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.


  1. To advance the education of the public in the study of family history, genealogy and heraldry with particular reference to Somerset & Dorset.
  2. 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.


  1. Membership of the Society shall be open to all persons showing genuine interest in the support of the Society’s objectives.
  2. 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.
  3. Subscriptions shall be paid at the time and at a rate to be determined by the members at a general meeting.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.


The Society shall be administered by an Executive Committee consisting of

  1. The Officers (Chairman, two Vice Chairmen, one for each county, Secretary, Treasurer).
  2. A representative of each of the Groups
  3. A nominated member of any authorised sub committees 
  4. 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.
  5. The members of the Executive Committee 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.
  6. 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.
  7. All Executive Committee members shall be eligible for re-election upon completion of their annual term of office. 


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The Officers may attend any meetings or committee meetings of Groups ex officio.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Only those paid up members present shall be entitled to vote at an Annual General Meeting or an Extraordinary General Meeting.
  4. 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.


  1. 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. 
  2. No such alteration may be made which would have the effect of making the Society cease to be a charity at law.
  3. No amendment may be made to Clause 1 (Name), Clause 2 (Objectives), Clause 9 (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.
  4. The Executive Committee shall promptly send to the Charity Commissioners a copy of any amendments made under this clause.


  1. 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 Commissionno 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 Societyas 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: 24 September 2011. Amended at the AGM on 19 September 2015.