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Victorian Girl Names from the 1800s

  1. DorotheaHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "gift of God"
    • Description:

      Dorothea is a flowing and romantic Victorian-sounding name which was popular in the early decades of the twentieth century, but has been off the charts since 1970. Definitely on the brink of a revival!
  2. BettyHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Elizabeth
    • Meaning:

      "pledged to God"
    • Description:

      Combine the popularity of Betty White and Mad Men's glamorous Betty Draper Francis, with the residual sweetness of Ugly Betty's Betty Suarez, and the result is an impending return of the name. It's got presidential cred via Betty Ford and feminist history through Betty Friedan.
  3. MillicentHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "strong in work"
    • Description:

      Combining the mild and the innocent, this sweet and feminine name is worthy of a comeback, in the mode of Madeline and Cecilia. Its original, also attractive form is Melisende, which came from Germany to France and was borne by a daughter of Charlemagne.
  4. NellieHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Helen, Eleanor, et al
    • Description:

      This ready-for-revival nickname name recalls the old Gay Nineties and bicycles-built-for-two era. In the US, Nellie is one of the most popular unique girl names, lying just beneath the Top 1000. About five times as many baby girls are named Nellie in the US today as shorter form Nell.
  5. EnidHeart
    • Origin:

      Welsh
    • Meaning:

      "life, spirit"
    • Description:

      This Celtic goddess and Arthurian name may sound terminally old-ladyish to many ears--but so did names like Ella and Etta not so long ago. So Enid is yet another forgotten four-letter E-possibility: she's has been M.I.A since 1954.
  6. MarthaHeart
    • Origin:

      Aramaic
    • Meaning:

      "lady"
    • Description:

      The name of our first First Lady still has something of a prim and proper image, academic and efficient. That quiet, traditional, and tasteful gestalt is exactly what makes Martha appealing to some parents today.
  7. NorahHeart
    • Origin:

      English, Arabic
    • Meaning:

      "woman of honor, light"
    • Description:

      The skyrocketing success of singer Norah Jones brought this spelling of the name onto the pop charts in 2003. As well as being a spelling variant of Nora in English, it's also an alternative transcription of the Arabic name Nura, from Nur/Noor "light".
  8. PollyHeart
    • Origin:

      English variation of Molly
    • Description:

      An alternative to the no-longer-fresh Molly, the initial 'P' gives Polly a peppier sound, combining the cozy virtues of an old-timey name with the bounce of a barmaid.
  9. TheresaHeart
    • Origin:

      English form of the Spanish Teresa
    • Meaning:

      "to harvest"
    • Description:

      The popular appeal of the strong, intelligent Saint Teresa of Avila, combined with the selfless compassion of the more recent Mother Teresa, have fused to give this second-tier classic a somewhat noble, religious image. Although the origins of the name are uncertain, it has been prevalent particularly in forms Theresa, Teresa, and Therese throughout Europe for centuries.
  10. AmandaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "she must be loved"
    • Description:

      Amanda may no longer be the most popular girls' name in her class, but she is still among the prettiest and has a lovely meaning. Amanda was one of the romantic-sounding girls’ names that rocketed to stardom in the eighties, along with Samantha, Vanessa, et al.
  11. HenriettaHeart
    • Origin:

      Feminine variation of Henry
    • Meaning:

      "estate ruler"
    • Description:

      Despite a return to such feminizations of male names as Josephine, Clementine, and Theodora, starchy Henrietta has not made it into that group. Still, if you look hard enough, you'll see that Henrietta has the same vintage charm.
  12. ClarissaHeart
    • Origin:

      Elaboration of Clara
    • Meaning:

      "bright, clear"
    • Description:

      Clarissa, the daintier version of Claire, has a long literary history of its own, having been featured in the novels of Samuel Richardson, Charles Dickens, and Virginia Woolf—Clarissa was the title character of Mrs. Dalloway—not to mention the 1990s teen sitcom, Clarissa Explains it All.
  13. EuphemiaHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "fair speech"
    • Description:

      Ancient martyr's name that, though not especially appealing, might still be mildly possible, especially for Anglophiles. It was widely used in early Scotland, but was overtaken by its nickname, Effie.
  14. MayHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Margaret and Mary; month name
    • Description:

      May is a sweet old-fashioned name that hasn't been on the national charts in several decades, but is definitely sounding fresh and springlike. Parents are beginning to see it once more as one of the prettiest middle name options. May was as high on the list as Number 57 in the 1880s; it's now 228 on Nameberry.
  15. MariaHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew or Egyptian
    • Meaning:

      "drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
    • Description:

      As a highly popular girls’ name in all Spanish-speaking countries, this saintly Latin variation of Mary retains a timeless beauty. Through the centuries, Maria remains one of the most widely-used girl names starting with M.
  16. EllenHeart
    • Origin:

      English variation of Helen
    • Meaning:

      "torch; shining light"
    • Description:

      An medieval English form of Helen, the sensitive but clear-eyed Ellen has swung in and out of style for centuries, often alternating with the parent name. Ellen was the more common in medieval England, until after the Renaissance, when Helen overtook her. In Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, set at the end of the nineteenth century, one character wonders why another has not changed her "ugly" given name to something prettier, like Elaine—a statement few would make today.
  17. BlancheHeart
    • Origin:

      French
    • Meaning:

      "white"
    • Description:

      Blanche, which originated as a nickname for a pale blonde and then became associated with the notion of purity, was in style a century ago, ranking in the double digits until 1920. She then had to fight the stereotype of faded Southern belle, a la Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire and Blanche Devereaux in TV's Golden Girls. Now all three of the Golden Girls--Blanche, Rose and Dorothy--could be ready for revival, with Blanche sounding like a stronger, simpler alternative to Bianca.
  18. KittyHeart
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Katherine
    • Meaning:

      "pure"
    • Description:

      This endearing nickname name is one Katherine pet form that predates all the Kathys and Katies, having been fairly common in the eighteenth century. With the current mini-craze for animal-related names, Kitty is sounding cute and cuddly again—she's already jumped back onto the U.K. list, at number 199.
  19. LoisHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "most desirable"
    • Description:

      The eternal fiancee of Superman turned sweet gray-haired lady who's always available to babysit her grandkids. Lois is actually a New Testament name of Greek origin: she was converted by Paul and was the grandmother of Timothy, who became one of Paul's disciples. Other s-ending names are making a comeback, as is Louise, so why not Lois?
  20. GertrudeHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "strength of a spear"
    • Description:

      Could cute nickname Gertie, remembered as cute five-year-old Drew Barrymore in E.T., revive the long shunned Gertrude?