New Old Names for the New Year
Looking for fresh inspiration for your 2016 baby? Some of the newest names are the oldest – favorites from a century ago, ready for revival in the coming year. Twenty years ago, Amelia and Oliver were the new old names to watch. Now that they’re near the top of the charts, another set of antique appellations is on the rise. None of these names rank in the US Top 1000 – yet — but they’re all poised to make a comeback in 2016.By Abby Sandel
Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany named their daughter Agnes Lark in 2011. By 2014, there were 187 girls with the name. Agnes is a gentle, vintage choice, big in the 1890s, while Aggie fits right in with Abby, Addie, Maddie, and Maggie. Another bonus? Despicable Me featured three adorable sisters with sassy, retro names – Margo, Edith, and Agnes.
- Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany named their daughter Agnes Lark in 2011. By 2014, there were 187 girls with the name. Agnes is a gentle, vintage choice, big in the 1890s, while Aggie fits right in with Abby, Addie, Maddie, and Maggie. Another bonus? Despicable Me featured three adorable sisters with sassy, retro names – Margo, Edith, and Agnes." >
- Charlotte was on the rise well before William and Kate chose the name for their new princess last year. Charlie is Charlotte’s modern, vibrant cousin, while Lottie is their dainty, lacy sister. It’s a nostalgic name that should appeal to parents considering stylish nickname-names like Sadie, Hattie, or Millie." >
- Abbey did wonders for Cora. Sybil is another name borrowed from a beloved Downton character, a tailored choice with ties to the ancient world and Harry Potter, too. The name peaked in the 1920s in the US, meaning that it’s just about time for this neglected gem to be rediscovered." >
- Nora and Cora are favorites, as are Lily and Rose. Flora combines the best of all four names, but is much less common. A nineteenth century favorite, Flora feels breezy, botanical, and decidedly of the past. 167 girls were given the name in 2014, the most since the 1960s, suggesting that this name is already on the rise." >
- Winifred was as popular as Josephine and Ivy are today. The name has been in hibernation since the 1960s, but the numbers suggest that Winifred is ready for a comeback. Jimmy Fallon named his daughter Winnie in 2013, and the current generation of parents grew up with The Wonder Years’ Winnie – though she was born Gwendolyn." >
- Ella and Mia and Aria. But there’s a place for names with a little more crunch. Petra is a feminine form of Peter, and also an ancient city in Jordan. Most popular in the 1920s, it seems like a possibility for parents seeking something just a little bit different in 2016." >
- Leo is among the most stylish of vintage boys’ names, a favorite from the 1910s recently returned to the US Top 100. Leopold is royal, saintly, and thanks to James Joyce, literary, too. But unlike Leonardo, Leon, Leonel, Leonidas, and Leonard, it’s a Leo-name still outside of the US Top 1000." >
- Duff-and-doughnut loving dad in the long-running animated series. That’s put modern parents off the name, but consider this: series creator Matt Groening has a father and a son named Homer. Richard Gere, Anne Heche, and Bill Murray all chose it for their sons, too, making Homer a quirky-cool possibility." >
- Ike is as brief as Jack, as bright as Kai. It’s sometimes short for Top 100 name Isaac, but hasn’t featured in the US rankings since President Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower left the White House in the 1950s. It’s an undiscovered gem just right for parents who want to keep it simple, while finding something less popular than Max." >
- Linus only as the sweet, blanket-toting boy from The Peanuts, but Linus is a name from Greek myth. It was worn by the second pope; a Nobel Prize winner; and characters played by leading men from Humphrey Bogart to Matt Damon. For all of those reasons, Linus is currently on the rise in the US, and is poised to enter the US Top 1000 for the first time ever." >
- Murphy is ready to follow Brady and Riley into the US rankings. A regular in the Top 1000 through the 1950s, Murphy is sometimes heard for girls, too – credit goes to 90s sitcom Murphy Brown. But the numbers give Murphy to the boys, and suggest that it’s a name to watch for 2016." >
- Roscoe was in steady use a century ago. In the 1980s, we knew the name mostly as the bumbling sheriff on television favorite The Dukes of Hazzard. Now that Hazzard is fading, Roscoe feels like a clunky-cool choice in the key of Arlo and Otis. A perfectly ahead-of-the-curve pick for the daring namer." >
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on January 1st, 2016 at 4:11 am
Homer! I never thought I’d see that one recommended by nameberry!
on January 1st, 2016 at 10:35 am
Winifred makes me think of Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus.
I love these suggestions. While I’m not a fan of every name, I love seeing fresh vintage suggestions. My oldest son is Leo (just Leo) but if we had chosen a longer name, it would’ve been Leopold.
on January 1st, 2016 at 2:01 pm
I know a 7 year old Flora! Her parents were way ahead of the trend 🙂 I adore the name Flora. I’m surprised to see Ike and Homer (which I don’t think will rise as much due to Homer Simpson). Love Roscoe and I can totally see Murphy rising. As for the girls, I agree with pretty much all of the suggestions!
on January 2nd, 2016 at 12:16 am
Arlo, Otis and Roscoe are all pretty popular for dogs, but this doesn’t rule them out for boys.
Homer and Humphrey are just plain ugly… unless your kid is absolutely adorable!
I have a distant aunt (born in the 1800s) named Winifred Christabel because she was born on Christmas.
I like Christabel much better than Clarabelle (the clown on Howdy Doody) or Annabelle (from Edgar Allen Poe).
on January 2nd, 2016 at 5:07 pm
Christabel is the name of the female protagonist in Anton Myrer’s The Last Convertible, so I’ve always had a positive image of the name.
on January 9th, 2016 at 6:40 am
I just named my son Roscoe Glynn in November. Others I was considering were Arlo and Otis, how funny.
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