Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Popular 1880s Girl Names That Should Be Used Again Today

When you take a moment and travel back in time within the realm of baby names and compare your findings to today's data, you'll see that boy names don't change nearly as much as girl names do.

Males have certain evergreen names that seem to always be in use. Many of them happen to be biblical which is the most obvious reason for their consistency but it is a different story for females.

The most evergreen name for girls is Elizabeth . Biblical, classic, versatile. Sure there are a few others. Mary had a record breaking reign unlike any other name, but for the most part, girl names swing in and out of fashion frequently. Some names that were popular even ten years ago are already losing steam.

Is it any different for names of the 1880s? Are they still out or are many of them back in now? A bit of both. While many of the more fashionable grandma names are increasingly being labeled as
vintage and are rapidly climbing the charts, many of their stuffy counterparts are still hibernating. Will they arise again in future generations or remain dusty? Let's ponder that.

While looking at the Top 200 Names of the 1880s via the
Social Security Administration's data , I handpicked 10 names that do not currently rank within the Top 1000 but deserve greater usage.

Comparing the 1880s full-decade data vs today's hot names, there is quite a long list of names that are still not being viewed as fashionable. The question is, could they be revived in a decade or two? After all, that
100-year rule is proving to be tried and true for many names.

Keep in mind, we will need to skip over the evergreen names that are still ranking well in 2014. We aren't interested in those right now. We want to find the names that have fallen from favor, names like Bessie or Myrtle that were once well-used and evaluate their chances of modern use.

Sticking to the collective data from the entire decade, we will take a closer look at 10 of those names within the 1880's Top 200.

1. Florence #12 - Florence was the 12th most popular name for the combined decade of the 1880s. After that, it skyrocketed up the charts even more, landing at #14 in the year 1918 with over 11k births. That was her peak though. Florence fell as fast as she rose. In 2014, there were only 182 births (and that was up from her lowest point of 54 births in 2009). Florence is starting to lose her fustiness, though, could she climb back up the charts?

2.  Maude #25 -   Maude was most popular in 1888 with 1,396 births on record. She lost some popularity after that until there was another slight boost in 1915. Beyond that, Maude became rare. In 2014, only 15 girls received the name. Maud is even rarer. Should Maude remain down or does she deserve more usage?

3.  Louise #38 - There's no direct proof, but Louise seems to be used more as a middle name these days. Louise was most popular in 1918 and declined in usage after that. Only 199 girls received the name in 2014. It's almost surprising that Louise hasn't ranked within the Top 1000 since 1991. However, for the first time since 1969, sister-name Louisa did rank. Could Louise be right behind her?

4. Agnes #51 - The woman in our photo above wore this name. Agnes Moorehead was an actress known for her role as Endora on the television series Bewitched. As for her name, Agnes is another one of those old-fashioned names that peaked around 1918 and then declined again. It has been outside the Top 1000 since 1973 but it is recently starting to tick upward a bit. In 2014, there were 187 girls named Agnes.

5.  Harriet #90 -  Like many of the other top names from the 1880s, Harriet was even bigger around 1920 and then fell off the charts. Also like those other names we've mentioned, Harriet is slightly ticking upward. After a few decades flying under the radar, Harriet is up to 127 births in 2014. It currently ranks well in England/Wales. Will it ever rejoin the Top 1000 in the US?


6. Mildred #102 - At the end of the 1880s, Mildred started gaining more usage and then exploded in popularity just before and just after 1920, ranking as high as #6 with over 18k births. But just as quickly as she climbed the charts, she descended right back down. So far, Mildred hasn't shown any signs of revival, holding a steady 70-90 births per year since 1993 (with 82 in 2014.) Could Mildred make a comeback in light of names like Millie climbing the charts?

7.  Pauline #109 -  Pauline peaked in 1918 with over 7k births for the year. After that, it gradually lost its popularity, falling out of the Top 1000 in 1998. As of 2014, there were only 66 girls named Pauline. Since actor Vin Diesel recently used it as an honor name and put a spotlight on it in Hollywood, could Pauline gain a little boost of popularity or is it not quite enough to revive it?

