December 4, 2013

Name Makeovers: Fading Names of the 1950s, Part 2

I'm on a quest to make over some of the names that were beloved in the 1950s and are less-beloved today. If you didn't come here via the first 13 names that were made over in Part 1, please check it out! To repeat myself just a little, my goal here is to have fun pairing a "before" with an "after" that in some way reflects the original, whether it's in sound, meaning, or origin.



GailAbigail ~ One of the great things about the classic name Abigail is that its variations can adapt with the times. In the 50s, Gail was preferred. Today, it's Abby that we are fond of.
GaryGarrett ~ Gary is both an independent name and a once-fashionable pet form of Gareth. And if you change up a couple of the letters in Gareth, you get Garrett, which currently ranks in the 200s. Today, Garrett's nicknames include Gary and Rett.
GerardJude ~ The hard "G" names that were fashionable around the 50s, like Gerard, Geoffrey, George, and Gerald, are just not making waves in the US today. I had to look to the Js to find a good parallel, and the best contemporary choice I could find was Jude. It doesn't have the repeated r sounds and two syllables, but it almost feels like it could be a nickname for Gerard.
GlennColin ~ Glenn, a Scottish name meaning valley, has seen better days. In its place I give you Colin, another Scottish gem that has similar sounds but fits modern tastes.
Janet and JaniceJane ~ Both Janet and Janice come from Jane, the feminine form of John. While the two variations feel a bit dated, Jane is a simple and lovely classic girls' name that is slowly but surely gaining more popularity. Jane ranks at #340 for 2012.
JoJosephine ~ The short and sassy Jo can easily be lengthened to its original form, Josephine. I happen to love both.
KeithKeegan ~ Keith may have been more popular in the 50s than it is now, but that doesn't mean it's not used—it's actually still in the top 400 names. If you're looking for something a little more modern than Keith but still true to its origins as a Scottish surname, Keegan fits the bill and is ranked at #244 for 2012. 
KentKane ~ Kent and Kane are both one-syllable names with Gaelic origins. While Kent is not in the top 1,000 names, Kane is climbing in popularity. It's got a few different associations, including pro wrestling, southern rock music, and classic film.
LindaLola ~ Linda is a relatively recent name, and likely has Spanish origins. That led me right to Lola, another pretty Spanish name, which wasn't used very often until the 1800s. Lola has been sitting in the 200s for seven years now. 
MarshaSasha ~ Eventually the feminine forms of Marcus fell out of fashion, while the feminine pet form of Alexander (also used for males in Europe) and Alexandria is still in the top 500. Sasha may have hit a high point in the late 80s, but I think it's stylish and sweet and makes a nice substitute for Marsha.
NancyNaomi ~ Two Hebrew names with similar sounds, Naomi is becoming popular again while Nancy is slowly on her way out of the top 1,000.
PamelaPaloma ~ It's amazing how two names that sound so much alike can have very different origins and associations. I love Paloma, a Spanish nature name meaning dove, and the name of Pablo Picasso's daughter (a famous jewelry designer). Pamela, an invention of an Elizabethan poet, comes with the outdated nickname Pam and recently fell out of the top 1,000 names for girls.
PatriciaMatilda ~ At first glance these two aren't much alike, but they do have a few similarities—they are both three syllables, ending in an "uh" sound. And when they trade places, Patricia's Patty becomes Matilda's Matty, and Tricia becomes Tilda.

Up next is Part 3 of name makeovers from the 1950s. In the meantime, if you have a name you'd like me to makeover, just send me a note!

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  1. Interestingly, my daughter's name is Naomi and my mother's name is Nancy. a case in point, I guess!

  2. Great article! Nice job coming up with the new names. I think they all work very well!