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100 Classic Old-Fashioned Boy Names: With Meanings

These 100 vintage boy names are ripe for a comeback.

Rather than drag out the usual traditional boy names you’ll find on other websites, we decided to list 100 old-fashioned boy names you don’t hear every day.

We spent hours researching the original meanings of these names and have added some interesting facts to help you decide if one of these names will be perfect for your baby.

100 Old-Fashioned Boy Names and Meanings

This list of 100 old-fashioned boy names will help you find the perfect choice for your new babe.

1. Abe

Abe is a Hebrew name that means “father of many.”

Most people know that Abe is a short form of Abraham, but it is also an entirely separate Dutch and Frisian name. This short name is a variant spelling of Abbe which means “noble.”

2. Abner

The Hebrew name Abner means “my father is a light.”

Abner was a relatively popular name in the U.S. until the 1930s, when it fell out of the U.S. list of top 1,000 boy names. However, 2020 saw its reappearance at #971 on the list.

3. Ahab

The Biblical Latin name Ahab means “uncle.”

Outside of the Ahab in the Bible, the most famous Ahab is probably the obsessive captain of the Pequod in Herman Melville’s novel “Moby Dick.”

4. Alaric

An Ancient Germanic name, Alaric means “ruler of all.”

Aleric was the Visigoth king who led the 410 A.D. sacking of Rome. This was the first time in over 800 years that Rome fell to a foreign power and a significant event in the fall of the Roman Empire.

5. Alfred

The Old English name Alfred means “elf counsel.”

6. Algernon

Algenon is a Norman French name that means “has a mustache.”

When William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066, his companion William de Percy was known as aux gernons, a Norman French nickname, meaning “having a mustache.”

7. Ambrose

The Late Latin name Ambrose means “immortal.”

The American industrialist, businessman, inventor, and politician Ambrose Everett Burnside had a distinctive beard. The strips of hair that joined his mustache to the sides of his ears were nicknamed Burnsides, which eventually became the word sideburns.

8. Amos

Amos is a Hebrew name, meaning “burden” or “load.”

Minor Old Testament prophet Amos spoke out against corruption, greed, and the oppression of the poor. His words on the disparity between the rich and the poor and his themes of divine retribution and justice became cornerstones of prophecy.

9. Angus

An Anglicized form of the Scottish name Aonghus, Angus means “one strength.”

Angus Young is the lead guitarist and songwriter for the Australian rock group AC/DC. Young is known for the schoolboy uniform he wears on stage and his legendary guitar playing.

10. Archibald

The English boy’s name Archibald means “bold and genuine.”

If you are looking for a quirkier old-fashioned boy name, in the European medieval period, the Old High German version of this name was Erkanbald. In contrast, the Anglo-Saxon version was Eorcenbald, and the Old French form was Archaunbault.

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11. Arthur

Arthur is an English name of uncertain meaning.

Some historians believe the name Arthur evolved from the Celtic word elements artos and viros or rigos, which mean “bear” and “man” or “king.”

12. Atticus

Atticus is a Latinized Greek name, meaning “from Attica.”

Atticus Finch is a central character in the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which won a Pulitzer prize in 1960. Atticus, a lawyer with strong views about equality and justice, stirs up the community with his defence of Tom Robinson, a black man wrongfully accused of raping a white girl.

13. Baldric

The English name Baldric means “bold, brave,” and “ruler, mighty.”

A baldric is the name of a medieval belt worn over the shoulder. It was used to hold a weapon, usually a sword. Today, drum majors in marching bands are likely to wear a baldric to hold their instrument.

14. Balthazar

Balthazar is from a Babylonian name, meaning “God protect the king.”

Balthazar was an evolution of the Akkadian name Bel-sharra-usur which means “Bel, protect the king.” In this context, Bel is the Akkadian form of Ba’al, which is Hebrew and means “lord, master, protector.”

15. Barnabas

A Greek name, Barnabas means “son of the prophet” or “encouragement.”

There are two theories about the meaning of Barnabas. One is that the Greeks developed this name from the Aramaic name בּר נביא bar naviya, meaning “son of the prophet.” Meanwhile, the Bible book Acts says it means “son of encouragement.”

