Naming your baby should be simple, right? Yet you live in an age where famous people are naming their kids crazy things like "Blanket," "North," and "Apple." Really, that is not that far out of an event, considering what Frank Zappa named his kids (e.g., Moon Unit), but is growing more and more common to name kids the strangest things possible. When people finally get bored with trying to name their kids original and unusual things, they come back around to the oldest names in existence. So how do you decide? There are plenty of sources that tell you what every possible baby name means, plus plenty of possible origins for those names too.
Back before the original name craze began (pre-1950's era), boys were often named after their fathers and grandfathers. Everybody knew what the name meant because it already belonged to another male family member and they knew that the boys were named after these family members. Likewise, little girls were named for favorite grandmas and aunts who had passed away. If you are already in the process of using genealogy websites to research your family tree, then you will also be provided with lists of names common to different decades and centuries in your family and what these names mean, as well as lists of names and meanings that shared those same time periods.
SSA (Social Security Administration)
It should not surprise you that the government organization that tracks national census and birth records and issues social security cards also keeps track of baby names. On their website, SSA.gov (Social Security Administration) frequently lists the most popular baby names of every year, decade, and century. If you thought you had picked a unique or less-often used baby name for your child, you might want to check here first as the baby name statistics may tell you just how original the name really is.
While baby name books might include that a name is Gaelic, Welsh, French, German, etc., what it does not tell you is how that name came into being. For that you need to go to your public library and request the reference books that dig deep in the origins of names. The name "Thomas" for example comes from Wales, but it was originally a surname of a family extension. "Thom" was the name of the man who was patriarch of the family, while "Thomas" meant "son of Thom" or "twin of Thom." As such, the name commonly became the English Thomas, nicknamed Tom. Other names pinpointed the location of the baby's birth and were eventually abbreviated to signify a place of birth. You may find that to be true of a lot of older and old-fashioned names.
For more inspiration, visit sites like BabyNames.com.