Rousay & Egilsay, Orkney, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Rousay & Egilsay. 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 References
ROUSAY and EAGLESHAY, a parish, in the North Isles of the county of Orkney; containing the islands of Eagleshay, Enhallow, and Wier, 9 miles (N. by W.) from Kirkwall. The church is a neat modern structure. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, and the United Associate Synod.
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 Rousay & Egilsay, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:
|| FHL Film Number
|| Surname Indexes|
|| 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 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|
|| No entries
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. The records may be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.
Births: No entries September 1746–May 1798, except one in 1789.
Marriages: There are no entries December 1745–June 1798.
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 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 1733–1747, 1798–1932
Note: Available on Film at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1096.
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.
Rousay United Associate Secession Church
Rousay is an island 4 miles broad and 3 miles long with a population of about 1000 souls. This place was fixed upon as a preaching station by the United Associate Presbytery of Edinburgh in 1829. A congregation was organized in 1834 and a place of worship built the same year. This church joined with the Rousay and Egilsay Free Church in 1906 to become the Trumland United Free Church.
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.
Other Post–1855 records
Note: Available on Film at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1105.
Rousay and Egilsay Free Church
George Ritchie, minister of Rousay, "came out" in 1843. A considerable congregation was at once formed and a church and manse were erected. The population of the island eventually decreased. The island of Egilshay was under the charge of the minister of Rousay. This church joined with the United Secession church in 1906 to become the Trumland United Free Church.
Membership: 1848, 208; 1900, 155.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source.
Deacons’ Court Minutes 1843–1906
Note: Available on Film at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1106.
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.
Rousay & Egilsay 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.
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 8 August 2014.
Return to Orkney parish list.