16. Bartholomew

The English name Bartholomew means “son of Talmai.”

Bartholomew is the English form of the Greek name Ptolemy, an evolution of the Aramaic name Talmai. Talmai means “furrowed” in Hebrew and is the name of several minor characters in the Bible, including a Nephilim or giant.

17. Benedict

From the Latin name Benedictus, Benedict means “blessed.”

The root Latin words that form Benedict are bene, which means “good,” and dicte, which means “speak.” Therefore the literal meaning is “well-spoken.”

18. Bernard

Bernard is a Germanic name that means “brave bear.”

In 1921, 4,072 U.S. babies per million were named Bernard. This number has since taken a dive, and as of this writing, only 47 babies per million bear this name. We think it’s time for a comeback!

19. Bertrand

The Ancient Germanic name Bertrand means “bright” or “wise.”

Bertrand is often confused by the similar-sounding but entirely different name Bertram. However, in the modern era, the two names have been used interchangeably when naming children after relatives.

20. Cadmus

Cadmus is a Latinized Greek name of unknown meaning.

There are various possible root words or sounds in Greek, Arabic, and Semitic languages that could be linked to Cadmus. The most likely meanings are said to be “from the east” or “he who excels.”

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21. Caleb

The meaning of the English name Caleb is debated.

The most likely meaning of Caleb comes from the Hebrew word kelev, which means “dog.” However, it could come from the Hebrew words Kal, meaning “whole” and lev, meaning “heart.”

22. Carl

Carl is a Germanic name, meaning “man, warrior.”

Until the 1950s, Carl was a top 50 boy name in the U.S. every year. However, since then, it has declined in use and was #815 in 2020.

23. Cedric

Cedric is an English name that could mean “love.”

Sir Walter Scott created the name Cedric for a character in his novel “Ivanhoe.” It’s thought he based it on the Brythonic name Caratacos, which means “love.”

24. Clarence

Clarence began as an adjective for residents of a town called Clare.

The clarence is a type of early 19th century, four-wheeled, horse-drawn carriage. The carriage has an enclosed area for the passengers, the front third of which is glass. Drivers sit outside on a bench seat.

25. Claude

The French name Claude means “crippled” or “lame.”

While in non-French speaking countries, Claude is considered a boy name, in France and other Francophile nations, Claude is a distinctly gender-neutral name.

26. Clement

The English name Clement means “gentle, merciful.”

There were 14 popes named Clement, which made the name popular in England until the Protestant Reformation when names seen as Catholic fell out of favor.

27. Cuthbert

Cuthbert is an Old English name, meaning “famous and bright.”

Cuthbert was a hermit who lived on the island of Lindisfarne, which is off the North-Eastern coast of England. The Celtic Christian bishop was said to perform miraculous healings. He was proclaimed a saint in 689 A.D.

28. Cyrus

Cyrus is from a Greek name, meaning “young” or “far-sighted.”

Cyrus II of Persia was the founder of the First Persian Empire. Also known as Cyrus the Great, he reigned for roughly 30 years and was successful in part because he respected the cultures of the societies he conquered.

29. Dorian

Dorian is a name created for literature.

Oscar Wilde created the name Dorian for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. It is thought Wilde based the name on the Dorians, one of the most significant ethnicities of Ancient Greece.

30. Douglas

The Anglicized form of the Scottish name Dubhghlas, Douglas means “dark river.”

Douglas began as a place name but was adopted by a powerful Scottish clan based in Douglas, South Lanarkshire, Scotland.

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31. Edgar

The Old English name Edgar means “wealth,” “fortune,” and “spear.”

Edgar was a popular name in 10th-century England when a King of this name ruled. However, after the Normans invaded England in 1066, it fell out of use, to be revived in the 19th century.

32. Edmund

The English name Edmund means “rich protection.”

Edmund “Ed” Pevensie is the protagonist in three of C.S.Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia books. Starting out as a mean-spirited character, he finds redemption and eventually becomes King Edmund the Just.

33. Edwin

The Dutch name Edwin means “wealthy friend.”

Astronaut, engineer, and fighter pilot Edwin Aldrin, better known by his nickname Buzz, was the second person to step onto the moon.

34. Emmett

Emmett is an English name, meaning “whole, universal.”

