Where did the baby name Durville come from?

Actor D'Urville Martin in the opening credits for the movie "Dolemite" (1975).
D’Urville Martin

The unique name Durville appeared in the U.S. baby name data for the first and only time in the mid-1970s:

  • 1977: unlisted
  • 1976: unlisted
  • 1975: 5 baby boys named Durville [debut]
  • 1974: unlisted
  • 1973: unlisted

What was the influence?

Actor D’Urville Martin, who’d been in movies (primarily in supporting roles) since the 1960s.

In the mid-1970s, he was appearing in various blaxploitation films such as The Get-Man (1974), Sheba, Baby (1975) and Dolemite (1975) — which he also directed.

D’Urville was born in New York City in 1939. So far I haven’t been able to track down the story behind his name, but I can tell you that it ultimately comes from a French surname that refers to any of several places in France called Urville.

What are your thoughts on D’Urville as a baby name?

How did Cara Delevingne get her name?

British fashion model Cara Delevingne in 2014.
Cara Delevingne

Here’s a baby name explanation I’ve never come across before: in-flight magazine!

British property developer Charles Hamar Delevingne — talking last month to the Irish Times at an event celebrating the centenary of the Anglo-Irish Treaty (which his father, Hamar, helped negotiate) — let it slip that he’d named his famous fashion-model daughter Cara Delevingne after the Aer Lingus in-flight magazine Cara:

I remember I used to go backwards and forwards to Dublin a lot, and the name of the Aer Lingus magazine was Cara. I loved the name.

Cara was first published in 1968. The magazine’s title comes from the Irish word cara, meaning “friend.” Cara was discontinued in December of 2020 due to “the impact of Covid-19,” but the airline plans to re-introduce it as a digital publication in the future.

Cara Jocelyn Delevingne (pronounced DEL-ah-VEEN) was born in 1992. Her middle name presumably honors her maternal grandfather, Sir Jocelyn Stevens.

And let’s not forget the distinctive name Hamar. According to one source, Hamar’s birth name was Thomas Hubbard Hamer Greenwood, but he chose to go by “Hamar” — an altered spelling of the maiden name of his Welsh paternal grandmother (Mary Hamer, 1795-1838).

Sources:

Image by U.S. Embassy London from Wikipedia

Where did the baby name Cazzie come from?

cazzie russell, basketball, baby name,

The jazzy name Cazzie appeared in the U.S. baby name data for the first time (out of a total of three times) in 1967:

  • 1972: unlisted
  • 1971: 5 baby boys named Cazzie
  • 1970: 7 baby boys named Cazzie
  • 1969: unlisted
  • 1968: unlisted
  • 1967: 5 baby boys named Cazzie [debut]
  • 1966: unlisted

The influence? Chicago-born professional basketball player Cazzie Russell, who stood 6′ 5″ and who opted for basketball despite the fact that his father (Cazzie Russell, Sr.) wanted him to play professional baseball.

Cazzie was the NBA’s #1 overall draft pick in 1966 and spent a total of twelve seasons in the league.

During his first five seasons (1966–1971) he was with the New York Knicks, helping them win their first NBA championship in 1970.

He played for the Golden State Warriors for the next three seasons (1971-1974), during which time he participated in the 1972 NBA All-Star game alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain.

Sources: Cazzie Russell – Wikipedia, Basketball great Cazzie Russell also starred on the diamond

What gave the baby name Troylene a boost?

Candy Barr and daughter Troylene, 1963
Candy Barr & Troylene, 1963

The rare name Troylene has appeared in the U.S. baby name data just three times total. It debuted in 1951, then popped up again twice in the 1960s:

  • 1966: unlisted
  • 1965: 5 baby girls named Troylene
  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: 13 baby girls named Troylene [peak]
    • 6 born in California
  • 1962: unlisted
  • […unlisted…]
  • 1952: unlisted
  • 1951: 5 baby girls named Troylene [debut]
  • 1950: unlisted

The peak usage in 1963 is easy to explain, so we’ll start there.

In the early ’60s, Dallas burlesque dancer “Candy Barr” (birth name: Juanita Dale Slusher) served over three years of a fifteen-year prison sentence for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Just after she was released in April of 1963, a few photographs of Candy and her 7-year-old daughter Troylene ran in the newspapers. (Troylene’s father was Candy’s second husband, Troy Phillips.)

…So that explains the ’60s. What about the ’50s?

The reason for the debut is trickier to pinpoint — and there may not be a specific reason at all. (“Troylene” may have emerged organically as a variant of trendy names like Darlene and Charlene.)

That said, I do have two theories:

  • First, a New Mexico cowgirl named Troylene Boykin (b. 1943). She participated in various kids’ rodeos during the early ’50s, so her name periodically popped up in Southern newspapers starting around 1951. (Sadly, Troylene Boykin died of a heart ailment in 1956.)
  • Second, a Texas baby named Zanneta Troylene McKnight (b. 1951). Her twin brother, Clifton Troyce McKnight, was born with an “upside down” stomach (congenital diaphragmatic hernia) and required major surgery soon after they were born in mid-November. They were both highlighted in the local news at that time.

It’s interesting to note that most of the 20th-century Troylenes I found records for were born in Texas, and a good number of them had fathers named Troy. The twins’ father was a Troy, for instance.

What do you think of the baby name Troylene?

Sources:

  • Cartwright, Gary. “Say “Cheesecake”.” Texas Monthly Jan. 1986: 280.
  • “Winters Baby’s ‘Upside Down’ Stomach Set Right by Surgery.” Abilene Reporter-News 8 Dec. 1951: 25.

Thank You!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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