The 100 year baby name rule: What the past means for baby names in 2023

Being Pregnant 08 Mar 23 By

Everything old is new again!

The vintage baby name trend is here to stay! There’s just something about those old fashioned names that adds a bit of bohemian quirkiness to modern kids, right?

But there’s vintage, and then there’s vintage vintage. We could go back 50 or 60 years, but that’s the names of our parents generation and they’re not quite cool enough yet.  Even our grandparents names might not have registered on the trendy-scale. We need to go back at least 100 years … it’s ‘a thing’!

(Image: Getty)

If you want a great vintage baby name, you need to go wayyyyyyy back.

What is the 100 year rule?

According to the baby name experts at Nameberry, the ‘old lady’ and ‘old man’ baby name trend is here to stay and we’re about to see a resurgence of names that were popular in the 1930s.

“The prevailing theory surrounding vintage baby names is called the 100-Year Rule,” the site explains.

“Names cycle in and out of fashion, and on average, it takes a century for the cycle to complete,” Nameberry adds. “That means that 1920s baby names are in style but will be replaced by a new generation at the end of the decade.”

The reason the cycle is 100 years, according to Nameberry, is that while our parents’ names will sound old and musty, the names from our grandparents or great-grandparents era will “sound fresh and intriguing”.

So what were people calling their babies here in Australia during the 1930s? Read on …

The most popular Australian baby names from 100 years ago

The 1930s offered up some beautiful baby names and it’s easy to see how some of them might come back into popularity. Aussie baby name experts, Waltzing More Than Matilda has the low down on what names folks from NSW were choosing 100 years ago.

Looking at the top 100 names that people in NSW called their  baby girls in the 1930s we find short and sweet bohemian names like Dawn, Audrey, Daphne, Mavis, Coral, Nola, Iris, Ivy, Dulcie, Alma and Lola throughout the list, but it’s cute old lady names that made the top 10!

The top 10 names for girls in NSW in the 1930s:

  1. Margaret
  2. Patricia
  3. Shirley
  4. Joan
  5. Barbara
  6. Mary
  7. Betty
  8. Dorothy
  9. Judith
  10. June
(Image: Getty)

Everything old is new again!

As for the boys it’s easy to see why a return of the old man names may be imminent when the top 100 features adorable grandpa names like: Rex, Leo, Clarence, Max, Harry, Roy and Bruce!

The top 10 names for boys in NSW in the 1930s:

  1. John 
  2. Robert 
  3. William 
  4. Ronald 
  5. James
  6. Kevin
  7. Brian 
  8. Donald 
  9. Kenneth 
  10. Peter 

Would you consider using a name from 100 years ago today? Which one would you choose?

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