Baby Boy Names In 1900

Ever since we found out that we're having a baby boy, Derek and I have been getting asked about what we're going to name our baby.

I promise that I'm not evading the question so that I can keep it a secret until his birth. We just honestly don't know what we want to name our little boy.

It seems like everyone has names picked out for their children so quickly, and I feel like a bit of a name-picking slacker. But I find that if I think about a name too much I tend to get tired of it, and then I'm not sure if I like it anymore. That's why I didn't have names picked out for a boy already.

In an effort to start thinking about what names I like, I went to the Social Security website. If you go to their website you can see the top 1000 names from any given year since 1879. It's a pretty cool feature.

So I decided to print up the list of the top 1000 names from the years of 1900 and 2009.

I picked 2009 because I want to see what's popular right now.

I picked 1900 because Derek and I like classic/Old English names. I'm not so crazy about modern names - I like a name to have a history, personally, and I like it to be easy to spell. I figured I'd get a good variety of classic names from the year 1900.

I saved the lists to my computer and started deleting some of the names that I know I don't like. I wasn't too surprised at seeing some crazy ones in the 2009 list, but I was very surprised by what I found in the 1900 list.

Apparently it was a fad in the year 1900 to name little boys with girl's names.

Oh, but not just the general girl's names, the ones that could be a bit ambiguous - like Ashley or Lindsey or Kelly. I still think those are girl's names, but you hear them enough as boy's names that it's not entirely unusual.

No, I'm talking extremely feminine names. Names like Rose, Elsie, Gertrude, Ella, Helen, Allison, Irene, Vivian, Annie/Anna, Emma, and Margaret.

And these weren't just isolated incidents.

Eleven little boys were named Lillian.

Sixteen were named Elizabeth.

Twenty-two Jewel's, and twenty-two Bertha's.

And yes, there were even nine boys named Callie. At least with that one they could be called "Cal" or something. How do you shorten Lillian to something acceptable? Or Anna?

All together, about half a percent of the boys born in 1900 had what I would consider to be clearly girl's names. That may not sound like much at first, but it probably adds up to a couple hundred boys at least.

Those poor little guys.

I kept double checking the list to make sure I was on the boy side. But there was no mistake - it was the boy side.

It just goes to show that people can think up weird names for their babies no matter what year they live in.

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Natalie {Extraordinary Love} said...

oh my...that is hilarious! poor little boys : (

Amber Hansen said...

Names are hard...we don't have a boy name picked either. We've got it narrowed down to 4 names, but we can't decide between them! We have a girl name for sure, so hopefully it's a girl! Haha. Naming your child is stressful! You have to think about how they might get made fun of, what they could have for possible nicknames, etc.

Jessie Szmanda said...

This is so true. How about the name Apple? or Blanket? lol you can do anything you want!

Brittney Galloway said...

Don't worry! We haven't even started talking about names yet!

Jennifer said...

That's crazy! We are having a hard time with names this time.. of course, we still have plenty of time.

Kara @ KSS said...

Hahahaha Callie you're so funny. And people can definitely be weird with names!

Felicia said...

That is actually super hilarious!! Those poor boys!!

Rachel and John said...

We like older more traditional names too! That's so weird. Maybe it was just a list of names period, and they didn't separate the 2 genders??

ashley said...

Wow! I never knew! I know I've heard of people's grandpa's being named Carol (that seems like a girl's name nowadays), and they were probably part of that 1900 or so group of baby boys. Wow, I never knew there were so many boys with girl's names though. Good luck on the name picking!

Jessica said...

That is crazy! and too funny

LeAnna said...

That is crazy! We had the hardest time with a girls name, I knew our boys name right off the bat. I'm also one of those people that like to have a good meaning behind a name. With both kids, God has really revealed to me their name meanings and how He fits into them. It's been pretty awesome. That being said, and though it might sound cliche, pray about it! :)

Truly His said...

What an interesting fact!! I pray that the 'perfect' name falls right in your lap... b\c I know we will have the hardest time too!;)

Marissa said...

Those poor boys! That is terrible!

Ashley said...

Those poor little guys..i am sure they got teased! I always thought it was sad when I heard that boys were named Ashley because well that's totally a girl name :)

Amber Hansen said...

We don't really have the work thing figured out for post-baby. We're just praying and trusting God has a plan! More on it in my next email :)

Melanie said...

Oh my gosh..Lillian!?! Your right..those poor little boys!!! I have an uncle with a girls name (dont laugh too hard..but his name is Rhonda!!!!)..he doesnt go by it of course..not that I blame him!! ROFL!! If we have a boy..we're still undecided too. Girls name is 110% set though..so I'm hoping for a girl..will make that part so much easier!! I know what u mean about getting tired of a name too..we used to LOVE the name Dawson..but I got tired of it and its not even on the table now! I know you'll come up with something great!!

Amanda Godin said...

Honestly, I just checked the Social Security website for boy names in the early 1900s the other day, too! I like to check the lists every once in a while to see what I like. We picked a boy and a girl name out a few years ago and I just want to make sure I still like them! Great minds think alike! Have fun trying to choose! I'm sure you'll pick a great name!

Elisabeth Allen said...

Oh my ... those poor little boys! I might go for some modern names rather than "Bertha" or "ELizabeth"! Although, thankfully, there are LOTS of old, classic and masculine names for a baby boy!

Have fun thinking and choosing name for your son - how exciting! :)

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