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MICHAEL AND JESSICA ARE NO. 1 BABY NAMES

Michael and Jessica are still the most popular names given babies in Utah, but for parents seeking originality, there's always Ute, Boo or Sonic.

In 1990, 435 boys were named Michael, putting it at the top of the list of male names for the 13th consecutive year. With 470 Jessicas that same year, the name was the favorite for girls for the fifth straight year, according to the Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics.Ashley was the second most popular girl's name with 309, followed by Amanda with 267. For boys, Joshua was number two with 412, followed by Tyler with 331.

"Looking at the variety of Utah names given in 1990, males were almost three times more likely to be given frequently used names than were females," said bureau director John Brockert.

Almost half, 48 percent, of the boys shared the same name with at least 100 other boys. Only 21 percent of the girls received names that were also given to 100 other girls.

Brockert said there also was a tendency for girls to receive unique names more often than boys.There were 5,033 girls' names used only once in 1990, while the situation occurred with only 1,361 boys.

Some of the more unusual names that showed up on birth certificates were Serenity, Teal, Temperance, Tandem, Vision, Boo, CC, Destynee and Krimsen for girls; Cameo, Chazz, Jo Jo, Kover, Tyke, Ute and Sonic for boys.

Some names also had a variety of spellings.

Among 243 male infants named Zachary, there were 20 different spellings, including Zachery, Zackary, Zackery and Zakary. For 21 girls named Mercedes, spellings included Mercadez, Mercedez and Mersadie.

"It has been said that a rose is still a rose no matter what you call it," Brockert said. "However, an infant's name helps establish an identity. A given name should be carefully chosen."

The top 25 names, ranked in popularity, for both sexes:

Girls - Jessica, Ashley, Amanda, Megan, Sarah, Emily, Stephanie, Samantha, Melissa, Brittany, Whitney, Rachel, Jennifer, Nicole, Amber, Heather, Danielle, Elizabeth, Kelsey, Alyssa, Michelle, Courtney, Lauren, Chelsea and Kayla.

Boys - Michael, Joshua, Tyler, Matthew, Christopher, Jordan, Jacob, David, Andrew, Zachary, Justin, Ryan, Daniel, Austin, Nicholas, Kyle, James, Cody, Taylor, Nathan, Robert, John, Joseph, Benjamin and Brandon.