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Somerset & Dorset
Family History Society

The Greenwood Tree – June 2024

The theme of the June issue of The Greenwood Tree is Out-of-Counties. Editor Paul Radford previews the edition which will be mailed to members at the end of May and which SDFHS members can already view or download from the Members’ Area of the Society’s website.

GreenwoodTree 49 2 June 2024

         Who could have guessed that the Out-of-Counties theme would produce such an avalanche of stories from members? For the first time, in this editor’s memory at least, we have had to go to a 44-page edition so that members can benefit from reading the 30-plus contributions that filled up my in-tray. A large number of those came from our OOC groups in Canada and Australia. We have kept our other regular features so this is truly a bumper edition.

          There is no space to mention them all so this preview just gives a flavour of what you can expect. Ian Bowey finds a connection to 19th century war hero John Chard who was a favourite of Queen Victoria’s. Michael Pitfield also finds an illustrious royal connection, a forebear who was a confidante of King Henry VII. Gail Benjafield tells how she stumbled across a library book which revealed her unusual surname was closely rooted to Dorset.

3 Bowey - John Chard
John Chard

          Janet Lute explains how the Poor Laws of the day prompted residents of the East Chinnock village of Somerset to emigrate to New Zealand. Perhaps the most unusual tale is Anne Van Dyk’s story of the family with Somerset links who bought two islands in the St Lawrence River and built a bridge which gained fame as the shortest international border crossing in the world, separating Canada from the US.

          Keith Howell spent years researching his elusive Woodrow ancestors before realising they moved so frequently because they were gamekeepers travelling from estate to estate in different counties. Karen Hansen relates how a Dorset couple emigrated to Canada in search of a better life and achieved prosperity – but at a heavy cost to family relationships.

          In our continuing interview series, The Greenwood Tree editor meets Richard Alderson Scott, a self-confessed family history addict and a meticulous proof-reader for our magazine.

8 Lute - martha ridgway post chard
10 Van Dyk-The House and bridge on Zavikon Island
The House and Bridge on Zavikon Island
38 Church with Stone worker
The Church with Stone Worker

           Regular features include Dorset Spotlight, this time on Langton Matravers, the SDFHS Photo Project, What the Papers Said, Book Reviews and Letters to the Editor.

Paul Radford

Member and Guest Blogs Welcome

We welcome guest and member blog posts on any topic with a family history connection and invite you to send your contributions, which should include photo/photos, to the editor Barbara Elsmore