Let your baby bring new life to these old classics.
Just as naming fads come and go, sets of names fall in and out of style. Parents tend to eschew the names of their own generation and those of one or two beyond that, but what about names that topped the charts 100 years ago? Suddenly they sound brand new.
Dozens of old-fashioned names top the baby name charts. Not much sets these apart from names of their peers a century ago — they just haven’t caught on yet. While it can be frustrating to present these name ideas to previous generations and have them turn up their noses, imagine your own children wanting to use names like Debra and Larry. Eventually those names will come back around, but for now they feel too close.
We scanned the Social Security Administration’s top baby names from the 1890s through the early 1900s. Can you find any of these in your family tree?
Gorgeous grandmother names for girls
Ada: This short and sweet name reminds us of Ava.
Adeline: It’s like Madeline without the M.
Agnes: Trust us — say this one aloud. Beautiful.
Beatrice: So elegant.
Betty: Or Betsy. Take your pick!
Della: We love the allusions to Adele and Ella.
Edith: Downton Abbey pits us against her, but we still love the name.
Effie: Can the Hunger Games trilogy bring this one back?
Flossie: Short for Florence, but more modern than Flo.
Ida: We love this refreshing alternative to Isla.
Loretta: This name means “pure” and comes with the nickname Etta. Love.
Lula: We love this combination of equally adorable monikers Lucy and Lola.
Mae: West. Need we say more?
Margaret: The nicknames are endless.
Nell: Give this to a girl with a gentle spirit.
Opal: Use this gem name instead of Ruby.
Sylvie: Surprising and similar to Sophie.
Viola: Choose this instrumental name over the floral Violet.
Gentlemanly grandfather names for boys
Alvin: The Chipmunks haven’t ruined Simon or Theodore — Alvin deserves a shot!
Archie: Take the British route and go right for this diminutive of Archibald.
August: Perfect for a baby born in any season.
Calvin: We adore the nicknames Cal and Vinnie.
Clarence: This Latin name means “bright; shining; gentle.”
Conrad: Meaning “brave and wise,” this name is nerdy in the best way.
Edmund: It sounds more prestigious than popular Edward.
Emmett: Pay homage to Back to the Future‘s Doc Brown.
Felix: We adore this saint name meaning “lucky.”
Gordon: Jordan skews girl these days, but Gordon reads boy, boy, boy.
Harvey: It sounds sweet, but this German name means “warrior.”
Irving: We picture a 1950s sitcom dad.
Lyle: This name has true Southern charm.
Marvin: We love this Welsh form of Merlin.
Otis: Fits in perfectly with trendy four-letter vowel names like Arlo and Ezra.
Silas: We love this underused Biblical name.
Sylvester: Think Stallone, not “and Tweety.”
Wallace: Skip Wally and call him Ace for short.