Sunday, 12 June 2016

Do You Have Orcadian Ancestors?

Ahead of this spring's Genealogy Tour of Scotland, I spent a few days in Orkney. What an incredible place! Phenomenal history, right back to Neolithic times. Of course, being a series of islands, much of Orkney's history is associated with the sea: Navy, whaling, fishing, ferrying, mastering the harbours. And of course there is the darker side to the sea: shipwrecks, piracy and drownings. 

Luckily for those of you with ancestral roots in Orkney, there are some amazing records to assist you with your research. 

Perhaps the best gem was finding the records that are available in the Stromness Museum. The archival information is amazing. They have records for men who were recruited to work in the HBC's inland factory at York, lists of men who were pressed into service with Peter's Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, lists of ferries, dingys and lifeboats and their workers and fate, men who served and fell in service for both world wars, the records of the Stromness Hearse Company, donated private collections, Orkney Shipwrecks, Pentland Firth Crossings that ran into trouble. 

Not to be outdone, the Orkney Library & Archive in Kirkwall also has a fantastic collection of archival records. Here you can find shipping registers, valuation and voters rolls, school records, police registers, newspapers, magazines, and a raft of personal papers left on deposit. You can view the whole listing here:

Best of luck tracing your Orcadian ancestors!

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