Aberdeenshire Lives

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of people who’ve shaped British history, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century. The ODNB currently includes the life stories of more than 60,000 men and women who died in or before 2016.

Of these more than 60,000 people, more than 2,000 have links to Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire.

Lewis Grassic Gibbon 


Here you’ll find some famous (and perhaps less-well-known) Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire faces, including the writer Lewis Grassic Gibbon (above) & John Brown, servant to Queen Victoria (below).

Click on the images below to read more.

George Reid Thomas Reid Thomas Edward James Gibbs

Henry Brunton John Brown Peter Hall Muriel Thompson

William Alexander Alexander Fraser Arthur Johnston Mary Sutherland

Who and how? in Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire

As well as looking for people by name, you can also search by place, for example:

(NB: You'll need to be logged into your library's subscription for these searches.)

How do I search?

The Oxford DNB includes the life stories of over 60,000 men and women.You can search online for where they were born, baptized, lived, died, or were buried, by date range or location.

  • The advanced search ‘life event’ feature can be used to find people near you—be they men and women baptised in Edinburgh (189), those born in Whitby (28), or those buried in Exeter (133). Used in this way the ODNB is an excellent resource for school projects or family history.
  • Text searching across the Oxford DNB’s 68 million words, you can also make links between people and places: for example, we’ve 102 references to “Clapham Common”, 27 to the “River Trent”, and 51 to “Snowdonia”.

What else does the Oxford DNB offer?

  • Free biography podcast: as well as 60, 000 life stories, the ODNB publishes a twice monthly biography podcast featuring some popular entries from the collection. There are now over 250 episodes in the archive. Recent highlights include Roald Dahl, George Orwell, John Lennon, and Nancy Astor.
  • Follow us on Twitter for more historical figures in the news.
  • Don’t forget: the ODNB online is available free—anywhere, anytime—via Aberdeenshire libraries: just type your library membership number in the box here.

> Read the Oxford DNB, free and at home, using your library's subscription
> More about the Oxford DNB