40 Throwback Baby Names Worth Bringing Back

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Image adapted via Flickr /HA! Designs – Artbyheather

Sometimes it pays to go back – way back – for a little inspiration. If you want a name that can stand the test of time, and stand out, then look no further. These names are the definition of classic.
While some things have been drastically improved by the passage of time (indoor plumbing anyone?) some things get even better with a little age.

And so it is for these names. They offer a peek in to our past that can help inspire the future.These names were topping the charts around the turn of the century – the 20th century that is. From 1890-1910 the names listed here could be found in the top 50. There's a chance that these names show up somewhere back in the branches your family tree, but even if they don't, they're worth a second look.

If old school is your thing, be my guest and bring one of these throwback names back into use. Every name listed here is one that I feel is worth consideration. Which are your favorites?

Florence

I absolutely love Florence, Italy so this follows my rule of if you name baby after a place, it should be somewhere you've been and adored. Bonus: If you've listened to Florence + The Machine before you know what a gorgeous voice she has. Something for baby to strive for? 😉

Clarence

Is a Latin name meaning bright, shining, clear. I love that! The more I've read this name the more it's grown on me. It's a nice, strong name, although I don't know that I'd be able to go with ‘Clare' for a nickname.

Grace

This one is its meaning. It's perfect.

Jack

Short and sweet. I also feel like it ages well.

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Image via iStock

Ida

Adorable. I think adding the middle name ‘Mae' or ‘May' would be even sweeter.

Lee

Another that is short, sweet, and very likable.

Mabel

This one is precious! Although it is pretty old sounding, so I could see why some wouldn't be so fond of it.

Lawrence

This was my dad's name so it holds a soft spot in my heart. That's him above. He was a fireman and passed away when I was twelve. Handsome, isn't he?! I don't love the nickname ‘Larry', but you could go with ‘Law'?

Lillian

So pretty and ‘Lily' is equally so.

{ MORE: Naming Twins and Multiples: What To Do (and What Not to Do) }

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Image via iStock

Eugene

I don't know why, but I feel like an adult male with this name would have a strong handshake. I'm not very into ‘Gene' as a nickname though.

Nellie

Cute! And ‘Nel' is very sweet also.

Leo

DiCaprio? Swoon …

Pearl

This is my birthstone and I love it. They're elegant, and the name feels the same.

Clyde

I feel like this is a name meant for a cowboy, and I like it.

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Image via iStock

Eva

Very sweet, and she could go by ‘Eve' or ‘Evie' too.

Theodore

This is a strong name and the nickname ‘Teddy' is very cute.

Clara

Lovely. Bonus that it reminds me of The Nutcracker.

Wayne

Also makes me think of a cowboy, also liking it.

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Image via iStock

Hazel

This is on my list. It's so sweet and is nature-based which I love.

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Alfred

Cute when younger, strong when older. Plus ‘Alf' and ‘Alfie' make for sweet nicknames.

Harriet

I really enjoy this one! And you could use ‘Hattie', another popular name from that era, as a nickname.

Otto

Unique and strong.

Sadie

This one sounds spunky and I like it!

Hugh

I haven't heard this one much and really enjoy it. It would age well too!

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Image via iStock

Elsie

It's not ‘Elsa', although it's close. It's a very sweet name, but I'm not sure about it for an adult woman? Seems a bit young to me.

Oliver

I love this one, although it already seems to be creeping back into popularity. It's adorable for the baby through child years and would age well into adulthood.

Josephine

Ever since Little Women this one has stuck with me. It's a beautiful name and the nickname ‘Jo' is cute and sassy. Now I really want to watch the movie!

Ira

It's unique, short, and sweet. I like it!

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Image via iStock

Agnes

It's definitely dated, but I still find it to be pretty darn cute for a little lady.

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August

I don't particularly feel one way or the other on this one. Not sure I'd use it, but I don't have any specific feelings against it either!

Edith

The nickname ‘Edie' is pretty darn sweet. Edith does sound a bit old, but that's probably because it was one of my great aunt's names.

Cecil

I actually like this one quite a bit! And ‘Cec' is cute for short.

Lena

I have a lovely friend named ‘Helena' who I call ‘Lena' for short. It's so pretty.

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Image via iStock

Everett

I do enjoy this one, however I don't think I'd ever use it because I grew up in Washington state where there's a city called Everett that never particularly appealed to me.

