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throwback thursday ’
Thursday, February 20th, 2014
Today we’re finishing up our Throwback Thursday series with a visit back to the 1910s—exactly 100 years ago. And the intriguing thing is that so many of the top names are coming back into vogue from then—names like Alice, Lillian and Rose for girls, Charles, Henry and James for boys.
But there definitely are names that haven’t been mined quite yet, and are worthy of a look. Check out these choices:
BABY GIRL NAMES
Helen was the number two name of the decade—it has a lovely background, the name of a mythical queen whose legendary beauty set off the Trojan War. The name means shining one, and is currently near the top 400 baby names.
Irene was a top 20 name a century ago, but it’s currently down in the top 700. It’s a beautiful name with an equally beautiful meaning: peace.
Mabel now has a celebrity baby in her corner—unique baby namer Bruce Willis picked it for his daughter. It’s a short version of Amabel (also lovely) and it means lovable. It might be a nice ancillary to the up-and-coming Mavis.
Thanks to red-hot Girls star Lena Dunham and Game of Thrones star Lena Headey, Lena, a shortened version of Helena and Elena, is likely to make a big comeback.
Genevieve peaked at 82 a century ago, and it’s definitely on its way back into prominence (it’s about to break the top 200). It’s a French name that means tribeswoman.
Maxine means the greatest—and it hit its peak as the 100th most popular name back in the 1910s. With celebrities like Jessica Simpson picking Maxwell, this might be a more traditional way to get to that cute “Max” nickname for a girl.
BABY BOY NAMES
Carl is a Germanic take on Charles, and was in the top 25 a century ago. It bottomed out at the top 600 two years ago, but seems to be on an uptick since it was used for the son of lead Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead.
Bernard means “brave as a bear,” and was a top 50 name in the 1910s. It fell out of the top 1000 a few years back, but I think it makes a nice, classic alternative to some of the popular “B” names, like Bentley and Brayden.
Woodrow was the 67th most popular name in 1910, thanks to the popularity of President Woodrow Wilson. Modern bearers of the name go by Woody (we’re talking Woody Guthrie and Woody Harrelson). I also think you could make the case for Drew as a nickname.
Edwin peaked way back in the 1910s, and could be a cooler way to honor an Edward. If you don’t like Eddie as a nickname, Win could be a winning choice.
Similar name Edgar, meaning wealthy spearman, has been on a slight uptick lately, after a period of slow and steady decline. With cool literary icon Edgar Allan Poe and Impressionist artist Edgar Degas as the most famous bearers, it could be a cool choice for academically oriented parents.
Want to take a tour through the entire Throwback Thursday series? Here are my picks:
1880s Baby Names
1890s Baby Names
1900s Baby Names
1920s Baby Names
1930s Baby Names
1940s Baby Names
1950s Baby Names
1960s Baby Names
1970s Baby Names
1980s Baby Names
1990s Baby Names
Still searching for a fab name? Try our Baby Name Finder! And don’t forget to like In Name Only to keep up with the latest in baby names!
Image: 1910 Woman by LiliGraphie / Shutterstock.com
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In Name Only, Must Read, Top Baby Names
Thursday, January 30th, 2014
The 1940s saw us enter—and win—a world war, then soldiers came home to start the biggest baby boom in U.S. history. The top names of the era are likely the names of your parents or your grandparents. Odds are you have a James (or a Jimmy or Jim) and a Mary in your past.
But while James and Mary still do relatively well, you’ll find other chart toppers that have fallen by the wayside—and may be ready for a comeback. Here are the top 1940s names you might want to consider for your kiddos.
Many of the top 100 baby names in the 1940s don’t feel fresh enough yet for their comeback—perhaps our sons and daughters will help bring stalwarts like Linda and Barbara back into vogue. But there are a few names that may be ready for a second shot at the top spot.
Rosemary was one of the classic nature names, for the herb that symbolizes faithfulness. It hit its peak in the #91 spot back in the 1940s—but after decades of decline, is finally starting to stage a comeback. (Probably because it makes a lovely and less-expected way to get to “Rose.”)
Carol (with or without an “e”) has a special place in my heart—it’s the name of my mother. And given that Carol was the 5th most popular name and Carole the 57th back in the 1940s, odds are you have a relative with the name, too. Both versions have fallen out of the top 1000, but perhaps a little of the popularity of the more traditional Caroline (currently #80 in the U.S.) may rub off on these shorter forms?
