Well, we’re still going through the treasure throve that is the Social Security Administration’s archives, and with 136 years of data, there’s plenty left still to discover! And while some names always stay in fashion – Michael, Emma, John, Anna – others fall in and out, while still more disappear forever. Here are a few that stood out for us from the earliest SSA records of 1880 and which we think could be worthy of resurrection!
Ira This Old Testament name means ‘watchful one’ in Hebrew and looks ready to cast off the “old-fashioned” label it’s been burdened with for so long. Strong and powerful, short and sweet, it could be the new Eli!
Homer Homer hasn’t appeared in the SSA’s top 1000 in over 30 years, and Americans are more likely to immediately associate it with the Simpson than the epic Greek poet. Still, maybe it’s time for this name to complete its odyssey and come home to the top of baby name lists!
Roscoe This one caught our eye for its uniqueness and genuine potential to make a real comeback. Stronger sounding than plain old Ross, with a rugged feel that still rolls off the tongue, this one is an original winner. Its origins are Norse, and it means ‘deer forest’.
Elihu We have mixed feelings about this one! On the one hand, prospective American parents are always on the lookout for underused and singular Old Testament names, but on the other… We’re not sure about that final –hu sound. It means ‘Jehovah is God’, but most parents will probably want to play it safer and go with the solid classic, Eli.
…and the girls
Mabel Mabel means ‘lovable’, and it definitely has an old-timey charm that has recently become so fashionable. It sounds robust but definitely feminine. It experienced a 50 year absence from the SSA’s top 1000 records, but it’s been making major gains in the last four years, though still a fresh choice for a 21st century baby.
Blanche A name which sounds effortless chic and glamorous. It has a somewhat of a “southern belle” label attached to it, but that could work in its favor.
Iva In America, we love Ava and we love Eva, so why not Iva?! It’s never been particularly popular in this country and hasn’t made the top 1000 in nearly 60 years. It is a short form of Ivana, and might be an interesting and unique alternative to the other mega-popular –va names, but it does run the risk of being confused with them too!
Birdie This name means, you guessed it, ‘bird’! It has a very playful feel to it while still having the pedigree of an old name. Hippy cool crossed with vintage splendor, perhaps?
Hattie Diminutive of Harriet, Hattie conjures up images of English gentry and extravagant riding parties. Like Mabel and Blanche, there is an old-fashioned chicness to this name, and we aren’t the only ones who think so! Hattie has been staging a comeback in the US over the last five years. Last year, 616 Hatties were born, and while this was a slight drop on 2015’s figures, there does seem to be a definite upward trend for this classic!
And honorable mentions to…
Mozella 6 baby girls were given the name Mozella in 1880, with peak popularity in 1920, when a whopping 57 were so honored! Clearly this was never an incredibly widely used name, but it did stand out for us simply because we’d never seen it before! With a bit of digging, we discovered the name is actually the English form of a slightly less rare (but still very rare) Hebrew name, Mozelle, meaning ‘taken from water’. Pretty? Yes. Unique? Definitely. Going to make a comeback? Hmm, we don’t think so. For one thing, it looks unfortunately similar to America’s favorite pizza topping: mozzarella!