Nora

This was on my list until I saw it rise in popularity fairly recently. It's short and beautiful.

Allen

Another I don't have any particular feelings about, although I'm sort of into the surname as a first name trend.

Lucy

So sweet. Although I think I'd go with ‘Lucille' and Lucy as the nickname.

Glenn

I like this one okay, but it does fall a little flat.

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Image via iStock

Effie

I do like it, but I'm not sure about it wearing well as an adult.

Emil

I'd never heard of this one before. I like it as a full name, but I don't think I could use ‘Em' for a male.

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Which is your favorite?

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What do you think?

40 Throwback Baby Names Worth Bringing Back

I have a constant craving for adventure and love to pack as much fun into life as I can. Becoming a mom to one sweet boy has caused me to slow down - a little, and provided me with a wonderful new way to find joy in life. I try my darndest to soak it all in, as I have already found life to move a lot quicker since welcoming this little hunk of love into it. I am married to an amazing man, and I'm still trying to figure out how to embrace the changes in our relationship that have come with new pa ... More

Tell us what you think!

55 comments

  1. Profile photo of Jennifer Jennifer says:

    Effie?? Wow somebody has lost their marbles.

  2. Profile photo of James James says:

    Grace, Jack, Lily, Eva, Sadie, Lena, Nora…. not only the list, but Leara and James.
    My daughter is Olivia. She’s 25, so other Olivia’s weren’t around. Now, it’s a very popular name. My second daughter is Cassidy. She’s 23, and we still don’t hear that one much. People actually how to spell it. My third daughter is 18, Landry. It’s her great-grandmother’s Cajun maiden name. I had alway wanted a Grace, but due to my age and fertility issues, I never thought I’d have another baby, so I named my new puppy Gracie in October, and discovered I was pregnant with Landry in March. What a surprise! She came all by herself…no fertility help. I was almost 40 when she was born! What a blessing she has been.
    When we lived in TX, people always thought we named her after Cowboy’s coach Tom Landry. My soon to be born grandson will be James Barrington (this part is a paternal family name).

  3. Profile photo of preston preston says:

    The layout of your site and the multitude of ads really make this list impossible. Good job! I was pretty excited to look through it. Bummer

  4. Profile photo of Nicole Nicole says:

    We went old school, back to my family roots in eastern Europe and used Jarek. The correct way to say it is ‘yarik’, but we knew that would never happen in the US, so we say it how it looks, Jarek. I surprisingly get a lot of complements on his name. And if he wants to go by Jerry or Jay when he gets older, no problem!

  5. Profile photo of sharon sharon says:

    Love older names for children. Chose Joseph James for my boy. One bit of advice…. Don’t pick the name of an item that is expensive thinking it is OK. Just because you name him Bentley does not mean he will not look like a pinto, or name her Mercedes and get a Honda civic. Places conceived (Houston, Dallas, McDonalds) not advisable either. Lastly PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES. Looks a little bit bad when the most hope you have for your child is lost at the bottom of a bottle (alizaa, bourbon, Scotch, and a few delicate wines)….. Just because you can does not mean you should!

  6. Profile photo of Anita Anita says:

    My name is Anita Faye. At first I didn’t like it, but then I found out that I could have been a Penny Louise. The name Anita is unique, and hard to find on pre-personalise items that they sell at theme parks and other such places. The name Anita means graceful. I like my name ok, but I prefer the nickname one of my co-workers gave me many years ago Skeeter.

  7. Profile photo of Kerry Kerry says:

    My son’s name is Samuel Austin and my daughter is Rachel Lorraine. I like the name Linnie, that was my grandmother

  8. Profile photo of Cathy Cathy says:

    Interesting piece, but it could have been posted on 4 pages instead of 11 for those of us with
    s l o w internet service. A lot of time wasted buffering.

  9. Profile photo of Lange Lange says:

    “Jack” is a nickname for “John.” “Sean” is the Gaelic version of John. Johann is the German form, Joan the women’s English form. Jaques, the French.

    My second middle name, “Lange,” was originally my Norwegian forebears’ family name. It means “long” in the Teutonic languages. Unfortunately, no one I am aware of has that name (there are many versions that are short for something, such as “Langford”). A similar Scots name, “Laing,” has an entirely unrelated origin and meaning. I’m the third of my family line so named, and I guess the last.

