Ethel, Elsie and Ernest: The baby names from the 1900s that are making a comeback

Baby names from the 1900s are having a resurgence [Photo: Getty]
Baby names from the 1900s are having a resurgence [Photo: Getty]

Choosing a baby name for an actual human is a big responsibility.

Do you take inspiration from celebrities and opt for something a little out-there (we’re looking at you Kardashian/Jenner clan) or stick with something popular and risk your little one being one of six Olivers on the pre-school register?

Increasingly, however, parents are looking back to eras gone by for baby names that would have been popular in their great grandparents’ time.

HuffPost UK analysed baby name data from the Office for National Statistics and spotted that there are quite a few names that appeared on the most popular baby names list of today and monikers which were on-trend in the 1900s.

While great granny favourites such as Elsie, Emily, Alice, Lily and Ivy are still flying high in the popular baby names list today, some other old-fashioned names like Gladys, Hilda, Doris and Ethel are yet to make their modern mark.

When it comes to boys’ names of old, there are some pretty striking similarities with those given to babies in current times.

Welcome to the world baby Gladys [Photo: Getty]
Welcome to the world baby Gladys [Photo: Getty]

William, Harry, George and James were all well-used in the 1900s and sit close to the top in the most popular list today.

But Harold, Leslie, Ernest and Herbert still have a way to go if they want to compete with the likes of Thomas and James, which are still top parent choices in 2018.

Speaking about name trends in the early 20th century Linda Rosenkrantz, co-founder of told Newsday: “Tradition is everything. Boys were typically named for their fathers and other family members.”

However, it was different for girls. “Even though Mary was still number one, as she would be for another half century, parents widened their horizons,” Rosenkrantz continued.

Along with saints and biblical names, new names such as Dorothy, Mildred and Gladys began to appear.

Whether you’re looking for a retro name that’s enjoying something of a comeback or something that falls outside the baby name box, take some namespo from the lists below comparing the most popular names from 1904 with those of today.

For the full list visit HuffPost UK

The most popular girls’ names in 1904:

  1. Mary (Currently #250)

  2. Florence (Currently #19)

  3. Doris (Currently #2,547)

  4. Edith (Currently #96)

  5. Dorothy (Currently #274)

  6. Annie (Currently #108)

  7. Margaret (Currently #423)

  8. Alice (Currently #17)

  9. Elizabeth (Currently #85)

  10. Elsie (Currently #31)

  11. Gladys (Currently #4,763)

  12. Winifred (Currently #790)

  13. Ethel (Currently #1,834)

  14. Hilda (Currently #3,609)

  15. Lilian (Currently #630)

  16. Ivy (Currently #33)

  17. Violet (Currently #85)

  18. Kathleen (Currently #938)

  19. Ellen (Currently #475)

  20. Lily (Currently #7)

What do you mean you’re calling me Ernest? [Photo: Getty]
What do you mean you’re calling me Ernest? [Photo: Getty]

The most popular boys’ names in 1904:

  1. William (Currently #10)

  2. John (Currently #120)

  3. George (Currently #3)

  4. Thomas (Currently #9)

  5. Arthur (Currently #30)

  6. James (Currently #12)

  7. Charles (Currently #72)

  8. Frederick (Currently #76)

  9. Albert (Currently #64)

  10. Ernest (Currently #320)

  11. Alfred (Currently #111)

  12. Edward (Currently #23)

  13. Joseph (Currently #22)

  14. Harold (Currently #1,123)

  15. Robert (Currently #109)

  16. Frank (Currently #175)

  17. Henry (Currently #15)

  18. Harry (Currently #2)

  19. Walter (Currently #341)

  20. Reginald (Currently #296)

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