Where did the baby name Carranza come from in 1914?

Mexican revolutionary/president Venustiano Carranza (1859-1920)
Venustiano Carranza

The intriguing name Carranza was a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data back in 1914:

  • 1916: unlisted
  • 1915: unlisted
  • 1914: 5 baby boys named Carranza
  • 1913: unlisted
  • 1912: unlisted

Data from the U.S. Social Security Death Index likewise indicates that the name saw higher usage that year:

  • 1917: 2 people with the first name Carranza
  • 1916: 6 people with the first name Carranza
  • 1915: 3 people with the first name Carranza
  • 1914: 9 people with the first name Carranza
  • 1913: 3 people with the first name Carranza
  • 1912: none
  • 1911: none

What was drawing attention to the Spanish surname Carranza around that time?

My guess is Venustiano Carranza, one of the leaders of the ongoing Mexican Revolution (1910-1920).

Carranza became the provisional president of Mexico following the overthrow of Victoriano Huerta in the summer of 1914. (He went on to become the constitutional president in 1917.)

The transition from Huerta to Carranza happened during the months of 1914 that the U.S. military was occupying the Mexican port city of Veracruz. Woodrow Wilson refused to recognize Huerta’s government, but did eventually recognize Carranza’s (in late 1915).

The Spanish surname Carranza can be traced back to the Basque place-name Karrantza — both a valley and a village in the province of Biscay (Vizcaya) in northern Spain.

And Carranza’s interesting first name? It’s based on the Latin word venustus, meaning “lovely, comely, charming.” Venustus is derived from Venus, the name of the Roman goddess of love.

What are your thoughts on Carranza as a first name?


Image: Venustiano Carranza

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