Dorset Family History

Dorset Family History Society is an active and forward looking association dedicated to thorough research into the many facets of family history.

Dorset Family History Society Open Day 30th AnniversaryDorset Family History Society celebrating their 30th Anniversary with their Open Day 2018

Beginners are welcome as are the experts or nearly experts from Dorset, the UK and all over the world.

Dorset is a particularly rich county for family historians. It is mainly a rural area, but there are also lovely towns on the south Jurassic coast,  Dorchester, Poole, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Weymouth.

The county has also seen folk emigrating to many parts of the world since emigration to the Americas, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand began centuries ago. 

The county holds Portland Prison where there are considerable records for the prisoners and staff. Many prisoners were sent to Australia. Portland is a useful page here too.

Dorset is Hardy country. The birthplace of Thomas Hardy is in Upper Bockhampton and the home he designed and his brother, Henry built, Max Gate, in Dorchester. Both these properties are in the hands of the National Trust so can be visited.

However it is not just Thomas Hardy, there are many other talented people that were born or spent many years in Dorset. Dorchester is particularly well represented.

How can Dorset Family History Society help?

Plenty of resourcesPlenty of resources

Dorset Family History Society hold records and resources that are essential for the accurate research that we all want into our ancestors. Does not matter if you are a Dorset local, in the UK, or overseas a membership can be very handy indeed. Research is available if you get stuck, need help, or just cannot get to the society, for a modest fee of course.

What else is available?


Interesting talks. A mine of information by knowledgeable people. Sometimes of course at first glance one may think the talk is not on a subject of interest. Think again, there is often a nugget of information or a research trick that can be very useful or set off a trend of thought in another direction.

Family History Courses and Workshops.

These will not be just for the beginner, we are all open to new ideas.

Dorset Family History Society Talks and coursesAn absorbing course

Computer group. Experts in our major tool!!!

Internet access. Plenty of it.

Extensive Library. We tend to think everything is on the net these days. There are books on all topics of family history that can be up to speed and just plain interesting. There are books and aids for sale too.

Coach trips to Archives and places of interest. Outings are good! Specialist places are interesting. Friendly and fun. There is nothing like being in situ!!

A Visit to SherborneA visit to Sherborne, an interesting and beautiful medieval town and even capital of Wessex in Saxon times.

All those volunteers. Each one has skills that can be very useful, especially for beginners, but not necessarily for them alone. Cross fertilization of ideas can set the researcher off again.

Dorset Family History Society are the specialists on Dorset.

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Other pages that may be of interest


History of Dorchester

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Dorset Family History Society Library at the Research CentreDorset Family History Society Library at their Research Centre

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Useful Information

Address of the Dorset Family History Society: Treetops Research Centre,  Suite 5, Stanley House,          3 Fleets Lane,                 Poole, Dorset, BH15 3AJ


Opening Times:                       Monday 10am to 6pm. Wednesday and Saturday 10am to 3pm.                     Thursday 7 to 9.30pm.       (April to October is by appointment.)

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A visit to Sherborne AbbeyA visit to Sherborne Abbey

Another to Cerne AbbasAnother to Cerne Abbas