12 Surprising Baby Name Risings: Cindy? Bruce?

Certain comeback kids have been getting a lot of buzz lately—names like?Elsa?and?Amelia?and?Elias?and?Tobias, all of which have that nice vintage 19th?century vibe. But there’s another group of names inching their way back that you might find a bit more surprising. Mostly midcentury mom and dad names, they are flouting the Hundred-Year?Rule, returning way before their expected due dates.

Here are a dozen prime examples of comeback baby names:


CindyYes,?Cindy, as in the baby of the?Brady?Bunch.?Cindy?rose 82 places last year, rising from her lowest point in recent history. This pet form of?Cynthia?and?Lucinda?first came onto the list in 1938, and within 15 years had entered the Top 100, peaking at Number 19 in 1957 (representing more that 20,000 baby Cindys), very much in the?Mindy,?Stacey,?Tracy,?Randi,?Ricki?cheery cheerleader zeitgeist. So is this just a blip, or will we be seeing more baby Cindys?

ElaineElaine?may date back to the days of Camelot, but to most of us it has more of an?Elaine?Benes?image, and so I’m wondering what was behind its 105-place advance this year. Was she a beneficiary of the current love for all names?El—from?Ella?to?Elle?toEloise?to?Elsa?to?Eliza??Ellen?and?Eileen,?by the way, also saw significant gains.

JoyceJoyce, which started life as a male name, saw a double-digit rise, its first upward movement in decades. It was in the girls’ Top 100 for 43 years, topping at Number 11 for a couple of years in the thirties. It’s now associated with writers of a certain age like?Joyce?Carol?Oates and?Joyce?Maynard. Cousin?Joy?also saw a slight rise.

LindaThis couldn’t surprise me more, my name moving up 24 places.?Linda?did famously unseat the perpetual?Mary?for the Number 1 spot—but that was in 1947! (On a personal note, my two almost-names,?Laurel?and?Lydia, also rose on the charts this year.)

LisaAnother name that once reached the top spot, reigning from 1962 to 1969, when this?Elizabeth?diminutive was given to around 50,00 baby girls in each of those years,?Lisa?had a fairly rapid fall. But now we’re seeing some small signs of an uptick, indicating that the tide just may be turning. There are, of course, many prominent Lisas around, including the iconic?Lisa?Simpson.

MyraA poetic invention of the 17th?century,?Myra?was in the US Top 150 in the 1880s, started sliding in the 60s, fell off completely in 2004, then suddenly made a return in 2009, and this year moved up 135 places to Number 638. Could any of this be due to her minor role in the?Divergent?series? Or her resemblance to other 4-letter names with a?y,?like?Lyla,?Anya,?Arya,?Ayla,?Maya,?Nyla?et al?


BruceIs?Bruce?back? He’s now at his highest point since the mid-90s, just outside the Top 400. One of several Scottish names that were considered cool from the 40s to the 60s, such as?Douglas?and?Craig?and?Keith,?Bruce?is the human name of two superheroes—Batman and The Hulk—and seems to have begun appealing again to parents seeking a single-syllable name with history, as also with?Clyde?and?Clark.

GaryUp 18 places this year,?Gary?managed to crack the Top 10 in the early 1950s (thanks to the enduring fame of?Gary?Cooper, stage-named after the?Indiana?city), but we can’t quite see that happening again. Does this mean we’ll also be seeing a return ofCary,?Barry?and?Larry? Also rising:?Gordon?and?Grant.

HaroldHarold, which rose almost 60 spots in 2014, had developed a dowdy image that contradicts its distinguished early royal history. A Top 20 name in 1900—he was the typical teen in the comic strip?Harold?Teen,?Harold?has been in freefall for a long time, almost dropping off completely. Current namers might be attracted by his cooler nicknames?Harry?and?Hal.?Howard,?Hank?and?Hughare other H-boys gaining traction.

JayAs?May?and?Fay/e rise for girls, brother?Jay?is seeing a bit of an upturn as well, climbing 18 places last year. In the recent past,Jay?was superseded by more elaborate forms: first?Jason, and then?Jayden,?Jaylen?et al. For the record, Jays?Gatsby?and?Leno?were born?James,?Jay-Z was?Shawn.

JuliusYes, it’s an ancient?Roman?name attached to the greatest emperor of them all and to several popes, but?Julius?is also the guy who does your uncle’s taxes, explaining why many more parents prefer the softer sounding?Julian. On the other hand,?Julius?has caught the wave of ancient Latinate us-ending names, and has risen 38 places this year to a respectable Number 309.?Lucy?Lawless chose it for her boy and it’s the son character on?Happyish.

RussellRussell?was mega-popular in the 1950s and 60s, meaning that there are a lot of middle-aged Russes out there on the golf course. But after a deep dip, red-haired?Russell?is seeing a slight upturn, along with golfing partners?Ronald?and?Roland.

[Originally published on?Nameberry?– the expert baby name resource.?Search thousands?of baby names by letter, ethnicity, gender, and more!]

Image(s): Darumo/iStock

filed under: ,