Monday, February 1, 2016

The Most Popular Names of All Time: Girls

Good morning, readers!

Baby names over the past 100 years have become increasingly unique - from unexpected spellings, like Izzabella, to modern inventions, like Zayden, parents are looking for new ways to name. I used to have a more conservative bias (I love James, Sarah, Elizabeth) but after delving into the world of naming, I can see the draw of creativity.

So today, I'll be looking at some of the most popular, classic names of history and how they translate into new and/or unexpected names today!

The most popular girl's name for hundreds of years, Mary is still at #120 today - though I can count the number of Mary's I know under 25 years old on one hand. It's almost so-old-it's-new, but hundreds of nicknames and diminutives exist today. Modern Mary's often have a tag-along second name, like Mary Anne or Mary Jane. Today's little Mary's favor diminutive endings, like Marianna or Marietta. Choosing any of these options is bound to honor a member somewhere in your family tree!
Mary is Hebrew in origin, and means "bitter".

Variations include: Molly, Mamie, Polly, Maureen, May, Marian, Maja, Malia, Miriam, Mimi

Out of all the versions of Hannah, Anna is the most used and recognized. Cross-culturally, this name is popular, so if you're looking for something that everyone will understand, Anna is perfect. It's long-standing history aside, Anna has been given a boost in recent years with the popularity of Disney's Frozen. But the trendiness will fade and the style will remain in Anna.
Anna is Hebrew in origin, and means "grace".

Variations include: Annie, Annette, Ana, Anya, Anica, Nancy, Anaïs, Anouk, Ninon

At #1 in the US, Germany, and Norway, and in the top 20 in Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Iceland, and New Zealand, Emma is not going anywhere for awhile. Friends rode the popularity wave in 2002 when Ross and Rachel's baby Emma was born - the name was already at #4. It's sweet, vintage, and ages well - what's not to like? But any little Emma born today will know quite a few others.
Emma is German in origin, and means "universal".

Variations: Erma, Emmi, Emmalynn, Emmett, Ima

Two of the most powerful English monarchs have been Elizabeth's - I'm not saying it's the reason, but the name certainly demands respect and admiration. The name has never gone below #26 in the US, so any Elizabeth will be difficult to date. The Biblical ancestry and never-ending pool of namesakes will appeal to some namers, too. But the diminutives and variations might make your little Elizabeth stand out in a crowd.
Elizabeth is Hebrew in origin, and means "pledged to God".

Variations: Isabella, Betty, Betsy, Libby, Lizzie, Elisa, Elsa, Liesel, Elisaveta

Currently the lowest in popularity on this list - at #169 - Margaret rivals Elizabeth in history and elegance. The name was in the top ten for about 60 years, 1880-1940, then began falling slowly. Dozens of Margaret's descendants have peppered the top 1000, and while the name isn't as high in use today, it's still well-recognized and well-received. It's meaning is also a great option!
Margaret is Greek in origin, and means "pearl".

Variations: Margarita, Maggie, Margot, Maisy, Marjorie, Peggy, Mamie, Greta, Rita

What are your favorite nicknames here? Any cool name origin stories? Tell me in the comments!

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