How popular is the baby name Loretta 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 Loretta.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Loretta


Posts that Mention the Name Loretta

Where did the baby name Tondra come from?

Kidnapping victim Terry Taylor of Charlotte, North Carolina in 1946.
Terry Taylor, 4 years old

The interesting name Tondra first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1946:

  • 1949: unlisted
  • 1948: 9 baby girls named Tondra
  • 1947: unlisted
  • 1946: 9 baby girls named Tondra [debut]
  • 1945: unlisted
  • 1944: unlisted

I don’t know why it dropped out of the data and then returned in 1948 with the same (relatively high) number of babies — that’s not a typical pattern — but I can explain the initial appearance.

In February and March of 1946, the kidnapping of 4-year-old Terry Taylor of Charlotte, North Carolina, was front-page news across the nation for several days straight.

Terry, her 5-year-old sister Tondra Taylor, and their 19-year-old nursemaid Rosemary Johnson were at a park in Charlotte one Tuesday when Rosemary decided to take Terry on a bus ride out of state. (They left Tondra behind at the park.)

The pair remained missing until Thursday night, when they were discovered in Annapolis, Maryland. Rosemary had managed to find a position as a maid. She had told the homeowners that she was the child’s widowed mother, but the homeowners became suspicious (in part because the child called herself Terry even though Rosemary insisted the name was Jerry) and called the police.

Terry’s parents drove to Annapolis on Friday to retrieve her, and nursemaid Rosemary was arrested. (Turns out her real name was Loretta Brozek. She was found guilty in July and sentenced to seven years in federal prison, but in October she was transferred to a mental institution.)

Though older sister Tondra was never the focus of the story, her name was mentioned repeatedly in the news that week.

And, ironically, Tondra’s name wasn’t really Tondra — it was Tonda (according to the North Carolina birth records, the 1940 U.S. census, and at least one early news report). In fact, she seems to be the same Tonda Taylor who founded the LGBTQ group Time Out Youth in Charlotte in 1991.

The name Terry — already on the rise for both genders at that time — also saw a jump in usage in 1946.

Do you like the name Tondra? How about Tonda?

Sources:

Baby born in the Farallon Islands, named Farallon

Houses on Southeast Farallon Island

Located 28 miles off the coast of California, the Farallon Islands (or “Farallones”) are “211 acres of rocky islets that are home to 28% of California’s sea birds.” Their name — assigned by Spanish explorers during the early 1600s — comes from the Spanish word farallón, meaning “sea cliff” or “sea stack.”

They islands have always been sparsely populated, but a lighthouse was built on Southeast Farallon in 1855 and a series of lighthouse keepers (four at a time) lived on that particular island — often with their families — from the 1850s until the 1940s.

The first of several babies born on the island during that time period was the daughter of keeper Cyrus J. Cain and his wife Mary Ellen. The baby girl arrived in April 8, 1898, and was named Farallon Wilhelmina Cain, after her birthplace.

(She was the seventh of nine children. The sibling names I know of are Catherine, George, Cecil, Harold, Charley, and Loretta.)

Sources:

Image: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

[Related posts: Ida Lewis, Avalon]

Where did the baby name Chata come from?

Letter to Loretta

The name Chata made a modest debut in the U.S. baby name data in 1953:

  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted
  • 1953: 5 baby girls named Chata [debut]
  • 1952: unlisted
  • 1951: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Very early television. “The Faith of Chata” was an episode from the first season of the anthology TV series Letter to Loretta, later renamed The Loretta Young Show. The episode aired in December of 1953.

The episode, set in a Mexican village, tells the story of a little girl called Chata who is gravely ill with pneumonia. (Chata’s mother Paula is played by Young.) After receiving an overnight vision of her patron saint, Santa Inés, Chata makes a miraculous recovery.

“Chata” is not a name, but an affectionate nickname. It comes from a Spanish term for “pug nose” or “button nose.” John Wayne’s second wife, Mexican actress Esperanza Baur, went by Chata for instance.

The child actress who played Chata was Nancy Gilbert, who several years later played another TV character (Calamity Jane) that also had an influence on baby names.

Sources: Nancy Gilbert – IMDb, Letter to Loretta (1953-1954) – Loretta Young Fan Website

Mystery baby names Quinetta & Quinette

Here are two curiously similar Quin- names that popped up in the U.S. baby name data around the same time. So far, I haven’t been able to figure out where either one came from.

The first is Quinetta, which first appeared in 1955:

  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: 12 baby girls named Quinetta [debut]
  • 1954: unlisted

It dropped back below the 5-baby threshold the next year and didn’t reappear in the data until 1963.

The second is Quinette, which emerged in 1957:

  • 1958: 5 baby girls named Quinette
  • 1957: 8 baby girls named Quinette [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted

Girl names with -ette and -etta endings (like Annette and Loretta) were popular mid-century, but girl names starting with Quin- (like Quintina and Quintella) were rare, making the sudden appearance of a pair of Quin- names pretty noteworthy.

I doubt that Burnu Acquanetta was an influence here, but I also can’t rule her out.

Do you guys have any ideas?

Where did the baby name Franchot come from?

Franchot Tone, 1930s
Franchot Tone

Uniquely named female film stars were inspiring debuts on the baby name charts as early as the 1910s, starting with Francelia in 1912.

But the first male film star to inspire a baby name debut didn’t come along until the 1930s.

That film star was actor Franchot Tone. He shot to fame in 1933, the year he appeared in seven films — including one with Jean Harlow, another with Loretta Young, and two with Joan Crawford (his future wife).

The name Franchot debuted on the SSA’s baby name list the very next year:

  • 1937: 10 baby boys named Franchot
  • 1936: 21 baby boys named Franchot [peak usage]
  • 1935: 6 baby boys named Franchot
  • 1934: 9 baby boys named Franchot [debut]
  • 1933: unlisted
  • 1934: unlisted

In fact, it was one of the top baby name debuts of 1934.

The usage of Franchot peaked in 1936, the year Tone appeared in the very successful 1935 film Mutiny on the Bounty. (Movita, Marlon Brando’s future wife, was also in the film.)

Franchot Tone’s birth name was Stanislaus Pascal Franchot Tone. Franchot, pronounced fran-show, was his mother’s maiden name. It’s one of the many names (and surnames) that can be traced back to the Late Latin Franciscus, meaning “Frankish” or “Frenchman.”

What do you think of the baby name Franchot?

Source: Franchot Tone – Wikipedia