How popular is the baby name Gordon 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 Gordon.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Gordon


Posts that Mention the Name Gordon

Juneteenth as a baby name?

Birth certificate of June Tenth (?) Anderson (1930-1999)
June Tenth (?) Anderson, b. 1930

A year ago today, Juneteenth (a contraction of “June 19th”) became a federal holiday.

The holiday marks the date (in 1865) that U.S. Army officer Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3 to the people of Galveston, Texas. The order reinforced the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued two and a half years earlier, by asserting that “all slaves are free.”

This mattered because Texas still had about 250,000 slaves. Why? Because “the state never had the large Union army presence necessary to enforce the proclamation.”

Intriguingly, a baby born in nearby Harris County, Texas, in 1930 — long after the Civil War was over — may have been named “Juneteenth.”

I first discovered her a few years ago, while doing research for a post about unusual names in Harris County. She was born into an African-American family on June 26th — a week after Juneteenth — but “June tenth” is the name that appears to be written on her birth certificate (above).

In later records, on the other hand, she’s consistently listed as “Juneteena” or “June Teena.” I even found her mentioned in a 1980s cookbook:

This is one of my personal favorites, the peach pie-cobbler from June Teena Anderson, one of the Panhandle’s finest cooks.

She died in 1999, and on her gravestone her name is written “June T. Anderson.”

It’s impossible to know the original intentions of her parents (who were named Allen and Margie Anderson, btw). But it does seem plausible — given their cultural heritage, their location, and the baby’s birth date — that they had wanted to name her Juneteenth.

What are your thoughts on this?

Sources:

Where did the baby name Pashen come from in 1974?

The character Pashen from the movie "Willie Dynamite" (1974).
Pashen from “Willie Dynamite

I’ve known for a while that the baby name Passion debuted impressively in 1974. Not as high as Nakia, but higher than Savalas.

  • 1976: 30 baby girls named Passion
  • 1975: 34 baby girls named Passion
  • 1974: 34 baby girls named Passion [debut]
  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: unlisted

I occasionally looked for a reason, but never spent too much time on it because word-names are notoriously tricky to research.

Then I happened to discover something about the like-sounding name Pashen — which also debuted in ’74, and which I thought was merely a variant of Passion.

  • 1976: unlisted
  • 1975: 6 baby girls named Pashen
  • 1974: 9 baby girls named Pashen [debut & peak]
  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: unlisted

As it turns out, the blaxploitation movie Willie Dynamite, which was released nationally in early 1974, featured a female character named Pashen (played by Joyce Walker). Willie was a New York City pimp, and Pashen was one of his call girls. Here’s how Pashen’s name appears in the end credits:

pashen, spelling, willie dynamite, 1970s, movie

So: “Pashen” was the main form of the name, while “Passion” — despite being correctly spelled — was the variant form. (Other variant forms that also debuted in 1974 were Pashion and the one-hit wonder Pashun.)

Since then, though, “Passion” has emerged as the preferred spelling among expectant parents. Well over 2,000 baby girls have been named Passion since the mid-1970s, whereas only about two dozen baby girls have been named Pashen.

What are your thoughts on these names? Which spelling do you prefer?

Source: Willie Dynamite (1974) – IMDb

P.S. The actor who played Willie Dynamite, Roscoe Orman, was also Gordon on Sesame Street!

Where did the baby name Darlia come from in 1946?

The comic strip characters Flash Gordon and Darlia (March, 1946).
Darlia saves Flash Gordon (Mar. 1946)

Speaking of Desira, here’s another baby name that was influenced by a Flash Gordon comic strip character. This one is Darlia, and it was a one-hit wonder in 1946. In fact, it was the top one-hit wonder of 1946. More than a dozen baby girls were named Darlia that year:

  • 1948: unlisted
  • 1947: unlisted
  • 1946: 13 baby girls named Darlia [debut]
  • 1945: unlisted
  • 1944: unlisted

Darlia appeared in a storyline called “The Atomic Age,” which ran in papers from October of 1945 to March of 1946.

The installment featured identical twin sisters: Queen Evila (the bad twin) and Darlia (the good twin). For much of the story, the wrongdoers had Flash convinced that Evila was Darlia and vice versa. In the end, though, the truth came out just in time for Flash to save the day. But not in time to save the sisters. In fact, Darlia had to save him: she “courageously sacrifice[d] her own life by stepping into the line of fire” that otherwise would have killed Flash. Evila, on the other hand, died by falling off a ledge while trying to escape from an infirmary.

Do you like the name Darlia? Do you like it more or less than Desira?

Source: Blogging Austin Briggs’ Flash Gordon – Part Twelve, “The Atomic Age”

Baby born in England, named after entire soccer team (1965)

soccer ball, soccer field

In mid-1965, Peter and Pat O’Sullivan of Staffordshire, England, welcomed a baby girl.

Peter, a bricklayer who called himself a “fanatical Liverpool fan” — inspired by the team’s recent victory in the FA Cup — took it upon himself to give his daughter the following name: Paula St John Lawrence Lawler Byrne Strong Yeats Stevenson Callaghan Hunt Milne Smith Thompson Shankly Bennett Paisley O’Sullivan.

Those 15 middle names honored 15 members of the Liverpool Football Club: 12 players, the team manager, and two assistants:

NamePlayer/Manager
St John
Lawrence
Lawler
Byrne
Strong
Yeats
Stevenson
Callaghan
Hunt
Milne
Smith
Thompson
Shankly
Bennett
Paisley
Ian St John
Tommy Lawrence
Chris Lawler
Gerry Byrne
Geoff Strong
Ron Yeats
Willie Stevenson
Ian Callaghan
Roger Hunt
Gordon Milne
Tommy Smith
Peter Thompson
Bill Shankly (manager)
Reuben Bennett (asst.)
Bob Paisley (asst.)

All 15 middle names appear on her birth certificate, but her name had to be shortened to “Paula St J L L B S Y S C H M S T S B P O’Sullivan” on the birth register.

Unfortunately, Paula’s mother Pat was not very enthusiastic about the situation: “The first I knew about it was when I saw the birth certificate, and I don’t mind saying I was furious. It’s a real shock to learn your baby’s been named after a whole football team.”

Here a photo of baby Paula with the Liverpool team taken in April of 1966.

And here are two earlier posts about English babies named after entire soccer teams: the 1992 Leeds United team, and the 2011 Burnley team.

Sources:

Image by jarmoluk from Pixabay

Where did the baby name Sundown come from in 1974?

"Sundown" (1974) by Gordon Lightfoot
“Sundown” by Gordon Lightfoot

We talked about Sundance last week, so today let’s look at Sundown.

In 1974, the baby name Sundown was a dual-gender debut — that is, it appeared for the first time on both sides of the U.S. baby name data simultaneously:

  • 1977: unlisted
  • 1976: 5 baby girls named Sundown
  • 1975: unlisted
  • 1974: 7 baby girls named Sundown [debut] + 6 baby boys named Sundown [debut]
  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: unlisted

Overall it was a one-hit wonder on the boys’ side and a two-hit wonder on the girls’ side.

The name was inspired by the song “Sundown” by Canadian folksinger Gordon Lightfoot. The song had been released in early 1974. Here are some lyrics:

Sundown, you better take care
If I find you been creepin’ ’round my back stairs

By the middle of 1974 the song hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Lightfoot’s album (also called Sundown) reached the #1 spot on both the U.S. and Canadian charts.

What do you think of “Sundown” as a personal name? Usable?

Lyrics: Sundown © 1973 Gordon Lightfoot