When it's time to pick out a name for your baby, consider going retro. I mean, really retro. The
baby names from the 1800s we should bring back will give you major vintage vibes in the best way.
For inspiration, I reviewed the
top names of the 1880s list from the Social Security Administration. This list of the 200 most popular names for girls and boys included data from 1,177,165 male births and 1,399,569 female births. It's a fascinating look at the way some names have remained popular over the decades, whereas others have fallen out of favor.
It's these underused names that I focused on, because the 1800s were full of some truly beautiful and classic monikers. Drawing inspiration from nature and history, many of these names are just poised for a comeback. They're a great choice because the names aren't overly common, but they're still familiar. In other words, you're kid won't have to repeat or spell out their name several times during every introduction for the rest of their lives.
Better still, you might be able to draw a connection to these names from ancestors in your own family. Whatever your inspiration, these vintage baby names are well worth your consideration.
1 Jasper Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images
This is a fitting name for your precious baby.
Jasper is a name that means treasurer, as explained in Baby Center. It would sound great as a name for either a girl or a boy; some famous examples include artist Jasper Johns and novelist Jasper Fforde. 2 Clara
Clara means bright or clear, as explained in She Knows (which makes sense, since it brings to mind the bright, clear ringing of a bell). It's a beautiful name for any child (notable examples from the past include composer Clara Schumann and early Hollywood actress Clara Bow). 3 Lawrence
This gorgeous name is long overdue for a resurgence. Derived from the name of a town called Laurentum, the name
Lawrence has a connection to the word for laurel, as noted in Baby Name Wizard. Often shortened to Larry in years past, it seems like the time for Lawrence as a full name has come. 4 Clarence
Like Clara, the
name Clarence means bright, as explained on Name Berry. (Now it makes sense that the angel in It's a Wonderful Life was named Clarence, right?) And it's truly a little-heard name these days, so your kid will likely have the good fortune of being the first "Clarence" most people meet. 5 Claude
Derived from the Latin name Claudius,
the name Claude hit peak popularity in the 1880s, as explained in Baby Name Wizard. Bring it back. (Claudius is actually pretty cool, too, unless you have something against your kid being named after an emperor.) 6 Grace
This is an absolutely gorgeous name that is finally coming back in vogue. It would also make a perfect middle name for any child. Derived from the Latin 'gratia', meaning God's favor, according to SheKnows, this names as as #blessed as you can get.
7 Alice Arman Zhenikeyev/Corbis/Getty Images
Although it may immediately make you think of the Lewis Carroll story, this is a classic name. Meaning
noble, the name Alice is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, as noted in Name Berry. 8 Cora
It has such a lovely, mysterious sound to it. Plus,
the name Cora is derived from the Greek word for maiden, as noted in Baby Name Wizard. 9 Amos
Although its exact origins are unclear, the
name Amos might mean "to carry," as explained on Ancestry.com. (It might also make you think of a "famous" brand of chocolate chip cookies.) 10 Lillian
Derived from the word for the flower,
the name Lillian means pure, as explained in She Knows. Lillian can be shortened to "Lily," too, if your little one grows up to decide she wants two-syllable name. 11 Emil
Here's a name you don't see every day. The masculine equivalent of Emily,
Emil is a name that means rival in Latin, according to Nameberry. (SheKnows, meanwhile, gives this name's meaning as "excellent," so you can kind of choose your own adventure here.) 12 Pearl
OK, so I just love all names that are inspired by nature. Regardless, the name Pearl is absolutely lovely in any century. In literature both classic (
The Scarlet Letter) and contemporary ( Little Fires Everywhere), this name has been given to daughters treasured by their mothers above all else. 13 Julius
Julius was pretty popular in the late 1800s, and it's seeing a bit of a resurgence now, according to Baby Name Wizard. Hey, few other names appear in both Shakespeare plays and popular mall snacks (AKA the Orange Julius). 14 Rose
Again, these sweet and sentimental names get me every time: Like something from a fairy tale, or a garden (or both). And don't forget about the comedic reference associated with this name for any
Golden Girls fan. 15 Edwin
OK, so this one has a meaning that bodes well for your child's future. The
name Edwin means rich friend, as explained in Behind the Name. So in a way, it also bodes well for your child's friends, if you think about it. (Maybe work on teaching your tot to be generous, just in case.) 16 Ada
happy, the name Ada is perfect for any kid, as noted in Baby Center. And just think of how easy this name would be to learn to spell! It's even the same backwards and forwards. 17 Herbert Thien Woei Jiing / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images
Referring to an
illustrious warrior, the name Herbert is pretty great, according to She Knows. An alternate meaning of the name Herbert, by the way: Intelligent warrior. So either way, he's got the warrior part down. And of course, you've got two built-in nicknames with this one: "Herb" and "Bert." 19 Oscar
Anyone named Oscar is basically guaranteed to be super cool. With Irish and Norse roots, the
meaning of Oscar is "God spear, or deer-lover or champion warrior," according to Nameberry (so, not "grouch"), but this is the kind of name that means whatever you want it to mean (like, kid with the most interesting name in class). 20 Flora
Referring to flowers,
Flora is a beautifully sentimental name, as explained in She Knows. (It's also one of the names of the good fairies who raises Princess Aurora in the woods after Maleficent's curse in Sleeping Beauty, as any real Disney Princess fan knows.) 21 Walter
Meaning army ruler, the name Walter is a classic choice for any kid, as noted in Nameberry. It can be shortened to "Walt," as in Walt Disney, of course, but then you're pretty much guaranteeing a lifetime of comparisons to the maker of the Mouse for your child. Walter, on the other hand, is free to be the army ruler (or whatever) they were born to be.