Find Your Orkney Ancestors
For centuries, the men and women of Orkney have travelled and settled all over the world, taking Orcadian names and culture wherever they went...
Every year, many of their descendants feel the pull of blood ties and birthright - and begin the journey of discovery about their ancestors which often leads them eventually home to the beautiful islands of Orkney. The journey starts here...
Are you coming home?
For many people of Scottish descent around the world, their search for the ancestors whose travels resulted in dislocation from their culture and history, leads them back to Orkney's lovely shores. Many descendants still bear the Orkney names of their forefathers - Drever, Flett, Foubister, Harcus, Kirkness, Linklater, Louttit, Rendall, Sabiston and Sinclair, to name but a few.
The 70 beautiful islands of the Orkney archipelago lie just to the North of the mainland of Scotland, suspended between the Atlantic and the North Sea, and Orkney's ancient stone harbours have seen generations of maritime adventurers find refuge, or wave fond farewells.
Whole families left the islands in times of hardship and privation, to seek a new life on the other side of the world, and young folk went off to seek fortunes in developing countries everywhere. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Hudsons Bay Company recruited at Stromness in Orkney, for young men (and very occasionally, young women too!) to make the passage across the Atlantic to Canada.
The first settlers were here before the pyramids were built in Egypt, and left us their magnificent legacy of monoliths, tombs and stone circles.
Modern Orcadians live cheek by jowl with symbols of the early settlers' ancient knowledge of the ocean, the stars and the earth. Neolithic, Pictish, Celtic and Norse settlers have all contributed to the Orcadian gene pool, and islanders' hospitality is world-renowned. Hard-working and enthusiastically sociable, Orcadians have created a thriving and dynamic 21st century infrastructure which serves the needs of visitors and locals alike. Visitor accommodation is of high quality, as is the cuisine. Transport links are better than ever, and there is much to do and see.
Whether in the immaculate blue and gold calm of a Summer's evening, or in the salty spray of a winter storm, the traditional dwellings at Orkney's quaysides have witnessed many an emotional parting, and joyous reunion.
Many families around the world have handed-down stories of family crofts, ancient traditions, daring exploits, dangerous journeys, and strange new homelands. Many stories, just waiting to be told. Let us help you discover yours.
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