Judith has been on a downward spiral since it hit the top 10 in the 1940s—and it’s barely in the top 1000 right now. But the name has an interesting meaning—praised—and a cool new pop-culture association, in the doomed daughter of Walking Dead‘s Rick and Lori. Jude makes a cooler short form than the old-school Judy.
Elaine, a form of Helen, was a top 50 name back in the 1940s—it means “shining one.” One would have thought that Seinfeld’s Elaine could have brought it back into vogue, but it’s still on the decline. (P.S. It’s a cool way to get to the uberpopular nickname Ellie.)
Boys names don’t have the turnover you see in the girls’ side—many of today’s top names, like William, Charles and the like, were top 100 back then, too. But here are a few gems that haven’t been as popular of late.
Keith was just entering its heyday back in the 1940s, when it charted as the 100th most popular name. It’s a Scottish name that means “woods,” and is currently residing at the edge of the top 400.
Lee has become a popular middle name for girls, but I think its meaning, “meadow,” and its simplicity make it a nice contender for today’s boys—either front and center or in the middle spot.
Dennis, a top 20 name back in the 1940s, lost its mojo the second the rough-and-tumble comic book character Dennis the Menace made its debut. But the name, a French take on Dionysus, deserves another look.
Timothy hit its peak not long after ranking as the 63rd most popular name back in the 1940s. It fell out of the top 100 five years ago—but given its Biblical pedigree and its classic-but-not-overused status, it’s worthy of another look.
We’re almost done with our Throwback Thursday series! Check out the previous posts and let me know what your favorite decade was.
And if you’re still on the baby name hunt, check out the Baby Name Finder for some guidance—or send me an email at email@example.com. And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the latest in baby names.
Image: 1940s woman by Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com
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Baby Name Stories, In Name Only, Must Read
Thursday, January 16th, 2014
You might think hippie names like Rainbow and Sunshine were all the rage in the 1960s, but when it comes to the decade’s monikers, the old standards topped the charts. Michael and Lisa reigned for the decade (that’s my hubby and me!), and while Michael has maintained its popularity, many other of the top names from the 1960s have lost their mojo. We’re talking 1960s top names like Susan, Karen, Kimberly, Linda and Donna for girls, and Richard and Kevin for boys, which aren’t heard quite as often today. But there are some top names that could be viable for a repeat performance. Here are my hidden 60s gems.
Tracey is a sweet variant on Theresa, which means harvest. It peaked at #98 in the 1960s, and hasn’t been heard from much since the 1990s. If you like some of the “ee” ending names like Lacey, Aubrey and Zoe, this might make a wonderful (and less-used) alternative.
The regal name Regina reached its pinnacle in the 1960s, and it means queen. Its most modern pop culture reference is reigning “Mean Girl” Regina George, but I think it might make a cool, classic name for a girl today.
Rhonda screams California girl, and thanks to the Beach Boys’ classic “Help Me, Rhonda,” it topped the charts at #44 in the 1960s. The name means “noisy one.”
Amy started reaching the top of the charts in the 1960s, when it was #35. And with names like Emily, Amelia and Emma among the most popular, this might be a natural alternative. The name means beloved.
Darryl peaked at #94 in the 1960s, but more than a half-century later, this name, which means beloved, is barely charting in the top 1000. Could the cool character Darryl Dixon from The Walking Dead bring about a Darryl-assance?
“L” ending names were apparently red-hot in the 1960s, and I also like both Randall, #65 back then—and Russell, #59. Russell especially feels like it’s ready for a comeback—it means red-headed.
Troy peaked in the 1960s at #55, thanks to handsome actor Troy Donahue. It means foot soldier, and might make a cool alternative to the uberpopular Tyler.
Glenn was in the top 100 for nearly a half century, and peaked in the 1960s at #74. It fell out of popularity in the past decade, but thanks to Glenn on The Walking Dead, it could be ready for its comeback.
What 60s-era names do you love?
Find your favorite names on our Baby Name Finder!
Image: 60s high school photo by Kristin Smith/Shutterstock.com
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In Name Only, Must Read
Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Today’s Throwback Thursday heads back to the turn of the 20th century, when many of the old-fashioned names that we’re loving now were in vogue. For girls, that meant names like Lillian, Grace, Rose and Clara, while William, Jack, James and Charles were stylish for boys.
But there are some unique names from the top of the list that haven’t made it back into fashion. Could one of these vintage baby names make it on your short list?
Inez is the Portuguese version of Agnes, and means pure. It hit its peak in the 1900s, when it fell just a bit outside the top 100. It hasn’t been in the top 1000 since the 1970s, but I think it’s ready for a fresh run for the top.
