I write period or fantasy works. And that means I have to do a lot of research to make sure the words I'm using are right for the period.
For example I discovered the name Barbara was much more popular in the 1800s and early 1900s than it is now. I also found that the name Jeannette (and not the spelling Jeanette) was also in use. Which is good because I've been using it.
My main tool for this is Google Ngrams where Google digitised thousands of books and let's you find and compare word frequency in them.
But choosing names and words isn't just a matter of what's right. There's also the question of reader expectation. For example people might have a cultural idea that Jeannette is a relatively new name, and possibly misspelt. So do I still use it? In this case I decided yes. Though I may use the more modern spelling.
In Wind in the East I use the word "pimp" meaning person who runs prostitutes. A quick search of synonyms also gives me "procurer".
It turns out that both those words were available for use in the early 1900s (pimp goes as early as 1785), but procurer was more common and in use earlier (1630). However I decided on the former to ensure my meaning was understood more quickly, though I suspect some people will think it's wrong.
This blog was prompted by the need for a word meaning "snack". Turns out I can use the word "snack".