Forthcoming SDFHS Events

We now have a full programme of events at our Sherborne Research Centre, see our Blog for a description. Full details of this and SDFHS Group events for the next two months can be found here

Who Do You Think You Are?

The SDFHS was represented at this year's event by a team of volunteers led by our Chairman, Ann-Marie Wilkinson. You can read her diary from the show here.


The Greenwood Tree

The February issue of The Greenwood Tree has now been mailed to all Members who have subscribed for 2014. The Editor, Bob Barber, describes the contents on our Blog.

The Editor would love to hear from any members who would like to contribute an article to our Journal, especially for the August 2014 issue which will concentrate on World War I, see further here. Barbara Elsmore was inspired by an article in the February Greenwood Tree to hunt out some photographs, taken in 1901 at the Rectory in Trent - she describes them on our Blog, and also reflects on the Deacon family of basket-makers in Nether Compton.

Desperately Seeking Granny

Our Chairman, Ann-Marie Wilkinson describes on the Blog a family history session at Burnham-on-Sea Library on Monday 3 February and was interviewed by Radio Bristol.





Subscriptions for 2014

If you have not yet renewed your subscription for 2014, please do so soon. The annual rate for UK members is £18 (£20 for family membership) and for overseas members £22 and £24. A renewal form can be downloaded here. If you are not already a Member of the Society please consider joining us to make sure you receive all four 2014 issues of The Greenwood Tree. We are offering new members the opportunity to discuss their research for an hour with an experienced Family Historian or receive a complimentary hour’s work on your first research request to one of our experienced Volunteers. Please see here for full details. If you wish to apply for Membership, click here to download the application form and then post to: Subscriptions, SDFHS, PO Box 4502. Sherborne, Dorset DT9 6YL.

Events at our Sherborne Research Centre

On Saturday 18 January, we held our first Saturday event of 2014 at our Family History Centre in Sherborne. The SDFHS Secretary, Ted Udall, gave a fascinating talk on how to read old documents, followed by a hands-on workshop in our Research Room. Dorothy Bower has written a summary on our Blog. See here for details of further events up to August 2014 based at our Sherborne Research Centre - these range from half-day workshops, to individual talks and even pub walkabouts! Since the Research Centre is open on Saturday mornings, why not combine a visit to research your family history with an afternoon event - we will look forward to seeing you.


SDFHS Groups

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. The Groups are one of the Society's greatest strengths as in addition to arranging interesting talks, 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 - this photograph shows members of our Mid-Somerset Group at an archival event in Wells on 16 November 2013 - you can read about it here.If you already attend Group meetings regularly, please note that three of our Groups have moved to new venues for their 2014 meetings - click on each Group name for details: West Somerset, East Dorset, South Dorset.

Mills on the Yeo

There is a review in the November 2013 issue of The Greenwood Tree by Colin Dean of Martin Bodman's Mills on the Yeo and the men who worked them here. The book is available from our bookshop: Price £10 to personal callers. By post: £12.60 UK and £15.30 overseas. Fully illustrated with photographs and maps, this book describes nearly 90 water-powered sites within the Yeo basin. There is also a wealth of information on named men who worked in and around the mills, making it an invaluable tool for anyone who has mill-owners or workers among their ancestors.



Members Only Area

We have, for the moment, removed the 'Members Only Area' from the menu as data for it is still being prepared and checked and this is taking longer than we had hoped. Rather than mislead members and raise expectations prematurely, we have decided to remove the page until this part of the website is fit for purpose. Our volunteers are working hard to prepare material and we will upload data as soon as we can and then send members the log-in details. We thank you for your understanding while we prepare what we hope will be a valuable addition to our website.

SDFHS social media

We hope using social media will help us to keep in touch with our members, especially those who are unable to attend our events locally. Please do check them out regularly and send us your feedback.

We  have a Facebook page: and we can be followed on Twitter:

Please do also check out our Blog where you can add your e-mail address to be sure of receiving news when a new post is added. Some of the posts are summarised below and 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 - one of our members in New Zealand has written a short piece about his Kellaway family's coat of arms in Sherborne Abbey. The Society's Military Advisor, Col. Iain Swinnerton, has summarised on our blog the main basic sources for anyone trying to trace a soldiers from the two World Wars, with many useful links. Iain's book Identifying your World War I Soldier from Badges and Photographs is available from our bookshop - click on 'Other Publications'. Other posts include a description by Barbara Elsmore of a Collings family wedding tradition and an account by Barry Brock of 'An evening with Sir Tony Robinson' held on 30 October and attended by several SDFHS members.

Far from the Madding Crowd

The exterior of our Sherborne Research Centre was 'dressed' in late October as a Victorian Almshouse for the filming of the new version of Far from the Madding Crowd, see further here.

Open Day 2013

On Saturday 12 October 2013 we had an Open Day at our Sherborne Research Centre and Headquarters with a steady stream of visitors all day. You can read all about it here but we would like to share (with their permission) a 'thank you' message we have received from Tracey and Steve Arnold of Honiton, Devon - seen here enjoying coffee and cakes in our Sherborne Centre.:

"Tracey and I were made to feel so welcome by everyone at your very impressive (and well equipped) centre - so full of character. Please thank everyone for us. Especially as two of your volunteers helped me get a lead on tracing an ancestor I'd hit a brick wall with."

Postal Address: Somerset & Dorset FHS, PO Box 4502, Sherborne DT9 6YL, England.

Telephone/Fax 01935 389611. E-mail:

The Research Centre is situated on The Parade, Cheap Street, Sherborne DT9 3BJ, next to Sherborne Museum (map). Opening times:- Monday, Friday & Saturday. 10.00am - 1.00pm. Thursday 10.00am to 4.00pm. The 3rd Tuesday of every month 7.00pm to 9.00pm. The Centre is free to members of the Society or on payment of £2.00 per day for non-members. Closures for 2014 are as follows: 18-21 April (Good Friday, Easter weekend and Easter Monday); 5 May (Early May Bank Holiday); 26 May (Spring Bank Holiday); 25 August (Summer Bank Holiday); 13 October (Pack Monday Fair); Thursday 25 December 2014 to Saturday 3 January 2015 (closed during Christmas - re-opens Monday 5 January 2015).