How popular is the baby name Rolayne in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Rolayne.

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Popularity of the baby name Rolayne

Posts that mention the name Rolayne

Mystery baby names: Romayne & Romaine

Graph of the usage of the baby name Romaine in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Romaine

Writing about Amish names a few weeks ago reminded me of Romaine and Romayne, which saw relatively high usage in the state of Pennsylvania (as girl names) during the early-to-mid 20th century.

The more popular spelling, Romaine, appeared in the national data from the 1880s to the 1990s. For most of that period, it saw its highest usage in Pennsylvania.

Here’s a look at the data for Romaine from the 1920s, for instance:

Girls named Romaine, U.S.Girls named Romaine, PA
19298739 (45%)
192891*45 (49%)
19278046 (58%)
19266436 (56%)
19257135 (49%)
19247439 (53%)
19236832 (47%)
19228854* (61%)
19217843 (55%)
19207341 (56%)
*Peak usage

The less popular spelling, Romayne, appeared in the national data from the early 1900s to the 1960s. From at least the 1910s until the 1940s, the majority of Romayne’s usage was in Pennsylvania.

Here’s the data for Romayne from the 1920s:

Girls named Romayne, U.S.Girls named Romayne, PA
19294523 (51%)
192847*30* (64%)
19273622 (61%)
19262518 (72%)
19253825 (66%)
19243818 (47%)
19232819 (68%)
19222717 (63%)
19213219 (59%)
19203325 (76%)
*Peak usage

My initial guess was that either the Amish or the Mennonites were behind the heavy Pennsylvania usage. Reading through obituaries and online memorials, though, I’ve found women named Romaine/Romayne who were members of various religious groups: Mennonite, Catholic, Jewish, Episcopalian, Methodist, etc. So I’m not sure if that theory holds water.

My next guess was that it represented transferred usage of the surname Romaine (a form of the Dutch surname Romein), perhaps due to the influence of the French name Germaine. But I don’t know why this would have been any more likely to happen in Pennsylvania than in, say, New Jersey or New York (both of which also saw a lot of Dutch settlement during the 1600s).

What are your thoughts on this?

P.S. A similar name, Rolayne, saw a bit of usage among Mormons decades ago…

Source: Hanks, Patrick. (Ed.) Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Where did the baby name Rolayne come from in 1948?

Arnie Ferrin, college basketball player in the 1940s

The rare name Rolayne has appeared in the U.S. baby name data a total of four times — all in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Usage was particularly high in Utah:

  • 1953: unlisted
  • 1952: 8 baby girls named Rolayne
  • 1951: 5 baby girls named Rolayne
  • 1950: unlisted
  • 1949: 16 baby girls named Rolayne
    • 8 born in Utah
  • 1948: 16 baby girls named Rolayne [debut]
    • 12 born in Utah
  • 1947: unlisted
  • 1946: unlisted

Where did the name come from?

RoLayne Rasmussen, the University of Utah homecoming queen who married well-known University of Utah basketball player Arnie Ferrin in June of 1948.

Arnie was born Chariton Arnold Ferrin, Jr. (The name Chariton is based on the ancient Greek word charis, meaning “grace, kindness.”) He was a four-time All-American during college, and after graduating in 1948 he played for the Minneapolis Lakers from 1948 to 1951. He helped the Lakers win the BAA championship in 1949 and the NBA championship in 1950.

And as Arnie made headlines, RoLayne was often mentioned in the articles as well. As were their children, as they came along. (They had four: Arnold III, Richard Bard, Louanne, and Shawn.)

RoLayne was one of several baby names to be influenced by the partner of a high-profile person. Names similarly influenced include Perian, Stedman, and Josanne.

Sources: Arnie Ferrin to be Inducted into Pac-12 Basketball Hall of Honor, Obituary: RoLayne Rasmussen Ferrin (1999)