Where did the baby name Adriel come from in 1952?

Singer Adriel McDonand, a member of The Ink Spots from 1951 to 1954.
Adriel McDonald of The Ink Spots

In 1952, the name Adriel appeared for the first time in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1954: 11 baby boys named Adriel
  • 1953: 10 baby boys named Adriel
  • 1952: 10 baby boys named Adriel [debut]
  • 1951: unlisted
  • 1950: unlisted

Where did it come from?

I think the answer has to do with The Ink Spots, a pioneering black vocal group that performed together (with various line-ups) from 1934 until disbanding in 1954. The group scored dozens of hits on the pop charts, including the #1 singles “Address Unknown” (1939), “We Three (My Echo, My Shadow & Me)” (1940), “The Gypsy” (1946), and “To Each His Own” (1946).

In mid-1951, when the group’s bass singer Herb Kenny (brother of tenor Bill Kenny) overslept and missed a Buffalo radio appearance, the group’s valet, Adriel McDonald, stepped in as a substitute. After that, Herb was fired and Adriel became a full-time member of The Ink Spots. The lineup change was mentioned in newspapers at the time.

These days, the name Adriel is on the rise thanks to Mexican singer/songwriter Adriel Favela.

The -el part of the name Adriel (and many other Biblical names) is short for Elohim, a name for God. But the Adri- part of the name is open to interpretation, so the overall meaning of the name is unknown. Theorized definitions include “flock of God” and “my help is God.”

What are your thoughts on the name Adriel?


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