It is said baby names come back every 100 years.
Once very popular names stop being used for a few decades only to come back in style with a fresh coat of paint of vintage glamour. This cycle takes around 100 years, enough for a few generations to pass.
Just think about the names in your family history.
You probably find the names of your parents a bit old-fashioned and wouldn’t name your newborn after them. But what about your great-grandparents? Or even their parents? You might find their names sound pretty cool to you. Same as the names of our own parents might sound cool again to our grandchildren.
Let’s take a look at the top 30 names that were the most popular in the 1920s and discover which of these are the best candidates to be used again in the 2020s.
Vintage girl names from the 1920s:
The most popular girl’s name ever. “Mary” has only left the top 50 list in 2000 after being the number 1 name for most of our history. Classy and proper, you can’t do wrong with this name, if those are the qualities you are looking for.
“Dorothy” has been in the top 50 most popular names from the 1890s to the 1950s. Slowly declining in popularity until hitting “rock bottom” in the early 2000s. It has been gaining popularity since then as the name has that vintage glamour to it now.
This name started declining in popularity in the 1940s but it never came too far down the list. A more traditional version of today’s very popular “Elena”.
A diminutive version of “Elizabeth”, this name was very popular in the 1920s but losing its appeal completely since the 1990s. Who knows, maybe this name will come back in fashion just like a pair of high waisted jeans.
Another strongly used and beloved name in recent history. “Margaret” has never left its spot in the top 200 names list.
“Ruth” has gained massive popularity in the 1890s and only started losing its appeal in the 1950s. It started to come back into fashion in recent years making the 100 years rule true.
An elegant, feminine name, “Virginia” was very popular in the 1st half oh the 20th century. We believe this name is ready to climb that popularity ladder back up in the following years.
This name has not been widely used since the 1980s. It may take a bit more before this name starts to sound fresh and new again.
Similar to “Doris”, this once very popular name lost its charm in the 1980s as people still see it as an old-lady name.
The female version of “Francis” was very popular in the 19th and the 1st half of the 20th century and it started getting some of that popularity back in the 2010s. A more trendy version of this name would be the Italian “Francesca”.
No name has retained its popularity over the years such as “Elizabeth”. Never getting below the 25th spot of the popularity ladder. And it is not going away any time soon.
“Evelyn” is the proof the 100 years rule works. It was popular in the 1910s and came back into fashion in the 2010s.
Even though “Anna” was once almost popular as “Mary” (being the 2nd most used name of the 19th century) it has not lost its charm as “Mary” has. “Anna” is still widely popular to this day making it a classy and timeless choice.
The French variation of “Mary” may be a good choice to make this classic name more trendy and worldly.
Another classy, vintage name. Popular until the 1950s “Alice” started to get widely used again in the 2010s.
Similar to “Betty”, “Jean” reached its peak popularity in the 1920s and was declining ever since until completely losing its appeal in the 1990s. Only the future will tell if this name will ever come back in style. For now, “Jane” looks like the better option.
It may take a while before “Shirley” starts to feel fresh and new again as it only lost its popularity in the 1990s. It is still mostly perceived as an old-fashioned name but without the vintage glamour.
The name given to the (in)famous Barbie doll was very popular all the way to the 1980s then it lost its charm and is currently waiting to come back in style a few decades from now.
This Greek name may just be another example of the 100 rule as it reached its peak in the 1910s and is ready to slowly make its way back into people’s minds and hearts.
Even the famous TV show Game of Thrones (with a character bearing a name similar to “Marjorie”) couldn’t breathe life back into this name. It still makes a less common version for “Margaret” if that is the type of name you like.
“Florence” has always been widely used until the middle of the 20th century. This name is rumored to be one of the best candidates to come back in style with a spark of vintage glamour as it has been on ice long enough.
This name has not been very used since 1983 and it doesn!t seem to be gaining any popularity any time soon. It probably needs a bit more time before people rediscover this Greek name.
“Martha” is not very popular right now as it is still mostly perceived as an old-lady name. This name started to loose its wide popularity only in the 1990s. “Miriam” or the ever-so-popular “Margaret” may be the better choice for now.
The beautiful flower has inspired parents naming their child for hundreds of years. With a slight decline in popularity around the 1990s “Rose” is back and ready to take over the girl baby names list once again.
“Lillian” has also been a good proof for the 100 years old rule, but a decade ago. Right now, “Lillian” starts to feel slightly over-used once again. The same goes for its diminutive “Lily. It is probably better to look elsewhere for a great vintage name.
Just as “Virginia” or “Frances” this name has been broadly used until the middle of the 20th century when it started to decline rapidly. Louise might have been off the radar long enough to get some of that love and popularity back, in the following years.
Same as “Margaret”, “Catherine” has always been a popular name that never fell lower than the 200th spot on the popularity list. Even though “Catherine” isn’t as used as it once was it is still a beautiful name with a timeless feel.
Like “Lillian”, “Ruby” is another name that came back into the spotlight around 10years ago after being widely popular in the 1910s. At this point, it would be better to try a different vintage name for your baby girl.
The perfect example of the 100 years rule. “Eleanor” fell down in the 1940s and climbed back up in the 2000s. This elegant name is a great alternative to the currently trendy and (over)popular “Ella”.
“Patricia” is one of those names that have fallen down the popularity list just recently and will need at least half of a century to, eventually, come back into style.
Source: Social Security Administration
Best girl vintage names for the 2020s:
Based on the evaluation of the 1920s names above, the best choices for a baby girl right now seem to be:
More baby names inspiration:
- Boy Names Starting with “A“
- Girl Names Starting with “A“
- Boy Names Starting with “B“
- Girl Names Starting with “B“
- Boy Names Starting with “C“
- Girl Names Starting with “C“
- Boy Names Starting with “J“
- Girl Names Starting with “M“
- Boy Names Starting with “R“
- Girl Names Starting with “S“
- Girl Names Starting with “V” and “W“