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Source Information

Ancestry.com. Dictionary of National Biography, Volumes 1-20, 22 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data: Stephen, Sir Leslie, ed. Dictionary of National Biography, 1921–1922. Volumes 1–20, 22. London, England: Oxford University Press, 1921–1922.

About Dictionary of National Biography, Volumes 1-20, 22

The Dictionary of National Biography began in 1882 as an ambitious project spearheaded by George Murray Smith to produce a biographical dictionary of prominent British and Irish figures from the earliest of times up to 1900. The efforts of hundreds of contributors resulted in a 22 volume alphabetical series containing thousands of biographies. This database contains Volumes 1–20 (21 is missing), and 22 of this series, which includes the biographies of those with surnames Abbadie–Whewell. It also contains The Concise Dictionary, which is a summary guide and index to the rest of the series, as well as the Supplement, which deals with people who died too late to be included in the earlier volumes.

The first volume of the Dictionary of National Biography appeared on 1 January 1885. A dedicated team of sub-editors and researchers worked under Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, combining a variety of talents from veteran journalists to young scholars who cut their academic teeth on dictionary articles at a time when postgraduate historical research in British universities was still in its infancy. While much of the dictionary was written in-house, the DNB also relied on external contributors, who included several respected writers and scholars of the late nineteenth century.

Within this dictionary you can hope to find reasonably detailed descriptions of these “notable” individuals. A wealth of information is included from birth place and parents’ names to job history and residential information. If your ancestor is included, it is also possible that you will be able to find information about who contributed their biography as well.

Information in this index:

  • Surnames
  • Spouse’s name
  • Parent’s names
  • Birthplace
  • Current residence (respective to the dates of the index)
  • Biographical summary

Information that may be included:

  • Christening dates
  • Occupation/Status
  • Schools attended
  • Religion
  • Children’s names

Help preserve historical records for generations to come. Join the Ancestry World Archives Project, a collaborative effort involving thousands of people around the world keying digital records to make them free for everyone. Anyone can join, and you decide how much time you’ll contribute - as little as 15 minutes helps. Learn more.

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