PO Box 4502
Dorset DT9 6YL
Phone: +44 (0)1935 389611
Situated in a 17th century building next to Sherborne Museum our Family History Centre is the first port of call for our many visitors. Here you will find an informed and dedicated group of volunteers, on hand to help you at whatever level you are with your family history research. If you are unable to visit the Centre in person our Volunteers can also undertake research for you.
Monday, Friday, Saturday 10am to 1pm
Thursday 10am to 4pm
Third Tuesday of the month 7pm to 9pm
If you live in Somerset or Dorset, there is sure to be an SDFHS Group close to you. Click here for details of our Groups and their upcoming events' programmes.
You can now download, as a fully searchable PDF, the Index to the extensive database of Dorset Monumental Inscriptions held by the Somerset & Dorset Family History Society. This Index covers most of the burial grounds in Dorset with the exception of some of the large Municipal Cemeteries. Information from gravestones can include dates of birth and death, details of family relationships, occupations, employers, war service, public service, overseas records, place names and much more.
Click here for further details and to download the PDF.
At our Family History Centre in Sherborne we have a Library with more than 5,000 family, local, and military history items. Apart from the many books we also hold CDs, microfiches and maps. We are now able to make available, for download, the Catalogue to our Library in two versions, sorted by either Title or Category.
Click here for further details of our Library holdings and to download the fully searchable PDFs.
Version 3 of this comprehensive set of records for Portland has now been released. The CD is a most valuable resource for anyone with Portland ancestors.
The main additions for this new release are:
Over-the-counter price £15.00. UK including postage:£16.10. Overseas including postage: £17.75.
Please note that the CD version does not run correctly on Apple Mac computers using operating systems above 10.4 (Tiger). However, copying the files from the CD to your computer hard drive, and running from there, does enable everything to run correctly.
If you are not yet a member of the Society, joining now will ensure that you receive the February and May issues of The Greenwood Tree by return, and the August and November issues as soon as they are published.
New members also receive an hour of free research by our experienced volunteers.
The Society holds more than 3,500 sets of documents donated by members and others. The collection consists mainly of pedigrees and family trees, but also includes some copies of deeds and indentures, lists of names extracted from parish registers, a few wills and some family histories and biographical notes. The collection is continually increasing.
You can now download the index to the Pedigrees that we hold. This gives you basic information - surname, second surname, the number of pages in the Pedigree and an indication of the counties (in some cases countries overseas) referenced in the Pedigree - and can be used as a guide to the Pedigrees in our collection. Pedigree Team members will always be happy to check if a Pedigree is relevant to the family you are researching.
If you are a member of the Society, you can now download a fully-searchable PDF of the February 2016 edition of The Greenwood Tree from our Members Forum.
If you are not yet a member of the Society and would like to see a copy of The Greewnood Tree before joining, you can download a PDF of the November 2015 edition here.
On Saturday 12 March 2016 our East Dorset Group represented the Society at the annual Family History Day of the Dorset FHS, held in Poole. The Group had a very successful day with more than fifty people visiting the stand, many of whom they were able to help with research. Visitors were given leaflets about SDFHS membership, a copy of The Greenwood Tree and the East Dorset Group's programme of talks for 2016.
If your membership expired at the end of 2015, you will have received a renewal form for 2016 with the November edition of The Greenwood Tree (it is printed on the back of the address insert). If you no longer have the form, you can download one here.
Our subscription year runs from 1 January to 31 December and current annual subscription rates are: UK individual £18; UK Family £20; Overseas Individual £22; Overseas Family: £24. If you subscribe for three years (2016-2018), you will get a discount and the three-year rates are: UK Individual £50; UK Family £56; Overseas Individual £62; Overseas Family £68.
If you would like to join the Society for 2016 (or 2016-2018) download the 2016 application form.
We are offering new members of the Society a complimentary hour's work on your first research request to one of our experienced Volunteers. Please see here for full details.
We now have an online shop which you can access either by clicking here or from the horizontal menu bar above. You can use it to pay subscriptions (new memberships or renewals), order publications, pay research fees, and book places for events at our Sherborne Family History Centre. We also hope when making any purchases that you might consider adding a donation to the Society's general funds.
Payments in the shop will be made securely using PayPal, either with a PayPal account (if you have one) or with a credit/debit card, if you don't have a PayPal account. Simply browse the shop, fill your shopping basket and proceed to the check-out!
Please do explore the shop, even if you don't wish to purchase anything at the moment. We hope you will find it easy to use but if you experience any problems please contact us.
