When parents choose a name for their baby they are making a decision that may place them right in the mainstream of social history or at the margins. For boys, George is among the latter, while Jack and Patrick are perennial favourites and Ezekiel is enjoying a peak of popularity. As for girls, everyone knew a Rebecca in the 1980s, and Abigail would put you in the avant-garde today.
The internet has now turned the business of being in on trends — or avoiding them like the plague — into a science. Name Voyager has an interactive graph where you can check out the top 1000 names for boys and girls since the 1880s, following their peaks and troughs — and so much more. I think the site is American and, presumably, based on a very large data sample.
Australians, however, can find their own Names Explorer online, thanks to the government of New South Wales. The Registrar’s site says:
Every baby born in NSW is registered with the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. This information has been collected by the NSW Government since 1788. Using the Baby Name Explorer, you can browse through more than a century of the top 1200 baby names in NSW.
Have fun exploring!
Thanks to Martin Fitzgerald for this tip.