Where did the baby name Jubal come from in 1956?

The title character from the movie "Jubal" (1956).
Jubal from “Jubal

The Biblical name Jubal jumped into the U.S. baby name data for the first time in 1956:

  • 1958: 9 baby boys named Jubal
  • 1957: 9 baby boys named Jubal
  • 1956: 13 baby boys named Jubal [debut]
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted

What put it there?

The biggest influence was probably the Western film Jubal, which was released in April that year.

The protagonist, a drifter named Jubal Troop, took a job on a ranch and ended up being “caught in the middle of the frustrated desires and desperate deceptions” of the rancher’s wife and other ranch hands.

Jubal was played by actor Glenn Ford (born Gwyllyn Ford). Other Western-tinged character names included Shep, Shem, Pinky, and Reb.

The movie was based on the 1939 book Jubal Troop by Paul Wellman. Wellman also wrote the book that became the movie The Iron Mistress (1952), which gave rise to the one-hit wonder baby name Judalon.

Another influence on the name might have been the short-lived TV Western Frontier (1955-1956), which featured a character named Jubal Dolan (played by Jack Kelly, who went on to star in Maverick) in a single episode (“The Return of Jubal Dolan”) that aired in August of 1956.

The name Jubal comes from the ancient Hebrew root-verb yabal, which means “to flow, run, go forth.” Many sources say the name means “stream” specifically.

Do you like the name Jubal?

Sources: Jubal (1956) – Turner Classic Movies, Genesis 4:22 Commentaries – Bible Hub

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