01935 429609
Somerset & Dorset
Family History Society


The Somerset & Dorset Family History Society has around 1,500 members worldwide. Most of our members are people tracing their family history in one or both of the two counties but we also have members who have joined because they are interested in local history in our area or because they are researching families elsewhere but live locally and appreciate the advantages of having easy access to the expertise of our many experienced volunteers.

Why should you join us?

Whether you have already spent time tracing your family history or are just starting out on this fascinating hobby, we are sure that joining the SDFHS will be of great benefit to you. Although most people start tracing their family history online and many records are available on the major genealogical websites, these often provide only the basic data and records are often tantalisingly incomplete and sometimes inaccurately transcribed. If your family came from Somerset and/or Dorset we can check basic facts, such as baptisms, marriages and burials, in our individual parish transcripts, and search for those elusive records which are not yet online. However, we can do much more than provide basic data; we can also help you to add context to the information you have collected and to research your ancestors’ lives, the work they did and the places in which they lived. Membership of the SDFHS gives you priority access to our research facilities and to the knowledge and experience of our Volunteers.

You will receive four times a year our award-winning journal The Greenwood Tree. We also send out occasional electronic Newsletters to those members who have said they would like to receive them. We now offer an annual electronic membership, for those who prefer not to receive hard copies of The Greenwood Tree.

If you live in Somerset or Dorset, there is sure to be an SDFHS Group close to you. Click here for details of our Groups and their upcoming events’ programmes. The Groups are one of the Society’s greatest strengths as in addition to arranging interesting talks, most hold self-help events, and they are run by very experienced family historians who can help you with your research. They also represent the Society at local Family History Fairs and other events in their area. Our Groups are all very friendly and informal and their events are open to non-Members so please do go along to a meeting if you are thinking of joining the Society and talk to Members – you will be made very welcome.

Members’ Area

We have a Members’ Area where you can download exclusive data relevant to family history research in Somerset or Dorset. You can also download there PDFs of all issues of The Greenwood Tree published since January 2016. Once you have joined the Society we will send you the log-in and password you need to access the Members’ Area.

Subscription renewals for 2024

Personalised renewal letters will be sent out with the December issue of the Greenwood Tree, ONLY for those members whose membership expires on 31.12.2023 and by e-mail for e-members.

Members enewsletter

Members of the Society can register to receive occasional enewsletters with the Society’s news or other family history information that we think might be of interest to you. Register to receive occasional enewsletters (please include your full name and your membership number).

Special Offer to new Members

As a ‘welcome’ to the Society we are offering new members an hour’s free research by one of our experienced Family Historians.

When you make your first research request, e-mail, state clearly that you are a new member and would like to claim your ‘free’ hour of research, and quote your membership number. If you prefer to send a letter, then post it to SDFHS (New Member Research), Broadway House, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 1PN.

Joining the Society

Our subscription year runs from 1 January to 31 December but if you join the Society after 1 November in any year your first year’s subscription will cover 14 months, expiring at the end of the following year. You will be entitled to use our members’ facilities with immediate effect (though you will not receive the December edition of The Greenwood Tree).

You can join the Society online or by post. 

Download an application form to post

Current annual subscription rates are:

UK individual £18
UK Family £20
Overseas Individual £22

Electronic membership (UK or Overseas) £15

The three-yearly rates are:

UK Individual £50
UK Family £56
Overseas Individual £62

‘Family’ membership is for two people living in the UK, with the same postal address. They only receive one copy of each issue of The Greenwood Tree but are each eligible for other membership benefits.

Membership records are kept on electronic data retrieval systems.

Gift Aid

UK taxpayers who pay Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for each tax year (6 April to 5 April) are asked to complete and sign a Gift Aid Declaration Form (below) which will enable the society to reclaim the tax you have paid on your donation to the society, increasing its value to us at no extra cost to yourself.

Paying for subscriptions

You are now able to pay your subscription to the Society using our secure online shop, whether you are joining for the first time or renewing an existing subscription, using either a credit/debit card or (if you have one) a PayPal account.

If you prefer to pay by cheque (we can only accept sterling cheques payable on a UK bank account), please make this payable to ‘The SDFHS’ and send it with your completed application form to: Membership, SDFHS, Broadway House, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 1PN.

Privacy and Protection

We hold the personal details of our members on a computer but the data will only be used for administration purposes to enable us to deliver the best membership service. We will take good care of the personal information of our members, and make sure it is up to date, safe and secure at all times. We will never sell or share members’ personal information, other than for membership related purposes (such as posting the journal) or let other organisations use it for marketing. 

The full Privacy Policy of the Society can be read here.