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Category: old-fashioned baby names

vintage nicknames

By Pamela Redmond Satran

Nickname-names still appear on birth certificates.  In the U.S., such names as Ellie, Abby, and Charlie for girls; Jake, Jack, and Johnny for boys all rank high.  In the U.K., nickname-names are even more fashionable, with Evie, Maisie, Millie, and Ellie in the Top 35 for girls, and Jack, Charlie, and Alfie in the boys’ Top 10.

But there are generations of nickname-names that have fallen off the Top 1000, yet sound cute and baby-ready today.  The list here is drawn from names that were on the Social Security roster on their own in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but fell off by the early 1970s (the date of their last listing follows the name) and haven’t yet reappeared.

Whether you choose to use Bea or Mamie, Clem or Zeb as full names or as diminutives for Beatrice or Marietta, Clement or Zebediah, any of these nickname-names would make charming choices.

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Are you lucky enough to know the names of your great-grandparents?

I know most of them: Garrett and Elizabeth/Lizzie, Patrick and Catherine, William and Margaret, and something and Eugenia.

They were born in Ireland and Austria and Scotland and  right here in the U.S.A., and their names make a combination of classic standards and intriguing vintage names.  Plus at least one great-grandmother had an intriguing maiden name that might work as a middle: Early.  Love it.

What were your great-grandparents’ names?  Do you know anything about their names or the lives of those more distant ancestors?  Where did they come from and what did they do?  Would you name a child after them?

Here, some notable names of famous people’s fathers.

Augustine Washington

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George Washington’s father was a Virginia Colony-born tobacco planter. Augustine, the influential saint’s name, snuck back onto the 2012 Top 1000 list at Number 999, after being in limbo for decades, perhaps slip-sliding in the wake of the growing popularity of August.

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Baby Names: Once so hot, now so not

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The history of baby names is littered with former stars that burned brightly for a decade or two, only to fade from view.

It’s hard to believe, from this vantage point, that Gladys or Edna ever made the Top 20, that names such as Harold or Larry were ever popular enough to dominate an entire decade.

It’s difficult to see Irene and Albert as the Isabella and Alexander of their day, to view Tammy or Tiffany as the height of cool.

Many of these once-hot names are lovely, even classic.  They’re just not as stylish as they once were (although some, especially from the earlier decades, are on their way back in).

We looked at the Top 25 baby names for each decade of the 20th century to pick out choices that were hot back them, and are not today.  Included here are Old People Names like Bertha and Clarence, Baby Boomer names such as Karen and Gary, today’s mom and dad names such as Jennifer and Jason, and names like Taylor and Tyler that are beginning to be heard much more often on babysitters than on babies.

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The Lost Names of 1913

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It’s a fallacy that, in the sweet old days, baby names were conventional and “normal” — children were named Mary and John or, at the outer fringes of adventurism, Ethel and Irving.

The truth is that a century ago there were scores of invented names, names with kreeative spellings, surnames and words turned first names, gender crossovers, and trendy choices that were there today and gone — very very gone — tomorrow.

The Top 1000 list of 1913 — go here to find it — is full of such unconventional baby names: Girls named Joseph and boys (lots of ‘em) named Mary, boys named Prince and girls named Queen.

Among the most popular names are choices rarely heard today — Edna and Gladys, Elmer and Floyd — along with rising stars of the baby name world such as Ruby and Hazel, Oscar and Everett.

And then down toward the bottom of the Top 1000, below such oddities to our ears as Milburn and Mafalda, are names that seem eminently “normal,” even cool, in the modern world like Lilah and Reid, Lexie and Reese.

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vintagebabies

See all our Vintage Baby Names.

If the Hundred-Year Rule – which states that it takes a century for most names to come back into fashion – holds true, then we’re in for some interesting times, judging from the list of 100 Most Popular Names of the 1910s.

A handful of the top names in the decade from 1910 to 1920 are already solidly back in style.  These old fashioned baby names include:

girls

ANNA
CHARLOTTE
ELEANOR
ELLA
EVA
GRACE
JULIA
LUCY
ROSE
STELLA
VIOLET

boys

ANDREW
BENJAMIN
CHARLES and CHARLIE
HARRY
HENRY
JACK
LEO
RAY
SAM
WILLIAM

A larger group is, not surprisingly, on the cutting edge of style, supporting the whole Hundred-Year theory by indicating which names we’ll be hearing more of in the decade ahead.  The old-fashioned names from the Top 100 in the 1910s that sound fashion-forward today include:

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