Posted by on 1 June 2011 in General, Guest Bloggers, Record Collections

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.

Thomas Hardy (1928)

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.


Paul Towse 

Thanks so much for adding these Parish Record collcetions to the site. I don’t have anyone on my tree that was christened, married or buried in Dorset but I’m sure other people on here will find these collections very helpful, especially if they’re unable to visit the Archives where the original records are located.

Hopefully you will add Parish Records from further counties. Those for Sussex and Yorkshire would be very helpful with my tree (hint, hint!)

1 June 2011 at 10:25 am
John Wintrip 

I carried out a search in the probate section for three Archdeaconry administrations I knew existed, but could not find them.

Eventually I found them by browsing the images.

They have been indexed under the name of the administrator and not the name of the deceased individual. It seems that whoever has indexed the administrations does not understand them and their significance to the genealogist. This needs to be rectified.

2 June 2011 at 10:52 am
Bob Douglas 

Ideally these should be indexed under all names- testator, exuctor/trix, legatees, overseers and witnesses

2 June 2011 at 2:21 pm

I have been happily attaching images to BDMs researched many years ago the hard way. Found a few date transcription errors I made long ago….(great to be able to manipulate the image on screen) and also contributed some name corrections to the index for others to follow behind me.

My thanks to you and the Dorset county archives for this resource at our fingertips.

4 June 2011 at 5:04 am
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