Vintage, classic, retro, timeless - However you want to refer to popular names of the past - the fact is they're making a rather glorious comeback.
Choosing a name for the little one can be somewhat of a daunting task. This is the moniker they'll bear for life. Finding inspiration to make the right choice can be overwhelming - when recommendations come from so many sources; endless online articles (Hi there), baby name books, your favourite movie characters, musicians you admire, song lyrics, nature, people you know, people you don't know - and of course your beloved family...
Scouring through the family-tree to take a peek at what your ancestors were called, is an increasingly preferred method used by parents on the hunt for their little one's lifelong handle.
After all, these names have survived the test of time. Respected elders have adorned them well. But, although common amongst the generation of our own great-grandparents, reviving these names are considered to be the "a la mode" thing to do; an emerging new trend today.
Many of the formal-sounding, multi-syllable names have numerous cute nickname possibilities - giving your sweet girl the luxury of choice as she grows. She can adopt the more regal, proper title - or opt for a still fancy but shortened version.
We've put together some of our favorite names from the early 1900's, so take a look and see if a golden oldie could be "the one" for your gorgeous, little modern-day lady.
There's no denying this name is feminine. Derived from the French Marguerite or Latin Margarita - it originally translates from the Greek noun Margaron - meaning "pearl".
Fans of The Simpsons may delight in the knowledge that both Marge and Maggie are potential nicknames for Margaret. Other possibilities include Margie, Madge, Mags, Meg, Peggy or Greta.
If you're looking for a catchy song or jingle to perform to your dear princess Margaret, you could do worse than taking a few lines of Rod Stewart's hit from the early 70's, Maggie May. Okay, so not all of the lyrics are totally appropriate - but to give yourself a giggle after yet another sleepless night, lines such as "All you did was wreck my bed, and in the morning kick me in the head... Oh Maggie I couldn't have tried anymore" And of course the opener, "Wake up Maggie, I think I've got something to say to you..." (Doubtful you'll want to wake her too often though.)
A particularly appropriate name if your girl was born under the zodiac sign, Virgo. Virginia comes from the Ancient Roman family name of Virginius, which probably originated from the Latin word Virgo - which meant virgin, or maiden.
If you like 16th Century British History, and appreciate all that Queen Elizabeth 1st did to rule in what was later noted as "The Golden Age" - then you might want to name your baby after her - in much the same way that Sir Walter Raleigh named the US state of Virginia in her honour - as she was and still is referred to affectionately as "The Virgin Queen."
Famous Virginia's include the modernist English author, Virginia Woolf, and American actress and producer, Virginia Madsen.
Gini or Ginny, Gina, Nina, Gigi, Virgie, and Nia have all been used as nicknames for Virginia.
Symbolic of purity, innocence, and beauty, Lillian is derived from the English flower - Lily. Perfect for nature lovers, seeking an earthy name.
Spell Lillian with one l, or two - opt for simply Lilly, or Lili. Other nicknames include Lilia, Lian, Lil or just Li.
A great number of actresses, singers and dancers were named Lillian at the turn of the century, including Lillian Gish, Lillian Powell, Lillian Russell and Lillian Roth. Australian writer, director, and producer, Baz Luhrmann named his daughter Lillian. I think it's safe to assume that someone so talented, artistic and poetic would also have fabulous taste in baby names!
The popularity of the name Lillian has soared in recent years, and in 2017 was the 28th most chosen first name for baby girls in America.
Florence and The Machine has certainly helped in resurrecting the popularity of this one. If you're a fan of her unique style, a hippie-at-heart or a believer in cosmic love - naming your child after this talented, passionate and fiery redhead could be the way to go.
Also flower related, the meaning of Florence is to blossom - so if you want to give your baby girl a name that will encourage her to flourish, grow and show her true colors, Florence is a strong name that implores prosperity and success.
Nicknames vary from Floss or Flossy, to Ren or Wren. Flo, Flor, and Florrie are also options. A powerful name, Florence was the name of many female politicians and influential activists of the past - most notably, Florence Nightingale.
"Eirene" (sometimes written as Irini) was the Greek goddess of peace. In Greece, Irini has long been a popular choice for naming beautiful villas or significant buildings. Irene was the name of many saints and Byzantine Empresses.
Perhaps we all know what is arguably the world's most feel-good song, "Flashdance - What a Feeling" by Irene Cara. Is there any better song when you're feeling euphoric and just want to dance around your house in your underwear?
Undoubtedly a name for gorgeous girlies; Five-time Academy-Award Nominee and singer, the beautiful Irene Dunne, was enormously popular in the 40s, 50s and 60s - while in more recent years, Irene Skliva is a Greek model who was crowned Miss World 2006.
