Category: vintage baby names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
For what seems like forever, this pair of sainted sister names, Agnes and Agatha, have seemed like the quintessential starched, buttoned-up, high-lace-collared, mauve-dressed Great-Great-Grandmother appellations.
I’d like to propose that we let the unbuttoning commence.
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.
Both Adelaide and Adeline are beautiful, classic sounding names that have been gaining popularity for the past decade. Although similar, they are also distinct enough that it’s very possible they would both appear on many people’s lists. So how do you choose if you are partial to both? Sometimes it helps to look at them side by side.
Origin and Meaning
Meanings can carry aspirations for our children, or be a way to honour someone or something we love, while origins can be a way of honouring a particular heritage or your ancestry.
Adelaide — Adelaide has quite the European heritage. She’s German, originally Adalheid from the words ‘adal heid’, meaning ‘noble kind’. In Adelaide‘s original context, noble was meant to denote that someone was highborn. These days though we’re more likely to associate nobility with the virtue.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
The folks at the Social Security Administration publish not only the thousand most popular names for every year dating back to 1880, but also the Top 200 names for every decade, making it possible to see broader patterns and trends.
I was scanning these decade lists to see if I might find any goodies that have escaped the mass raid on vintage names, and was able to pick out two girls and two boys from every decade from the 1880s to the 1950s that were once in the Top 100 but are not even in the Top 1000 now.
I ‘ve included the year they fell off the list and their highest ever point of popularity—plus some possible pros and cons. (Of course most of these names spilled over from one decade to the next.)