The original version of The Contemporary Biography Builder pulled birth and death years from Wikipedia. ResearchBuzz reader Susan asked for a version that's unhooked from Wikipedia and lets you specify the birth and death years for the people you're searching.
The Contemporary Biography Builder works for anybody, but if they're not particularly famous you might not find lots of information. Also, the further back in history you go the less you're going to find (I would guess the big dropoff would be late 18th century.) Enter a name and the birth/death years, and CBB creates searches limited to the person's lifespan for the following resources:
Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)
Chronicling America (Historical Newspaper Database from Library of Congress)
What Is This?
Why Is This?
Because I've been writing about searching and search engines since 1996 and I'm obsessed with them.