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 updated monthly, 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.
1. Hampshire lives
The Oxford DNB includes more than 2500 men and women with connections to Hampshire—from the 11th century monarch William Rufus, to the rock musician Joe Strummer (1952-2002) of The Clash, and Eliza James, the 'Watercress Queen'.
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 194 people baptized in the county, more than 100 people born in Southampton, and 87 people who died in Portsmouth.
Across the ODNB’s 70 million words, you’ll also find more than 3,000 references to Hampshire, 154 to the New Forest, 213 to Wessex, and 89 to the Titanic.
It’s easy to search by place in the Oxford DNB as the following section explains.
2. Finding people near you
The Oxford DNB includes the life stories of more than 60,000 men and women. Online you can search 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”.
3. Topical and local history
Try a map—from British brewers, to gardeners and seafarers
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.
Browse the episodes by list or by place.
> Read the Oxford DNB, free and at home, using your library's subscription
> More about the Oxford DNB