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?
Victorian Girl Names
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 1800 girl names: 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 in the 1800s during Victoria’s reign.
Victorian Boy Names
Biblical names for boys were extremely popular during the Victorian Era, from Abraham and Amos to Jeremiah and Job.
German names were also much more widely used for 1800 boy names 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 in the 1800s during Victoria’s reign.
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 are Welsh 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!
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 the 1800s, during Victoria’s reign, but never ranks that high for girls.
Thanks to Elea from British Baby Names, on whose excellent historical popularity charts these statistics are based.