Where did the baby name Anavrin come from in 2020?

The grocery store Anavrin from the Netflix series "You" (2018-).
Anavrin from “You

The curious word Anavrin — which is Nirvana, spelled backwards — debuted as a girl name in the U.S. baby name data in 2020:

  • 2022 7 baby girls named Anavrin
  • 2021 5 baby girls named Anavrin
  • 2020 6 baby girls named Anavrin [debut]
  • 2019: unlisted
  • 2018: unlisted

Why?

My guess is the Netflix series You, a psychological thriller that began airing in late 2018.

At the start of the show’s second season — which was released in its entirety on December 26, 2019 — the main character moved to Los Angeles and began working at an upscale organic grocery store called Anavrin.

Season two of You proved so popular that, just a few days later (on Dec. 30), it was declared the fifth-most-popular Netflix series of 2019.

Around the same time, articles at various media outlets (including Cosmopolitan, Oprah Daily, and The Hollywood Reporter) drew even more attention to the word Anavrin with articles positing that the fictional grocery store had been inspired by a real one: L.A.’s trendy Erewhon Market. (Erewhon is an anagram of “nowhere.”)

What are your thoughts on Anavrin as a baby name? (Do you like it more or less than Nevaeh?)

Sources:

Image: Screenshot of You

Where did the baby name Kashonna come from in 1984?

Cleveland murder victims Kashona and Myrio Davis (circa 1984)
Kashona and Myrio Davis

The name Kashonna appeared for the first time in the U.S. baby name data in 1984:

  • 1986: unlisted
  • 1985: 8 baby girls named Kashonna
  • 1984: 15 baby girls named Kashonna [debut]
  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: unlisted

Where did it come from?

A gruesome news story.

In October of 1984, a mentally ill man in Cleveland named Darnell Parker tortured his family over an 18-hour period. He was trying to “[drive] the devil out of their bodies.”

His common-law wife, Linda Davis, managed to escape and notify authorities. When the police arrived, they found one of Linda’s three children was already dead. Another died hours later at the hospital.

According to the initial news reports, the first victim was 2-year-old Kashonna, who had been decapitated. The second was 8-year-old Myril, who’d been “stabbed in the chest and back” and “also suffered burns on his face.” The third child, 4-year-old Natalia, “was in critical condition with multiple stab wounds and burns.”

By the time of Parker’s indictment a week later, doctors had figured out that the first victim was actually Natalia, not Kashonna, and reporters had figured out that Darnell Parker’s last name was actually Donnell, and that Myril’s first name was actually Myrio.

Though Kashonna survived for several more weeks, she ended up passing away later the same month. (Incidentally, her name is spelled Kashona on the children’s shared gravestone.)

Sources:

Image: Clipping from Jet magazine (22 Oct. 1984)

How did Jaromír Jágr influence U.S. baby names?

Hockey player Jaromír Jágr
Jaromír Jágr

Earlier this week, the Pittsburgh Penguins retired the jersey of former star player Jaromír Jágr (pronounced YAH-roh-meer YAH-gur).

Jágr, who was born in 1972 and grew up in Communist-controlled Czechoslovakia, was selected fifth overall by the Penguins in the 1990 NHL Draft.

During the 11 years he played in Pittsburgh, Jágr led the league in points for 5 seasons (1995, 1998-2001), led the league in assists for 3 seasons (1998-1999, 2001), and won the Stanley Cup twice (in 1991 and 1992).

So did Jaromír Jágr have an influence U.S. baby names?

Yes — both his first name and his last name debuted in the U.S. baby name data in the 1990s:

Boys named JagrBoys named Jaromir
2003.
20026.
20017.
2000..
19996.
1998.6*
1997..
19966*.
1995..
*Debut

The name Jagr has appeared in the data a total of four times, while the name Jaromir remains a one-hit wonder to this day.

The Czech surname Jágr is derived from the German surname Jäger, which means “hunter.”

The first name Jaromír — which was also the name of Jaromír Jágr’s father, and grandfather — can be traced back to proto-Slavic elements meaning “furious” and “peace.”

(And Jaromír Jágr’s now-retired jersey number, 68, was symbolic of 1968 — the year of the Prague Spring, and also the year that his grandfather died.)

Jágr went on to have a long and successful career in the NHL. He’s currently ranked 4th on the league’s list of most career goals and 5th on the list of most career assists. He finally left the NHL in 2017, but he didn’t retire — he still plays professional hockey in Czechia at the age of 52 (!).

What are your thoughts on the baby names Jaromir and Jagr?

P.S. The cash-strapped Penguins ended up trading Jaromír Jágr to the Washington Capitals in 2001 — several years before drafting future star Sidney Crosby.

Sources:

Image: Jaromír Jágr trading card

Babies named for Frederick Douglass

American abolitionist Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)
Frederick Douglass

Black abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass was a former slave who became a renowned orator and author.

Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey in 1818, he spent the first twenty years of his life enslaved in Maryland. He managed to teach himself to read and write during this time.

“In 1838, he fled north and changed his name to Frederick Douglass” in order to elude slave-hunters. (His new surname was chosen by a friend who’d been reading The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott.)

Douglass began giving speeches about his life as a slave, and in 1845 published his first (and most famous) autobiography: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. According to one source, “Frederick Douglass was the most prominent black man in the United States” by the time of the Civil War.

Going by what I was able to find in the records, dozens of baby boys were named after Frederick Douglass during his lifetime. Some examples…

One of his later namesakes was Douglas Wilder (b. 1931), the first African-American to be elected governor of a U.S. state (Virginia).

Sources: Frederick Douglass – Wikipedia, Frederick Douglass – White House Historical Association, Frederick Douglass – American Battlefield Trust, FamilySearch.org, Find a Grave

Image: Frederick Douglass (c. 1879)