The name Chata made a modest debut in the U.S. baby name data in 1953:
- 1955: unlisted
- 1954: unlisted
- 1953: 5 baby girls named Chata [debut]
- 1952: unlisted
- 1951: unlisted
Where did it come from?
Very early television. “The Faith of Chata” was an episode from the first season of the anthology TV series Letter to Loretta, later renamed The Loretta Young Show. The episode aired in December of 1953.
The episode, set in a Mexican village, tells the story of a little girl called Chata who is gravely ill with pneumonia. (Chata’s mother Paula is played by Young.) After receiving an overnight vision of her patron saint, Santa Inés, Chata makes a miraculous recovery.
“Chata” is not a name, but an affectionate nickname. It comes from a Spanish term for “pug nose” or “button nose.” John Wayne’s second wife, Mexican actress Esperanza Baur, went by Chata for instance.
The child actress who played Chata was Nancy Gilbert, who several years later played another TV character (Calamity Jane) that also had an influence on baby names.