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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Jean

Number of Babies Named Jean

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Jean

The Arrival of Lillette

lillette, song, 1940s, baby nameThe rare name Lillette appeared in the U.S. baby name data for four sequential years from the late ’40s to the early ’50s:

  • 1952: unlisted
  • 1951: 5 baby girls named Lillette
  • 1950: 9 baby girls named Lillette
  • 1949: 9 baby girls named Lillette
  • 1948: 8 baby girls named Lillette
  • 1947: unlisted

Where did the name come from?

A song called “Lillette,” written and composed by Jack Gold in 1948. The same year, it was recorded and released by various vocalists: Nat King Cole, Vic Damone, Bill Lawrence, Jean Sablon, Johnny Desmond, and others.

Billboard preferred the King Cole Trio version:

Cole’s tasty rhythm treatment of the appealing rhythm ballad looks like a good bet for the jukes, the jocks, and the over-the-counter sales. Standout among some half-dozen waxings of the tune, the impeccable Cole treatment brings out the best in the lyric and melody. Worthy of attention, too, is Vic Damone’s Mercury platter of the ditty.

Here’s Nat King Cole’s version of “Lillette”:

I’m not sure where Jack Gold found the name Lillette, but one possibility is jazz vocalist/pianist Lillette Thomas, who was putting out singles on Sterling Records in the mid-1940s.

Do you like the name Lillette?

Source: “Record Possibilities.” Billboard 9 Oct. 1948: 39.

From Norma to Jill

norma, jill, 1950s, name change
Her name was changed from Norma to Jill.

Speaking of yesterday’s name, Jilla

In late 1953, an 18-year-old Italian-American girl from Pennsylvania named Norma Jean Speranza was the subject of a photographic essay in Life. She was “a small-town singer” about to get her big break. But she wouldn’t get that big break without adopting a stage name:

She even had to give up her name, for the people who are supposed to know best about those things decided she should be Norma Speranza no longer. From now on she would be Jill Corey.

As Jill Corey, she put out singles and appeared regularly on TV throughout the ’50s. Her biggest hit was the 1957 song “Love Me to Pieces.”

(She also had another name: Scarpo. It was a childhood nickname that referred to her big feet. Scarpa means “shoe” in Italian.)

Source: Parks, Gordon. “From Speranza to Corey.” Life 9 Nov. 1953.
Image: © 1953 Life

Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: T (part 2)

tira, 1933, mae west, i'm no angel, movie, name

Looking for a rare girl name with a retro feel? Here are dozens of ideas. All came straight from very old films that were released from the 1910s to the 1940s.

This post is part of a series of posts featuring female names from early cinema. I’m going backwards, so the other lists so far are U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. The names below are the second half of the T-list (Ti- to Ty-). The first half has the Ta- to Th- names. Enjoy!

Tiare
Tiare was a character name in multiple films, including The Leopardess (1923) and The Moon and Sixpence (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Tiare.

Tibbie
Aunt Tibbie was a character played by actress Jessie Ralph in the film St. Louis Blues (1939).

Tibby
Tibby was a character name in multiple films, including Dangerous Females (short, 1929) and Bad Man from Red Butte (1940).

Tika
Queen Tika was a character played by actress Dorothy Christy in the film The Phantom Empire (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Tika.

Tilah
Tilah was a character played by actress Margaret Morris in the film Beasts of Paradise (1923).

Tildy
Tildy was a character played by actress Alice Terry in the short film The Brief Debut of Tildy (1918).

Tilga
Tilga was a character played by actress Louise Emmons in the film The Last Egyptian (1914).

Timka
Timka was a character played by actress Jean Parker in the film Caravan (1934).

Timmins
Timmins was a character played by actress Zasu Pitts in the film Her Private Life (1929).

Tira
Tira was a character played by actress Mae West in the film I’m No Angel (1933). Her name was pronounced TIE-rah.

  • Usage of the baby name Tira.

Tisa
Tisa Kepes was a character played by actress Lilli Palmer in the film My Girl Tisa (1948).

  • Usage of the baby name Tisa (which debuted in the data the year that My Girl Tisa came out).

Tish
Letitia “Tish” Carberry was a character played by actress Marjorie Main in the film Tish (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Tish.

Tisha
Tisha was a character played by actress Greta Nissen in the film The Wanderer (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Tisha.

Titania
Titania was a character name in multiple films, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1909) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935).

Tito
Tito was a character played by actress Dorothy Janis in the film The Pagan (1929).

Tituba
Tituba was a character played by actress Madame Sul-Te-Wan in the film Maid of Salem (1937).

