9 Popular Vintage Baby Girl Names

We all met someone who is named after a significant ancestor or a famous historical figure, right? There is nothing wrong with giving your child a name that is not very common, but it is not recommended being too avant-garde when picking one. After all, you don’t want your baby girl to be laughed at in school. The good thing is that you can find a name that is unique but still fashionable.

Here is a list of popular vintage baby girl names and their origins and meanings to help you decide.

1. Abigail

Origin: Hebrew

Meaning of the name: “My father is joyful”

A female name Abigail is mentioned for the first time in the Old Testament – In Talmud, Abigail is regarded as one of the Tanak’h seven female prophets. She was a wife of David, appreciated for her beauty and wisdom. For this reasons, Abigail a was very common baby girl name among Jews, and other cultures that were influenced by them.

However, from the seventeen century, in novels of popular writers such as Charlotte Bronte and Henry Fielding, maids were named Abigail, so eventually the name lost its popularity. Still, in last few years, the name became as popular as No. 7 on the list of the most popular baby girl names in 2011 together with the nickname derived from it, ABBY.

2. Ada

Origin: German or Hebrew

Meaning of the name in German: Noble, nobility

Meaning of the name in Hebrew: Adornment

The Hebrew version of the name, ADAH, mentioned in the Book of Genes is one of the first female names ever used.

Nowadays a very common name in Norway, Ada was widely popular in the nineteenth century. Just like it is a case with old-fashioned names like Ivy or Ella, Ada became popular during the last few years because of its simplicity. Popular movies like Cold Mountain, with Nicole Kidman and Piano, where a portrait of mute Ade brought an Academy Award to Holy Hunter, contributed to the popularity of the name.

3. Beatrice

baby girl

Origin: Latin

Meaning of Beatrice: blessed; she who brings happiness

Holly, saint in Christianity

A lovely heroine of Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing (fabulously portrayed by Emma Thompson in the movie from 1993) and Dante’s heavenly creature in the third part of the “Divine comedy – Paradise,” the name of Beatrice has always been a symbol of a beautiful and blessed woman. Therefore, it is no wonder that the meaning of the name in Christianity is Holly or Saint.

4. Charlotte

Origin of Charlotte: French, feminine diminutive of Charles

Meaning of Charlotte: “free man”

For centuries used among royalty and upper class, the name Charlotte gained new popularity in last few years. Apart from famous Charlottes like Charlotte Bronte, or England’s Queen Charlotte, one must admit that Charlotte York from Sex and the City, also reminds parents to consider this name.

The most famous Charlotte, the above mentioned Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III who ruled in the late 18th and early 19th century, was famous for her nickname “The Mulatto Queen” and the fact that she gave birth to 15 children. An extinguished patron of Mozart and Bach, The Mulatto Queen, earned her nickname because of the rumors to have African ancestry.

5. Cordelia

Origin of Cordelia: Latin; Celtic

Latin Meaning of Cordelia: heart

Celtic meaning of the name: daughter of the sea, jewel of the sea

A vintage name that sounds sophisticated and is always in fashion is definitely Cordelia. The most famous one is the youngest, loving daughter of Shakespeare’s King Lear. We can’t be sure if the Celtic origin and a meaning of this vintage baby girl name was known to him, but we agree that the name was rightly chosen for a character of caring, beautiful, modest, loving and loyal daughter.

6. Faith

Origin of Faith: Virtue name

Grace, Hope and Faith have recently become fashionable names together with another virtue name, Sofia whose meaning is Wisdom and which is the most popular baby girl name in 2012.

7. Julia

Baby girl waving hand and standing up in crib

Origin of Julia: Latin

Meaning of Julia: “youthful”

Again, we have to mention the great Shakespeare when talking about vintage baby girl names and their meanings. There is no love story more popular throughout the world than the one of Romeo and Juliet (step aside Carry and the Big), another version of the name. In addition, a beauty like Julia Roberts is the best representative any name can have.

8. Penelope

Origin of Penelope: Greek

Meaning of Penelope: “weaver”

The new popularity for this vintage baby girl name may have something to do with the popularity of Penelope Cruz, but still the most famous Penelope throughout the history is Odysseus’s wife from the Homer’s epic.

The name became a symbol of a faithful, wise wife who would never leave her husband.

A quick remind of the story: Odysseus was punished by the God Zeus for participating in the Trojan War, and was condemned to wonder for another 10 years. His queen Penelope, pressured to re-marry tricked her suitors in the following way; she gave a promise to marry one, after she finishes knitting a sweater. During the day, she diligently knitted, but during the night, she would as diligently rip the sweater, and in such way spend years until Odyssey returned.

9. Nora

Origin of Nora: Irish, diminutive of Honora, or Greek

Meaning of Nora: “light”

The origin of this vintage baby girl name is probably Irish, although it is widely spread between Germans and Scandinavians, probably thanks to the popularity of Henry Ibsen’s drama A Doll’s House. A portrait of a tender lady that is blindly in love with her husband and obeys him in every aspect, but when confronted with problems, shows remarkable strength, wittiness, wisdom and resourcefulness is one of the best female characters all over the world.

Did you like this list of popular vintage baby girl names, with their origin and meaning? Do you have an interesting story about one of them you would like to share? Let us know your favorite baby girl vintage names in the comment section below.

About the author


I am a devoted hedonist who enjoys nice things – food, wine, fine arts, spending time with friends and family. Teaching mandarin Chinese is my life vocation, but my dream is to open a small restaurant and a patisserie. My life's motto: "Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

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