Right around the time the name Shannon was seeing a steep rise in usage, the name Deshannon debuted in the U.S. baby name data:
Girls named Shannon
Girls named Deshannon
10,965 [rank: 22nd]
12,651 [rank: 21st]
13,548 [rank: 22nd]
10,448 [rank: 31st]
6,402 [rank: 53rd]
3,446 [rank: 101st]
2,992 [rank: 120th]
The influence? Singer Jackie DeShannon, whose biggest hit, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” peaked at #4 on Billboard‘s “Hot 100” chart in the summer of 1969.
But this wasn’t DeShannon’s first hit. She’d already seen success with the Burt Bacharach song “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” which had peaked at #7 in the summer of 1965.
So it seems that sudden trendiness of “Shannon” was the x-factor that prepared expectant parents to see more name-potential in “DeShannon” the second time around.
The singer’s birth name was Sharon Lee Myers. She went through various stage names before settling on “Jackie DeShannon.” “Jackie” was chosen because it was gender-neutral, while “DeShannon” was created out of two earlier ideas: “Dee,” which, by itself, made the full name too close to ones already in use (like Sandra Dee and Brenda Lee), and “de Shannon,” which was often written incorrectly.
DeShannon also had a successful career as a songwriter, working with performers like Jimmy Page and Marianne Faithfull. In 1982, she received the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for “Bette Davis Eyes,” which she had co-written with Donna Weiss. (The song was a 1981 hit for singer Kim Carnes.)
“Everly” is hot…”Beverly” is not. It’s a one-letter difference between fashionable and fusty.
If you’re sensitive to style, you’ll prefer Everly. It fits with today’s trends far better than Beverly does.
But if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about style, or prefers to go against style, then you may not automatically go for Everly. In fact, you may be more attracted to Beverly because it’s the choice that most modern parents would avoid.
If you’ve ever thought about intentionally giving your baby a dated name (like Debbie, Grover, Marcia, or Vernon) for the sake of uniqueness within his/her peer group — if you have no problem sacrificing style for distinctiveness — then this list is for you.
Years ago, the concept of “contrarian” baby names came up in the comments of a post about Lois. Ever since then, creating a collection of uncool/contrarian baby names has been on my to-do list.
Finally, last month, I experimented with various formulas for pulling unstylish baby names out of the SSA dataset. Keeping the great-grandparent rule in mind, I aimed for names that would have been fashionable among the grandparents of today’s babies. The names below are the best results I got.
The name Quint debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1959 and saw peak usage in 1964:
1965: 56 baby boys named Quint [rank: 992nd]
1964: 87 baby boys named Quint [rank: 810th]
1963: 51 baby boys named Quint
1962: 13 baby boys named Quint
1961: 5 baby boys named Quint
1959: 7 baby boys named Quint [debut]
Where did it come from?
There are two answers, actually. And both have to do with secondary characters in TV Westerns.
The first fictional Quint was on Tombstone Territory (1957-1960). Deputy Quint, played by actor Quentin Charles Sondergaard, appeared in about dozen episodes of the show during the third season. This is what boosted the name onto the charts in the first place.
The second fictional Quint was on Gunsmoke (1955-1975). Quint Asper — a half-white, half-Comanche blacksmith played by a young Burt Reynolds — appeared on 50 episodes of the show from 1962 to 1965. This is when the name saw its highest-ever usage.
The registrar of Providence, Rhode Island, published a series of documents listing all “of the names of persons deceased, born and married in the city of Providence” during years 1866, 1867 and 1868. The series may have been longer, but these are the only documents I could find online.
I’ve finally finished creating a set of rankings using one of the documents — 1867. But before we get to the rankings, here are some stats:
1,547 babies were born in Providence in 1867, going by the number of babies listed in the document itself. According to the document’s introduction, though, the number is 1,625. Not sure what to make of this discrepancy.
1,431 of these babies (713 girls and 718 boys) had names that were registered with the government at the time of publication. The other 116 babies got blank spaces. Either their names hadn’t been registered yet, or they hadn’t been named yet, or perhaps they died young and never received a name.
254 unique names (141 girl names and 113 boy names) were shared among these 1,431 babies.
And now, on to the names…
A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1867:
Top baby girl names
Top baby boy names
1. Mary 2. Catherine 3. Ellen 4. Margaret 5. Sarah
1. John 2. William 3. James 4. Charles 5. George
All Girl Names
Notice how the #1 name, Mary, was bestowed three times as often as the #2 name, Catherine.
Twenty-one sets of twins and two sets of triplets were born in Providence in 1867. (All of these names were accounted for above — I just thought it’d be fun to check out the sibsets.)
Annie & Fannie Annie & Mary Ann & Ellen Jennie & Minnie Margaret & Martha (blank) & (blank)
Ann & Maurice Grace & George Harriet & Albert Ida & Ashel Mary & James
Abraham & George Charles & George Charles & John Daniel & David Dunlap & Frank Eugene & Timothy George & John George & William James & John John & Martin
Carl, (blank) & (blank) James, Alexander & Sarah
I’ll post Providence’s 1866 and 1868 rankings as soon I get them done. Until then, here are two older posts featuring uniquely named Rhode Islanders: Aldaberontophoscophornia (b. 1812) and Idawalley (b. 1842).