Popular Baby Names From 100 Years Ago

Classic baby names for boys and girls.

Everything in this slideshow

1 of 11

John

Arguably the most popular male name in history, the name John has been given to kings, popes, saints and every kind of man in between. The name's origin is Hebrew and means "God is gracious."

Its variants include Jan in Dutch and Slavic, Johan in German and Swiss, Joh, Jean and Sean. A more contemporary trend with the name John is to hyphenate it with other names, including Paul and Luke.

2 of 11

Mary

One of the most well-known female names in history, the Hebrew name Mary has several meanings including, "star of the sea," "wished for child" and "rebellion." In Catholicism, Mary was known as the virgin mother of Jesus and has become the object of great reverence.

The name Mary is also commonly used in blends and compounds names and has a whopping 103 variants including Mara, Mariam, Marilyn, Maureen, Molly and Polly.

3 of 11

William

Meaning "strong-willed warrior," this English name has been used by royals in the UK for nearly a thousand years.

Its variants share common meanings of "will" and "determined" and include Wilek, Wiley, Willkie and Wim.

4 of 11

Helen

This Greek name, meaning "shining light" became engrained in mythology with Helen of Troy, the god Zeus's mortal daughter. Known as "the face that launched a thousand ships," Helen's abduction resulted in the Trojan War.

Variants include Helene in French, Halina in Polish and Eilidh in Scottish. Alanna is also a more modern and popular variant of the name.

5 of 11

James

A Hebrew name meaning "he who supplants," James was known for being one of the 12 Apostles in the Bible and possibly a cousin of Jesus. A more modern day hero bearing the name includes James Bond, the British spy created by Ian Fleming and made popular in over 20 movies.

Variant forms of the name include Hamish, Jascha and Seamus in Irish.

6 of 11

Dorothy

Greek name meaning "gift of god," the most well-known Dorothy is that of Frank Baum's heroine in The Wonderful World of Oz, published in 1901.

Theodra is a synonym of the name and variant forms include Dasha, Dory and Thea.

7 of 11

Robert

An English name meaning "bright fame," Robert has been a favorite name for boys in Europe since the Middle Ages. The name remains particularly popular in Scotland for King Robert the Bruce, known as one of Scotland's greatest kings who led the country in battle against England for independence.

Variant forms of the name include Bert, Robyn and Ruprecht.

8 of 11

Margaret

This English name has been bestowed to nine queens of England, Scotland, France and Austria and means "pearl." The name has come into use through Latin as Margarita and French as Marguerite.

The name has nearly 100 variant forms including, Maisie, Megan, Peg, Rita and Gretchen.

9 of 11

Joseph

This Hebrew name, meaning "god will increase," has over 40 variants including Jodie, Osip, Pino, Seppi and Yousef.

Joseph is known as the son of Jacob who, sold into slavery by his brothers, rose to become a ruler over Egypt. In Catholicism, Joseph was a carpenter who became the earthly father of Jesus.

10 of 11

Ruth

This Hebrew name, meaning "friend" and "companion," Ruth was a central character in the Old Testament as an ancestor of King David. The name became very popular in the United States following the birth of Ruth Cleveland, the daughter of President Grover Cleveland who was in office from 1891-1904. The Baby Ruth candy bar was named in her honor.

* Data collected from the Social Security Administration.

11 of 11
Next Slideshow

Cool and Unique Boy Names

From modern to edgy, sporty to exotic, pick a baby boy name that's as... more
Begin Slideshow
close