35 Girl Names That Used to Be Last Names

One of my college roommates is a professional genealogist. Knowing my interest in baby names, she sent me a list of names she’d run across in her research that used to be solely last names but, over the years, have morphed into first names for girls.

As someone with a last name for a first name myself (Janssen – the vice-president of Sears and Roebuck the year I was born), I love seeing other last names that have taken on new life as first names.

I know someone with almost every one of the names on this list as a first name!

Girl Names

  1. Addison – means “son of Adam” (which makes it a bit surprising that it’s now such a popular name for girls, rather than boys).
  2. Allison – this French name shot into popularity in the 1950s and hasn’t dipped below the top 100 mark in the last 40 years. 
  3. Ashley – it first made the jump from last name to first name for boys, then changed over to girls in the second half of the 20th century. 
  4. Avery – Although this name is more popular for girls (currently it’s 13th most popular), it is also common for boys. 
  5. Bailey – Since 1983, this name has jumped from 954 to 79. That’s some serious ground gained!
  6. Bentley – This extremely popular boy name is just starting to make an appearance for girls too. 
  7. Berkley – Another name that is just starting to gain popularity. I love this name. 
  8. Casey – it can also be spelled “Kasey” or “Casee.” 
  9. Courtney – This name has lost ground in the last decade (I can’t think of the last baby I heard of named Courtney). 
  10. Emery – means “brave.” 
  11. Gale – Usually the male version is spelled “Gale,” while the feminine version is “Gail.” 
  12. Lacy – This name seems so undeniably feminine in my mind, that I was shocked to see it was a popular boy’s name until the late 1960s (when it abruptly disappeared from the top 1000 boy names)
  13. Lindsay – This name hit its peak in 1984 and has been falling since then, currently down at 708 on the Social Security Baby Name list.  
  14. Kelsey – A decade after “Lindsay,” this name peaked in the early nineties, but is still holding its own in the 200s. 
  15. Kendall – a Celtic name meaning “from the bright valley.” 
  16. Kennedy – Whether you’re thinking of JFK or Jackie O, this is a name with a lot of glamour attached. 
  17. Macy – If you’re looking for a name that’s neither too popular or too obscure, Macy is a great choice. It’s been holding steady in the high 200s and low 300s since the mid-nineties. 
  18. Madison – Another presidential name on this list!
  19. Malory – means “the unlucky one” but that’s no reason to ignore this lovely name. 
  20. McKenzie – This name has been very stable, currently hanging at #152
  21. McKinley – McKinley might not be the most well-known president, but his name is living on and getting increasingly popular!  
  22. Morgan – This name’s been in the top 100 for girls since 1987 and still going strong. 
  23. Payton – alternatively, you can spell it “Peyton.”
  24. Reagan – This name is climbing fast and shows no signs of slowing down. 
  25. Riley – This hugely popular name goes for both girls and boys. 
  26. Shelby – although it is slowly losing popularity, it’s a name that has a lot of staying power. 
  27. Tatum – This name made the jump straight from a last name to a girl’s name without making a stop as a boy’s name. 
  28. Taylor – First a profession, then a surname, then a boy’s name, it now is equally at home as a girl’s name. 
  29. Tracy – After its heyday in the 60s, this one was never quite regained its luster, currently barely squeezing onto the top 1000 list at 951
  30. Whitney – This name peaked in the nineties and now is clocking in around the 500s. 
  31. Aubrey – Climbing fast, this name is currently #15. 
  32. Hillary – means “cheerful” 
  33. Mallory – consistently popular since the early eighties, this one doesn’t look like its going anywhere. 
  34. Kelly – means “warrior.” 
  35. Kerry – this one has a lot of alternate spellings, including “Keri” and “Cari.” 
Which ones are your favorite? (I think mine is Macy). 

You can read more of Janssen’s writing at Everyday Reading and on Twitter and Instagram. She's also on Google+

Tags: Baby Names

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