Where did the baby name Omayra come from in 1969?

Puerto Rican singer Omayra Torres
Omayra Torres

Two very similar baby names, Omayra and Omaira, debuted in the U.S. data in 1969. They were used primarily in New York and New Jersey.

1968196919701971
Omayra.42*68†49
Omaira.14*31†31†
Mayra126145173163
Maira25332118
*Debut, †Peak usage

The similar names Mayra and Maira also saw higher usage in 1969, and were also particularly popular in New York.

One of my first guesses was that all four names had been influenced by Venezuelan singer Mayra Martí.

But then, after more digging, I discovered a young Puerto Rican singer/beauty queen named Omayra Torres. She put out at least two albums and won a beauty contest during the late ’60s.

Omayra's self-titled album (1968?)

Her first album was self-titled and came out prior to 1969 (I believe). Then Omayra was crowned “Reina Juvenil del Carnaval Juan Ponce de León 1969” in San Juan in February of 1969. She followed the win with her second album, Omayra…La Princesita, later in 1969.

Most people in the U.S. wouldn’t have known about Omayra, but the Puerto Rican community in and around New York City would have, and we can see this in the baby name data. (I wish we had name data for Puerto Rico itself going back to the 1960s!)

Billboard magazine mentioned Omayra in several issues during the early ’70s, as she sang in venues around San Juan, but I don’t know what became of her after that.

What are your thoughts on the name Omayra?

Sources: Reinas de Puerto Rico [PDF] by Flor M. Cruz-Gonzalez; Omayra… – Hiram Morales y El Club Del Clan

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