9 Old-Fashioned Girls’ Names Making a Comeback

What’s old is new again. 

Some names are unsurprising to see in the top 10—Emma, Olivia, Abigail, Isabella, Emily, Madison, and Elizabeth are seven that have remained amongst the most popular since the year 2000. But a new naming trend has propelled some less expected monikers into the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) list of top names.

The list, which ranks the 200 most popular names for each gender based on Social Security card application data, is published by decade. The most current list (2010-February 2016) features plenty of vintage names—many of which made the most popular list 100 years ago, but haven’t made subsequent appearances since as recently as the 60s.

“Parents today are looking to reinvent baby names, and that can mean creating new names or reaching back several generations to revive vintage names,” says Pamela Redmond Satran, cocreator of Nameberry. "It usually takes four generations or 100 years for a name to have a real shot at a comeback—we don't tend, as a rule, to use names from our parents' era or even our grandparents' but from our great-grandparents' generation. These names are old enough to sound new again. Many were virtually unknown when we were growing up but are rising steeply through the ranks today.”

Here, a list of the girls’ names you’re probably hearing more and more of: 

1

Stella

baby-girl-laughing
Photo by Mike Kemp/Getty Images

This trendy name, which means “star” in Latin, appears at number 60 on the most current list of popular baby names, but hadn’t popped up in a top spot since the 40s.

2

Nora

This Irish name, which can also be spelled Norah, hasn’t appeared on the SSA’s list since 1920. Now, at number 87, it appears to be a fast-moving favorite for many parents.

3

Eleanor

Though it hasn’t appeared on the list since the 50s (perhaps attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt), this feminine name is making a revival at number 107.



4

Alice

The German name meaning “noble” last popped up on the SSA’s list during the 60s at number 144. Today, Alice is making its way up the list at 118.

5

Vivian

Derived from the Latin word for “alive,” this name (also sometimes spelled Vivien or Viviane) hasn’t been seen on the list since the 50s. Today, it sits at number 125.

6

Clara

This girls’ name was at the height of its popularity (number nine!) during the 1880s—the first list of names available on the SSA’s website. Despite dropping off during the 40s, Clara, which means bright, sits at number 129 today.



7

Cora

The Greek name, made popular by the 1826 novel The Last of the Mohicans, means “maiden.” Though not often heard (its last appearance on the SSA’s list was in the 30s), it’s once again on the list at number 139.

8

Hazel

Extremely popular during the early part of the 20th century, this nature-inspired name, which sits at number 140, is back in style.

9

Josephine

The feminine counterpart to Joseph was at the height of its popularity about 100 years ago, but hasn’t appeared on the most popular list since the 50s. Today, the name is making its return to the list at number 158.