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

Our Family History Centre in Yeovil reopened to visitors on Thursday 12 August. Initially we will only be open in the mornings (10.00am-1.00pm) Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Please click on the button to find out more information about the Centre.

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.

Join us

on Social Media

Recent Facebook

We're having a great day at the Sherborne Book Fair with lots of visitors wanting to talk about family history, as well as being willing to give good homes to a lot of lovely books. We'll be here until 4pm. ... See MoreSee Less
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We're all set up at Sherborne Book Fair. If you're in town today, do call in (Church Hall, Digby Road, until 4pm) to say hello and pick up some bargains. ... See MoreSee Less
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For #nationalphotographymonth we look back at this image taken by Hermann Lea of Thomas Hardy with his Rover Cob bicycle outside Turnworth Rectory around 1899.Hardy mentioned that cycling was a 'delightful escape of a temporary kind, from the cares which crowd in upon one as one grows older'This image is available to purchase as a postcard in our Museum Gift Shop for £1.50.#nationalphotographymonth2022 #ThomasHardy #DorsetMuseum #museumarchive #photography #heritage #history #dorset ... See MoreSee Less
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FOR OUR MEMBERS IN THE USAWe have a lot of S&DFHS members in the United States. To cater for their needs we now have a US based local group. To join the group just go to the Society’s website via the link below and fill in the form.sdfhs.org/groups/out-of-counties/If you are not yet a member of the Society, do join us (via the website) and you too can get involved in the US Group. ... See MoreSee Less
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This morning's highlight was a visit from a local builder involved in the renovations at the former Phase Eight premises, on the corner of Cheap Street and Long Street. During the course of alterations at the rear of the building, he uncovered this fabulously evocative collection of items hidden within a partition wall. Together they are evidence of four previous shopkeepers who lived and worked in the building in the 19th and 20th centuries. Luggage labels bearing the names of Penny and Paseley refer to two successive ironmongers who traded there from the 1840s until about 1903. The shop was then taken over by Henry Durrant (1864-1955), who moved his grocery business from further up Cheap Street; he was the sole agent in Sherborne for the celebrated Valda Tea and his speciality product was Dorset blue cheese. Four times Chairman of the Sherborne Urban District Council, his name is today immortalised in Durrant Close, off Horsecastles. Many of the items - such as packaging for chocolate croquettes, Player's 'Navy Cut' cigarettes, instant lemonade powder and Wallflower perfume - appear to date from his time. A rather faded and tightly rolled Union Flag was an especially appropriate find; a relic from an earlier coronation celebration in the town, perhaps? The most poignant find, however, was a navy blue paper crown, together with a fragment of a newspaper dated Friday 8th December 1905.The presence of shoe shine powder, a receipt for rubber heels and a billhead point to the fourth retailer, Millward & Sons Ltd., who moved their boot making business there in 1914.We are so grateful to the builder who had the foresight to bring this little time capsule into the museum, where we will continue to look after it for generations to come. As ordinary as these items were to the people who left them behind, they provide for us a tangible link to the past and the people who walked the same streets that we do today. ... See MoreSee Less
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For those of you who missed the Julian Orbach webinar, here is the link: youtu.be/NMMv54vQqKsEnjoy! ... See MoreSee Less
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Recent Twitter

#TWitN a 16 yr old boy is executed in #Ilchester, a man and his canoe vanish in #Bath, a dog and an otter have a fight in #Ilminster, a man has a drink of water in #CastleCary, a woman is tossed by a cow in #NetherStowey and a street in #Yeovil collapses.


We have a lot of S&DFHS members in the United States. To cater for their needs we now have a US based local group. To join the group just go to the Society’s website via the link below and fill in the form.