PO Box 4502
Dorset DT9 6YL

Phone: +44 (0)1935 389611

SDFHS Family History Centre

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.

Opening Hours

Monday, Friday, Saturday 10am to 1pm
Thursday 10am to 4pm

Third Tuesday of the month 7pm to 9pm


For benefits and 'how to join' click link
Contact e-mail


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.



Membership subscriptions 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.

Joining the Society

If you would like to join the Society for 2016 (or 2016-2018) download the 2016 application form

An hour of free research for new Members

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.

The Greenwood Tree 

The first edition of The Greenwood Tree for 2016 is now being mailed to all members who have renewed their subscription for 2016.

You can find a summary of the contents of this edition written by the Editor, Bob Barber, here.

November 2015 issue

As promised we are making this edition available for free download so that those who had previously purchased the 40th Anniversary CD/memory stick with all editions of the journal from the very first issue to August 2015, could complete their sets to date. If you buy a copy of the CD/Memory stick now, it will include the November 2015 edition.

Our online shop is now open for business

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.

Our latest publication is now available from the online shop or from the bookshop at our Family History Centre in Sherborne.

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.

Now available - The Greenwood Tree 1975-2015 in digital format

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). The November 2015 edition can be downloaded (see above) to complete the set.

The Editor, Bob Barber, describes the CD here and details of prices and how to order are on the bookshop page.

Make a donation to the SDFHS when buying online

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.

Members' Forum

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.

SDFHS Events for 2016

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.

SDFHS Groups

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.

Facebook and Twitter.

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.

Somerset & Dorset Family History Society


Two men with multiple ‘marriages’


I suspect that many family historians who run into a ‘brick wall’ when trying to pin down an ancestor do the same thing as I do and try to ‘sneak up’ on them by looking at other people with the … Continue reading

‘The Greenwood Tree’ – February 2016


The February 2016 edition of The Greenwood Tree is now being mailed to members and the Editor, Bob Barber, gives a preview of its contents. A new year brings two new ideas which we hope will become regular features in … Continue reading

Remembering a Generation


In November 2015 the Society  published Remembering a Generation. The World War One servicemen of West and Middle Chinnock by Phil Nichols, who describes the origins of his research and new contacts he has made as a result of the … Continue reading

Christmas Star(s & Stripes)


Robin Ansell continues Barbara’s ‘transtlantic connection’ theme for Christmas tree decorations. Following Barbara’s story of tree decorations on both sides of the Atlantic, I offer our ‘stars & stripes’ Christmas tree star! It has adorned our Christmas tree every year … Continue reading