Freshen Up Those 40s, 50s, and 60s Names Before Giving One to Your Baby

As Baby Boomers age and eventually pass away, it’s a safe bet that parents will want to honor, celebrate or thank members of the previous generation by naming babies after them. Problem is, baby-naming trends and tastes have changed since the 40s, 50s and 60s.

Here are the most popular Baby-Boomer girls’ names from the 40s, 50s and 60s: Mary, Linda, Barbara, Patricia, Carol, Sandra, Nancy, Sharon, Judith, Susan, Deborah, Karen, Donna, Lisa, Kimberly, Michelle, Cynthia

Let’s compare them to the top-10 girls’ names in 2012: Sophia, Emma, Isabella, Olivia, Ava, Emily, Abigail, Mia, Madison, Elizabeth

By comparison, current girls’ names seem:
more glamorous (e.g., movie-star and tie-in names like Sophia, Ava, Olivia and Madison)
more elegant (e.g., queen’s names like Isabella, Elizabeth).

Hence Baby Boomer girls’ names from the 40s, 50s, and 60s come across as more middle class and less charming.

Here are the most popular Baby Boomer boys’ names from the 40s, 50s and 60s: James, Robert, John, William, Richard, David, Charles, Thomas, Michael Ronald; Mark, Jeffrey

Let’s compare them to the top-10 boys’ names in 2012: Jacob, Mason, Ethan, Noah, William, Liam, Jayden, Michael, Alexander, Aiden

By comparison, boys’ names are now:
softer: (e.g., more names use “soft consonants” like Ethan, Mason, Liam, and Noah)
less traditional, more informal (e.g., Liam is a nickname for William; Jayden is a faddy name that became very popular)
more ethnically varied: (e.g., Liam and Aiden are Irish names)

Hence Baby Boomer names from the 40s, 50s, and 60s come across as more traditional, formal and stronger-sounding.

So, if you want to give your baby a name that recognizes or pays tribute to a family member or family friend born in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, you may want to freshen up those names by looking at alternate forms of the same names or sound-alike names that start with the same letter and have some of the same sounds as the baby-boomer names. The goal of this post is to provide you with a number of fresh options to help you honor family and friends from the previous generation in a way that will be a pleasure for both you and your child.

Below are the most popular 40s, 50s, and 60s girls’ names followed by several options you may want to consider.

Here are the top-ten names for girls born in the 40s:

Mary (Hebrew) bitter; Bible: the mother of Jesus
Marie a French form of Mary; History: The name of a leading revolutionary figure in the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette
Marina (Latin) sea
Marisa (Latin) sea
Marcella (Latin) martial

Linda (Spanish) pretty
Lin (Chinese) beautiful jade; (English) a form of Lynn
Linden (English) linden-tree hill
Lindsey (English) linden
Linley (English) flax meadow-tree island
Linnea (Scandinavian) lime tree

Barbara (Latin) stranger, foreigner
Barett (German) strong as a bear
Barrie (Irish) spear; markswoman
Bebe a Spanish form of Barbara
Berry (English) berry

Patricia (Latin) noblewoman
Patrice a French form of Patricia
Payten, Payton, Peyton Irish forms of Patricia
Tricia, Trisha short forms of Patricia

Carol (German) farmer; (French) song of joy
Carolina an Italian form of Carol
Caroline a French form of Carol
Carolyn a compound name: Carol + Lynn
Carrie a familiar form of Carol

Sandra a short form of Alexandra
Alexandra (Greek) defender of mankind
Xandra a variation of Sandra
Zandra a variation of Sandra

Nancy (English) gracious
Nanette a French form of Nancy
Nana (Hawaiian) spring
Nani (Greek) charming; (Hawaiian) beautiful

Sharon (Hebrew) desert plain
Shari (French) beloved, dearest; a Hungarian form of Sarah
Sharrona an American variation of Sharon

Judith (Hebrew) praised
Jude (Latin) a short form of Judah, Judas; Bible: one of the 12 apostles

Susan (Hebrew) lily
Sukey (Hawaiian) a familiar form of Susan
Suzette a French form of Susan
Zanna a short form of Suzanna

Popular in the 50s:

Deborah (Hebrew) bee; Bible: an Old Testament prophet
Debra a short form of Deborah

Karen (Greek) pure
Kari a familiar form of Karen; a Danish form of Carol
Karin a Scandinavian form of Karen
Karina a Russian form of Karen
Carina a Swedish form of Karen; a Greek form of Cora; (Italian) dear little one

