Mystery baby names Quinetta & Quinette

Graph of the usage of the baby name Quinetta in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Quinetta

Here are two curiously similar Quin- names that popped up in the U.S. baby name data around the same time. So far, I haven’t been able to figure out where either one came from.

The first is Quinetta, which first appeared in 1955:

  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: 12 baby girls named Quinetta [debut]
  • 1954: unlisted

It dropped back below the 5-baby threshold the next year and didn’t reappear in the data until 1963.

The second is Quinette, which emerged in 1957:

  • 1958: 5 baby girls named Quinette
  • 1957: 8 baby girls named Quinette [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted

Girl names with -ette and -etta endings (like Annette and Loretta) were popular mid-century, but girl names starting with Quin- (like Quintina and Quintella) were rare, making the sudden appearance of a pair of Quin- names pretty noteworthy.

I doubt that Burnu Acquanetta was an influence here, but I also can’t rule her out.

Do you guys have any ideas?

4 thoughts on “Mystery baby names Quinetta & Quinette

  1. Skimming through the search engine results, I found that all Quinetta’s with a photo were African American. So it is probably something specific to the community (Some article in Ebony or Jet? Some advertisement targetted at that group?)

  2. Really strange connection, but there is a historic Quinette Cemetery near St. Louis that’s said to be the oldest African-American cemetery west of the Mississippi. It apparently has a monument to WWII vets. I wonder whether there was some fundraising/restoration push for the cemetery or the monument going on in the mid-1950s?

    I can’t tell who the cemetery was named for. Figuring that out might be a more useful clue, especially if the births are at all concentrated in Missouri.

  3. Thank you, elbowin! I didn’t think to check Jet/Ebony specifically this time around, but I found two solid leads in Jet:

    A September 1954 issue mentions a woman named Quinetta Embry. It’s just a single mention, and her name is buried in the middle of a news item, but that’s the best lead we’ve got so far.

    A December 1957 issue includes a photo of a cute 4-year-old named Quinette McCrae. The only thing that bothers me in this case is the extreme lateness of the issue (Dec. 26) for a 1957 debut.

  4. Thanks, elisabeth! I am trying to find out more about the cemetery — where the name came from, and if it was ever in the headlines — but so far not having much luck.

    So far I’ve seen a few Quinettes/Quinettas from Missouri, but they don’t appear to be concentrated there.

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