75 Colonial Names for Your Baby
Early settlers fashioned one of the first American settlements, Virginia, to honor the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I. It was customary in the early days of America to name places after the reigning monarchs or their wives and children: Jamestown, Marysville, Elizabethtown, Annapolis (City of Anne).
More: 75 Native American Names
In the 1600s, the majority of new Americans were those seeking religious freedom from England. As a result, four of the most popular female names were English in origin: Elizabeth, Mary, Anne, and Sarah. Even 100 years after signing the Declaration of Independence, when the Social Security Administration began keeping tabs, Mary, Anna, and Elizabeth were still topping the charts. For boys, names such as John, William, Henry, and George were popular 400 years ago and are still quite popular today.
The Spanish also explored the New World but didn’t set foot in what is now the United States until 1513, when they established a settlement in Florida. However, the English, not to be outdone, won a battle for American territories between Spain and England leaving the once-powerful Spanish Armada in shambles in 1588, and eroding Spain's exploration efforts in the Americas.
Despite England now having a clear way, many early English settlements met with disaster. At times, entire communities, like the one established in 1585 on Roanoke Island, were destroyed by disease, starvation, and attacks by Native Americans attempting to impede the new settlers from invading their lands. As a result, it wasn't until the Mayflower set sail in 1620 that significant settlements were established in the New World. The Mayflower brought 102 men, women, and children and many of the names that would stand the test of time on the newly minted American soil.
If you are seeking a colonial name for your baby, we’ve compiled a list of 75 baby names that have their history and roots in the earliest days of America from the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving up and through the Revolutionary War that brought America her Independence.
Colonial Baby Girl Names
- Abigail - Hebrew. Father’s Joy. Anyone who has read or seen the famous Puritan witch hunt play The Crucible by Arthur Miller is familiar with this old-fashioned name.
- Alice - German. Noble. This name was an influence of the early German settlers.
- Annabel - Anglo-Saxon/Scottish. Loveable. This name of Scottish origin is also the subject of Edgar Allen Poe’s gothic poem "Annabel Lee".
- Anne - Hebrew. God has favored me. Anne was a popular name of British queens and royalty during the time of American Colonialism. Anne Hutchinson was a renegade female preacher who is considered an early feminist. Excommunicated from the Puritan church, she went on to settle Rhode Island and later settled in New York.
- Aquinnah - Wampanoag. Land under the hill. The name of an island in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The Wampanoag were the Native Americans involved with the first Thanksgiving.
- Astrid - Scandinavian/Norse. Divinely beautiful.
- Bridget - Gaelic. Bridget is the anglicized version of the Irish name Brighid which means strength or exalted one.
- Cecily - Latin/Old Welsh. Cecily is the feminine version of Cecil.
- Comfort - English. To strengthen and support. People may not use this unique name much today, but it was quite trendy among newly settled puritans.
- Elspeth - Scottish. This name hails from Scotland. It is the Scottish variation of Elizabeth.
- Elizabeth - Hebrew. This Hebrew name means pledged to God. Elizabeth I was one of the longest and most successful monarchs in English history and the reigning Queen during early voyages to the Americas.
- Esther - Persian. This classic biblical name means star. Queen Esther was a hero in the Old Testament who saved the Jewish people by marrying King Ahasuerus. It was a popular puritan girl’s name.
- Hester - Hebrew. This name is a variation of Esther, which means star. It is the name of the unfortunate heroine in The Scarlet Letter.
- Lydia - Greek. Beautiful or noble one.
- Margaret - Greek. Pearl. Margaret was a very popular Dutch name and came over with many early Dutch and German settlers to America.
- Mary - English. Bitter. Despite its less than favorable meaning because of the religious connection, Mary has always been a popular name in America. An influx of Irish immigrants in the 19th century also fueled the popularity of the name.
- Mercy - Latin. Compassion, forgiveness, or pity.
- Meredith - Welsh. Great ruler.
- Prudence - Latin. Caution or virtue. Few names have a more puritan ring to them than this one does.
- Rachel - Hebrew. Ewe. Rachael is a popular Old Testament name.
- Ruth - Hebrew. Friend. An Old Testament name.
- Sarah - Hebrew/Persian. This name means princess. It was a prevalent name among puritan women.
- Selah - Hebrew. This name appears in the Old Testament and is believed to mean praise. Not one you often find, we thought it needed to be included on our colonial names list because it is so pretty and unique!
- Sibella - Spanish. Sibella is a lovely version of Elizabeth.
- Tabitha - Greek. Graceful or gazelle.
- Tahira - Arabic. It may surprise some people to see this Arabic origin name on a list of colonial names, but it was quite popular in the puritan era.
