20 Baby Names From the 19th Century Making a 21st Century Comeback

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The 19th century was full of old glamour, developing times, and inventions and people that would go on to change the world. And their influences are still felt this day. Thanks to them, we have electricity, photographs, and telephones, but we also have some baby names that are still all the rage. 


They're a little bit traditional and have plenty of historical significance,  and according to naming expert Laura Wattenberg of Baby Name Wizard, mining the 19th century has become a hot trend for parents.

Check out the best 19th century names:

For boys:

  1. Archer: Sounds like a new trendy name, no? Turns out, the name first started out as a title for someone who was an archer (who shot a bow), and began being used in the early 1880s. Now, come 2012, it's a brand new name for boys! 
  2. Dallas: You may recognize it as the Texas city, but the name actually stems from former U.S. Vice President George Mifflin Dallas who served under President James K. Polk from 1845 to 1849.
  3. Emery: The originally German name means "work ruler" and became trendy as a baby name for boys in the 1880s. Throughout the 20th century it waned in popularity, until it started peaking again in 2011. Prepare to meet more Emerys. 
  4. Everett: William Everett, who served as a renowned Massachusetts politician through 1840 and was the president of Harvard University, is just one namesake. Famous art gallery owner William Everett helped to give the name a cultural twist. 
  5. Lincoln: Though the name wasn't a popular baby name at the time of Abraham Lincoln's presidency, the politician's connection is hard to break. Now, it's one of the quickest rising baby names on the list. Kristen Bell and Kailyn Lowry have each used it for their kids!

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  6. Mason: The name can be traced back all the way to the medieval times, but really emerged in America in the 19th century thanks to the establishment of the Freemasonry lodges (a collection of fraternal organizations) and their role in the Civil War. 
  7. Monroe: James Monroe, who served as the fifth President of the United States from 1817 to 1825, is the biggest influencer of this name. He was a Founding Father of the United States, so plenty of parents paid him tribute with their baby name choices.
  8. Rhett: Robert Barnwell Rhett was an influential politician and newspaper owner from South Carolina during the mid-1800s, and his famous house (the Robert Barnwell Rhett House) was declared a national hisotic landmark in the 1970s. 
  9. Watson: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created the character of Sherlock Holmes in 1887, and his partner, Watson, quickly became another major character.
  10. Wyatt: Though it's become a somewhat unisex name thanks to Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher's daughter, the traditionally male name first took hold in the 1800s, when the French Wyot was changed into the now-common Wyatt. 

For girls:

  1. Ada: It may have started as a pet name for Adele or Adelaide, but now it's a stand-alone name that means "first-born female." Actress Adah Isaacs Menken (whose spelling of the name has been disputed) was one of the biggest stars of the century until her death in 1868.
  2. Adeline: Thanks to famed opera singer Adelina Patti (who just changed the spelling of the name), this name was all the rage in the late 1800s. Now the Age of Adeline movie has helped reinvigorate the interest.
  3. Charlotte: Charlotte Bronte (author of Jane Eyre) rose to prominence in the mid-19th century, and there's no doubt that the name has grown in the last two centuries. Just take the newest royal, for example. Kate Middleton and Prince William welcomed Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge.
  4. Emma: Jane Austen's Emma gave new life to, and a new take on, the classic Emmaline. Published in 1815, the novel introduced the controversial heroine to the world, and plenty of parents and readers took notice. 
  5. Giselle: The German name, which means "a pledge," became well-known throughout the 19th century thanks to the romantic ballet of the same name.

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  6. Penelope: Though many bearers went by Penny for short, Penelope entered the United States from Greece, where the name originated thanks to its Greek mythology connections.
  7. Ramona: The 1884 novel by Helen Hunt Jackson introduced the name to the world and told the story of a developing world through the eyes of a mixed-race orphaned child named Ramona.
  8. Victoria: Though it originated back in Ancient Rome, the name took charge during the, well, Victorian Era. Often linked to the British royal family, Victoria stood for beauty and the monarchy.
  9. Violet:  Edward Bulwer-Lytton's play The Sea Captain featured the prominent heroine, Violet, and gave rise to the name. It would continue to be a huge name throughout the 20th century, and now, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner used it for their oldest daughter.
  10. Vivian: From the 1800s and well into the 1900s, the name has topped baby name lists. In more recent years, model Gisele Bundchen used the name for her daughter.

Which 19th century baby name is your favorite?

For more great baby name ideas, visit Baby Name Wizard.


Image via Alexey Losevich/shutterstock; MorganStudio/shutterstock

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