Old-fashioned baby names for boys and girls

Old-fashioned baby names

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

  • Alan
  • Alexander
  • Alfred
  • Angus
  • Arthur
  • Barnaby
  • Benedict
  • Bernard
  • Christopher
  • Clement
  • Douglas
  • Edgar I'm looking for something less common, but I am terrible for actually liking boys' names
  • Edmund
  • Edwin
  • Elliot
  • Ernest
  • Evan
  • Francis
  • Frank
  • Gareth
  • Gerard
  • Harold
  • Hector
  • Hugo
  • John
  • Keir
  • Laurie
  • Leonard
  • Lewis
  • Marcus
  • Martin
  • 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.
  • Morris
  • Nathaniel
  • Norman
  • Oliver
  • Oscar
  • Owen
  • Ralph
  • Reginald
  • Robert
  • Robin
  • Roger
  • Ronald
  • Samuel
  • Sidney
  • Stanley
  • Vernon
  • Walter
  • Wilfred

Old-fashioned girl names

  • Alexandra
  • Alison
  • Barbara
  • Bertha
  • Bethan
  • Caroline
  • Catriona
  • Cecily
  • Clara
  • Claudia
  • Clemency
  • Clementine
  • Dinah
  • Dorothy
  • Edith
  • Ellen I like Elise for girls. Is it too old fashioned or due a revival?
  • Emma
  • Ethel
  • Fern
  • Frances
  • Georgina
  • Harriet
  • Imogen
  • Ingrid
  • Jennifer
  • Joanna
  • Judith/Judy
  • Juliet
  • Katherine
  • Laura
  • Lillian
  • Louise
  • Mabel
  • Margaret
  • Maria
  • Martha
  • Mary
  • Meredith
  • Miriam
  • Nellie
  • Octavia I feel like names from the 1800s are all of a sudden cool again
  • Olivia
  • Penelope
  • Rebecca
  • Robyn
  • Ruth
  • Tabitha
  • Victoria
  • Virginia
  • Winifred

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

  • Alfred
  • Archibald
  • Benjamin
  • Charles
  • Daniel
  • David
  • Edward
  • Frederick
  • George
  • Harry
  • Henry
  • Jacob
  • Joseph
  • Joshua
  • Matthew
  • Oscar
  • Samuel
  • Sebastian
  • Theodore
  • Thomas

Old-fashioned girls' names in the top 100

  • Alice
  • Charlotte
  • Ella
  • Eleanor
  • Eliza
  • Elizabeth
  • Esme
  • Eva
  • Evie
  • Florence
  • Grace
  • Isabel
  • Ivy
  • Lily
  • Lucy
  • Matilda
  • Molly
  • Rosemary
  • Ruby
  • Sophie

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.