- Temperance - English. Self-control or moderation.
- Verity - Latin. Sincerity or truth.
- Victoria - Latin. This name of Latin origin means victory. It is the female version of the name Victor. Queen Victoria was a little late for American Colonialism, but her reign left a lasting impact worldwide.
- Winifred - Welsh. Blessed peacemaking. Fans of the movie Hocus Pocus may like this witchy colonial name.
Colonial Baby Boy Names
- Archibald - German. This German origin name is making a comeback thanks to Meghan and Harry’s son Archie. It means truly brave. The perfect name for any little prince!
- Amos - Hebrew. Carried by God.
- Barnabas - Aramaic. Son of the prophet. Barnabas is a name you don’t hear often, but Barnaby could be an adorable variation or nickname for babies with this moniker.
- Benjamin - Hebrew. Son of the right hand. A popular old testament name.
- Cecil - Latin/Old Welsh. Blind or Sixth. Cecil was the first name of one of Elizabeth I’s closest advisors.
- Clement - Latin. This name means mild or gentle.
- Edward - Old English. Wealthy guard. Edward Winslow’s letter discussing the first Thanksgiving is the primary source historians have that gives us any details of what that first holiday was truly like.
- Elijah - Hebrew. Yahweh is God.
- Enoch - Hebrew. Dedicated. Enoch was an important figure in the Old Testament.
- Eugene - Greek. Eugene has Greek origins and means wellborn or noble.
- Frederick - German. The traditional German name means Peaceful ruler.
- George - Greek. Farmer. What name could be more colonial than that of the first U.S. President?
- Henry - German. Ruler of the throne.
- Isaac - Hebrew. Laughter.
- Jacob - Hebrew. Supplanter.
- Jedidiah - Hebrew. Beloved of Jehovah.
- John - Hebrew. God is gracious. There are so many famous John’s scattered throughout history it’s hard to attribute this name to just one person!
- Jonas - Greek. This Greek name is a variation of Jonah, which means dove.
- Josiah - Hebrew. This Hebrew origin name means God supports and heals.
- Jude - Latin. The name Jude means praised. It is a derivative of the word Judah.
- Kit - Greek. The name Kit can be used on its own or for someone whose given name is Christopher.
- Malcolm - Scottish. A devotee of Saint Columba.
- Norman - Old German. Northerner.
- Phineas - Egyptian. The Nubian.
- Samoset - Wampanoag. He who walks over much. The Wampanoag tribe were the Native Americans involved in the first Thanksgiving.
- Squanto - Native American. Squanto is known for being one of the earliest Native Americans that worked as a liaison between the native tribes and the settlers of the Mayflower.
- Thaddeus - Aramaic. Gift of God.
- Theodore - Latin. This name comes from the ancient Greek word Theos for God and means gift of God.
- William - Old German/English. Strong-willed and resolute protector. William was the name of many British kings, including King William III, King of England, until 1702. He and his wife founded William and Mary College in Virginia in 1693.
- Zachariah - Hebrew. The Lord has remembered.
Gender-Neutral Colonial Names
- Addison - Old English. Child of Adam.
- Alden - Old English. Old friend.
- Alex - Greek. Man’s defender or warrior. What name could be more colonial than Alexander Hamilton? Alex is a name that can be used for both boys and girls and can be a nickname of Alexander or Alexandra or used on its own.
- Amory - Old German. Power or bravery.
- Blythe - English. Happy. Traditionally Blythe is used as a girl’s name, but we think it could work for a boy too.
- Charlie - French. Charlie can work for both boys and girls. It can be short for Charles or Charlotte. It means free man.
- Chris - Greek. Bearing Christ. Depending on your beliefs on where Christopher Columbus falls in the importance of early colonialism, Chris is a name that can be used for both boys and girls.
- Credence - English. A belief in or acceptance that something is true. Thanks to the Harry Potter universe movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, this old-fashioned name has made a bit of a comeback.
- Freedom - English. This English origin name means liberty—the perfect colonial name.
- Honor - English. Dignity and esteem. Honor was very important to the puritans.
- Noah - Hebrew. Repose or rest.
- Quinn - Irish. Descendant of Conn. Conn is the Irish word for leader or chief.
- Reverie - English. Losing oneself in thought. Ethereal or dreamlike. You could also change this English name to Revere to honor the patriot Paul Revere which has an old French meaning of living by the river.
- Robin - English. Famous or bright.
- Sage - Latin. Wise. Parents can use this simple and classy name for both boys and girls.
Looking for more baby names and inspiration? Check out our Baby Name Center.
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