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Trace amazing family stories in millions of Dorset records online

Are your ancestors from the county famed for fossils? Unearth the details you need to add to your family tree by exploring detailed Dorset archives online at Findmypast. Ponder over parish records from Dorset Family History Society and more. Whatever your connection to Dorset, epic discoveries await.

A quick dip into Dorset history and culture

Dorset has remained a largely rural county throughout history, so its economy has depended mainly on agriculture. It has no cities, but most of its population is based around Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Dorset’s Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site is a magnet for fossil hunters.

In 1832, a group of farm labourers from a village in Dorset, who’d formed one of the first trade unions, was transported to Australia. They became known as the Tolpuddle Martyrs and have been highlighted in history books ever since.

The county was home to internet inventor Tim Berners Lee while he was working on his ground-breaking technology, while England’s oldest postbox is found in the hamlet of Holywell.

Dorset has also been home to world-famous poets and novelists, including Thomas Hardy and John le Carré.

Durdle Door is an eye-catching landmark on Dorset's Jurassic Coast.

Dorset 1921 census: Collage of life in the 1920s

What was Dorset like in the 1920s?

How well do really know your Dorset relatives? Uncover endless stories, secrets and surprises with the 1921 Census of England and Wales. This century-old snapshot of local life in England’s South West is only available online at Findmypast.

The hidden history of Swanage uncovered

"Using Findmypast, I decided to trace the people who’d lived in the holiday cottage we rented in Swanage, Dorset. To my surprise and delight, I discovered tales of scandal, military excellence and criminal activity."


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Digitised Dorset newspaper archives

Old newspapers capture life as it was like nothing else. Will you find Dorset relatives making headlines or hidden in the small print?

Explore records from every English county

If your family tree spread its roots beyond Dorset, check our exhaustive collection of historical resources for your ancestors. You may be surprised where they turn up.

Choose an English region from the map or drop-down list to access local record collections and learn about the places your ancestors called home.

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