Celebrity Names Blog

Oldest Old Lady Names: Celebrity Dude Favorites

Oldest Old Lady Names: Celebrity Dude Favorites
axelle/bauer griffin

Celebrities love old lady names. Even dude celebrities. Just ask John Travolta, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Stiller, and others with daughters named Ella. This celebrity favorite is just one old lady name burning up the charts (#14 in 2009). What's the next hot old lady name? To make some guesses, we're casting back to the decade when Ella last made the Top 20: the 1890s. Join us for a look at the names of the oldest old ladies in the world.

A supercentenarian has lived 110 years or longer (which, in 2010, means they were mostly born before 1900). In the world, there are 78 such folks who can prove their dates of birth. Of these, 75 are women (seems women really do live longer!), and nineteen are in the US. And their names are all over our Celebrity Baby Names Lookup database.

This might seem weird (wasn't the 1890s a different time with a different naming culture?), but it isn't. Like Ella, these great-grandma names hit the "generational sweet spot" of familiar, but fresh. They don't sound musty to us, because most people of the generation are now dead. Most, but not all. And the ones still living make some pretty cool namesakes.

So what are these celebrity-friendly sweet-spot supercentarian names?

Walter: Okay, so it's an old man name, but it's the only one we're going to give you. Walter Breuning of Great Falls, Montana, is the oldest man alive. He quit smoking for good in 1999, at age 103. (See a recent picture of him on his Wikipedia page.) When Breuning was born on September 21, 1896, Grover Cleveland was president and Walter was the 13th most popular baby name (a ranking it more or less kept between 1880 and 1920). The name has declined in popularity steadily but slowly, and now comes in at #387. Rainn Wilson chose the name Walter for his son, while Julia Roberts and Melissa Joan Hart both used it as a middle name.

Ella: Ella Frieda Schuler, who at 112 years old likes to read National Geographic and Scientific American, may be the oldest person with a profile on Facebook. In 1897, when Schuler was born, Ella was the 36th most popular name (already down from its peak). The name tumbled through the decades and spent time off the charts in the 1980s. It is back big time in the 2000s, having zoomed all the way back up to #14. This gives Ella's Name Voyager graph the look of a crooked half-pipe. Our database shows six celebrity kids named Ella, including some of the moste heavy-hitting of Hollywood hunks (like John Travolta, pictured here with his daugher Ella Bleu and wife Kelly Preston).

Leila: The popularity chart for Leila also looks like a half-pipe, with an 1880s high of 165, a mid century low of zero, and a current ranking of 238.  The name was ranked #238 in the 1898 birth year of Leila Alice Denmark, M.D., who is co-developed the vaccine for whooping cough (otherwise known as the "P" in your DTaP) Dr. Denmark has written two books, and retired as a practicing pediatrician in 2001 at the age of 103. (Read her amazing Wikipedia biography.) Judy Reyes -- who plays a doctor on TV -- chose Leila for her daughter, as did two other celebs.

*

Not all the oldest old-lady names are so user-friendly. Nyleptha? Stay tuned for that one in a future installment. (Available now: part two [not even F. Scott Fitzgerald can revive this one], part three [I'll see you an Abcde, and raise you a Nyleptha], and part four [Louisa's coming back. What else is?]). 

As you wait, tell us: what is the name of the oldest person you know? Do you like the name?

--L.R.

Comments

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June 21, 2010 3:15 PM
By Lane

She's dead now, but the oldest old lady I used to know was named Mabel. I love it.

It seems like I used to know a lot of old men named Loyce.

June 21, 2010 3:40 PM
By Caitlyn (not verified)

My great-grandmother's name was Pearl (I can't remember her husband's name; Harry maybe?) and while it hasn't made a comeback, I hope it does. (I just looked it up in the Namipedia - apparently it was mildly popular for boys as well. I think that's a little odd, but very cool.)

June 21, 2010 3:44 PM
By Laura. (not verified)

The oldest living person I know is a man (tho his wife is only about a year younger than he is.) His name? Riley. His wife is called Mattie, but that may be a nickname.

