Mystery Monday: The Baby Name Sujey

In 1976 and 1977, several names like Sujey, Sugey and Suhey popped up in the national baby name dataset:

197519761977
Sujey35*36
Sugey13*29
Suehay11**
Sujei10*6
Suhey8*7
Sugei6**
Zujey5*
Sujeiry6*
Sugeiri5**

*Debut; **One-hit wonder

The fact that the letters J, G, and H were used interchangeably — plus the fact that usage was concentrated in states with large Spanish-speaking populations (like California and Texas) — suggested right away to me that these names were being used by Spanish-speaking families.

In fact, I was already thinking “telenovela” when I happened to spot this intriguing Instagram post by sassysugey:

Life always gives you surprises…met another “Sugey” that was named because of the same telenovela! #sugey #telenovela #unamuchachallamadamilagros

That third hashtag pointed me to the 1974 Venezuelan telenovela Una Muchacha Llamada Milagros (A Girl Called Milagros/Miracles), which was indeed airing in the U.S. in 1976.

Everything seemed to be lining up pretty well…until I checked the list of actors and characters in Una Muchacha Llamada Milagros. None of them had a name similar to “Sujey.”

So: either the name was used in the storyline somewhere (and I’m unaware of it), or this is the wrong telenovela, or the answer isn’t a telenovela at all.

Does anyone out there have any information on the name Sujey, or on its possible connection to Una Muchacha Llamada Milagros? If so, please leave a comment!

Sources: Una muchacha llamada Milagros – Wikipedia, Una muchacha llamada Milagros – IMDb

4 thoughts on “Mystery Monday: The Baby Name Sujey

  1. There’s a Suky on the cast list — maybe that was the inspiration? Though I don’t know how k would become j/g/h, except that k’s a relatively uncommon letter in Spanish and maybe the show pronounced it more like Sugey.

  2. That’s certainly a possibility. I could only find a handful of clips of Una Muchacha Llamada Milagros on YouTube, but hopefully one day someone will upload a clip with Suky in it so we can hear how the name was pronounced.

  3. The more I look into this mystery, the more I am convinced that the Venezuelan telenovela is responsible for the popularisation of Sugey + variants (not the start of usage as there are a couple of pre-telenovela examples I can find from FamilySearch results and name data from certain countries like Ecuador).

    The telenovela first aired in September of 1973, right? From what I can find from collections that are available on FS, it seems to have already been in use by 1974 in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua and looking at charts from the semi-reliable Forebears (https://forebears.io/x/forenames/sugey), it seems to have made a small jump in 1973 followed by a bigger one in 1975 and 1976, similar to how it’s played out in Ecuador (http://aplicaciones3.ecuadorencifras.gob.ec/VDATOS2-war/paginas/vrad/nom_ape.xhtml). When you mentioned about the telenovela airing in the US by 1976, I found a TV schedule page from the Sunday, June 13, 1976 issue of The Palm Beach Post, indicating that it first aired or, at least, was already airing by then and the earliest use of Sugey or some other variant of that name that I can find happened a month later.
    Also, based on the variants that I’ve found + what the baby name sites are saying about this name, it may have been conflated with Suhail, which is the Arabic name for Canopus, the second brightest star in the sky. That spawned variants like Sugeil and the usage of Suhail as a feminine name (normally masculine in the Arabic world). Overall, that might have played into the supposed change from Suky to Sugey/Sujey, though, as of yet, it’s not a 100% certainty.

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