Mystery Monday: The Baby Name Bisceglia

The baby name Bisceglia debuted on the SSA’s list in 1979 and stuck around for 3 more years:

  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: 6 baby girls named Bisceglia
  • 1981: 7 baby girls named Bisceglia
  • 1980: 5 baby girls named Bisceglia
  • 1979: 8 baby girls named Bisceglia [debut]
  • 1978: unlisted

According to records, many of these baby Bisceglias were born in the South.

The name must come from the Italian surname Bisceglia [be-SHAYL-yah], which refers to the town of Bisceglie in southern Italy, but I have no idea what boosted the surname onto the baby name charts in 1979.

The closest I’ve got to a proper theory is Steve Bisceglia, who played football at the University of Alabama in the early ’70s, but the years don’t match up, and male sports stars typically don’t inspire female names.

Any other ideas?


6 thoughts on “Mystery Monday: The Baby Name Bisceglia

  1. The football player’s an interesting detail/ Steve Bisceglia’s family operated the Bisceglia Brothers Winery in California. (The one described here: http://www.oldandsold.com/articles02/fresno2.shtml, not the newer Italian vinery of the same name.) He’s a wine marketer now. I wonder if he did some kind of print advertising campaign or Crimson Tide team sponsorship in 79-80? I can’t find a smoking gun, but that’s the best guess I can come up with.

    There was also an IRS v. Bisceglia Supreme Court case in 1975, but that seems pretty remote as an influence.

  2. All I can tell you is that during those years I started and operated the BTB Christmas tree farm in Coarsegold, California which is in the foothills of Yosemite National Park.
    It’s a mystery to me too.
    Sincerely
    Steve Bisceglia
    Universal of Alabama #44 ’71& ’72

  3. From of a GoogleBooks snippet of a 1980 Beverage World magazine, “Canandaigua’s new Bisceglia line of semi-premium jug wines is advertised as the wine for the liberated woman executive. Television commercials, bearing the brunt of the Bisceglia campaign…” Television ad + specifically marketed to women seems like a baby name recipe to me!

  4. And a 1982 article from the Finger Lakes Times: “Canandaigua is no stranger to California. The company acquired the Bisceglia Brothers Winery in Fresno in 1974. It is now promoting those wines nationally.”

  5. Thank you, Steve, for stopping by!

    Becca, that’s a solid theory! I didn’t know there was a national ad campaign around that time for the brand of wine. That might make all the difference. I’ll do some research on this!

    (And I’m sorry, Elisabeth, for not following up on the wine connection when you first mentioned it.)

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