New/Old Name Ideas for the Top Girls' Initials

Apr 18th 2018


When it comes go girls' names, the letter A reigns over the whole alphabet. It's the #1 first (and last) letter for American girls, by a mile. After A comes a powerhouse trio: E as in Emma, M as in Mia, S as in Sophia. Together, the four initials account for nearly half of American girls' names.

 

With such overwhelming popularity, you might expect that every traditional A, E, M and S name is already in heavy rotation. Yet a search through names of past generations reveals a bounty of underused possibilities. I screened for girls' names with these three properties:

1. Uncommon
No name on the list below ranks among the top 500 girls' names in the U.S. today. I also ruled out names like Ann which were so common in past generations that they still sound thoroughly familiar, even if they're currently rare.

2. Have some fashion momentum
Every name on the list has risen in popularity over the past five years.

3. Have some history behind them
I only considered names that appeared in the national baby name states prior to 1930. Most of the names chosen were given to hundreds or thousands of American girls from the 1880s-1920s.

That simple recipe yielded a bumper crop of names ranging from the stately (Seraphina) to the sweet (Edie) to the surprising (Amaryllis). Below are 50 of the most intriguing possibilities, 10 each of E, M and S names, and a double-helping of 20 for the super-popular letter A. 

Intriguing A Names
Adela
Afton
Alma
Althea
Amalia
Amaryllis
Amelie
Annabeth
Annarose
Antonia
Arden
Arlie
Artemis
Astrid
Audra
Aurelia
Avalee
Avalon
Aveline
Avila

Intriguing E Names

Edie
Effie
Eleanora
Elodie
Eloisa
Emerald
Emmeline
Esme
Estella
Evelina

Intriguing M Names
Mahalia
Mara
Maren
Margo
Marian
Marianna
Marigold
Maris
Marjorie
Marlowe

Intriguing S Names
Salome
Savina
Selene
Seraphina
Serene
Silver
Snow
Sterling
Susannah
Sylvie

 

 

Comments

1
April 25, 2018 1:28 PM

Those aren't just intriguing M names, 9/10 are intriguing Mar- names, with the 10th replacing the R for an H! 

Also, if you hadn't stated your criteria, I would have been certain that Avalee was a modern creation.

(Also, the fourth word should be "to", not "go".)

If sibling data were available more easily than trawling through birth announcements, I think it would be so interesting to see which initials are most common in themed sibling sets where the first initial is shared across all kids. J was obviously (anecdotally) popular in the '80s, but overall, I wonder if there is a larger pattern and if it's the same as for individual initial popularity.