Mystery baby name: LaFondra

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

Ready for another mystery? This month we’ve got the name Lafondra, which was the top debut name of 1962:

  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: 10 baby girls named Lafondra
  • 1962: 30 baby girls named Lafondra (7 born in California specifically)
  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: unlisted

Though it’s written “Lafondra” in the SSA data, elsewhere on the internet it’s usually written “LaFondra” (with a capital F).

The first thing I should note is that actress Jane Fonda became popular in the early 1960s. As a result, usage of the baby name Fonda was boosted into the top 1,000 from 1960 to 1966:

  • 1967: 97 baby girls named Fonda
  • 1966: 118 baby girls named Fonda [rank: 930th]
  • 1965: 128 baby girls named Fonda [rank: 884th]
  • 1964: 145 baby girls named Fonda [rank: 864th]
  • 1963: 181 baby girls named Fonda [rank: 767th] – peak usage
  • 1962: 161 baby girls named Fonda [rank: 826th]
  • 1961: 143 baby girls named Fonda [rank: 904th]
  • 1960: 152 baby girls named Fonda [rank: 841st]
  • 1959: 108 baby girls named Fonda

The trendiness of “Fonda” in turn gave a boost to Lafonda (typically written “LaFonda”):

  • 1964: 21 baby girls named Lafonda
  • 1963: 24 baby girls named Lafonda
  • 1962: 35 baby girls named Lafonda – peak usage
  • 1961: 24 baby girls named Lafonda
  • 1960: 9 baby girls named Lafonda

But LaFonda saw peak usage the year before Fonda, in 1962 — the same year that LaFondra-with-an-R debuted. So perhaps the event that gave LaFondra-with-an-R a boost had an effect upon LaFonda as well.

The “La” prefix in both of these names suggests African-American usage, so I scanned copies of Jet and Ebony from the time period, but couldn’t come up with any clues.

Do you have any theories about where LaFondra came from? (Even better: If you’re a LaFondra, please leave a comment and tell us how you got your name!)

4 thoughts on “Mystery baby name: LaFondra

  1. La- is a common prefix on Mormon/Utah names as well as African American names. Just an idea, though.

  2. @LaPrell – Good point, thanks for mentioning it! In this case, though, none of these names saw high usage in Utah (or Idaho), so it doesn’t look like there’s a Mormon connection. (There might not be an Af-Am connection either, that’s just a hunch.)

  3. I have no ideas about LaFondra, but I’d think usage of LaFonda might have been influenced by the tiny coastal town in Mexico by that name. LaFonda in just an hour south of the border and was/is a popular surf spot. The late 50s/early 60s saw a growing popularity of surfing itself as well as the whole idea of ‘surf culture’ that was depicted in books/movies/TV shows — Gidget, Beach Party, etc.

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