Tracing Your Orkney Ancestry

The people of Orkney live surrounded by a rich tapestry of heritage.  Neolithic and bronze age sites are many and well preserved, Viking domination of the islands from the 8th Century has given rise to many of the Norse place names and surnames.

The Kirbuster Farm Musuem shows 18th Century Crofter's life

The Kirbuster Farm Musuem shows 18th Century Crofter's life

Over the centuries Orcadians have travelled and settled all over the world, many making their homes in Canada and the USA.

Orcadian ancestral research has always been popular but television programmes like the BBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are” have made people realise how easy it can be to trace their forbears.

“Blood of the Vikings” and “Face of Britain” focused on how the Viking bloodlines are still strong in the islands.

Many descendants still bear the Orkney names of their forefathers – Drever, Flett, Foubister, Harcus, Kirkness, Linklater, Louttit, Rendall, Sabiston and Sinclair, to name but a few.

Begin the journey of discovery and with the help of the Orkney Family History Society. Library archives and Museums you can even see how your ancestors lived and worked.


The following sites may be of interest:

Orkney Family History Society – A volunteer group of willing and helpful people can help you trace your Orcadian roots and build a picture of what their life was like.

Orkney Library and Archive – Have a wealth of records and information covering every aspect of life on the islands.

Orkney Library & Archive, Kirkwall

Orkney Library & Archive, Kirkwall

Orkneyjar – This fantastic website provides so much in depth information about Orkney’s Heritage, you will find yourself returning to it time and time again.

www.genuki.org.uk/big/sct/OKI/ – The UK and Ireland Genealogical Information Service

www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk – General Register Office for Scotland. One of the largest online sources of original geneolocial information.

www.familysearch.com – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, home of the International Genealogical Index (IGI). Free online BMD searches and much more.

www.scotsorigins.com – Scots Origins features a Free IGI search, access to Origins Experts research of authentic Scottish records from 1700 to 1990, a Free Scottish Place search, and expert articles and discussion on Scottish history.

www.scran.ac.uk – Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network. Scran is a charity & online learning resource base with over 360,000 images & media from museums, galleries, archives and the media.

www.ScottishDocuments.com – Scots wills, up to 1902.

www.ancestry.co.uk – Discover your ancestors with the world’s largest family history website. Start a family tree, browse census records and more online.