  10. Profile photo of Adele Adele says:

    My kids are Liam Donovan and Lenore Harper (had those names picked out since 2000. Lenore from The Raven, Harper as in Lee. Donovan as in McNabb and Liam was a compromise (I wanted donovan but my husband is a steelers fan) I wouldn’t mind seeing my name more (Adele) 😉

  11. Profile photo of motheroffour motheroffour says:

    I have four kids: Jeremiah Isaiah, Catrina Anahi, Mathew Caleb, and Emily Kiera

  12. Profile photo of Lori Lori says:

    My daughter has chosen Hazel for my first grandchild coming in March. She had no idea it was her great-great grandmother’s name when she chose it. Now she loves it even more. ❤

  13. Profile photo of shanetta shanetta says:

    I like the name Cornelius after my grandfather but with my child if a boy we will give him a nickname like Corey, Neil or nelius. He might want to go by his middle name which is still up in the air.

  14. Profile photo of Melissa Melissa says:

    I love names like these! I gave my daughter an older name: Theresa. We use a more modern nickname, though: Reese. I love them both!

  15. Profile photo of Betty Betty says:

    Betty that’s my name and I’ve AWAYS hated it. I have never seen a pretty girl named Betty , not even Grable. I didn’t get a middle name, so I am stuck with it!!!

    • Profile photo of Jill Jill says:

      My mom had gone by Betty. If it’s derived from Elizabeth, what a beautiful name. I never liked Betty, I always thought she could of gone by another nickname. Liz is so sexy, never goes out of style. Her mother called her Betsy. She definitely was not a Beth. She could of gone by Liza…love it! Go by another form, you souls be called something that is pleasant to YOUR ears!

  16. Profile photo of Peter Peter says:

    I think it is great that the name Eugene!
    It is my father’s first name. It is also my late brother’s and “my personal” name!

  17. Profile photo of jo jo says:

    Please no Caitlin names.

  18. Profile photo of Blkisbeauty Blkisbeauty says:

    Wow I never realizedthat every baby in the world was white where is the diversity in these pics smh

    • Profile photo of sharon sharon says:

      Wow I never realized that no matter what, one way or another everything comes back to race…. Attempt to claim racism towards darker skin tones… Hmmm at what point does it become racism for anyone of a lighter persuasion when they can not even post pics they can relate to.?. Exclusion is not the point of this article… Names are. Crybaby society allows for entirely to much. Woo-hoo for the freedom of speech!!

  19. Profile photo of Evelyn Evelyn says:

    My youngest daughters name is
    Edhel Christine —- ( pronounce like Adelle ) everyone loves it especially the spelling

  20. Profile photo of Susan Susan says:

    My nieces names are Ila (after my grandmother) Mabel, Bess (after my mother). All of them beautiful names for beautiful girls. My name is too 50’s, I guess it’s not old enough yet.

  21. Profile photo of Cara Cara says:

    Mabel? Seriously, why put a child through that? I have had to live my whole life with a heinous feminized version of a man’s name. It’s to the point I can’t stand hearing it and will often give a different name when asked, providing it’s a situation where it won’t be used again.

    • Profile photo of Natalie Natalie says:

      Mabel is a beautiful name. Though I would spell it Maybelle…. If you haven’t got anything nice to say, just don’t say anything 🙂 THANKSSSS!!!

  22. Profile photo of Lori Lori says:

    I love the idea of bringing back older names. When my son and daughter-in-law were trying to decide on a name for my grandson, they asked me to shake the family tree and see if anything resonated fro them. They settled on Alexander, which was a first name of 10 great-grandfathers on both sides of my mother’s family tree, going back to the 16th century in Scotland. Alexander has a formal, classic feel, while nicknames can range all over the map, Al, Lex, Sandy, etc. The second name was his father’s father’s first name, Wayne. So Alexander Wayne was a fit. I think it’s important to consider the whole name, not just the first.

  23. Profile photo of ron ron says:

    In your discussion of “Eugene” you used the phase “an adult male” but did not specify “adult male WHAT. Did you intend to say “adult male dog” or “adult male gorilla?” Why not use the single, clear word “man” if that’s what you meant? Is that a PC choice of phrase, or was it intended just to increase the number of words in your article?

  24. Profile photo of Kate Kate says:

    Everett is my son’s name. I love it and always get compliments on it. and SO just agreed on Mabel if we ever have a girl so yay!

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