If you had to guess what the most popular names were in the late 1800s, you’d probably dream up out-of-date names such as Virgil and Elmer, or Eula and Blanche. While each of those were definitely among the 200 most popular names in the late 19th century, they’re actually not anywhere near the top of the list.
In fact, most of the top five names for both boys and girls are ones that remain quite popular today. Surprised? So were we here at 24/7 Wall St.
Outside of the top five, many male names that were popular in the late 1800s remain common today while many of the female names are long gone. While nearly all of the boys’ names popular in the 19th century continue to be widely prevalent today, over half the 17 of most popular girl names — Florence, etc — were nearly extinct by the 1960s.
The diversity among boys’ names is much lower than it is for girls’ names. The 15 most popular names for boys during the last two decades of the 19th century account for nearly half of all boys born at that time, while the 15 most popular girls’ names represent just over one quarter of all girls born then. William, for example — the second most popular boy name — was given to 157,125 baby boys in the 1880s and 1890s, whereas the second most popular girl name, Anna, was only given to 93,420 baby girls.