Family History Open Day and SDFHS AGM

The Society's 2014 Family History Open Day, including our Annual General Meeting, was held in Weymouth on Saturday 20 September. A summary can be read here.

SDFHS Accounts for 2013

The summary Accounts for 2013 were mailed to all members with the August edition of The Greenwood Tree and the full Accounts can be downloaded here.

Family History in Focus

A summary of the very successful event on Saturday 6 September can be read on our blog. The follow-up event will now take place on Saturday 18 October as we have had to cancel that planned for Saturday 13 September, see here.

Basic Family History

SDFHS Secretary Ted Udall will again be guiding those new to family history in his always-popular evening course at our Sherborne Family History Centre on five consecutive evenings (7-9pm) from Wednesday 15 October. Details and booking form.

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 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 hereto download the application form and then post to: Subscriptions, SDFHS, PO Box 4502. Sherborne, Dorset DT9 6YL

Forthcoming SDFHS Events

The programme of events at our Sherborne Research Centre up to November 2014 is now available - full details. 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.

The Greenwood Tree

The August edition of our journal has now been mailed to all members who have subscribed for 2014. (It's not yet too late to join and receive all four 2014 editions of the Journal, see here). The August Greenwood Tree which is an extended edition commemorates the centenary of the start of World War I with articles related to the conflict and looking at its impact on those who lived through it - not just those who fought in the war, but also others who served at home, such as munitions workers and nurses.A summary of the contents by the Editor, Bob Barber, can be found on our blog. The November 2013 edition of the Society's Journal can now be downloaded, free of charge, here.

August 1914

On Saturday 2 August at the SDFHS Research Centre in Sherborne. Col. Iain Swinnerton, examined the causes of WWI, before looking at the Somerset & Dorset Regiments and providing expert guidance on how to trace family members who participated in the conflict. See here.


Sherborne Pubs Walkabouts

Due to their popularity, we had to arrange two extra dates for an evening walk, with Barry Brock, around Sherborne's vanished pubs, ending with a drink in one still open! All the walks on 17th, 24th and 31st July and 7th and 28th August were fully booked, and took place on glorious sunny evenings. We hope we can perusade Barry to repeat them next summer. Read a summary of the first walk, on 17th July, here.

Conservation Workshop

Rex Lancefield talked at our Family History Centre in Sherborne on Saturday 9th August about the best way to handle, store and frame old documents and other items; all illustrated through jobs undertaken for record offices, museums and historic houses during 40 years in business. You can read a summary here.

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.

Sherborne Heritage Alliance Open Day

On Saturday 31 May, our Research Centre in Sherborne hosted a very successful Heritage Open Day, with Sherborne Museum, SS Johns' Almshouse, Sherborne Steam and Waterwheel Centre and Sherborne School. Visitors were welcomed by volunteers from the SS Johns Almshouses dressed in authentic uniforms of residents. Our Research Room was open and our own volunteers were on hand to show visitors our resources and answer enquiries. The exhibitions featured local industries with live demonstrations of lace-making and silk spinning, with silk costumes from the Sherborne Museum collection on display. Visitors could also find out about local basket-making, again illustrated by objects from the Museum. For a summary by Barbara Elsmore, click here.

The King is Dead: the Royal Tombs of Great Britain

At this very special event on Saturday 10 May Dr Aidan Dodson of Bristol University traced the history of royal interment in Great Britain, from the earliest times down to the most recent kingly burial, that of George VI at Windsor, highlighting the changes that have occurred over the generations and seeking out some of the more obscure places where royal bones have found rest. For a summary see here.

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.

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).