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?
Jeanne d’Alcy was an actress who appeared in films from the 1890s to the 1900s. She was born in 1865 in France. Her birth name was Charlotte Lucie Marie Adèle Stephanie Adrienne Faës. Jeanne Eagels was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in 1890 in Missouri. Her birth name was Amelia Jean Eagles. Jeanne Aubert was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1960s. She was born in 1900 in France. Jeanne was also a character name in multiple films, including The Phantom’s Secret (1917) and The Flower of the North (1922).
Jinjur was a character played by actress Marie Wayne in the film The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914).
Jinx Jinx Falkenburg was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1940s. She was born in Spain in 1919. Her birth name was Eugenia Lincoln Falkenburg. Jinx was also a character name in the film Juke Box Jenny (1942).
Josephita Guerrero was a character played by actress Renée Adorée in the film Tide of Empire (1929).
Josette Andriot was an actress who appeared in films from the 1900s to the 1910s. She was born in France in 1886. Her birth name was Camille Élisa Andriot. Josette was also a character played by actress Tala Birell in the film Josette (1938).
“Everly” is hot…”Beverly” is not. It’s a one-letter difference between fashionable and fusty.
If you’re sensitive to style, you’ll prefer Everly. It fits with today’s trends far better than Beverly does.
But if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about style, or prefers to go against style, then you may not automatically go for Everly. In fact, you may be more attracted to Beverly because it’s the choice that most modern parents would avoid.
If you’ve ever thought about intentionally giving your baby a dated name (like Debbie, Grover, Marcia, or Vernon) for the sake of uniqueness within his/her peer group — if you have no problem sacrificing style for distinctiveness — then this list is for you.
Years ago, the concept of “contrarian” baby names came up in the comments of a post about Lois. Ever since then, creating a collection of uncool/contrarian baby names has been on my to-do list.
Finally, last month, I experimented with various formulas for pulling unstylish baby names out of the SSA dataset. Keeping the great-grandparent rule in mind, I aimed for names that would have been fashionable among the grandparents of today’s babies. The names below are the best results I got.
In 1952, the baby name Fancy appeared on the SSA’s baby name list for the very first time with seven baby girls:
1952: 7 baby girls named Fancy [debut]
What was the cause?
Frank Yerby’s book A Woman Called Fancy, which was the 5th best-selling book of 1951.
Set in the state of Georgia in the late 19th century, the historical romance follows Fancy Williamson, a woman from out of town, who rises “from poverty to prominence” among well-to-do Augustans. “Like all Yerby’s novels, A Woman Called Fancy presents a protagonist who is an outcast but achieves success in an alien culture.”
(A secondary influence could have been the romantic comedy film Goodbye, My Fancy, released in mid-1951 and starring Joan Crawford.)
About twenty years later, the name was given a second boost on the charts by Bobbie Gentry’s Fancy (1969). Here’s a bit of the song:
You know I mighta been born just plain white trash,
but Fancy was my name.
And about twenty years after that, Reba McEntire’s 1990 cover of Fancy gave the name yet another boost. The name saw its highest usage ever (36 baby girls) in 1991.
Interesting fact: Frank Yerby’s novel The Foxes of Harrow (1946) — another historical romance set in the South — was the first novel by an African-American to sell more than a million copies.
Arvid Huisman, columnist for Webster City’s Daily Freeman-Journal, recently wrote a piece called What’s in a name? Here’s an excerpt:
As a first grader I wanted to be named Johnnie or Bobbie or Billie or Tommie — just about anything except Arvid.
By the time I was a young adult I realized that a unique name can be an asset and I continue to believe that. Once people commit an uncommon name to memory they don’t soon forget and that’s a good thing in business.
He (now) appreciates his own name, but he isn’t a big fan of names that are “exceptionally strange.” As an example, he offers the name La-a:
Care to take a guess on how to pronounce that? I needed help with it. It is pronounced La-dash-ah. Get it? La(dash)a. Now that’s just plain stupid.