8. Augusta #117 -  Augusta ranked well in 1890 and even better in 1915 but this name lost its favor soon after that, falling out of the Top 1000 by 1945. Only 49 girls were named Augusta in 2014. This name really deserves more usage for girls, especially since August, Augustus and Augustine are ranking so well for boys. Could Augusta come back?

9. Luella #155 -   Luella's popularity peak was in the year 1918 with 949 births. It ranked in the 100-300 range for many years but began declining in the 1940s, dropping out of the Top 1000 in 1956. It fell as low as a mere 6 births per year in the early 90s, but currently, Luella is slightly ticking upward with 145 births in 2014. With similar L-l names ranking well like Lila and Lola, could Luella make a come back?

10.  Winifred #161 -  Winifred has been in use for girls since the 1880s but it was also occasionally given to boys from the early 1900s through the 1970s. For girls, Winifred's biggest year was 1918  when 1,593 girls were named. It hit a low point of 12 births in 1994 but it is currently back up to 99 births for 2014. What do you think of Winifred? Does the 'fred' part throw off its appeal? Could it ever be revived for a modern girl or is better for a boy?

Which of these 10 names do you think stands the best chance of revival?

Here's more of the 
Top 200 names from 1880  that  do not  rank within 2014's Top 1000:

Minnie
Ida
Bertha
Bessie
Ethel
Nellie
Carrie
Gertrude
Edna
Jennie
Myrtle
Lula
Fannie
Dora
Blanche
Mamie
Effie
Nettie
Della
Sallie
Susie
Maud
Flora
Etta
Viola
Lottie
Addie
Willie
Lulu
Nannie
Beulah
Ollie
Belle
Theresa
Henrietta
Ora
Marion
Iva
Lela
Mayme
Inez
Essie
Delia
Mable
Alta
Betty
Janie
Ola
Gladys
Ina
Eula
Lou
Nell
Goldie
Bettie
Hilda
Marguerite
Tillie
Birdie
Rena
Eunice
Bertie
Olga
Bess
Mathilda
Dollie
Verna
Bernice
Loretta
Rhoda
Cornelia
Sally
Jean
Alberta
Winnie
Lelia
Lois
Harriett
Roxie
Abbie
Flossie
Sue
What do you think of these names? Would you use any of these? If so, which ones? Which are realistically the best options for a modern girl?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Popular 1880s Boy Names That Should Be Used Again Today

Many of today's most-popular boy names have actually been rather popular for decades. The same few traditional choices have stuck around and lasted the test of time moreso than many of the popular female names have.

While looking at the Top 200 Names of the 1880s via
the Social Security Administration's data , it is no surprise that the hottest names of the decade include John, William, James, George, and Charles. While John, George and Charles have declined in usage, James and William still dominate the modern charts.

How many interesting names from the 1880s could be revived and given to modern boys? In order to find these names, we will need to skip over the evergreen names that are still ranking well in 2014. We aren't interested in those right now. We want to find the names that have fallen from favor, names like Clarence or Earnest that were once well-used.

Sticking to the collective data from the entire decade, we will take a closer look at 10 of those names within the 1880's Top 200.

1. Ralph #42 -  This name ranked #42 for the combined decade of the 1880s. After that, it peaked twice around 1920 and 1947. Ralph has steadily been declining in usage, exiting the Top 1000 in 2012. In 2014, there were only 193 boys named Ralph. It may be down and out right now but that doesn't mean it's gone for good. Could Ralph be revived in the next thirty years?

2. Claude #52 - This name has the same popularity pattern as Ralph. It peaked around 1920 and again around 1947 only to fade way down to only 42 male births in 2014. Claude could be favored as a future vintage revival but at the moment, neither Claude nor Claud are being used much.

3. Chester #65 - This was the first name of the 21st US President, Chester A. Arthur who was in office during this time period from 1881 to 1885. This name was well used for many years, peaking in 1920 and 1946 before tapering off. There were only 83 boys named Chester in 2014. It is hard to tell if this name could be fashionable again in the coming years but it certainly deserves more usage.

