How popular is the baby name Dardanella in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Dardanella and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Dardanella.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Dardanella

Number of Babies Named Dardanella

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Dardanella

McCutcheon’s Baby Names: Nedra, Yetive, Gerane, Doraine…

The name “George Barr McCutcheon” probably doesn’t mean anything to you, right? But the name has become pretty familiar to me over the years, because George Barr McCutcheon — who wrote dozens of novels in the early 1900s — put several brand new baby names on the map during the early 20th century.

The Indiana-born writer lived from 1866 to 1928, and many of his books became bestsellers. Today, his best-remembered story is Brewster’s Millions, which has been adapted into a movie several times. The most memorable adaptation would have to be the 1985 version starring comedians Richard Pryor (as protagonist Montgomery Brewster) and John Candy.

So which baby names did McCutcheon introduce/influence? Here’s what I’ve found so far:

Nedra

nedraMcCutcheon’s novel Nedra (1905) was the 5th best-selling book of 1905. Though there’s a lady on the front cover, “Nedra” isn’t a female character, but the name of an island on which several of the characters are shipwrecked.

The next year, the name Nedra debuted on the baby name charts. In fact, it was the top debut name of 1906.

  • 1909: 14 baby girls named Nedra
  • 1908: 18 baby girls named Nedra
  • 1907: 10 baby girls named Nedra
  • 1906: 11 baby girls named Nedra [debut]
  • 1905: unlisted

SSDI data confirms that the name Nedra saw noticeably higher usage after the book was released.

One of these baby Nedras grew up to become actress Nedra Volz (b. 1908).

Yetive, Truxton, Gerane, Beverly

McCutcheon wrote six novels about the fictional Eastern European country of Graustark:

  • Graustark (1901) – the 9th best-selling book of 1901
  • Beverly of Graustark (1904) – the 6th best-selling book of 1904
  • Truxton King (1909) – the 6th best-selling book of 1909
  • The Prince of Graustark (1914) – the 10th best-selling book of 1914
  • East of the Setting Sun (1924)
  • The Inn of the Hawk and Raven (1927)

Several of these books were later made into movies and plays. The three Graustarkian names I’ve noticed on the charts are:

  • Yetive, inspired by the character Princess Yetive from the first two books. First appeared in the SSA data in 1911.
  • Truxton, inspired by Truxton King from the 3rd book. First appeared in the data in 1912.
  • Gerane, inspired by Gerane Davos from the final book. First appeared in the data 1928.

Plus there’s Beverly, which was used for a female character in Beverly of Graustark. The novel, along with a 1926 film adaptation, helped pull the once-gender-neutral name onto the girls’ side definitively. (Ironically, the actress who played Princess Yetive in a 1915 film adaptation of Graustark used the stage name Beverly Bayne.)

Here are some of Graustarkian names that did not make the charts: Ganlook, Grenfall, Dantan, Dannox, Marlanx, Bevra (the daughter of Beverly), Hedrik, and Pendennis.

Doraine

McCutcheon’s novel West Wind Drift (1920) is like his earlier book Nedra in that both stories involve a shipwreck and an island. In Nedra, “Nedra” is the name of the island; in West Wind Drift, “Doraine” is the name of the ship.

The year West Wind Drift came out, the name Doraine debuted in the baby name data.

  • 1923: 5 baby girls named Doraine
  • 1922: unlisted
  • 1921: 6 baby girls named Doraine
  • 1920: 11 baby girls named Doraine [debut]
  • 1919: unlisted

It was tied for 2nd-highest debut name that year. (#1 was Dardanella.)

Coincidentally, the shipwrecked characters in West Wind Drift have a debate at one point about using “Doraine” as baby name. They argue over whether or not they should give the name to an orphaned baby girl who had been born aboard the ship. Here’s the opinion of character Michael Malone: “We can’t do better than to name her after her birthplace. That’s her name. Doraine Cruise. It sounds Irish. Got music in it.”

*

Have you ever a George Barr McCutcheon book? If so, do you remember any unusual character names? (If not, and you’d like to check him out, here are dozens of George Barr McCutcheon novels archived at Project Gutenberg.)

