Working for a large financial organisation always throws up little challenges
to deal with.  One of the challenges
that I have recently faced was how to depersonalise production
data for use in test and development systems.   Fine, it’s easy to
just create random junk, but when you want the information your testers and
developers are using to make sense it takes a little bit more
thought.      For example, take first name and
last name data, you could easily just put some junk like “test first name”,
“Test last name”.  The problem with this is that junk data causes people
not to focus on the fields as well as real data.  So I thought what would
be the easiest way to create sensible test data???  After a quick search
around the internet I came across one of the most comprehensive sources of first
and last name information I have ever seen, the census.  More surprising was it is downloadable
from here.. 

So next time you want to create some test data for first and last names why
don’t you it out.