Category: Classic Baby Names

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

They prefer their boy names classic, but not too popular. But have they gone too far in the other direction?

Erin writes:

I am due in three weeks and we still haven’t picked a name for our boy.

We seem to like traditional but not common names such as Frank, Walter, and George. While I do like these three, I keep wondering if there is something better out there. Or maybe these are just too Old Man?

We have a long last name that ends in “key,” so I keep wanting to keep the name short and punchy, but at this point I’m open to anything.

Help!

The Name Sage replies:

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By Emma Jolly

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t obsessed with names.

Growing up in the English countryside, I entertained myself by making lists of names from all my favourite books. Each of my toys was named only after due consideration. I also used to write stories, usually spending more time on my characters’ names than on plots. Thinking ahead, I had full names planned for each of the nine children I intended to have. After having two real, noisy, hungry children, I decided that nine might be too many, and had to return to naming imaginary people in my fiction writing.

In my day job as a professional genealogist, I come across many interesting names. Some are useful in that they fit into a naming pattern or contain an ancestral surname that can provide clues to their family history. Others indicate a religious family, or perhaps one that is socially ambitious. Many parents in the 19th and early 20th centuries named children after family members or used fashionable options. In 1911, for example, parents opted for contemporary choices: the most popular girls names in England and Wales were Edith, Doris, Florence, Elsie and Gladys.

Those that most trigger my curiosity, however, are the names that suggest a passion of the parents for something literary, artistic, musical, or political.

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By Abby Sandel

Let’s say you love old-fashioned girl names with a tailored quality. You’re all about names that topped the charts a century ago, but feel fresh and modern today.

Top Ten Charlotte fits this description. The same is true of fast-rising Evelyn and Eleanor.

The only problem, of course, is that you might already know a few Violets and Graces. Or you worry that your Lillian will be lost in a crowd of girls with similar names.

What’s the solution? Look for the next wave of new old girl names, of course!

To make this list, I focused on names that previously charted in the US Top 100. So Winifred and Millicent and Sybil failed the test. Any name ending in an ‘a’ was ruled out, too. Good-bye to Lucinda, Luella, and Viola!

Plenty of possibilities remained. They’re feminine, but not too elaborate. Vintage describes them well, and yet parents aren’t using them in big numbers. None of the choices on this list appear in the current US Top 1000, either – at least not as of 2015, the most current data available from the US Social Security Administration.

If you’re crushed that your favorite old-fashioned girls’ name is on everybody else’s list, too, these names might be for you.

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An Anglophile’s Guide to Baby Names

british baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Baby names are in general a lot more adventurous in the US than they are in the UK, with American parents using word names and place names and surname-names and gender-ambiguous names in far greater numbers than their British counterparts.

But British parents tend to be broader-minded when it comes to using vintage names with more history than gloss. Some of the names that might be considered dowdy and old-fashioned by Americans – Constance and Hubert, for example – are chic in London.

A recent review of birth announcements produced this list of names favored by contemporary parents in Britain. If you love vintage baby names that are also distinctive, you may find your perfect name here.

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By Pamela Redmond Satran

Looking for a classic boys’ name that’s also unusual?

Way beyond the Williams and Henrys you hear every day are dozens of boys’ names that achieve this golden combination.  These names have deep roots and have been used for centuries, yet are given to only a handful of boys each year.

These classic boys’ names include choices from ancient cultures and the Bible, names sailing out of style (So long, Sherman) along with those heading in: Welcome, Grey, Linus, and Finnian!

Here, more than 100 classic boys’ names you’ll find hiding below the U.S. Top 1000, ordered from those given to the most babies in 2012 (Gordon, at 194) to the least (Mercury, at just five):

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