I was recently contacted for more middle name advice, this time related to the name Aubrey for a girl. Aubrey is one of those names that feels fresh and new, but once you start to look a little closer you realize that it has a history much more extensive than you first assumed.
From Past To Present
This is partly because for the first part of its history, Aubrey was almost exclusively a male name.
It’s the French form of the Germanic name Alberich, and was common as male first name as early as the Middle Ages! It eventually fell out of favour for many years, only to come back in to use in the nineteenth century (again, as a male name).
The Social Security Administration records show that it was used steadily in the first half of the twentieth century before its use gradually began to decline in the 1960s, eventually falling off the Top 1000 list of names all together in 2002.
The most notable male named Aubrey around today is probably the rapper Drake, whose full name is actually Aubrey Drake Graham.
But while Aubrey was declining in popularity as a male name, its use as a female name was just starting to take off.
Some sources suggest that the musical group Bread’s 1972 song, Aubrey, was the start of its use as a female name, and indeed the first year the name appeared on the Social Security Administration’s Top 1000 list on the girls’ side was in 1973.
It caught on quickly initially, rising in usage through the 1980s and 1990s, before seeing a huge spike in popularity in the 2000s. Its highest position on the popularity charts was in 2012, when it hit 15.
If I were to choose a middle name for Aubrey, I would keep its history in mind and choose a middle name that is clearly feminine, not unisex (Aubrey Taylor, for example). There are three routes that I would go: either classically beautiful, modern and cool, or sweet, simple, and a little old-fashioned.
Look back to the early 1900s for some inspiration of classically feminine names that are still beautiful and in popular use today. Think about which letter sounds make for good flow at the beginning and ending of the name.
A name like Lily or Penelope that ends in the same –ee sound as Aubrey doesn’t have great flow. Aubrey Lillian sounds much better than Aubrey Lily.
With the –ee ending of the first name, I like how names which end in either an ‘a’ or a consonant sound pair with Aubrey. Try Aubrey Vanessa, Aubrey Rebecca, Aubrey Julia, Aubrey Cecilia, Aubrey Sophia, Aubrey Olivia, Aubrey Violet, Aubrey Charlotte, Aubrey Beatrice, Aubrey Josephine, or Aubrey Caroline.
Some people don’t like it when the first and middle names start with the same letter, but I think that it can work sometimes, particularly if the letters have different sounds.
Aubrey Aurora, for example, doesn’t flow as well together as Aubrey Alexandra or Aubrey Adele.
As I said above, even though Aubrey has a history of use dating back to the Middle Ages, its recent switch from the male side to the female side of baby name lists makes it sound much more fresh and contemporary.
Pair it with another more modern name to result in a combo that sounds like she was born in the twenty-first century.
Although I said above that I would try and avoid unisex middle names, some of the names in this list have a similar history to Aubrey and are now used almost exclusively on girls (at least in the US).
A one-syllable middle name always sounds cool and snappy. Think Aubrey Paige, Aubrey Brooke, Aubrey Brynn, Aubrey Sloan, or Aubrey Rae.
Options that are slightly longer but still fresh and new include Aubrey Maren, Aubrey Harlow, Aubrey Eden, Aubrey Scarlett, Aubrey Luna, Aubrey Mia, or Aubrey Zora.
Sweet and Simple
Think of this category as a slightly more interesting version of classic middle name standbys such as Ann, Marie, Grace, and Rose. These names are all fairly short and neutral in sound, but a slightly more interesting update to yet another girl with the middle name Grace.
Options in this category include names like Aubrey Hazel, Aubrey Claire, Aubrey Louise, Aubrey Renee, Aubrey Elise, Aubrey Tess, Aubrey Rae, Aubrey Mae, Aubrey June, and Aubrey Willa.
Aubrey is an old name that feels new, so depending on which middle name it is paired with it can have a totally different feel. If I had to choose my top three picks for a middle name for Aubrey, I think that I would go with one of either Aubrey Josephine, Aubrey Paige, or Aubrey Elise. Best of luck with whichever middle name you end up choosing for Aubrey!