Retro-Cool, Hipster, Vintage
Old-fashioned baby names are all the rage. Now it’s trendy to name your baby after old Uncle Chester or your great-grandmother Sophia.
Gone are the days of trying to come up with yet another spelling of Kaylie or Brittany. These days, new parents are resurrecting old-fashioned baby names. Many of these classics have not been used for many years and now have a fresh, modern sound to them.
Laura Wattenberg, author of The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Guide to Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby, said old names such as Abigail, Sadie and Emma “are definitely coming back.” Like fashion – think skinny jeans and spiral perms – everything eventually comes back in style. For old-fashioned monikers, it’s a long wait – Wattenberg reports that typically 90 years pass before we are willing to revive old names.
If you’re looking for an old name for your new arrival, there are countless places to look for inspiration. Here are just a few to get you started:
Pick up a book about the colonists or the pioneers to find names with the appeal of Americana. You’ll discover beautiful, traditional names as well as some hip handles, such as Myles.
• Clara Barton
• William Bradford
• Daniel Boone
• Sarah Plain and Tall
• Benjamin Franklin
• Samuel Adams
• Martin Luther
Or honor your child with the name of a beloved US President or First Lady:
Venture beyond American borders and you’ll find a world (literally) of historical names from which to choose, including Leif (Norse), Winston (Great Britain), Marco (Italy), and Charles (France). Be sure to steer clear of Adolf, Genghis, and Napoleon.
If your own family tree falls short in the name department, check out the royal families. No one is better at preserving the purity of family tree names better than royals. A quick search of the Internet will take you back through the generations for a look at some truly regal names.
• Alexander or Alexandra
Take a chance on Constantine or Frederica, but avoid the never-trendy Beatrice or Eugenie.
Do you have a favorite book? Think about the characters in that story who most appeal to you.
• Scarlett – Gone with the Wind
• Anna – Anna Karenina
• Jane – Jane Eyre
• Estella – Great Expectations
• Marianne – Sense and Sensibility
Sometimes the author’s name is even cooler than his or her characters’:
• Leo Tolstoy
• Louisa May Alcott
• Walt Whitman
• Hans Christian Anderson (all three can work)
• Emily Dickinson
• Nathaniel Hawthorne
You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything older that these classics:
As with the above categories, there are some biblical names to avoid, such as Judas or Cain.
There is something magical about old movies. Both the movie stars themselves as well as the famous characters they played provide a terrific source of fabulous cinematic names:
A Streetcar Named Desire: Characters Blanche and Stella, actors Marlon and Vivien, and writers Tennessee and Oscar.
An Affair to Remember: Characters Nicky and Terry, and actors Cary Grant (either works as a first name) and Deborah.
Psycho: Characters Norman and Marion, actors Anthony and Janet, and writer Alfred (Hitchcock, of course).
The Wizard of Oz: Characters Dorothy and Zeke, actors Judy and Frank, and director Victor.
Citizen Kane: Characters Susan and Jedediah, actors Agnes and Everett, and creator Orson.
Hello, Dolly!: Characters Dolly and Minnie, actors Walter and Barbra, director Gene Kelly.
If you prefer TV sitcoms to movie classics, these character names are for you:
The Brady Bunch: Mike, Carol, Alice, Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy
I Love Lucy: Ricky, Lucy, Fred and Ethel
The Beverly Hillbillies: Jed, Jethro, Elly May and Milburn
Gunsmoke: Matt, Kitty, Chester and Festus
All in the Family: Archie, Edith, Gloria, Lionel and Irene
Leave it to Beaver: Ward, June, Wally and Eddie
Petticoat Junction: Josephine (every daughter’s middle name), Roberta and Willimena
The Andy Griffith Show: Andy, Opie, Bea and Barney
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart probably isn’t the best name for a kid, but check out the names of these other classical musicians:
• Claude Debussy
• Antonio Vivaldi
• Johann Sebastian Bach
• Ludwig van Beethoven
The men don’t have the music category sealed up. These all-time greats offer memorable female monikers:
• Lena Horne
• Billie Holiday
• Ella Fitzgerald
• Rosemary Clooney
An old-fashioned name doesn’t have to be famous to be trendy. Here are some oldies but goodies to round out the list:
Whatever name you choose – whether is based on a favorite book or musical artist – your child will make it her or her own.
The most unique literary baby names
Names of American Presidents
10 Ways to Find the Perfect Baby Name
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