The Nostalgia Is Deep

36 American Girl Doll Names To Use For Your Own Baby

The world needs more Josefinas, Addys, and Uncle Gards.

Updated: 
Originally Published: 

Baby name inspiration can come from anywhere — including your own American Girl dolls. Look, the thing about the American Girl brand is that it promotes bravery, strength, creativity, tenacity, and so much more. These historical characters and their fictional friends and family make for some real inspiration, and it’s why you should consider American Girl doll names for your own little baby.

Whether you’re having a boy or girl, there is an American Girl character out there ready to inspire their moniker. There’s cool and loving Uncle Gard in Samantha Parkington’s story, there’s strong and persevering Addy Walker during the Civil War, there’s Irish-American Nellie O’Malley who is literally working her childhood away to take care of her own sisters — there’s just a plethora of inspiration. And the American Girl doll names bring some really awesome baby names back to the forefront. I mean, when is the last time you met a Claudie or a Hendrick? Exactly.

This list of American Girl doll names make up the perfect baby name list, and I hope you’re reminded of your own favorite American Girl character and just how motivating their stories can be. Take that energy for your own baby with this list of American Girl doll names.

1

Kit

Kit is just the cutest name, inspired by the tenacious American Girl Kit Kittredge of the Great Depression era. Surprisingly, Kit is not short for Katherine, but is instead just a fun play on her last name and a song. Her full name is Margaret Mildred, but I think you can totally use Kit as a full baby name without making it a shorter version of a more formal moniker.

2

Addy

American Girls have a lot of bravery, especially sweet Addy Walker, who represents the Civil War era. In the beginning of her story, she’s enslaved with her mother and manages to escape to the north, hoping to reunite with her whole family in freedom. Addy is such a cute girl name and in the story is actually short for Aduke, which means “much loved.” You can also choose Aduke or go for Adeline or Addison if you want a more formal name than Addy.

3

Molly

Set during World War II, Molly McIntire is a girl with a mission, always. She’s a bit of a mess but is determined to be an original at all times, and that kind of personality will have every kid going far. Molly is such a cute name and it actually has a few meanings, including “wished-for child,” “star of the sea,” and “bitter.” Just choose your favorite!

4

Samantha

Edgar Barragan Juarez/Moment/Getty Images

Inspired by one of the OG American Girl dolls, Samantha Parkington from 1904, the name Samantha brings a certain elegance to it. While she was prim and proper, Samantha could also hold her own against bullies, went on many adventures, and advocated hard for her best friend Nellie and all of the children working in factories. Samantha is also a baby name that has wavered on the popular lists a bit, and it means “God has heard.”

5

Nathaniel

A minor character, Nathaniel is the baby of Jessie, a Black seamstress who works for Grandmary in Samantha’s story. In the first book, Jessie suddenly leaves, devastating Samantha who relies on Jessie’s help and kidness, but it turns out she’s just had a baby boy — Nathaniel. Samantha convinces Grandmary to rehire Jessie so she can bring Nathaniel with her, and it’s a very lovely thread of her story. When I was little, I was obsessed with the illustration of baby Nathaniel in the book and fell in love with the name. Nathaniel is a pretty unique one, and it means “God has given,” which is just perfect for your little guy. (Nate or Nathan also make for great nicknames.)

6

Felicity

Representing colonial America and the early Revolutionary War period, Felicity Merriman is a bit of a tomboy, adventurous, and super independent-minded. Not a bad character to name your own little gal after. The name Felicity means “happiness,” which is just so sweet, and Felicity even goes by the nickname Lissie in her stories if you’re looking for an extra dollop of cuteness.

7

Kirsten

Kirsten Larson is one of the classic American Girl characters, a Swedish immigrant living the pioneer life in the middle 1800s. It helps that she has a curious personality, but she struggles a bit with fitting in, and often makes mistakes or acts without thinking. She is bold and bright though, and there’s nothing quite as brave as a pioneer. She’s a great character to name your little one after, and the name Kirsten means “follower of Christ.”

8

Josefina

Josefina is one of my favorite characters, a sweet Mexican girl living in New Mexico when it was still under Mexican rule and grieving the lost of her sweet mama. She is quiet, but full of ideas, and has a very special connection to music. Her deep thinking and lovely personality makes for a perfect baby name inspiration, and it’s especially nice because the baby name Josefina means “the Lord adds.”