June 21, 2010 3:48 PM
By Lizzy (not verified)

My grandmothers/great-grandmothers names are:

Georgia
Lila
Violet
Imogen
Cleo
Lucille

I think all of those are coming back, Violet especially.

June 21, 2010 3:58 PM
By Allison (not verified)

The oldest person I currently know is 90 and her name is Laura (b. 1919). She's my great-aunt. Laura was bestowed upon my great-great-grandmother (b. 1861), great-aunt, mom, mom's cousin, my cousin and more in my family!

June 21, 2010 5:17 PM
By Sabrina (not verified)

My great-grandmother died 2 months ago at 96 yrs. of age. Her name was Angelina. Her husband died when he was 97yrs. old. His name was Luca. They were both Puerto Rican. I think their names are great and on the rise.

June 21, 2010 5:28 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My grandparents (all but one deceased):
Elizabeth
Eloise
Clyde
Howard

Oldest living women I know (>90):
Arllys
Gerda

Oldest living man (80's):
Turk

I love Elizabeth, and Eloise is ok, but I don't think I'd use the others.

June 21, 2010 5:38 PM
By Crystal (not verified)

My great-grandmothers were either Ann, Anna or Beulah.

My paternal grandmother's name was Evelyn and my maternal's is Wilma.

I love Evelyn and if there hadn't been so much animosity between the two families at the time of my daughter's birth, I would have definitely considered it for my daughter. Beulah has a very cool look, but a terrible sound. I'm guessing it's not coming into fashion any time soon.

June 21, 2010 7:51 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

We are actually considering both the names Walter and Leila for our next child. We want to use family names and Walter was my husband's grandfather and Leila is a common girls name in his family. Will we end up being too trendy?

June 21, 2010 8:27 PM
By Laura_mac (not verified)

My great-grandmothers had a mix of names:

Nina (pronounced Nine-uh)
Annie
Mattie
Selona

Not a big fan of any of them. And my grandmothers were Betty and Lois, not a big fan of those names either.

June 21, 2010 9:21 PM
By GeorgiaPeach (not verified)

My grandmothers' names are Gladys and Estelle, and my husband's are Anna and Delores. My great-grandmother's name was Flossie (I think that was her real name, although it may have been a nickname). My grandfathers were Clyde and Clifford.

I like Estelle a lot, but it's hard to name children after just one grandparent. Plus, it's very close to the uber-trendy Isabelle/a.

June 21, 2010 10:00 PM
By RB (not verified)

I know a 97 year old woman, a friend of my late grandmother's, who is named Evelyn. It's one of my favorite names, and definitely on the short list for my theoretical future daughter.

June 21, 2010 10:11 PM
By ClaireP (not verified)

I run a nonprofit agency that serves the elderly. I have to come up with pseudonyms all the time for our clients when I tell client stories, so they'll be plausible. Most of our clients are over 85. Here's a representative sample:

Hilda
Ethel
June
Jeanne
Dagny
Gladys
Donna
Betty
GiGi
Mary Jo
Lucinda
Irene
Gloria
Lily
Carmel
Ann
Lois
Joyce
Phyllis
Leila
Phoebe
Lorraine
Dorothy
Loni
Zoe
Pearl

Some of these ain't comin' back for a long time, but some already have, like Lily and Leila as noted.

June 22, 2010 2:26 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My grandparents, all but one still living:

George Brock
Virginia Grace
Enrique Gamaliel
Joan Ann

I'm not fond of any of them except Grace, and Ann is okay. Gamaliel is a Hebrew name & Enrique means "Henry" in Spanish (he's Puerto Rican.)

June 22, 2010 6:37 AM
By silverbelle (not verified)

Melissa Joan Hart named her child (middle name) after his paternal grandfather Walt Wilkerson. FYI. So it really wasn't a choice of actually 'liking' the name, but more to honor family.

