Given that there’s a large span of ages that grandparents these days fall within, it’s tough to say exactly which grandparents will favor certain names over others. Of course, some grandpas might dislike specific names for a variety of reasons, so there’s no pleasing everyone!
Still, there are a lot of names that will be both familiar to grandpa and something that he likes! Because after all, a lot of modern parents are choosing names that are either hard to read or hard to pronounce or both. Plus, modern names don’t usually follow patterns that grandpa would be familiar with. Those extra vowels and out-of-place letters are just confusing and nonsensical—two things most grandpas aren’t down with.
So while it’s not necessarily a must to pick a name that the grandparent of the child will love, it’s a nostalgic and classic approach to baby naming that can’t be ignored. After all, a lot of names that are old-fashioned are also new again thanks to modern parents who are choosing simple and timeless monikers for their tots.
For those parents, here’s a list of 30 baby names that grandpa (and everyone else) will love, based on what was popular back when gramps was young.
When modern parents think of classic and timeless names, Benjamin is usually somewhere near the top. And even on modern naming lists, it’s within the top ten in the United States. The meaning isn’t exactly “meaningful”—it means “son of my right hand,” according to Baby Names—but that doesn’t stop most parents from picking it. Besides, you can’t really beat naming your kiddo after Benjamin Franklin (or Ben Affleck, for modern mamas!). It’s something Grandpa can appreciate, but also a name that grows with a child.
Let’s be honest: there aren’t many little girls named Angela today. More common are more “elegant” names like Angeline or Angelica. But that doesn’t mean this classic isn’t still a great option. Plus, it stuck within the top ten throughout the sixties, meaning Grandpa might have an affinity for it since he likely grew up with a handful of Angelas. In the US, Angela is outside the top 200, so odds are your little girl will stand out—but in a good way!
When you think of cute grandpa-like names, Chester has to be a favorite. It’s got that classic old-timey vibe like Arthur or Henry, but it’s not so popular these days that a little boy will blend in too much. And although it was popular back in the ‘60s, there are very few Chesters on the baby naming charts these days. You could also amend it to Rochester, which is less kitschy and more worldly, though Grandpa may not see the light with that one!
You might think of Brenda as being a perpetually middle-aged woman, but hear me out! Not only was Brenda hugely popular throughout the ‘60s, but it’s also surprisingly uncommon these days. Baby Names notes that it’s number 915 for US births, meaning your little girl will have a very unique name that’s not widely used. It’s also sufficiently feminine without being too “flowery,” and for a throwback name, it’s still short and sweet. Besides, the meaning is “sword” in Scandinavian, which is just plain cool.
This name has been creeping its way back up the baby naming charts, thanks in part to a certain royal family. But apart from famous people named Charles, the name is also popular because of its classic feel. And it’s got a regal sound—fit for a prince, sure—but can be shortened to something more cutesy for a baby boy. Think Chuckie or Chaz or just Charlie—there are many variations depending on your little guy’s personality. It’s more popular than other names here, at number 49 in the US, but no doubt it’ll be a hit with Grandpa, too.
To be honest, the first thing I think of when hearing the name Cynthia is the doll from Rugrats. Still, many first-time parents these days may not have seen the show, so Cynthia could be a pretty novel name to younger generations. At the same time, Cynthia was big in the ‘60s, meaning Grandpa might know a handful of Cynthias or even Cindys from back in the day. And a gal named Cynthia will be an original in preschool these days—the name is beyond the 600s on popularity charts, per Baby Names.
Christopher is almost as timeless as you can get when it comes to baby boy names. Not only has it always hung in the top half of the popularity charts, but it’s also so widely used that you can find variations in practically every language. Its origins are Greek originally, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of US-born Christophers these days, including a few Grandpa probably hangs with. Of course, your little Christopher may not be the only one—the name is #38 on US popularity charts.
Depending on mom and dad’s generation and upbringing, the name Donna may not mean much. But to some—including those who were fans of the late Ritchie Valens—Donna is an iconic name! Well, that, and if you watched That ‘70s Show. Regardless, Donna is a familiar enough name to Grandpa that he’ll like the way it sounds, regardless of its affiliations with TV shows. It’s a wholesome and bright name that really only means “lady,” which is simple and suitable for any little gal.