Donna (Italian) lady
Doncia (Spanish) sweet
Donia, Donise variations of Donna
Donielle (American) an alternate form of Danielle

Popular in the 60s:

Lisa (Hebrew) consecrated to God; (English) a short form of Elisabeth
Lissa (Greek) honey bee; a short form of Melissa
Lisette a French form of Lisa

Kimberly (English) chief, ruler
Kim a shore form of Kimberly; (Vietnamese) needle
Kimi (Japanese) righteous
Kimiko (Japanese) righteous child

Michelle a French form of Michaela
Michaela, Mikaela (Hebrew) who is like God?
Mica, Micah short forms of Michael: Biblical: an Old Testament prophet
Michele an Italian form of Michelle
Michiko (Japanese) wise child

Cynthia (Greek) moon; Mythology: an alternate name for Artemis, the moon goddess
Cyndee, Cyndi, Cindy familiar forms of Cynthia

Below are the most popular 40s, 50s, and 60s boys’ names followed by “fresher” options you may want to consider.

Here are the top-ten names for boys born in the 40s:

James (Hebrew) supplanter, substitute; an English form of Jacob; Bible: two of the apostles in the New Testament were named James
Jaime a Spanish form of Jacob, James
Jamey, Jamie familiar forms of James
Jamal, Jamil, Jamel (Arabic) handsome
Seamus an Irish form of James

Robert (English) famous brilliance
Robin a short form of Robert
Roberto a Spanish, Italian, Portuguese form of Robert

John (Hebrew) God is gracious; Bible: the name honors John the Baptist and John the Evangelist of the New Testament.
Evan an English form of John; (Irish) young warrior
Gianni an Italian form of Johnny
Giovanni an Italian form of John
Hans, Hansel Scandinavian forms of John
Ivan a Russian form of John
Sean an Irish form of John

William an English form of Wilhelm (German) determined guardian
Bill a short form of William
Liam an Irish short form of William
Will a short form of William(English) Will’s son

Richard an English form of Richart (German) rich and powerful ruler
Rick a short form of Richard
Richmond (German) powerful protector

David (Hebrew) beloved; Bible: the second king of Israel
Davis (Hebrew) David’s son
Dave a short form of David
Davin, Davon (Scandinavian) brilliant, Finn

Charles (German) farmer; (English) strong and manly
Carlo an Italian form of Charles
Carlos a Spanish form of Charles
Carlton (English) Carl’s town
Charlie, Charley familiar forms of Charles
Chas, Chaz, Chazz short forms of Charles
Chuck (American) a familiar form of Charles

Thomas (Greek, Aramaic) twin; Bible: one of the 12 apostles
Tom a short form of Thomas
Tomas German, Irish and Spanish forms of Thomas
Tomey, Tomi Irish forms of Thomas
Tomi a Hungarian form of Thomas; (Japanese) rich

Michael (Hebrew) Who is like God?
Michel a French form of Michael
Micah a short form of Michael; Bible: an Old Testament prophet
Miguel a Spanish form of Michael
Mike a short form of Michael

Ronald a Scottish form of Reginald (English) king’s advisor
Reggie a short form of Reginald
Reynaldo a Spanish form of Reynold, Reginald, Ronald
Ronan (Irish) seal

Popular in the 50s:

Mark a short form of Marcus
Marc a French form of Marcus
Marcus (Latin) martial, warlike; Bible: author of the second gospel in the New Testament
Marco an Italian form of Marcus; History: Marco Polo was a thirteenth century Venetian who explored Asia
Marcos a Spanish form of Marcus

Popular in the 60s:

Jeffrey (English) divinely peaceful
Geoffrey (Old English) an alternate form of Jeffrey; Literature: Geoffrey Chaucer wrote “Canterbury Tales”
Jeff: A short form of Jeffrey

If the family member or family friend from the Baby-Boomer generation was not on top-ten popularity lists during the 40s, 50s and 60s, take a look at different forms of the name and name-book neighbors to come up with some fresher-sounding options for yourself.

3 thoughts on “Freshen Up Those 40s, 50s, and 60s Names Before Giving One to Your Baby

  1. The name Nana does not mean “spring” in Hawaiian.

    And the name Sukey is not Hawaiian at all. There are no “s” or “y” in the Hawaiian alphabet.

  2. Linnéa is a (Scandinavian) Swedish name but it doesn’t mean lime tree (which in Swedish would be limeträd). It is the name of a flower which in English is called linnaea or in Latin linnea borealis.

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