So today let’s check out another fun set of “top” names: the top rises. The names below are those that increased the most in usage, percentage-wise, from one year to the next according to the SSA data.
Here’s the format: girl names are on the left, boy names are on the right, and the percentages represent single-year jumps in usage. (For example, from 1880 to 1881, usage of the girl name Isa grew 240% and usage of the boy name Noble grew 333%.)
The SSA data isn’t perfect, but it does get a lot better in the late 1930s, because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data” (SSA). Now, back to the list…
(Did you catch all the doubles? Tula, Delano, Tammy, Jermaine, and Davey/Davy.)
I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and I plan to write about many of the others. In the meanwhile, though, feel free to beat me to it! Leave a comment and let us know what popularized Dorla in 1929, or Lauren in 1945, or Dustin in 1968, or Kayleigh in 1985, or Talan in 2005…
The baby name Carmindy debuted in the SSA data in 2006 and hung around until 2011:
2011: 6 baby girls named Carmindy
2010: 12 baby girls named Carmindy
2009: 7 baby girls named Carmindy
2008: 8 baby girls named Carmindy
2007: 9 baby girls named Carmindy
2006: 8 baby girls named Carmindy [debut]
TLC’s What Not to Wear (2003-2013) is one of the few reality TV shows that I’ve ever watched with any sort of regularity, so I knew the source of this one right away: Carmindy, WNTW’s on-air make-up artist.
I don’t know the story behind Carmindy Bowyer’s first name, but I do know that the stress is on the first syllable (CAR-min-dee).
The variant Karmindy also appeared in the data (just once) while the popular makeover show was on the air.
What are your thoughts on the name Carmindy?
P.S. On the show, Carmindy turned her first name into a verb: carmindize. Here’s how she described carmindizing in a blog post: “Next, you will want to Carmindize your face by applying a cream highlighter on the brow bone, on the inner corners of the eyes and on tops of your cheekbones.”
Ready for a mystery from the ’80s? Today’s mystery baby name is Fashionette, which popped up in the SSA data for three consecutive years in the 1980s:
1988: 6 baby girls named Fashionette
1987: 15 baby girls named Fashionette
1986: 7 baby girls named Fashionette [debut]
Why? I don’t know!
Research tells me that “Fashionette” was the name of a hair net introduced in the 1900s, a novelty song [vid] popular in the 1920s, and an air conditioner introduced by General Electric in the 1960s.
It’s also been used as the name of various local businesses (particularly beauty salons, clothing stores, and sewing stores) and at least one online business (a designer handbag store).
But what the heck was it in the 1980s? What turned Fashionette into a baby name?
The SSA’s state-by-state data doesn’t offer any clues, but records suggest that more than a few of those ’80s Fashionettes were born in Texas. (One had the very Texas-sounding first-middle combo “Dallas Fashionette.”)
So, I’m stumped. Do you have any theories about where the name Fashionette came from?
The name Winona has been in the U.S. baby name data since the very beginning, but the specific spelling Wynonna didn’t show up until the mid-1980s:
1986: 6 baby girls named Wynonna
1985: 5 baby girls named Wynonna [debut]
What was the influence?
Country singer Wynonna Judd. She and her mother, Naomi Judd, formed The Judds in the early ’80s and the duo won a Grammy Award in 1985 for the song “Mama He’s Crazy.”
The name saw peak usage in 1993, not long after Wynonna began her solo career.
Wynonna’s birth name was Christina Ciminella. She was inspired to change her name after her mother, previously known as Diana Ciminella, became Naomi Judd in the early ’70s following a divorce. (‘Judd’ was her maiden name, but ‘Naomi’ was brand new.)
She chose the name ‘Wynonna’ because she liked the song “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66,” which mentions Winona, Arizona.
(Naomi tried to persuade her younger daughter, Ashley, to change her name as well — to ‘Ramona,’ because of its similarity to ‘Wynonna.’ She wasn’t interested, but she did start to use the surname ‘Judd.’)
The name dropped out of the data in the early 2000s, but has come back recently:
2017: 20 baby girls named Wynonna
2016: 5 baby girls named Wynonna
Why? Because of the supernatural Western TV series Wynonna Earp, which debuted on Syfy in 2016.
What are your thoughts on the baby name Wynonna? Do you like the spelling?
Source: Millard, Bob. The Judds: A Biography. New York: Doubleday, 1988.
On the short-lived TV series Delvecchio, Los Angeles police detective Dominick Delvecchio (played by Judd Hirsch) was a cop who aspired to be a lawyer. (He’d graduated from law school, but hadn’t managed to pass the bar exam yet.) This made him more complex than the average TV detective of the era:
“What you have in Delvecchio is basically a schizoid personality. A cop is trained to assume guilt. A lawyer is trained to assume innocence and we have both of those things in the same guy. […] For that reason we have always built situations for Delvecchio where he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. […] So he lies to his bosses, he occasionally bends police procedure. He gets personally involved.”
Though the show was only on the air for a single season (1976-1977), it had a relatively strong impact on baby names.
And the surname of Delvecchio’s partner/sidekick, detective Paul Shonski (played by Charles Haid), was a one-hit wonder in the data the next year:
1977: 5 baby boys named Shonski [debut]
I haven’t been able to figure out the etymology of Shonski, but the Italian surname Delvecchio is easy: del means “of the” or “from the,” and vecchio means “old” or “mature.” So one original usage would have been to denote the son or servant of an older man. The name was also “taken by various Jewish families long established in Italy (allegedly since the capture of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70) to distinguish themselves from later arrivals who migrated there on being expelled from the Iberian Peninsula after 1492.”
What are your thoughts on Delvecchio and Shonski as first names?