This name really needs no introduction as David has been huge with parents since biblical times. And although its origins are biblical, that doesn’t mean the name isn’t widely used all across the globe in other capacities. It’s a strong-sounding and very basic name that Grandpa will be a fan of for those reasons, but it’s also short and snappy for modern parents. Plus, the meaning of it is “beloved,” and isn’t that adorable? It’s also never faded from popularity, coming in at #23 in the US currently.
There are plenty of leading ladies in Hollywood these days named Debra (or a variation, like Debbie), and it’s likely that most new mamas these days either have an aunt by that name or know another older lady with the moniker. But while Debra was big in Grandpa’s time, it’s not so popular now—it’s well outside the top 900 in the US, at least. That doesn’t mean it’s not a delightful name for your new girl, though—it’s simple and classic, and it even means “bee.” Cute!
Another eternally popular name that needs no introduction, James is a favorite for many people across many cultures for many reasons! From its presidential run (Madison, Polk, Buchanan, Monroe) to the more modern Harry Potter references, there’s really no reason not to choose James. If celebs are more your thing, look no further than Bond, Dean, Patterson, or even Cameron. When it comes to Grandpa’s judgment, though, you could probably even go with the more modern Jameson and still be good!
No matter where you’re from or where your loyalties lie, you can’t deny that Elizabeth is a timeless and classic name that’s a great fit for many little girls from modern to ancient times. And in the US, the name is within the top 20 baby names for girls, and it’s never really dropped off. Its peak popularity was around the ‘60s, though, so this one is a choice Grandpa will definitely approve of for its retro vibe. Parents will also love the range of nicknames they have to choose from!
Ah, another biblical and timeless name that’s on everyone’s backup or middle name list. But in terms of modern day baby naming, less is more, right? And while Johnathan (or Jonathan) is another option that’s equally as timeless (and versatile), John is a great standalone pick, too. Grandpa will be impressed by the simplicity, even if everyone winds up calling the baby Johnny at first. But can you really get more classic when it comes to naming a baby boy? We don’t think so.
It might sound like a more modern pick than what Grandpa would suggest, but Kimberly had a good run in the late ‘60s. Not only that, but it’s never really ranked highly in the US outside of that; it’s not a name that necessarily ebbs and flows. These days, it’s outside the top 100 in the United States, despite being a rather melodious and feminine girls’ name. And it even means “from the meadow of the royal fortress”—mysterious, right?
Kenneth was first a hit in Scotland, but it’s since spread nearly worldwide. It may not be a top pick in the US these days, but it was a top-ranking boys’ name in the ‘60s, and it’s likely one Grandpa will be fond of for that reason. Plus, the meaning is “handsome,” and that’s fitting for any little boy these days, right? Beyond that, Kenneth is a versatile name that’s still regal for those times when your guy insists he’s outgrown Kenny.
Apart from the fact that there are practically endless songs written for iconic Lisas of the past, the name is still pretty widely known today. From Lisa Kudrow of Friends fame to Lisa Marie Presley, wife of the late Elvis, and even one of the members of TLC (‘90s babies remember!), the name is iconic in its own right. Of course, it’s currently ranked at #884 in popularity in the United States, but that doesn’t mean Grandpa won’t be a fan of this epic throwback.
A short and snappy name choice that’s as uncommon as it is simple, Mark might be a great compromise between modern naming conventions and Grandpa’s traditional wishes. The name isn’t currently very popular, but in its heyday it was in the top 10 for a few years throughout the ‘60s. But aside from all the grandpas out there with the name, there are also famous Marks like Twain, Wahlberg, and even Ronson for the young ‘uns these days. It’s pretty epic, overall.
There’s no shortage of famous Marys to point to—including the biblical one—which is likely due to the name never really dropping off the charts in any country. It’s practically timeless, and I can personally vouch for its popularity stemming from the ‘90s at least. I grew up with a few Marys, and I think the name lends itself to all types of personalities. Grandpa, for one, will likely give his stamp of approval simply based on aesthetics, if not his childhood friend by the same name.
Richard can be a great choice for a little boy, if parents are careful about pairing it with an otherwise questionable last name. Of course, there’s no stopping people from calling your little Richard something other than Richie or Ricky, so that’s an important consideration, too. But in general, Richard is a classic that has carried plenty of famous men into adulthood without issue. At the same time, Ricky is a pretty cute nickname for a baby, making this one great for both mom and dad and Grandpa.
If you want a name that is classic and timeless but not quite nondescript, Linda is a great choice. Yes, it may sound like the name of an uptight librarian at first, but consider this: in Spanish, Linda literally means “beautiful” or “pretty.” And these days, if you live in the US, you can’t really go wrong with a name that has some duality. But Grandpa will recognize it as the name of some of his childhood friends (or maybe the librarian, too).
