Mystery Monday: Zeline

Time for another mystery baby name! Today’s stumper is Zeline, a one-hit wonder that charted in 1957 with a dozen baby girls:

  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: 12 baby girls named Zeline
  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: unlisted

The name Zelene debuted the same year, with half as many baby girls.

I’ve done all my standard research, which includes looking at newspapers and periodicals of the era, and so far I haven’t found any notable people/characters/products named Zeline (or Zelene) in 1956-1957.

These names don’t appear to be a variant of a more popular name, though I should mention that Celine saw an uptick in usage in ’58, which is interesting.

At least three of the Zelines and two of the Zelenes were born in California, but this probably isn’t much a clue, given the relative population of California.

Anyone have a theory about the origin of this one?

Mystery Monday: The Baby Name Tramell

So here’s a multi-name mystery from the mid-1960s. Five very similar baby names — Tremell, Tremelle, Tremel, Trumell, and Tramell — all appeared for the first time in the U.S. data in 1966. The name Trammell, which wasn’t new to the data, re-emerged that year as well.

Name 1965 1966 1967 1968
Tremell . 12 [debut] 5 .
Tremelle . 12 [debut] . .
Tremel . 5 [debut] . .
Trumell . 5 [debut] . .
Tramell . 7 [debut] . 5
Trammell . 5 . .

University of Alabama quarterback Pat Trammell would have been a good answer, but he played from 1958 to 1961 (much too early) and he died of cancer in 1968 (two years too late). Plus, none of the Tremell-babies I’ve found so far were born in Alabama.

I am seeing a number of them in Texas, though, which could be meaningful. And the multiple spellings suggest that the source was at least partially audio (e.g., a movie, a television show, a news report).

Do you have theories about what inspired this name-group?

Mystery Monday: The Baby Name Zelinda

Today’s mystery name is Zelinda, which first appeared in the data in 1951:

  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: 9 baby girls named Zelinda
  • 1953: unlisted
  • 1952: 6 baby girls named Zelinda
  • 1951: 11 baby girls named Zelinda [debut & peak usage]
  • 1950: unlisted
  • 1949: unlisted

Dozens of -linda names were in the data in the early ’50s, but “Zelinda” stands out because it both popped up and peaked in the very same year. This suggests that it had a source, but…I can’t find that source.

A handful of Italian films from around that time featured the name, but I don’t think any of these films were screened in the U.S. (Incidentally, there’s an Italian folk tale called “Zelinda and the Monster.”)

Similarly, I see “Zelinda” in the newspapers during 1950 and 1951 thanks to various high schools staging the operetta The Belle of Bagdad, which includes a character named Zelinda. But this doesn’t seem notable, as “Zelinda” was in the newspapers during the ’30s and ’40s as well for the very same reason.

The one clue I can offer is that many of the 1951 Zelindas were born in the south (Kentucky, Texas, Alabama).

Do you have any thoughts about what influenced the baby name Zelinda?

Mystery Monday: The Name Chyleen

Today’s mystery name is Chyleen, a uniquely spelled one-hit wonder from 1945:

  • 1947: unlisted
  • 1946: unlisted
  • 1945: 9 baby girls named Chyleen [debut]
  • 1944: unlisted
  • 1943: unlisted

The names Charlene and Cheryl were on the rise in the ’40s, so the look/sound of Chyleen certainly fits with the trends of the time. But I can’t figure out what put the specific spelling “Chyleen” on the map.

Looking through records, I found a couple of people with other spellings, but “Chyleen” was the dominant favorite. This makes me think the influence was something written (e.g., news story, movie credits, book).

Any ideas about what influenced Chyleen?

P.S. The Chyleen-like name Chyla saw a spike in usage in 1983, with a third of that usage coming from in Illinois. The influence was likely Chicago Bears quarterback Vince Evans, who married a woman named Chyla Dibble in mid-1982. (The couple was featured in a July 1982 issue of Jet magazine.)

Mystery Monday: The Name Lindola

Another Monday, another mystery name!

Today we’ve got Lindola, an impressive one-hit wonder from 1940 that popped up with 13 baby girls…then disappeared just as suddenly.

  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: unlisted
  • 1940: 13 baby girls named Lindola [debut]
  • 1939: unlisted
  • 1938: unlisted

I tried all the usual sources for the era (radio shows, music, comics, news stories, etc.) but came up with nothing.

One weird coincidence is that the name Lindola was in newspapers in mid-1937. It was given to a baby girl born in the Philippines during an earthquake (lindol means “earthquake” in Tagalog). But a 1937 news story wouldn’t have caused a 1940 name debut, at least not directly.

There does seem to be something regional about this one. Records suggest that a lot of the 1940 Lindolas were born in the Midwest and the (northern) South. For instance, here are the graves of Lindola Fulmer, born in Ohio, and Lindola Smith, born in Kansas.

Any ideas about what influenced Lindola?