Pretty much all of the nicknames for Irene begin with R, Reenie, Ri Ri, Reena, or Rina. But we think Wren could work as a nickname here too.
From the Latin Katharina, Catherine means clear and pure. There are endless variations on how you could spell this one, and a zillion nickname options to accompany it. Katherine, Kathryn, Cathryn, Catharine - she can be a Katie, Kate, Kat or Cat - a Kitty, Kit, Cath, or Kathy - or even a Kasia or Kay.
Modern-day widely-known and well-loved Catherine's include American actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, British comedian Catherine Tate or soon-to-be mother-of-three, The Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine (Kate) Middleton.
If you're into history and have somewhat of a spiritual side, you may have heard of Catherine of Alexandria - a patron saint of just about everyone from Queens to commoners, including; philosophers, scholars, nurses, librarians, and craftsmen.
Today Catherine is around the 200th most popular baby name in the English-speaking western world.
From the Hebrew Elisheba, meaning Oath of God, and later Elizabeth (Liz, Lizzie, Beth, Bet) Betty became increasingly common as an independently given name in the late 18th Century and continued to grow in popularity through to the 1900's.
American actress Bette Davis (who pronounced her name Betty) was nominated for 10 academy awards and was a hit in the 1940's, 50's and 60's. The song "Bette Davis Eyes" was covered by Taylor Swift in 2011, and includes the lyrics, "She's pure as New York snow." -- Perhaps a good name for an East-Coast winter babe?
Other notable Elizabeth’s include; English actress, model and Estee Lauder ambassador, Elizabeth Hurley, Elizabeth Olsen (of the Olsen twins) and of course the UK’s favourite old lady, Queen Elizabeth 2nd, who is also Queen of 16 of the 53 member states in the Commonwealth of Nations.
TV Shows like Mad Men and Ugly Betty have helped this old-fashioned beauty return to the spotlight.
Ethel is an old English name that means noble and strong.
Perhaps some more unusual nickname choices for Ethel are Effie, Eth, Thel, Elle, Ettie, or Etta. All lovely, but we believe Ethel can hold its own.
Ethel Barrymore (known as the belle of Broadway) made her first name wildly popular - placing it in the top 10 names for 16 years at the turn of the century. It remained in the top 100 in America until 1939.
If you want your sweet girl to bear a unique but adorable, strong name - Ethel could do the trick. It hasn't even been within the top thousand names in the United States for decades. That said, this distant outsider is making a gradual return. Get in there ahead of the trend - we predict it won't be long before Ethel rapidly climbs the charts!
Meaning "riches" or "blessed", Edith is a soft name with a strong image that has been gaining traction in Scandinavia and England in recent years.
Perhaps one of the most notable Edith's of the past, is French pop singer, Edith Piaf. Born in Paris in 1915, Edith Piaf was best known for her unique and mesmerizing interpretation of the French ballad - which made her internationally famous. Today, Edith Bowman is known as one of the UK's most popular radio personalities ever! The sassy Scott is perhaps remembered best for her weekend morning shows on BBC Radio One.
More popular than Ethel, Edith is just outside the top 100 baby girl names in the United Kingdom, and around the 500 mark in the USA.
Nicknames for Edith include Eddie, Ed, Deedee, Dita, and Dith.
From the hazelnut tree or rich brown color - Hazel has been a popular girl's name since the late 1800's, although it has been used since at least the early 9th Century. Alternatively, Hazel can be said to derive from the Hebrew name Hazael, which means “God sees.” There is a flowering plant known as “Witch Hazel” …Hazel trees have a reputation for being “magical” and have connections to intelligence in Celtic mythology.
British actress Emily Blunt, and pretty woman, Julia Roberts both have beautiful daughters named Hazel. Famous Hazels include American bluegrass singer, Hazel Dickens, British model Hazel Keech and 1940's/50's South African American movie actress Hazel Brooks.
Haze, Hazy, Zel, Zelly, Z, Elle and Hallie are all on the list of potential nicknames for your sweet little Hazel.
Annie, meaning Grace, is a diminutive of Ann. In terms of popularity, it's currently sitting at number 287 in the Unites States, and 108 in England and Wales.
Whenever I hear this name, I think about the cute, cheeky, determined and independent character that was Annie in the musical of the same name - you remember - the orphan with the hard-knock life? Another notable Annie from my childhood in the 80's, was the carriage pulled by Thomas The Tank Engine... Hey, if you're having twins - and are a fan of locomotives or the voice of Ringo Starr - why not choose Annie and Clarabel for your adorable duo?
