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.
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.
As well as looking for people by name, you can also search by place, for example:
- which famous people were born in Abingdon?
- which historical figures lived in Wantage?
- who went to school in Thame?
- How many times is Blenheim Palace mentioned in the Oxford DNB?
- who once lived on Oxford's High Street?
- how many people in the ODNB are buried in Banbury?
- which famous people have links to Bicester?
- who has ties to Wheatley's Waterperry?
- which Oxfordshire resident knew his oranges?
(NB: You'll need to be logged into your library's subscription for these searches.)
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.
- 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 free—anywhere, anytime—via Oxfordshire libraries: just type L + your library membership number in the box here.