Sources: The Books of the Century: 1900-1999 – Daniel Immerwahr, George Barr McCutcheon – Wikipedia


The Baby Name Avalon

Avalon, song, Al Jolson

Avalon began as a legendary Arthurian island. It was first mentioned in the early 12th century by Geoffrey of Monmouth, who may have derived the name from the Welsh word afal, meaning “apple.”

By the late 1800s, Avalon was seeing regular (if rare) usage as a baby name in the U.S., probably thanks to Lord Alfred Tennyson’s Idylls of the King — a series of Arthurian poems published from 1859 to 1885.

These poems also influenced real estate developer George Shatto to use the name “Avalon” for the Catalina Island resort town he was building in the late 1880s.

California’s Avalon became a popular vacation destination for the Hollywood film community during the early 1900s, and in 1920 the town (and the name) were featured in a song called “Avalon,” written for entertainer Al Jolson.

Here’s the chorus:

I found my love in Avalon
Beside the bay
I left my love in Avalon
And sailed away
I dream of her and Avalon
From dusk ’til dawn
And so I think I’ll travel on
To Avalon

Al Jolson’s rendition of “Avalon” became one of the top songs in America in early 1921.

Not surprisingly, the baby name Avalon saw a spike in usage the same year:

  • 1923: 22 baby girls named Avalon
  • 1922: 23 baby girls named Avalon
  • 1921: 43 baby girls named Avalon
  • 1920: 11 baby girls named Avalon
  • 1919: unlisted

You can see a similar spike in the SSDI data:

  • 1923: 17 people with the first name Avalon
  • 1922: 17 people with the first name Avalon
  • 1921: 36 people with the first name Avalon
  • 1920: 10 people with the first name Avalon
  • 1919: 3 people with the first name Avalon

After the 1920s, the usage of Avalon as a baby name tapered off. In fact, the name wasn’t in the SSA data at all during the ’60s and ’70s.

But it popped up again in 1982. The influence was probably the 1982 Roxy Music album Avalon, which included a song called “Avalon” (video). A slightly later influence was no doubt Marion Zimmer Bradley’s 1983 fantasy novel The Mists of Avalon. (The name of the lead character, Morgaine, debuted in the data in 1984.)

The usage of Avalon has been steadily rising ever since, though the name has yet to hit the top 1,000.

What do you think of the baby name Avalon?

P.S. One of the pre-1921 Avalons was a baby girl born in late 1903 to Mr. and Mrs. Goslin of Maryland. She was born aboard the Chesapeake Bay paddle steamer Avalon. Sadly, Avalon Goslin died of pneumonia in 1918 — just a few years before the song “Avalon” became famous.

Sources:

[Another top song from around this time was Dardanella.]

The Musical Baby Name Anona

anona, sheet music, 1903Music has introduced dozens of new names (like Rhiannon, Monalisa, and Alize) to the baby name charts.

I believed for a long time that Dardanella was the first of these introduced-by-song names. It bounded onto the charts in 1920 — before the widespread usage of radio and record players, impressively. This must make it one-of-a-kind, right?

Nope. I’ve since gone back over the early name lists and discovered a musical name that debuted on the charts a whopping 17 years earlier, in 1903. That name is Anona:

  • 1908: 8 baby girls named Anona
  • 1907: 6 baby girls named Anona
  • 1906: 12 baby girls named Anona
  • 1905: 22 baby girls named Anona
  • 1904: 22 baby girls named Anona
  • 1903: 7 baby girls named Anona [debut]
  • 1902: unlisted

The SSA’s early name lists are relatively unreliable, so here are the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) numbers for the same time-span:

  • 1908: 24 baby girls named Anona (SSDI)
  • 1907: 24 baby girls named Anona (SSDI)
  • 1906: 38 baby girls named Anona (SSDI)
  • 1905: 48 baby girls named Anona (SSDI)
  • 1904: 57 baby girls named Anona (SSDI)
  • 1903: 18 baby girls named Anona (SSDI)
  • 1902: 1 baby girl named Anona (SSDI)

The song “Anona” was published in mid-1903. It was written by Vivian Grey, which was a pseudonym for either presidential niece Mabel McKinley or prolific songwriter Robert A. King, sources don’t agree.

The song became very popular and was recorded multiple times. (Here’s Henry Burr’s version, for instance.) This is the chorus:

My sweet Anona, in Arizona,
There is no other maid I’d serenade;
By camp-fires gleaming, of you I’m dreaming,
Anona, my sweet Indian maid.

So-called “Indian love songs” were becoming trendy around this time, thanks to the success of the song “Hiawatha” (1902). Here are a few more that, like “Anona,” have titles that were also used as female names in the songs:

  • “Kick-apoo” (1904)
  • “Oneonta” (1904)
  • “Tammany” (1905)
  • “Silverheels” (1905)
  • “Iola” (1906)
  • “Arrah Wanna” (1906)
    • Dozens of babies were named Arrahwanna, Arrah-Wanna, and Arrah Wanna after this song was published.
  • “Sitka” (1909)
  • “Ogalalla” (1909)

What do you think of the baby name Anona? Would you ever consider using it?

Source: Native Americans: The Noble Savage: The Indian Princess

The Baby Name Anzac

ANZAC posterI didn’t know that Anzac Day existed until a few days ago, when I read about people named Anzac at the blog Waltzing More Than Matilda.

Anzac Day is celebrated in both Australia and New Zealand every April 25.

ANZAC stands for “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps” — the group of soldiers Australia and New Zealand sent to fight in WWI’s Gallipoli Campaign, which began on April 25, 1915.

The campaign failed, but the efforts of these soldiers gave the two fledgling nations a much-needed sense of identity, and pride.

As a baby name, “Anzac” has been used more often as a middle name than as a first name, and it’s given more often to boys than to girls.

Some WWI-era examples of the baby name Anzac include Anzac Gallipoli Claude (boy), Verdun Anzac Jane (girl), Dardandella Anzac (girl), Anzac Cavel Vardon (girl), Winston Anzac (boy), Maple Anzac (girl), William Anzac France (boy) and Clover Anzac (girl).

Not all people feel that Anzac is an appropriate baby name, though.

In 2004, Melbourne couple Reimana Pirika and Gaylene George (of New Zealand and Australia, respectively) decided to name their newborn son Anzac. This angered veterans, who saw it as improper use of the acronym.

Australian politician Danna Vale’s opinion was pretty interesting:

She said that after World War I some children were named Anzac in the “spirit of the times”.

“Over the passage of time views have changed, and I, too, encourage the family to consider the concerns of the ex-service community on the use of Anzac as a child’s name.”

Ms. Vale said she would speak to the RSL about action that could be taken to stop Anzac being used as a name.

Are certain baby names only appropriate in the “spirit of the times”? Do they become inappropriate after too many years/generations have elapsed? What do you think?

Source: “Veterans angry over baby named Anzac.” New Zealand Herald 7 Feb. 2004.
Image via the State Library of Queensland, Australia.

The Baby Name Atari

Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Asteroids…if you grew up in the 1980s, you know all about Atari.

atari

But you might not realize that, at the height of the video game console’s popularity, dozens of U.S. babies were actually named Atari:

  • 1983: 5 baby boys named Atari
  • 1982: 16 baby boys and 11 baby girls named Atari
  • 1981: 13 baby boys and 7 baby girls named Atari
  • 1980: 10 baby boys and 12 baby girls named Atari
  • 1979: 10 baby boys named Atari [debut]
  • 1978: unlisted

The console name comes from the Japanese word atari, which is used in the board came go in the same way “check” and “checkmate” are used in chess–as a warning to one’s opponent that he/she is in imminent danger of capture.

The baby name Atari dropped off the SSA’s baby name list after 1983, but has recently returned:

  • 2011: 8 baby boys named Atari
  • […]
  • 2009: 8 baby boys and 6 baby girls named Atari
  • 2008: 9 baby boys named Atari
  • […]
  • 2006: 5 baby girls named Atari

Pop culture names typically don’t disappear and then reappear decades later, but the explanation in this case is simple: sports. Football player Atari Bigby (b. 1981) — who claims he wasn’t named for the video game console — made his NFL debut in late 2005.