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I’ve always wanted to try out a 1920s name. The idea of having a new identity is so tempting, but I did not realize how hard it would be. Here are 10 things I wish I knew before trying 1920s names:
1) It’s not all glamorous – Women may have had more freedom in the 1920s, but they also faced extreme restrictions.
2) You can’t choose any old name – Most people were born with their given name and surnames back then, and there was little room for creativity or self-expression.
3) Get ready for an uphill battle – We live in an age where our own personal identities are constantly questioned by society; imagine what life was like when women were fighting for the right to vote.
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The most popular boys’ name in this era was John it appears on more than one third of all birth certificates issued from 1900 to 1930. Jacob and James were also quite common for baby boys during this time period; girls tended to be named Mary, Elizabeth, Ruth, Anne (sometimes spelled Anna), Margaret, Catherine (or Katherine).
Most people had two given names at least until they went into adulthood both a first name and a middle name. Nicknames were used less frequently in the early twentieth century than today: perhaps because schools did not have as much need for them when everyone’s full legal names
An Introduction to 1920s Names:
In the last decade, I’ve been studying and writing about names from the past like Victorian or Edwardian. In doing so, I realized that many families are looking for a name they can use as their own but also feel close to history and not just something made up by Hollywood in recent years. So when my editor asked me if there was one other era of naming tradition we should explore together with our readership, it didn’t take long before I said “yes.” The following is what I learned both good and bad- while researching this topic over the course of six months..
The introduction to 1920s names and some of the information I learned when researching this topic over the course of six months, followed by an analysis of what I found related specifically to baby naming trends during this era, and finally my recommendations for parents who are considering choosing from these options.
This post is about ten things that are important to know before choosing a name from the era we now refer to as “the roaring twenties.” The introduction has been split into three sections; an overview of what it’s like in general during this time period in the US, some information provided by me after researching over six months, and finally my recommendations based on research and my personal experience. This post is not for naming your baby.
Introduction: The 1920s were an era in the US with a lot of change, excitement and prosperity. It was also when many women entered into politics, tried to recover their lost femininity from World War I, and became independent wage earners outside of marriage. One thing that did not change during this time period was the importance placed on children’s names it remained just as important then as it had been previously or has become since. Some people don’t want any part of these “old fashioned” names (or maybe they’ve already chosen one), but if you’re considering them here are ten things you should know before choosing one!
A Brief History Of Baby Names In The USA From The 1890s To The 1920s: In the late 1800s, middle class parents were naming their children after famous people like Abraham Lincoln. By the turn of the century in 1900, this trend had changed and there was a significant increase in names that referenced Christianity for example Kathryn and Anne.
In 1910 to 1914, many new Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe brought with them more traditional Hebrew or Yiddish-sounding baby girl’s names such as Rebecca and Sarah. Also popular around this time were Irish Catholic girls’ names like Rosemary but only if those words did not sound too “Catholic” (like Rosamond). Names starting with M became very fashionable during these years; Marjorie was an especially popular name because it sounded English and not “too ethnic.” This trend of naming children after celebrities or religious figures continued into the 1920s.
For example, among popular names for little girls in this decade were Dorothy and Mary practically unheard-of before then! People wanted their daughters to have feminine but strong Christian names that would make them stand out while also being more traditional than the trendy short names like Frankie which started becoming popular around 1915. I Wish I’d Known: If you are looking at a long list of baby name books from anywhere between 1900 and 1960, it can be very time consuming to find any given one’s favorite name because there is no index.