What parents were calling their babies 100 years ago

black and white photo of baby in an old bathtub outside

If you need any evidence that history repeats itself, just take a look at baby names. Many golden oldies have come back into fashion in recent years (and some never really left). So if you’re fond of ye olde monikers, why not turn back the clock a full century for some inspiration?

Nameberry has stepped back in time to find the top names for boys and girls in 1915. Some in the top 100 have already found their way back into modern parents’ hearts – Ruby, Alice, Hazel, Grace, Louis, Leo and Charlie, to name a few. Others seem like they’ve lasted through the generations since – for example, Emma, Louise, Benjamin and Jack.

But there are plenty of others waiting to be rediscovered, such as Doris, Gladys, Thelma, Ethel, Bessie and Myrtle for girls, or Ralph, Eugene, Leonard, Elmer and Earl for boys.

Here are the top 20 names for newborns 100 years ago:

Top 20 names for girls from 100 years ago

  1. Mary
  2. Helen
  3. Dorothy
  4. Margaret
  5. Ruth
  6. Mildred
  7. Anna
  8. Elizabeth
  9. Frances
  10. Evelyn
  11. Marie
  12. Virginia
  13. Alice
  14. Florence
  15. Lillian
  16. Rose
  17. Irene
  18. Louise
  19. Catherine
  20. Edna

Top 20 names for boys from 100 years ago

  1. John
  2. William
  3. James
  4. Robert
  5. Joseph
  6. George
  7. Charles
  8. Edward
  9. Frank
  10. Thomas
  11. Walter
  12. Harold
  13. Paul
  14. Henry
  15. Richard
  16. Raymond
  17. Albert
  18. Arthur
  19. Harry
  20. Donald

For more baby name inspiration, check out our baby names posts.

Michelle Rose

Michelle Rose

Michelle is a journalist and mum to two girls who are obsessed with dinosaurs, fairies, pirates and princesses in equal measure. She lives in Melbourne's east with her husband, daughters and a giant, untameable labradoodle. Michelle loves all things vegetarian, wine (it's a fruit) and online shopping.

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