Friday, October 3, 2014

The *Jo*s Have It!


My middle name is Joyce. I absolutely love it, not only because it is after my beloved grandmother, but also because it is lovely, versatile, and has a delightful meaning. And while I think it is perfectly splendid as a first name, as many parents in the 1930s and 1940s did, I personally love it in the middle spot. It is short, sweet and lends itself to be even shorter for nicknames... Sammy Jo, Sarah Joy, D.J., etc.

My family has loved to play around with it as a middle name. Grandma was born Natalie Joyce, but her name was changed to Maxine after she was adopted. My great-grandparents kept Joyce as her middle name because she brought them joy. She was actually named after my great-grandfather, Max, but ended up going by Joyce her entire life. My mom is Debra Joyce, but has been called Debby Jo by family, and almost exclusively Jo or Joey by her siblings (and therefore subsequently called Aunt Jo by my cousins). I am often called Kelli Jo or K.J. by family. My daughter is Rachel Joyce, and while she is not around my extended family often, she is getting used to being referred to as Ray Jo when she is around them.

Enough about me.

Maybe because of my experience though, I have always seen Joe/Jo as a truly unisex name. It is simply masculine as well as beautifully tomboyish. As seen in the above clip from Name-alytics, Jo is the shortest name to ever be in the girls' Top 100; it reached #51 in 1947 and the highest in its popularity in the 1950s. Joe, on the other hand, reached its highest rank at #20 in 1880 and the highest in its popularity in the 1900s. Jo has been given to boys and Joe has been given to girls, so they are not mutually exclusive.

For the purposes of this post, however, I am going to concentrate on the girl Jo's. In looking at the names given over the years, there is a lot of love for the *jo*s. Let's take a look at the options out there!

Beyond Jo

There are several names that can be shortened to Jo:

Joan
Joanna
Joanne
Jocelyn
Jodi
Joelle
Joella
Joellen
Joetta
Jojo
Jolie
Jolanda
Jolene
Jolette
Jolynn
Jonetta
Joni
Jordan
Jorja
Josefina
Josephine
Josette
Josie
Journey
Joy
Joyce
Marjorie
Sojourner

Names Ending in Jo (or cases when Jo can be given as a middle name)

There have been many names in the SSA database that have ended in "jo", but we would more commonly see them as a combo or hyphenated name...

Amandajo
Amberjo
Amyjo
Annajo
Barbarajo
Bettyjo
Billiejo
Bobbiejo
Bonniejo
Caroljo
Cathyjo
Debrajo
Donnajo
Ellajo
Emilyjo
Emmajo
Evajo
Haileyjo
Hannahjo
Kathyjo
Katiejo
Kayleejo
Kellyjo
Kristijo
Kyliejo
Lillyjo
Lindajo
Lisajo
Lorijo
Margaretjo
Maryjo
Nancyjo
Patriciajo
Pattijo
Peggyjo
Rebeccajo
Sallyjo
Samanthajo
Sammyjo
Sarahjo
Shelbyjo
Tammyjo
Taylorjo
Terrijo

Other Great Combos

These are some first and middle combos that I've heard or thought sounded sweet...

Ada Joy
Alexa Joy
Arabella Joy
Clara Joyce
Elsie Jo
Everly Joyce
Finley Joy
Harper Joy
Hattie Jo
Isla Jo
Lorelei Jo
Louisa Joyce
Mila Joy
Molly Jo
Nora Joyce
Penelope Joyce
Stella Joyce
Summer Joy
Thea Joy
Violet Joyce
Vivian Joy
Wilhelmina Jo

If you are interested in celebrities who have used the wonderful Jo as a middle name for their babies, American volleyball player Gabrielle Reece has a daughter named Brody Jo, and musician John Cougar Mellencamp has a daughter named Teddi Jo.

What do you think of Jo? Would you use it by itself? Would you prefer to use any of its forms as a first name or a middle name?

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1 comment:

  1. My nice is Callie Joy and I love her name.. Just thought I would add it to your list.

    ReplyDelete

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