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Victorian Baby Names Revive an Era

October 26, 2020 Emma Waterhouse
victorian names

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?

NB: Statistics are based on Elea’s excellent historical popularity charts over at British Baby Names.

Top Victorian Names for Girls

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.

The top Victorian girl names also include several Biblical names that are seriously underused today, like Dinah, Kezia and Thirza.

All of these names featured in the British Top 100 at some point during Victoria’s reign.

Ada
Adelaide
Agnes
Augusta
Beatrice
Betsy
Blanche
Cecilia
Clara
Constance
Dinah
Dorothy
Edith
Eliza
Elsie
Ethel
Florence
Frances
Georgiana
Gladys
Gwendoline
Harriet
Henrietta
Hester
Hilda
Ida
Irene
Jemima
Johanna
Kezia
Lavinia
Letitia
Lilian
Louisa
Mabel
Marjorie
Martha
Matilda
Maud
Mercy
Nancy
Nellie
Olive
Phoebe
Priscilla
Rhoda
Rosetta
Selina
Thirza
Vera
Violet
Winifred

Top Victorian Names for Boys

Biblical names for boys were extremely popular during the Victorian Era, from Abraham and Amos to Jeremiah and Job.

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!

These quintessential Victorian boy names were all Top 100 picks during Victoria’s reign.

Abel
Abraham
Albert
Ambrose
Amos
Archibald
Augustus
Bertram
Cecil
Charlie
Clarence
Clement
Cornelius
Douglas
Ebenezer
Edgar
Enoch
Ephraim
Ernest
Frank
Frederick
Geoffrey
Gilbert
Griffith
Harold
Hector
Herbert
Horace
Hugh
Ivor
Jeremiah

Job
Lawrence
Leslie
Lionel
Maurice
Moses
Oscar
Percival
Ralph
Raymond
Reginald
Roger
Roland
Sidney
Simeon
Solomon
Stanley
Victor
Wallace
Walter
Wilfred

Uncommon Victorian Girl Names

These uncommon Victorian girl names never cracked the Top 100 – as far as we can tell – during Queen Victoria’s reign, but all were in regular use.

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!

Adela
Alberta
Alma
Annis
Charity
Cicely
Clarice
Cordelia
Dorcas
Dorothea
Drusilla
Effie
Emmeline
Enid
Eugenie
Euphemia
Gwenllian
Hephzibah
Hetty
Jennet
Kitty
Leonora
Lettice
Levina
Lowry
Lucretia
Mahala
Millicent
Olwen
Patience
Peggy
Philippa
Polly
Pretoria
Prudence
Rosamond
Sabina
Sybil
Tabitha
Tamar
Temperance
Thomasin
Tryphena
Veronica
Wilhelmina
Zillah

Uncommon Victorian Boy Names

Uncommon Victorian boy names included some wonderfully grandiose choices, like Adolphus, Lancelot, Montague, Theophilus and Valentine.

Obscure Biblical and saints’ names were also in widespread use – as well as some rare English surname names that would feel right on trend today, such as Robinson, Hartley and Hedley.

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.

Absalom
Adolphus
Algernon
Aubrey
Bartholomew
Basil
Cuthbert
Cyrus
Emlyn
Emmanuel
Esau
Ethelbert
Eustace
Felix
Godfrey
Granville
Greenwood
Guy
Gwilym
Hartley
Hedley
Hiram
Horatio
Howell
Humphrey
Israel
Jenkin
Julius
Lancelot
Llewellyn
Luther
Marmaduke
Montague
Nehemiah
Nelson
Obadiah
Robinson
Rupert
Samson
Septimus
Shadrach
Spencer
Squire
Theophilus
Titus
Valentine
Vivian
Winston
Zephaniah

To read next…

Traditional Boy Names: The Ultimate Guide

Where to Find a Cool Vintage Girl Name

Medieval Names for a Modern Baby

About the author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse — better known as @katinka around these parts — joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from where to find a cool vintage boy name to why some names become popular memes. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active Forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks six languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and three young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.

View all of Emma Waterhouse's articles

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