Names that Peaked in 1881
Origin:English, diminutive of Ann
Description:Annie is one of the most open and optimistic, the-sun'll-come-out-tomorrow type of name, having been celebrated over the years in song (Annie Laurie), comic strip (Little Orphan Annie), folklore (Annie Oakley, born Phoebe), and film (Annie Hall). It strikes a nice old-fashioned-but-jaunty chord that still has appeal, but we do suggest that you consider putting a more formal version on her birth certificate.
Description:Many vowel names stylish a century ago are coming back, and Ida seems like a possible, logical successor to Ada and Ava.
Meaning:"scribe, secretary, cleric, scholar, clerk"
Description:Clark seemed to have been Gone with the Wind, but parents looking for a short, strong boy's name are now beginning to appreciate its cool combination of Gable charm with Superman power.
Origin:Diminutive of Helen, Eleanor, et al
Description:This ready-for-revival nickname name recalls the old Gay Nineties and bicycles-built-for-two era. In the US, Nellie is one of the most popular unique girl names, lying just beneath the Top 1000. About five times as many baby girls are named Nellie in the US today as shorter form Nell.
Origin:Diminutive of Francis or Franklin
Meaning:"Frenchman or free man"
Description:A Top 10 name from the 1880s until the 1920s, Frank has been falling for decades but last year reversed course for the first time in a century, edging up the popularity list a few notches. And Frank still has a certain warm, friendly real-guy grandpa flavor that could come back into style, like other such choices as Jake and Jack.
Origin:Diminutive of Louise or Lucy, or Arabic
Description:Lula has a firecracker personality, a singing and dancing extrovert. Interesting that Lulu was a Top 100 name when the Social Security list was born in 1880, but it's been sliding ever since and has not been in the Top 1000 for decades. Modern parents in love with Lulu might well reverse that trend.
Description:In the US, the preferred boys' spin on the mega-popular Emily and Emma is Emmett, but in much of Europe it's Emil. As Emmett gets trendier in the US, parents in search of a more unusual Em name may look to Emil.
Origin:English variation of Molly
Description:An alternative to the no-longer-fresh Molly, the initial 'P' gives Polly a peppier sound, combining the cozy virtues of an old-timey name with the bounce of a barmaid.
Origin:English, diminutive of Josephine, feminine of Joseph
Description:Josie is jaunty and friendly: among the most winning of all nickname names. She's been on the social security list since records began being kept.
Origin:Latin, from a Roman family name related to Mars, the god of war
Description:Marius, frequently heard in Germany and France, is a slightly fusty yet accessible name that has (Les Mis) to Anne Rice. With the rise in interest in such Latin names as Maximus and Atticus, Marius might start attracting more attention. Mario, the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese version of Marius, is much more widely used.
Description:Calla is a lily name that is much more distinctive and delicate than Lily. Rarely heard today, it did appear in the popularity lists in the last decades of the nineteenth century.
Origin:English, diminutive of Letitia, Latin
Description:Lettie, also spelled Letty, is a nickname name not heard in over a century, giving it the patina of a treasured antique. Lettie's style currency is rising with the trend for old-fashioned, down-to-earth nicknames. Lettie is right in step with Lottie, Hettie, Hattie, Josie, and Maisie.
Origin:Diminutive of Adela
Description:One of the few ella names that's not on every other new mother's lips -- a definite plus.
Origin:English, contracted form of Leonora
Description:A lovely (and uncommon) longer form for Nora, one of the most fashionable international nickname names around. Lenora fell off the US charts in the 70s, but just re-entered in 2022 as parents' love for short forms Leni and Nora is growing.
Description:Edgar is an Old English name historically associated with the tenth century English king known as Edgar the Peaceful. There was also a King Edgar of Scotland.
Description:Erasmus has long retained the image of the bearded and bespectacled Dutch philosopher, but could be one that the audacious baby namer just might dare to dust off.
Origin:Spelling variation of Louella
Description:Luella is a sleeker version of the girls' name Louella that at this point is more popular than the original. Well-used in the 19th century, Luella fell off the Top 1000 in the 1950s, but has had a resurgence in recent years. Its use as a first or middle name by several edgy celebrities elevates Luella from crusty to cool, and it's stylish double-L sound and -ella ending make it a nicely revived vintage name for girls.
Meaning:"father of light."
Description:This neglected Biblical name--it was the name of the commander of Saul's army and appears twice in the New Testament--is ready to flee Dogpatch. It was regularly used in the nineteenth century, but was pretty much demolished by the long-running hillbilly comic strip L'il Abner, which began in 1934 and ran through 1977. A more respectable namesake is Abner Doubleday, who has been credited with inventing baseball.
Origin:English, diminutive of Katherine
Description:This endearing nickname name is one Katherine pet form that predates all the Kathys and Katies, having been fairly common in the eighteenth century. With the current mini-craze for animal-related names, Kitty is sounding cute and cuddly again—she's already jumped back onto the U.K. list, at number 199.
Description:Ancient martyr's name that, though not especially appealing, might still be mildly possible, especially for Anglophiles. It was widely used in early Scotland, but was overtaken by its nickname, Effie.