I am looking for examples of baby (first) names that were extremely popular 100 +/- years ago, but are far out of fashion now. Not necessarily “bad” names, just names that have gone out of fashion. And I’m especially interested in different parts of the world. For example, I seem to have known a couple of guys around my age (44) from Canada named Allastair. Is that name still in fashion in Canada? It seems kind of old fashioned.
For the USA, I think of the following boys names:
I’m sure that in 2110, Madison and Tyler will be considered an old-fashioned names…
OP, check out this site(one of my favorites ever) for American data.
Among the top 20 American names in 1910, but now comparatively rare for babies and old-fashioned-sounding: George, Frank, Henry, Willie, Walter, Albert, Harry, Arthur, Raymond, Harold and Clarence for boys. Helen, Margaret, Dorothy, Ruth, Mildred, Alice, Frances, Florence, Ethel, Gladys, Edna and Louise for girls.
Howard and Dorothy* are just over the hump (IMO) - they certainly sound ‘old-fashioned’ and have been uncommon baby names for many years, but they don’t sound awful and fogeyish to most people - probably because there are well-known (older) public figures or fictional characters (The Wizard of Oz will keep Dorothy relatively fresh for a long time yet) who still have these names. Very different from naming your baby Mildred; even though this name has had a very similar trajectory over the past hundred years to Howard, I can’t name a single living person with the name of Mildred, and it sounds both old *and *ugly to me.
I just discovered this the other day, the Social Security website has a search engine for the 100 most popular baby names from every year since 1880. http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/
John and Mary were the top 2 for so long, but many others are there too. It was really helpful. It may sound just like Mikayla but I’m extremely particular of the name Mihaela. It sound old fashioned to me, and I heard it in a book but cannot find it anywhere on recorded lists of names. That’s my contribution. =)
My grandmothers were named Shirley and Ida. Most people around here in NJ would agree those sound quite old. My grandfathers were William and Nathan. William is quite popular. Nathan and Nathaniel are almost as popular.
My husband’s grandmothers were Winifred and Vera. Two more old lady names to the modern ear. One grandfather died before he was born so he doesn’t know his name. His other grandfather was named Thomas. Thomas would be seen as a perfectly valid choice today.
My husband and I both liked old-fashioned girls’ names in theory, but had very different ideas in practice. One night, I was idly flipping through the baby names book, and we had the following conversation.
Me: How about Marian?
Him: Eh, I’m not a huge fan. What about Muriel?
Me: OMG WTF BBQ. That is AWFUL. Muriel? Sounds like a 96-year-old Jewish lady. Jesus Christ, are you REALLY suggesting that?
Him: I kinda like it.
Me: You’re nuts.
So later on we’re recounting this conversation to my mother-in-law. After she listens to us tell the story, she says “You know, I had a cousin Muriel.” She pauses for a few seconds, then continues…“She’d be 108 now if she were alive.”
We ended up picking Josephine. There are at least two that I’ve seen in the nursing home where her great-grandma lives. We call her Josie, though, which is a bit more modern.
My legal name is crazy Mildred-y/super old school in Indian culture, but my parents have a true talent for sussing out names like that. They named their first child Hemangi, of all things. The only reason my sister has a half-normal name is because they let my aunts name her.
My legal name is pretty hideous (and yet, so hideous it’s awesomesauce) but I also narrowly escaped such choice monikers as Ambika, Padmalakshmi, Parvati, Harinakshi, Krishnaa and Gayatri.
My ex also had a really old fashioned name, and together we were basically the 20-something (back then) Indian version of Sherman and Ethel. Similarly, I have a beautiful, blonde 24 year old classmate by the name of Mary, marrying another millenial named Albert.