A few weeks ago, I got an email from a reader looking for lists of old-fashioned double names. She was aiming for names like Thelma Dean, Eula Mae, and Gaynell — names that would have sounded trendy in the early 1900s. She also mentioned that she’d started a list of her own.
So I began scouring the interwebs. I tracked down lists of old-fashioned names, and lists of double names…but I couldn’t find a decent list of double names that were also old-fashioned.
I loved the idea of such a list, though, so I suggested that we work together to create one. She generously sent me the pairings she’d collected so far, and I used several different records databases to find many more.
I restricted my search to names given to girls born in the U.S. from 1890 to 1930. I also stuck to double names that I found written as single names, because it’s very likely that these pairings were used together in real life (i.e., that they were true double names and not merely first-middle pairings).
Pairings that seemed too timeless, like Maria Mae and Julia Rose, were omitted. I also took out many of the pairings that feature now-trendy names — think Ella, Emma, and Lucy — because they just don’t sound old-fashioned anymore (though they would have a few decades ago).
The result isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a decent sampling of real-life, old-fashioned double names. I’ve organized them by second name, and I also added links to popularity graphs for names that were in the SSA data during the correct time period (early 1900s).
Yes: Jaxon. This name is a bad name — an atrocious name. It is an elision of “Jack’s” and “son”, the join clumsily Sellotaped by an X which would find a better home in a bad action film than in a child’s name. (Young readers called Xerxes: forgive me, then promise never to watch your parents’ copy of 300.)
The babies lumbered with ‘Jaxon’ are victims of poor taste rather than sons of men called Jack: if any name is a bastardisation, this is it.
They either tried, or were pressured, to give up their Japanese identities to become more fully American. A first step was often adopting the American nicknames given them when their Japanese names were deemed too hard to pronounce or remember. Chikako became Peggy; Kiyoko became Barbara. Not too much thought went into those choices, names sometimes imposed in an instant by a U.S. officer organizing his pool of typists. My mother, Hiroko Furukawa, became Susie.
How did it feel to be renamed for someone in the man’s past, a distant relative or former girlfriend? My mother said she didn’t mind, and others said it made their lives easier to have an American name.
“Lolo” probably evolved from “Lou-Lou”, a pronunciation of “Lawrence,” a French-Canadian fur trapper killed by a grizzly bear and buried at Grave Creek.
The first written evidence of the name “Lolo” appears in 1831 when fur trader John Work refers in his journal to Lolo Creek as “Lou Lou.”
In an 1853 railroad survey and map, Lieutenant John Mullan spelled the creek and trail “Lou Lou.” However, by 1865 the name was shortened to Lolo and is currently the name of a national forest, town, creek, mountain peak, mountain pass and historic trail in west central Montana.
The establishment of the Church of England coincided with the publication in 1535 of the first modern English translation of both the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible. The Protestant reform movement stressed the central importance of the Bible, and the new English translations meant that many more people could read the Bible themselves. In turn, it also meant that they had access to the large stock of names from the Old Testament – from Aaron to Zechariah, and Abigail to Zipporah. These names had the added attraction that they were much less associated with Catholicism than many New Testament names. As a result, Old Testament names became much more common during the late-16th century and 17th century, especially among girls.
Post-delivery, Frank and I were still unsure of her name. In the few days before her birth, we had narrowed our girl name list down to Aziza and Dalia.
We looked into her tiny face and asked, “Dalia?” Our little girl stared at us inquisitively. I think she may have been thinking, “Obviously.” We then asked, “Aziza?” — she turned away from us, and we knew our Dalia was here.
From the book Cajun Country (1991) by Barry Jean Ancelet, Jay Dearborn Edwards, and Glen Pitre:
[A] few years ago the Lafourche Daily Comet ran an obituary for eighty-two-year-old Winnie Grabert Breaux. The article listed Winnie’s brothers and sisters, living and dead: Wiltz, Wilda, Wenise, Witnese, William, Willie, Wilfred, Wilson, Weldon, Ernest, Norris, Darris, Dave, Inez and Lena.
It was Dec. 17, 1961, and nearly one-third of Bogotá’s 1.5 million inhabitants had turned out on a sunny Sunday afternoon for one reason: to catch a glimpse of President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The massive outpouring was the largest reception the U.S. leader ever had.
The historic visit, which lasted only 14 hours, would change the lives of thousands of families and have a profound impact on the city that is still visible 55 years later.
In the immediate years after Kennedy’s visit, the most popular baby names registered at baptisms in Ciudad Kennedy were John, Fitzgerald (Kennedy’s middle name), Jacqueline and Kennedy.
Perhaps the strongest trend in recent years hasn’t been certain names, it’s been a diversity of names. […] The plethora of names has weakened individual trends; we haven’t had a strong female name trend since the ’90s. And without a significant number of babies with a particular name, we may stop associating certain names with certain generations.
In the early 1900s, the baby name Wilba popped up on the SSA’s baby name list for the first time:
1915: 7 baby girls named Wilba
1914: 7 baby girls named Wilba
1913: 18 baby girls named Wilba [debut]
It was the top debut name of 1913, along with Vilas. But SSA numbers from the early 1900s aren’t too reliable, so let’s see how many Wilbas are in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for the same time period:
1915: 8 people named Wilba
1914: 7 people named Wilba
1913: 32 people named Wilba
1912: 3 people named Wilba
1911: 4 people named Wilba
The SSA data shows that several wil- names were on the rise during these years, but this doesn’t explain the sudden appearance of Wilba.
Neither set of data shows a strong tie to any specific location, though the SSDI data suggests that Wilba was used more often in the south than in the north.
Any idea where this one could have come from?