Old first names

Old first names
Old first names

Parents and grandparents are most affected by covid-19. After living a full life of service, they find themselves alone and isolated. Why not honor them by naming your future child after them.


When we don't want our child to have the most popular name of the year, we turn to rarer names. The choices can stop on flower names, names from elsewhere or names of stars. Other more inspired moms are adopting unique names like Apple, Maddox or Memphis, but the trend is leaning towards names that have proven themselves a long time ago.

Where do all these names come from?

In the past, with large families, our great-grandparents had to find ten, if not fifteen first names to name all their children. We tried to avoid giving the children the same name as their cousins, but we also tried to be different from the neighbors in the small villages. Indeed, in some places that used this formula, the parents really wanted to give an original name so that their child did not become "Jeanne à Lucienne" as opposed to "Jeanne àCécile”, who lived a few streets away.

Among the first names of this generation were the names of saints, which could be chosen at the last minute according to the surname celebrated on the day of the birth. Moreover, at a certain time when children had a good chance of becoming priests or nuns, these first names made it possible to keep their name at the monastery. Those who bore more original names, flowers for example, or birds, had to adopt another name to integrate the community.

Some first names of the time were variations of popular first names, which became compound names, such as Jean-Jacques or Joseph-Arthur.

Consult the list of old first names posted in the Motherforlife.com Forum. It contains great ideas!


The return of old names

Several of these names will probably never return, such as Marcienne, Adélarde or Éduilda, but who can say that Régis, Roger, Henriette or Jeannine will not one day return to the top of the charts?

Just a few years ago, the names Victor/Victoria, Charlotte, Zachary, Arthur, Alice, Adèle, Edouard, Louis, Henri, Juliette and Rose were considered old names, names that belonged to the generation of our grandparents and in some cases to our distant ancestors. For many, these names were outdated and should be consigned to oblivion. Yet in 2015, they all ended up among the most popular first namesof the year (RRQ).

Popular first names in 1900

Girls Boys





















So, first names come and go over the years and after half a century on average, we rediscover their beauty! That's why today we easily imagine a pretty little Simonne or a little Clovis running around the park and asking us for a glass of milk.



Many mothers who expected to choose a unique and rare name were very surprised when their child's name made it to the popular name charts the following year.

All it takes is a young, handsome American singer named Raoul or a heroine named Mérida for that name to sound less old-fashioned and become tempting again. It is therefore very difficult tofind a rare first name among these old names without risking having the rug pulled out from under by dozens of parents who saw the same poetry as us.

And our first names? Are they rare?

Strangely, it seems that the best way to give a rare name when choosing from those who have already had their heyday is to pick one that was popular in your classes.

We hardly see children named Isabelle, Marie-Josée, Christine, Stéphane, Karine or Luc anymore. What about Pierre, Michel, Sylvie, Johanne, Sylvain, Caroline? These first names will be very rare in a few years when the generation that bore them will be gone, and it's a safe bet that your children's children will rediscover them in 50 years!

Check out our other baby name articles for ideas, advice and inspiration!

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