I still like the elegance of NameVoyager's "starts-with" visualizations better. Even if NameTrends' added sorts, like names with similar popularity curves, and spelling patterns [e.g, names ending in '-don,' names with 'mm'] are interesting additions, they only look at the top 2000 names, and they're limited to 20 or so predetermined patterns. And their six measly categories [androgynous, gems, occupations] are pretty spotty.
The SSA has its data, with its rudimentary name search and top ten lists; the Atlanta Journal Constitution has created a search of Georgia's birth records. It all makes me wonder why, if all this name data is sitting out there in public records, why someone doesn't compile a giant, open, common databall that people can build all sorts of searches and tools on top of.
Back in the day, name books were just alphabetical lists of origin and a one-line definition. The top names covered a much larger percentage of kids [I need to check the data, but I think 89% of girls born in the 1930's were named Mary, for example.] And in the last couple of decades, elaborate category-based name books emerged. But what are they but hard copies of someone else's subjective slicing and dicing of some unspecified name pool? Has the availability of massive amounts of name data somehow changed the way people choose a baby name? What does it all mean?? I don't have any naming events on the horizon, and we're technically on vacation, so I'll leave it to you to figure out...
NameTrends.net [nametrends.net via kottke]