Many factors come into play when deciding what to name your baby. You may consider how the name sounds, how it looks on paper or what the name means. Some parents choose to honor a specific person by naming a child after her, while others want to choose a name that recognizes the family’s nationality or cultural heritage. If you’re looking for a baby girl name of Germanic origin, you’ll find that many of them are among the most popular names of the last century and the first 10 years of this one.
Emily, a variant of Emelie, may derive from the Latin Aemilia. Many baby name books report that it means “industrious,” which may stem from the Latin word aemulus, which means striving to equal or excel. Emily takes first place for most-popular girls’ names in the United States between 2000 and 2010, and is 28th on the list of popular girl’s names from 1910 to 2010.
Emma, which some books list as a variant of Emily, ranks third on the list of popular names of the 21st century and 28th on the list of the 20th century names. It may also be a variant of the name Erma, which means strength.
The name Ava may derive from the Germanic name Avea or Avia, meaning bird. It ranks 16th in the list of popular names from 2000 to 2010, but does not appear in the list of top 200 names of the 1900s.
The name Anna is perennially popular in many cultures throughout Europe. Originally derived from the Hebrew Hannah, Anna means gracious or full of grace. It ranks 24th in popularity on the list of popular names from 2000 to 2010 and 34th on the list of popular girl’s names of the 20th century.
Alison, originally a boy’s name meaning son of a noble man, has been a popular girl’s name since the 1970s. Alison and its variant Allison rank in the top 100 popular girls’ names for the first decade of the 2000s.
Aubrey originates from the Germanic words alb, meaning elf, and ric, meaning king — thus, elven king. The Germanic name is Alberic, but the Anglicized version, Aubrey, has become popular as a girl’s name. It ranks as the 113th most popular girl’s name between 2000 and 2010.
Giselle may sound like a French name, but its origins are decidedly Germanic. Giselle, and its derivative Ghislain, derive from the German word, gisel, meaning pledge or promise. In medieval times, rival factions often exchanged a child with each other as a pledge of peace. Giselle ranks 176th in the list of popular 21st century names.
Carol is the feminine version of Carl, meaning freeman or peasant. It ranks 19th on the list of most popular names of the 20th century, but doesn’t appear in the list of top 200 names between 2000 and 2010. It also is an English name meaning song. Carolyn, derived from the same roots, ranks 47th in the list of most popular 20th century names.