It’s an old-lady name that’s just starting to sound fresh again.
Originally a nickname for Elizabeth/Elisabeth, it grew in popularity as a stand alone name in the end part of the 19th Century and eventually peaked at #31 in 1896, she remained in the limelight until the 1930s, when an advertising campaign began, headed by a cow called Elsie.
At the height of her popularity, What Katy Did was published. The middle sister of the Carr family was named Elsie.
A few decades ago Elsie departed altogether from the Top 1000, until it reappeared on the US popularity list in 2005, and it’s been steadily climbing ever since:
2005 – #922
2006 – #874
2007 – #886
2008 – #741
2009 – #679
Similar names have also popped up recently:
Elise – #211
Eloise – #917
Elsie is currently the one diminuative of Elizabeth that has started to rise, sisters Betsy, Betty, Bessie and Elsa have not had much attention. Part of the Elsie success story could be similar to Emma’s success story. Emma piggybacked on Emily’s success after parents searched for an alternative, similarly, parents could be turning to Elsie as an alternative to Ella and Ellie.
The name also contains the loveable -ie ending, which frequents amongst french baby names, considered chic by American Baby Namers; in France’s most popular list, there are names such as Élodie, Aurélie and Amélie.
There haven’t been any truely notable Elsie of late, the closest we get it in Laguna Beach, where the initials L.C. are used by star Lauren Conrad as a nickname.
Hey, any publicity is good publicity.