Category: 1950s baby names
If your Mom (and Dad) are baffled by your baby name ideas, there’s a reason for that. Baby names that were all the way at the bottom of the extended list in 1957 — a year that saw the birth of many now grandparent-aged people — have become stylish, even popular. So when your parents say they’ve never heard that name you love, you may need to take that literally.
Every generation needs to reinvent baby names. Today’s expectant parents aren’t interested in using the names popular when they were born — Jessie and Jason, Melissa and Michael — and they’re really not interested in using names favored for their parent’s generation in the 1950s or 1960s. So Debra, Karen, Richard, and Gary, names well-represented among grandparents, are out for today’s babies.
But names that were unpopular in the Baby Boom era are a different story. In fact, the bottom of the 1957 popularity list is full of names that sound fresh, elegant, fascinating, beautiful today.
There are patterns in evidence. Names without a clear gender identification were often relegated to the bottom of the barrel back then, as were ethnic names, surname-names, word names, place names, and ancient names. All these groups are of course well-accepted now.
If your parents are eager to talk about baby names but you want to avoid a tussle over the name, share this list with them. All these names were given to only five babies in 1957 but are used for hundreds and in some cases thousands of babies now. What do you think, Mom and Dad?
The baby girls who were born in 1950 are now grandmothers. They will turn 65 this year! It is safe to say, though, that a lot of their first names may not be getting passed down to their grand-daughters at the same rate that grandpa’s name is probably being given to the boys.
While the boys have some solid classics on their side –even their more dated options like Jerry are well-used today– the girl names have not survived the test of time as well. Take a look at how the top girl names of 1950 rank then and now and see if you don’t agree:
A couple of months ago, I attended a Sock Hop with my daughter. It was loads of fun and inspired me to delve into the 1950s and, of course, its most popular names.
As I looked at the Top 100 names of the decade, the thing that stuck out the most to me was the amount of baby names that began with R. Thirteen of the Top 100 boy names of the decade began with an R; nineteen of the Top 100 boy and girl names together began with an R. There were actually more J names in the Top 100 for both genders, but the amount of R boy names outnumbered the amount of J boy names. As a comparison, while J names are just as popular if not moreso nowadays, there were only three boy names that started with R in the Top 100 for the 2000s decade and six boy and girl names combined. What is it about R names that made them less popular? Let’s take a look at the names themselves:
Last week we took a look at the ladies in limbo, the girls’ names not old enough to fall under the Hundred Year Rule, but were most popular from the 1920s to the 1960s, to question whether any of them were eligible for resuscitation.
And now, as promised we perform the same operation on the boys’ list.
We find several differences between the genders. For one thing, the popularity of the boys’ names tend to stretch over longer periods of time (122 years for Howard, for instance), and clearer syllabic and sound patterns tend to emerge. In the 1920s and 1930s, for example, we see a preponderance of two-syllable names ending in the letters n and d. By the fifties and sixties, there are lots of four and five-letter single syllable favorites—the Todds and Troys, Deans and Dales—those surfer dudes we’ve labeled ‘Beach Boys’ in our books.
Not many of these names, except for a few in the pre-1920 list, have shown significant signs of revival—once again, because they’re the names of our grandpas and great-uncles and fathers-in law—the older men in our lives, the men still smoking pipes on Father’s Day cards.