Traditional baby names aren't so common anymore

Wednesday, December 26, 2001

They considered Russell. Then they thought about Caleb.

Russell and Amy Grammer even contemplated naming their new baby John. But they already had a son named Jacob and that would complicate things.

"When we called our kids, we'd be yelling John, Jacob," said Russell Grammer. "Just like the nursery rhyme, John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. We couldn't get pass that."

Instead, the Cape Girardeau couple settled on Lucas when their baby was born at Southeast Missouri Hospital Friday. That name was the most popular name of baby boys born at Southeast, according to B@bies Online, the hospital's year-old service that lists first names and pictures on its Web site.

B@bies Online is a free service of Southeast Missouri Hospital. It allows those not at the hospital to see the newborn's photograph within 24 to 48 hours of birth. Nurses take the photos just after the infant's first bath.

Hailey was the most popular name for girls of the 1,429 babies featured in the B@bies Online section, which marks its first anniversary this month. Southeast has delivered 66,000 babies since 1928.

Since December 2000, 19 girls named Hailey, or Hailee, or Hallie, all pronounced the same way, were listed. There were 18 boys named Lucas or Lukas or Luke.

Other popular girl names were Madison, Grace, Emma, Taylor, Megan and Sydney. Other popular boy names were Jacob, Hunter, Nicholas, Zachary, John and Ethan.

"Most parents I talk with come to the hospital with a name for their baby," said Joni Adams, the hospital webmaster who gathers the web nursery permission slips each day. "But sometimes the naming process stretches out a day or two."

Sometimes, she said, the baby doesn't look like the name they picked out, or they can't decide on a particular spelling.

The Grammers didn't know the name they picked would be so trendy.

"We actually had no idea Lucas was a popular name," said Grammer, a teacher at Jefferson Elementary School. "It's my wife's great-grandmother's maiden name. That's why we chose it. We were actually looking for something a little unique."

Several of the top 10 boy and girl names released by the Social Security Administration can be found among Southeast's most popular baby names. The top boy name in the nation in 2001 was Jacob, followed by Michael, Joshua, Matthew and Andrew.

Emily No. 1 for girls

Emily was the No. 1 girl name in the United States, followed by Hannah, Madison, Samantha and Ashley.

Traditional spelling of popular names is not so common anymore, Adams said.

"Some popular names are spelled four or five different ways," she said. "Take the name Tristan. We had parents who spelled it with an a-n, e-n, o-n and i-n."

Suzzanne and Clarence Biggerstaff, who had a daughter at Southeast in September, decided to spell their daughter's name Hayleigh.

"We wanted a name that was not common, so we decided to also spell it a different way," Suzzanne Biggerstaff said. "We looked through tons of baby books, and we couldn't find a way we liked to spell it so we went our own way."

She said they have made the name unique despite the fact that it's popular.

There were other unusual names listed on Southeast Missouri Hospital's Web page including Astonish, Free Sky, Uther, Amillion, Porcelain, Jacey, Reign and Heaven Lee Angel.

No local babies were named Baby or Infant at Southeast. Nationally, however, 264 boys and 251 girls were named Baby and 197 were named Infant.

Not all listed

But not all of the babies born at Southeast were on the site. Slightly more than 1,600 babies were born at Southeast since last December, with 1,429 featured on the site. Parents must sign a permission slip.

Jay Wolz, marketing campaign coordinator, said the site also lists vital statistics such as weight and length.

"It's been a very, very popular service," he said. "This is the most popular part of our Web site and it gets thousands of hits a month. People get online while expecting their baby and look at baby's names or make sure nobody took the name they wanted."

Click here for the Southeast Missouri Hospital Web Site

smoyers@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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