Category: vintage baby names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Once a year, we like to stop and turn the calendar back a hundred years to see what parents were naming their babes a century ago and whether we might find some undiscovered treasures that, following the hundred-year rule, might be ready to be revived.
What was the world like in 1913? Trouble was fomenting abroad in the year preceding World War I, but in the US it was a time of new beginnings, with the election of Woodrow Wilson, the births of future Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, women marching to gain the vote– and, for better or worse, it was the year that saw the introduction of the Federal income tax, the first cigarette pack, stainless steel and the zipper.
Things were quiet at the top end of the baby name popularity list as well, headed by the expected classics for boys: John, William, James, Robert, Joseph, George, Charles, Edward, Frank and Thomas (not dissimilar to the royal baby list), while for the girls there were period favorites Mary (36,000+ of them), Helen, Dorothy, Margaret, Ruth, Mildred, Anna, Elizabeth, Frances and Marie. Of these Top 10 boys and girls, only William and Elizabeth survive on the current Top 10, with James and Joseph still in the Top 20.
Reminiscent of fifties doo-wop songs and southern cotillions, combo names are finding their way back to baby name lists after a decades-long absence.
The letter V gives us relatively few usable names, but many of the ones it does give us are gems. From the queenly Victoria and the steady Vincent to the wonderfully rare Verity and the popular sound of Vander, V names are where it’s at! Just take a look at some names celebrities are choosing for their little ones, such as Violet, Vivienne and Viggo.
As I looked at the V names from 2012, I couldn’t help but notice a lot of forgotten ones that deserve to be remembered, as well as some interesting picks from beyond the US borders. Let’s take a look at the names that jumped out at me with their number of 2012 births…
If you don’t have a beloved Gran of your own to name your baby after, how about looking for some outside inspiration from a pop culture Nana? Here’s a list of TV grandmothers, from the maternal to the monstrous (looking at you, Livia Soprano), the chic to the crotchety, whose names were seen as elderly at the time of their shows’ creation—from the 1950′s to the present—but which have become totally baby friendly today.
Here, the Nameberry picks of the 20 best Grandma TV baby names:
Thanks in large part to the single-named British singer, Adele popped into the Top 1000 last year at Number 627 and we expect to see it ranking considerably higher on the new list to be released next month. Molly Ringwald used it for her daughter in 2009.
The history of baby names is littered with former stars that burned brightly for a decade or two, only to fade from view.
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.