01935 429609
Somerset & Dorset
Family History Society



The Society shall be called the Somerset & Dorset Family History Society or such other  name as the Executive Committee may from time to time decide with the approval of the  Charity Commissioners. 


a) To advance the education of the public in the study of family history, genealogy and  heraldry with particular reference to Somerset & Dorset. 

b) To promote the preservation, security, accessibility and publication of archival  material. 

In furtherance of the above objectives but not otherwise the Society shall  1 Promote lectures, courses, discussions, meetings and similar activities for Society  members and members of the public. 

2 Arrange visits to local and national record repositories for educational and research  purposes. 

3 Prepare produce publish and distribute a journal a minimum of three times a year.  4 Provide and support library services for the use of Society members and members of the  public. 

5 Collect and make accessible transcripts and indexes of documents and records relating  to the said counties. 

6 Promote the preservation of documents and records relating to the said counties. 7 Promote the formation of local groups in suitable catchment areas and through the  Executive Committee interpret their duties. 

8) Exchange information with other Societies. 

9 Have power to employ and pay any person not being a member of the Society to  perform such tasks or provide such services as recommended by the Executive  Committee. 

10 Do such other lawful things as are necessary for the attainment of the said objectives.


The Society shall seek to become a member of the Federation of Family History Societies  (Registered Charity No. 1038721) and shall have power to guarantee its debts in the event  of its insolvency up to the sum of £1. The Society may also affiliate with other charitable  organisations whose objects are deemed compatible and mutually supportive. 


a) Membership of the Society shall be open to all persons showing genuine interest in the  support of the Society’s objectives.

b) Classes of membership shall be determined by the Executive Committee of the Society  and may include such categories as Ordinary, Family (living at the same address),  Honorary and Institutional members. 

c) Subscriptions shall be paid at the time and at a rate to be determined by the members at  a general meeting. 

d) Fully paid up members shall have full voting rights in relation to the individuals named  in the members list. Institutional membership does not confer voting rights. Family  members shall have one vote each. 

e) The Executive Committee of the Society may by unanimous vote and for good and  sufficient reason, suspend or recommend the termination of membership of any member.  That suspension to become termination or to be set aside by the membership at the next  following Annual General Meeting of the Society or at an Extraordinary General Meeting  convened in accordance with the procedure outlined in Clause 7(b) below, PROVIDED  THAT such member will have the right to be heard (accompanied by a friend) by the  Executive Committee before a final decision is taken by the Executive Committee. 

f) The Executive Committee shall keep a register of the names and addresses of the  members of the Society and shall be responsible for keeping it up to date and in  compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. 


a) The Society shall be administered by an Executive Committee consisting of: i) The Officers (Chairman, two Vice Chairmen, one for each county, Secretary,  Treasurer).  

ii) A representative of each of the Groups. 

iii) A nominated member of any authorised sub committees. 

b) A quorum of the Executive Committee shall be 50% plus one of those serving on that  Committee of which at least two must be Officers. All must be voting members of the  Society. 

c) The members of the Executive Committee and the President, Vice Presidents and  Honorary members shall be elected annually by the membership and their terms of office  shall commence immediately after the closure of the Annual General Meeting at which  they are elected. Nominations in writing must be submitted to the Hon Secretary at least  fourteen days in advance of the day on which the Annual General Meeting is to take  place. Nominations must be signed by the candidate and two members. If insufficient  nominations have been received to fill any vacancies the chairman of the meeting may, at  his discretion, take nominations from the floor. 

d) The Executive Committee shall have the power to co-opt members to fill casual  vacancies on the Committee up to the next Annual General Meeting, as well as to invite  individuals on an annual basis to undertake other tasks which are deemed to be necessary  for the proper and effective administration of the Society’s affairs.  

e) All Executive Committee members shall be eligible for re-election upon completion of  their annual term of office. 


a) The Executive Committee of the Society shall have the power to establish Groups in  furtherance of the Society’s objectives and on such terms as the Executive Committee  shall prescribe. In the event of a group being formed, any property or funds acquired by  it shall belong to the Society.

b) Each Group so established shall comply with and be subject to regulations or byelaws  approved by the Executive Committee. Such regulations shall include provisions dealing  with the maintenance of a bank account by the Group, an acknowledgement that it forms  part of the Society and that it will comply with the Society’s Constitution and act in  pursuance of its’ objectives. 

c) A Group may be suspended at any time by a resolution of the Executive Committee or  dissolved on a resolution of the members at a General Meeting including an Annual  General Meeting of the Society. Such resolutions shall give directions and instructions as  to the transfer of assets and responsibility for liability of the Group during suspension or  following dissolution as the case may be. 

d) The Officers may attend any meetings or committee meetings of Groups ex officio.


a) “Meeting” in this constitution means a Meeting of the members of the Society  including where the context so admits an Annual General Meeting and also an Executive  Committee Meeting or a Sub-Committee Meeting. 

b) Any Meeting may be held (a) physically (b) online as a virtual meeting or utilising  some other facility enabling all people participating in the Meeting to communicate  interactively and simultaneously with each other (c) by telephone conference or (d) as a  hybrid meeting combining attendance in person and online or by telephone conference as  the circumstances allow and the Executive Committee decide. 

c) A Meeting shall take place at the physical location specified in the Notice of Meeting  for the holding of the Meeting or if the Meeting is called as an online virtual Meeting or  by telephone conference, the Meeting shall take place at the electronic or virtual platform used by the Society to host the Meeting or if called as a hybrid meeting the physical  location where the Meeting is to be held and the electronic or virtual platform used by the  Society to host the Meeting and the Notice of Meeting shall specify such platform and  host. 

