01935 429609
Somerset & Dorset
Family History Society

Welcome to the SDFHS

How can we help you? We will help you to find documented facts about the lives of your former family members which will unlock doors to your own personal family story. Although we do specialise in Somerset and Dorset and have extensive records from our two counties, our experienced Research Volunteers have skills which can help you trace your family roots, regardless of where they might have originated.

SDFHS Family History Centre

Broadway House Family History Centre, our home in Yeovil, is an ideal location in the centre of the town.

Online Talks

Online talks are being hosted by some of our local Groups, giving us the opportunity to engage with our members and the family history community worldwide.

Visit Our Shop

Are you looking for family history publications? Why not try looking in our on-line shop. We have a wide range of books and CDs relating to both Somerset and Dorset, as well as more general family-history and local-history publications.

AGM and Open Day

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Somersetshire Coal CanalBuilt around 1800 it linked the Somerset coalfield (which at its peak contained 80 collieries) east toward London. The longest arm was 10.6 miles (17.1 km) long with 23 locks. From Midford an arm also ran via Writhlington to Radstock, with a tunnel at Wellow.In use for around 100 years it finally closed in 1902 when the railways took over and it fell into a state of disrepair. Work began in 2014 to restore a section of the canal with the aim of restoring the full length... ... See MoreSee Less
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The Benefact group is hosting a 12 days of giving in December. They will be giving 120 charities £1,000 each over 12 days. The first draw takes place on December 1st and the last on December 18th with 10 charities drawn every week day. Nominations are open until 23:59 on December 17th 2023.You can nominate us using the link in our bio. ... See MoreSee Less
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On Monday 4th December, Portishead Library will host a #WW2 Digital Collection Day event!If you live in North Somerset, and have stories, documents or artefacts from the Second World War you'd like digitally preserved, come along!Visit theirfinesthour.english.ox.ac.uk/event/portishead-library for more info! ... See MoreSee Less
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Timeline photosVICAR’S CLOSE DATES FROM 1363: THE OLDEST MEDIEVAL STREET IN EUROPE – Wells, Somerset. Vicar is an interesting term – ‘’The Vicars Choral are the men of the Wells Cathedral Choir. They are not in holy orders; the word ‘vicar’ comes from ‘vice’ and simply means a deputy (as in vice-president). Historically, vicars were the substitutes or deputies for the canons, who were often away from the Cathedral while engaged on the affairs of their estates or on the King’s business’’ ~ wellscathedral org ukIt is said that before the street was built the vicars lived in the town with the townsfolk but were beginning to sin with the temptations of the flesh – as always, man never changes....Striking in many ways, it looks amazing now – what did it look like to the serfs, it was built not long after the Black Death had raged throughout the land decimating 50% of population. Incidentally, the Black Death reached England in 1348 and actually entered via Melcombe Regis (now known as Weymouth). So, the street must have look magnificent to the medieval peasant, did they question where such wealth came from to enable such buildings? Being connected to Wells Cathedral I guess they were accustomed to such grandeur and opulence. The gateway into the close is just as gorgeous and in a sense made it a gated community. Even though on a less grand scale, the street’s architecture reminds me of the almshouses at the Hospital of St Cross, Winchester.ruralhistoria.com/2023/06/15/wayfarers-dole/ ... See MoreSee Less
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Timeline photosFarm labourers on their way to Woodbury Hillfort, Bere Regis, Dorset. In the medieval period it was the biggest hiring fair in southern England.ruralhistoria.com/2023/10/10/medieval-hiring-fairs-in-england/ ... See MoreSee Less
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Traditionally, it is said, this carol is only to be sung by the cow-man on Christmas Eve to the cattle – sorry, for that reason we can’t offer you the whole carol!#EYATraditionExplore Your Archive ... See MoreSee Less
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