Colonial Names for Girls

Colonial Names for Girls

Many colonial names for girls have fallen out of favor for long enough now to sound fresh and even cool again. Early Americans used names from a variety of styles, including obscure biblical names such as Tryphena and Thirza, extreme virtue names such as Silence and Obedience, and extravagant American place names, such as Philadelphia and Tennessee.

The most common girl name during colonial times was Elizabeth, followed by Mary, Sarah, Anne, and Frances. Colonial names can be considered 1700s girl names, while girl names from the 1800s can also be called Victorian names.

Along with Elizabeth and Mary, other girl names from the 1700s still popular today include Abigail, Amy, Caroline, Charlotte, Hannah, Katherine, Molly, and Sabrina. Unique colonial-era names for girls include Cleda, Hitty, Nonie, Thirza, and Winnet.

If you like historic baby names but want to move beyond the Victorian names and biblical names we've heard so much of in recent years, consider these names culled from Revolutionary War rolls and eighteenth-century town histories.

Below, our collection of colonial baby names for girls, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.

RELATED:

Colonial Names from the 1700s

Historic Baby Names

  1. Charlotte
    • Origin:

      French, feminine diminutive of Charles
    • Meaning:

      "free man"
    • Description:

      Charlotte, the name of the young Princess of Cambridge, is the latest classic name to join Sophia, Emma, Olivia, and Isabella at the top of the popularity list. It is now among the most popular girl names in many English-speaking and European countries.
  2. Eleanor
    • Origin:

      English variation of French Provencal Alienor, meaning unknown
    • Description:

      Eleanor's straightforward feminine image combined with its royal medieval history is striking just the right note for parents in search of a girls' name that combines substance and style.
  3. Amelia
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "work"
    • Description:

      Amelia is one of the hottest girls' names, a successor to the megapopular Emma and Emily. Amelia, which spent several years at Number 1 in England, is now comfortably ensconced in the US Top 10.
  4. Alice
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "noble"
    • Description:

      Alice is a classic literary name that's both strong and sweet, ranking in the US Top 100 and popular throughout the western world. Alice is derived from the Old French name Aalis, a diminutive of Adelais that itself came from the Germanic name Adalhaidis, which is composed of the Proto-Germanic elements aþala, meaning "noble," and haidu, "kind, appearance, type."
  5. Lucy
    • Origin:

      English variation of Lucia, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "light"
    • Description:

      A versatile classic, Lucy is both sweet and solid, a saint's name, and the heroine of several great novels. First fashionable in England and Wales, Lucy is now a popular choice in the US, The Netherlands, and New Zealand.
  6. Clementine
    • Origin:

      French feminine version of Clement, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "mild, merciful"
    • Description:

      Clementine is a Nameberry favorite that broke back into the US Top 1000 in 2014 after more than half a century off the list.
  7. Genevieve
    • Origin:

      English from French
    • Meaning:

      "tribe woman"
    • Description:

      Genevieve is derived from the Germanic medieval name Genovefa, or Kenowefa, which consists of the elements kuni, meaning "kin", and wefa, meaning "woman." The medieval saint Genevieve, patroness of Paris, defended the city against Attila the Hun through her rational thinking, courage and prayer.
  8. Phoebe
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "radiant, shining one"
    • Description:

      Phoebe is the Latin variation of the Greek name Phoibe, which derived from phoibos, meaning "bright." In classical mythology, Phoebe is the by-name of Artemis, goddess of the moon and of hunting. The masculine version of Phoebe is Phoebus.
  9. Penelope
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "weaver"
    • Description:

      Penelope is an unlikely 21st century baby name success story. Off the Top 1000 for 25 years, Penelope jumped back on in 2001 and has been heading uphill ever since, propelled by the trend for mythological names, Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, and some high-profile celebrity babies.
  10. Adelaide
    • Origin:

      Variant of Adelheidis, German
    • Meaning:

      "noble, nobility"
    • Description:

      Adelaide is now heading straight uphill on the coattails of such newly popular sisters as Ava, Ada, and Audrey, and in the company of Adeline and Amelia. It was chosen by actress Katherine Heigl for the name of her second daughter.
  11. Elsie
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Elizabeth via its Scottish variation, Elspeth
    • Meaning:

      "pledged to God"
    • Description:

      Elsie is a sweet vintage nickname-name turned modern star. After a 30-year hiatus, Elsie started climbing the US popularity list 20 years ago and is still headed for the top.
  12. Mabel
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Amabel, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "lovable"
    • Description:

      Mabel is a saucy Victorian favorite rising in popularity in the US over the past decade, after a 50-year nap If you love offbeat old-fashioned names like Violet or Josephine, only sassier, Mabel is one for you to consider.
  13. Elizabeth
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "pledged to God"
    • Description:

      Elizabeth is one of the most popular girls' names of all time, the female equivalent of James or William. Yet Elizabeth has so much going for it—rich history, broad appeal, and timeless style—that no matter how many little girls are named Lizzie, Eliza, and Beth, you can still make Elizabeth your own.
  14. Florence
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "flourishing, prosperous"
    • Description:

      Florence is back, returning to the US Top 1000 girl names in 2017 after a nearly 40 year absence. Other English-speaking countries have been quicker to welcome Florence back into fashion.
  15. Cecilia
    • Origin:

      Feminine form of Cecil, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "blind"
    • Description:

      Cecilia is a lovely classic name deservedly enjoying a new turn in the sun. Always among the Top 500 girls' names in the US, Cecilia is now at its highest point ever.
  16. Lydia
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "woman from Lydia"
    • Description:

      Lydia is one of the first place names, after an area of Asia Minor whose inhabitants are credited with strong musical talent great wealth. Always among the US Top 1000 girl names, Lydia is a quietly fashionable classic.
  17. Jane
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "God is gracious"
    • Description:

      No, we don't consider Jane too plain. In fact, for a venerable and short one-syllable name, we think it packs a surprising amount of punch, as compared to the related Jean and Joan.
  18. Caroline
    • Origin:

      French, feminine variation of Charles
    • Meaning:

      "free man"
    • Description:

      Caroline is a perennial classic, one of the elite group of girls' names that's ALWAYS ranked among the Top 1000 and that's been in the Top 100 since 1994. Elegant yet strong, Caroline calls to mind the Kennedy Camelot years and Princess Caroline of Monaco.
  19. Adeline
    • Origin:

      French, diminutive of Adele
    • Meaning:

      "noble, nobility"
    • Description:

      Adeline has a lovely, old-fashioned "Sweet Adeline" charm, but has become so popular in the US under so many spellings and variations -- with Adalynn and Adalyn also popular -- that considered together it is far more popular than it first seems. Adorable nickname Addie is also pervasive.
  20. Margaret
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "pearl"
    • Description:

      Margaret is derived from the French Marguerite, which in turn came from Margarita, the Latin form of the Greek Margarites. Margarites was based on the Old Persian word margārīta, meaning "pearl."