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

Of these 60,000 people, over 1750 have close ties to Suffolk—through families, education, work or residence.

Thomas Gainsborough

Here you’ll find some famous (and perhaps less-well-known) Suffolk faces, including the artist Thomas Gainsborough (above), and the broadcaster John Peel. Click on an image to read more. Then discover the 'who and how' in Suffolk by searching the ODNB for people by place.

Benjamin Britten  Elizabeth Garrett Anderson John Peel John Kirby

Nathaniel Bacon Ronald Giles Agnes Strickland Thomas Clarkson 

Basil Brown  Sutton Hoo burial Marie Louise Ramée Peter Pears


Who and how? in Suffolk

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 Suffolk people simply use the ‘place’ option on the People Search page. You can find people who were born, baptized, educated or resident in Suffolk (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. Flatford Mill). 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?

  • Free biography podcast: as well as over 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 Margaret Thatcher.
  • Follow us on Twitter for more historical figures in the news.
  • Don’t forget: the ODNB online is available free—anywhere, anytime—via Suffolk 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
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