Oxfordshire 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 over 60,000 men and women who died in or before 2014.

William Morris

 Of these 60,000 people, nearly 10,000 have ties to Oxfordshire—through families, birth and baptism, education, work or residence.

Below you’ll find some famous (and less-well-known) Oxfordshire faces, including car-maker William Morris (above) and Agatha Christie and John Betjeman (below). Click on an image to read more. Then discover the ‘who and how’ in Oxfordshire by searching the ODNB for people by place.

Agatha Christie William Kimber Ronnie Barker John Case  
John Betjeman Edward the Confessor Flora Thompson Mike Hailwood
Lucius Cary JRR Tolkien James Sadler Beatrix Havergal
Humphrey Carpenter Alice Hargreaves Thomas Bodley

Who and how? in Oxfordshire

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?

Finding people in the Oxford DNB is easy. 

  • to discover more Oxfordshire people simply use the ‘place’ option on the People Search page. You can find people who were born, baptized, educated or resident in Oxfordshire (or elsewhere), or who died and were buried here. Search by county, city, town, village, church, and even street.
  • you can also search the ODNB’s 70 million words for places (e.g. Blenheim). For this use Text Search.

We also have more tips on using the ODNB for local and family history.

What else does the Oxford DNB offer?

  • Our free, twice-monthly biography podcast—now with over 250 episodes. Download and listen to the stories of Roald Dahl, Eric & Ernie, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Margaret Thatcher, and many more.
  • Follow us on Twitter for more historical figures in the news.

Plus, life stories of over 60,000 men and women, from the Romans to the 21st century. The Oxford DNB is available—free, online, and at home—via nearly all UK public libraries.

Don't forget: the ODNB online is available freeanywhere, anytime—via Oxfordshire libraries: just type L + 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
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