Tiza
Tiza Torreon was a character played by actress Myrna Loy in the film Turn Back the Hours (1928).

Tocati
Tocati was a character played by actress Julie Suedo in the film Afterwards (1928).

Toddy
Toddy was a character name in multiple films, including Cain and Mabel (1936) and Youth Runs Wild (1944).

Tohana
Tohana was a character played by actress Inez Palange in the film One Million B.C. (1940).

Toinette
Toinette was a character name in multiple films, including A Love Sublime (1917) and Rainbow on the River (1936).

Tokiwa
Tokiwa was a character played by actress Margaret Gibson in the short film The Love of Tokiwa (1914).

Tollea
Tollea was a character played by actress Maria Montez in the film Cobra Woman (1944).

Tommie
Tommie Lou Pember was a character played by actress Colleen Moore in the film The Perfect Flapper (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Tommie.

Tommy
Tommy Smith was a character played by actress Dorothy Devore in the film The Tomboy (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Tommy.

Tondelayo
Tondelayo was a character played by actress Hedy Lamarr in the film White Cargo (1942).

Tonia
Tonia was a character name in multiple films, including In Old Arizona (1928) and Young Buffalo Bill (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Tonia.

Tonie
Tonie was a character name in multiple films, including Hold That Girl (1934) and Flight for Freedom (1943).

  • Usage of the baby name Tonie.

Tonita
Tonita was a character name in multiple films, including Border Law (1931) and The Fighting Ranger (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Tonita.

Tonoma
Tonoma was a character played by actress Eugenie Besserer in the short film A Child of the Wilderness (1912).

Tootie
Tootie Smith was a character played by actress Margaret O’Brien in the film Meet Me in St. Louis (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Tootie (a one-hit wonder in 1958, thanks to a news item that year).

Tootsie
Tootsie Brown was a character played by actress Muriel Ostriche in the film Leap to Fame (1918).

Toppie
Toppie Westmacott was a character played by actress Esther Ralston in the film The Little French Girl (1925).

Topsy
Topsy was a character name in multiple films, including The Gold Diggers (1923) and Topsy and Eva (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Topsy.

Torchy
Torchy Blane was a character played by various actresses in a series of 9 Torchy Blane films (1937-1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Torchy.

Toru
Toru was a character played by actress Rosita Marstini in the film A Prisoner in the Harem (1913).

  • Usage of the baby name Toru.

Toshia
Toshia Mori was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1930s. She was born in Japan in 1912.

  • Usage of the baby name Toshia.

Toton
Toton was a character played by actress Olive Thomas in the film Toton the Apache (1919).

Towana
Towana was a character played by actress Movita in the film Wolf Call (1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Towana (which debuted in the data the year after Wolf Call came out).

Toyo
Toyo Haynes was a character played by actress Lupe Velez in the film Where East Is East (1929).

Trafalgar
Trafalgar was a character name in multiple films, including Trelawny of the Wells (1916) and The Actress (1928).

Trece
Trece was a character played by actress Gertrude Astor in the film Hit of the Show (1928).

Trenna
Trenna Plaice was a character played by actress Virginia Bruce in the film Shadow of Doubt (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Trenna.

Tressie
Tressie Harlow was a character played by actress Mary Philbin in the film Danger Ahead (1921).

Trilby
Trilby was a character name in multiple films, including Trilby (1914) and Svengali (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Trilby.

Trina
Trina was a character name in multiple films, including His Sweetheart (1917) and Man’s Castle (1933).

  • Usage of the baby name Trina.

Trini
Trini was a character played by actress Paulette Duval in the film Twelve Miles Out (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Trini.

Trixi
Trixi Du Bray was a character played by actress Seena Owen in the film Officer Thirteen (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Trixi.

Trixie
Trixie Friganza was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1940s. She was born in Kansas in 1871. Her birth name was Delia O’Callahan. Trixie was also a character name in multiple films, including Falling Leaves (short, 1912) and The Good Bad Girl (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Trixie.

Trommy
Trommy was a character played by actress Eula Guy in the film Expensive Husbands (1937).

Truda
Truda was a character played by actress Hedda Nova in the film By the World Forgot (1918).

  • Usage of the baby name Truda.

Trudi
Trudi Hovland was a character played by actress Sonja Henie in the film Second Fiddle (1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Trudi.

Trudie
Trudie Morrow was a character played by actress Lila Lee in the film The Night of June 13 (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Trudie.

Trudy
Trudy was a character name in multiple films, including You Can’t Beat Love (1937) and She Married a Cop (1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Trudy.

Truly
Truly Shattuck was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in California in 1876. Her birth name was Clarice Etrulia de Burcharde.

