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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Vernon

Number of Babies Named Vernon

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Vernon

The Emergence of Marjoe

marjoe gortner, baby names, 1970s
Marjoe Gortner, preaching, 1971

The rare name Marjoe has appeared in the U.S. baby name just twice, both times in the mid-1970s:

  • 1976: unlisted
  • 1975: 6 baby boys named Marjoe
  • 1974: 6 baby boys named Marjoe [debut]
  • 1973: unlisted

This name is similar to Uldine in that both are associated with something rather unusual: child preachers.

In the case of Marjoe, the influence was child preacher-turned-actor Marjoe Gortner.

He was born Hugh Marjoe Ross Gortner to parents to Vernon and Marge of California in 1944. According to an early source, the middle name “Marjoe” was based on the name of his mother Marge. (His younger siblings were named Vernoe and Starloe.) Later sources claim “Marjoe” was a combination of Mary and Joseph.

Marjoe Gortner was a precocious child, and his family was full of preachers, so his parents (putting two and two together) decided to turn Marjoe into a child preacher. By the age of four, he was an ordained minister and could deliver about 40 different sermons from memory. His entire childhood was spent evangelizing.

By the early 1970s, Marjoe Gortner was in his late 20s and only in it for the money. In the autobiographical documentary Marjoe (1972), he gave viewers a behind-the-scenes look at “the lucrative business of Pentecostal preaching.” It earned critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in early 1973, but wasn’t screened in many theaters.

Following the success of the documentary, Marjoe pursued an acting career. He was most visible in the mid-1970s, appearing mainly on television. He could be seen on episodes of various TV shows (like Nakia, in 1974) and in several made-for-TV movies (like The Gun and the Pulpit, also in 1974).

What are your thoughts on the name Marjoe?

Sources:

Baby Names from Pullman Cars?

pullman car, train,Years ago I posted about Livonia, a baby both born on and named after a Pullman car. Recently I wondered: What other Pullman car names would have made good baby names?

So I downloaded a big spreadsheet of over 12,000 Pullman car names from The Pullman Project and was slightly surprised to see that thousands of them could have been baby names, if we allow for the splitting of compound car names (like Fort Miley, Glen Norman, Meredith College, and West Willow).

Here are a handful of examples. On the left are relatively common/familiar names, and on the right are some unexpected choices.

Alana, Archer, Arnold Adriatha, Arundel, Arvonia
Baxter, Becket, Bradley Bantry, Bellonia, Besco
Calvin, Catalina, Clyde Cadesia, Clarnie, Clymer
Dana, Deborah, Dwight Darlow, Dathema, Dodona
Edith, Eileen, Elmo Edminster, Emalinda, Etherley
Finley, Flavia, Floyd Fithian, Flaxton, Florilla
Gary, Georgette, Grayson Gavarnie, Gilia, Gloxinia
Harper, Harriet, Hector Harista, Humela, Hythe
Iona, Isabella, Ivan Irvona, Isleta, Ixion
Jessica, Jordan, Julia Jacelia, Jathniel, Justitia
Kara, Keith, Kenneth Keinath, Kenia, Kittson
Laurel, Lewis, Linden Lauveta, Leolyn, Lysander
Madison, Marco, Maude Mardonia, Mayence, Morganza
Nicola, Noel, Nora Narinda, Nasby, Norlina
Olivia, Omar, Otis Oaklyn, Olanda, Oxus
Parker, Perry, Philippa Penlyn, Pipila, Pixley
Quincy Quarren
Rebecca, Riley, Ronald Rexis, Risley, Ruxton
Sarah, Scott, Susanne Salphrona, Sarver, Sibley
Thora, Tracy, Tyler Tascott, Tilden, Tisonia
Vanessa, Vernon, Victoria Varick, Vinora, Vivita
Wesley, Wilson, Wren Welby, Wescott, Wexford

Which of the names above do you like best?

On the “Changed Nomenclature of Our Babies”

An opinion about “modern names” from 1907:

A very good guide, in the study of New England genealogy, is given by the Christian name. In some families, Simon, Stephen and Thomas may follow down the line of sons; while others carry only John, James and William. Genealogists have great confidence in this clue, for those Christian old worthies used to name their sons after themselves and their fathers. They had not evolved into the “Vernons” and “Cecils” and “Irvings” of now-a-days; these modern names which mean nothing but a morbid craving for the romantic and unusual. Romances guide the Christian names of babies today, alas, instead of sense of family loyalty. Have we not lost something of the real spirit of genuineness and fealty with the changed nomenclature of our babies?

So amusing to think of Vernon, Cecil and Irving as romantic or unusual. I wonder what this writer would have thought of Jayden, Jaxon and Jace.

Source: “Genealogy.” Deseret Evening News 26 Jan. 1907: 26.

New Jersey Family with 18 Children

In 1951, Joseph and Clara Carey of New Jersey welcomed their 18th child. The parents and all but three of the children posed for a newspaper photo that year. According to the caption, the 15 kids in the photo were named…

  • Carol, 17
  • Joseph, 15
  • Crawford, 13
  • William, 12
  • Margaret, 11
  • Raymond, 10
  • Geraldine, 9
  • Dorothy Ann, 8
  • Doris Joan, 7
  • Emily, 6
  • Dale, 5
  • Vernon, 4
  • Barbara, 3
  • Johnny, 2
  • Bruce, baby

What do you think the other three were named? (I have no idea about the genders.)

Which of the 15 names above is your favorite?

Source: “Mother Carey Has 18 Children Born in 18 Years.” Robesonian 16 Jan. 1951: 1.

Babies Named After the Song “Dardanella”

Dardanella
Dardanella

In 1919 — years before radio broadcasting became a means of popularizing music — the song “Dardanella” was published as sheet music with lyrics. The song tells the tale of a “lonesome maid Armenian” named Dardanella. Here’s the chorus:

Oh sweet Dardanella, I love your harem eyes,
I’m a lucky fellow, to capture such a prize,
Oh Allah knows, my love for you,
And he tells you to be true,

Dardanella, oh hear my sigh, my Oriental,
Oh sweet Dardanella, prepare the wedding wine,
There’ll be one girl in my harem when you’re mine.
We’ll build a tent, just like the children of the Orient.

Oh, sweet Dardanella, my star of love divine.

“Dardanella” became so trendy that it inspired dozens of expectant parents to name their baby girls Dardanella in the early 1920s:

  • 1925: unlisted
  • 1924: 6 baby girls named Dardanella
  • 1923: unlisted
  • 1922: 6 baby girls named Dardanella
  • 1921: 15 baby girls named Dardanella
  • 1920: 23 baby girls named Dardanella [debut]
  • 1919: unlisted

In fact, Dardanella was the top debut name for baby girls in 1920. The spelling variant Dardenella also appeared for the first and only time on the list that year.

The name in the song is derived from the word Dardanelles, which is one of the Turkish Straits that separates European Turkey from Asian Turkey. The word Dardanelles can be traced back to the mythological figure Dardanus, son of Zeus and Electra.

If you’d like to hear “Dardanella,” check out this 1920 recording by Gladys Rice and Vernon Dalhart [vid]. A version by Selvin’s Novelty Orchestra that was released in late 1919 became “the first pressing ever to sell more than a million copies.”

What do you think of the name Dardanella? Usable nowadays?

P.S. One of the songwriters was Fred Fisher, who’d scored a big hit a decade earlier with “Come Josephine In My Flying Machine.”

Source: “From ‘Dardanella’ On A Stroh To Stacked Tapes.” New York Times 13 Dec. 1964: 24.