How popular is the baby name Destry in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Destry.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Destry


Posts that Mention the Name Destry

Where did the baby name Choya come from in 1951?

The character Choya from the movie "Branded" (1950).
Choya from “Branded

The prickly name Choya first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1951:

  • 1953: 5 baby boys named Choya
  • 1952: 6 baby boys named Choya
  • 1951: 9 baby boys named Choya [debut]
  • 1950: unlisted
  • 1949: unlisted

Where did it come from?

The western movie Branded, which was released in late 1950. It starred actor Alan Ladd as a gunslinger and “morally ambiguous loner” named Choya. Here’s how the movie started:

Choya, who has shot a man in self-defense, is trapped inside a store as men gather outside, on rooftops and behind wagons, to capture him. His hostage asks if he has any friends. Choya responds, “My guns.” Any kinfolk? “My horse.” And that’s all you need to know about Choya. (The fact that “Choya” is an English spelling for the Spanish word for “cactus” is telling.)

The Spanish word cholla (pronounced choy-uh) doesn’t quite mean cactus, but it does refer to a particular type of cactus. The cholla cactus has spines with backward-facing barbs that are notoriously difficult (and painful) to extract if they become embedded in skin.

Branded was based on the book Montana Rides! (1933) by Evan Evans (a nom de plume of Frederick Schiller Faust, who also created Destry). In the book, the protagonist is called The Montana Kid. The name may have been changed to Choya for the film to help with characterization (as alluded to above) or to reflect the fact that the protagonist is slightly older in the movie (so, not a “kid” anymore).

What do you think of the name Choya?

Sources:

The 11 siblings of Audie Murphy

audie murphy, 1945, rifle
Audie Murphy and sister Nadine
© 1945 LIFE

Did you know that Audie Murphy — the soldier-turned-actor mentioned in yesterday’s post on Destry — was one of a dozen siblings? All 12 kids were born in Texas. Here are their first and middle names:

  1. Elizabeth Corine, b. 1910
  2. Charles Emmett, b. 1912
  3. Vernon C., b. 1916
  4. Ariel June, b. 1919
  5. Virginia Oneta, b. 1918
  6. J.W. (stillborn), b. 1920
  7. Audie Leon, b. 1925
  8. Richard Houston, b. 1926
  9. Eugene Porter, b. 1928
  10. Reta Fay, b. 1931 – later known as Verda Nadine (see pic)
  11. Willa Beatrice, b. 1933
  12. Joe Preston, b. 1935

Which of these combinations do you like best?

Source: Military Monday – Audie Leon Murphy – A Scrapbook of Me
Image: from page 94 of the July 16, 1945, issue of LIFE

Where did the baby name Destry come from?

destry, movie, 1954, 1955, audie,

The 1930 book Destry Rides Again by Max Brand* was set in Texas circa 1900. It followed main character Harrison Destry as he sought revenge against the jurors who wrongfully convicted him of robbery.

The book was adapted to film three times (1932, 1939, and 1954), made into a musical (1959), and turned into a short-lived television series (1964, February to May).

Both the third film and the TV show — neither of which were much like the original novel — had an impact on American baby names. Check out the usage of Destry during the ’50s and ’60s:

  • 1967: 34 baby boys named Destry
  • 1966: 43 baby boys named Destry
  • 1965: 50 baby boys and 7 baby girls named Destry
  • 1964: 149 baby boys and 5 baby girls named Destry [rank: 636th]
  • 1963: unlisted
  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: 5 baby boys named Destry
  • 1957: 6 baby boys named Destry
  • 1956: 10 baby boys named Destry
  • 1955: 8 baby boys named Destry [debut]
  • 1954: unlisted
  • 1953: unlisted

The third movie, starring Audie Murphy — who was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of WWII before becoming an actor — is what put Destry on the map. (The name Audie was also on the rise during the early ’50s. Peak usage was in 1956.)

The TV show gave Destry such a big boost in 1964 that it reached the top 1,000 rather impressively that year. (The name Stormy also saw an uptick in usage, thanks to the Destry episode “Stormy Is a Lady,” which featured a young girl name Stormy.)

Some sources suggest the surname Destry is related to the medieval English word destrier, which referred to a war horse, but I haven’t been able to confirm this.

What do you think of the name Destry?

*Max’s real name: Frederick Schiller Faust.

