Dorset Family History

This local Dorset Family history section of the Family History website has been created to assist Family History researchers investigating Dorset genealogy and tracing lost ancestors and relatives that were living in Dorset, England, UK. You will find many Dorset Family History resources in this part of our website:

Dorset Family History Society

– A large and very active Family History Society that maintains a Family History research facility called Treetops Centre in Poole, Dorset for members and the general public. For a very small fee anyone can visit and use the internet facilities and microfiche records. You’ll be able to search out the major Family History sites and Newspaper Archives and also look at local microfiche Dorset Parish Records. There is a library and tea and coffee for a small charge.  Check on the website link for opening times. The society also offers research assistance for a very modest fee to members and non members.  Members receive a discount on the research fee.

Dorset History Centre

– For archives from the county including council records and personal information – for Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole (with local studies library).

The Corfe Castle & District 1790 Census

If you are lucky enough to have ancestors who lived in Corfe Castle, then William Morton Pitt’s private census for this parish dated 1790 will make for fascinating reading. This 1790 census was transcribed by Reverend Hutchins in his ‘History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset’. It records many details of the 1,237 residents of Corfe Castle, including (in most cases) their name, address, date of birth, occupation, wages and marital status. Even perhaps more interesting are the little comments such as a labourer named Richard Davy being described as ‘foolish’!

William Morton Pitt was an MP for Poole (1780 – 1790) and then Dorset (1790 – 1826). Although a cousin of the Prime Minister, William Pitt, he once confessed that ‘I never found Pitt much disposed to favour me’. He was also a philanthropist who, as a landlord, actually reduced his tenants’ rent.

Births, marriages and deaths

Here are some useful specific Dorset county search pages from the FindMyPast website


Dorset Baptisms


Dorset Marriages

Burials – including memorial inscriptions

Dorset Burials
Dorset Memorial Inscriptions

Dorset Newspaper Archives

Local Newspaper Archives and Historical Newspapers can provide invaluable information for Family History Researchers and are a great resource. Information can often be found that is not found in Parish Records, or Censuses. At Family History, we are able to provide a direct link to Dorset Newspaper Archives from a variety of historical newspapers, covering different time periods. Here is the link and information on the historic Dorset Newspapers and the time periods they cover:

British Newspaper Archives – historic newspaper records in the Dorset area
– This is the link for the historical newspapers listed below:

Local newspaper recordsRecord years
Bournemouth Daily Echo1900-1905
Bridport News1856-1857
Dorchester and Sherborne journal, and Western Advertiser 1791-1797
Dorset County Chronicle1824-1826
Sherborne Journal1760
Sherborne Mercury1748