Nicknames are fun and full of personality, which is why they are so popular. In fact, there’s actually a trend where moms and dads choose nicknames as first names. That’s right -– no more Jonathon or Evangeline; they just skip right to Jon and Eva.
So how did the trend of nicknames get started? It all began back in the 18th Century when names were passed down from generation to generation.
As a result, BBC reports that over 50 per cent of boys who were baptized in Britain were given one of three names: William, John or Thomas. For girls, over half were baptized with the names Elizabeth, Mary or Anne.
Since these three monikers for boys and girls were so popular, nicknames became incredibly important to differentiate.
Laura Wattenberg, author of The Baby Name Wizard, reiterated this point to having a nickname was very important. At one time in history 25 per cent of all English babies were named John or Mary.”: “Back when names were more concentrated,
Interestingly, nicknames back in the day were actually pretty creative. Take Peggy, for instance, which is a short form for Margaret. This originated in the 12th and 13th centuries when rhyming nicknames were popular. That’s why Peggy became known as a nickname for Meggy.
Another example is the common nickname Harry for Henry. This dates back to medieval times when British monarchs who were named Henry would prefer their subjects to call them Harry. Today, we see this with Prince Harry, whose actual title is Prince Henry of Wales.