4. Luther #68 -  This is a big name with a few notable bearers that was most popular in 1922 with 1,477 births. After that, it declined in usage all the way down to just 96 births in 2014. This name is a good candidate for being revived again along with other vintage boy names.

5. Leroy #96 -  The name Leroy flourished from the early 1900s through the 1960s in the US but started declining in popularity after that. It straddles the line between being a part of the Top 1000 names and not. As of 2014, with only 183 male births, it was not. However, it does have the potential to climb the charts again.

6. Perry -#112 - Perry peaked big time in 1958 at #132 for the year. It remained in the Top 1000 from 1880 until it dropped out in 2007. There were 149 births in 2015. Is this name a bit dated or could it suit modern boys again soon?

7. Otis #135 - With some recent usage in Hollywood, Otis is starting to gain popularity again today but it is still a few spots shy of the Top 1000. With 202 births in 2014, this name seems to have a good chance of climbing the charts in the coming years.

8. Morris #154 -  Like many other names on this list, Morris was hottest in the 1920s and 1940s before it lost its popularity. In 2014, there were 110 boys given this name but it hasn't ranked in the Top 1000 since 1994. In line with all the other surname names for boys, Morris deserves more usage today.

9. Edmund #185 -  Edmund always ranked well since the 1880s but dropped out of the Top 1000 in 1998. While its popularity has declined since its peak in the 1920s, it is beginning to inch slowly upward again with 172 births in 2014. This is a name that seems like it should be more popular than it actually is.

10. Irving #196 -  Irving had a major popularity peak from 1914-1927 but rapidly descended the charts again as quickly as it first ascended. It had another small boost in usage in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As of 2014, Irving was only giving to 113 boys. As one of the more attractive I-Names for boys, Irving deserves to shake its old-fashioned image and be cool again, especially with that fashionable letter V in the middle.

Which of these 10 names do you think stands the best chance of revival?

Here's more of the
Top 200 names from 1880 that do not rank within 2014's Top 1000:

Clarence
Earl
Elmer
Herbert
Herman
Grover
Bert
Guy
Floyd
Homer
Horace
Marion
Bernard
Clifford
Milton
Lester
Leslie
Rufus
Lloyd
Norman
Percy
Earnest
Gus
Wallace
Roscoe
Willard
Wilbur
Cornelius
Cecil
Elbert
Claud
Lonnie
Virgil
Hiram
Sylvester
Irvin
Glenn
Ollie
Cleveland
Alva
Rudolph
Vernon
Hubert
Do any of these names strike your fancy or do they deserve to remain unused? Which could you most realistically see on a modern boy?

Photo Credit: By Charles Milton Bell 1849–1893 [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, February 12, 2016

Xanthe

The name Xanthe is brought to you today in honor of a previous article featuring The Very Best X Names for Boys and Girls.


This name is Greek and is derived from ξανθος (xanthos) meaning "golden, yellow" or "fair hair".

While this is a very beautiful name, there can be some annoying pronunciation issues that go along with it. Fortunately, the overwhelming consensus that I've found among typical English speakers is that they pronounce it ZAN-thee. ZAN-tha is another possibility. Some claim that it is pronounced more like ZAN-they or KSAN-thee. If you'd like to read a discussion about it, click here.

For the purposes of this article, I will be assuming the pronunciation ZAN-thee.

Xanthe is a name used twice on the planet Mars. Once for the Xanthe Montes which is a mountain range, and once for a region referred to as Xanthe Terra. Additionally, there is an asteroid called 411 Xanthe. There were also a few minor mythological characters with this name.

Xanthe has only been in use in the US since 1964 however, it is far from common. It has never ranked anywhere close to the US Top 1000.

There have been many years that did not have at least 5 births on record for this name. There's also never been more than 12 females given the name Xanthe in a single year; this happened only once in 2001. As of 2014, there were only 5 girls given this name. It is very uncommon. Even rarer is the name Xanthia which has hardly had any use.

