Mystery baby name: Shurla

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

The baby name Shurla was an impressive one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data in 1961:

  • 1963: unlisted
  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: 17 baby girls named Shurla [debut]
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: unlisted

Where did it come from? I haven’t been able to figure that out yet.

The name Shirley, which had been extremely popular in the 1930s, was trending downward by the 1960s. The sound-alike names Sherla or Shirla did not see a uptick in usage in 1961. And the somewhat similar name Shirelle, though it debuted the same year (thanks to girl-group The Shirelles), is probably not the cause.

Vital records indicate that the 1961 Shurlas were born in various places in the U.S., so they weren’t clustered in a specific region. (Here are two of them: one from Missouri, the other from Maryland originally but buried in Kansas.)

Do you have any idea where this one might have come from? (News? Television?)

2 thoughts on “Mystery baby name: Shurla

  1. There was a woman named Shurla in Indiana who celebrated her 99th birthday in 2016. She died in 2017. Her obit said she was born in Illinois. The name was already in use 100 years ago, though maybe someone made it up.

  2. I can’t seem to find the woman you’re talking about, but you’re right, there’s no doubt the name was in use before the ’60s. I just can’t figure out why the usage spiked in 1961 specifically…

    Scratch that! Found her: Shurla Bealor Rans.

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