Family History Enquiries

We have many records, archives, photographs and original material to draw upon.

sheila ford
sheila ford

In 2008 we were most fortunate to be donated "The Sheila Ford Collection".This is a collection of original research into Purbeck families, which includes an A-Z of local names, with family trees available in many instances .

Sheila produced this work before the arrival of the internet into our lives, it is a remarkable body of research.  We are able to use Sheila's research as the starting point for many of the enquiries that the Museum deals with during a typical year.

The Museum wishes to thank Yasmin Marsh, Sheila's daughter, for this wonderful donation.

Swanage Folk

The late Sheila Ford

Reproduced here, in her own words Sheila tells how she became interested in family history.

" One day, I was asked to look up an entry in the Swanage Parish Registers 1565-1811.  Having found what I wanted, I idly thumbed through the pages.  Names I recognised were there;
Bowers, Corbens, Sticklands, Govers, and many more.  But there were also names I had not heard before:
Sipherwest, Stalkingborough, Dorante, Wearinge.

T hese names began to weave a spell, I wondered where they had gone, what were their trades and where exactly did they live?  I wondered how the names I recognised were related to present generations?

I soon realised, after putting the families together from the register, that the Isle of Purbeck has a special unity of it's own.  Reading books and pamphlets, I then began finding out facts about some of my 'people'  Their characteristics, their joys and tragedies, and instead of just names they seem to come alive.

So began what became a mammoth task, trying to knit the Purbeck people into a large family tree.  Although only a short way into my research, letters and phone calls arrive daily adding to my files.  Being Purbeck born and bred I have even found relatives I never knew I had".

We hope you find these words inspiring and take up the challenge of researching your own family roots.

These pages are dedicated to Sheila's memory.
A letter to her father
Sheila's gift from her mother
Sheila's family tree
follow link to see tree

The Museum is always happy to receive enquiries regarding family history and runs a fine family history service, with knowledgable and enthusiastic volunteers to help and advise.