The intriguing name Toika first appeared in the baby name data in 1962:
1963: 6 baby girls named Toika
1962: 6 baby girls named Toika [debut]
Where did it come from?
A single-episode character on the TV show Route 66. The episode was called “One Tiger to a Hill” and aired on September 21, 1962.
In the episode, main characters Tod and Buz traveled to Astoria, Oregon, to work on a fishing boat owned by widow Anna Gustafson. While there, Tod became interested in Anna’s daughter Toika, who was already in a relationship with a moody local fisherman named Karno. Toika was played by actress Laura Devon (born Mary L. Briley).
I’m not sure where the writers got the name Toika, but they may have been inspired by the Finnish surname Toikka, or the Finnish word taika, which means “magic.”
Who was Silbestre Esquivel? In 1811, he inscribed his name in what would become Petrified Forest National Park. Was he passing through? Was he a lonely cowboy or shepherd? Even the history of discovery of the inscription is mysterious. Two different articles in a magazine and a newspaper in 1943 and 1945 claim to discover the name. The earlier one found it by directions from a business woman in the area—wouldn’t she be the one to have discovered it? A professional photographer, Michael Bend, did find out that the man was part of a party traveling from Santa Fe to Utah lead by José Rafaél Sarracino to trade with the Ute people. Such fascinating secrets!
(The name Silbestre — like the related name Sylvester — can be traced back to the Latin word silva, meaning “forest.”)
By the time Rzeznik had ironed out some of the “ugly chord sequences”, he had a swooning future classic on his hands. Only the name was required. “I’m horrible at naming songs,” he says, “so it’s the last thing I do. I was looking through a magazine called LA Weekly and saw that a great singer-songwriter called Iris DeMent was playing in town. I was, like: ‘Wow! What a beautiful name.’
(The song doesn’t actually include the name Iris in the lyrics, and yet the usage of the baby name Iris does seem to rise at a faster rate in 1998 and 1999, so…did the song influence the name? Wdyt?)
From the book Indiana’s 200: The People Who Shaped the Hoosier State (2016) by James E. St. Clair:
Amid much publicity in the early 1950s, [Herb Shriner and his wife] had given their children names that reflected his Hoosier heritage: They had a daughter named Indiana (known as “Indy”) and a son, Kin, named in honor of Abe Martin creator Frank McKinney “Kin” Hubbard. Kin Shriner became a soap opera actor; his twin brother, Wil (named for Will Rogers, but with one l), became a comedian, television, director, and talk show host with a laid-back style reminiscent of his father.
When Jim and I were choosing a name for our son, we turned to the dictionary.
Sawyer has three half-siblings — Sonnet, Sky and Savannah. Each name is an actual word, not a name like Sam or Sarah. We wanted to do the same for this baby.
Our list is still there in my Random House College Dictionary with the red cover — 22 possibilities neatly printed in purple pencil on the back of a sheet of paper shaped like a cluster of grapes: Street, South, Story, Satchel, Sage, Saracen.
We had narrowed it down to a handful — Storm, Sawyer, Story, Scout, Scarlet — when we saw him on an ultrasound for the first time. A boy. And he was instantly Sawyer, one fist raised above his head, all boyhood and adventure.
The one truly radical act for a British parent is to pluck a name from further down the class ladder. Yet it might not be the worst idea for the downwardly mobile upper-middle classes, whose jobs in accounting and law are about to be replaced by Elon’s robots. They continue to worry that Liam or Wayne wouldn’t fit in at Eton, little realising that will be the least of their concerns. Cressida and Monty will have a much harder time fitting in at the robot repair shop.
According to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), the most popular baby names in Northern Ireland last year were Grace and James.
Here are the Northern Ireland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2020:
Grace, 176 baby girls
Freya and Ella, 101 each (tie)
James, 190 baby boys
Finn, 112 (tie)
Theo, 112 (tie)
Harry, 111 (tie)
Cillian, 111 (tie)
In the girls’ top 10, Fiadh, Lucy and Freya replaced Anna and Evie.
In the boys’ top 10, Finn, Theo, and Cillian replaced Jacob, Daniel, and Alfie.
Now, Northern Ireland doesn’t technically release data on all baby names…but their downloadable tables do include two extra alphabetized sets of names below those that were given to 3 babies. My strong hunch is that these were the names given to 2 babies and 1 baby, respectively, and that the numbers/rankings were simply stripped out.
So, going with that theory, here are some of the names from the second alphabetized set (the names that I’m assuming were used just once in Northern Ireland last year):