Trying to decide what to name your new baby? Read on for the stories and inspirations behind today's most popular baby names.
1. Michael has been on the top 10 name list of US births since the 1940s and has been in first place more often than not for the last decade. The 1990 US Census reported it fourth most popular in overall population. Historically, Michael was the name of one of the four archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible. Perhaps though, the name is so loved because two of the most famous men in recent times are Michaels: the "King of Pop" Michael Jackson, whose album Thriller sold 46 million copies to become the most popular of all time; and basketball legend Michael Jordan, arguably the best ever to play the game.
2. Jacob is a Hebrew name that many people perceive as handsome and confident. One of the more famous characters from the Bible, Jacob, the son of Issac and Rebekah, was born holding his elder twin brother Esau's heel. Bob Dylan liked the name so much he chose it for his son! Lucky for us, Jacob Dylan was no wallflower… well, he is a Wallflower, but you know what we mean.
3. In the New Testament, Matthew (who was also named Levi), was a tax collector who left his work to become one of the twelve apostles. Matthew also means "God's gift" in Hebrew. Famous Matthews include Friends' Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc, Matthew McConaughey, and Matthew Broderick.
4. Joseph was the son of Jacob and Rachel. He is best known for being Jacob's favored son, which led his jealous older brothers to sell him into slavery. He was able to interpret dreams and eventually became a wise ruler in Egypt. In fact, Joseph's story is so loved that a Broadway play was written about him starring Andy Gibb, David Cassidy, and most recently Donny Osmond in the role of Joseph!
5. Everyone knows a Chris or at least a Kris, and of course there are the feminine versions of the name such as Christine, Christie, and Crystal. Christopher was the legendary saint who carried young Jesus across a river and is known to many as the patron saint of travelers. But some people may choose the name Christopher for other reasons. Christopher Columbus discovered the West Indies in the 15th century. No one will ever think of Laura the same way thanks to Christopher Cross, and the movie "Superman" made a mega-star out of Christopher Reeve.