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.

Christmas/New Year closure

Our Family History Centre will close for the Christmas/New Year holidays at 4pm on Thursday 21 December 2023 and will reopen at 10am on Thursday 4 January 2024.

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

Join us

on Social Media

Recent Facebook

Join us in celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Taunton Castle at 2pm on Saturday 29th June. Tom Mayberry will give a tour of the Castle and Castle House and Mary Siraut will give a talk in the Castle Learning Room on the early history of SANHS and its connection with the Castle.Numbers are limited to 25. Please book via email: [email protected] or call 01823 272429 by 27 June. All welcome, suggested donation £5. ... See MoreSee Less
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A boat tied up at Bridgwater Docks, Somerset, England, over a hundred years ago. ... See MoreSee Less
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What a tribute ✈️❤️Geoff Wilson has created an iconic spitfire plane in Templecombe to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of D-Day 👏 ... See MoreSee Less
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Act of Parliament of 1845 directed that asylums should be provided for the pauper lunatics of every county and borough in England and Wales.In a book by John Conelly titled:“The Construction and government of lunatic asylums and hospitals for the insane” written in 1847, one year before the Somerset and Bath County Pauper Lunatic Asylum in 1848, every detail of a prospective building for the care and treatment of lunatic patients was dealt with and that included the beds provided.“Epileptic and old and feeble patients are safest in the old-fashioned crib bedstead varying in depth from twelve to six inches and very little raised from the floor.By means of canvas stretched on a wooden frame made to fit the bedsteads, we avoid the necessity for straw mattresses under the coir bed of the clean patients and also the necessity for having any loose straw beds for the wet and dirty patients as blankets and sheets can be placed on a canvas stretcher, two stretchers should be assigned to each bed so that one can always be ready for use and changed for the other daily or as often as required.Various descriptions of beds are required for the sick, the feeble, the sinking and the aged.To many a feather bed is a most desirable comfort and an air bed or water bed is best adapted in a case where the skin is tender or ulcerated,Some soft pillows of various sizes should always be kept in the storerooms for occasional use.Ordinary pillows should be large so as to raise the head and in epileptic cases a pillow in which the head and shoulders are supported is best,The beds should be six feet long and three foot broad but whatever kind of bed is used cleanliness should be of the first importance. The sheets should be frequently changed. Want of sleep is sometimes occasioned by the patient being covered with old, hard blankets and coverlets which confine the exhalation of the skin. The beds whether made of coir, horse hair or cotton waste should be frequently taken to pieces, washed, exposed to the air and dried carefully.”It is a fascinating book to read (available on the Wellcome Trust website) and it is very evident that it was consulted when designing, building and equipping the Somerset and Bath Asylum. The Somerset Asylum had a “hair shop” where staff and residents made and renewed mattresses.Many of the patients entering the asylum were so poor and poorly that they had probably never had a clean mattress let alone a mattress which had not been shared with many other people and we all know how good a clean mattress and bed linen can make you feel when you have had a stressed or troubled day. Open again on Sunday 2nd June 11 am to 3.45 pm. Dogs welcome on a lead.Photograph: John Conolly, English Psychiatrist 1794 to 1866 who introduced the principle of non restraint into the treatment of the insane. ... See MoreSee Less
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Following the brief period of essential maintenance by the GRO, prices of certificates, PDFs and digital images have risen:Certificates from £11 to £12.50PDFs from £7 to £8Digital images from £2.50 to £3Other options (eg urgent orders) have also gone up ... See MoreSee Less
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Don't forget our next webinar on Thursday 6th June: Rowland Pavey, the man who built Jacob's Ladder. To find out more about this remarkable man click on the link:us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_GeufYm4zRXKvSLhqySElOQAfter registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar and reminder emails nearer the event. ... See MoreSee Less
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