Old-fashioned baby names for boys and girls
Choosing a baby name is one of the most important (and difficult) decisions you make as a new parent. Sometimes the old ones are the best – after all, if they've stood the test of time it's probably for a reason. Here are some favourite old-fashioned boys' names and girls' names that Mumsnetters think are long overdue a comeback.
Should I give my child an old-fashioned name?
Thinking of sticking with the classics when it comes to naming your baby? Convention is no bad thing, as indeed, popular things are popular for a reason – and not everyone needs to pick an unusual name, as seems to be the trend with many celebrity babies.
Traditional baby names are as close to crash-tested as is possible when it comes to something so abstract. Classic names make for a low-risk investment, as they have already proved themselves to have stood the test of time. So you know that like a fine wine, your baby's name will get even better with age.
Unsure about whether a name will go with your surname? Looking to your great-grandparents (or even great-great grandparents) is a good, safe bet. Unless they are called something whacky like Ptolemy, naturally.
Here are some suggestions if you’re erring towards an old-fashioned name choice:
Old-fashioned boy names
- Edgar I'm looking for something less common, but I am terrible for actually liking boys' names
- Michael My husband loves Andrew but it was such a popular name when we were at school that it has put me right off it.
Old-fashioned girl names
- Ellen I like Elise for girls. Is it too old fashioned or due a revival?
- Octavia I feel like names from the 1800s are all of a sudden cool again
Are old-fashioned baby names popular?
In a world of Oliver Jacks and Amelia Poppys, it is perfectly understandable that you might want to break away from the crowd. However, don't think for a second that you are alone in making this decision – you only have to look at the current top 100 most popular baby names to see the names our great-grandparents were given are currently undergoing something of a revival.
History, as the saying goes, repeats itself. So too do name trends. According to the ONS, popular Victorian names such as Daisy and Ella slumped in the mid-20th century, and yet are among the most popular girls’ names of the year.
Old-fashioned boys' names in the top 100
Old-fashioned girls' names in the top 100
Are old-fashioned names unusual?
As the above lists show, old-fashioned baby names are far less unusual than you might think, so you might need to do a little research to find one that is really off-the-beaten-track.
We implore you not to be tempted by a “unique” spelling of a traditional name. You have to put yourself in your child's shoes here – would you really want the chore of having to spell it out to everyone from pre-school teachers to the head of admissions at Oxford?
If hormones are skewing your judgement and you’re convinced Prosecco is a better name than Tabitha (and if it's been several months since you had any booze, we can understand why), then try running it through our fail-safe baby name finder first.