I have always had a fascination for the old. My mother always (and a psychic once) referred to me as an “old soul”. I used to be down in an archive a few times a week while completing my undergraduate degree. I read countless old letters and I loved looking at the names of the writers and the people they would gossip about. Today, I will talk about some of my favourite vintage baby names for girls and for boys. This list could really be so much longer and I had a difficult time narrowing it down. These names should transport you to a stuffy garden party or a day at the races. Enjoy!
Alice has all the charm and innocence in such a simple timeless name. Alice is a name of royalty (Queen Victoria named her daughter Alice), of literature (think Alice in Wonderland or author Alice Munro), and of music (Alice in Chains). I have the utmost adoration for this name (and I really wish my partner loved it too, *sigh*).
Anne is currently underused, in my opinion. It is a classic name with so many great namesakes. My younger self was obsessed with the little curly orphan girl in the movie Annie. Annie is such a great nickname as well it makes me wonder why Anne isn’t as popular? Maybe with the new Anne of Green Gables series coming out (yay for Netflix!) more parents will opt for this sweet name.
Charlotte is the name of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s daughter. Charlotte is certainly heading to the top of the popularity charts in Canada right now. There are plenty of literary Charlottes and royal Charlottes, but don’t forget the Charlotte of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.
One of my favourite characters in Downton Abbey, Cora, the wealthy American-born woman who married into the Crawley family, made me love this name even more.
Whether your little one is named after Princess Diana, Diana Ross, the Roman goddess of the moon and the hunt, or Diana Prince (aka Wonder Woman), you can’t go wrong with this timeless name.
Another Downton Abbey name, Edith is on the comeback. With the spunky nickname Edie, I really hope more Ediths fill the classrooms.
Isabel, sleeker and daintier than the frilly Isabelle and Isabella (which are the most popular variations), has long been a favourite of mine. The fun nickname Izzy makes the name work for a sweet and shy girl or an outgoing one.
A tried and true name, Mary is always in style from the Virgin Mary to Mary Shelley to Mary Lennox of The Secret Garden to Lady Mary Crawley of Downton Abbey.
Rose is a natural beauty. Reminiscent of Rose from Titanic, Rose has a romantic, dreamy feel.
Sunday is more of a quirkier choice. In my old barista days, I actually worked with an elderly woman named Sunday. At first, I thought it was a silly name, but boy has it ever grown on me! I would love to meet another Sunday, or maybe have my own Sunday one day! The adorable nature nickname Sunny makes it more usable.
Benjamin is a biblical name and also the name of Benjamin Franklin among other notable bearers. Benjamin reminds me of little boys in blue overalls and rain boots splashing in puddles.
I love the name Christopher but I really do not like the short form, Chris. I love the sound of the full name and Chris takes that away.
Henry is a gentle name for a boy, one that brings to mind life on the farm. Maybe it is the beginning of the name, “Hen-“, that makes me think of the farm. I really wish my partner loved this name as much as I do, but alas, he does not.
A friendly name, there are many variations of Frederick. There is also Frederic and Frederik, Fred, Freddy and Freddie. I really love all of them.
James remains one of the most popular names for boys. While most modern James will go by “just James”, other nicknames for James throughout the years include Jimmy, Jay, and Jamie (my personal favourite).
Anne Hathaway named her son Jonathan. That was the moment I saw something special in the name. Jonathan is timeless and the simple nickname Jon makes this name so lovable.
Matthew Crawley (*swoon*) of Downton Abbey brings the old Matthew back to life again. A biblical name, Matthew means “gift of God”.
Peter has that storybook feel. Peter Rabbit was the famous rabbit of Beatrix Potter’s creation. The fantastical Peter Pan is another namesake. With the down-to-earth nickname Pete, Peter holds a special place in my heart.
Oh old Saint Nick! Nicholas would be an excellent choice for a boy born around Christmas time. Nicholas is a Greek name meaning “victory”, from the Greek goddess of victory, Nike.
An anglicized name from the German Wilhelm, meaning “resolute protector”, William has all the nickname potential but also is easy enough to say in its entirety. A William could also be a Bill, Billy (one of my favourite nicknames of William), Liam, or Will.
What are your favourite vintage names?