The (Emotional) Debut of Jentree

The names Jentree and Gentree both debuted in the U.S. baby name data last year. Jentree was given to 14 baby girls, and Gentree to 6 more.

Though the original form of the name, Gentry, has been on the rise recently — and has given rise to spelling variants* — these two particular variants didn’t pop up until a video featuring towheaded 2-year-old Jentree Joles went viral.

A one-minute clip of Jentree getting emotional while watching the movie The Good Dinosaur (2015) — specifically, the part where a young dinosaur became separated from his family — was posted to social media by her aunt in September of 2017.

The video racked up nearly a million views overnight. By the time Jentree and her family were featured on the local news several weeks later (Oct. 6), the video had been viewed 75 million times across several different platforms.

Gentry — both the surname and the vocabulary word — mean the same thing: “nobility of birth or character.” The word can be traced back (via Anglo-Norman French genterie and Old French gentil) to the ancient Roman word gens, which referred to one’s clan or tribe.

The baby name Gentry is particularly popular in a handful of central-ish U.S. states: Oklahoma (where Joles is from), Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Utah. It’s strongly associated with country music via duo Montgomery Gentry and singer-songwriter Bobbie Gentry (whose fame in the late ’60s inspired parents to use “Gentry” as a girl name more often).

What are your thoughts on the baby name Gentry? What spelling do you prefer?

*Gentrie, Gentri, Jentry, Jentri, Jentrie.

Sources: This 2-year-old girl’s reaction to a movie is making the internet emotional, Video Of BA Toddler’s Emotional Reaction To Movie Seen Nearly 75M Times, Gentry – Online Etymology Dictionary

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