It’s Five-Name Friday! Here is today’s baby name request:
Sister for our daughter Benjamenne Rosemarie. Practically unheard-of female variation on a traditionally male name, please.
Can you come up with five solid baby name suggestions for this person?
As usual, the rules:
- Be independent. Choose your five names before looking at anyone else’s comment.
- Be sincere. Stick to legit recommendations you would offer a real-life friend.
- Five names total in your comment, please. If you go over, the extras will be deleted.
Which five baby names are you going to suggest?
[You can also send me your own 2-sentence baby name request using the contact form.]
The rare name Royalene appeared in the SSA’s public dataset* for the first and only time in 1942:
- 1944: unlisted
- 1943: unlisted
- 1942: 5 baby girls named Royalene
- 1941: unlisted
- 1940: unlisted
What boosted Royalene into the data that year?
My guess is 26-year-old murder victim Royalene Hinkle of Watseka, Illinois. (Sorry about the watermarked image — it was the best photo of her that I could find.)
In March of 1941, Royalene and her boyfriend were found shot to death at the home of Royalene’s maternal uncle, Robert Feister (with whom she lived).
Feister went on trial for the two murders that summer. Notably, he had two heart attacks in the middle of the proceedings, but survived both. He was eventually found guilty — he’d been “hoping he would inherit her $11,000 estate” — and given a life sentence.
The crime and ensuing court case kept the name Royalene in the papers for several months, and this ongoing exposure had enough of an influence on expectant parents to make “Royalene” a one-hit wonder the following year.
What are your thoughts on the name Royalene?
*The dataset only includes names given to five or more babies per year.
The fashion-inspired name Janalene was only fashionable enough to appear in the U.S. baby name data for a single year at the very beginning of the 1940s:
- 1942: unlisted
- 1941: unlisted
- 1940: 6 baby girls named Janalene
- 1939: unlisted
- 1938: unlisted
The source for this one? An Indianapolis-based women’s clothing company called Janaléne:
It had been around since the 1920s (at least), but seems to have been most successful during the 1930s and 1940s.
Janaléne hired saleswomen in rural areas to sell clothes door-to-door. They did this with the help of the Janaléne clothing catalogue, which featured drawings of garments plus fabric samples.
The representatives were recruited via advertisements in newspapers and magazines — especially farming magazines. Here’s one such ad:
Get your dresses as a bonus and up to $18 a week. Show “Dated” Dresses. Experience unnecessary. No canvassing. Janalene, Dept. 845. Indianapolis, Ind.
Several similar companies of the era also utilized a direct-sales business model, but Janaléne differentiated itself by selling outdated styles specifically.
Though the name popped up in the baby name data in 1940, records suggest that most Janalenes were actually born during the 1930s. Here’s a Janalene born in West Virginia in 1931, for instance.
What are your thoughts on the baby name Janalene?
I recently discovered that Gibraltar, a 2.6-square mile British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of Spain, has its own baby name rankings!
According to the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), the most popular baby names in Gibraltar in 2018 were Emma and James and in 2019 were Olivia and Ethan.
Here are all the names given to 3 or more babies in 2018 (during which a total of 402 babies were born):
Girl Names, 2018
- Emma, 5 baby girls
- Mia, 4
- Sophia, 4
- Aria, 3
- Ava, 3
Boy Names, 2018
- James, 6 baby boys
- Alexander, 5 (tie)
- Ethan, 5 (tie)
- Leo, 5 (tie)
- Logan, 5 (tie)
- Jack, 4 (five-way tie)
- Lucas, 4 (five-way tie)
- Michael, 4 (five-way tie)
- Noah, 4 (five-way tie)
- Ryan, 4 (five-way tie)
- Evan, 3 (six-way tie)
- Jamie, 3 (six-way tie)
- Jesse, 3 (six-way tie)
- Leon, 3 (six-way tie)
- Theo, 3 (six-way tie)
- Tiago, 3 (six-way tie)
(If you want to compare these to the equivalent rankings for England and Wales, there’s the link.)
The unique names bestowed just once in Gibraltar in 2018 include…
- Girl names: Ainara, Daura, Diae, Nuria, Rharmaini
- Boy names: Amitai, Cayetano, Mordechai, Shams, Tzion
And here are all the names given to 3 or more babies in 2019 (during which a total of 423 babies were born):
Girl Names, 2019
- Olivia, 9 baby girls
- Lucia, 6
- Robyn, 4 (tie)
- Sofia, 4 (tie)
- Ava, 3 (four-way tie)
- Celine, 3 (four-way tie)
- Lily, 3 (four-way tie)
- Maya, 3 (four-way tie)
Boy Names, 2019
- Ethan, 6 baby boys
- Jamie, 5 (tie)
- Thomas, 5 (tie)
- Jack, 4 (three-way tie)
- Leo, 4 (three-way tie)
- Oliver, 4 (three-way tie)
- Dylan, 3 (eight-way tie)
- George, 3 (eight-way tie)
- Jacob, 3 (eight-way tie)
- James, 3 (eight-way tie)
- Jayden, 3 (eight-way tie)
- Kian, 3 (eight-way tie)
- Theo, 3 (eight-way tie)
- Tyler, 3 (eight-way tie)
The unique names bestowed just once in 2019 include…
- Girl names: Ilythia, Lamis, Mirtel, Sirine, Tais
- Boy names: Brath, Dimitar, Haron, Levin-Lee, Theon
And I did find one more interesting thing: In May of 2017, local newspaper Panorama conducted a survey to determine “the most popular names among boys and girls aged 12” — so, kids born in or around the year 2005 — and came up with…
- Emma, 27 girls
- Amy, 22
- Arianne, 17
- Julian, 25 boys
- Liam, 19 (tie)
- Ryan, 19 (tie)
Sources: Gibraltar’s most popular baby names of 2018 revealed, Ethan and Olivia; Gibraltar’s most popular baby names of 2019, Gibraltar – Wikipedia, What are the most popular children’s names on the Rock?