Victorian Baby Names Revive an Era
Victorian baby names are a real treasure trove for lovers of vintage baby names for boys and girls – especially lesser-used ones!
Victorian names share the sweet, old-fashioned feel of popular vintage revival names like Lily, Ivy and Cora for girls, and Ezra, Eli and Jasper for boys. But they also have a cool clunkiness to them: think Agnes, Constance, Lionel, Ralph.
Following Queen Victoria’s own example (more on her royal naming legacy here), Victorian parents chose strong, confident names for an era which oversaw huge scientific, technological and economic advances.
Here, we’ve gathered a selection of the most popular baby names of the Victorian Era, as well as some of the most intriguing uncommon Victorian baby names. Which are your favorites?
Queen Victoria’s own daughters were named Victoria Adelaide Mary, Alice Mary Maud, Helena Augusta Victoria, Louise Caroline Alberta and Beatrice Mary Victoria. The royal couple’s naming style had a huge influence on Victorian name trends: Helena, Louise and Beatrice all leapt up the popularity charts following the princesses’ births.
Names of Germanic origin were also much more widely used than they are today, with Bert names like Albert, Bertram and Herbert particularly popular. Prince Albert and the young princes Albert Edward, Alfred Ernest Albert, Arthur William Patrick and Leopold George Duncan no doubt played a part in this!
It’s interesting to see some Medieval English names on the list which have now been all but lost, such as Annis (a form of Agnes), Cicely (Cecilia), Jennet (Janet) and Lettice (Letitia). Also notable is the Welsh influence in names like Gwenllian, Lowry and Olwen.
And an interesting aside on Pretoria: this South African place name caught on in a big way in 1900, which was the year of a significant British military victory in the city. Commemorative baby names were big with Victorian parents!
Note the use of Vivian as still a predominantly male name in Britain during this period. It makes the Top 200 boy names for three of the almost seven decades of Victoria’s reign, but never ranks that high for girls.