If you are looking for a big, bold, rare name for a girl, Xanthe is a great choice. The trendy X makes this name interesting while the rest of the name offers a unique sound. This name is sure to turn heads. If you're considering it, here are ideas for sibling and middle names:

Sibling Name Ideas: 
Sisters:   Aurelia, Ariadne, Cassia, Clio, Eulalia, Freya, Iris, Octavia, Sybil
Brothers: Augustus, Damian, Everett, Ignatius, Lucian, Tavish, Theron, Vance

Middle Name Ideas:
Xanthe Adeline
Xanthe Elena
Xanthe June
Xanthe Lenore
Xanthe Pearl
Xanthe Viola

As a Middle Name:
Caroline Xanthe
Helena Xanthe
Lydia Xanthe
Olivia Xanthe
Philippa Xanthe
Sophia Xanthe

I played it a bit safe with these pairings since Xanthe is the bolder option. What would you pick as a middle name for Xanthe?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Very Best X Names for Boys and Girls

We have covered the letter X before on The Art of Naming. We pondered some "Xcellent" underused names for boys and girls .

We also listed out
names for boys that contain the letter X , as well as a list for girl names with an X in them.

 This letter typically gives names an edge. They tend to be rather bold and interesting.

Today we'll look at some of the very best names that start with X. I handpicked 25 for each gender for a total of 50 awesome names.

Is X your favorite letter? Are you looking for something unusual, unique and interesting? This list is for you!

  1. Xabrina
  2. Xalvadora
  3. Xandra
  4. Xantara
  5. Xanthe
  6. Xanthippe
  7. Xaria
  8. Xavienna
  9. Xaviera
  10. Xavierre
  11. Xena
  12. Xenaida
  13. Xenia
  14. Xenobia
  15. Xeraphina
  16. Xevera
  17. Xeveria
  18. Xia
  19. Xiamara
  20. Ximena
  21. Xiomara
  22. Xochitl
  23. Xola
  24. Xolani
  25. Xylia
  1. Xachary
  2. Xadrian
  3. Xaime
  4. Xalvador
  5. Xan
  6. Xanadu
  7. Xander
  8. Xannon
  9. Xanthos
  10. Xanthus
  11. Xanto
  12. Xarles
  13. Xavian
  14. Xaviell
  15. Xavier
  16. Xavion
  17. Xenon
  18. Xenos
  19. Xerxes
  20. Xhaiden
  21. Ximenes
  22. Xola
  23. Xuan
  24. Xylander
  25. Xylon
Which name catches your eye? Would you put one of these on your short list? If not, perhaps you'd enjoy exploring one of the other letters. Use the following links for that:

<--
The Very Best W Names for Boys and Girls   |||   The Very Best Y Names for Boys and Girls -->

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Jasper, Peter & Stone: Earthy Boy Names That Rock!

When it comes to earthy boy names, some of the coolest ones are related to rock and stone. There are some names that mean rock such as the Scottish surname Carrick from the Gaelic Carraig. 

The name Peter means "stone" and so does all of its variants and translations such as the French Pierre, the Spanish Pedro, and others such as Piers, Pierce, Pierson, Piet and Pietro.  

If it's a down-to-earth name you want, the list below features a few more names with rocky and earthy meanings:

Cephas
Clayton
Cole
Craig
Dunstan
Ebenezer
Haldor
Halle
Halstein
Halvard
Harlow
Hermes
Leofstan
Malachite
Mason
Seneca
Stanford
Stanley
Terran
Torsten
Winston
Wystan
"rock"
"clay settlement"
"charcoal"
"crag, rock"
"dark stone"
"stone of help"
"Thor's rock"
"rock"
"rock, stone"
"rock guardian"
"rock hill"
"piles of stones"
"beloved stone"
"mallow stone"
"stoneworker"
"place of stones"
"stone ford"
"stone clearing"
"land, earth"
"Thor's stone"
"joy stone"
"battle stone"
If those aren't for you, perhaps you'd be a fan of names that come from actual stones, minerals or rocky landscapes:

Canyon
Carnelian
Clay
Cliff
Cobalt
Copper
Dale
Dune
Flint
Garnet
Glen
Jasper
Jet
Knoll
Mica
Obsidian
Onyx
Quartz
Ridge
Shale
Slate
Sterling
Stone
Terrace
Vale
Zinc
    Did I miss any good ones? What is your favorite rocky name for a boy?

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