Life and Style: Victorian Names – 1880s

I may have mentioned this before, but I have just purchased a Victorian house, and I am so excited for all of the history! I just got a package from the solicitors, and along with it came a whole stack of documents going back to 1880. Reading through them was so exciting and magical. One of the things that I love about owning a period property is thinking about all the people who have walked through it and lived in it before me. I love the idea that someone’s long skirt swished through the corner of a doorway, or that someone’s heels clicked on the tiles in the hallway.

I love this very human, domestic way of thinking about history, but looking at those documents, the list of buyers, sellers, executors and solicitors also brought me round to thinking about names. What we call ourselves, and what we call our children, tells a story.

And so I went to Google looking for Victorian names in the 1880s…

Here’s a list of the top ten names given to boys and girls born between 1880 and 1889 in America:


  1. John
  2. William
  3. James
  4. George
  5. Charles
  6. Frank
  7. Joseph
  8. Henry
  9. Robert
  10. Thomas


  1. Mary
  2. Anna
  3. Emma
  4. Elizabeth
  5. Margaret
  6. Minnie
  7. Ida
  8. Bertha
  9. Clara
  10. Alice

It’s quite fun to look at it and see what’s changed and what’s stayed the same. It’s only a passing observation, of course, but it also seems that there’s been more stability in the most popular names for boys than there has been for girls. There were also some surprises in there. Lulu was ranked 95th for girls names, above Victoria which came in at number 149.

If you want to have a look for yourself, the website will be linked at the bottom of the page as normal. I do recommend it! Also, if anyone wonders I chose an American over a British website, it was simply that I preferred to quote ‘official’ statistics.

Further Links and References

‘Top Names of the 1880s’, USA Social Security Administration,

Please note, I cannot accept responsibility for any external links or websites.

This entry was tagged Domestic Sphere, Language, Victorian; Life and Style. Bookmark the permalink.

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