The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of men and women who’ve shaped all walks of British life—from the Romans to the 21st century. Published online, and extended three times a year, the ODNB includes more than 60,000 life stories.
Public libraries in Hampshire subscribe to the Oxford DNB, which means you can look for people either in the library or from home (or anywhere, anytime) using your library membership number as a personal log-in. You can gain access via Hampshire libraries’ Reference Online or the Oxford DNB online, adding your number.
With access Hampshire, Britain, and indeed the world, is your online oyster.
In between you’ll find many sons and daughters of the county, including Winchester’s William Wykeham, the locksmith Charles Chubb (1772-1846), the Basingstoke cricket commentator John Arlott (1914-1991), and the pioneering female jockey Meriel Tufnell (1948-2002).
You can also search within Hampshire, allowing you to find over 500 people baptized in the county, more than 75 former pupils of Southampton schools; 140 one-time residents of Portsmouth and 40 of Andover.
Across the ODNB’s 70 million words, you’ll also find more than 2500 references to Hampshire, 143 to the New Forest, 171 to Wessex, and 64 to the Titanic.
It’s easy to search by place in the Oxford DNB as the following section explains.
The Oxford DNB includes the life stories of more than 57,000 men and women. Online you can search for where they were born, baptized, lived, died or were buried, searching by county, town, village, church, and street.
- You can find people near you—be they one-time residents of Princes Street, Edinburgh (45), sons and daughters of Whitby (24), or those buried in Exeter (112)—and how this can be used for school projects or family history.
- Text searching across the ODNB’s 65 million words, you can also make links between people and places: for example, we’ve 92 references to Clapham Common, 23 to the River Trent, and 40 to Snowdonia.
Listen to a life
Every two weeks the ODNB releases a biography podcast. There are more than 250 episodes to choose from, including John Lennon, Madame Tussaud, Morecambe and Wise, Roald Dahl, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.