Parents can find baby name inspiration from history, so Nameberry is highlighting some vintage options. Though these choices weren’t chart-toppers 100 years ago, they were in the top 1000 list and in steady, regular use for boys. If you’re looking for a rare name with a history of use, these names could be the perfect pick for a son.
If you love long names like Alexander and Sebastian, this choice might be for you. It carries a great meaning: “true and bold.” Once big in Scotland, it hasn’t made the U.S. top rankings since the 1920s. Archibald is the name Amy Poehler and Will Arnett chose for their older son in 2008. Archie makes an upbeat nickname.
Originally a surname for a bookbinder, Booker is now associated with early Civil Rights leader Booker T. Washington. It fits in nicely with popular ends-in-r names for boys like Carter, Hunter, and Parker.
This surname made the charts as a boy’s given name in the U.S. in the first half of the 20th century. Derived from the French d’Orsay ― from Orsay, a town outside of Paris ― it’s perhaps most famous as the surname of The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra.
Looking for an Irish name much less expected than Liam? Dark horse Doyle left the U.S. top 1000 after 1981. Namer extraordinaire Joss Whedon gave the name to a character in “Angel,” but parents have continued to pass this one by, favoring the more familiar Riley, Brody, and Brady instead.
If not for the fuzzy blue “Sesame Street” character, Grover might be big right now. It’s presidential, ends-in-r, and has an eco vibe thanks to its meaning related to “grove of trees.” If you’re crushed that Oliver is so popular, maybe Grover is worth a second look.
This Founding Father surname charted in the U.S. top 1000 into the 1930s. Now that Lin-Manuel Miranda has transformed the first Secretary of the Treasury’s biography into an acclaimed musical, can Hamilton be revived as a baby name?
Associated with the fictional detective brothers Frank and Joe, Hardy was used as a boy’s name into the 1950s. It comes from an Old French word meaning “bold” or “brave.” An on-trend sound and positive meaning make Hardy prime for rediscovery.
Ike is associated with the 34th President of the United States. The name last appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 back in the 1950s, and remains rare, though Isaac ― often shortened to Ike ― is a favorite with parents today.
Originally a French form of Julius, Jules brings to mind science fiction writer Jules Verne and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer. With –s ending boy names like Miles and Brooks in vogue, Jules might make a great alternative to Top 100 choice Julian.
Love Leo, but looking for a longer name? There’s Italian-by-way-of-Hollywood Leonardo, the Spanish Leonel, or the ancient Leonidas, all top 1000 picks. But Leopold remains overlooked. Royal and literary, Leopold would make a surprising choice for a boy in 2016.
Luke and Lucas are in the current U.S. top 30, while Luca comes in at Number 157. The biblical, literary Lucius is known to today’s generation as Draco’s dad, Lucius Malfoy, of Harry Potter fame. Spelled Lucious, it’s the name of “Empire” patriarch Lucious Lyon. If ancient names like Augustus and Cassius appeal, Lucius could be one to consider.
A virtue name used into the 1950s, Noble would fit right in with bold boy names like Royal and Legend. Ultimately from the Latin nobilis, meaning “excellent,” “high-born,” or “famous,” it was applied to well-known families in Rome. In 2015, 144 Nobles were born ― but back in 1916, that number was 158. Either way, it’s much less common than King.
A surname seldom heard since the sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes” went off the air, Willis brings to mind the original maker of the Jeep (spelled Willys) and Chicago’s Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower). It’s an interesting alternative to William.