Census Find Sheds New Light on St Kilda’s History

Not all census records are found online. A few census records have been misplaced over the years. A 250-year-old census came to light during cataloguing by the National Register of Archives for Scotland (NRAS). The census lists 90 people living on the remote archipelago on 15 June 1764 – 38 males and 52 females, including 19 families and nine individuals.


The find is historically important because no one living today was aware of any census records prior to 1822. The new discovery is the oldest known record of the population of St Kilda, a small group of islands about 40 miles west of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides. Today, the islands are uninhabited.

You can read more about the newly-discovered records in an article in the BBC News web site at https://goo.gl/0LvpkW.


I found this interesting. I would love to visit St. Kilda one day but the boat trip out is long, sometimes harrowing and extremely expensive. My husband and I were on Harris/Lewis in June and went to the genealogy center on South Harris which had an impressive display on St. Kilda, I don’t have ancestors in the islands of Scotland that I know of but the history is fascinating.


This is fascinating. For one of my assignments in the BU Genealogical Research course last year, I chose to study the descendants of one of the St Kildans who were all evacuated to mainland Scotland in 1930. I learned about the islands from my wife, a handweaver who specializes in wool from rare British sheep breeds. The Soay breed that the St Kildans kept for centuries, and that still inhabits the islands, is believed to more closely resemble the first sheep that were domesticated in Neolithic times than any other living breed.


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