Category: Vintage Baby Names
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 GREY—The 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.
CATHAY—Cathay 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.
By Abby Sandel
When it comes to classic baby names, there are two stories we like to tell. Sometimes it’s that classics have been abandoned. Time to name your baby Chicago, Koala, or True, because nobody would dare call a kid Elizabeth or James in the year 2018.
Neither of these extremes is true.
That’s right. After months of speculation, the new royal baby name is here. And it’s a huge surprise to everyone
Prince Louis Arthur Charles, born on April 23, is now fifth in line to the British throne, behind his grandfather, father and elder siblings Prince George and Princess Charlotte. He is the first prince to be preceded in the order of succession by a sister.
Not totally in accordance with the conventions for royal baby names, each of Prince Louis‘s three names nevertheless honors someone of significance to the royal family. Louis is one of the middle names of Princes William and George and honors Louis Mountbatten, the Duke of Edinburgh’s mentor who was killed by an IRA bomb in 1979, Arthur (one of the public’s favorites) was a middle name of William, Charles and King George VI, the Queen‘s father and Charles, of course, refers to Prince Charles, the baby’s paternal grandfather.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
As you well know, British royal name fever is at its peak, with barriers already in place around the Lindo Wing of London‘s St. Mary‘s Hospital. The bookmakers have been solidifying their odds, shifting the top three among Mary, Alice and Victoria for a girl. And berries have cast their votes.
Most of the current faves have fairly recent antecedents but if they had wanted to the Cambridges could have looked further back at some much more unexpected choices. Here are some first and middle names of ‘Princesses of the Royal Blood’, dating from 1714 on, all daughters, granddaughters, or male line great- grandchildren of a British Sovereign. Since none of them is on the bookies’ radar, they’d be perfect choices if you’re looking for a non-obvious choice with royal connections.
But not every vintage name deserves to be revived. We don’t predict the return of Hyman, for instance. Or Normal. Or Butler. Or Rube. Or Walburga. All these names were in use in 1918, given to at least five babies born that year, but are not used at all today.
They’re not alone. Nameberry analyzed Social Security data to discover over 5000 names that were given to babies a century ago but have now gone extinct.
Some of these names were obscure ethnic names, like Tsuyako and Mieczyslaw, that have faded from view as immigration patterns have shifted. Others are unusual variant spellings of names that have declined in popularity, like Ulysees and Lauraine. A few are usable, or even elegant.
But a lot of them are just plain funny to us now. We combed through the list to find the most hilarious of these extinct names from 1918 — and couldn’t whittle it down to fewer than 200. Here they are, in all their LOL-worthy glory, along with the number of sad children given each name in 1918: