Public Records applying to Orkney


The records listed on this page contain some information of genealogical interest. Published sources

  • The Orkney Poll Taxes of the 1690s: by James M. Irvine. Published 2003.
    This book will be a happy hunting ground for many of those who can trace their ancestry back to the 17th century.
  • The War Dead of the Commonwealth: The Orkney Isles: Published by Commonwealth War Graves Commission 1931, 2000.
  • The Orkney Crofters: Their Evidence and Statements by Agents as given before the Crofters' Commission 1888: edited by William R. Mackintosh. Published 1889.
  • The Particular Register of Sasines for Orkney and Shetland: Published annually since 1781, with indexes of persons from 1869 and of persons and places from 1881.
  • A Directory of Land Ownership in Scotland c1770: edited by Loretta R. Timperley. Published by the Scottish History Society 1976. Orcadian landowners listed on pp242-252.
  • Rentals of the Ancient Earldom and Bishoprick of Orkney: edited by Alexander Peterkin. Published 1820. Reprints of rentals of 1503, 1595, 1612, 1642, 1739.
    The latter two name many tenants. There are also some miscellaneous records including accounts of parishes in 1627.
  • Notes on Orkney and Zetland: by Alexander Peterkin. Published 1822. Further miscellaneous records.
  • Diary of Thomas Brown, Writer in Kirkwall, 1675-1693: edited by A. Francis Stewart. Published Kirkwall 1898. 79pp.
    Records marriages and deaths of notable Orcadians.
  • The Church in Orkney - Miscellaneous Records of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: edited by Alfred W. Johnston. Published in The Orcadian October 1889-February 1993 and in Kendal 1940. Includes Bishopric Rental of 1660-1675.
  • Valuation of Orkney 1653: edited by Alfred W. Johnston. Published in The Published 1888 Orcadian, July - September 1888.
    Lists all landowners.
  • Trials for Witchcraft, Sorcery, and Superstition in Orkney 1624-1643: edited by James Maidment. Published 1837 by Abbotsford Club xi Misc. 1,133-185.
  • Lord Henry Sinclair's 1492 Rental: edited by William P. L. Thomson. Published 1996.
  • Records of the Earldom of Orkney, 1299-1614: edited by Joseph Storer Clouston. Published: Edinburgh, 1914 (Scottish History Society, 2nd series, volume 7).
    Also contains short pedigree charts of the following early Orkney families: Berstane of Cletts, Clouston of Clouston, Corrigall of Corrigall, Cragy of Brough, Cromarty of Cara, Flett of Netherbrough, Flett of Hobbister and of Gruthay, Fraser of Tohop, Halcro of Aikers, Halcro of Halcro, Heddle of Heddle, Ireland of Ireland, Irving of Sabay, Kirkness of Kirkness, Linklater of Linklater, Louttit of Lyking, Ness and Tulloch of Ness, Paplay of Paplay and Sands, Rendall of Rendall, Sclater of Burness, Scarth of Scarth, Sinclair of Air, Sinclair of Warsetter, Tulloch of Lambholm, and Yenstay of Yenstay.
  • Old Lore Records: edited by Alfred W. Johnston. Published by Viking Society, London, 1907 - 1923. Vol. 1 Records 1056-1634. Vol 2 Orkney Sasines 1617-1621.
  • Oppressions of the Sixteenth Century in the Islands of Orkney and Zetland: From Original Documents: edited by David Balfour. Published Edinburgh 1859 by Maitland and Abbotsford Clubs.
    NB The documents were reproduced by Clouston in 1914. Balfour's introduction, reprinted as Odal Rights and Feudal Wrongs, A Memorial for Orkney in 1860, is inaccurate.

Unpublished sources


  • Guide to the National Archives of Scotland: No author. Published Edinburgh 1996. 268pp.
  • Lists of Orkney and Shetland documents: (held by the National Archives of Scotland, formerly the Scottish Record Office, in General Register House and West Register House, Edinburgh). 1. Government records (19pp). 2. Gifts and Deposits (31pp, listing 70 gifts relating to Orkney). Typewritten copies are held in NAS and Orkney Archives, Kirkwall. For further details see National Records of Scotland .
  • Guide to Records held in Orkney Archives: (18pp). Copies held in Orkney Archives and by Orkney Family History Society. For further details see Orkney Archives .
  • Documents List of the Orkney Family History Society: Copy held at the Orkney Family History Society, whose records include 500 family trees and 250 other Gifts.

Page created by Robert C. Marwick