grade there were like three (or four) Sarahs in her class, but only one of the other name.
My first grade teacher was old and said in the 60’s she once had a class with five Davids.
I prefer Michael to David. It has more nicknames like mike Mikey mickey, mick etc.
David though is less overused now.
Great list and great theme!
September 24th, 2013 at 5:16 pm
The key word here is “timeless”. No one would ever know the year your child was born if you give them such classic names as Elizabeth and William. These names endure because they are appropriate for any age and can withstand any trend.
September 24th, 2013 at 6:13 pm
I agree with these names but would swap Sophia and Sarah and add Mary, Margaret, or Anne. Catherine is really growing on me lately.
As an aside I met three young brothers this weekend William, Charles and Henry ( no nns ) Wonder if she has a girl if one of these will be #4!
September 24th, 2013 at 6:46 pm
Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t Catherine been in steady DECLINE over the last few years??? Hmmm…
Anyways, I love Elizabeth and James!!!! I mean… LOVE. If I had a girl right now she would be either Elizabeth or Aurelia. James is my front runner for a son. I can’t think of one way to tease a James. It’s the perfect name IMO
September 24th, 2013 at 6:50 pm
Also, even though Sophia is a very old name, I don’t see it as a timeless name. It hasn’t had the enduring popularity of names like Elizabeth, James and William. I’m not sure how it qualifies.
In fact, right now it feels extremely trendy. In 20 years it will be dated and no longer in fashion
September 25th, 2013 at 7:58 am
I agree with EmilyVA’s suggestion of Michael as a classic. It recently (20th century) achieved classic status, though, but I wager it’s here to stay.
I forgot to mention Thomas yesterday. I’ve heard it diminutized, boldfacedly, to Tommy for Irish-American youth.
One word about classics returning in recent decades in their full forms. It seems that after countless numbers of middle-aged Bills, Toms, Johns, Bobs, Jims, Dans, Joes, etc., the short forms became mundane, almost generic, and later generations naturally embraced the formal versions as fresh. The longer forms do have a more historic, earlier American appeal, and I think that is part of the pull. In keeping with the last observation, some of the pre-mid-century vintage short forms are being applied such as Will over Bill, Jack instead of Johnny, and I’m predicting, Ned or Ted over Ed. Give it some time, though, and mid-century diminutizations will be back. I’ve recently witnessed an under five called Mick.
September 25th, 2013 at 8:13 am
“One word about classics returning in recent decades in their full forms. It seems that after countless numbers of middle-aged Bills, Toms, Johns, Bobs, Jims, Dans, Joes, etc.,”
I meant to say “Johnnys” instead of “Johns.”
September 25th, 2013 at 10:28 am
James and Elizabeth are my in-laws, William is my grandfather and Jane is my aunt. Love this post.
September 25th, 2013 at 7:15 pm
I think Mary is glaringly omitted from this list!
September 25th, 2013 at 7:57 pm
This is a great post! I love all of the names you selected, although I’m not sure I would call Sophia a classic. And where is Mary? (Downton Abbey, anyone?)
September 27th, 2013 at 9:33 am
Having Sophia instead of Mary is just silly.
September 27th, 2013 at 10:13 pm
Charles is completely unattractive these days, I wouldn’t put it in the same category as James.
In reference to another poster above, all of these names could be teased. If kids want to tease your kid, it doesn’t matter if he/she is called James, William or Sarah, they’ll get teased. Just like I know guys named Ashley and Courtney that have never been teased. It’s all in the personality
September 28th, 2013 at 8:40 am
What about Caroline ?! Or even Abigail ? They are both more classics than Sophia.
September 29th, 2013 at 6:21 pm
Victoria should replace Sophia. Caroline is another classic.
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