African-American teen Emmett Till was abducted from bed, brutally beaten, mutilated, and shot for allegedly whistling at a white woman in 1955. Till’s mother, Mamie, insisted on an open casket, forcing people to confront the realities of racism in the U.S.

35. Ernest

A Germanic name, Ernest means “serious.”

Ernest was a relatively popular Victorian boy name in the U.S., probably because of the high number of German immigrants to the country. Additionally, during the 1880s and 1890s, Ernest was occasionally used as a girl name.

36. Eugene

Eugene comes from the Greek word eugenes, meaning “well-born.”

The old-fashioned boy name Eugene is closely related to the English names Owen and Tyrone, the Scottish name Ewan, and the modern American name Tyrese.

37. Felix

The Ancient Roman name Felix means “successful, lucky.”

Felix began as a Roman cognomen, which was a type of nickname that functioned as a surname. Eventually, Felix evolved into a standalone forename.

38. Francis

Francis is an English name, meaning “Frenchman.”

American author, lawyer, and amateur poet Francis Scott Key is best known for writing the lyrics of the American National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

39. Frederick

The English name Frederick means “peaceful ruler.”

Frederick has the advantage of being an old-fashioned boy name that works well for adults but also has a cute nickname for children, in this case, Freddie.

40. Gerald

A German name, Gerald, means “rule of the spear.”

Gerald was most popular in the U.S. during the 1920s and 1930s when it reached a high point of #19 in the charts. As with other boy names in the 1930s, Gerald was also given to a handful of girls.

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41. Gilbert

Gilbert is an Ancient Germanic name, meaning “bright pledge.”

Gilbert is spelled the same way in English, French, German, and Dutch but pronounced differently in each language. In English, it’s GILL-bart or GILL-bert; in French, it’s ZEEL- ber; in German, it’s GILL-bear-t; and in Dutch, it’s Kill-bart.

42. Giles

Giles is an English name, meaning “young goat.”

During the Salem witch trials, Giles Corey was accused of witchcraft. When he refused to enter a plea, he was subjected to pressing, a form of torture where heavier and heavier stones are placed on the body.

43. Gregory

Gregory is from the Greek word gregoros, meaning “alert, watchful.”

Gregory Herd is a doctor and supervillain in the Marvel comic series. He was known by two other names, Override and the fiery supervillain Shadrac.

44. Hadrian

Hadrian is a Roman name, meaning “from Hadria.”

The Roman settlement of Hadria was where modern-day Adria stands. Roman emperor Hadrianus, also known as Hadrian, built a wall across northern England in an attempt to keep back the rebellious Celtic tribes of the north.

45. Hamish

The Scottish name Hamish means “supplanter.”

Hamish McHamish was a popular Scottish cat famous for frequenting multiple businesses and homes in St. Andrews, Scotland. His story is told in the book “Hamish McHamish of St Andrews: Cool Cat About Town.”

46. Harold

Harold is an English name, meaning “army leader.”

King Harold II of England lost the Battle of Hastings when he was famously shot in the eye with an arrow. His defeat led to the Norman Conquest, which saw the English royal family change from Anglo Saxon to French.

47. Hector

Hector is a Greek name that means “holding fast.”

In Greek mythology, Hector was a prince who led the Trojans and was considered a great warrior by both the Trojans and the Greeks. Hector was eventually slain by Achilles.

48. Herbert

Herbert is a German name, meaning “bright army.”

Herbert Hoover was the 31st President of the United States, serving a single term from 1929 to 1933. Seen by many as a distinctly mediocre President, he failed to realize the significance of the Great Depression.

49. Herman

A Germanic name, Herman means “army man.”

Herman cake is a form of friendship cake. You receive your Herman starter in a jar with instructions for his care. After ten days, you divide him into five, keep one to bake, and pass the others onto friends.

50. Hershel

Hershel is a Yiddish name. It means “deer.”

Hershel began as an affectionate nickname for people called Hersh, then evolved into a popular Yiddish forename in its own right.

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51. Hieronymus

Hieronymus evolved from a Greek name, meaning “sacred name.”

Pronounced in English as high-ah-RAWN-i-mass, the first Hieronymus Bosch was a 15th-century Dutch painter famous for his fantastical paintings. The second is the detective in Micheal Connolly’s Bosch novel series.

52. Hugh

Hugh is from a Germanic word element that means “mind, spirit, heart.”

As well as being a Germanic name, Hugh is also the Anglicized version of the Irish name Aodh, which is a form of the old Irish name Áed, which means “fire.”

53. Hugo

From the same Germanic element as Hugh, Hugo means “spirit, heart, mind.”

In 1890, Hugo was the 259th most popular name in the U.S., with 43 new Hugos born that year. In 2020, there were 699 new Hugos, but because of the higher number of births, it was only #424 in the charts.

54. Humphrey

An English name, Humphrey, means “peaceful warrior.”

The meaning of this name makes it an excellent choice for babies who have fought hard to get here, either through pregnancy complications or their own medical issues.

55. Ichabod

In Hebrew, Ichabod means “not glory.”

Biblical and language scholars have debated the true meaning of Ichabod. Technically, it is I-chabod, in which the I means “not” and chabod means “glory.” However, the I could also mean “alas,” or represent the rhetorical question “where?”

56. Ignatius

Ignatius is a Late Roman name of unknown meaning.

Egnatius was a family name of the Etruscan people, the meaning of which has been lost. However, the spelling changed to align with the Latin word ignis, meaning “fire,” which is where the incorrect definition of “fire” or “fiery” comes from.

57. Ivan

Ivan is a Slavic name that means “God is gracious.”

Film and TV producer, director, and screenwriter Ivan Reitman has worked on many of the classic comedy movies of the 1980s and 1990s, including the “Ghostbusters” movies, “Kindergarten Cop,” and “Twins.” Reitman is currently working on the “Twins” sequel, “Triplets.”

58. Jasper

The English name Jasper may mean “treasurer.”

Jasper, the name, is entirely unrelated to the gemstone. The gemstone is of Semitic origin, via Old French origin, and means “speckled.”

59. Jerome

Jerome is an English name that means “sacred name.”

The unlikely-sounding Greek origin of Jerome is Hieronymic. Forms in other languages include the Basque version, Geronimo; Italian, Gerolamo; Finnish, Roni; Croatian, Jerko; and Romanian, Ieronim.

60. Jude

Jude is an English variant of Judas which means “praise.”

In many English-language versions of the Christian New Testament, the second of Jesus’ disciples named Judas is referred to as Jude. This was done to more easily distinguish him from Judas Iscariot.

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61. Leopold

The Germanic name Leopold means “bold people.”

Originally spelled Leudbald, Leopold was altered to align the first syllable with the Latin word for lion, leo. This may have been done because, in heraldry, the lion symbolizes strength, courage, and nobility.

62. Lewis

Lewis is a Medieval English name, meaning “famous battle.”

This evolution of Louis is preferred by many because of its clear pronunciation. Lewis is always pronounced as LOO-is, while Louis can be either LOO-is or LOO-ee.

63. Lucius

Lucius is an Ancient Roman name that means “light.”

Lucius was the most popular forename in Ancient Rome, which is why the Romans had so many nicknames for each other.

64. Magnus

The Late Latin name Magnus means “great.”

The Nordic Magnus is a Latinized form of the Old Norse name Magni, which means “strength, might.” First documented in Sweden in the 12th century, Magnus was rejected as an official name in Iceland in 2006.

65. Malcolm

Malcolm is a Scottish name, meaning “disciple of Saint Columba.”

The Cleveland Browns’ linebacker Malcolm Xavier Smith was named Most Valuable Player in the Super Bowl XLVIII, played in February 2014.

66. Maurice

Maurice is a French name that means “dark-skinned” or “Moorish.”

Saint-Maurice is a small city in Switzerland that is named after an Egyptian-born Ancient Roman military leader. As Christians, he and his men refused to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods and were subsequently executed.

67. Maxwell

The English name Maxwell means “Mack’s stream.”

Maxwell’s demon is a thought experiment that would, in theory, violate the second law of thermodynamics. The debate over whether or not it is possible continues to the present day.

68. Merril

Merrill is an English name, meaning “pleasant hill.”

