You are currently viewing Do you have photographs of your ancestors from Somerset or Dorset?

Do you have photographs of your ancestors from Somerset or Dorset?

The Somerset and Dorset Family History Society (SDFHS) are running a project to find family photos depicting local people and places. There are already 4,500 donated images and they will be making it available to members and researchers.

The database has photos from everything from families at home, studio portraits, to workplace and military. These have been taken from early glass plates & carte de visite, right through to colour slides & prints. It also includes collections of images from Wells Museum, WW1 Heroes, The Salvation Army, Football Teams and Yeovil Town.

Can you help by donating any of your family history photographs?  Subject include weddings, works and sports groups, outings as well as individuals, buildings and locations.

People can have any connection with Somerset or Dorset but buildings must be located in one or the other of the two counties.

My 4 x great grandmother, Harriet Upcott, born 7 Oct 1773 in Cullompton, Devon and married to William Charles Cox, ironmonger of Taunton, Somerset.

The society would like as much information as you have on the individuals in the pictures for the database. This could include their names and relationships, the location, the date the picture was taken, any notes or numbers on the back of the photo, details of the photographer and studio (if given). Even if you are not sure or have no names, later researchers may be able to identify them.

Pictures of buildings and locations could be of houses, farms, halls, shops, factories, churches, inns, pubs, railway stations, theatres, parks and the seaside. They would also like images of early transport such as horse carriages, motor cars lorries and buses, bridges, early road signs, aircraft and boats. Photos of buildings that are no longer there are of particular interest.

They can accept images on CDs, USB memory drives and by E-mail, in most digital image formats (TIF, JPG etc.). The inputting team can then upload the information on to the searchable database.

Alternatively, members and researchers can call at the Family History Centre in Yeovil, (by prior arrangement) where they can scan photos, take details and return them. They will ask you for your permission to supply copies of the donated photos to other researchers.

The collection is held on a dedicated computer at the Family History Centre. You will be able to search for details of photos, in person, or by contacting one of the volunteers. Searching can be done by name, place, date or photographer. A general search is also available so that “Bicycle” would, for example, find a collection of images with a bicycle in the image. In the future it is proposed to set up an index on the SDFHS website. You will be able to search for images by name, place and date. Unfortunately you will not be able to view the actual photos there. SDFHS do not hold the copyright to the images and will be operating under “Exception to Copyright” rules. This means that they cannot display the actual images on the SDFHS website and the recipient must agree that photos supplied by us are strictly for personal research use only.

The project is being run by John Damon of SDFHS and he can be contacted on

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