Old People Names

I think a reason that a lot of “old people” names are trending right now is that parents think their children can overcome the stodgy image. They have fantasies of their kid bringing a whole new, hip, young image to the name. In other words, their kid, in all his or her “coolness” can be their name’s savior. What do you think?

I know this is why I, personally, love the names [name]Walter[/name] and [name]Vera[/name] and [name]Eileen[/name].

An interesting point and I’m sure many would agree; but I think the main reason I like quite a few ‘old people’ names is because I rarely hear them, and I like uncommon names. [name]Eileen[/name] is my [name]Nana[/name]'s name - I don’t like it!

I don’t like “old people names” at all. I feel it’s almost borderline pretentious in a way. The rarely even look or sound appealing to me.

I would hate being named [name]Vera[/name], or [name]Gertrude[/name], [name]Penelope[/name], or [name]Harriet[/name]. I would 100% change my name, if it was one of those. And chances are the child won’t bring a new hip look to the name. I know many young kids and teens with old names, and all most of them do is reinforce the images that are already attributed to them.
Plus that’s a huge expectation to place on a baby.

I dunno, it’s just not my style, but hey. It seems to work for plenty others.

I agree that it is pretentious and a little self-absorbed to think your kid would be SO great as to change a name that has been viewed as old for such a long time! I’m just admitting my guilt. haha!

Though, I do know these sisters (18 and 16) named [name]Esther[/name] and [name]Ruth[/name]. When they were little kids I always thought it was so terrible of their parents to give them those old lady names, especially because they were Christians/church people and it seemed like they just picked the first two bible names they thought of. But as I became closer friends with the family and as the girls grew up, they TOTALLY took over their names. [name]Esther[/name] (who went by Ezzy for a while) is one of the smartest, funniest, most confident young women I know. [name]Ruth[/name] (who usually is called Ru/Roo) is a little quieter but she’s got this sarcastic/edgy sense of humor that makes her stand out, plus she plays electric guitar like a rock star. These are two girls who definitely changed their name’s images, at least for me and the people who know them.

I guess I don’t think parents are doing it because they believe their kids are ‘so cool’ they will overcome the stodgy image. I think people like uncommon names that aren’t unknown, or are at least familiar in some way, which makes fusty old names perfect choices, as most people are familiar with how to spell/pronounce these names. Plus, a lot of this style’s names can bring associations to really great family members or people from history the parents may want to honor.

I find some of these comments like “fusty”, “pretentious”, “self-absorbed”, “stodgy” and “old-people names” very offensive quite frankly and hear a lot of age discrimination creeping in when I hear people disparaging this name style. I prefer the term “vintage” which is a more positive description to describe these names. I don’t know why vintage names are “pretentious” if chosen in modern times when they weren’t defined as such during their popular period years ago. Maybe some parents are choosing [name]Agatha[/name], [name]Edith[/name], [name]Mabel[/name] and [name]Millicent[/name] simply because they like the names or want to honour people in their families. Personally, I hope to hear more children with these names in the future and I would certainly be more thrilled to hear them than numerous names I hear young, “hip” parents are naming their children. I think the young forget to show some respect for the elderly and fail to remember that naming trends go through cycles and parents who love vintage names are trailblazers in a world of [name]Logan[/name], [name]Madison[/name], [name]Nevaeh[/name] and [name]Jayden[/name]'s. It takes a lot of courage and a certain boldness to walk down a different path than the mainstream so I can commend them. I always like to remind myself of the wonderful phrase: “everything old will be new again”.

I suppose that some people using those names are using them for the “hipster” factor, the “so uncool that it’s cool” sort of thing, but I wouldn’t imagine that that’s the case for the majority of them. I think that the appeal for a lot of people is the fact that these names are familiar to the general populace but won’t be commonly used or overly used in their children’s age group. I think that it’s completely understandable why that would appeal to people.

I also don’t think that “old” names neccessarily stay that way. Names go through all sorts of cycles and trends, and there are quite a few names that used to be considered old but aren’t really anymore. Part of the appeal of [name]Sophia[/name] and [name]Ava[/name] before their popularity exploded was their “vintage” feel. [name]Penelope[/name] is currently more popular than it’s ever been by far - to be honest, I really like [name]Penelope[/name], but I see it as being trendy more than old or vintage.

I hope that made sense, because I wanted to comment on this but my thoughts are a bit scattered at the moment and I had to sit down and start this response a few times before it actually stuck.

I suppose my ideas on this topic mostly refer to the “hipster/ so uncool that it’s cool” namers. I realize there are people out there who truly love “vintage” names.

As perhaps the oldest nameberry ever it has been really hard for me to get a handle on using vintage names. It took me forever to love [name]Violet[/name] which would to the young ones be easy peasy not a hardie like [name]Mabel[/name] but I understand that for those of you who haven’t had the associations of these names belonging to very old people then it would be easier to accept.

However, there are some names that really hurt and I couldn’t love them and one for example is [name]Agnes[/name] and the boy name I really don’t like is [name]Augustus[/name], now that is very pretentious in my book.

My DH wasn’t keen on giving family names to our children because he felt that the kids should have their ‘own’ name.

However, as my fellow nameberries know I love lots of ‘old’ names now and I am on the cusp of accepting an ‘old man/lady’ names for the new generation of children.


This is so funny as I know a sibset of [name]Esther[/name] (20) and [name]Ruth[/name] (18) as well! They’re younger brother is [name]Peter[/name], and their parents are active in church.

I’d appreciate it if you didn’t jump to assumptions. I personally love “old” people. I just don’t like the names. It’s my preference, nothing wrong with that. [name]Just[/name] like it’s yours to like those names, nothing wrong with that.
I like many classic names, and dislike many “young” trendy names. Such as [name]Kayden[/name], [name]Jaylin[/name], [name]Nevaeh[/name], [name]Madison[/name], [name]Logan[/name], etc.

There is no age discrimination, I just don’t like the style of a large majority of the names.
I do like some of them such as [name]Evelyn[/name], [name]Eleanor[/name], [name]Meredith[/name], [name]Adelaide[/name], [name]Evangeline[/name], [name]Elisabeth[/name], [name]Theodore[/name], [name]William[/name], and many more.

I don’t appreciate the quick assumption that ageism was a factor. I didn’t call the names old people names, the OP did, I simply re-quoted her usage of it.

Those were names used in a certain age, and now there are more modern ones. These modern ones will be viewed as “old people names” within 50 or so years. As time goes one, so to the freshness of names, and the trends. Nothing wrong with that.
I wouldn’t name my child [name]Socrates[/name] in this day and age, and I wouldn’t expect someone of that name to name their child [name]Jaylin[/name]. Very few names have such long staying power, [name]Alexander[/name] for example.

My [name]Esther[/name] and [name]Ruth[/name] have two younger brothers, [name]Ted[/name] (goes by TJ sometimes) and [name]Luke[/name] (13 and 9). I didn’t include them in my anecdote because [name]Luke[/name] isn’t a very “old” name and [name]Ted[/name] is not a very nice kid. haha.

It wasn’t all that long ago that names like [name]Emma[/name] and [name]Ava[/name] and [name]Lucy[/name] and [name]Henry[/name] and [name]Jacob[/name] were thought of as ‘old people names’. Now those names are common and it’s names like [name]Matilda[/name] and [name]Olive[/name] and [name]Hazel[/name] and [name]Rufus[/name] and [name]Oscar[/name] that are still thought of as the ‘old people names’.
Sure, there’s people who choose an old-fashioned name in an attempt to be cool or trendy or ahead of the crowd, but there’s also those who choose those kind of names due to a good association, or because it’s a family name, or just because it will age well.

I completely agree with THIS.

As a [name]Berry[/name] who just named my 6-month-old [name]Walter[/name], I have to chime in here. I have no delusions that he’ll “bring back the cool…” it was just a name that my husband and I could agree on, it’s not too popular but it’s easy to both spell and pronounce. Also, my Dad desperately wanted to name my brother [name]Walter[/name] (after his Grandpa), but my mom put her foot down. Now that some old mannish names are back in style, it was a cool way to honor my Dad, who’s own name - [name]Roger[/name] - isn’t quite old enough to have overcome the fustiness for me. :slight_smile:

We had many other names on top of our list, but when my little guy was born, he was just a [name]Walt[/name]. Sometimes names fit, sometimes they don’t. I love Nameberry but it’s frustrating when you feel like your whole being is judged solely on what you named your child. Many times you don’t know the whole story. We balanced ours out with [name]Jack[/name] (after my Grandpa) in the middle, so little [name]Walt[/name] can choose to go by something incredibly common if the more unusual name isn’t his flavor when he’s older.

My daughter is a Mrs [name]Walter[/name] and I have always thought it was a lovely name with not a suggestion of fustiness or stodginess.