June 22, 2010 11:56 AM
By Mom (not verified)

My husbands parents are Neida Jean and Ernest Lee,his grandparents were,Lena and Ernest. My grandparents were,Sophia and Franz Josef; Nikolaus and Eva. My great grandparents were,Albert and Anna Margaret. My greatx4 were Johannes and Elisabeth.Other "old" family names are, Beata,Anton,Aloisius,Clemmens,Adolf,(or Adolph),Jakob,Anna,Marie,Katherine, Victoria,Josephine,Otto, Emily. I think any one of them would be great names now.Having a link to the past by sharing a name with an ancestor is pretty awesome!I share mine with several.

June 22, 2010 12:23 PM
By DivaMomCarol (not verified)

Great grandmothers were both Gertrude!

A favorite aunt was Aunt Goldie which

was short for "Goldenrod" she was born

in September and her father looked out

over the field and named her! Thank

Goodness it wasn't a "Puddle!"

June 22, 2010 12:32 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

our grand mothers/great grandmothers names that we considered:
Anita (goes by Nikki)
Gladys (we thought Gladdie was a cute nickname)
Flavia (goes by Flay)

June 22, 2010 1:37 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I'm nearly 30, my Great Grandparents names that I adore are: Emil & Gretchen, Emma & David - love the names :)

June 22, 2010 1:37 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I'm nearly 30, my Great Grandparents names that I adore are: Emil & Gretchen, Emma & David - love the names :)

June 22, 2010 1:44 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

The oldest woman I know is my paternal grandmother who is 88. Her name is Elsa, which I think is a beautiful.

June 22, 2010 1:52 PM
By Cassie (not verified)

My great-grandparents, all born between 1890 and 1901 were:

Ilma Beatrice
William Shepard

Anna Emma Louise
Albert Thomas

Nellie Gertrude
John Robert

Minnie LaRue
William Loyd

I would use Will, Shepard, Anna, Emma, Thomas, Nellie, Minnie, and LaRue out of those.

Incidentally my GG HATED her middle name Gertrude. She wouldn't let anyone mention it. And my aunt's middle name is "Sheppa" after her grandfather, William Shepard.

June 22, 2010 2:16 PM
By Elizabeth (not verified)

My grandparents were all born between 1922 - 1924. Their names are:

Irma Nadine
Bobby Claude
Vernon Otto
Suzanne Bernice

Great Grandparents (that I can remember) were all born pre-1900 were:

Jesse Lee
A.J. (Arthur James)
Bernice (Suzanne's mother)
Pearl
Charles
Irva

June 22, 2010 2:51 PM
By Sadie (not verified)

My grandmother is in her late 80s (possibly about 90 now, I'm not sure) and her name is Lorene, I absolutely love it... but when I commented on it she said how she'd always hated it--which is why she goes by Renee. My grandfather was William Frederick Lewis, which was a family name... Lewis was after his aunt, Louise, though.

My great grandfather on my father's side was Vader Quincy. Possibly my favorite. Quincy is a pretty awesome name and while I love Vader... I have to admit it probably won't be popular any time soon for understandable reasons.

My other grandmother is Martha and my grandfather Bill... I don't think it was short for William, though.

June 22, 2010 2:55 PM
By CG (not verified)

My grandmother turns 90 in a couple of weeks, her name is Veronica but she goes by Ronnie or Vera most of the time.

June 22, 2010 6:53 PM
By Mamapeas (not verified)

The two great-grandmothers I had that were still living (one died a few years ago around 93 and one still living at around 97) through my childhood were named Pearl and Marjorie, respectively.

My mom's middle name is Pearl and she HATES it, though I think she respects it now more that my great-grandmother is gone.

As for Marjorie, I don't know that it will be making a come back but I have considered using a shortned form (Jorie/Jory) as a middle name, I knew the most adorable little girl with that name as a child and it always stuck with me!

