Category: Vintage Baby Names

Girl Names in Limbo: Can they escape?

by Linda Rosenkrantz

They were once the belles of the ball.  But then they gradually lost their luster and found themselves in baby name limbo.

Most of these girls’ names aren’t vintage enough to benefit from the 100-year rule. And many are recent enough to still bring up images of moms and aunts and grandmas.  A few of them can be considered semi-classics, once as high as in the Top 15, yet none of them makes it even into today’s Top 1000.

But if you can manage to shake off the dust and look at them with fresh eyes, re-imagine their original appeal, I think you will find choices here that still have a lot of intrinsic life.

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Bold Baby Names: Exploring the explorers

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Babies and young kids are natural explorers, as they discover and begin to navigate the world around them.  How about encouraging these instincts to continue through life by choosing as a namesake a historic explorer? Here are 13 prime examples.


Born Idris Galcia Hall, Aloha Wanderwell, who was known as “The World’s Most Traveled Girl,” visited more than 80 countries in six continents, was the first woman to drive across India and recorded the first film documentation of the Borero people of Brazil. She took the warm and welcoming name Aloha while still in her teens.

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By John Kelly

From kindergarten to college, the kids are going back to school. But for those of you with babies on the way, let’s take some inspiration from famous figures their older siblings are studying up on various subjects in the classroom. Here’s a full schedule of names for you, from the sciences to the Fine Arts.

English Class

Shakespeare might be a bit overwhelming as a first—and Beowulf a bit too bold—so consider some other cornerstones of English lit. Chaucer is charming, and the lesser-read (Edmund) Spenser, of The Faerie Queene, makes a poetic alternative to the rising Spencer (#292 in 2017). They both have the added appeal as occupational names; Chaucer may ultimately mean “shoemaker,” and Spencer is “steward.” Virginia (Woolf) can be inspiration for this classic girl’s name, while (Jane) Austen has a hip sense and sensibility to it. Why settle for one of the sisters when you can honor all three with Bronte? It’s now #623 on Nameberry.

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By Andy Osterdahl, The Strangest Names in American Political History

Thanks to mass mega-phenomena like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, we’ve been exposed to lots of previously fusty-sounding ancient Latinate names, and some of them are beginning to sound more and more wearable as baby names—in fact several have landed on the current popularity list.  Guest blogger Andy Osterdahl, in his extensive study of the strangest names in American political history, has found many examples of these in the names of past American politicos.

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By Linda Rosenkrantz

Though its current associations might run more to barbecues, picnics and parades, Memorial Day conjures up a load of historic references dating back to its post-Civil War origins, as well as some more contemporary traditions.

There are several blogs-worth of noteworthy Civil War generals’ names alone—Alpheus, Americus, Cassius, Gustavus, Lafayette, Napoleon, Pleasant, Romeyn, for starters– but for now we’ve included just a few of the most intriguing, as well as some less obvious Memorial Day names associated with the holiday.

BLUE and GREYThe colors of the  uniforms of the Union and Confederate soldiers fighting the Civil War (the Confederate soldiers sometimes referred to the Yankees disparagingly as ‘bluebellies’),  Blue and Gray are among the current coolest of the unisex color names. Blue Ivy is the much-discussed name picked by Beyoncé and Jay-Z for their daughter; actress Jenna von Oy recently named her daughter Gray.

CATHAYCathay Williams—aka William Cathay—was one of many women who passed as men to serve as Civil War soldiers.  A former slave, she was the first African-American woman to enlist. Cathay is an evocative old term for China used by Marco Polo that could make an interesting choice—if it weren’t in danger of being constantly confused with Cathy.

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