We’ve talked about a Tongan baby named Leicester after a rugby win in Leicester, and a Samoan baby named Wales after a rugby win against Wales. Today we have a third baby from the Pacific Islands whose rugby-inspired name is both a location and a reference to Wales.
On November 16, 2012, a rugby match between Samoa and Wales was held at Millennium Stadium in the Welsh capital of Cardiff.
The same day, a baby boy was born in Samoa to parents Tala’i Jr. Lene and Falute Va’auli-Lene (who was Miss Samoa 2005, incidentally).
Samoa ended up winning the match, beating Wales with a score of 26-19.
Tala’i and Falute, both devoted rugby fans, decided to mark the occasion by naming their fourth son Cardiff Va’auli Asotoelau Lene. (Their older sons are named Jeremiah, Sam, and Christian.)
The name of the city was likely derived from the settlement’s original Welsh name, Caer-Taff, meaning “fort on the (river) Taff.”
In 1985, the Jenna-like name Jehnna debuted in the U.S. baby name data:
1985: 10 baby girls named Jehnna [debut]
The similar name Jehna also appeared for the first time in the data that year.
What was the influence?
A character in the 1984 movie Conan the Destroyer — the campy sequel to Conan the Barbarian (1982). Both films starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan, but only the second film included the virgin princess Jehnna (played by actress Olivia d’Abo).
Speaking of Conan…it’s very interesting to see how swiftly usage of the name dropped during the early 1980s — specifically, in 1982 and 1984:
What are your thoughts on the name Conan? How about Jehnna?
Last year, the most popular baby names in the Brazilian city of Toledo (located in the southern state of Paraná) were Alice and Miguel.
According to local newspaper Gazeta de Toledo — which published a single, provisional set of rankings for Toledo in late December — these were the city’s top 50 baby names overall in 2022:
Miguel, 32 babies
Alice, 29 – pronounced ah-lee-see in Brazilian Portuguese.
Maria Alice, 21
Davi, 15 – a form of David.
Maria Julia, 15
Ravi, 10 – a form of Rafael.
Maria Clara, 9
Arthur Miguel, 9
Maria Eduarda, 7
Maria Cecilia, 6
Murilo, 6 – (pronounced moo-ree-loh) based on the Spanish surname Murillo, which is derived from the Spanish word muro, meaning “wall.”
The newspaper mentioned that Maria Alice has been on the rise in Brazil since the mid-2020 birth of celebrity baby Maria Alice, firstborn daughter of Brazilian singer Zé Felipe and Brazilian influencer Virginia Fonseca. (The couple’s second daughter, Maria Flor, was born in late 2022 — making “Maria Flor” a combo to look out for in future Brazilian rankings.)
The name Rebeca also rose in 2022 following the success of Brazilian gymnast Rebeca Andrade at the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were held in mid-2021 due to COVID-19. Andrade won a gold medal in the vault and a silver medal in the individual all-around (placing second to Sunisa Lee of Team USA).
I’ve never posted rankings for Toledo before, but I did post Brazil’s 2021 rankings a few months back, if you’d like to compare this list to that one.
The curious name Dwala first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1942:
1943: 11 baby girls named Dwala
1942: 15 baby girls named Dwala [debut]
Despite the fact that it one of the highest-debuting baby names of the year, Dwala only remained in the data for one more year before dropping out again.
Where did it come from?
A pint-sized piano player named Dwala Jeaniene Graves from Norfolk, Nebraska.
In January of 1942, as a nine-year-old, her unique skills were highlighted in the nationally syndicated Ripley’s Believe It or Not newspaper panel. The panel said that Dwala “plays the piano and tap dances at the same time while blindfolded and wearing mittens.”
In September of 1942, she was a guest on the popular Hobby Lobby radio show hosted by Dave Elman. She did the blindfolded/mitten-wearing/tap-dancing thing again, plus this time she also performed “while sitting on the floor with her head under the keyboard.”
Though the name Dwala didn’t stay in the data long, Dwala Graves herself continued to perform, both on radio and in concert, throughout the ’40s and at least halfway into the ’50s.
After that, she married and had three daughters named Cala, Jeaniene, and Darla.
What are your thoughts on the baby name Dwala?
P.S. Dwala had younger twin siblings named Doy Royce (boy) and Devon Renee (girl).