Old Fashioned French Names


eiffel-tower-1900-grangerBelow is a compilation of names that used to be popular in France, but are now very obsolete. Many of these are quite lovely. What do you think?

The following is from the top 1000 most Popular Names in France in 1900-1910

Male

  • Adélin
  • Adelson
  • Adhémar
  • Adonis
  • Agathon
  • Aimable
  • Alidor
  • Allyr
  • Alphée
  • Amans
  • Amède
  • Amilcar
  • Angelbert
  • Angelin
  • Angeli
  • Annet
  • Aramis
  • Arcade
  • Ariste
  • Arthémon
  • Attilius
  • Augustave
  • Avit
  • Babylas
  • Baptistin
  • Bénoni
  • Bernardin
  • Bertin
  • Bienaimé
  • Bienvenu
  • Bonaventure
  • Bonnet
  • Candide
  • Carmélien
  • Cecilien
  • Charlemagne
  • Charlot (SHAR-lo)
  • Chéri
  • Childebert (SHEEL-de-BARE)
  • Cyr
  • Chrétien
  • Clair
  • Claudien
  • Clet
  • Courte/Court
  • Crépin
  • Dagobert
  • Damas
  • Danton
  • Désir
  • Diogène
  • Durand
  • Egon
  • Eliacin
  • Élien
  • Ennemond
  • Ésprit (spirit, used in reference to the Holy Spirit, ay-SPREE)
  • Événor
  • Évrard
  • Fénélon
  • Férréol
  • Ferrer
  • Fiacre
  • Fleury
  • Florimond
  • Floris
  • Francisque
  • Fructueux
  • Frumence
  • Georget
  • Gentil
  • Germinal
  • Goulven
  • Hégésippe
  • Hilarion
  • Hoche
  • Imbert
  • Janvier
  • Joannet
  • Joannes
  • Josephin
  • Junien
  • Justinien
  • Juvénal
  • Kléber
  • Landry
  • Lézin
  • Lievin
  • Lin
  • Lubin
  • Magloire
  • Marceau
  • Marde
  • Marien
  • Marin
  • Martial
  • Martel
  • Mathurin
  • Maurille
  • Mélaine
  • Mesmin
  • Mounoussamy
  • Morand
  • Myrtil
  • Nello
  • Numa
  • Oculi
  • Onésime
  • Optat
  • Oreste
  • Osmin
  • Otton
  • Ours (bear)
  • Ovide
  • Pacifique
  • Pantaléon
  • Parfait
  • Pasteur
  • Paulin
  • Pélage
  • Pépin
  • Pothin
  • Privat
  • Prudent
  • Quilicus
  • Ramsamy
  • Rigobert
  • Robespierre
  • Roch
  • Rogatien
  • Rosaire (rosary)
  • Rufin/Ruffin
  • Sabas
  • Sabin
  • Saint
  • Saint-Ange
  • Sainte-Croix (Holy Cross)
  • Saint-Jean
  • Saint-Just
  • Saint-Martin
  • Salvator
  • Salvat
  • Saturnin
  • Sauveur (savior)
  • Savinien
  • Sécond
  • Septime
  • Silvère
  • Similien
  • Sosthenes (soze-TEN)
  • Soupaya
  • Sulpice
  • Symphorien
  • Tanguy
  • Telesphore
  • Tertullien
  • Théo
  • Timoléon
  • Toussaint
  • Trémeur
  • Turenne
  • Ursin
  • Vénance
  • Vénant
  • Victorien
  • Victorin
  • Vivant
  • Voltaire
  • Wendelin
  • Zéphyr

Female

  • Albanie
  • Alexandrine
  • Aliette
  • Amalie
  • Aminthe
  • Annonciade
  • Argentine
  • Armance
  • Armantine
  • Azeline
  • Baptistine
  • Barbe
  • Benjamine
  • Bertrande
  • Bluette
  • Carmèle
  • Célinie
  • Césarine
  • Clorinde
  • Clorinthe
  • Corentine
  • Cyprienne
  • Darie
  • Doria
  • Edmonde
  • Éliette
  • Engrace
  • Évodie
  • Ezilda
  • Eudoxie
  • Florida
  • Florentine
  • Franceline
  • Francise
  • Gillette/Gilette
  • Gladie
  • Gracieuse
  • Gustavie
  • Héliane
  • Henria
  • Irmine
  • Ismérie
  • Lazarette
  • Lazarine
  • Lucette
  • Magdeleine
  • Marinette
  • Mathurine
  • Mauricette
  • Mauricia
  • Marie-Marthe
  • Mélie
  • Mélina
  • Modestine
  • Nonce
  • Omérine
  • Palmyre
  • Péroline
  • Prospérine
  • Rachelle
  • Réjane (old form of Regina)
  • Renelle
  • Sainte
  • Séraphie
  • Simonne (see-MAHN and not see-MONE)
  • Thomassine
  • Toussainte (all-saints)
  • Toussine (TOO-seen)
  • Uranie
  • Urbaine
  • Valérine
  • Victorine
  • Vincente
  • Vitaline
  • Yolaine

 

 

8 thoughts on “Old Fashioned French Names

  1. Hi there. Hopefully, I can find answers to my questions. My (deceased) grandmother’s birth name appears in the Registers as [Lebègue, Sabas Marie Eva] and her sister [Lebègue, Marie Daule Georges]. They both were born in Martinique around 1885.
    Now, I have three questions: (1) aren’t Sabas and Georges boy’s names? or in the old days it didn’t matter to use those names indistinctly?, (2) isn’t Daule a Family name? or why is it inserted in the middle of the name , and (3) am I missing something about the structure old French names?
    Thank you very much. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
    John Abreu.

    • Hi John, I think I can help you with your first question. I searched through the French name data from the year 1900 (available on the INSEE website). Both Sabas and Georges were sometimes given to French girls in the early decades of the 20th century, but the numbers were very low (less than twenty girls per year received either name). Sabas was a rare name for boys at this point in time as well. I’m not sure why these names were used for girls. My assumption would be that they were named after male relatives or godfathers. Hope this helps.

      • It’s more likely they were named for saints or the scribe made a mistake with the gender or used the male forms of the names by mistake. Another possibility is it could have been Marie-Sabas or Marie – Georges, perhaps they were named for a specific Saint.

    • Sorry for responding so late. It looks like these particular ancestors of yours were named for saints. It is not unusual for French name customs to take a male name and hyphen it with Marie. If the Saint had an insanely common name like Jean or Marie as a first name, then parents would use the surname of the Saint as a first name, as in the case of Chantal and Vianney. Daule may be a saints surname. Also during the Republic, secular and Protestant parents adopted this form of naming by using the surname of a military leader or political figure, which is reflected in the American south through Huguenot immigrants and became widespread among all immigrant groups eventually.

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