Popular Girls' Names of the 1950s That Have Totally Vanished

Jun 23rd 2016

To step back into the mindset of another time, try embracing the differences. Look for the places where tastes, attitudes and styles have changed the most. From our automotive age of the Prius and Tesla, can you imagine looking at a car with huge tailfins and marveling at sleek and modern it looks? And from our baby name age of Isabella and Harper, can you recapture the fresh new allure that Geri and Cindi projected in the 1950s?

Like today's parents, parents of the '50s were drawn to a light touch in names. But whereas today's lightness is smooth and liquid, the lightness of the '50s was bubbly, especially for girls. Nicknames were hot, with names like Kathy and Nancy far more popular than their traditional sources Katherine and Ann. Longer names were often easily trimmable, with suffixes like -ette and -anne. Not a single girl's name in the top 100 was adopted from a surname.

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The 61 names below were given to thousands of girls in the 1950s -- in some cases, tens of thousands. They're all virtually nonexistent among newborns today. Reading through the list, can you feel the 1950s parents' dreams?

Vanished 1950s Hits:

Caren, Caryn

Cathie, Kathi, Cathie




Debby, Debi




Gale, Gayle

Gay, Gaye



Geri, Jeri, Jerri, Jerry





Lauri, Lorie, Lorri, Lorrie




Lyn, Lynne






Patti, Patty


Rosanne, Roseann


Saundra, Sondra


Sheree, Sheri


Tami, Tammie


Terrie, Terry

Vickey, Vickie, Vikki

What Baby Name is the Next Brooklyn?

Jun 14th 2016

We're living in a baby name world that Kaitlyn built. That name, in a variety of popular spellings, turned -lyn into an all-purpose suffix for girls and shaped a whole generation of names in the process. Right now, Brooklyn is the reigning queen of the -lyn world. Are there challengers to her throne?

To answer that question, let's take a look at how -lyn names have changed. Traditionally, long names ending in -lyn were mostly variants on -line names. Caroline became Carolyn, Madeline became Madelyn. But in the 1980s American parents discovered the Irish name Caitlín ("KAHT-hleen," traditionally Anglicized as Kathleen) and pronounced it "KateLynn."

As Caitlin/Katelynn/Kaitlyn soared in every imaginable spelling, it created a template for new compound names. Almost any short name + lyn could make a new and contemporary-sounding name. And in time, most of them did.

Back in 1980, nine different -lyn/-lynn names ranked among America's top-1,000 names for girls. They were all fairly traditional, or creative spellings of traditional names à la actress Jaclyn Smith of the then-current tv series Charlie's Angels:

Carolyn, Jaclyn, Jacquelyn, Evelyn, Jocelyn, Marilyn, Gwendolyn, Jacklyn, Rosalyn

Fast-forward to 2015. Now, 52 different -lyn/-lynn names make the top-1000, including Jazlyn, Brooklyn, Emmalynn, Avalyn, Kaelynn, Raelyn, Adalynn, Braelyn and Gracelynn. Beyond the top-1000 you'll find Westlyn, Faithlyn, Jesslyn, Irelyn, Shaylynn, Natalytynn and many hundreds more.


For years the Kaitlyn variants remained at the top of the heap. As that name has started to decline, Brooklyn has risen to be the #1 -lyn name. It's powered by an appealing root name (Brooke), a familiar whole (via the New York City borough of Brooklyn), and celebrity standard bearers (e.g. model/actress Brooklyn Decker). Last year, over 8,500 American girls were named some spelling of Brooklyn.

Is a challenger on the horizon? A look at the fastest-rising lyn names suggest three prime candidates:

...and a couple of darkhorses, still uncommon but coming on strong:

Adalyn is the current powerhouse of the group, with three different spellings (Adalynn, Adalyn, Adelyn) ranking in the top 200. Raelynn boasts the top celebrity mojo via country singer RaeLynn (born Racheal Lynn Davis). But don't sleep on Gracelyn, which carries echoes of Graceland and shortens to the cross-generational crowdpleasers Grace and Gracie. If Brooklyn has a direct descendent in the wings, Gracelyn could be it.


Read More:

Goodbye, Marylou: The New Generation of Combo Names

Call Me Caitlyn: Naming a New Self


7 Classic Characters, Renamed for Today

Jun 9th 2016

There are still plenty of boys named William, but hardly any called Bill. There are still plenty of redheads, but you won't hear them called Rusty. Just as baby name trends change with the times, so do nicknames.

With that in mind, we take a moment to consider what some nicknamed characters of past generations would go by today.

1. Michael Mouse

Mickey Mouse
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2. Liam Wonka

Willie Wonka
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3. Barbara Doll

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4. Sigmund

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5. Theo Cleaver

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6. Anthony the Tiger

Tony the Tiger, Frosted Flakes Box
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7. Elizabeth Boop

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