Tag Archives: grandma names

Named after Grandma

honorgrandma

The baby in this picture is so adorable but Grandma’s today are much more stylish and hip than the old-school Granny cliches! Grandma’s today are typically in their 50’s or 60’s so let’s look at some of the most popular names from that generation. I plucked names from 58 years ago in 1960, since most of these names held popularity for several years making them now Grandma-aged names!

Mary
Mary, a Hebrew name meaning bitter, was the Number 1 name in 1960 and today ranks and Number 126. Mary was a Top 10 name from 1900-1971 so chances are you have a Grandma, Great-Grandma, Aunt, or other female relative named Mary. My favorite modern Mary alternative is Maren. I love how familar yet unique Maren is. Maren has Latin roots meaning sea. There are probably 1,000 variations and diminutives of Mary, but a few I think make nice modern way to honor include Mara, Meryl, and Molly. And for you more adventurous namers, how about Marietta? Etta sure would be a sweet nickname.

Susan
My Dad is the eldest of seven children and he has five younger sisters. I just had to chuckle seeing that four of my five Aunt’s names are on this list, including Susan. Susan was ranked at Number 2 in 1960 and comes in at Number 963 today. Susan is a Hebrew form of Susannah, meaning Lily, which is my top pick for honoring. I love that the meaning and think that would be a lovely bond between grandmother and granddaughter. Of course it’s root name Susannah would make a lovely choice, as would Suzette (again that Etta nickname, or the upbeat Sookie. If you want something with a clear sound connection that is distinctive you may like Sioux.

Linda
Linda was all the rage in the 1940’s-1960’s. Ranked at Number 3 in 1960, today Linda is Number 708, the lowest it has ever ranked. Linda is still popular among Spanish speakers as it is a Spanish and Portuguese name meaning pretty. A friend of mine had a daughter named Linden last year and I remember loving the nature tie but also thinking it would be a great Linda alternative! My other ideas for honoring a Linda include Lindley, Lydia, or Lindy. If you’re craving something more bold you may consider Linnora.

Karen
In 1960 Karen was Number 4 but today this Dutch variation of Katherine is all the way down at Number 556. I could see Karen coming back into fashion, is it just old enough to sound fresh? Karen does share the pattern of being a two syllable name ending in N that many popular names also have.  I think Kieran would be the perfect Karen alternative. There are tons of great Karen alternatives including Karina, Kara, and Karys. I also think Kerensa would be a great showstopper!

Donna
Donna peaked in the 1960’s, reaching spot 5 in 1960 and then decreeased steadily there after.  Donna fell out of the Top 1,000 in 2010.  Truly a generational name, Donna also reminds many of use of the character Donna Martin in the TV show 90210. Donna is Italian meaning lady but I really like male alternatives for this one! My top pick would be Donovan. I also think Dante, Donnelly, and Donal would make cool choices for a grandson. If you’d like a bold name that is also female Domina shares the same meaning and has a ton of flare!

Lisa
Lisa is totally a modern Grandma name. It ranked at Number 6 in 1960 but Lisa was a Top 10 name from the late fifties through the mid-seventies. Still, Lisa doesn’t feel as old or dated as some names on this list and today it ranks at 884. Lisa is one of the several variations of Elizabeth meaning God is my oath. I have always loved the name Lisette so that will be my pick for a Lisa alternative. You might also consider Liesel, Elise, or Elisa. My favorite creative way to honor a Lisa though is to scramble the letters and use Isla.

Patricia
Patricia was fashionable for a number of years and ranked in the Top 10 from 1929-1966! In 1960 Patricia was Number 7 and today it comes in at spot Number 889.  A Latin feminine form of Patrick, Patricia means noble or patrician. Unless you go the Trisha/Tricia route then you’re a bit limited in P names with a similar vibe, but I’m going for that sound and so my top pick would be the similar sounding unisex Pax. I also think the more exotic Petra, Patrice, or Patrika could be fun, particiularly in the middle name spot. Want to go out on a limb? Then I’d vote for Adelaide which shares a similar meaning as Patricia.

Debra & Deborah
In 1960 Debra ranked at Number 8 and Deborah was Number 10. There were a whole generation of Debbie’s as you can imagine with two spelling variations in the Top 10. A name close to my own heart (it’s My Mom’s name), Debra is not currently in the Top 1,000 while Deborah is holding on at Number 774. A Hebrew name meaning bee, I thought Bee would be a cute nickname to honor a Debra or Deborah. Devorah which both names stem from would be another cool choice and you get Dev or Devi as nicknames. Most Debra/Deborah’s go by Debbie so why not consider similar sounding Darby or Libbie? Devra one final alternative I wanted to add to the mix. I still think Bee would be a cute middle name to honor.  Matilda Bee? Lucy Bee? I think so.

Cynthia
The Greek name Cynthia peaked in the 1950’s and 1960’s and ranked at Number 9 in 1960. Today Cynthia has a sophisticated era and comes in at Number 637. I love the name Thea so I’d chop off the end of Cynthia and use Thea as a name to honor. Kynthia (kin-thee-uh) is a very cool bold alternative or you could run with the beiginning letters and get Cypress or Cyan. Many Cynthia’s go by Cindy so if your Mom was more of a Cindy than a Cynthia you may also get away with honoring through names like Sidney or Lindy.

