The name Bix first bounced into the U.S. baby name data in 1957:
1957: 6 baby boys named Bix [debut]
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?
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?
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
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.
*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.
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:
1976: 7 baby girls named Sossity
1972: 5 baby girls named Sossity [debut]
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.)