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ENGL 2013 Shakespeare I -- Kelley

Finding People

Finding People

It is often difficult to track down information on early modern Londoners, and is typically much easier to find information on men and aristocrats than on women and non-aristocrats, the latter of whom are often simply missing from the historical record. We recommend you try the following resources:


Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB). Do a full-text search for the name of your street/site/playhouse. You may turn up details of people who lived/worked on the street/site you are researching. If you are looking for a particular person, be sure to do a full text search, not just a person search. Even if the person you are researching does not merit a full biographical entry in the ODNB, he or she may well be mentioned in another person’s entry. Available in Reference: Ref DA28.095 V. 1-10.


The British Book Trade Index (BBTI) provides the names and biographical details of people involved in the book trade in London. Some of these people may have lived or worked on the street/site you are researching. Note that there is redundancy in this database because it aggregates data from a number of different sources.


People in Place: Families, Households and Housing in London 1550-1720. Follow links on this page to go to a variety of resources.


Anne Lancashire’s database of Mayors and Sheriffs of London lists all mayors, sheriffs, and wardens in London from 1190 to 1558. Professor Lancashire has also created a .pdf that continues the database up to 1642. We often link to MASL directly from our personography.


Records of London’s Livery Companies Online (ROLLCO) is a site providing records of Apprentices and Freemen in the City of London Livery Companies between 1400 and 1900. The records of the companies are a rich source of information about people. The database includes Clothworkers, Drapers, Goldsmiths (1600-1700), and Mercers. Membership records from other livery companies will be added in the future. We often link to ROLLCO directly from our personography.


Wikipedia is often a good place to find information on more obscure historical Londoners, as researchers regularly add encylcopedia entries in an effort to insert lost historical figures back into the historical record. The usual scholarly caveats about relying solely on Wikipedia apply.