June 22, 2010 7:59 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My grandparents (only one still living) are/would be in their early 90's. They are Vada Belle (which is how we named one daughter Olivia Belle and another Isabel a few years before the big "Belle" explosion) who was married to Eugene (went by John for some reason) and Peter Nicholas (my brother's middle name is Nicholas)who was married to Ruth Carol (I think that was her middle name and it was then my mother's middle name but if we have another daughter we will use Caroline as first or middle name).

June 22, 2010 8:11 PM
By jakadu (not verified)

Oldest female I know (96 yo) is named Louise.

Oldest male: (93) is Moise. Odd that they have similar sounds??

My great grandmothers names are: Esther and Hattie. Great-grandfather: Homer and Abraham.

The only one of these names that I'd consider using would be Hattie.

June 22, 2010 8:41 PM
By jereza (not verified)

Jessie Beulah: She hated Jessie and went by Beulah. I'd use either. Actually like Beulah
Stephen E. I think the E was for Esca. He hated Esca and would only admit to the E.
Perla: like it
Jesse Leo: Leo is a family middle name for eldest sons. My dad and brother both have Leo as a middle name.

June 22, 2010 10:59 PM
By Kay (not verified)

My grandparents (all deceased) were named:

Maternal, born in 1890s:
Oliver (definitely coming back)
Jennie (I saw a Nellie above, I believe women's names ending in "ie" was a trend in the late 19th and very early 20th centuries)

Arville (male --never seen this anywhere else, tho occasionally you run across Arvilla for a woman)
Irene

June 22, 2010 11:17 PM
By Tapanga (not verified)

Maternal grandparents: Barbara and Joseph.
Maternal great-grandparents: Emma Marie and Charles, Anton and Mary.
Paternal grandparents: Glynis and Richard.
Paternal great-grandparents: Glen and Carole, Marilyn and Herbert.

June 23, 2010 12:03 AM
By B. (not verified)

Great-grandparents names:

Guy Laird LN was married to Anna Bessie LN

Lee Vernon LN was married to Cecelia Helen Gertrude LN

June 23, 2010 12:05 AM
By Katy (not verified)

I have been obsessed with names ever since I can remember--when I was three years old, I announced what name I would give my future daughter. My cousin and I kept long lists of our favorite names of the moment. :)

I love this trend right now--it exactly fits my style. I like "real" traditional names, but ones that aren't too overused. My greatgrandparents are perfect for this!

Lewis Floyce and Sally Luella
Arthur Nathaniel and Celia Bell
Wayne Estes and Dora Irene (went by Irene)
Samuel Alexander and Lydia Belle

I love most of these, with the exception of Floyce and Wayne.

June 23, 2010 12:10 PM
By TaraRhode (not verified)

i'm only 25, but i have:

(grandparents)
John Joseph & Mary Joan
Barbara Lou Ann & Avery T.

(great-grandparents)
Elizabeth (went by Betty) & Donald
Lewis & Katharine [English]
Helen & John [German]
Thomas & Margaret [Irish]

Elizabeth's sisters also lived to be fairly old and included: Florence (Floss or Flossy), Thelma, and Grace

on my wife's side, names from this age group include:

Charles
Rosalie
Walter
Shirley
Joann
Richard

June 23, 2010 12:11 PM
By Pamela S. (not verified)

Grandparents:
Gordon
Isabel
Alma LaRue
Harold Berton (went by HB)

Great grandparents:
Richard
Eliza
Arthur
Eva

Current generation includes repeated uses of Isabel, an Eliza, and an Alma, the name of my brother's youngest daughter. He married a woman from Spain, so the name was better accepted there than here, with only my dad (son of Alma LaRue) being a fan. But.. the name suits Alma (now 8) and I can't picture her with any other. My brother really wanted to name his son 100% after our older brother who died at age 11, "Andrew Gordon", but with the Spanish wife... she would have none of that since in Spanish it pretty much means Fatso. So, the littlest family member is Andrew Michael, Michael being after his Spanish grandfather "Julio Miguel". Funny though, he's the only one named after anyone on the Spanish side, and the only one who did not get a name that works unchanged in both English and Spanish. The other two girls are Marina Isabel and Sofia Cristina.