Source: Destry Rides Again (novel) – Wikipedia

Popular baby names in Sonoma County (California), 2015

According to Sonoma County’s data site SoCo Data, the most popular baby names in 2015 were Ava and Olivia (tie) and Mateo and Daniel (tie).

Here are the county’s top 5 girl names and top 5 boy names of 2015:

Girl NamesBoy Names
1. Ava and Olivia (tie), 28 baby girls
2. Camila, 25
3. Isabella, Mia and Emma (3-way tie), 23
4. Charlotte and Sophia (tie), 21
5. Alexa, 20
1. Mateo and Daniel (tie), 28 baby boys
2. Jackson, 27
3. Sebastian, 25
4. Benjamin, 24
5. Julian, Jayden and Noah (3-way tie), 22

In 2014, the top names in the county were Emma and Logan.

Of the 1,204 girl names bestowed last year, 811 (67%) were used just once. A smaller proportion of the 919 boy names — 549 (60%) — were bestowed once. Here are a few of those single-use names:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Amarilla, Antimony, Edelweiss, Ember, Fanny, Lluvia, Lovely Estrella, Mae Pearl, Magnolia, Nkirote, Reminisce, Rosalene, Rurapenthe*, SummitAttimus, Banyan, Cypress, Cyprus, Destry, Ernestor, Fogatia, Iknav, Montgomery, Mercury, Orion, Quintil, Thornhill, Zinley

*Looks like Rurapenthe is based on “Rura Penthe,” the name of a planetoid used as a Klingon penal colony (!) in the Star Trek universe. Its name is a nod to Rorapandi, a penal colony island in the Disney movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954). Rorapandi was invented by Disney; it did not appear in the Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870).

Source: SoCo Data

Highest-charting single-appearance baby names in the U.S. top 1,000

The baby names below, like hundreds of others, reached the U.S. top 1000 just once.

But these names are special, because they are the highest-charting single-appearance names ever. Impressively, each of the names blow ranked at least 700th (or well above!) during the single year they placed in the top 1,000.

NameRank & YearExplanation
Christop241st in 1989Typo*
Yulissa424th in 1997The 1996 telenovela Te Sigo Amando featured a character named Yulissa played by Claudia Ramírez.
Nira463rd in 1933The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) was authorized by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933.
Elizabet524th in 1989Typo*
Manilla536th in 1898The first military action of Spanish-American War was the 1898 battle for Manila, the capital of the Philippines.
Jemal549th in 1969The Outcasts (1968-1969), the first TV Western with an African-American co-star, featured a character named Jemal.
Alexande554th in 1989Typo*
Kunta572nd in 1977The 1977 miniseries Roots (based on the Alex Haley novel) featured a character named Kunta Kinte.
Shafter604th in 1898Maj. Gen. William Rufus Shafter’s forces took Santiago (and hence helped end the Spanish-American War) in 1898.
Destry636th in 1964The short-lived 1964 show Destry was a spin-off of the 1939 film “Destry Rides Again.”
Sonji638th in 1966In 1966, Muhammad Ali and his first wife, Sonji Roi, divorced.
Sheilah665th in 1955Sheilah Graham Westbrook (1904-1988) was a gossip columnist during Hollywood’s “Golden Age.”
Clarisa665th in 1994The 1993 Mexican telenovela Clarisa featured a main character named Clarisa. (Another possible factor: The popular Nickelodeon sitcom Clarissa Explains it All (1991-1994) won an Emmy in 1994.
Tatia670th in 1966A notable 1965 episode of the TV show I Spy (1965-1968) featured a character named Tatia Loring.
Alexandr676th in 1989Typo*
Cinnamon700th in 1969The first 3 seasons of the Mission: Impossible TV series (1966-1973) featured a character named Cinnamon Carter. (That’s what put Cinnamon on the map.) Early in 1969, “Cinnamon” by Derek (a.k.a. Johnny Cymbal) was an actual one-hit wonder that peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Later the same year, “Cinnamon Girl” by Neil Young was released.
Beyonce700th in 2001Destiny’s Child (featuring Beyoncé Knowles) won two Grammy Awards in 2001.

I didn’t include single-appearance names from the 1880s (like Manerva, Zilpah, Worley, Ambers, Orilla, and Simona), and it’s too early to include names from the 2006 data (Addisyn, Krish, Yandel, Rihanna).

*Here’s more about those typos from 1989.