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Where to Find A Cool Vintage Girl Name

Where to Find A Cool Vintage Girl Name

So you’re looking for vintage girl names. The perfect name has to have style. It has to have charm! It shouldn’t be common — after all, Hazel and Evelyn are starting to sound more like baby names these days than inspired vintage choices.

We get it. Yes, these seemingly elusive qualities are hard to capture all in one name, but hey, that’s why we’re here. We’ve identified over 100 vintage girl names — all outside the current US Top 1000 — with potential for a 2022 (or beyond) baby.

One of our top tips is to go through decades-old popularity charts, where there are always interesting names that have since left the public conscious. We’ve chosen 1922, because according to the 100-Year Rule — the idea that names become fashionable every four generations or so — these are the names that should be coming back into style right around now.

Gone But Not Forgotten

As wild as it may seem to contemplate a name like Mildred or Ethel for your daughter, trust us, these unique girl names will come back again. Resuscitate one now and you run the risk of some whispers, but give it 10 (okay, maybe 20) years and everyone will wish they’d had your style foresight.

Many have the potential to be rising stars of the next decade, so buyer beware. We’ve recently noticed children of stylish parents answer to Dorothea, Lula, and Sybil, and names such as Edna, Lois, and Henrietta are already making their ascent in the UK.

Retro Nicknames

The Roaring ‘20s were ripe with sassy nicknames. Comb through the Top 1000 and you’ll encounter dozens of nickname-names you’ve never even heard of, such as Sudie and Ludie (originally short for Susanna and Ludicia), and Verdie and Virgie (diminutives of Verity and Virginia).

Of course, those four might not be the best candidates for revival — we highly advise against calling your daughter Virgie — but these old-fashioned nicknames for girls deserve a second look:

Boyish Names for Girls

Lest you think unisex names are a modern-day trend, behold, the boyish vintage girl names of the 1920s! Parents frequently gave their daughters masculine names that rival even today’s gender-neutral standards (ever met a girl named Harold?).

We excluded many of the classic boys’ names that made the list for girls, including Charles, William, and Joseph — some of which make the charts due to clerical errors. But boy names for girls, particularly nickname-style names, were huge in the 1920s and are coming back around.

Who knows, maybe in another hundred years we’ll see bunches of little girls named Thomas and Clifford and Edward. For now, stick with Theo, Clyde, and Eddie.

Intruiging International Names

The crop of international names in 1922 was not as diverse as it is today, being mainly made up of French, Spanish, and Italian names. We still love these long romantic names, but many have been incorporated into American culture for long, they hardly feel international anymore. It’s easy to forget that back in the day, names like Celine and Carmen were the height of unique chic.

The ‘20s have a leg up on the modern day when it comes to Japanese names though. 1920 was the end of a Japanese population boom in the US, and as such, a significant number of traditional Japanese names made the Top 1000.

Hidden Gems

None of these names were ever superstars, in fact, they were all ranked below the Top 250 in 1922. Each fell off the charts well before the 21st century and there have been few signs of revival since.

This is great news if you’re searching for a name that won’t be catapulted into the Top 1000, to eventually be sucked up by yupsters and suburbanites. These names are unique and they’re likely to stay that way — for now.

About the Author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top baby name trends of 2021, baby name synesthesia, and the top names in each state. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.