  • Usage of the baby name Truly.

Trusia
Trusia was a character played by actress June Marlowe in the film Don Juan (1926).

Truth
Truth Eldridge was a character played by actress Belle Bennett in the film Flesh and Spirit (1922).

  • Usage of the baby name Truth.

Tryphena
Tryphena Winter was a character played by actress Helen Gardner in the short film Underneath the Paint (1914).

Tsakran
Tsakran was a character played by actress May Robson in the film Turkish Delight (1927).

Tsuru
Tsuru Aoki was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1960s. She was born in Japan in 1892.

Tui
Tui Bow was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1980s. She was born in New Zealand in 1906. Her birth name was Mary Lorraine Tui.

Tuila
Tuila was a character played by actress Conchita Montenegro in the film La Melodia Prohibida (1933).

Tula
Tula Belle was a child actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Norway in 1906. Her birth name was Borgny Erna Bull Høegh. Tula was also a character name in multiple films, including The Vengeance of Najerra (short, 1914) and Kongo (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Tula.

Tuptim
Tuptim was a character played by actress Linda Darnell in the film Anna and the King of Siam (1946).

Tura
Tura was a character played by actress Dorothy Lamour in the film Her Jungle Love (1938).

  • Usage of the baby name Tura.

Tutara
Tutara was a character played by actress Armida in the film South of Tahiti (1941).

Tweeny
Tweeny was a character played by actress Lila Lee in the film Male and Female (1919).

Tylette
Tylette was a character played by actress Gale Sondergaard in the film The Blue Bird (1940).

*

Which of the above names do you like best?

Why Was Marilyn Monroe Named “Norma Jeane” at Birth?

We already know how Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson, came up with her stage name — “Marilyn” was from Marilyn Miller, and “Monroe” was her mother’s maiden name.

But why was she named “Norma Jeane” as a baby?

In 1922, her mother Gladys, originally from California, moved to Kentucky to try to get her first two children (Robert and Berniece) back from her former husband’s family.

While there, Gladys worked as a housekeeper in the home of Harry and Lena Cohen of Louisville. She also helped care for the couple’s young daughters, Dorothy and Norma Jean.

norma jean cohen, namesake
The Cohen family of KY, 1930 U.S. Census

She eventually returned to California, alone.

In 1926, Gladys had her third and final baby. “She named the child after the little girl she had looked after whilst in Kentucky and, for the sake of respectability, also gave the surname of her former husband, hence naming her Norma Jeane Mortenson (she added an ‘e’ to Norma Jean and changed Mortensen to Mortenson on the birth certificate).”

Which first name do you like more, Marilyn or Norma? Vote below, then leave a comment with your reason…

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Source: Morgan, Michelle. Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed. London: Little, Brown Book Group, 2012.

Ferlin from the Fifties

Ferlin Husky, album, 1957We’ve talked about Faron, so now let’s talk about Ferlin — a similar name that debuted for a similar reason during the very same decade.

  • 1959: 22 baby boys named Ferlin
  • 1958: 26 baby boys named Ferlin (peak)
  • 1957: 15 baby boys named Ferlin
  • 1956: 17 baby boys named Ferlin
  • 1955: 9 baby boys named Ferlin
  • 1954: 7 baby boys named Ferlin [debut]
  • 1953: unlisted

The name Ferlin was inspired by American country singer Ferlin Husky. His 1953 singles “A Dear John Letter” and “Forgive Me, John” — both duets with Jean Shepard — are what put him, and his name, on the map.

But the name Ferlin would never have come to anyone’s attention if Ferlin Husky had stuck with the stage name Terry Preston, which he’d been using since the late ’40s. Some sources say he began using a stage name because he felt his real name “sounded too rural.” He was convinced by record producer Ken Nelson to revert to his birth name in the early ’50s:

[Nelson] pushed Terry Preston to drop his stage name and use his given name, Ferlin Husky. “I thought, ‘Oh, my god, Terry Preston, my goodness’ sake’ — it sounded too sweet for a country singer. So I said, ‘Ferlin, why don’t you use your right name? It’s a good masculine name, and it’s an unusual name.’ And he didn’t want to do it. One day, he and his father and I were riding in the car, and I mentioned it to his father, and his father said, ‘Ferlin, you’re never gonna be a success until you use your right name.'”

Ironically, Ferlin’s “right name” was invented by a wrong spelling. His father had intended to name him Ferland after a friend, but the name was misspelled “Ferlin” on the birth certificate.

Do you like the name Ferlin? Do you like it more or less than Faron?

Sources: