It’s no surprise that Jacob is at the top of the list of popular American baby names for 2009 (it’s been the #1 name for baby boys ever since it bumped Michael out of the top stop in 1999). For girls, the top names have been changing lately — 2009′s top name was Isabella, 2008′s was Emma, but Emily ruled the list from 2007 all the way back to 1996 when it bumped Jessica from the most popular spot.
Whether you use a traditional family name, examine popular local names, study baby name books for meanings and variations, or use Internet resources to find more options, you could spend the whole nine months of pregnancy browsing all of this information!
Crunching the numbers to research baby names
Thanks to the astounding depth and breadth of information available from the Social Security Administration (SSA) website, you don’t have to limit yourself to a Top 10 list when researching baby names. The SSA provides lists of the most popular names for a particular year of birth (any year after 1879). You can see how the popularity of a name has changed over time, or view the top 5 names by state or top 1000 names by decade.
Browsing the books
Because our library is so conveniently located across the street from a hospital, the librarians are frequently asked about baby name books by expectant or new parents. The library has many baby name books available on the shelves!
View the complete list of baby name books available at the library, or check out some of the most popular titles.
- Baby names now: from classic to cool – the very last word on first names by Linda Rosenkrantz
- Baby names your child can live with by Lisa Shaw
- The baby name bible: the ultimate guide by America’s baby-naming experts by Pamela Redmond Satran
- The Penguin classic baby name book by Grace Hamlin
What about the other kids?
And speaking of hospitals, if you want to see what the brand-new babies in our community are being named this month, you can view the newborns on the hospital websites to check out what names are popular locally.
Choose family names
Planning for a new addition to your family can be a wonderful time to learn more about your family history. A simple step is to ask your parents or grandparents to make a list of names inspired by your ancestors. If someone in your family has begun genealogy research already, get a copy of their notes and browse for names. You might even begin researching your family history using Genealogy resources at the library. Start with the people you know (parents, grandparents) and use census records to work backwards from there. The librarians and volunteers in the Topeka Room/Genealogy can help you get started.
No matter what name you choose for your new arrival, be sure to bring your baby to the library to receive their first library card and check out some books. It’s never too early to start reading to your child.