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What's in a Name?

When you learn that you are expecting a baby, it can feel as if you are the only one in the world. The actuality, however, is that almost 400 babies are born each day in Pennsylvania. The majority of these parents spend many agonizing hours considering the perfect name for their baby-to-be. Do you choose a name that is popular so that your child fits in? Do you choose an unusual name that sets your child apart and makes them a little different?  How do you find that perfect name which captures your child's essence?

Top Five Baby Names for

1. Emily
2. Sarah
3. Samantha
4. Madison
5. Hannah

1. Michael
2. Matthew
3. Jacob
4. Nicholas
5. Tyler


According to a report from the State Department of Health, Pennsylvania parents in 1998 selected over 18,000 different first names for their children, so there is a lot of variety out there! The most popular girl's name was Emily, followed by Sarah, Samantha, Madison, Hannah, Taylor, Alexis, Ashley, Rachel and Alyssa.  For the 22nd straight year, Michael was the favorite name for boys. Other popular boy's names included Michael, Matthew, Jacob, Nicholas, Tyler, Joshua, Ryan, Joseph, John and Zachary. Each of these names (boys and girls) were bestowed on over 1000 Pennsylvania babies. 

If you are looking for something a little more unusual, there are many names which were a little less popular, but were still chosen by over 100 parents.  Names like Tristan (110), Stephan (295), Lydia (125), Devon (172), Summer (101), Miranda (173) and Garrett (161). 

Two baby girls were named Pennsylvania in 1998, according to the statistics of the PA Health Department. Spring, Blessing, Flame, Fancy, Juniper, Journey, Santa, Mystery, Unikque and Spirit were other unusual names chosen by Pennsylvania parents for their baby girls.

Fifteen baby boys were named Jesus, and one baby boy was named God. Other unusual boy names include Check, Papa, Rain, Technique, Pity, Saturn, Rowdy, Church, Robot, Deny and Cage. 

The Internet has hundreds of great baby name sites to help you with your search for the perfect name. You can use these sites to sort through names based on sex, number of syllables, meaning, sound, and beginning or ending letters. Other sites provide lists of the names of presidents, soap opera stars, sports heroes and more. Take heart, the perfect name for your baby is just waiting to be discovered.

For More Information:

Baby Name Sites Galore
Pregnancy Guide, Robin Weiss, has selected the most interesting baby name Web sites on the Internet.

Baby Names From Your Past
Can't come up with a name for your baby? The perfect name may be hidden in your past. Check out these great ideas for honoring your relatives, ancestors or heritage while creating a unique name for your little one.

* From the Pa. Department of Health, Division of Health Statistics
, 1998




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