Hoy & Graemsay, Orkney, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Hoy & Graemsay. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
- 1 History
- 2 Census Records
- 3 Church Records
- 4 Civil Registration Records
- 5 Probate Records
- 6 Graemsay Genealogical Records
- 7 References
HOY and GRÆMSAY, a parish, in the county of Orkney, 2½ miles (S.) from Stromness. This parish, which is chiefly situated in the island of Hoy, the principal of the South Orkney isles, is bounded on the north by the Sound of Hoy. There are two churches, both in good repair. The church of Hoy was built towards the close of the 18th century, and that of Græmsay was thoroughly repaired about the year 1810; they contain each 182 sittings.
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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.
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 Hoy & Graemsay, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:
|| FHL Film Number
|| Surname Indexes|
|| 6393846 (1 fiche)|
|| 6086634 (2 fiche)|
The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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.
The Central Library, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh hold in their "Scottish" room copies of the microfilmed records of the Orkney Census records and the Old Parish Records.
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
|Record Type||Years Covered||FHL Film Number|
|Births:||1776-1854||0990501 item 3-4|
|Marriages:||1796-1854||0990501 item 3-4|
Condition of Original Registers—
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: Hoy has an annual number of entries prior to 1796. Graemsay has irregular and incomplete registers prior to 1796.
Marriages: Hoy has only eleven entries prior to 1820. Graemsay has twenty–seven entries prior to 1820.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.
Established Church—Kirk Session Records
The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was normally made up of the minister and the elected Elders who may have been land owners and business men of the parish. 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:
There are records held in the reference section of the Kirwall Library.
Nonconformist Church Records
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. Graemsay did not have a non-conformist Church
Graemsay Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–Day Saints
FHL Film Number
Record of members, 1851–1853 0104152 item 5
Civil Registration Records
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.
Hoy & Graemsay was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Orkney & Shetland until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Kirkwall. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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.
Graemsay Genealogical Records
Robert Whitton has a web page containing information about his ancestors. This contains many of the residents of Graemsay. robertwhitton.eu
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 8 August 2014.
Return to Orkney parish list.