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rising vintage baby names

By Linda Rosenkrantz & Pamela Redmond Satran

One day you’re out, and the next day — if you’re one of the old-fashioned formerly-dowdy baby names here — you’re very very in.  Just a few years ago, you might have cringed if the family expected you to name the baby after Great-Aunt Martha or Grandpa Harvey.  Today, those names and the others on the list are among the fastest-rising on the Social Security list.  These are the Olives and Oscars, the Sadies and Silases of tomorrow.

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The Newest, Hottest, Oldest Baby Names

hot baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Every year, the US government issues a list of the names that are making the biggest leaps up the popularity list.  And there, among the reality TV-inspired Daleyzas and Jayceons, sprinkled in with the new-fangled Jurnees and Zayns, is a collection of vintage names that for a range of reasons have suddenly become hot.

Sometimes, the inspiration is a film or television show, as with Marjorie and Game of Thrones or Walter and Hank from Breaking Bad.

A name’s choice by celebrity parents can make it go from sleepy to sizzling too, as happened with Olive after it was used for their daughter by Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Here, 40 vintage baby names making big leaps up the popularity list.  The +number indicates how many places each name moved up the US popularity list in 2013.  And the second number is the name’s standing on the popularity list.  Please note: Only those names in the Top 1000 are tracked.

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The Baby Name Class of 1915

vintage baby names

By Pamela Redmond Satran

At the start of 2015, it’s interesting to look back a hundred years to see what was happening in the world of baby names.

The Baby Name Class of 1915 included several choices that are once again stylish: Evelyn, Alice, Florence, Lillian, and Rose for girls; William, James, Walter, Henry, and Harry for boys.

Other names in the 1915 Top 20 are starting to be rediscovered, notably Frances and Louise for girls, Raymond and Arthur for boys.

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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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girl baby names

by Ren Williams

Many of the stories about the recent US Popular Names list focus on the names at the top and on the rise: the Sophias and Jacobs, Khaleesis and Jayceons of the baby name world.

But, just as some names go up, others must come down. The following 20 girls’ names fell out of the Top 1000 in 2013, some of them perhaps just taking a nap, others on a long slide toward obsolescence.

Abbie and Abbey

Both of these short forms for Abigail sank even as the original remains in the Top 10. The venerable Abbie has been more popular over the decades than Abigail herself, spending only 35 years outside the Top 1000 since the list’s inception in 1880, compared with Abigail’s 43. Abbey, the younger of the sisters, entered the rankings in 1978 where it remained until this year.

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