Choosing a name for your baby boy can be a lot of fun, but can sometimes become quite a challenge. When the going gets tough, one of the most important questions you can ask yourself is what are your criteria? Do you want a popular name, or a unique name? There are advantages to going either way. Maybe youre looking for a name that honors your family's homeland or country of origin. Or perhaps something that covers both.
Going with a popular name for your baby has some advantages. It is easy to recognize, say and often easy to spell too. People won't have difficulty figuring out how to say it, and your son won't have to teach people how to pronounce his name for the rest of his life. On the other hand, it is very likely that he won't be the only Jacob or Michael that he knows over the years. The Social Security Administration releases a list of the most popular names registered each year. In 2006 (2007 hasn't been released yet) the most popular name for a boy according to the SSA was Jacob (Michael was #2). And, Jacob has been the most popular name each year since 1998 when Michael was on top! This may be fine for you, or, the popularity level of a name you select may knock it off your list. To see the stats on your favorite name, check out the Social Security Administration's website at http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/ .
In looking at the popularity of names over the years, some boy names have held a strong popularity ranking throughout history. Names like John and James were very popular in the early years of the SSA's records (they began keeping records in 1880), and they have continued to be in at least the top 20 since then. And, these are both Biblical names, so they have been fairly popular for a good many years before 1880 too! William is another name that has been consistently popular. William has been in or near the top 10 since 1880. It is interesting to note that as a result of the way the SSA keeps their records, this tally for William does not include those boys born in that year who were named simply Bill. This means, that the number of boys called Bill likely outranks those named William! While there are many more boys names that have remained consistently popular over the years when compared with girls, the list of the top 100 has definitely changed from then to now. Names like Clarence, Leonard and Albert aren't within the top 100 today, and not too many boys were named Elijah or Brayden in the early 1900s!
As you continue to search for a name, you may want to explore names that are popular in other countries. This is a wonderful way to honor your family heritage, your ethnicity or just one more way to search for that perfect name! For example, the 2 most popular names in Tunisia (North Africa) in 2005 were Mehdi and Youssef. For the same year in Israel the top 2 were Uri and Ro'i while in Japan they were Yuuki and Haruto. For 2006 in Mexico, the 2 most popular were Alejandro and Juan Carlos, and during the same time in Argentina it was Santiago and Lautaro. Leon and Lukas were on top in 2007 in Germany, and in Norway the winning names were Mathias and Jonas.
Maybe you're feeling like want to forgo popular all together. It isn't always possible since trends change, and while a name may not be popular when you pick it, it may become so in a few years. The more unique a name you pick though, the less likely it is to become popular or widespread. You may wish to name your child something unique so that he isn't one of several children in the neighborhood or classroom with that name, or, you may want to help your child show his individuality through his name. Or maybe, it is as simple as you just wanting to be different! For starters, how about some of these: Jacy (Native American - Moon), Diyari (Arabic - Gift), Iason (Greek - One Who Brings Healing), Zorion (Portuguese - Full of Joy), or Kamden (Scottish - Winding Valley).
The meaning of a name may also be a very important consideration for you, and also another way to trim that list of possibilities. You can generally find the meanings to names on most naming sites and in most baby name books. If you find a name you like but don't find the meaning with it, you can simply enter "Alejandro Meaning" into your search engine, and you will most likely find the name's meaning. The origin of a name is also often included in this information, and again, may be a way to find the perfect name, or, a way to take one off of your working list.
Whatever way you choose to go about finding a name, it is an exciting journey. One that is important to undertake with intense thoughtfulness. After all, you aren't the one who will be answering to this moniker for at least the next 18 years, your son will!