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Parish #32 (Including Flotta)

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Walls. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.



WALLS and FLOTTA, a parish, mostly in the island of Hoy, South Isles of the county of Orkney, 9 miles (W. by S.) from South Ronaldshay, and 16 (S. S. W.) from Kirkwall. This parish, of which the name, anciently Valis or Waes, is of doubtful origin, consists of the southern or Walls part of the island of Hoy, the islands of Flotta and Pharay, and the uninhabited isles of Little Rysay, Flotta-Calf, and Switha. The church of Walls was erected in 1832, and contains 500 sittings; that of Flotta, of much earlier date, contains only 180 sittings, which are inadequate to the accommodation of the inhabitants of that place, and of those of the island of Pharay.[1]

The New Statistical Account of Scotland (pub. 1834-45) offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for the whole of Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs. The reports, written by the parish ministers, are available online at http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records

A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about census records.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Walls as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

FHL Film Number
Surname Indexes
6393852 ( 2 fiche)
6086634 (2 fiche)

The 1911 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1901, are indexed on this website. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access the separate indexes through the library.

Church Records

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about church records.
Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

Record Type
Years Covered
FHL Film Number
Walls - 1753-1854

Flotta - 1753-1854
Walls - 1786-1854

Flotta - 1786-1854
Walls - 1823-1854

Flotta - No entries

 Births 1708-1854, Marriages 1707-1854 (Walls) 1708-1738, 1786-1854 (Flotta), Deaths 1823-1854 (Walls) are available through the ScotlandsPeople website (see http://www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk/pdf/list-of-oprs-1to56.pdf)

Condition of Original Registers—

Indexed: For an index to these records, see the Scottish Church Records Index available on computers at the Family History Library and family history centers.  The records may be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.
Births: Walls has only one entry November 1806–October 1810. There is a copy of the record contained on thirty pages. There are no entries for the year 1819. Flotta has only one entry July 1757–March 1760 and one for 1818. This record seems to be a copy.
Marriages: Walls has no marriage notations. Flotta has no marriage entries December 1799–February 1802, except one for 1811, November 1807–January 1814, after which the record is very meager.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of the minister and the land owners and business men of the parish, chosen to serve on the session. The Kirk session dealt with moral issues, minor criminal cases, matters of the poor and education, matters of discipline, and the general concerns of the parish. Kirk session records may also mention births, marriages, and deaths.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

Minutes 1837–1984
Note: Available on Film at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1105.

Nonconformist Church Records

A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Established church. Read more about nonconformity in Scotland in the article on the Scotland Church Records Union List.

(Walls and Sandness is in Shetland, not Orkney, the previous information here is wrong)

Civil Registration Records

Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each parish has a registrar's office and large cities have several. The records are created by the registrars and copies are sent to the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Annual indexes are then created for the records for the whole country.
See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Probate Records

Walls was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Orkney & Shetland until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Kirkwall. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Orkney and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Orkney & Shetland.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Orkney. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Orkney and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 15 August 2014.

Return to Orkney parish list.


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  • This page was last modified on 2 July 2015, at 23:41.
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