Jewish baby names

18 Jewish Baby Names That Were Popular — in 1917!

"Vintage black and white photograph of a baby girl sitting on an animal skin rug, with a teddy bear and toys, circa 1910. Some dust and scratches that reflect age of original image. See my vintage images lightbox, including similar baby boy shot..."

We always talk about baby names that are popular, but what about Jewish baby names that were popular over 100 years ago? Well, according to the Social Security Administration (via Huffington Post), there are a few Jewish baby names that made the list–some of which I really adore and wish would come back in style. Others are probably pretty familiar to you. (Check out our Jewish baby name bank here for more inspiration.)

Below are the most popular baby names for boys and girls in 1917:

Girls

1. Ruth. Ruth is a Hebrew name that means “friendship.” Ruth is the heroine of the Book of Ruth, who cares for Naomi, marries Boaz, and becomes an ancestor of King David. Shavuot: The Book of Ruth is traditionally read on Shavuot.

2. Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a Hebrew name meaning “God is my oath.”

3. Edna. Edna is Hebrew meaning “pleasure.” The Garden of Eden is the setting for the creation story.

4. Martha/Matya. Martha is an Aramaic name that means “the lady.” Matya is a similar sounding name in Hebrew that means “God’s gift.”

Boys

5. James/Jacob. James comes from the Hebrew name, Jacob, which means “to follow.” Jacob is the third patriarch in the Bible, and was father of the 12 tribes of Israel.

6. Joseph. Joseph is a Hebrew name that means “increase.” Joseph was one of the sons of Jacob and a leader of the Israelites in Egypt.

7. Thomas. Tomer, which is Hebrew, means “palm tree.”

But that’s not it. What about even farther back, like the Victorian era (1837 to 1901)? Here the top Jewish baby names for that time:

Boys

8. Abraham. Abraham is Hebrew and means “father of many.” Abraham was the first patriarch, duh.

9. Ephraim. Efraim (another way to spell it) is Hebrew and means “fruitful.” Efraim was one of Joseph’s sons. Male children are blessed in the name of Efraim and his brother Menashe.

10. Harold. Harold is another non-Jewish name used by Jewish people. It is Scandinavian and means “army ruler.” Hal or Harry are fun nicknames.

11. Ira. Ira is a Hebrew name that means “watchful.” Ira the Jairite was also King David‘s priest, while Ira ben Ikkesh of Tekoa was a fighter in King David’s Mighty Warriors.

12. Samuel. Samuel is a Hebrew name meaning “God has heard.” Samuel the prophet anointed the first two kings of Israel.

Girls

13. Beryl. Beryl is a Yiddish name that means “bear.” It also unisex.

14. Charlotte. Charlotte is a popular name popularized by immigrants because it means “free,” though it’s not strictly Jewish

15. Ella. Ella is a nickname for Elizabeth, which is a Hebrew name meaning “God is my oath.”

16. Esther. Esther is a Hebrew girls name meaning “star.” Queen Esther was the Jewish wife of the King of Persia, and heroine who saved the Jews in the Purim story.

17. Evie, which is very similar to Chava (Eve in English) is the Hebrew name of Eve, the first woman God created.

18. Sadie. It’s a nickname for Sarah (meaning “princess”), a name made famous by the biblical wife of Abraham, also the mother of Isaac.

For more naming inspiration, visit our Jewish Baby Name Finder.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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