Name Voyager is a fun java app (your browser must run java to play with it) where you type in a name, and it charts the name by U.S. popularity, by decade, for the past century.

For example, if I enter “Lori”, the graph starts going up at around 1940, peaks in the 60’s, and is back to the bottom by 2003. If you hover over the graph, it will tell you the rank of the name by decade. Just move your cursor to get the rank for other decades.

The Baby Name Wizard’s NameVoyager is a letter-by-letter exploration of name trends and history.

The beginning screen shows nearly 5000 names, each represented by a stripe. Type a letter, and you’ll zoom in to focus on how that initial has been used in names over the past century. Type more letters to zoom in further, down to the level of a single name. Backspace to delete letters or try a new search.

Each stripe is a timeline of one name, from 1900 (at left) to present. The changing thickness of the stripe reflects the name’s changing popularity. The usage frequency is shown on the right-hand axis, which changes scale as you zoom in and out.

You can also mouse over a single name stripe to highlight its shape and learn its popularity rank at any point in time. Click on a stripe to zoom in on that name.