Baby Names Before 1850
While Mary and John held tight to the Number 1 spots through the first half of the 19th century, many of the most popular names of the era are popular and stylish again today, some of them after a long decline (or two) and rebirth. These include, for girls: Alice, Charlotte, Clara, Emily, Isabella, Julia, Laura, and Sophia, and for boys: Benjamin, Charles, Daniel, Henry, Jacob, James, Samuel, and William.
- Mary and John held tight to the Number 1 spots through the first half of the 19th century, many of the most popular names of the era are popular and stylish again today, some of them after a long decline (or two) and rebirth. These include, for girls: Alice, Charlotte, Clara, Emily, Isabella, Julia, Laura, and Sophia, and for boys: Benjamin, Charles, Daniel, Henry, Jacob, James, Samuel, and William." >
- Mary, used more than twice as often as the Number 2 name, which was Elizabeth until 1840, when it became Sarah. Other popular Biblical names for girls were Martha, Ann, Hannah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Lydia. More unusual religious names for girls include Christia, Dinah, Dorcas, Electa (which relates to Freemasonry), Kesiah, Jemima, Mahala, and Tabitha." >
- John, James, and Joseph are these more unusual Biblical names for boys: Abner, Amos, Asa, Ebenezer, Hezekiah, Hiram, Job, Lemuel, Luther, Moses, Obadiah, Reuben, and Thaddeus." >
- Early 19th century Americans revered the classics, with names from mythology or ancient history widely used. These include Cyrus, Erasmus, Homer, Horace, Leonidas, and Newton for boys. For girls, the classical names in use include Fidelia, Hulda, Leta, Minerva, Narcissa, Parthena and Sophrona." >
- America, Indiana, Missouri, and Tennessee. Americana names for boys included Columbus, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Washington." >
- Addison, Elisha, Ellis, Emery, Loren, Madison, and Marion." >
- Angel, Keri, Lee, Lou, Marci, and Rox. Boys’ names with a modern feel include August, Jesse, Miles, Perry, Riley, Taylor, and Wesley. Other names with a contemporary style include such nature and word names as Dahlia, Easter, and Olive for girls, Almond, Green, and Pleasant for boys." >
- Malinda, Malissa, Phebe, for instance. In addition, names such as Permilia, thought to be an antiquated form of Pamela, as well as Electa, Fidelia, Hulda, Narcissa, Parthena, and Sophrona do not appear at all on the 2014 US baby name records." >
- Erasmus and Lafayette. A number of others hang on with just a handful of modern bearers. These include: Chauncy, Elbert, Enos, Granville, and Lyman." >
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on March 4th, 2016 at 7:56 am
Under names for boys then that seem feminine now, you list Elisha. Is it possible this was the Biblical prophet Elisha (E-lye-shuh) and not a name rhyming with Alicia for girls, as we know it?
on March 4th, 2016 at 10:28 am
My 3x great grandfather was named Wesley (I think he was born in 1851). He had a brother named Melancthon (apparently they were big Calvinists). His sisters were named Mary, Catherine, and Frances though so obviously their parents weren’t as adventurous with girls names.
I love the name Almond, although only as a middle name. I was born in Almond, NY although we only lived there a short time, but still there is a connection. It’s a beautiful area.
I also love Miles, Marion (for a girl or boy), and Asa.
on March 4th, 2016 at 12:36 pm
Those are the creepiest paintings of children ever….I want one of my child.
on March 4th, 2016 at 3:24 pm
Fascinating! Great to have some data from before 1880! I know they couldn’t all have been named Mary and John back then!
on March 4th, 2016 at 4:36 pm
LoveBugsMama LOL. Those pictures are the stuff of nightmares.
Some good names though.
on March 4th, 2016 at 6:03 pm
Interesting post! A lot of great names – I also like Almond, Miles, Asa, and Marion. However, I don’t understand why you listed Dahlia and Olive under “modern-sounding.” I know they’re newly popular, but they are vintage names.
on March 4th, 2016 at 6:44 pm
I don’t know if I would use the name Obadiah. I think Obadiah was the name of one of Iron Man’s enemies so that name kind of makes me think of him. Also, Ebenezer makes me think of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Plus, a lot of the names are either good character names or just plain weird.
on March 5th, 2016 at 4:56 pm
I only like Emery and Madison on boys.
on March 7th, 2016 at 10:29 pm
I know an Elisha (m, pronounced El-EYE-sha) born about 1981, and an Electa born about 1980. I also knew a Malinda in grade school, she’s about a 1982 baby, I would think.
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