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Top baby names: Parents choosing meaning over celebrity

4:24 PM, Dec 3, 2013   |    comments
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File photo of newborn babies in nursery

(USA TODAY ) -- Celebrities are on their way out and relatives (particularly of the grand- and great- variety) are decidedly in -- when it comes to baby names, that is.

The latest list of the year's most popular names reflects a new generation of parents striving for meaning in the names they choose, says Linda Murray, global editor in chief of the pregnancy and parenting website BabyCenter.com. The site's list of top names for 2013 is out Tuesday.

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"We saw a marked change this year," she says. Parents "want a name that feels important to them. Looking back into your own family tree is a way to find a person meaningful to you. We see the search for meaning in this generation really starting to show up in the baby-naming ranks."

BabyCenter lists names of 555,000 babies born in 2013 to moms registered on its site. This year, Aiiden -- the leading boy's name for the past eight years -- was displaced by Jackson. Among girls, Sophia was first for the fourth year in a row.

New names in the top 100 are Caden, Jayce and Muhammad for boys; among girls, Lila, Adalyn, Alaina, Liliana and Keira.

The San Francisco-based site also surveys mothers about the naming process. The online survey of 2,468 women, conducted in October, includes 2,205 mothers and 263 women expecting their first child.

Among survey findings:

* 81% like classic names; 43% like very unusual, unique names

* 80% finalized their name decision before the birth

* 63% dislike the baby-naming trend of celebrity-inspired names

* 54% say people they know are the inspiration for names: "My grandparents or my partner's grandparents" led the list at 39%

"We knew we wanted a family name. We knew we were having a boy, as well," says Rebecca Hurley, 31, of Santa Cruz, Calif. "William is my father's name and Loyd is my paternal grandfather's name. Initially, we thought William Loyd, but we found that William at the time was in the top 10 baby names. My husband and I wanted him to be more unique than that and didn't want him to grow up in a classroom of other Williams."

She and husband Brendan Hurley, 35, named their first child, born in August, Loyd William Hurley. "We decided to keep it unique and in the family by spelling it with only one 'L' like my grandfather," she says.

Mother of three Heather Glenn-Gunnarson of Cincinnati says she and her husband James Gunnarson, both 38, chose family names for 4-month-old son Trevor Glenn Gunnarson.

"My husband's grandfather was Henry Trevor Roland. My husband's brother had already named his son Henry, so we couldn't use Henry," she says.

Melody Helmes, 21, of Hickory, N.C., is due with their first child in February. She says she and husband John Helmes, 23, have selected Miharu for their daughter, which, they say means "guardian."

"We started looking at something unique and something that meant something. We wanted something pretty for our little girl," she says. "When we saw the meaning, we thought that's awesome. It sounds beautiful. It's unique. We wanted to pre-frame our daughter being a strong figure and being a strong person. We're both fairly interested in Japanese culture, so it panned out with the name and the meaning and the sound and the origin. It all seemed to fit."

But they're not done yet. The couple aren't sure about a middle name.

"We want to go with something simple," she says.

Top 10 girls' and boys' names for 2013

Girls
1. Sophia
2. Emma
3. Olivia
4. Isabella
5. Mia
6. Ava
7. Lily
8. Zoe
9. Emily
10. Chloe

Boys
1. Jackson
2. Aiden
3. Liam
4. Lucas
5. Noah
6. Mason
7. Jayden
8. Ethan
9. Jacob
10. Jack

Source: BabyCenter Top 100 Names List based on 555,000 babies born in 2013 to mothers who registered with the site.

(USA TODAY)

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