Names that Peaked in 1912

  1. William
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "resolute protection"
    • Description:

      William is one of the most enduring of classic names for boys. It's also among the most popular boys' names, as American parents see it as being ideally conservative yet contemporary, and hands-down the most popular baby name beginning with W of all time.
  2. John
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "God is gracious"
    • Description:

      John reigned as the most popular of all boys' Christian names for 400 years, from the time the first Crusaders carried it back to Britain until the 1950s. Then American baby namers finally seemed to tire of this straight-arrow, almost anonymous John Doe of names, replacing it with fancier forms like Jonathan and the imported Sean and Ian.
  3. Louise
    • Origin:

      French and English, feminine variation of Louis
    • Meaning:

      "renowned warrior"
    • Description:

      Louise has for several decades now been seen as competent, studious, and efficient—desirable if not dramatic qualities. But now along with a raft of other L names, as well as cousin Eloise, Louise is up for reappreciation—sleek and chic, stylish in Paris, and starting to become so in the US as well. Louisa is perhaps more in tune with the times, but Louise has more edge. Louise has been on the rise lately, and reentered the US Top 1000 for the first time in a quarter century in 2016.
  4. Edward
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "wealthy guardian"
    • Description:

      Unlike perennials William, John and James, Edward is a classic that moves in and out of fashion. This royal Anglo-Saxon standard has benefited in recent years from the popularity of the hot hero of the vampire sensation Twilight — Edward Cullen — who has given his name a new infusion of cool.
  5. Joseph
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "Jehovah increases"
    • Description:

      Joseph is one of the most classic names in American nomenclature, popular with parents from many ethnic backgrounds and having dual-religious appeal.
  6. Mary
    • 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).
  7. Dorothea
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "gift of God"
    • Description:

      Dorothea is a flowing and romantic Victorian-sounding name which was popular in the early decades of the twentieth century, but has been off the charts since 1970. Definitely on the brink of a revival!
  8. Helen
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "torch; shining light"
    • Description:

      Helen is a name that has connoted beauty since ancient times – Helen of Troy was the the mythological "face that launched a thousand ships," over whom the ten-year Trojan War was fought.
  9. Sylvan
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "wood, forest"
    • Description:

      One of the many variations of Silvanus, the name of the Roman forest god, and a little-used member of the freshly stylish Sylv- family of names. Silvan is the sleek German and Dutch form. Given to less than 100 boys each year in the US, it's nevertheless in the Nameberry Top 500.
  10. Clement
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "mild, merciful"
    • Description:

      Clement, the name of fourteen popes and several saints, has a pleasantly, positive, slightly antiquated feel, like the phrase "clement weather."
  11. Sidney
    • Origin:

      French
    • Meaning:

      "Saint Denis"
    • Description:

      A contraction name, Sidney comes from Saint Denis and is related to Dioynsius, the Greek god of fertility and wine, although another theory is that it derived from an Anglo-Saxon place name, meaning 'at the wide island.'
  12. Aubrey
    • Origin:

      English from French
    • Meaning:

      "elf ruler"
    • Description:

      Once a popular choice in for boys in the Middle Ages and again during the 19th century, Aubrey has mostly been used for girls in the US since the 1970's. With its arty, surname-y, and sophisticated feel, however, it is rising up the UK charts for both boys and girls.
  13. Morris
    • Origin:

      English variation of Maurice
    • Meaning:

      "dark-skinned"
    • Description:

      Morris is as quiet and comfortable as a Morris chair, and has the same vintage feel. Once a Top 100 name in the early 1900s, Morris fell completely off the roster in 1995, probably due to lingering fallout from his identification with Morris the cat's ("the world's most finicky cat") 9 Lives cat food commercials.
  14. Carmine
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "vivid red"
    • Description:

      This traditional Italian name could have a whole new life when viewed as a color name.
  15. Mildred
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "gentle strength"
    • Description:

      When scientists do research on the effects of an unpopular name, we're afraid that Mildred is one of the examples they cite, often in tandem with Bertha and Gertrude. But with cute nickname Millie on the rise, anything's possible.
  16. Milton
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "settlement with a mill"
    • Description:

      Once an upper-class British surname conjuring up the epic poetry of John Milton, it then descended to the antics of "Uncle Miltie" Berle, and now has left the stage completely.
  17. Ishmael
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "God will hear"
    • Description:

      Ishmael is most familiar through "Call me Ishmael," the opening line spoken by the youthful narrator of Moby-Dick. Few American parents have followed that advice, though the Spanish and Arabic spelling, Ismael, ranks at Number 362. With its warm and pleasant sound, though, we could see Ishmael tagging along behind Isaiah and Isaac.
  18. Meyer
    • Origin:

      German surname or Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "landlord, farmer; bringer of light"
    • Description:

      Favored by first-generation Jewish families from the affluent Guggenheims to criminal-producing Lanskys; now Meyer is pretty much relegated to poolside gin games in Boca.
  19. Avis
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "bird"
    • Description:

      Avis is a bird name that's been in hibernation for awhile, possibly due to the car rental association, but it could make a return on the wings of Ava. Baldwin brother Daniel chose it for his daughter.
  20. Elwyn
    • Origin:

      Welsh
    • Meaning:

      "noble friend, elf friend"
    • Description:

      A charming Welsh name with a great meaning, borne by E. B. White, author of Charlotte's Web.