map showing Caithness in relation to other counties in Scotland

CAITHNESS

Description in 1951, and map showing location

Caithness County is a county in the north east of Scotland, bounded on the north by the Pentland Firth; on the east and south east by North Sea; and on the west and south west by the county of Sutherland ... [It] is about 43 miles in length, and thirty miles in breadth; comprising an area of 618 square miles ... On account of its remote situation, Caithness had little intercourse with the principle parts of the country, and consequently is connected with few historical events of importance, except occasional hostilities with the Danes and Norwegians.
From "A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland", 1951

See also the entry for Caithness in the 1868 gazetteer.

TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR CAITHNESS

Archives and Libraries

North Highland Archive, Wick Library, Sinclair Terrace, Wick, Caithness KW1 5AB, Scotland.
Telephone UK: 01955 606432, Fax UK: 01955 603000, E-mail: north.highlandarchive@highland.gov.uk
The archivist tells us: "We welcome enquiries by post, email or in person. Please note that it is advisable to contact us in advance of a visit as we are only a small office." Note that they publish some 1861 census indexes. They have a helpful webpage with advice, links, some leaflets available to download.

Please also refer to the section Societies.

Bibliography

One supplier of books (including MIs) about Scotland is Books From Scotland.

Following are a list of books we have gleaned from various sources. For some books there is the location of a copy, and a short description of Mark Dodd's impression of the book. Other biographical material can be found on this page under specific sections. Any books that have been useful to others, we would be most interested in hearing about to add to this page.

Cemeteries

All (?) of the monumental inscriptions (MIs) in Caithness have been collected and are in print currently from Books From Scotland amongst other places.

There is an index of sorts for these MIs at Index to Caithness Memorial Inscriptions. This composite index was produced by David RYRIE, New Zealand Society of Genealogists (NZSG), NZSG No. 4960, with authority from The Scottish Genealogy Society. There are no christian names listed, but it may help narrow the search. It was created from "Some Caithness Burial Grounds" (in thirteen parts) by A. S. Cowper and I. Ross - see BURIAL GROUNDS OF CAITHNESS AND SUTHERLAND on the Caithness Community web site.

Sara Jayne Donaldson has published an index to burials at Bower, Dunnet, Reay, Bunnahaven and Kirktown.

Census

See our Scotland Census page  for general information about the census and indexes, which include indexes and images online (for a fee) from Scotland's People for 1871, 1881, 1891, and 1901.

North Highland Archive have published indexes to the 1861 census for Bower, Canisbay, Dunnet, Halkirk, Latheron , Wick Burg and Pultneytown.

Census records for the years 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, and 1891 have been microfilmed and are available at LDS Family History Centers around the world. Look here for an index to the appropriate LDS microfilms.

In Scotland, research can be done at the General Register Office for Scotland in Edinburgh.

Church History

Steve Bulman has an excellent site featuring pictures of churches throughout the Highlands, perhaps when there are enough Caithness photos he will put a Caithness page.

Church Records

Details of individual parish records can be found on the parish pages.

Records of non-conformist churches are held at the National Archives of Scotland.

The Church of Scotland parish records for all of Caithness have been microfilmed and are available at LDS Family History Centers worldwide. The LDS have also made them available through computer search via a Scottish Church Records CD-ROM or by microfiche. Many of them have been extracted on the IGI (International Genealogical Index). Look here for an index to the appropriate LDS microfilms.

In Scotland, research can be done at the General Register Office for Scotland in Edinburgh.

Civil Registration

Civil Registration of all births, marriages and deaths began in Caithness, as in all of Scotland, in 1855. The records for 1855-1875, 1881, and 1891 have been microfilmed and are available at LDS Family History Centers worldwide. Indexes to these records are also available on LDS microfilm up to the year 1955. Look here for an index to the appropriate LDS microfilms.

Clans

Please refer to Names, Personal

Description and Travel

Caithness community website has much useful local information including Caithness Castles , and a History section including Calder's History of Caithness (parts of the text).

The Scottish Citylink website with timetables.

For those more inclined to Rail-travel, Network Rail provides a very worthwhile train travel information, allowing from/to stations specifications on certain days, and the program will supply a complete itineary for the journey.

The Scottish Highland Explorer Caithness and Sutherland page is here.

An Internet Guide to Scotland is produced by Joanne Mackenzie-Winters.

Genealogy

Caithness GenWeb page has a message board for queries.

The Scotland Surnames List maintained by Graham Jaunay includes Caithness

Maps

UK Ordnance Survey maps contain a vast wealth of information, including a villiage search facility. Available for sale in the UK as well as abroad, often through larger bookstores.

Here is an interesting set of maps (very graphic intensive) Expedia. It has a powerful zoom feature and panning across the world combined with an excellent search facility.

Military History

Names, Personal

The Gathering of the Clans page has some interesting information on clans, but more significantly has a searchable index for surnames submitted by individuals.

Newspapers

A collection of current Scottish newspapers exist at Online Newspapers.

Public Records

Records of testaments, inventories, tax, court records etc. are held at the National Archives of Scotland.

In Scotland, research can be done at the General Register Office for Scotland in Edinburgh.

Societies

The Caithness Family History Society. Details of meetings and membership can be found here.

Highland FHS, c/o Reference Room, Inverness Public Library, Farraline Park, Inverness, IV1 1NH.

Scottish Genealogical Society. 15 Victoria Tce, Edinburgh, EH1 2JL.

Please also refer to the section Archives and Libraries.

Statistics