d) A person entitled to attend and vote at a Meeting may participate by being physically  present at the location of the Meeting stated in the Notice of Meeting or if is held virtually  online or by telephone conference or as a hybrid meeting participation in the Meeting shall be taken to be present in person at the Meeting. Persons present in person shall  count towards the quorum required for the relevant meeting. 

e) A person attending a Meeting virtually shall Have the same rights to receive notice,  speak, vote and otherwise participate in the Meeting as they would have if attending the  Meeting in person. 

f) Where arrangements have been made for a Meeting to be held virtually or as a hybrid  meeting the Notice calling the Meeting shall state that fact and include details of the  means by which a person may attend the Meeting virtually. 

g) An Annual General Meeting shall be held not later than the end of the month of  September when the Officers shall present their reports. Notice in writing of this meeting  and the agenda of items to be considered shall be given to members entitled to attend and  vote, at least twenty-eight days prior to the event. A quorum at such a meeting shall  consist of the voting members of the Society present. 

h) An Extraordinary General Meeting may be convened either at the request of the  Executive Committee or at the request of 10% of the members, or 40, having voting  rights, whichever is the lesser, with prior written notice furnished to the members at least  28 days before the date of the meeting setting out the business to be discussed. A quorum  at such a meeting shall consist of not less than 80 of the total number of the voting  members of the Society.

Except as specified in Clauses 8 and 10 below, decisions at the meeting shall be by  simple majority.  

i) Only those paid-up members present shall be entitled to vote at an Annual General  Meeting or an Extraordinary General Meeting. 

j) If required by law Auditors or Independent Examiners of the Accounts of the Society  shall be appointed at the Annual General Meeting to carry out the audit or examination  duties referred to in Clause 9c below. 

k) The Chairman of a Meeting being held virtually or as a hybrid meeting if the virtual or  hybrid meeting platform experiences technical issues (including the ability of the  Chairman to postpone or adjourn the Meeting without seeking the consent of the  Meeting), may adjourn the Meeting from time to time and from place to place, but no  business shall be transacted at any adjourned Meeting other than the business left  unfinished at the Meeting from which the adjournment took place. 

l) At any Meeting, a resolution put to the vote of the Meeting shall be decided by a show  of hands or, for those attending virtually online or by telephone, by such voting  procedures notified prior to the Meeting. The Chairman shall declare the result of the vote  (i.e. carried unanimously, carried by a particular majority, or lost) and an entry shall be  made in the minutes of the Meeting. Such declaration and entry in the minutes shall be  conclusive evidence of the fact without proof of the number or proportion of the votes  recorded in favour or against such resolution. 


a) Subject to the following provisions of this clause, the Constitution may be altered only  at an Annual General Meeting or at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Society of  which proper notice has been given, such notice to include the Resolution setting out the  terms of the proposed alteration. The Resolution must be passed by not less than two 

thirds of the votes of Society members present and voting at the meeting.  b) No such alteration may be made which would have the effect of making the Society  cease to be a charity at law. 

c) No amendment may be made to Clause 1 (Name), Clause 2 (Objectives), Clause 9a (Executive Committee members not to be personally interested), Clause 10 (dissolution)  or of this clause without the prior consent in writing of the Charity Commissioners.  Proposals for constitutional amendments shall be submitted to the Executive Committee  of the Society at least 56 days prior to the day on which the Annual General Meeting or  Extraordinary General Meeting is to be held. 

d) The Executive Committee shall promptly send to the Charity Commissioners a copy of  any amendments made under this clause. 


a) All income and property of the Society shall be applied solely towards the promotion  and execution of the objectives of the Society as defined in Clause 2 above, and except  with the prior written consent of the Charity Commission no portion thereof shall be paid  or transferred directly or indirectly in any manner to any member of the Executive  Committee or Society, provided that nothing herein shall prevent reimbursement of  proper out-of-pocket expenses incurred on behalf of the Society. 

b) The Executive Committee shall cause proper books of account to be kept with respect  to all sums of money received and expended by the Society and the manner in respect of  which such receipts and expenditures take place.

c) The Society’s financial year shall commence on 1st January and accounts shall be  prepared in relation to each calendar year. A copy of the Accounts shall be presented for  approval to the members at the Annual General Meeting. A copy shall be made available  to all Society members as soon as practicable. Where appropriate or necessary the  Society’s accounts shall be audited or independently examined as required by law prior to  being presented to the members. 

d) The Society Treasurer shall have authority to sign cheques up to an amount determined  from time to time by the Executive Committee, but all cheques for greater sums than this  shall be signed by two authorised signatories, who shall be approved by the Executive  Committee and notified to the Society’s bankers.  


The Society may be dissolved by a resolution passed by not less than two thirds of those  present with voting rights at either an Annual General Meeting or an Extraordinary  General Meeting called by the Executive Committee following their decision that it is  necessary or advisable to dissolve the Society and for which twenty eight days prior  notice, stating the terms of the resolution to be proposed, has been given in writing. Such  resolution shall include instructions for the disposal of any assets held by the society,  after all debts and liabilities have been paid, such that they shall be transferred to such  other charitable institution or institutions having objects similar to some or all of the  objects of the Society, as the Society may determine and if and in so far as effect cannot  be given in this provision then to some other charitable purpose.  


The Executive Committee may appoint not less than three and not more than six persons  to be Trustees for the Society to hold any property owned by it or held to be in trust for  the Society. 


The members of the Executive Committee shall each be indemnified by the Society  against any liability claims or demands arising from any action done in good faith by  them on behalf of the Society or its members in the administration of the Society.  


Approved at the Society’s AGM: 18 September 2021