When it comes time to pick a name for your little one, you have many options to play around with. Modern, bold, unique. Nature-inspired. Pop-cultural. But the overarching trend right now clearly seems to be classic, old-school baby names — these names, often inspired by days or grandparents gone by, never seem to lose their charm,. If you’re looking for vintage baby name inspiration, there is a viral Reddit thread that’s become a treasure trove of old names, if that’s the inspiration you’re looking for.
Reddit user u/NorthPengyyy posted a question in the uber-popular Reddit community r/AskReddit, inviting people to share “What is the most old person name?” and with over 6,000 comments that appear to favor typical girl names, there are some really interesting stand-out names that, yes, are old, but also have the charm and gravitas with it. Here are a few of our favorites, the names that got the most up-votes (aka thumbs up) on Reddit, and the history of the names.
u/Republican_Athiest suggested the name Gertrude, which was upvoted by nearly 4,000 people. According to the United States Social Security Administration (SSA), the name Gertrude was super popular in 1900, ranked 23 for most popular names. However, it dropped off the popularity list for good after 1965 after slipping to rank 975. Gertrude also has adorable nicknames like Gertie!
u/Brother_Delmer suggested the old name Mildred, and over 2,000 people upvoted their support for this name being considered old. Mildred was even more popular, according to SSA, ranked at spot 20 in 1900, and over those early decades, it rose to the top 10, landing at 6 for several years. However, things took a dive quickly in the mid-60s, falling out of the popular list chart after 1984. Nicknames for Mildred are as cute as they come: Millie, Midge!
u/glaurieb had three names to add to the mix, which were the names of their grandma and her sisters: Ethel, Gladys, and Myrtle. The names have been off the popularity charts for decades, too, after a strong start. Ethel was ranked in spot 8 in the 1900s, but fell off the list after 1975; Gladys was in the 21st spot in 1900 and held on longer, only falling out of the popularity list after 1999; Myrtle started in spot 32 in 1900 and fell off the charts after 1965.
u/Outrageous-Pause6317 also shared an old name, which was their grandma's name, too: Hildegard. The name Hildegard has had a very short run, according to SSA, ranked at 768 most popular names in the 1900s and disappearing after 1918. According to Nameberry, Hildegard is a German name that means "comrade in arms."
Some other names that came up in the thread that are typical girl names include Opal — which has seen a recent resurgence, ranked 525 in 2022, a big fall from 140 in 1900, but impressive; Blanche — which ranked 60 in 1900 before falling off after 1964; and Marge — which barely made the list even in 1900s, ranked at 987 before falling off the list of popular baby names in 1948. (Maggie is a cute nickname though, no?)
And for the old boy names, some suggestions included Mortimer— which was ranked 714 in 1901, falling out of popularity after 1925; Otto — which, like Opa, has seen a recent resurgence, ranked 309 in 2022, a big fall from 115 in 1900, but also impressive; Cornelius — which popped into the popular baby names list at 183 in 1900 and it held on for as long as it could, dropping off the list in 2008, and Herman — which was popular in 1900, ranked at 49 but had a relatively slow decline from there, dropping off the list before 2000.
To read the full thread of old person names — check out the Reddit community’s post.