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Baby names vary across the region

Friday, February 4, 2005

SIKESTON -- Emma and Jacob may be among the popular baby names in the nation for 2004, according to BabyCenter, but local trends varied -- not only from the national standings but from hospital to hospital.

At Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston, Michael was the top name for boys in 2004 while Hayley and Kaleigh tied for the most popular girl names.

Sharon Urhahn, director of marketing for Missouri Delta Medical Center, noted multiple middle names were the hot trend last year.

"I've been putting babies on Web site for couple of years now and multiple middle names have been really popular for about the last year," Urhahn said.

Some of the multiple names were Kent Timothy Marshall, Vincent Edward Andrew and Hannah Grace Ellen.

Different spellings for common names were also popular, Urhahn said. These included Aleeyah, Madisynn, Justis, Nikole, Dylon and Konner.

The BabyCenter Baby Names List, which is the largest private list available, states Emma, Madison and Emily were the top girl names, and Jacob, Aidan and Ethan were the most common boy names. The list was compiled from more than 310,000 BabyCenter members who had babies in 2004.

In 2003 Social Security's most popular boy names in Missouri were Jacob, Ethan and Tyler and the most popular girl names were Emma, Emily and Madison. Social Security's top baby names of 2004 won't be released until May.

Allison or Allie, Abigail and Haley were the top girl names at Southeast Missouri Hospital while Jacob, Tyler or Ty and Logan were the most used boy names.

"Most parents come in the hospital with a name in hand and usually they know what they're going to have and then sometimes it's a surprise and they have to think of something else," said Joani Adams, Web master for Southeast. "There's a percentage of parents who like to surprise themselves so they take a day or so to name them."

The trend at Southeast Missouri Hospital was using familiar names, but with different spellings, Adams said. For the past four years, Adams has compiled the hospital's top baby names based on their online baby entries, which is about 95 percent of babies born at the hospital.

"Some of the names will be familiar and very challenging for school teachers," laughed Adams.

Some of the different spellings included Jacob, Jakob and Jaycob; Hailee, Hailey, Haleigh, Haley, Hallee; and Rylee, Ryleigh, Ryley, Rylie, Riley, Rileigh.

"People were just trying to stand out, I think," Adams said. "Most parents think their children are unique and they just want a unique name for child."

Disney princess names like Ariel, Cinderella and Jasmine and city names Atlanta, Dallas, Austin, Brooklyn, Houston, Memphis, Denver and Phoenix were also common. A number of kids were named Ella, Adams noted.

Popular celebrity names in 2004 were Jude, Diesel, Jolie, Charlize, Ashton and Electra.

"One thing I found real interesting and found a lot of was several babies, either their first or middle name, was an initial," Adams said.

Among the initials Adams saw were F, D, K and G. There was even "Wm." for William.

Around the Fourth of July a baby was named "Liberti" at St. Francis Medical Center, said Elizabeth Brooks, charge nurse for labor and delivery at the hospital.

"We've kind of seen names with the different seasons, summer, winter, autumn and spring. If they were born in that season, that's what their parents named them," Brooks said about St. Francis' trends.

Ranking in at No. 1 for the girl names at St. Francis was Madison followed by Kaitlyn and Kaylee with several variations to spellings, and the top boy name was Ethan followed by Nicholas and Colton.

Mothers also liked to use their maiden names such as Riley, Marcy, Hunter, Jackson and Anderson, Brooks said. Popular unisex names were Sidney, Taylor and Lauren.

For babies born prematurely, Brooks noted some parents went with inspirational names like Hope, Faith, Angel, Miracle and Chance.

And with several men serving in Iraq, many fathers were either flown home for their child's birth or had to try for the next best thing, Brooks noted.

"We do a lot of inductions where moms will know and they want the dads to be there and plan so the dad can get leave and come home," Brooks said. "But we have had a couple who weren't here and we had them on the telephone and could hear the delivery. And of course we do allow them to video tape the delivery."

While most parents find names in a big book, Adams noted there are several other resources for finding baby names.

Urhahn agreed and recommended visiting Missouri Delta Medical Center's Web site to look at the names of babies born over the past year.

"It's interesting to see some of the names. And if they're pregnant, they can also get some ideas," Urhahn said.

Naming a baby is a very important decision, Adams pointed out. "Their names follow them the rest of their lives, and the parents are really proud of their children so they want to choose the best name."