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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Sindee

Number of Babies Named Sindee

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Sindee

The Surprising Source of Tierney

joseph mccarthy, adopted baby, tierney elizabeth
Joseph, Tierney and Jean McCarthy – Jan. 1957

The Irish surname Tierney first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1957. In fact, it was the top debut name of the year.

  • 1960: 18 baby girls named Tierney
  • 1959: 14 baby girls named Tierney
  • 1958: 26 baby girls named Tierney
  • 1957: 46 baby girls named Tierney [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted

For a long time I’d assumed that Hollywood actress Gene Tierney was the cause. Then it dawned on me that Gene’s career was on the wane in 1957 — that the peak of her fame had been in the 1940s. So Gene wasn’t the answer.

But you know who was? The adopted daughter of the infamous politician Joseph McCarthy. (This makes Tierney a celebrity baby name, essentially.)

In early 1957, the Wisconsin senator (and zealous communist hunter) and his wife Jean adopted a five-week old baby girl from the New York Foundling Home. They named her Tierney Elizabeth.

Tierney’s first name came from Joe’s mom Bridget Tierney McCarthy; her middle name came from Jean’s mom Elizabeth Fraser Kerr. The name Tierney is based on the Irish surname Ó Tíghearnaigh, meaning “descendant of Tighearnach,” and the byname Tighearnach is based on the Old Irish word tigern, meaning “lord, master.”

The McCarthys brought Tierney home to Washington, D.C., on January 13. The same day, Joseph “announced over a nationwide television program [Press Conference on ABC] that he was a brand new father and invited photographers to his home for a preview of the new arrival.”

A second unfortunate event that gave the name another round of exposure was Joseph McCarthy’s death in May — a mere four months after the adoption. In fact, some newspapers (including the New York Daily News) re-ran the baby photos of Tierney alongside McCarthy’s obituary.

…Despite all this, I’m still left wondering about Gene Tierney’s influence. While she clearly didn’t inspire the debut, she had given the surname Tierney a strong feminine association. Was she the reason why the McCarthys opted for Tierney over Elizabeth as the primary name? Hm…

What are your thoughts on the baby name Tierney?

Sources:

  • Hanks, Patrick. (Ed.) Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • “McCarthy Blasts Eisenhower Palace Guard.” Redlands Daily Facts [Redlands, Calif.] 14 Jan. 1957: 9.
  • “Meet Miss McCarthy.” News-Palladium [Benton Harbor, Mich.] 14 Jan. 1957: 3.

P.S. Baby Tierney was in the news at the same time as baby Sindee.

Sindee: Boosted by C-Section Baby?

Sindee Roberta Neilson, 1957, news
Baby Sindee Neilson, early 1957
In yesterday’s post on Cindylou, we talked about how the name Cindy was at peak trendiness in 1957.

But even that trendiness can’t quite explain the magnitude of the 1957 debut of Sindee, which tied with Maverick in terms of usage:

  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: 9 baby girls named Sindee
  • 1958: 9 baby girls named Sindee
  • 1957: 32 baby girls named Sindee [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted

On-trend Sindee might have debuted that year anyway, but it wouldn’t have hit as high without the national news coverage of Sindee Roberta Neilson, born in January to Suzanne and Robert Neilson of Hartsdale, New York. Her birth was notable because it was Mrs. Neilson’s eighth caesarean section delivery — not technically a record at the time, but still a “very rare” occurrence.

Mrs. Neilson had a ninth C-section in 1959. Six of her nine babies lived past birth, but the only other names I could track down were Sherry and Suzanne (who is holding the camera in that photo).

What are your thoughts on the name Sindee? Do you like that spelling?

Sources:

  • Baby Makes History; Child Is Woman’s 8th Delivered by Caesarean Section.” New York Times 11 Jan. 1957: 13.
  • “After Her Eighth Caesarian.” Daily Banner [Greencastle, Indiana] 21 Jan. 1957: 3.
  • “Ninth Caesarean.” Daily Review [Decatur, Illinois] 17 Apr. 1959: 5.