Famous Annie's include Annie Lennox. ...You could do worse than name your baby girl after "the most successful female British artist in UK music history"...
Originally a Germanic name, it's widely used in English and French-speaking countries. It comes from diminutives hrod, meaning "fame", and heid, meaning "kind, sort, type". But it's renaissance in the 19th century was likely due to the flower.
Flower names began being used in the early 19th century, and there are few flowers with so many poetic references and romantic connotations as the stunning rose.
If you're from Alberta in Canada, you might want to name your baby after your provinces symbolic Wildrose. Likewise, if you're a Brit, you might want to recognize your countries national emblem. If you're a fan of Titanic, you might be keen to honor Kate Winslet's character, Rose, for successfully surviving - against the odds in that "unsinkable" tragedy (see what I did there?) -- or for winning the heart of Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Jack... Good job, Rose. Good job.
Rosie is a great nickname.
Related to the name of the old Norse goddess, Iounn, Ida can also be said to mean "work" or "prosperous." It has also come about as an anglicisation of the Irish girls given name Ide.
Ida Presti was labeled one of the greatest guitarists of the 20th Century. Born in France in 1924, she was said to be a child prodigy and later matured as a classical guitarist and composer.
Currently only the 1,364th most popular name in America according to BabyCentre, it was most popular in the 1880's, meaning it's due for an imminent revival. That said, it is extremely popular in Scandinavia. So if you want a unique name for your baby and have fallen head-over-heels for Ida - then don't move to Denmark (where it's currently at number three!)
Another flower name, Viola is a Latin name, and was made particularly popular by William Shakespeare after he used it in his play, Twelfth Night, in 1601. It's currently used all around the world, and most popular in countries like England, Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic and Hungary. This also means that if your little lady turns into a traveler, most people won't have trouble pronouncing her name.
Viola has also been consistently popular in Italy, where it's currently a Top 20 name for little girls. Perhaps you might want to pay homage to that country - if say, your baby was conceived after a bottle of Italy's finest wine...
Famous Violas include Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis, and Viola Liuzzo - American civil rights activist.
A short but pretty nickname is simply Vi.
Nellie has increased in popularity significantly in recent years, up 585 positions since last year already, and is now in 755th position in the United States. A form of Helen, Ellen or Eleanor, Nellie has really come into its own as a cool, powerful and catchy moniker.
Sharing its roots with the Greek name Elle, Nellie means bright, light or torch. Shining through the darkness to bring cheer to your days! Also said to be derived from the names Helen or Eleanor, Nellie is a unique vintage name that is ripe for imminent revival.
There are dozens of famous Nellie's, including Canadian R&B singer-songwriter and record producer, Nelly Furtardo, as well as the late Emmy and Golden Globe winning actress, Nell Carter and French tennis player, former single women’s world champion, Nelly Landry.
Nickname possibilities include Nelsie, Nells, Nella, and Nell.
This German baby name means "resolute protector" and is derived from the longer form Wilhelmina - from which you can take Wilma, Mina, Elma, Willa or Wilna as nicknames.
You don't have to be from the town of bedrock to add this name to your modern stone-age family. Statistics show that Wilma is making gains as a number one choice for baby girls across North America and beyond. It’s not just The Flinstones that boosted the popularity of this old-fashioned name. Award-winning German film and TV actress, the stunning Wilma Elles and world leader, Wilma Mankiller – a native American politician who became the first female chief of the Cherokee nation in 1987 - both hold the name.
(I once had a cat named Wilma... She didn’t win any Emmys or lead a tribe – but she did give birth to adorable triplet kittens - on my bed when I was five. We didn't even know she was preggers...)
Meaning "strength in battle", Mattie is another name originating from Germany, and is derived from the names Martha and Mathilda (who was incidentally the wife of William the Conqueror.)
Cute and tomboyish, Mattie was consistently in the top 100 baby names throughout the 1880's and into the turn of the century. It's currently hovering around the 900 mark.
Famous Matties include LA born gymnastic champion, Mattie Larson, the sassy Irish hardcore metal vocalist, Mattie Foxx and 16-year-old Mattie Faith who rose to YouTube stardom with covers of popular songs. Since she began her social media career in 2015, Mattie Faith has gained more than four million online followers.
Although Mattie is one of those names we can keep on our list when we've decided to go green (not find out the gender of the baby), we think it's a super-cute, powerful and cool name for even the most elegant of little ladies.
If you want a truly poetic, magical name with a deep mystical history, Opal could be for you. The ancient Greeks believed that when the almighty god of the sky and thunder, Zeus, cried with joy - opals were formed from his tears. And the Romans considered opals to be symbolic of hope and good fortune. ... No pressure, sweet Opal!
Opal is the birthstone for the month of October, so if you believe in the significance of gemstone energies and your little one arrives sometime during the 30 days prior to Halloween, then Opal would be a superbly relevant choice.
Because it's so short and great on its own, there are few nickname options for Opal - but Opie is often used as a quirky alternative, and we also think Pally is kind of cute.
Oh Mae, you gorgeous little soul. Perfect for Spring babies, Mae is an extremely popular choice for a middle name, or as the latter half of a hyphenated two-part name. Try mixing it with some of the names we have shared already; Viola-Mae, Opal-Mae, Ethel-Mae or Ida-Mae. Or, be bold and make it stand on its own as the funky but antique moniker it is.
Originally a pet-name for Marys or Margerets, Mae is most commonly associated with the sunny and vibrant month of May.
Mae stood firm in the top 100 baby girl names up until the late 1920's, when it was popularized by a number of beautiful actresses of the same name. It has been creeping its way back into the charts over the last eight years, but is still considered an outsider - a rare and unique choice that everyone is bound to love!
If Viola made you think too much of tiny violins, and you can't get enough of the color purple, you might find Violet more endearing.
Violet cracked the Top 50 names in 2015 and has hovered around that mark ever since. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner named their baby girl Violet, as did Foo Fighters hunky front man, Dave Grohl.
It’s also a name for survivors! … Violet Jessop was an ocean liner stewardess and nurse that rose to fame after surviving the sinking of the Titanic. (I wonder if she knew Rose?)
It's hipster, it's vintage, it's flowery and feminine - your tiny Violet could grow to be an artist, a musician, an actress or a writer. Or she could be the next CEO of some gargantuan business - but one thing's for sure, whatever she does - she'll do it with style.
If Katy Perry's "Roar" gets you feeling like a champion, you might want to go for a fiercely independent name that means "lioness" for your powerful princess. Derived from the Latin Leo (meaning lion), Leona would also be perfect for an August-born baby.
Most popular between 1890 and 1920, Leona is another one on the list that is making a very gradual but undoubtedly definite comeback and is one that we expect to see soaring up the charts over the next few years.
Britain's third ever X-Factor winner, Leona Lewis, did a lot to reinvigorate this name in 2006 - since which time it has made it's way back onto the charts and currently sits in around 600th place in the United States.
Nicknames for Leona include Lee or Li, or Ona (pronounced "Oh-na").
While girly and sweet, Hilda is a name for warriors. Meaning "battle-woman" this feisty and feminine German name hasn't been widely-used since the late 1800's. Even in Sweden, where it's often most popular, it's currently ranked in 77th place.
Saint Hilda was the patron saint of learning, poetry, and culture - perfect for an intelligent, arty gal. This is yet another turn-of-the-century classic that we envisage surging into the top 100 within the next ten years. Get ahead of the game and play a part in setting the trend!
In Scandinavian mythology, Hildegard was a Valkyrie sent by Odin to escort battle heroes to Valhalla. It’s a perfect name for an independent little fighter, an ambitious leader, determined to make the world a better place!
Nicknames include Hildy, Hil, or simply H.
Nancy - so fancy! A derivative of Ann, and with Hebrew origins, Nancy means "gracious” or “full of grace" and continued to be popular right up until the swinging 60s.
Frank Sinatra's daughter was called Nancy, and he paid tribute to her in his song "Nancy With The Laughing Face." Despite the lack of celebrity Nancys in Britain, Nancy has always been more popular in the UK than the United States.
United States records show that there have been 999,750 Nancy’s born in the country since 1880. It was most popular in 1947 when 32,408 girls were given the name. Those Nancy’s are 71 this year! Today the name Nancy is climbing very slowly and around 800th place in popularity so far this year.
Nicknames for Nancy include Nan, Nance, Nanners and Nanny.
A variation of the French name Henriette (which we also love, by the way), Harriet means "rules the home" or "estate ruler." This upscale, glamorous name certainly gives the impression of a wealthy and elegant lady.
In 61st place in the UK, Harriet hasn't appeared in the USA top 100 since the 1970s. There are dozens of nickname possibilities with this one, including; Hattie, Harri, Hettie, Hatsy, Hats, Hets, and Haz.
Famous Harriets include African-American civil war spy, Harriet Tubman – an incredible, heroic woman who rescued more than 70 of her enslaved friends and family members - and Harriet Samson Harris (who you may simply know as Harriet Harris) who is best known for her roles in Desperate Housewives (as Felicia Tilman) and in Frasier (as Bebe Glazer).
If you're looking for something that works for all ages - we think Harriet is adorable for a tiny tot, trendy for a teen, strong for a young adult and will give the impression of timeless beauty as she ages.
Queen Victoria named her daughter Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (Alberta is a feminine form of her husband Albert's name) and the Canadian province of Alberta was subsequently named in her honor - as was the stunningly magnificent Lake Louise in the Rocky Mountains.
Meaning noble and bright, Alberta originated from the male form, Albert and has been increasingly used in recent years. Although it currently sits way down in 3,535th place in the United States, this powerful name of Anglo Saxon origin has bumped up almost 2,000 spots since 2017 and is rising in popularity faster than any other baby girl name in the country!
Popularized somewhat by successful turn-of-the-century, Tennessee-born jazz singer, Alberta Hunter, we think this name has an outdoorsy wild-west feel. Nicknames include Al, Albie, Bertie, and Berta.
Winifred is a Welsh name - traditionally the patron saint of virgins. It means "reconciled", "blessed" or "bringing peace". It's also said to be a feminine given name derived from the Anglo Saxon wine, and can mean "friend", "lord" and "protector."
Disney is a huge fan of the name Winifred and has included characters of this classic name in many of their films, including the Indian Elephant (the leader of the herd) in the Jungle Book, Winifred Banks in Mary Poppins and Winifred Sanderson in Hocus Pocus.
We think Win, Winnie, Fred or Freddie are all superb nicknames that give your little one plenty of choice as she grows into her name.
Old-fashioned and semi-regal yet quirky and hip - Winifred has remained on the edge of the charts since the 1920's - but we believe this versatile classic will join the other turn-of-the-century returning trends and soon be one we're hearing more of.
Told you we loved this one when we wrote about Harriet! This feminine version of Henry is way down there near the 5,000th place in the U.S. baby name rankings. So you can be reassured of its originality today.
In French, the meaning of Henrietta is "keeper of the hearth" much like Harriet's meaning "ruler of the home." Perhaps the most aristocratic name you could give your daughter, it does have quite a regal feel. Henrietta's are said to be intelligent, emotional and always beautiful.
With German origins, this charming four-syllable name first made it's way into the English-speaking world when King Charles 1st married French Princess, Henriette Marie who quickly became known as Henrietta Maria in England.
We love the nickname Henri for a girl! Other possibilities include Hettie and Etta.
If you're looking for a wow-factor, impactful meaning to your little girl's name, then it'd be hard to beat "war goddess"! With Germanic roots, the evolution of Irma (from Irmin) has also come to mean "Universal" or "Complete"... How do you top that for what's behind a name?!
According to BabyNameScience, Irma peaked in popularity in 1911, when it was the 137th most popular baby girl name in America. These days, just 1 in around 40,000 babies are named Irma – so you can be reassured of making a unique choice for your little one! But get in there quick, Irma is on her way up the charts!
Despite its low popularity, Irma has been the name of many notable writers, film-makers, models and actresses from around the globe. Used in many countries, Irma was popular in the UK up until about 100 years ago, but continues to be used in other parts of the world, as far away as Argentina, Lithuania and The Philippines.
American actress, director, and producer Goldie Hawn is perhaps partly to thank for the resurgence of this golden oldie! But you don't need to be blonde to pull off this winning name...
Considered something of a "saucy nickname" from the early 1800's through to the end of the second world war, in more recent years, the name Goldie was chosen by fashion shoe-designer Steve Madden, for his little sweetheart.
Making its first appearance in the baby name charts in 1910, since 2012, less than 30 baby girls per year have been given the name Goldie in the whole of the United States – that’s around 1 in every 80,000 girls born!
These days, it's outside of the top thousand, but we suspect more and more moms will be opting for this glamorous name, knowing that their daughter will forever be a precious, priceless winner in their eyes.
Effie has Greek origins, and means "well spoken" or "pleasant speech" - perfect for a proper little lady that will steal your hearts with all the right words!
Although still an outsider, Effie has soared up the charts by more than 500 places since last year already! It's now around the 1,500th place in America but continues to climb rapidly. Fi or Fifi are potential nicknames.
We love this hip, timeless yet fresh, soft but sassy, cute name. And while it derives from the longer form Greek name of Euphemia (which is unlikely to ever make a comeback!) we think you could put a modern spin on its original form and opt for a hyphenated Effie-Mae!
Whatever you chose for your perfect little lady, you'll get it right. You got this, momma!
Sources: nameberry.com, babycentre.com, babble.com, sheknows.com, listchallenges.com, ranker.com, biography.com, babynames.com, babynamescience.com, babynamewizard.com, famousbirthdays.com
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