The rare name Troylene has appeared in the U.S. baby name data just three times total. It debuted in 1951, then popped up again twice in the 1960s:
1965: 5 baby girls named Troylene
1963: 13 baby girls named Troylene [peak]
6 born in California
1951: 5 baby girls named Troylene [debut]
The peak usage in 1963 is easy to explain, so we’ll start there.
In the early ’60s, Dallas burlesque dancer “Candy Barr” (birth name: Juanita Dale Slusher) served over three years of a fifteen-year prison sentence for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Just after she was released in April of 1963, a few photographs of Candy and her 7-year-old daughter Troylene ran in the newspapers. (Troylene’s father was Candy’s second husband, Troy Phillips.)
…So that explains the ’60s. What about the ’50s?
The reason for the debut is trickier to pinpoint — and there may not be a specific reason at all. (“Troylene” may have emerged organically as a variant of trendy names like Darlene and Charlene.)
That said, I do have two theories:
First, a New Mexico cowgirl named Troylene Boykin (b. 1943). She participated in various kids’ rodeos during the early ’50s, so her name periodically popped up in Southern newspapers starting around 1951. (Sadly, Troylene Boykin died of a heart ailment in 1956.)
Second, a Texas baby named Zanneta Troylene McKnight (b. 1951). Her twin brother, Clifton Troyce McKnight, was born with an “upside down” stomach (congenital diaphragmatic hernia) and required major surgery soon after they were born in mid-November. They were both highlighted in the local news at that time.
It’s interesting to note that most of the 20th-century Troylenes I found records for were born in Texas, and a good number of them had fathers named Troy. The twins’ father was a Troy, for instance.
“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.
Have you seen any of the most popular baby girl names beyond the top 1,000 yet? If not, here they are — down to the names that were given to 100 babies each last year. The 1,000th most popular girl name was Dania, given to 249 babies, and after Dania comes…
John and Margaret Nelson of Chesterfield, England, welcomed a baby girl at the very end of 1985. They named their daughter Tracy, but that’s not all they named her. This is Tracy’s full name:
Tracy Mariclaire Lisa Tammy Samantha Christine Alexandra Candy Bonnie Ursala Zoe Nichola Patricia Lynda Kate Jean Sandra Karren Julie Jane Elizabeth Felicity Gabriella Jackie Corina Constance Arabella Clara Honor Geraldine Fiona Erika Fillippa Anabel Elsie Amanda Cheryl Alanna Louisa Angie Beth Crystal Dawn Debbie Eileen Grace Susan Rebecca Valerie Kay Lena Margaret Anna Amy Carol Bella Avril Ava Audry Andrea Daphne Donna Cynthia Cassie Christabel Vivien Wendy Moira Jennifer Abbie Adelaide Carrissa Carla Anne Astrid Barbara Charissa Catalina Bonny Dee Hazel Iris Anthea Clarinda Bernadette Cara Alison Carrie Angela Beryl Caroline Emma Dana Vanessa Zara Violet Lynn Maggie Pamela Rosemary Ruth Cathlene Alexandrina Annette Hilary Diana Angelina Carrinna Victoria Sara Mandy Annabella Beverly Bridget Cecilia Catherine Brenda Jessica Isbella Delilah Camila Candace Helen Connie Charmaine Dorothy Melinda Nancy Mariam Vicki Selina Miriam Norma Pauline Toni Penny Shari Zsa-zsa Queenie Nelson
That’s 139 given names and 1 surname.
Why did John and Margaret do this to their daughter? According to John, “We just wanted to give her something for when she grows up.”
A reason that makes complete sense, of course.
Speaking of things that make sense, let’s pick out some of the needless repetition:
Alexandra (#7) and Alexandrina (#103)
Amanda (#36) and Mandy (#111)
Angela (#89), Angie (#40) and Angelina (#107)
Anna (#33), Anne (#74) and Annette (#104)
Bella (#56), Annabella (#112), Arabella (#27) and Isbella (#119)
Bonnie (#9) and Bonny (#79)
Candace (#122) and Candy (#8)
Carrissa (#72) and Charissa (#77)
Clara (#28) and Clarinda (#84)
Constance (#26) and Connie (#124)
Corina (#25) and Carrinna (#108)
Elizabeth (#21) and Beth (#41)
Margaret (#52) and Maggie (#98)
Mariam (#129) and Miriam (#131)
Victoria (#109) and Vicki (#130)
Zara (#95) and Sara (#110)
If you could go back in time and rename this baby, which two names (out of the 139) would you choose as her first and middle names?
Source: “Tracy for short.” Reading Eagle 24 Jan 1986: 1.