Category: vintage baby names
I don’t you know if you’ve noticed a growing trendlet—at least among celebrities—for what we might call generic-boy-nickname-names. In other words, these aren’t specific short forms like Charlie or Archie, but ol- timey macho boy tags like Buddy and Buster.
In the recent past, we’ve seen Noel Gallagher’s Sonny, a choice shared by British singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor—as well as Adam Sandler’s daughter Sunny; Jamie Oliver’s Buddy Bear Maurice; Michele Hicks and Jonny Lee Miller’s Buster Timothy; the three Aces of Natalie Appleton, Tom Dumont, and Jennie Finch and Casey Daigle; the two Dukes of Diane Keaton and Justine Bateman; and the Junior of Peter Andre and Katie Price.
We can’t help wondering if this is yet another offshoot of the midcentury Mad Men phenomenon, bringing us back to the days of Father Knows Best’s Bud (birth name James Anderson, Jr.) and J. D. Salinger’s Buddy Glass (real name Webb Gallagher Glass), and Marlon Brando, who was known to friends and family as Bud. In those days, though, Sonny or Buster were not usually put on the birth certificate, and over time those pet names began to be relegated to pets.
If I were a cookbook writer, I think my first title would be: “100 Ways to Dice and Slice the Social Security List.” There is so much information to be found embedded in it and so many ways to look at it, that there seems to be no end of different and intriguing ways to parse the data.
Pam will be writing later about the startling number of names that have been in the Top 1000 consistently—which is to say every single year– since score-keeping began in1880. Today I’ll take a look at the patterns followed by the names that have moved in and out of fashion.
First, the girls, grouped by the decades they first came into favor, followed by the specific years when they were included in the Top 100. (This does not include names that have been up there every single year.)
You may be surprised at when some of the names initially appeared—sometimes earlier, sometimes later than you might have guessed. Zoe and Chloe, for example, were both strong in the 19th century, as were Savannah and Samantha. Alexis was already up there in the 1940s, but Alexa didn’t break through till the 70s; Kayla was there as early as the fifties, while—and this may not be such a surprise– Kaitlyn, Katelyn, Kaylee and Makayla all broke through as a group in the eighties, along with Hailey and Bailey.
1880s-90s (and possibly earlier)
- Abigail: 1880-1897, 1901-1903, 1906, 1939, 1943, 1946, 1949-2009
- Andrea: 1880-1881, 1884-1887, 1889, 1901-1904, 1907-2009
- Ava: 1880-1972, 1974-1975, 1984, 1986-2009
- Bella: 1880-1931, 2000-2009
- Chloe: 1880-1943, 1982-2009
- Ella: 1880-1983, 1988, 1990-2009
- Faith: 1880-1882, 1884-1886, 1888-2009
- Isabella: 1880-1948, 1990-2009
- Isabelle: 1880-1954, 1957, 1991-2009
- Jessica: 1880-1893, 1895, 1898-1900, 1903-1912, 1914-1918, 1935, 1937, 1939-2009
- Lily: 1880-1964, 1966, 1970, 1972, 1976, 1979-2009
- Madelyn: 1893, 1895-1965, 1986-2009
- Mariah: 1880-1908, 1910-1911, 1913, 1973, 1975-2009
- Melanie: 1886, 1938-2009
- Samantha: 1880-1902, 1907, 1964-2009
- Savannah: 1880-1922, 1924-1925, 1928, 1983-2009
- Sofia: 1881, 1881, 1886, 1888-1889, 1891-1892, 1895, 1898, 1900-1901, 1906-1914, 1916-1917, 1920-1925, 1927-1931, 1935, 1969, 1971-2009
- Sophie: 1880-1955, 1984-2009
- Sydney: 1886, 1905, 1932-1957, 1959-1961, 1963-1967, 1981-2009
- Valeria: 1881-1944, 1946-1976, 1983, 1985-2009
- Zoe: 1880-1912, 1914-1926, 1928-1929, 1931-1941, 1951-1955, 1957-1961, 1966, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1983-2009
Do you love vintage names but want to move beyond the usual classics and Biblical choices? We looked at the popularity lists of 1910 to uncover hundreds of vintage boys’ names that are no longer in use — but could be revived.
It’s odd that there seem to be more terminally-antiquated boys’ names from 1910 than girls’ names. After all, girls’ names change more quickly and dramatically than do boys’, which tend to hinge more on tradition and less on fashion.
Yet beyond the Johns and Williams that have always predominated for boys (and still do today), there are dozens, even hundreds of names that filled the Top 1000 list a hundred years ago and now are lost to time.
They include hero names, surname-names, nickname-names, androgynous names, and even regular old first names that few people seem to use any more.
Do you want a vintage name for your daughter but are hoping to uncover a hidden treasure from the past? We combed the popularity lists in search of cool vintage names you may not have heard before.
But what about the names in the Top 1000 of 1910 that are virtually unknown now? A hundred years ago, Helen was the number 2 name for girls, right behind Mary. Mildred was number 8, Ethel number 13, and the dubious Gladys hot on her heels at 15. You don’t meet many Ethels and Gladyses (Gladysi?) anymore outside the nursing home.
Several months ago we looked at the Lost Names of 1880, and were surprised by how many there were. We declare ourselves surprised anew by how many lost names we’ve located on the 1910 roster that are different from those we listed in the 1880 story.
The first group are not lost, exactly, as they’re still heard from time to time. A few — Blanche, Lula, Viola — may even make a comeback. But most of these names, popular in 1910, have been in mothballs for decades now and may never make it out.
It takes at least four generations for names to sound appealing again for babies. The names of today’s moms and dads – names popular from the late sixties through the eighties – are for the most part too familiar to foist upon an innocent newborn. You’ll find a lot of young parents but not many stylish babies with the following 1970s-style names:
Boys are a little more complicated, as styles don’t change as fast and more boys are named after their dads. Still, these are found far less frequently now than in the 1970s.
It’s not until you go back four generations, to names popular around the 1920s, that you start to find some appeal. Names from that decade that are beginning to find a new audience among modern baby namers, for stylish newborns, are: