‘Sad beige names for sad beige children’: Old school baby names cop internet backlash

Jan 15, 2023
According to the experts, "old vintage baby names" have become"new again". Source: Getty Images.

William Shakespeare once famously asked, “what’s in a name?” now the question is being answered every day by parents welcoming on average one newborn every minute in Australia.

With birth comes the tradition of naming the baby, and nowadays many new parents are picking names from “generations ago”, such as Ida and Benedict, to name their little ones.

According to a baby naming consultant and founder of Grow Little Wildflower, Michelle, “old vintage baby names” have become”new again”.

Taking to Instagram, Michelle shared a video listing a number of girl and boy names which she says are “timeless, beautiful, elegant” and “handsome”.

“A gentle reminder to look back through your family history,” the caption of her video reads.

“You may just find a name from generations ago that fits so perfectly within your little family today.

“And how special to know it was once a loved name many years ago!”

Some of the names for girls on the list include Elsie, which means “oath of God” and was commonly used back in the 1890s with over 1,600 babies carrying the name; Clara, which is the female version of the Latin name Clarus, meaning “clear” or “bright,” peaking in the 1880s; and Olive, another popular name from the 1880s with English origins meaning “olive tree” which is often a symbol of peace and success.

Boy names that featured on the list are Theodore, a popular name from the 1900s of Greek origin which means “gift of God” and Jasper, which is Persian for “bringer of treasure” and saw popularity in the 1950s thanks to artist Jasper Jones and his abstract expressionist work.

Many people with old-school names were delighted with Michelle’s list, with many leaving comments sharing the origins of their vintage moniker.

“My 3 week old is Dorothy, after my great grandmother.”

“Dixie is my grandmas name! I plan to give it to my first daughter, it’s so stinkin cute!”

“My name is Vivienne. I didn’t appreciate that I couldn’t find my name at any souvenir shop but now I love my name because not many have it—especially the spelling. And now our son’s name is August!”

“All those names are precious. I have two girls whose names are old and not on that list; Lucille and Ruby.”

However, a handful of people were less than impressed with the name selection, with one person labelling them as “sad beige”.

“If my parents had named me Esther or Edith I would have literally march my way down to city hall and get it changed as soon as I was able to walk. I’d probably also emancipate myself at the same time to save myself the trouble from doing it later.”

“I’m sorry.. but archibald??”

Sad beige names for sad beige children.” 

“Everything fine, but please don’t Name your kid Dixie.”

Love them or hate them, this isn’t the first time society has seen a resurgence of vintage baby names.

Last year, record data from family history brand FindMyPast found that old-fashioned baby names gained popularity amongst new parents who were looking for unique names inspired from yesteryear.

“History always has a tendency to repeat itself and baby names are no exception,” Mary McKee, Head of Content Publishing Operations at Findmypast said.

Family Editor of GoodtoKnow, Stephanie Lowe believes parents are choosing vintage baby names because of the “nostalgic and vintage feel” it brings.

“From Cecily and Dot to Betsy and Pearl, I just adore them. Choosing a vintage name is classy and gives longevity,” she said.

“Not to mention the historic angle. A lot of parents choose these names to honour a grandparent… or their favourite Downton Abbey character and I’m here for both of those reasons.”

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