Traditional Baby Names


If your mind reeled when actress and singer Lisa Bonet named her baby Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa, you are not alone. Expectant mothers and fathers have a wide range of choices in baby names these days, including opting for more traditional baby names. Traditional baby names may carry a special meaning for you, or you may choose them for the way they sound or what they mean.

Victorian Baby Names

While traditional baby names come from every country and every era, Victorian baby names from the United States offer a surprising mix of the plain, antiquated and fanciful. Popular traditional boys’ names in the 1800s include many names of English royalty past and present, such as John, William, James, George, Charles, Joseph, Robert and Edward. Other common boys’ names of the era were Frank, Walter, Arthur, Clarence, Earl, Ernest, Elmer and Oscar. The most typical traditional girls’ names included Mary, Anna, Helen, Margaret, Ruth, Emma, Florence and Ethel. Other Victorian girl names were Clara, Minnie, Bessie, Bertha, Lillian, Alice, Grace and Edna.

Family Names

One resource for traditional baby names is your family tree. Look back a few generations, through extended family, to see names of different family members. Remember to look at middle names and last names as well, as some rather common names have a more classic ring when combined well. Choosing names from your family tree has the additional benefit of potentially reflecting your family’s heritage, religious preferences or customs, such as naming the first-born after the mother or father.

International Traditional Names

Tradition transcends place, of course, so you may want to consider names that draw from languages, cultures or places that hold a special place in your heart or heritage. Names such as Finn, Tara, Erin and Ryan draw from Irish royalty, literature and folklore. In Mexico, the name Diego evokes Catholicism as well as the legacy of the famous muralist. Hebrew names such as Abigail, Benjamin, Hannah and Caleb have a classic sound. The French name Genevieve, which means “little white wave,” has been experiencing a comeback.



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