Family Names

The first, middle, and last names of my ancestors. (Nicknames, too.)
  1. Abigail
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "my father is joyful"
    • Description:

      Abigail has been in for so long -- the name has ranked in the US Top 100 since the late 1980s -- it's amazing that it isn't more out by now. But Abigail's biblical and historic roots make it a fashionable classic rather than a passing fad.
  2. Abraham
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "father of multitudes"
    • Description:

      Abraham is among the most classic baby names that's still widely-used today, popular for its references to both the Bible and American history. The Biblical Abraham was the first of the Old Testament patriarchs and is considered the founding father of the Jewish people. He was originally named Abram, until, according to Genesis, he was told, "No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations."
  3. Adam
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "son of the red earth"
    • Description:

      Adam -- a primal Old Testament name -- was revived as a 1960s cowboy name. Adam is not as popular as it once was and feels ready for a respite, replaced by newer A names like Aidan/Aiden, Avery and Axel. Its most prominent current bearers include Adams Sandler, Levine, Brody and Driver -- who plays a character named Adam on Girls.
  4. Agnes
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "pure, virginal"
    • Description:

      Agnes is the Latin variation of the name Hagne, which itself derived from the Greek word hagnos, meaning "chaste." In medieval times, St. Agnes was a very popular saint, leading to its popularity as a girl's name. Agnes Grey is the title of one of the two novels written by Anne Brontë.
  5. Albert
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "noble, bright"
    • Description:

      Albert has acquired a new gloss as one of the top royal baby boy names, a considerable upgrade from its serious, studious image (think Einstein, Schweitzer).
  6. 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."
  7. Amos
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "carried by God"
    • Description:

      Amos is a robust biblical name that's being discovered by a new generation of parents in a major way.
  8. Amy
    • Origin:

      French
    • Meaning:

      "beloved"
    • Description:

      Amy is the English variation of the Old French name Amée—Aimée in modern French. Amée was a translation of the Latin name Amata, which derived from amatus, meaning "beloved." Other spelling variations include Amie and Ami.
  9. Ann
    • Origin:

      English variation of Hebrew Hannah
    • Meaning:

      "grace"
    • Description:

      Ann, the name of the sainted mother of the Virgin Mary, was among the top girls’ names for centuries, in both the original English Ann spelling and the French Anne. Both left the Top 100 around 1970 and show no signs of returning, with Anne is the middle of the US Top 1000 and Ann dropped out of sight.
  10. Anna
    • Origin:

      Variation of Hannah, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "grace"
    • Description:

      Anna has become the dominant form of the Ann family, offering a touch of the international to English speakers and a bit more style than the oversimplified Ann or Anne.
  11. Annie
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Ann
    • Meaning:

      "grace"
    • Description:

      Annie is one of the most open and optimistic, the-sun'll-come-out-tomorrow type of name, having been celebrated over the years in song (Annie Laurie), comic strip (Little Orphan Annie), folklore (Annie Oakley, born Phoebe), and film (Annie Hall). It strikes a nice old-fashioned-but-jaunty chord that still has appeal, but we do suggest that you consider putting a more formal version on her birth certificate.
  12. Apollonia
    • Origin:

      Greek, Feminine variation of Apollo, Greek sun god.
    • Description:

      This name of a third-century Christian martyr has an romantic, appealing feel in the modern world. It first came to American attention via Prince's love interest in the film Purple Rain.
  13. Baldwin
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "brave friend"
    • Description:

      One "bald" name we can get behind, thanks to pioneering African-American author James Baldwin – though the name is now also associated with the Baldwin brothers, particularly Alec.
  14. Barbara
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "foreign woman"
    • Description:

      Barbara is back! Among the fastest-rising names of 2023, Barbara came back from oblivion at the very bottom of the Top 1000, gaining nearly 100 places on the popularity list.
  15. Belle
    • Origin:

      Short form of Isabelle or French
    • Meaning:

      "beautiful"
    • Description:

      Belle has nothing but positive associations, from "belle of the ball" to "Southern belle" to the heroine of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. As if this weren't enough good things, Belle is also one of the most familiar and usable names that mean beautiful. Though it has been overshadowed by the Twilight-influenced Bella and longer forms like Isabella and Annabella, Belle has its own Southern charm and would make a pretty choice as a first or middle name.
  16. Benjamin
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "son of the right hand"
    • Description:

      Benjamin is a biblical name that has enjoyed widespread favor for decades, ranking in the US Top 50 for almost half a century and the Top 10 from 2015 until 2023.
  17. Bennett
    • Origin:

      English, medieval form of Benedict
    • Meaning:

      "blessed"
    • Description:

      Bennett is Ben with a bow tie, kind of a cross between Benjamin and Beckett. It's been trending up on the popularity charts in recent years, and its choice by The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's Jane Krakowski could shoot it even higher.
  18. Benton
    • Origin:

      English surname and place name
    • Meaning:

      "bent grass enclosure"
    • Description:

      Benton is an old English surname of a type usually given to local landowners. It is also recorded in early records as Beneton and Bentune. Benton newly returned to the Social Security list in 2011 after a forty-plus year absence, perhaps as a fresh route to Ben.
  19. Bert
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Albert and Bertram
    • Description:

      A once-popular nickname for Albert and Bertram now being polished up by hip Brits, but still hibernating in the Land of Nerd over here.
  20. Brady
    • Origin:

      Irish
    • Meaning:

      "broad meadow or large-chested"
    • Description:

      The Irish name given to Miranda Hobbes's son on the dearly departed Sex and the City is a friendly and energetic choice. You well might want to make your son part of the Brady bunch.