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.
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.
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.
If you're still on the baby name hunt, check out the Baby Name Finder for some guidance.
Image: 1940s woman by Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com