Or Makayla... or Mikaela... or however you want to spell it. I met a girl with the latter spelling yesterday, and I just thought what an interesting name it is.

It's most basic form is Michaela -- a feminized version of Michael. On the page for Michaela, our readers have suggested two alternative variations of the name: Machaela and Mikayela. No comment. Michaela is ranked at 392 in the US, down from a high of 100 in 1997. That's the same year Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman -- starring Michaela Quinn -- starting airing in the U.S. It's been in the top 1,000 with only a few breaks since '67. Other similar versions in the top 1,000 are Mikaela (431) and Micaela (956).

Now, here's where it gets interesting. Similar but totally different name Makayla (or MaKayla; the rankings don't differentiate) is ranked at -- wait for it, name nerds -- number 43! And it's only been on the charts since '89, meaning it's basically risen meteorically ever year since then, with the biggest jumps in the early '90s. I say it's a totally different name because I really don't know if it's the natural evolution of Michaela, or if it's simply a parent-created combination of trendy suffix "Kayla" along with a prefix that sounds like the trendy "Mck" (Mckenzie; Mckenna). Similar names to Makayla ranked in the top 1,000 include Mikayla (197) and Mckayla (614). Check out the page for Makayla, and you'll find a whole host of other user-generated spellings.

So, friendly readers, I'm asking for some help. How do you spell (I think we can all agree on those three letters). Are Michaela and Makayla the same name? And what the heck happened in the early '90s to catapult Makayla up the rankings?