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Names that Peaked in 1885

ClaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bright, clear"
  • Description:

    Long relegated to an Olde World backwater, the European-flavored Clara has been speeding up the charts on sleeker sister Claire's coattails for the past few decades. Now, many would say the vintage chic Clara is the more stylish of the two names. Actor Ewan McGregor was an early celebrity adopter of the name for one of his daughters.

HenryHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "estate ruler"
  • Description:

    Henry was derived from the French Henri, which ultimately comes from the Germanic name Heimrich, made up of the components heim, meaning "home" or "estate," and rich, meaning "ruler." The most famous wearer is Henry VIII of England, best known for having six wives—two of whom he beheaded for not bearing him sons. It’s been used in the British royal family many times since.

AnnaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Hannah, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "grace"
  • Description:

    Anna is the Latin form of Hannah, a Hebrew name that derived from root chanan, meaning "grace." European Christians embraced the name for its associations with the Virgin Mary’s mother, Saint Anna — known in English as Saint Anne. While Hannah and Anna are the most common forms of the name, variations including Annie, Annalise, Anya, Anika, Nancy, and Anais also rank in the US Top 1000.

GeorgeHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "farmer"
  • Description:

    Iconoclasts though we may be, we like Fred, we like Frank, and we like George, which was among the Top 10 from 1830 to 1950, when the number of little Georges started to decline. Solid, strong, royal and saintly, yet friendly and unpretentious, we think that George is in prime position for a comeback, especially since it was chosen by Britain's royal couple.

WilliamHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "resolute protection"
  • Description:

    William is derived from the Germanic name Wilhelm, composed of the elements wil, "will," and helm, referring to a helmet or protection. The name was introduced to England by William the Conqueror, with William being the Norman variation of the name. In Central and Southern France, it was translated as Guillaume.

MaryHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew or Egyptian
  • Meaning:

    "drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
  • Description:

    Mary is the English form of Maria, which ultimately was derived from the Hebrew name Maryam/Mariam. The original meaning of Maryam is uncertain, but theories include "drop of the sea" (from Hebrew roots mar "drop" and yam "sea"); "bitter" (from Hebrew marah "bitterness"); and "beloved" (from the Egyptian root mr).

BartholomewHeart

  • Origin:

    Aramaic
  • Meaning:

    "son of the furrow"
  • Description:

    Bartholomew is an apostle's name that's been out of favor for centuries but might appeal again to the parent in search of an old but rare choice. The challenge could be to avoid the Simpson-ish nickname. That character, by the way, has the full name of Bartholomew JoJo Simpson, and creator Matt Groening came up with Bart as an--uh oh--anagram for brat. Two old alternate nicknames are Barty and Tolly.

AmaliaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "work"
  • Description:

    Amalia is a widely cross-cultural name, heard from Italy to Romania, Germany to Scandinavia. The current heir to the Dutch throne is Princess Catharina-Amalia of Orange. It can be pronounced ah-MAH-lee-a or ah-mah-LEE-a. Like Amelia and Emilia, this name is likely to continue to climb. Frequently in the US Top 1000 in the early twentieth century, it spent nearly eighty years off the list until rejoining in 2011.

FrankHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Francis or Franklin
  • Meaning:

    "Frenchman or free man"
  • Description:

    A Top 10 name from the 1880s until the 1920s, Frank has fallen from favor but still has a certain warm, friendly real-guy grandpa flavor that could come back into style, like other such choices as Jake and Jack. Maybe thanks to Sinatra, it's become a new hipster favorite with such couples as Diana Krall and Elvis Costello.

JohnHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    John is an English derivative of the Hebrew name Yochanan via the Latin name Iohannes, itself coming from the Greek Ioannes. John was a key name in early Christianity, borne by John the Baptist, John the Apostle and John the Evangelist, plus 84 saints and 23 popes, as well as kings and countless other illustrious notables. Contrary to popular belief, the names John and Jonathan are unrelated, the latter being an elaboration of Nathan.

ErnestHeart

  • Origin:

    English from German
  • Meaning:

    "serious, resolute"
  • Description:

    Ernest is one of those sober, so-far-out-they're-beginning-to-be-reconsidered Great Uncle names. It was a Top 40 name from 1880 to 1926, and has never been completely off the Social Security list.

JemimaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "dove"
  • Description:

    Jemima, the name of a strong and beautiful Biblical daughter of Job, has long been among the chicest choices of aristocratic Brits, most recently ranking at #231 there in 2017. But despite its lovely sound and peaceful meaning, this attractive name hasn't ranked in the US Top 1000 since 1893, no doubt due to the problematic association with racial stereotyping, exemplified by the Aunt Jemima brand of pancakes.

LoveHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Love is best left as a middle name, as in Jennifer Love Hewitt. Love alternatives that carry a similar romantic sentiment, and may work better as first names, include Juliet and Valentina.

AddieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Adelaide or Adeline
  • Description:

    Old-fashioned nickname with sweet turn-of-the-last-century charm that's become a favorite among the popular girl names starting with A of today. In fact, with all spellings of Adeline/Adalynn taken together firmly in the Top 10, and Adelaide and Addison also high in the charts, Addie is one of the most frequently-heard short forms around. But no matter how popular (or pandemic) it gets, Addie is undeniably one of the cutest names for baby girls. Little girls might like the fact that it's the name, though spelled Addy, of an American Girl series doll.

FredHeart

  • Origin:

    German, diminutive of Frederick and Alfred
  • Description:

    Where have all the Freds gone? We haven't seen many since the days of Flintstone and Munster. But it could be time for a comeback--if you think more of the sophistication of Fred Astaire, and of other nice guy names like Jack and Charlie and Sam.

GroverHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "lives near a grove of trees"
  • Description:

    Forget the furry blue Muppet, forget corpulent President Cleveland (not too difficult), and consider this name anew. We think it's spunky, a little funky, and well worth a second look.

ClarenceHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bright"
  • Description:

    The name of the guardian angel in It's a Wonderful Life is rarely heard the rest of the year because of its studious, near-nerdy image, but this could change in the current naming climate.

RomeHeart

  • Origin:

    Place name
  • Description:

    Given that Rome is arguably the most important city in European history, it has been used as a first name remarkably little. However, Roman is now in the Top 100, so it was only a matter of time before parents started looking toward the city's actual name.

HansHeart

  • Origin:

    German, Dutch, and Scandinavian, diminutive of Johannes
  • Description:

    Though familiar to all via such childhood icons as Hans Brinker, Hans(el) and Gretel, and Hans Christian Andersen, few Americans have chosen this name for their sons because of its intractably Old Country image.

SmithHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "blacksmith"
  • Description:

    Even if it is the Number one surname in the U.S.--with more than 2.5 million bearers--we still think that Smith would make a cool first or middle name, whether or not it has family history.