By Luke Mouland, Kith & Kin Research
The team at Ancestry are excited to announce the release of two major record collections, which will prove a vital resource to those researching their Dorset forebears. Today, the Dorset Parish Records, 1813-2001 and Dorset Wills and Probate Records, 1565-1858 have been launched online for the first time, providing access to over four hundred years’ worth of records relating to those who lived, worked and died in the county.
Parish records are a key ‘stepping stone’ for anyone wishing to trace their forebears before the introduction of civil registration in 1837 and can help bridge important gaps in our ancestry. They act as a mine of information for the family historian and often providing an essential link between us and our forebears. Meanwhile, probate records offer a fascinating insight into the intricacies of our ancestors’ lives and the legacies they left behind, helping us to learn more about them as people. In short, these collections will be hugely important to those looking to further their Dorset research.
But even those without Dorset connections will find these collections appealing, particularly as a source of local and social history. I was rather interested to discover the burial record of Dorset author and poet, Thomas Hardy, which appears in the registers of St. Michael’s Church in Stinsford. Or, I should say, the burial of Hardy’s heart. As the document states, “his ashes rest in Westminster Abbey, his heart lies here.”
So, without further ado, I point you towards these fantastic records and invite you to take a browse through the collective history of this beautiful county. View records now.