June 23, 2010 5:00 PM
By Carrie (not verified)

The oldest person I know is my husband's great-aunt, Ina (eye-na) Vivian, who's 94.

My great-grandparents, all born around 1900 or so are:
Clarence Leroy & Ruth (no mn)
Henry Charles & Frances Evangeline (went by Vangie)
Lawrence Richard & Hazel Marie
James Floyd & Mary Cecil

Ones I would use now are Henry, Ruth (as a mn), and James. I love Evangeline, but I dunno if I'd really use it. I have a friend who's in LOVE with the name Hazel right now.

Husband's g-grandparents (all born around 1890):
John & Emma Leah
Walter & Anna
Alvin Henry & Matilda Sophia
Edward Aaron & Effie Blanche

June 23, 2010 6:16 PM
By Manda (not verified)

Oldest person I ever knew was 101. Her presidential congrats came from Ronald Reagan, but her name fits the generational sweet spot at the time. Her name was Lizzie, and I had plenty of friends named Lizzie.

My daughters have "old lady" names- Ada and Willa. Ada is named after me (amanda without the man) and my grandmother- Ida. Interesting enough, my grandmother was named for her grandmother Ida, solidifying this theory of "generational sweet spot.

My daughter's middle name is my great grandmother's name- Lorene(1906) her husband Floyd(1906). My 3 other great grandmothers were Neely (1886), Fanny (1888), Ola Viola (1891) and Lester (1899). Lester was a family name that thankfully finally died this generation.

My grandfather Willis 1924 died just a few weeks before my son was born this January, and my son got the middle name. It wasn't a choice I made out of love for the name- but love for the man.

An interesting name in my geneology is the name Missouri. I had two gggrandmothers that would've been inlaws, one named Missouri and the other named Masury.

The more "sweet" names in my geneology are up a generation in the 1850's

William Henry and Salina

Wesley and Eliza. Wesley had brothers named Levi, Giles, and Jacob. Their parents were Wilson and Sarah.- names, with the exception of Giles, that don't sound old.

The Missouri I was mentioned earlier was married to Newton and they afflicted their children with horrible names. The passing of the name Lester only died with my generation.

Masury and Alexander

Hanson and Martha Jane. I'm surprised that Martha is not more popular. It's even biblical! There are several more in in my list of ancestors, but it doesn't seem to hit the generational sweet spots. However, I wouldn't use it.

James William and Ida end out my great-great grandparents. I have some great names another generation up. I'll just note a few since I'm taking up so much space. Banks (1843)- which I considered using for my son. Manwell (1846) I'm not sure if this could make a comeback, but I wouldn't be surprised with the popularity of names like Maxwell. Celia (1837)- considered this even before I knew she was a long lost ggggrandmother.

I have a vote for names that will never come back- Eudora.

June 23, 2010 7:31 PM
By Elsabelle (not verified)

My grandparents have all passed, but my maternal grandma was the youngest of the bunch, being born in 1900. Her name is listed first.

Bessie Pearl (always went by Pearl)
Laurence Orville (went by Sandy---from his last name)

Margie Kay
Alva Ray

My parents are in their 80s. Their names are:

Eva Jean
Robert Nevin

My mom and dad's siblings:

Ralph
Bruce
Earl
Myra

Ruth
Eleanor
Garland Kay (male)
Verden (Vee)(male)
Eva Chlora

One set of great-grandparents (I'd have to look up the others):

William Denis (Dinny)
Maggie Jane (She hated Maggie, and told everyone her name was Margaret.)

Eleanor and Eva have already made a comeback. Robert has been around forever. I love Pearl and Bessie/Bess, and can see these being used more and more.

Laurence is a cool classic. Maggie is quite popular, as is Margaret. I see Ruth used as a middle name now and then.

William is another that holds its own. I quite like this spelling of Denis. He was French Canadian. Is this Freanch?