Remembering a generation: the World War One servicemen of West and Middle Chinnock looks at the lives of 86 servicemen who were born in, or who lived in, the village before or during the Great War. It builds on the names recorded on the Rolls of Honour in the two churches, which included those who served in the forces and returned, as well as those who were killed in the fighting. In addition to the standard research sources for the period, the author has been able to contact the relatives of 56 of the 86 men, and then use family recollections and photographs kindly supplied by those relatives.
Phil Nichols has lived in West and Middle Chinnock since 1960, and he, his wife and later their two daughters all attended the village primary school. Phil retired from his post as the senior professional librarian with Somerset’s Library Service in 2012. Since then, he has carried out project work for Somerset Archaeological & Natural History Society, prior to researching the contribution of the village in the Great War.
90 pages. Soft covers. Over-the-counter price £10.00. UK including postage:£13.35. Overseas including postage: £15.60.
The author, Phil Nichols, has written a post for our blog about his research while preparing the book, and the new contacts he has made since its publication.
All editions of our journal The Greenwood Tree from the first in 1975 up to and including November 2015, can now be purchased as PDFs on one fully-searchable CD (or memory stick).
If you shop, book transport or hotels, or pay utility bills online then there is now a way for you to do this and support the Society at the same time as we have signed up to easyfundraising which means that if you register with them and choose the SDFHS as your good cause, we will receive a donation from the retailers, without it costing you anything extra - the prices to you are exactly the same as if you visit the retailers' websites directly.
Every three months, easyfundraising totals up donations and sends a payment straight to the Society’s bank. So far easyfundraising has raised over £9 million for causes throughout the UK. If you are a UK tax payer the donation made on your behalf is eligible for Gift Aid.
If you would like to help the Society by taking part, then please go to easyfundraising.org.uk and sign up, choosing the SDFHS as your good cause.
Our Members' Forum is now live and can be accessed at the right hand end of the horizontal menu bar above, or click here. To register to join the Forum, you must be a Member of the Society and you will need your membership number to complete your registration. This is number of up to four digits and it can be found above your address on any mailing from the Society, but if you are unsure of your number, or can't find it, send an e-mail and we'll send it to you. The Forum will give you the opportunity to share your research with other members, register your own interests, and ask for help and advice. We hope you will find it both useful and enjoyable and would welcome your feedback and suggestions for developing and extending the Forum.
The programme of events at our Sherborne Family History Centre for the first few months of 2016 can be found here and we will be adding more events as soon as they are arranged. Since the Centre is open on Saturday mornings, why not combine a visit to research your family history with an afternoon event? For details of the extensive programmes of talks organised by our local Groups (see below), click here.
If you live in Somerset or Dorset, there is sure to be an SDFHS Group close to you. The Groups are one of the Society's greatest strengths as in addition to arranging interesting talks (the programmes for 2016 can be found on their individual Group pages), most hold self-help events, and they are run by very experienced family historians who can help you with your research. Our Groups are all very friendly and informal and their events are open to non-Members so please do go along to a meeting if you are thinking of joining the Society and talk to Members - you will be made very welcome. Our Groups also represent the Society at local Family History Fairs and other events in their area.
In addition to our Facebook Page we now have a rapidly-growing Facebook Group (go to Facebook and search on 'Somerset & Dorset Family History Society Group') where you can discuss your research with other members and anyone interested in the two counties. We can also be followed on Twitter.
Please do check out our Wordpress Blog (see also the right-hand column on this page) where you can add your e-mail address to be sure of receiving news when a new post is added. It includes accounts of recent activities such as our very successful 'pub walks' held in the summer and our Study-days and Workshops at our Sherborne Family History Centre, in addition to accounts of family history research undertaken by some of our members. We would love to hear from any members who have family or local history items that could be published on the Blog. Please e-mail if you would like to contribute an interesting snippet from your own research.
For centuries ‘Washing Day’ was always women’s work and in cottages and houses up and down the country it was usually done on a Monday. You may see the name ‘Laundry Cottage’ on your travels which reveals that this would have … Continue reading
The May edition of The Greenwood Tree will be mailed to members this week. The Editor, Bob Barber, gives a preview of the contents. The rather startling front cover of the May issue of The Greenwood Tree highlights an important … Continue reading
On Saturday (19 March) we will be holding our first Photographic Project Open Day at our Family History Centre in Sherborne (for details see below). Barbara Elsmore describes her own rewarding search for family photographs which she will be adding … Continue reading
Exactly one hundred years ago today the charge of the Dorset Yeomanry at Agagia, in Egypt’s western desert, played a major role in the WWI campaign in North Africa. Barbara Elsmore shares her own family’s memories of this important military … Continue reading