Mid & South Yell, Shetland, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Shetland Gotoarrow.png Mid & South Yell

Parish #6

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


YELL, MID and SOUTH, a parish, in the county of Shetland, 32 miles (N.) from Lerwick; containing the islands of Hascussay and Samphrey. This parish includes the middle and southern districts of the island of Yell, which belongs to the group usually called the North Isles; and annexed to it are the island of Samphrey, on the west, distant about a mile and a half from Yell, and the island of Hascussay, about one mile distant towards the east. The church at Mid Yell, built in 1832, is as conveniently situated as possible, as is also the church erected at South Yell. There is a place of worship there for Wesleyans, and in Mid Yell one for Independents.[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 Reports

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 Mid & South Yell, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

FHL Film Number
Surname Indexes
0104100, 0104101
0203393, 0203394
6086700 (2 fiche)
0208607, 0208608

1804                                477622 Item 13

The 1901 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
Births: 1723-1854 0919490
Marriages: 1730-1854 0919490
Deaths: 1740, 1833 0919490


Condition of Original Registers—

Indexed: For an index to these records, see Scotland’s People website, a pay-for-view website. The Scottish Church Records Index is also still available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Some records may also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.
Births: There are no entries for Mid Yell September 1723–April 1726. There are irregular entries 1724–1749 on pages 62–65. There are no entries October 1758–January 1771, except a few for 1764 and one or two for 1759–1760. The last page contains irregular entries for 1767–1836. There are no entries for South Yell, June 1744–April 1760 and only a few for October 1762–May 1770.
Marriages: There are no entries for Mid Yell prior to 1800. There are no entries for South Yell, September 1743–August 1769. There are two pages of entries for 1774 after the entries for 1740. Entries for November 1774–January 1780 are somewhat irregular. There are no entries for March–December 1780. There are no entries April 1783–February 1800. There is one record for Middle and South Yell from 1800.
Deaths: Very limited records for the two years listed above.
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:

Mid Yell

Minutes 1797–1915
Poor Fund Accounts 1781–1826
Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record; CH2/1074.

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.

Mid Yell Seafield Congregational Church

A church was formed here about 1825 or 1835. It did not last long.
Sources: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960; FHL Book 941 K2es and The Scottish Congregational Ministry, by Rev. William D. McNaughton, pub. 1993. FHL Book 941 K2mwd. More details are given in the sources including ministers.

The extent of records is unknown. For information write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX

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

Mid & South Yell 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 Lerwick. 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 Shetland 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 Shetland. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Shetland 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.

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