9

Anders

A lovely boy name on this list, Anders means “brave, manly” and is inspired by Anders Larson, Kirsten’s practical, steady, and hardworking father.

10

Julie

Julie Albright is a sweet character set in the 1970s who is fun-loving, spirited, and stands up against prejudices in her life. What more could you want for your own baby girl? The name Julie means “youthful” and has a spunky, airy vibe just like the American Girl character of Julie.

11

Kaya

Growing up in the 1700s, Kaya is a Native American girl growing up in the Nez Perce tribe before white settlers had permanently settled on the land. This kind of environment and life means Kaya grows up outdoorsy, active, and often rushes into things without too much thinking. (Who among us?) Fittingly, the name Kaya means “wise child,” as well as “willow,” “yew tree,” and “forgiveness.”

12

Gard

mixetto/E+/Getty Images

Samantha’s Uncle Gard is her favorite person, and he has a definite cool vibe about him. Always with the latest new gadgets and tech (He has a car! In 1904!), Uncle Gard is a total cosmopolitan kind of guy and sweet and loving to boot. His name is short for Gardner, and Gard means “keeper of the garden,” which feels very symbolic.

13

Nellie

Nellie O’Malley is the sweet Irish-American best friend of Samantha Parkington who struggles with growing up poor, working her childhood away, and having to care for her younger sisters. Nellie tries hard to do what’s right and to stay strong for her family, and it’s a lovely name to inspire you for your own baby girl. The name Nellie means “sun ray” or “shining light,” which really tracks for the character.

14

Maryellen

Maryellen is the imaginative, enthusiastic, and optimistic American Girl of the 1950s. Part of a big, busy family, she’s working hard to find her place, and really likes to be the energetic leader. Not a bad energy to put into your own babe. The name Maryellen means “drop of the sea” or “beloved and shining light.”

15

Greta

Greta Larson is Kirsten’s mama and her strength is hugely inspirational for a baby name. The name Greta means “creature of light” which is really sweet considering how much Greta treasures her family and works hard to protect them and keep them safe and happy.

16

Claudie

I will never get over how perfect the name Claudie is, and it matches so well with the sweet character. Claudie Wells grows up in the 1920s Harlem Renaissance and is desperate to find her own talent like her parents have and wants to use that talent to love and protect her family. She is just the sweetest, and the name Claudie is of French origin with a slightly strange meaning of “lame.” (Claudie is anything but lame.)

17

Melody

Representing the 1960s, Melody is a Black girl who loves Mo-Town, gardening, and her family. She wants to sing, but her parents would prefer she focus on her education first, and of course, nothing beats a girl with dreams. The name Melody is such a classic one and it means “music” or “song.” Perfection.

18

Pleasant

Pleasant Rowland is the creator of the American Girl brand, so it seems fitting to include the name Pleasant on a list of American Girl baby names. It’s definitely a unique one and gives very traditional vibes.

19

Ben: Addy’s dad, short for Benjamin, means “son of the right hand”

Elizabeth: Felicity’s best friend, means “God’s promise”

Emily: Molly’s best friend, means “rival,” “laborious,” or “eager”

Lincoln: Jessie’s husband in Samantha Parkington’s story, means “lake/pool colony”

Rebecca: historical Russian-Jewish character set in the early 1900s, means “to bind or tie”

Britta: Kirsten’s little sister, means “the exalted one”

Sarah: Addy’s best friend, means “princess”

Hendrick: Kit’s uncle, means “home-ruler”

Ivy: Julie’s best friend, means “vine”

Cornelia: Samantha’s aunt, means “horn”

Ruthie: Kit’s best friend, means “friend”

Brad: Molly’s brother, means “broad” or “wide”

Charlotte: Molly’s teacher, means “free man” or “petite”

Esther: Addy’s sister, means “star”

Drake: Addy’s minister, means “dragon”

Marta: Kirsten’s friend, means “mistress of the house, lady”

Jack: Kit’s dad, means “God is gracious”

Margaret: Kit’s mom, means “pearl”

Boy or girl, American Girl dolls have plenty of inspiration for baby names. Pick your favorite American Girl baby name and bring a touch of history and whimsy to your little one.

This article was originally published on