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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 58,000 men and women who died in or before 2008.


Of these 58,000 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 (left), 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 Garrett Anderson John Peel John Kirby
Nathaniel Bacon Ronald Giles Agnes Strickland
Thomas Clarkson Basil John Wait Brown Sutton Hoo Burial Marie Louise de la 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 66 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 58,200 life stories, the ODNB publishes a twice monthly biography podcast featuring some popular entries from the collection. There are now over 150 episodes in the archive. Recent highlights include Roald Dahl, George Orwell, John Lennon, and Nancy Astor.
  • Life of the Day: sign up for a topical biography delivered to your inbox.
  • 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. We also have a quick YouTube guide on logging-in from home.

> Read the Oxford DNB, free and at home, using your library's subscription

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