GENUKI Home page
Orkney Orkney   Contents Contents

Rousay and Egilsay, with Wyre


The Little General and the Rousay Crofters: by William PL Thomson. Published 1981, 2000. In print.
Brilliant account of 19th century events in Rousay.

In Dreams We Moor: by Robert C. Marwick. Published by Brinnoven in 2000. 83pp. Illustrated.
The author takes an affectionate look at his native island, touching on its history, the way of life in the island and the changes that have taken place in the 20th century.

The Place-Names of Rousay: by Hugh Marwick. Published 1947.


Inscriptions from the cemeteries in Rousay have been extracted by Robert C. Marwick, who has generously allowed them to be posted on this website. There are seven Kirkyards in Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre, as follows:


Complete texts of the seven censuses of Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre from 1841 to 1901 appear on the Rousay Roots website. Transcribed by Robert C. Marwick, author of "Rousay Roots", these censuses are cross referenced to the entries in his book. He has also added maiden names where known.

Return to top of page

Church Records

Old Parish Registers

The huge gap in the Registers between 1746 and 1798 is most unfortunate in that it is very difficult to bridge the gap and connect the families listed in the earlier entries with those in the latter. A few entries from that time period were made long after the fact and are included in the Registers but there aren't very many of these.

Other chuurch records (held at Orkney Archives in Kirkwall).
Return to top of page

Civil Registration

The Registrar of births, deaths, and marriages for the islands of Rousay, Egilsay, and Wyre.
The Registrar's records extend back only as far as 1st January 1855 when registration became compulsory in Scotland.

Description and Travel

Orknet offers small pages on Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre that contain descriptive information and photos.


It is important to know the name of the farm or croft in which families resided in order to keep them all straight. For Rousay this job is made much easier due to Hugh Marwick's book The Place-Names of Rousay, described below under Names, Geographical.




The Little General and the Rousay Crofters
Author: William P.L. Thomson
Published in 1981.
Describes the strife between the notorious General Frederick W.T. Burroughs of Rousay and the crofters on the land that he owned which was one of the factors that led to the passing of the 1886 Crofters Act, the main provisions of which protected crofters from eviction and from arbitrary rents.

Return to top of page

Names, Geographical

The Place-Names of Rousay
Author: Hugh Marwick
First Published 1947 by W.R. Mackintosh (now the Orcadian Ltd) Kirkwall. Reprinted in 1995 by Brinnoven Publishing, 9 Thomsen Green, Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 8TA, Scotland and available at booksellers in Orkney. ISBN: 1-899851-00-3.
An 83-page booklet that not only gives the origins of hundreds of Rousay place names and farm names but also delves into the history of the island and some of its early families.

Return to top of page


1811 = 795
1831 = 921
1851 = 939
1871 = 851
1881 = 873
1891 = 774
1900 = 627
1951 = 342
2001 = 250
1841 = 194
1851 = 190
1861 = 205
1871 = 163
1881 = 176
1891 = 147
1961 = 54
1991 = 46
2001 = 25
1831 = 93
1851 = 62
1871 = 78
1881 = 80
1891 = 67
1961 = 47
1991 = 28
2001 = 16
Return to top of page


From My Rousay Schoolbag
Author: Robert C. Marwick
Published by Brinnoven Publishing, 9 Thomson Green, Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 8TA, Scotland. 1995. 85 p., 22 illus., ISBN 0-899851-03-8.
History of schooling in Rousay from 1725 to the present day, along with the reminisences of former pupils.

Find help, report problems, or contribute information.

[Last updated: 24 July 2005 - Dave Annal]