Having gone with time-honored names for my own children, I'm always interested to see how many other parents look to the past when choosing their baby names. When you look at the most popular baby names of the 1800s, it's surprising to see how many of the old standards have endured over the decades: Emily, George, Henry, Rose. What's interesting is that, according to the Social Security Administration, it was also the fashion 120 years ago to give children names that were either easily shortened to cute nicknames, or else nicknames used as given names. In 1880 alone, the SSA list for girls included Bessie, Elsie, Lillie, Mattie, Jessie, Mamie, and Fannie; hot boys' names included Dan (but not Daniel), Ollie (in addition to Oliver), Willie (separate from William), and Fred (but not Frederick).
With that in mind, when you're looking for vintage names for your new little one, you can pick either a classic name that basically has a cute nickname built-in, or skip the formality and go right to the abbreviated version. Either way, you're guaranteed to come up with a winner that will still be considered so-old-it's-new a century from now, when 22nd-century moms will be researching those quaint names their great-great-great-grandparents used back in the ancient 2010s.