Thursday, August 31, 2006

No Apple craze

Ever wonder how popular your name has been over the years? There's a really neat website called Name Voyager that can tell you if it's ever been in the top 1000 names since the 1880's. And, if it IS one of the more popular names, it'll tell you what the ranking was throughout the decades. (Requires Java.)

I just like mousing over that mountain of pink and blue at random to see what names pop up and how popular they are/were. It seems that Melissa was quite the popular name in the mid-1970s, with over 7,000 babies per million being given that name. It held the number three spot that decade, in fact. My grandfather's name was Melvin, which reached its peak in the 1920s. What's more interesting is that Melvina was a popular name for a girl in the late 1800s.

Did you know that Grace was used pretty much solely as a boy's name in the 19th century?? Would you believe that John was a common girl's name in the 1930's?? Of course, a lot of names were either really popular back in the day and not so much now (Grover, Fannie), or really popular now but not back in the day (Gabriel, Abigail). Meanwhile, some have waxed and waned over the years (Emma, Kate, Benjamin). It's interesting but not surprising how quickly Brittany disappeared off the radar in the early 21st century. And check out the fad that was Farrah.

You can waste a lot of time playing around on this site, but rest assured you will discover fascinating, yet pretty useless, information, such as the fact that a lot of popular boy's names start with J, while a lot of popular girl's names start with K. Go figure.

One tip: You really have to pay attention to the scale on the right because otherwise you'll think that Cadences outnumber Marys, when in reality Mary ranks #73 for 2005 while Cadence, although it appears to skyrocket, actually ranks a mere #205.


  1. Thanks for that link - I've just spent far too long playing on it!

  2. This is a great site for writers when trying to name their characters from another time. Thanks!