It might not sound too appealing to have a baby named Bob, but these days, a child named Robert could reinvent himself at every turn. Whether he wants to be Rob, Robbie, or even Bert, Robert is a great basic name that lends itself to nicknaming. And while Grandpa might be a Bob himself, there’s no reason this name has to sound stuffy. And while it’s a blast from the past in many ways, it’s still a modern pick as it’s never quite fallen off the baby naming radar.
Despite all the memes and clapbacks directed at an otherwise anonymous woman named Karen these days, the name isn’t all bad. It means “pure,” according to Baby Names, and it’s short and sweet for a bold and spunky little girl. It’s not that popular in the US today, but it’s a throwback choice that Grandpa will be down with. Of course, you can always get innovative with the spelling—there’s nothing wrong with Caryn or Carin, except that Grandpa may not exactly approve of the creative license!
Whether you like naming babies after presidents or Harry Potter characters, you can’t go wrong with a pick like Ronald. Millennial parents these days recognize it as an homage to J.K. Rowling, but Grandpa will just see it as a standard ‘60s name that’s as timeless and classic as ever. He may never even realize you’ve infused your child with a bit of magic to carry him through life. Besides, you can call the little guy Ronnie, too, and that’s just adorable.
It’s actually surprising that the name Sandra hasn’t had a resurgence in popularity thanks to the fame of Sandra Bullock or other famous Sandies. After all, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has taken on some notoriety—why not Sandra Day O’Connor, another Supreme Court justice, albeit one who’s retired? If you want to give your gal a healthy dose of girl power as she arrives in the world, Sandra is a great choice. And we’d bet Grandpa won’t complain about it, either.
Yet another timeless classic that enjoyed a bit more popularity in the ‘60s than it does today, Steven is thoroughly Grandpa-approved. Even the variant Stephen likely won’t raise eyebrows, as it’s nothing too off-the-wall in comparison with other modern naming choices these days. Even if you’re personally choosing it because of a love of Steven Universe or just an admiration for Steven Spielberg, Grandpa doesn’t need to know that. Plus, according to Baby Names, the meaning is “crown”—how cool is that?
Another name with a powerful historic punch—both in terms of notoriety and what Grandpa grew up with—Susan is a versatile name for little girls. You could give her the cutesy nickname Suzy (or Susie), go with the more mature Sue, or just stick with the full-length version to honor Grandpa’s past. Regardless, Susan B. Anthony isn’t too bad of a choice for a namesake, right? And while Susan isn’t ranking on US charts these days, it’s still a classic.
Thomas doesn’t really need explanation either, except that Grandpa will probably recognize it as an homage to either Thomas Edison or Thomas Jefferson. And although it barely makes it into the top 50 on US baby naming charts these days, Thomas isn’t quite out of the spotlight yet. Just think of Tom Hanks, Tom Hiddleston, Tom Felton, Tom Cruise, or Tommy Lee Jones. See, no shortage of famous Thomases to give inspiration! And who could pass up the chance to call their tot Tommy—especially if they grew up watching Rugrats.
No doubt the name Michelle saw a resurgence in popularity during Barack Obama’s presidency, thanks to his leading lady, but it’s also a longstanding and classic name across the United States. From Michelle Pfeiffer to Sarah Michelle Gellar, there are many famous Michelles to look up to. But the name also started gaining traction back in the ‘60s, so while it doesn’t sound as traditional as Donna or Susan, it’s still something Grandpa can get on board with—and pronounce!
I can’t say I’m surprised to find out that William is currently ranked number three on baby naming charts in the US. After all, it’s been around forever, hung in the top ten in the ‘60s, and only grew as Prince William scooted back into the spotlight. Although, for people in England, he never really left! Across the pond, though, William is also the name of three past presidents, plus the first name of a handful of actors and stage personalities. Grandpa may not make those connections, but he can’t begrudge the use of this classic title.
I won’t lie: I knew a girl named Patricia in school in the ‘90s and thought the name was old-fashioned even then. But that’s the beauty of naming a daughter Patricia: what’s old is new again these days! And while Grandpa will no doubt approve of this one, it’s also an easily nicknamed moniker that little girls can change up to suit them. From Pat to Patty to Tricia, there are enough variations that the name will truly become hers, even if it first was inspired by Grandpa.
Source: Baby Names