Merrills is a board game that is also known in the U.S. as Nine Men’s Morris. The earliest known example of the game is carved into a roof slab of an Ancient Egyptian temple.

69. Mortimer

Mortimer is an English name that means “still water.”

A literal translation of the name Mortimer comes from its French roots. The original town name in Normandy is morte mare, which means “dead water.”

70. Myron

Myron is an Ancient Greek name, meaning “sweet oil, perfume.”

Myron “Mike” Wallace was one of the first correspondents for the CBS show “60 Minutes.” Wallace’s interviewees included Malcolm X, Vladimir Putin, Barbra Streisand, and Salvador Dali.

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71. Norbert

An Ancient Germanic name, Norbert, means “north bright.”

Norbert Rillieux is widely seen as one of the world’s first chemical engineers. The son of a prominent Creole plantation owner in Louisiana, Rilliuex developed a revolutionary sugar cane processing machine.

72. Norman

The Ancient Germanic name Norman means “North Man.”

The “north men” to whom this name refers were Vikings who came down from Scandinavia and settled in the area of France we now know as Normandy.

73. Orson

Orson is an English name, meaning “bear.”

This cute old-fashioned boy name is ripe for a comeback. It is short, easy to spell, straightforward to pronounce, and difficult to shorten. It has everything you might be looking for in a name while still being relatively unused.

74. Orville

Orville was an author-created name that possibly means “golden city.”

The name Orville didn’t exist until 18th-century writer Fanny Burney developed it. Nobody knows for sure, but it’s thought she was thinking of the French words ville d’or, meaning “golden city,” when she created it.

75. Oscar

Oscar is from an Old English name, meaning “God’s spear.”

An alternative meaning for Oscar is “friend of deer.” This comes from the Irish word elements of os, which means “deer,” and car, which means “friend” or “loving.”

76. Oswald

The Anglo-Saxon name Oswald means “God’s power” or “ruler.”

You may not have heard of Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, but you do not need to be a DC or superhero fan, in general, to have heard of his alter ego, The Penguin, one of the supervillains in the Batman series.

77. Percival

Percival evolved from a Welsh name, meaning “hard spears.”

The name Percival may be based on the Welsh name Peredur. However, the name may also have been influenced by the Old French phrase, percer val, which means “piercing the valley.”

78. Peregrine

The name Peregrine comes from a Late Latin word that means “traveler.”

The Italian form of this name is Pellegrino, as in the Italian sparkling water brand owned by the Sanpellegrino S.p.A company.

79. Ralph

Ralph is from an Old Norse name that means “wolf counsel.”

Ralph can be pronounced as either RALF or RAYF, and it evolved from the Ancient Scandinavian name Ráðúlfr, which is pronounced rah-THOOL-fur.

80. Randolf

Randolf is from Germanic word elements, meaning “rin of a shield” and “wolf.”

Randolf was the original spelling of this name which evolved from the Old Norse Randúlfr. The alternative spelling was created in the 18th century, and either spelling is seen as valid today.

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81. Rembrandt

The Dutch name Rembrandt means “advice” or “sword.”

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is thought to be one of the most talented visual artists in history. Usually referred to only by his first name, he modified the spelling of his first name by adding the d.

82. Roderick

Roderick is a Germanic name, meaning “famous ruler.”

Roderick Strong is the ring name of American professional wrestler Christopher Lindsey. He performed and competed in Ring of Honor Wrestling, Full Impact Wrestling, and TNAW before joining the WWE in 2016.

83. Rodney

Rodney is a Germanic name, meaning “famous island.”

In the U.S., the name Rodney has been steadily declining in popularity since it reached its peak at #65 on the U.S. top 1,000 boy names chart in 1965. In 2020 it reached an all-time low of #862.

84. Roland

A Germanic name, Roland means “famous land.”

Roland shares the Germanic name element hrod, meaning “fame,” with Roger, Robert, Rudolph, and Rodney. Meanwhile, it shares landa, meaning “land,” with Lambert, Lance, and Orlando.

85. Rufus

Rufus means “red-haired” in Latin.

The meaning of the name Rufus makes it the ideal old-fashioned boy name for redheads. The only downside is that kids are bound to call him Rufus the Dufus.

86. Rupert

Rupert is a German name that means “bright fame.”

