Mystery baby names: Genghis & Temujin

Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan

Mongol leader Genghis Khan, born Temüjin (pronounced tem-OO-jeen), lived from about 1162 until 1227.

Clearly he wasn’t personally influencing U.S. baby names in the 1970s, but something was, as both Genghis and Temujin debuted in the baby name data in 1972:

Boys named GenghisBoys named Temujin

Pop culture must be involved here. I can’t figure out how, though. Typically the more recent the debut, the easier it is to find an explanation…but I’ve checked all the usual suspects (TV, movies, etc.) and still can’t manage to pinpoint a source.

Can you think of anything Genghis Khan-related that might have been going on circa 1971-1972?

Sources: Living the Nomad’s Life: Genghis Khan, SSA

Image: Genghis Khan portrait

7 thoughts on “Mystery baby names: Genghis & Temujin

  1. In April 1971, John Kerry gave a speech to a senate committee about the “Winter Soldier Investigation” in which he described the atrocities of an incident during the Veitnam War as reminiscent of the action of Gehghis Khan.

  2. Might be from books, I think. There were at least two books about Khan and his legacy published in 1971-72, “The Successors of Genghis Khan” by Rashid al-Din (translated by John Andrew Boyle) and “The History of the Mongol Conquests” by J.J. Saunders. Both are cited in a bunch of more recent bibliographies, so I assume they sold fairly well for history books and the authors may have made the talk show circuit.

    And then a variant of the name was used for a conflict during the Indian-Pakistani war of 1971 ( Could that have lead to an increased awareness of Khan in general?

  3. Thanks everyone!

    I did come across those books — they didn’t strike me as things that would have any influence on the baby name charts, but maybe I’m wrong? Hm…

  4. Hi, stumbled upon this… My guess is maybe the parents saw John Wayne’s Genghis movie as kids, and the name stuck as something to name their kids, or the parents simply were ethnic Mongol-Americans.

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