Where did the baby name Bix come from in 1957?

The characters Bix and Maizie (in early 1957) from the comic strip Little Annie Rooney (1927-1966).
Bix and Maizie from Little Annie Rooney

The name Bix first bounced into the U.S. baby name data in 1957:

  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: 6 baby boys named Bix [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: unlisted

What gave it a boost that year?

A minor character from the comic strip Little Annie Rooney (1927-1966), which was itself a knock-off of the strip Little Orphan Annie.

The storyline was called “Bix and Maizie,” and it ran from Dec. 1956 to Feb. 1957 in most U.S. newspapers. Bixby, or “Bix,” and his wife Maizie were criminals who tried (unsuccessfully) to pass themselves off as Annie Rooney’s parents in order to steal money from the businessman who was acting as Annie’s caretaker.

What do you think of the name Bix? Do you think it works by itself, or is it better as a nickname?

Source: Don Markstein’s Toonopedia: Little Annie Rooney

What gave the baby name Stoney a boost in 1963?

The character Stoney from the TV series "Stoney Burke" (1962-1963).
Stoney from “Stoney Burke

In 1963, the name Stoney saw a sharp spike in usage. In fact, the surge catapulted Stoney right into the middle of the U.S. top 1,000:

  • 1965: 98 baby boys named Stoney [rank: 749th]
  • 1964: 109 baby boys named Stoney [rank: 740th]
  • 1963: 259 baby boys named Stoney [rank: 500th]
  • 1962: 54 baby boys named Stoney
  • 1961: 15 baby boys named Stoney
Graph of the usage of the baby name Stoney in the U.S.
Usage of Stoney

The spelling Stony peaked that year as well.

Why?

Because of the TV western Stoney Burke, which aired for just one season (1962-1963). The main character, Stoney (played by actor Jack Lord), was a professional rodeo rider whose goal was to win the Golden Buckle — the prize given to the world’s champion saddle bronc rider.

(The show also had an influence on the names Sutton and Joby.)

What are your thoughts on the baby name Stoney? Would you use it?

Sources: Stoney Burke (TV series) – Wikipedia, SSA

What gave the baby name Joby a nudge in 1963?

The character Joby (played by Robert Duvall) in the TV series "Stoney Burke" (1962-1963).
Joby from “Stoney Burke

According to the U.S. baby name data, the name Joby saw an uptick in usage (as a boy name) in 1963:

  • 1965: 20 baby boys named Joby
  • 1964: 15 baby boys named Joby
  • 1963: 23 baby boys named Joby
  • 1962: 9 baby boys named Joby
  • 1961: 6 baby boys named Joby

Why?

Because of a single-episode character on the TV show Stoney Burke. The episode was called “Joby” and aired on March 18, 1963.

In the episode, Joby Pierce (played by future Oscar winner Robert Duvall) was a well-meaning but simple-minded stable boy on the run from his past.

What are your thoughts on the name Joby? (Do you like it better for boys, or for girls?)

Source: Stoney Burke “Joby” TV episode – IMDb

Babies named for the Battle of Waterloo

Battle of Waterloo (June 18, 1815)
Battle of Waterloo

The Battle of Waterloo — which marked the final defeat of Napoleon and the end of the Napoleonic Wars — took place on June 18, 1815, near the village of Waterloo (located south of Brussels).

Fighting against Napoleon were two forces: a British-led coalition that included Germans, Belgians, and Dutch (all under the Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley) and an army from Prussia (under Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher).

Hundreds of babies were given the name “Waterloo” — typically as a middle — during the second half of the 1810s. Most of them were baby boys born in England, but some were girls, and some were born elsewhere in the British Empire (and beyond).

  • William Wellington Waterloo Humbley*, b. 1815, in England
  • Isabella Fleura Waterloo Deacon †, b. 1815, Belgium
  • John Waterloo Todd, b. 1815, England
  • Fredrick Waterloo Collins, b. 1815, Wales
  • Jubilee Waterloo Reeves (née Davis), b. 1815, England
  • Dent Waterloo Ditchburn, b. 1815, England
  • Joseph Waterloo Hart, b. 1815, England
  • Henry Waterloo Nickels, b. 1815, England
  • Sophia Waterloo Mills, b. 1815, England
  • Henry Waterloo Prescott, b. 1815, England
  • Richard Waterloo Renny, b. 1815, England
  • John Waterloo Posthumous Brittany, b. circa 1815, England
  • Charlotte Waterloo Grapes, b. circa 1815, England
  • Louisa Waterloo France, b. circa 1815, Belgium
  • James Waterloo Clark, b. 1816, England
  • Henry Waterloo Johnson, b. 1816, England
  • George Waterloo Holland, b. 1816, England
  • Charles Waterloo Wallett, b. 1816, England
  • John Waterloo Wilson, b. circa 1816, Belgium
  • Frederick Waterloo Jennings, b. 1817, England
  • William Waterloo Horford, b. 1817, England
  • George Mark Waterloo Smith, b. 1817, England
  • Edward Waterloo Lane, b. 1817, England
  • Robert Waterloo Cook, b. 1817, England
  • Eleanor Waterloo Whiteman, b. 1817, England
  • Ann Waterloo Barlow, b. 1818, England
  • Wellington Waterloo Teanby, b. circa 1818, England
  • William Wellington Waterloo Jackson, b. circa 1819, England

Interestingly, babies were still being named Waterloo long after the battle was over. Many more Waterloos were born from the 1820s onward:

The place-name Waterloo is made up of a pair of Middle Dutch words that, together, mean “watery meadow.” Since the battle, though, the word Waterloo has also been used to refer to “a decisive or final defeat or setback.” (It’s used this way in the 1974 Abba song “Waterloo” [vid], for instance.)

The Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) followed the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-c.1802), which followed the French Revolution (1789-1799), which gave rise to a number of revolutionary baby names in France.

Sources:

*William Wellington Waterloo Humbley was born on the day of the battle (while his father, an army officer, was abroad taking part). He was baptized the following summer, and the Duke of Wellington himself stood godfather. Several years after that, in 1819, his parents welcomed daughter Vimiera Violetta Vittoria Humbley — named after the battles of Vimeiro (1808) and Vitoria (1813).

† Isabella Fleura Waterloo Deacon’s father, Thomas, had been wounded in the previous battle (Quatre Bras, on the 16th). Her mother, Martha — who was traveling with the army — searched the battlefield for him all night. Eventually she discovered that he’d been transported to Brussels, some 20 miles away, so she walked there with her three young children. (Through a 10-hour thunderstorm, no less.) She reached Brussels on the morning of the 18th, located her husband, and gave birth to Isabella on the 19th.

Where did the baby name Sossity come from in 1972?

Jethro Tull's album "Benefit" (1970)
Jethro Tull album

While researching -ity names (like Felicity and Serenity) at one point, I happened upon the odd name Sossity, which was in the U.S. baby name data a total of twice, both times in the 1970s:

  • 1977: unlisted
  • 1976: 7 baby girls named Sossity
  • 1975: unlisted
  • 1974: unlisted
  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: 5 baby girls named Sossity [debut]
  • 1971: unlisted
  • 1970: unlisted

Where did it come from?

The Jethro Tull song “Sossity: You’re a Woman,” which was the last track on their third album, Benefit (1970).

As made clear by the lyrics, the fictitious female Sossity is meant to be symbolic of society at large:

Sossity: You’re a woman.
Society: You’re a woman.

According to Jethro Tull singer Ian Anderson, the song “obviously [was] written as a double-meaning where I’m notionally talking about an imaginary girl in frankly a rather thin and embarrassing pun.” He also said the song was “kind of okay musically…but lyrically I was never really comfortable with it. And it’s mainly that one word, Sossity, an invented word that seemed like a rather prissy girl’s name.”

So how did the British band come to be named after a 18th-century British agriculturist/inventor?

In the late ’60s, when the group was playing small clubs, they changed their name frequently. “Jethro Tull” was a name they tried in February of 1968 at the suggestion of a booking agent, and that’s the one that stuck.

Ian has said that he since regrets choosing that name, specifically disliking the fact that it came from a real historical person: “I can’t help but feel more and more as I get older that I’m guilty of identity theft and I ought to go to prison for it, really.”

(Jethro Tull’s next and more successful album, Aqualung, featured a song about a character named Aqualung. I’m happy to report that “Aqualung” has never popped up in the SSA data.)

Sources: