Category: old-fashioned baby names

Fresh Vintage Baby Names for Girls

vintage girl baby names

By Abby Sandel

The best thing about vintage baby names is that there are always new ones to consider. Emma, Clara, and Alice were big in the 1890s, and all are in style in 2016, too.

Looking for baby names for girls that are equally vintage, but less common? Names like Dorothy, Ruth, and Marjorie were darlings of the 1920s, and are all on the upswing now, too – but all are outside of the Top 300.

Lately vintage baby names for girls have been in the news, with an appealing mix of relatively uncommon possibilities making headlines.

Let’s take a look at the antique appellations chosen by parents for their daughters in recent weeks, all vintage baby names for girls.

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Baby Names Before 1850

vintage baby names

Records on baby names only started in the US in 1880, and so getting an accurate read on what babies were named before that has been difficult at best. But now a researcher named Douglas Galbi has compiled lists of baby names drawn from census records of the early 19th century. With the help of Esita Rocha, we combed through Galbi’s data on baby names from 1800 to 1850 in search of trends, patterns, and vintage baby names that go way beyond the expected John and Mary, Elizabeth and James. Here, our findings, illustrated by American folk art of the same period.   – Pamela Redmond Satran

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What Names Are Ripe for Revival?

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You know who are the biggest berries of all?  That’s right, me and LindaEven if we didn’t work here, we’d probably spend all our time obsessively tooling around the site.

And though we wrote all the name entries ourselves, we’re constantly re-encountering names that we maybe kinda forgot existed and now appreciate anew.  Wow, we think.  That’s a cool one.  Wonder if it will ever come back?

This just happened to me with the name Cyrilla.  The boys’ equivalent Cyril is handsome if a bit effete for the modern world, though it may get rediscovered thanks to the revival of the similar Cyrus and Silas. But what about Cyrilla? That’s a cool old name that’s at once exotic and familiar, highly unusual — there were NO girls named Cyrilla recorded on the most recent Social Security list — yet not invented. Besides being the feminine form of the Latin Cyril, it’s also a botanical name for flowering plant found throughout the tropics.

So I nominate Cyrilla as a name that’s ripe for revival. What are some old names you think might become new again?

Photo of antique doll from Kathy Libraty’s Antiques at Ruby Lane.

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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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