What was the original name of the subject? Where and when were they born?
The stories typically take a look at their personal life. Where did they grow up? Who and what were significant influences? A focus on education generally provides a smooth segue to occupation and areas of achievement. What important life experiences did they encounter in adult life? Finally, what was their significance to their field, and how did they impact others?
For readers interested in a well-rounded picture of a person, it can be interesting to read both biographies and an autobiography, if it's available. Each tells the story, or part of the story, of a person's life. How consistent are those differing points of view? How does a biographer see the subject in certain pivotal events? How does the subject wish for others to see them?
Who Are You Reading?
When reading biographies, some of us tend to binge. (Actually, that could be true of readers of any genre, I guess.) We may start with someone in the news and move on to someone who seemed significant in the telling of that story. We may do the same with major-- or minor -- figures from the past.
Of course, there is the category of fiction “based on” to explore as well. These stories of people or groups of people are closely based on history but fictionalized for the reader, sometimes because the identities of the actual people can’t be identified, and have been lost in the vastness of time. For example, Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston didn’t reach many readers for decades after it was written.