Names that Peaked in 1916
Origin:English from French
Description:Genevieve is derived from the Germanic medieval name Genovefa, or Kenowefa, which consists of the elements kuni, meaning "kin", and wefa, meaning "woman." The medieval saint Genevieve, patroness of Paris, defended the city against Attila the Hun through her rational thinking, courage and prayer.
Origin:French feminine variation of Joseph
Description:Josephine, with its large measure of class and character and a gently offbeat quality, has been on a gentle uphill climb in the US for over 30 years, now ranking in the Top 100. With an intriguing number of vivacious nicknames, from Jo to Josie to Fifi to Posy, Josephine is a Nameberry favorite.
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.
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.
Origin:Italian, Portuguese, Slovene and Croatian variation of Agnes
Description:This form of Agnes, Ines has always been popular since the true story of the thwarted lovers Queen Ines of Castro and King Peter of Portugal. This has to be one of the most heartbreaking and bloody true romances in history!
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).
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.
Description:Joseph evolved from the Hebrew name Yosef, which was derived from the verb yasaf, meaning "to increase." In the Old Testament, Joseph is the 11th and favorite son of Jacob and Rachel; in the New Testament, it is the name of the carpenter husband of the Virgin Mary, mother of Christ. Joe and Joey are common nicknames for Joseph, and Josephine is the feminine form.
Origin:English from German
Description:Ralph has two diametrically different images: there's the suave Ralph Fiennes-type Brit (often pronounced Rafe), and then there's the Jackie Gleason blue-collar, bowling blowhard Ralph Kramden bus driver. It's all in the eye of the beholder, though its hip factor did rise when it was chosen for his son by cool U.K. actor Matthew Macfadyen.
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.
Description:To the thousands of girls who screamed the name of their favorite Beatle in the 1960s, the boys' name Paul had a thrillingly unique image, but to the rest of the world, then and now, it's a name that's so simple and yet so widely diffuse that it could belong to almost anyone. Paul is an ancient name for boys -- popular in Roman and medieval times -- that's not very fashionable now, which can work in its favor, scarcity balancing simplicity.
Description:Of all the botanicals, Fern has been one of the slowest to move back from the front parlor into the nursery, despite the appealing girl character in the children's classic Charlotte's Web. Fern was most popular from the turn of the last century through the 1940s, reaching a high of #152 in 1916. We can certainly see her rejoining the long list of popular greenery names.
Origin:Latinate form of Eleanor, meaning unknown
Description:Eleanor is back, Nora is back, and soon Eleanora will be too. Off the charts since the 1930s, this elaboration of the classic Eleanor was in common use for decades before falling from favor. Spelling Eleonora adds yet another syllable to make the pronunciation el-LAY-oh-nor-a, and you can try to instruct people to say Eleanora that way too, but most will pronounce it like Eleanor with an a at the end and that's just fine. That final vowel gives a serious, stately name a little flip at the end, making it more elaborate and Latinate.
Description:Old-school Italian name that could find new fans thanks to singer Adele, who chose it for her son after months of baby name mystery. Angelo is in the same name category as Rocco, the name of Madonna's son, and may get a fresh coat of cool.
Meaning:"near the stony clearing"
Description:Although Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire personified brute force, most Stanleys have been portrayed as meek milquetoasts. It could be a Sydney-like girls' choice.-Bette Davis once played a character named Stanley, and it was the name of President Obama's mother (named for her father)--or possibly could be revived down the line a la Walter and Arthur.
Origin:Scottish variation of Isabel
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:The Scottish spelling of Isabel has a definite character of her own, the 'o' giving her an extra infusion of strength but also an element of confusion. How do you pronounce that? Answer: Exactly like Isabel or Isabelle.
Origin:French variation of Margaret; also a flower name
Description:Marguerite is a classic French name with a remnant of old-fashioned Gallic charm; and is also a variety of daisy. Chic again in Paris, it's definitely ripe for revival here.
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.
Origin:French variation of Helen
Meaning:"bright, shining one"
Description:Whether it's pronounced with an "een" or an "aine" or an "enn" sound at the end, Helene doesn't feel as current the more forthright Helen or the airier Helena. Helene reached a high of Number 228 in the US in 1916, when ene, ine and een names were all the fashion, and stayed in the Top 500 until 1962, making a final exit in 1970. It still ranks well in its native France, and even more in Norway (#70). Model Heidi Klum's daughter 'Leni' has Helene on her birth certificate.
Origin:Slavic variation of Helga, Norse
Description:This Slavic form of the Norse name Helga is a classic in many Slavic countries, including Russia and Poland, where it currently ranks within the Top 100 girl names. It has historically ranked among the most popular names in countries including Ukraine, Latvia, Spain, France, Serbia, Greece, the US, and many more. Olga is a common name even in Scandinavian countries, such as Sweden and Norway, despite Helga being a more traditional choice. Olha is the uniquely Ukrainian variation.