The Somerset & Dorset Family History Society has around 1,700 members worldwide. Most of our members are people tracing their family history in one or both of the two counties but we also have members who have joined because they are interested in local history in our area or because they are researching families elsewhere but live locally and appreciate the advantages of having easy access to the expertise of our many experienced volunteers.
Whether you have already spent time tracing your family history or are just starting out on this fascinating hobby, we are sure that joining the SDFHS will be of great benefit to you. Although most people start tracing their family history online and many records are available on the major genealogical websites, these often provide only the basic data and records are often tantalisingly incomplete and sometimes inaccurately transcribed. If your family came from Somerset and/or Dorset we can check basic facts, such as baptisms, marriages and burials, in our individual parish transcripts, and search for those elusive records which are not yet online. However, we can do much more than provide basic data; we can also help you to add context to the information you have collected and to research your ancestors' lives, the work they did and the places in which they lived. Membership of the SDFHS gives you priority access to our research facilities and to the knowledge and experience of our Volunteers.
You will receive four times a year our award-winning journal The Greenwood Tree.
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. They also represent the Society at local Family History Fairs and other events in their area. 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.
We now have a Members' Area which includes a Forum where you can discuss your research with other members, post enquiries and download exclusive data relevant to family history research in Somerset or Dorset. You can also download there PDFs of all issues of The Greenwood Tree published since Januray 2016. if you have ancestors in the two counties, this will give you a great opportunity to interact with other members who may have answers to the questions you are asking, or whom you may in turn be able to help. Once you have joined the Society and received your membership number, you can register to join the Members' Area - all you will need is your e-mail address and your membership number, and you will be asked to create a password for future log-ins.
As a 'welcome' to the Society we are offering new members an hour's free research by one of our experienced Family Historians.
When you make your first research request, e-mail, state clearly that you are a new member and would like to claim your 'free' hour of research, and quote your membership number. If you prefer to send a letter, then post it to SDFHS (New Member Research), PO Box 4502. Sherborne, Dorset DT9 6YL
Personalised renewal letters were sent out with the November 2016 issue of The Greenwood Tree but a 2017 renewal form for existing members of the Society can be downloaded here.
Our subscription year runs from 1 January to 31 December but if you join the Society after 1 November in any year your first year's subscription will cover 14 months, expiring at the end of the following year. You will be entitled to use our members' facilities with immediate effect (though you will not receive the December edition of The Greenwood Tree).
If you would like your membership to start now, for either 2017 (annual subscription) or 2017-2019 (three-year subscription), download this application form.
Current annual subscription rates are:
UK individual £18
UK Family £20
Overseas Individual £22
Overseas Family: £24.
The three-yearly rates are:
UK Individual £50
UK Family £56
Overseas Individual £62
Overseas Family £68.
Membership records (but not credit card details) are kept on electronic data retrieval systems.
It is a great help to the society if members with UK bank accounts pay by Standing Order. A form can be downloaded here.
UK taxpayers who pay Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for each tax year (6 April to 5 April) are asked to complete and sign a Gift Aid Declaration Form (download) which will enable the society to reclaim the tax you have paid on your subscription to the society, increasing its value to us at no extra cost to yourself.
You are now able to pay your subscription to the Society using our secure online shop, whether you are joining for the first time or renewing an existing subscription, using either a credit/debit card or (if you have one) a PayPal account.
If you prefer to pay by cheque (we can only accept sterling cheques payable on a UK bank account), please make this payable to 'The SDFHS' and send it with your completed application form to: Membership, SDFHS, PO Box 4502, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 6YL.
We can also accept subscription payments by credit/debit card or by direct bank transfer. Click here for details.