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.
In the 1970s, Everett H. Williams–director of the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Jacksonville, Florida–compiled lists of the most unusual baby names he saw on Florida birth certificates. Here’s a sampling:
Bigamy and Larceny [twins]
End of the Line
First Time Benjamin
Full Dress Coat
Gospel Lilly Floweryvine Virgin Mary Lord Caroline
January Snow White
Kekoalauliionapalihauulioliokeloolau David Kaapuawaokamehameha
I checked for some of these names in the SSDI and discovered one more Lasagne, two more Cigars, two more Larcenys, eight more Gospels, and 17 more Stranges. I also spotted a Full Price (1912-1990), an Easy Fortune (1922-2009) and a Flowery Tutor (1890-1965).
“Everett: what a name!” Miami News 13 Sept. 1973: 1.
“Speaking Of Names.” St. Joseph News-Press 5 Jul. 1970: 1.
“What’s in a Name?” Gadsden Times 23 May 1974: 3.
“What’s in a Name?” Ocala Star-Banner 16 May 1977: 2B.