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.

HQ Dorset Family History Society
Stanley House, 3 Fleets Lane, PooleDorset Family History Society

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?

But it is not just those who were famous, although we all like to claim those! Being a rural area it is of course rich in agricultural labourers, the backbone of the UK. There are fishermen, sailors, blacksmiths and all those other trades that supported the population over the centuries. Then we must also add the clergy and the aristocracy, the farmers and other landholders.

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 have got 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 as 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.

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.

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. Outings are good! Specialist places are interesting. Friendly and fun.

Family History Courses and Workshops. These will not be just for the beginner, we are all open to new ideas.

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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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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