With names like Ruby, Jade and Pearl becoming popular, could other gem names be far behind? I love Opal, which was the #98 name in the 1900s. Consider it especially for a daughter born in October, when opal is the birthstone.
I’m pretty partial to the name Margaret (it’s my youngest daughter’s name), but Marguerite is pretty darned stylish, too. It’s the French version of Margaret, which means pearl—and it’s also the name of a flower.
Lucille was nearing its peak in the 1900s, when it was the 51st most popular name. It’s a fun way to get to Lucy, and pays homage to the legendary comedienne. If you don’t want people to think of the wacky redhead, try the variant Lucilla.
Edith has a lovely meaning—prosperity—and the perfect way to follow the E-name trend without going for the overused Ella or Emma. (And I love the nickname Edie!)
Gladys was the 14th most popular name back in the 1900s, a Welsh gem that actually means “lame.” I think it’s a lovely name, though.
Roosevelt reached its pinnacle of popularity for boys back in the 1900s, thanks to the indomitable prez Teddy. It’s a Dutch surname that means rose field, and fell out of favor back in the 1990s.
Willard has the Today Show’s longtime weatherman/100th-birthday wisher Willard Scott to recommend it, and a cool meaning—brave. It’s a nice way to get to Will without the uberpopular William.
Virgil was Rome’s finest poet—a Latin name that means staff bearer. It was at its peak of popularity back in the 1900s, and comes with the cute “Gil” nickname
Luther is a German name that means army people, and stayed in the top 100 until 1910. Consider it a cool way to pay homage to Martin Luther King—or Superman baddie Lex Luthor.
Howard means brave heart, and was a top 50 name through the late 19th and early 20th century, before a steep nosedive starting in the 1980s (could the infamous 80s-era flop Howard the Duck be to blame?). Skip Howie and go with the cool Ward for a nickname.
Albert was one of my front runners for a royal baby name—it means “noble,” and was the name of Queen Victoria’s beloved husband. I love the nickname “Bertie” for a little boy. Too cool!
What do you think of these turn-of-the-century names? Could you imagine a little Willard or Edith? Look for the perfect baby name with our Baby Name Finder, and check out my advice for the biggest baby name trends of next year.
Image: 1900s couple by velora / Shutterstock.com
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In Name Only, Must Read, Top Baby Names
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
The 1990s may feel like yesterday—but it is already 20 years ago! As with most recent top 10 girls’ names, the 1990s chart topper, Jessica, has had a sharp decline since its heyday—it’s currently at number 138 and dropping. Michael, the top boys’ name of the decade (and really, for several decades when the current crop of dads were born), fared a little better than poor Jessie—Michael’s still in the top 10!
Many of the recent hot names started their climb to the top during the 1990s, but there are still some gems that may deserve a second look.
GIRLS’ BABY NAMES
The place name trend started at the turn of the century, when names like Cheyenne and Alexandria were hot. Cheyenne was #100 back in the 1990s—it’s a Sioux name that means “people of a different language,” and is also the capital of Wyoming. Alexandria is another take on Alexandra, but one that has more international flair—think the city in Egypt.
Sabrina was the 91st most popular name back in the 1990s. It’s the name of a Celtic goddess—and the title of the classic film, starring Audrey Hepburn.
Pretty Paige reached its pinnacle, #66, in the decade of flannel and grunge. Its most famous bearer was one of the sisters on Charmed.
The #33 name back in the 1990s was Kelsey, an English name that means “island.” Kelsey was a relatively new name, first breaking into the top 1000 in the 1970s—but since its peak in the 1990s, it’s back down to the top 300. Still, it’s a fun alternative to Lindsay or Kelly.
Spencer, a name that means “steward,” was the 98th most popular name for boys in the 1990s. It’s tapered off into the top 205 since then, but thanks to its association with silver screen icon Spencer Tracy, it still has glamour.
Mitchell is a British version of perennial favorite Michael, and reached its pinnacle of popularity in the 1990s, when it was 91st most popular name. Consider it as a way to pay homage to Michael, without choosing that top 10 name.
An early Irish favorite was Garrett, which reached its peak at 85 20 years ago. It means strong, and has had a slight decline into top 250.
Blake, which means fair-haired, was the #84 name in the 1990s, and has stabilized in the top 100 ever sense. Thanks to country star Blake Shelton, this is likely destined to remain a hot name for the foreseeable future.
What’s your favorite 1990s name? If you’re still searching for the perfect name, check out our Baby Name Finder.
Image: Guryanov Andrey
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Baby Name Stories, In Name Only, Must Read