What turned Jinx into a baby name?

Actress Jinx Falkenburg (1919-2003)
Jinx Falkenburg

The word jinx means “curse” or “hex,” but that hasn’t stopped parents from using it as a baby name!

After the silent Western Galloping Jinx came out in 1925, 6 baby girls (at least) got the name Jinx in 1926.

The name then dropped back out of the U.S. baby name data. It didn’t re-emerge until Eugenia “Jinx” Falkenburg — a model, actress, and early talk-show host — started to become famous in the early 1940s.

  • 1945: 7 baby girls named Jinx
  • 1944: 9 baby girls named Jinx
  • 1943: 7 baby girls named Jinx
  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: unlisted

Her childhood nickname, “Jinx,” had been coined by her mother, tennis champion Marguerite (“Mickey”), who said, rather paradoxically, that “she thought it would bring the girl good fortune.” Her father, an engineer named Eugene, already had dibs on the nickname “Genie.”

Jinx must have loved her nickname, because she tried to make her full legal name “Jinx” in early 1942. Her lawyer argued that a shorter name on the marquee would help support the war effort:

The name Falkenburg requires 150 light bulbs, which in one evening will use enough electrical power to aid in the production of 26,00 [sic] pounds of aluminum or illuminate a city of 105,000 population.

But Judge Emmet H. Wilson “ruled there is no legal precedent to such dramatic shortening” of a name. So Jinx settled for dropping her birth name Eugenia and making her full legal name Jinx Falkenburg.

Jinx, who began her career as a model and actress, “pioneered the talk show format on radio and television” with her husband, Texas-born John Reagan “Tex” McCrary. Their first radio program was a morning program called “Hi Jinx.”

What are your thoughts on Jinx as a personal name?


P.S. Gwili, Sivi, and Donivee are three more forgotten Hollywood actresses who left their mark on the U.S. baby name charts.

5 thoughts on “What turned Jinx into a baby name?

  1. There’s also Halle Berry’s character from Die Another Day. She was more Felix Lightener than Bond girl – a National Security Agent – and her given name was Giacinta. I love Jacinta/Jacinda/Giacinta.

    Fascinating story about the light bulbs!

  2. I always think “prank” more than “curse”, thanks to hijinks, when I hear this as a name.

  3. My family used to have a black cat named Jinks. He was named after a the cat from the “Pixie, Dixie and Mr. Jinks” cartoon. The cat in the “Focker” movies is also named Mr. Jinx, so Jinks/Jinx has a feline quality (and male!) to me…

  4. I went to elementary school in the 60’s with a girl whose name was Jinx Tease. I kid you not..:) It wasn’t until I was older and looking back that I felt sorry for her….

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