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Somerset & Dorset
Family History Society

Dorset

Hethfelton building site

In 1929 my grandfather Arthur Collings, a carpenter/builder by trade, became the foreman for the construction of a new building in or near Hethfelton, Wool, Dorset He had a Box Brownie camera and he took pictures of the building site which had quite a large workforce Some of the men, including Frank Hann later identified by my father, would have travelled from Nether Compton and stayed on-site somewhere during the week  One thing that struck me was the height of the scaffolding...
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Women, ‘Gateway Ancestors’, and Sources

Many of us, when we first become interested in family history research tend to focus on our surname and try to trace it back as far as possible Certainly this was my approach when I first started some fifty years ago A few years after I began I found a distant 'cousin' Hugh Pitfield who was also researching our family We combined forces and have co-operated ever since Image - Fine Art America The result is that we now have a comprehensive genealogy of the PITFIELD family that Hugh has...
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A Victorian Loo

In the March 2021 Greenwood Tree, which had a House History theme, John Damon recounted the history of Beaucroft House, Wimborne, Dorset He now describes one indispensable part of its furniture and fittings   Beaucroft House was built in 1876 and, as I described in the latest Greenwood Tree, it played a part in both World Wars, first as a hospital and then as a billet for American troops In the 1950s, the house was divided into three residences My Damon family lived in one of...
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A Century in Chancery – the legal battle between two families.

In earlier times marriages were often business arrangements between families rather than the love matches we are used to today Marriages were associated with ‘marriage portions’ (dowries), often involving land and other property Such settlements could often be disputed if circumstances changed People went to extraordinary lengths to maintain ownership of land and to keep it ‘in the family’ A case in point is the extraordinary and complicated legal battle between the FULFORD and...
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Dorset’s Poldark?

The Captain Poldark of Winston Graham’s novels and the television series is well-known to many He was not though the only such military officer to have exciting adventures at the time of the Napoleonic Wars and afterwards Dorset too had such a hero Naval General Service Medal 1847          Photo courtesy of Hugh Pitfield - see below Joseph Edward Chilcott PITFIELD was baptised in 1788 in Buckland Ripers, the eldest son son of Joseph Pitfield and Mary SLADE,...
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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