The co-ords are given as a general pointing covering a very large area. It is better inspected on the Google map after clicking the "-" sign a couple of times.
The Outer Hebrides was an administrative region of Scotland in existence between 1975 and 1996. In 1996 the two-tier type of administration employed for the preceding 21 years was replaced by that of a unitary authority. In 1996 the name Outer Hebrides Region was replaced by the Western Isles Council Area or, in Gaelic, Na h-Eileanan Siar.
- the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia
The Outer Hebrides, also known as the Western Isles (Scottish Gaelic: ), Innse Gall ("islands of the strangers") or the Long Island, is an island chain off the west coast of mainland Scotland. The islands are geographically coextensive with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, one of the 32 unitary council areas of Scotland. They form part of the Hebrides, separated from the Scottish mainland and from the Inner Hebrides by the waters of the Minch, the Little Minch and the Sea of the Hebrides. Scottish Gaelic is the predominant spoken language, although in a few areas English speakers form a majority.
Most of the islands have a bedrock formed from ancient metamorphic rocks and the climate is mild and oceanic. The 15 inhabited islands have a total population of 27,400 and there are more than 50 substantial uninhabited islands. From Barra Head to the Butt of Lewis is roughly .
There are various important prehistoric structures, many of which pre-date the first written references to the islands by Roman and Greek authors. The Western Isles became part of the Norse kingdom of the Suðreyjar, which lasted for over 400 years until sovereignty was transferred to Scotland by the Treaty of Perth in 1266. Control of the islands was then held by clan chiefs, principal of whom were the MacLeods, MacDonalds, Mackenzies and MacNeils. The Highland Clearances of the 19th century had a devastating effect on many communities and it is only in recent years that population levels have ceased to decline. Much of the land is now under local control and commercial activity is based on tourism, crofting, fishing, and weaving.
Sea transport is crucial and a variety of ferry services operate between the islands and to mainland Scotland. Modern navigation systems now minimise the dangers but in the past the stormy seas have claimed many ships. Religion, music and sport are important aspects of local culture, and there are numerous designated conservation areas to protect the natural environment.
A list of the inhabited islands making up the Outer Hebrides or Western Isles can be found in the Wikipedia article, List of the Outer Hebrides. Skye, the largest island off the western coast of Scotland, is not part of the Western Isles nor the Outer Hebrides.
Notes for the Highland Council Area and the Western Isles Council Area
The local archives are held by The Highland Archive Service which is based in Inverness with branches in Stornoway, Fort William and Caithness. It is "responsible for locating, preserving and making accessible archives relating to all aspects of the history of the geographical area of the Highlands."
Family history societies and historical associations covering the Highland Council Area and the Western Isles Council Area are:
These associations publish their aims on their websites as well as a list of publications. In many cases the publications are also available through the Scottish Genealogy Society (see below).
Sources for Old Parish Registers Records, Vital Records and Censuses
- Scotland's People This is a pay website providing vital statistics and census data for all of Scotland with original images. There is a description at Scotland under Genealogical Resources.
- See the publications lists of the above Family History Societies.
- The FreeCen Project--Scotland has a searchable (not browsable) transcription for each of the counties in the area. Nairnshire and Caithness have the 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 complete. Inverness-shire and Ross and Cromarty have 1841 complete with some work on 1851 and Sutherland has not completed 1841.
Transcriptions of Gravestone Inscriptions
- The Scottish Genealogy Society provides a series of monumental inscriptions either in print in booklet form or on CD for each of the counties in the area (Caithness, Inverness-shire, Nairnshire, Ross and Cromarty, and Sutherland). Some of the booklets cover only one graveyard, others cover a group. Prices vary. In many cases the coverage is of pre-1855 stones only--this is because gravestone inscriptions are often used by family historians as death registration equivalents in the era of the Old Parish Registers (when deaths were not universally recorded).
- Sutherland cemeteries are covered in Pre-1855 tombstone inscriptions in Sutherland burial grounds by A S Cowper & I Ross, published at Edinburgh in 1989 by the Scottish Genealogy Society.
- There are no specific notes for gravestone transcriptions for either Inverness-shire or Nairnshire in GENUKI. However, the Scottish Genealogy Society lists booklets for both counties.
Sources for Emigration Records
- Hebrides People have a database containing lists of people who emigrated to North America from a number of parishes in the Western Isles.
Further Sources of Reference
Please note and respect the copyright warnings on these websites.
- GENUKI has articles on each of the counties. These may not appear up-to-date but a query to the organizer made in August 2014 was answered within a few hours and followed up by an amendment to the article.
- The Gazetteer for Scotland provides an article on each of the old counties of Scotland. The tabs on the right provide more information, plus a map of the county within its surrounding area, with parishes highlighted and linked to more information. Each parish within the county also has a set of webpages which follow the same design.
- The FamilySearch Wiki article on Scotland provides information on research in Scotland in general and links to pages for the individual counties and from there to some individual parishes.
- The National Library of Scotland have a website devoted to maps from the 1600s right up to the present. Comparisons of modern-day and old maps of the same place can be made. From the home page click on "Find by place" and then follow the instructions on the next page. Once you are viewing the place you want, use the slider <----> at the top of the map to compare the layout of roads and the place names of smaller areas, perhaps even farms, with the landscape today. The website takes some getting used to. The One-inch 2nd edition, Scotland, 1898-1904 OS is a series of maps with the parishes delineated. Each of these maps cover an area of 18 x 24 miles and will zoom to comfortable reading size with a couple of mouse clicks on the map itself. Unfortunately, they are not geo-referenced, and it is necessary to go to the OS One Inch 1885-1900 series to locate places by latitude and longitude.
- The Statistical Accounts for Scotland In the 1790s and again in the 1830s, the ministers of the all the parishes of the Church of Scotland were asked to provide a description of their parish to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The original account request included 160 questions to be answered. These accounts are available in print in 20 volumes and are also online where it is freely available to browse. The browsing portal is below the viewing area of most computer screens. Scroll down to "For non-subscribers" and click on "Browse scanned pages". This brings you to another page on which one can enter the name of the parish in which you are interested.
- Excerpts from The Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885 are provided by Scottish Places. Selections from Groome and other gazetteers from the 19th century are also found on GENUKI.