These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).
There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more.
Let’s say you like the idea of the name True…but you’d prefer that it be a nickname as opposed to a legal name.
Which names out there can be shortened to the nickname “True”?
Let’s start with the most popular options. Each of these saw enough usage last year to be included in the 2018 baby name data, though none of them were common enough to make the top 1,000:
Truman comes from an English surname that was originally a nickname for a trustworthy man (trewe means “faithful, trustworthy” in Middle English).
Truett & Truitt are also English surnames. They were derived from the place name Trewhitt, which is thought to be made up of the Old Norse word tyri, “resinous pine-wood,” and the Old English word wiht, “river bend.”
Gertrude can be traced back to the Germanic words ger, “spear,” and trut, “beloved, dear” — though some sources say the second element is thrud, meaning “strength.” Variant forms include Gertrud and Gertrudis.
Trudy & Trudie are diminutive forms of Gertrude or any other –trud(e) name, such as Ermintrude, Hiltrude, or Irmtrude.
The names below have been in the data historically, but none made the cut last year specifically. In fact, several are one-hit wonders.
A serialized story called Marrying for Money by Mrs. Eva Leonard. It ran in various U.S. newspapers during the first half of 1916.
In the story, Ortrude was a self-centered woman who married a wealthy older man with two adolescent children (Marian and Dudley). Ortrude’s bad behavior did not endear her to anyone in her new family, husband included. By the end of the tale, she’d had an epiphany and changed her ways.
Do you like the name Ortrude? Do you like it more or less than the similar name Gertrude?
Some of the above — Narice (1926), Saford (1941), Gevan (1952) and Jefre (1961) — are also on the top debuts list.
P.S. I’ll come back every few years and update this list with the most recent pairs of names. In the meanwhile, for more one-hit wonder content, check out this list of interesting one-hit wonder baby names…
The tale that featured “Verilea” was Unknown Sweetheart by Anne Gardner. It was serialized during the spring of 1936 and the main character was a young woman named Verilea Davis, who began on “a dirty, grinding old bus on the hill-roads of Kentucky” and ended up in “a modernistic New York penthouse high above smart Manhattan.”
Her name may have been inspired by the vocabulary word verily, which means “truly, certainly.”
Do you like the baby name Verilea? Would you use it?
Source: “I Don’t Even Know His Name, But…I Love Him!” Des Moines Tribune 22 Oct. 1935: 9.