Rupert was the name of a planet in “Mostly Harmless,” the fifth book of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.

87. Saul

Saul is from a Hebrew name, meaning “prayed for” or “asked for.”

“Better Call Saul” is a spin-off series following the Breaking Bad character Saul Goodman. Goodman begins his story arc as James Morgan McGill but changes his name to a play on the phrase “It’s all good, man.”

88. Sebastian

Sebastian is from a Latin name that means “from Sebaste.”

In “Fight Club 2,” the graphic novel series, The Narrator, who tells the story in the original Fight Club, reveals himself to be called Sebastian.

89. Seymour

Seymour is an English name for someone from Saint Maur.

“Seymour: An Introduction” is a 1959 novella written by J.D. Salinger and published in an anthology book in 1963. It is written as a stream of consciousness narrative.

90. Stuart

The English name Stuart means “house guard.”

Stuart began as an occupational surname given to stewards. It first saw use as a forename in the late 19th century, when it was used in honor of the Stuart royal family.

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91. Theodore

The name Theodore comes from a Greek name, meaning “gift of God.”

If you feel pressured to name your child after a relative, and that relative is called Jonathon, Matthew, or Nathanael, then you can use Theodore instead. Each of these four names has similar meanings, such as “God has given” or “gift of Yahweh.”

92. Tobias

Tobias is a Greek name that means “God is good.”

In the 2018 movie “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” Tobias Beckett is the leader of a gang of thieves who happen upon the young Han Solo. Beckett mentors Solo but ultimately betrays him.

93. Tristan

Tristan is an Old French name, meaning “riot.”

In the 12th-century romance “Tristan and Iseult,” Tristan is the King of Cornwall’s nephew and is sent to fetch Iseult for her marriage to the king. On the way back, Tristan and Iseult accidentally drink a love potion, resulting in tragic consequences.

94. Uriah

The name Uriah is an evolution of a Biblical name, meaning “God is my light.”

Uriah Heep is a character in Charles Dickens’ novel “David Copperfield.” Heep is a conman and fraud whose name has become synonymous with Sycophancy.

95. Vernon

Vernon is an English name that means “alder.”

The Little Hunting Creek Plantation was renamed Mount Vernon by Lawrence Washington. The estate was inherited by George Washington, who lived and died there.

96. Victor

Victor is a Late Roman name that means “conqueror, victor.”

Doctor Victor Frankenstein is the protagonist of the Mary Shelly novel “Frankenstein,” or “The Modern Prometheus.” The doctor comes to regret his experimentation and is more of a tragic figure than the mad scientist of the movies.

97. Virgil

Virgil is a Roman name of unknown meaning.

NASA selected Virgil Grissom to be one of the Project Mercury astronauts. The second American to go into space, Grissom, died in the Apollo I accident in 1967 along with Ed White and Roger B. Chaffee.

98. Walter

Walter is a Germanic name that begins with the letter W, which means “ruler of the army.”

There are currently 505,594 Walters living in the U.S. However, not all of them are male. Before the 1940s, a steady number of American girls were named Walter.

99. Wendel

The German name Wendel means “a member of the Vandal tribe.”

Wendel has never been a trendy name, and the only time it has featured in the U.S. top 1,000 boy name charts was in 1940 when it snuck in under the wire at #952.

100. Wilbur

A Middle English name, Wilbur means “wild boar.”

Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate North America manufactures four brands of chocolate, one of which is called Wilbur. Wilbur Buds are very similar to Hershey’s Kisses, but the Bud began manufacture in 1893, while Kisses weren’t made until 1907.

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Old-Fashioned Boy Names

Old-fashioned boy names do not have to be boring and stuffy. Many of these old-timey monikers are as cute as they are unusual, and many of them have the added bonus of having adorable nicknames.

This is just a snapshot of the hundreds of potential names for your newborn. Did we include your favorite?

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About the Author

Patricia Barnes

Patricia Barnes is a homeschooling mom of 5 who has been featured on Global TV, quoted in Parents magazine, and writes for a variety of websites and publications. Doing her best to keep it together in a life of constant chaos, Patti would describe herself as an eclectic mess maker, lousy crafter, book lover, autism mom, and insomniac.