What’s your Mom’s name and what name would you consider using to honor her?

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Lightly Vintage Girls Names

lightlyvintage

Love the feel of a vintage name but don’t want your little girl to sound like a stuffy old lady? Lose the frump but keep the charm with 20 these lightly vintage names that would suit a beautiful baby born today.

Ada
If you love Ava, which has been a Top 10 name for the past 10 years, you may like the similar sounding Ada.  Currently ranked at Number 357, Ada comes from the German name Adelaide meaning noble. Simple, strong, and sweet, Ada also gets cool points for being a palindrome name.

Bonnie
Bonnie is a wholesome Scottish name meaning beautiful. Currently ranked at Number 871, Bonnie peaked in the late 1940s after the release of Gone with the Wind in which Bonnie was the nickname of Scarlett and Rhett’s sweet little girl.

Cora
Cora is just one of the lovely vintage names that Downtown Abbey helped revitalize.Cora is derived from a Greek name meaning maiden. Currently at spot Number 88, Cora hasn’t been this popular since 1910.

Della
Della ends in the same lovely sound as sisters Isabella and Gabriella, though it is not nearly as popular.  A diminutive of the German name Adela, Della means noble. Only 213 girls were named Della last year.

Estelle
Estelle is a French name meaning star, and what little girl wouldn’t love that meaning? Currently ranked at Number 823, Estelle lends its self to the sweet old-timey nicknames Essie and Estee.

Etta
Fans of musician Etta James, who was born Jamesetta, may enjoy this sweet vintage name. Etta began as a diminutive of the name Henrietta meaning estate ruler. A great Ella or Emma alternative, Etta was only given to 242 little girls last year.

Flora
Flora is a Latin name meaning flower that has been getting more recognition in recent years. Still less common than its sisters Cora and Nora, Flora was only used by 173 girls last year. Flora peaked in 1902 when it reached Number 100.

Hattie
A diminutive of Harriet, meaning estate ruler, Hattie is an old-timey name that’s undergone a huge revival. Currently Number 488, Hattie hasn’t been this popular since the late 1950s and now outranks Harriet.

Iris
If you want a less frilly flower name, you may consider Iris. Iris is a Greek name meaning rainbow currently ranked at Number 217. In Greek mythology Iris was the goddess of the rainbow. Iris may also refer to the colored part of the eye.

June
June is a month name derived from the Roman goddess Juno. June is rising in the charts, currently ranked at Number 280, it hasn’t been this popular since 1966. Other attractive June names include Junia, Juniper, and Juno.

Lavinia
Lavinia is one of my favorite Olivia alternatives. A Latin name meaning from Lavinium, Lavinia is packed full of Victorian charm and hasn’t been in the Top 1,000 since 1929. Lavinia was only given to 63 baby girls last year.

Mabel
Mabel was the then rare name that Paul and Jamie gave their daughter in the 1990s sitcom Mad About You. Derived from the named Amabel, meaning loveable, Mabel is now ranked at Number 578, the highest it has ranked since the early 1950s.

Ottilie
If you love the sound of Natalie but are more drawn to rare vintage names then Ottilie is the name for you. Pronounced o-TEE-lee or ot-till-ee, Ottilie comes from the name Odilia meaning fortune. Ottilie is so rare that it was only given to 12 girls last year.

Pearl
The gemstone of June, Pearl is a granny-chic name making quite the comeback. Pearl ranked at 628 for the past two years, the highest it has been since the mid-1960s.  Pearl is a name I’m seeing more and more as a middle name as well.

Poppy
Poppy is the name of the sweet, cheery, red little flower. Poppy has never ranked in the US Top 1,000 and is definitely more used across the pond in the UK. Last year Poppy was used here by 257 little girls.

Sylvie
Sylvie is a sweet French variation of Silvia, meaning of the forest. Sylvie has a chic yet friendly air to it. Never before ranked in the Top 1,000, Sylvie was only given to 212 girls last year. Sylvie would also be a nice alternative to Sophie.

Rosalie
Whether or not you’re a fan of the Twilight saga, there sure were some beautiful names in the series, including Rosalie. A French form of Rosalia, meaning rose, Rosalie currently ranks at Number 266, the highest it has been since the early 1950s.

Tillie
Tillie is a cutesy little name that began as a nickname for Matilda meaning strength in battle. Vintage nicknames like Millie, Tillie, and Winnie do stand alone well as given names. 70 little girls were given the first name Tillie last year.

Vera
Vera has a very posh sound perhaps because of the elegant designer namesake Vera Wang. Vera is a Russian name meaning faith or true that ranks at Number 312. Vera peaked in 1919 when it reached Number 65.

Willa
If you’re looking for a Willow alternative or a way to honor a William than you may love the name Willa. Willa is a feminine form of William meaning resolute protection. Currently ranked at 481, Willa hasn’t been this popular in over 60 years.

What lightly vintage girls names do you love?

You can hear me chat about a few of these names here: