If you're interested in names, you'll enjoy the Name Voyager, I promise. Even if you have no impending need to select a baby name. (Me, I do. Baby girl ETA December 5th.)
Basically, it's a little flash application that graphs the popularity of a given name that you enter, by decade, based on U.S. Social Security data. There are other sites that do this, but the execution of Name Voyager makes it fun to use. It shows you all names which match the pattern you type. So if you type "Joseph" you'll see the stats for both Joseph and Josephine, and you get to watch the graphs rise and fall like so many ill-fated civilizations as you type every letter. It's quite diverting.
A few examples of what I learned from typing random things on Name Voyager:
- Orange was the 970th most common name in the 1890s, but Apple doesn't show up in the top 1000 in any decade (Gwyneth Paltrow probably checked).
- Frank seems, frankly, headed for extinction.
- Names whose heyday came and went in the mid-20th century: Stuart, Barry, Nancy, Janice.
- A name that didn't survive World War II: Archibald.
- A name that didn't survive the Spanish-American War: Horatio.
- Norma and Stephanie have steadily been more popular (although sometimes only slightly so) than their respective counterparts Norman and Stephen.