Sandwick, Orkney, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #27

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Sandwicki. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.

History[edit | edit source]

SANDWICK, a parish, in the county of Orkney, 14 miles (W. N. W.) from Kirkwall. This parish, which derives its name from the sandy bay whereon it is situated, was originally included in that of Stromness. The church, erected in 1836, partly on the foundation of an ancient structure, is inconveniently situated on the sea-shore; it is a neat edifice containing 564 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the United Secession, and a body of the Independents.[1]

The New Statistical Account of Scotland (pub. 1834-45) offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for the whole of Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs. The reports, written by the parish ministers, are available online at Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records[edit | edit source]

A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about census records.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Sandwick, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:



FHL Film Number


Surname Indexes

6393838 ( 1 fiche)

6393849 (2 fiche)
6086634 (2 fiche)

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1901, are indexed on this website. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access the separate indexes through the library.

Church Records
[edit | edit source]

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about church records.
Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers[edit | edit source]

Record Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1727-1854 0990510
Marriages: 1727-1854 0990510
Deaths: No entries none


Condition of Original Registers—[edit | edit source]

Indexed: For an index to these records, see Scotland’s People website, a pay-for-view website. The Scottish Church Records Index is also still available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Some records may also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.
Births: There are no entries February 1738–March 1746 and March 1748–June 1760. There are incomplete birth records 1769–1770, and irregular births 1775–1780 and 1805–1809.
Marriages: There are no marriage entries 1732–1750, 1752–1778, March 1783–December 1785, and 1795–1810.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b

Established Church—Kirk Session Records[edit | edit source]

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of the minister and the land owners and business men of the parish, chosen to serve on the session. The Kirk session dealt with moral issues, minor criminal cases, matters of the poor and education, matters of discipline, and the general concerns of the parish. Kirk session records may also mention births, marriages, and deaths.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

Minutes 1830–1861
Accounts 1837–1855, 1864–1936
Non–Communicants' Roll 1854–1902
Note: Available on Film at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1099.

Nonconformist Church Records[edit | edit source]

A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Established church. Read more about nonconformity in Scotland in the article on the Scotland Church Records Union List.

Sandwick United Secession Church[edit | edit source]

Sandwick is a parish containing about 1000 souls on the west of Pomona. Previous to the year 1829, the services of the Established Church in the parish of Sandwick were very inadequate. There was no regular minister, no pastoral visitation, and the Lord's Supper had not been dispensed from time immemorial. A sermon once a fortnight was the whole benefit derived from the Establishment. The neighboring parishes of Birsay and Harray, were under the charge of one minister, and were about equally ill supplied. A number of persons thus situated were led by their circumstances to apply to the United Associate Presbytery of Edinburgh for supply of sermon, which was granted. Matters soon after changed in the Established Church. A resident minister was obtained for Sandwick, and sermon regularly afforded every Sabbath. Another minister succeeded in a few years to Birsay who, in addition to his own services, provided those of an assistant to supply the parish of Harray with regular sermon, and Sabbath schools and other means of instruction. A church was built in 1829, with 400 sittings.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source.

Minutes 1830–1865, 1867–1935
Seat Letting Cash Book 1829–1918
Collection Book 1843–1856
Cash Book 1843–1875
District Roll Book 1843–1930
Baptismal Register 1838–1936
Note: Available on Film at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1110.

Civil Registration Records
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Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each parish has a registrar's office and large cities have several. The records are created by the registrars and copies are sent to the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Annual indexes are then created for the records for the whole country.
See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Probate Records
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Sandwick was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Orkney & Shetlanhd until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Kirkwell. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Orkney and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Orkney & Shetland.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Orkney. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Orkney and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 15 August 2014.

Return to Orkney parish list.