Category: outdated names
When my sister was born, our relatives insisted she be named to honor a beloved, recently deceased family member. My mother hated the traditionally male name and refused to use it, igniting a bitter conflict that lasted years (until another child entered the family and was given the moniker). While I don’t think parents should give in to pressure from relatives when it comes to naming, there are certainly many parents who DO want to use the name of an adored family member or friend.
There’s a certain species of girls’ names that we’ve referred to in our books as freckle-faced, pigtailed and button-nosed: they’re the kind of character names inhabited by Shirley Temple as a curly-haired moppet, and Judy Garland as a wide-eyed, innocent teen, as well as starring in dozens of old popular songs. Basically nickname names that have long stood on their own, none can be found any longer in the current Top 1000 — though one of them ranked as high as Number 31 in the 1930’s.
They’ve been gone a long time, but they still project a lot of spunk, and so, with the revival of nickname names in general we’re wondering if any of these could get their youthful mojo back.
We’re talking about:
Gone since 1995; Highest rating: Number 228 in 1959
Betsy originated as a combination of other classic pet forms of Elizabeth—Betty, Beth and Bessie, and makes appearances in two Dickens novels—Pickwick Papers and David Copperfield. The ‘B’ Elizabeth nicknames were superseded by the ‘L’ ones– Liz, Lizzie, Liza and Lisa– but maybe now might be the time for a switch back.
Gone since 1975; Highest rating: 52 in 1936 and 1941
Gone since 1989; Highest rating: 31 in 1937
Peggy, a pet form of Margaret, is the one that’s climbed the highest of all these names. Perky and pure, Peggy was the perfect date for the prom—in 1953. In later decades it’s been traded in for Maggie.
In 1963, there were 23,900 baby girls named Lori, the same year that there were 21,191 little Tammys and 11,000 Cindys, not to mention all the Mindys, Mandys, Marcys, and Marnies with the then modern-sounding nicknamey, quasi-unisex, names popular from the mid-fifties and into the next couple of decades.
So is it any wonder that so many of today’s parents have moms and sometimes grandmothers with these vintage nickname names?
But as much as we love those family members, and would like to make them namesakes, would we really want to name our own little girls Mindy or Cindy? Probably would be better to seek a related substitute that would still serve to honor them.
Here are a few random update ideas, some that relate fairly directly to the mother name, others that are a bit more of a stretch.
More obvious: Candace
More obvious: Caroline
Less obvious: Carys
More obvious: Lucinda
More obvious: Daria
Less obvious: Dorothy
More obvious: Jamison
More obvious: Josie
Less obvious: Josephine
More obvious: Jolie
Less obvious: Joanna
More obvious: Keira
Less obvious: Kerensa
Less obvious: Lorelei
More obvious: Amanda
Less obvious: Manon
More obvious: Marcella
Less obvious: Maribel
Less obvious: Marin