12 Vintage Baby Names That Aren't Wildly Popular -- Yet

01/05/2016 03:50pm ET
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Looking for fresh name inspiration for your 2016 baby? Some of the newest names are the oldest -- favorites from a century ago, ready for revival in the coming year. Twenty years ago, Amelia and Oliver were the new old names to watch. Now that they’re near the top of the charts, another set of vintage-sounding names is on the rise. None of these rank in the U.S. top 1000 -- yet -- but they’re all poised to make a comeback in 2016.

Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany named their daughter Agnes Lark in 2011. By 2014, there were 187 girls with the name. Agnes is a gentle, vintage choice, big in the 1890s, while the nickname Aggie fits right in with Abby, Addie, Maddie, and Maggie. The movie "Despicable Me" also featured three adorable sisters with sassy, retro names -- Margo, Edith, and Agnes.

Charlotte was on the rise well before William and Kate chose the name for their little princess. Charlie is a modern, vibrant take on Charlotte, while Lottie is elegant. It’s a nostalgic name that should appeal to parents considering stylish nickname-names like Sadie, Hattie, or Millie.

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Like the increasingly popular Cora, Sybil is a name from a beloved "Downton Abbey" character, a tailored choice with ties to the ancient world and the Harry Potter series. The name peaked in the 1920s in the U.S, which means that it’s just about time for this neglected gem to be rediscovered.

Nora and Cora are favorites, as are Lily and Rose. Flora combines the best of all four names, but is less common. A 19th-century favorite, Flora feels breezy, botanical, and decidedly of the past. In 2014, 167 girls were named Flora -- the most since the 1960s -- which suggests that this name is already on the rise.

One hundred years ago, Winifred was as popular as Josephine and Ivy are today. The name has been in pseudo hibernation since the 1960s, but the numbers suggest that Winifred is ready for a comeback. Jimmy Fallon named his daughter Winnie in 2013, and the current generation of parents grew up with Winnie from "The Wonder Years" -- though she was born Gwendolyn.

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Parents love vowel-heavy names like Ella and Mia and Aria. But there’s a place for names with a little more crunch. Petra is a feminine form of Peter and also an ancient city in Jordan. Most popular in the 1920s, it seems like a possibility for parents seeking something just a little bit different in 2016.

Leo is among the most stylish of vintage boys’ names, a favorite from the 1910s recently returned to the U.S. top 100. Leopold is royal, saintly, and thanks to James Joyce, literary, too. But unlike Leonardo, Leon, Leonel, Leonidas, and Leonard, it’s a Leo-name that still hasn't seen major increases in popularity.

"The Simpsons" took this ancient Greek poet name and gave it to the donut-loving dad in the long-running animated series. That’s put modern parents off the name, but consider this: series creator Matt Groening has a father and a son named Homer. Richard Gere, Anne Heche, and Bill Murray all chose it for their sons, too, making Homer a quirky-cool possibility.

Likable Ike is as brief as Jack, as bright as Kai. It’s sometimes short for Top 100 name Isaac, but hasn’t featured in the U.S. rankings since President Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower left the White House in the 1950s. It’s an undiscovered gem just right for parents who want to keep it simple, while finding something less popular than Max.

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A generation knows Linus only as the sweet, blanket-toting boy from Peanuts, but Linus is a name from Greek myth. It was worn by the second pope; a Nobel Prize winner; and characters played by leading men from Humphrey Bogart to Matt Damon. For all of those reasons, Linus is currently on the rise in the U.S., and is poised to enter the Top 1000 for the first time ever.

American parents love a good Irish surname name, and Murphy is ready to follow Brady and Riley into the U.S. rankings. A regular in the Top 1000 through the 1950s, Murphy is sometimes heard for girls, too -- credit goes to '90s sitcom "Murphy Brown." But the numbers give Murphy to the boys, and suggest that it’s a name to watch for 2016.

An English surname with Norse roots, Roscoe was in steady use a century ago. In the 1980s, we knew the name mostly as the bumbling sheriff on TV favorite "The Dukes of Hazzard." Now that Hazzard is fading, Roscoe feels like a clunky-cool choice in the key of Arlo and Otis. A perfectly ahead-of-the-curve pick for the daring namer.

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