Where did the baby name Trace come from in 1956?

The character Trace Jordan from the movie "The Burning Hills" (1956).
Trace Jordan from “The Burning Hills

The name Trace left its first trace in the U.S. baby name data in 1956:

  • 1958: 20 baby boys named Trace
  • 1957: 17 baby boys named Trace
  • 1956: 17 baby boys named Trace [debut]
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted

It was the 2nd-highest debut on the boys’ list that year after the comics-inspired Dondi.

So what inspired Trace?

A Western called The Burning Hills (1956) that starred Tab Hunter and Natalie Wood.

Tab Hunter played Trace Jordan, whose name was appropriate given the fact that he was able to track down his brother’s killers based on the traces they left behind:

Evidence found near Johnny’s body reveals that several men were present during his murder: one with a limp, one with elaborate spurs, and one who smoked a certain type of cigarette.

Much of the rest of the movie involves tracking as well, but in the other direction (i.e., the bad guys trying to find Trace).

In the late 1990s, the usage of the name jumped thanks to a different Trace: country singer Trace Adkins (b. 1962), whose birth name was actually Tracy.

What do you think of the name Trace? How do you like it compared to similar-sounding names like Chase, Jace, Case, and Ace?

Source: The Burning Hills – TCM

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