What about your St Kilda ancestors?

St Kilda

Old Parish Records

OPR's began in St Kilda in 1830. St Kilda is Parish no 111 in the County of Inverness.

The Name

There was no Saint Kilda as such and it is widely believed that the name originated from Norse 'Sunt Kelda' which means 'sweet wellwater'.

The Early Years

The islands were inhabited until 1930 with no morethan 180 people (only 100 after 1851).

The islands, being so far out in the Atlantic ocean, were pretty much completely cut off from the outside world. The islands were under control of McLeod of Harris and the first visit there was documented by "The inhabitants thereof ar simple poor people, scarce learnit in aney religion".

The 1700 and 1800s

Visiting ships in the 1700s brough typhoid and cholera. The loss of life was so high that new families were brought in from Harris to replave them in 1727.

The population was about 100, this figure remained fairly constant from the 18th century until 1851, when 36 islanders emigrated to Australia on board the Priscilla, a loss from which the island never fully recovered.

Religion contributed in a large way to the decline of St. Kilda. A furtherdecline happened in WW1 when the navy erected a signal station. A German sub then came and blew it to bits. Along with this went the manse, church and jetty but no lives.

After World War I most of the young men left the island, and the population fell from 73 in 1920 to 37 in 1928. After the death of four men from influenza in 1926 there was a succession of crop failures in the 1920s. Investigations by Aberdeen University into the soil where crops had been grown have shown that there had been contamination by lead and other pollutants, caused by the use of seabird carcasses and peat ash in the manure used on the village fields. This occurred over a lengthy period of time as manuring practices became more intensive and may have been a factor in the evacuation. The last straw came with the death from appendicitis of a young woman, Mary Gillies, in January 1930. On 29 August 1930, the remaining 36 inhabitants were removed to Morvern on the Scottish mainland at their own request.

If you would to know where your ancestors came from and what they did there then we offer three packages to suit all needs and budgets.

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