Names I don't see making a comeback (though some were never popular):

Orville, Garland, Verden, Ralpoh, Bruce, Earl, Chlora (though I like it) and Myra. But Kyra is probably on the charts already. I know a lady in her 80s with that name. "Rhymes with Myra," she always says!

June 23, 2010 8:55 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My parents are in their 80's, names are
Grace Marie & Howard Michael(goes by Mike)
maternal grandparents (born 1900 & 1901)
Loren Holcombe- his parents were Loren Douglas & Grace Evangeline (LOVE her name)
Delia Marie- Her parents were Charles Everett & Maria Cordelia(she was Irish and her name was pronounced Ma-rye-ah)
Our granddaughter is named Mariah Grace. Our daughter changed the spelling for prounounciation's sake. My name came indirectly from my grandmother. She received a Bible for perfect Sunday School attendance and the name imprinted on it was Adelia instead of Delia. I have hated my name due to immense teasing in choldhood and go by Dee, but our daughter likes it and named her younger daughter after me. She likes it and doesn't get teased about it at all. Go figure!
The oldest lady I know is in her 90's and her name is Geneva.

June 24, 2010 10:41 AM
By M Lewis (not verified)

Grandmothers names: Pribble and Hattie

June 24, 2010 2:00 PM
By daisy_kay (not verified)

I love, love, love old lady names. I'm pregnant with my first little girl, and we plan on naming her Mabel Susannah.

My great-grandmothers' names are Bessie Viola and Margie May. I was actually set on naming my little girl Louisa Bess (after Bessie Viola) until we found out she was a girl, and Mabel just seemed like *the* name.

June 24, 2010 4:23 PM
By JustanotherSarah (not verified)

All of my grandparents have died, but their names were Donald & Joan and Tom & Yvonne. And Frank...Tom was my step-grandfather. ;)

My grandma was named Mildred Yvonne...when she was older she choose to go by Yvonne, and I can't say I blame her. Her twin brother was George.

June 25, 2010 6:54 AM
By Romayne (not verified)

Old family names on the Martin side:

Albert, Romaine, Carmelita, Clarita, Sadie & Mary

On the Rubinas side: Kazimir & Matilda

June 25, 2010 10:18 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My great-grandmother and her sisters made quite a sib set. They were Blanche, Lyde, and Alice. Lyde went by Cokee for most of her life though no one remembers why anymore. I've always found these names fascinating!

June 26, 2010 8:33 PM
By Becky (not verified)

Oldest person I ever knew was named
Ada May.

My great grandparents were
Dorothy
Hollis
Beulah
William
Edna
Alvin

June 27, 2010 7:47 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I work at a hospital and nursing home. Some of the oldest patients/residents have had these names:

Mildred
Iona
Valeta
Irene
Ella Mae
Winnie
Roberta
Mary
Essie
Bessie
Alta
Vada
Agnes
Ruby (which I think is gaining)
Wilma
Juanita (I expected these to be Hispanic but all were causasian)

Emil
Ernest
Knox (which he disliked but is probably rising after Knox Jolie-Pitt)
Walter

Most of these I would not consider using, but a few I could see other people choosing for their little ones.

June 29, 2010 3:23 PM
By NWMom (not verified)

My grandmother Mabel was one of 9 who all had great turn-of-the-last-century names:

Zenia
Mabel
Maude
Myrtle
Iva
Vera
Gerald
Orley
Nathan

August 11, 2010 6:05 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Some old/family names that haven't yet appeared on here:

Galen (m)
Ira (m)
Jay Francis (m)
Louis Alfred (m)
Ione (f)
Ebba (f)
Vera (f)
Neva (f)
Earnestine (f)
Harriet (f)
Eleanor (f)

December 22, 2010 3:31 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

gertrude and albert(fat) were my grandparents i like their names(: but they died:/

September 20, 2011 4:04 AM
By Old Lady Names (not verified)

I'm naming my baby Edith or Molly I think. Old names are cool again!

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