Northmavine, Shetland, Scotland Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Scotland Gotoarrow.png Shetland Gotoarrow.png Northmavine

Parish #8

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


NORTHMAVINE, a parish, in the Mainland district, county of Shetland, 30 miles (N. W. by N.) from Lerwick; containing the hamlet of Hillswick. This is a peninsula of nearly triangular form, joined to the remaining portion of the Mainland, and to the parish of Delting, by an isthmus called Mavine, only 100 yards wide, and which is almost covered by the sea at spring tides. It is thought to take its name from its situation being northward from the isthmus, though some suppose it has been designated North Main, or Northmavine, from its relative bearing to the rest of the Mainland. The church is a plain building, situated inconveniently for the population, at no great distance from the sea, and accommodates 583 persons with sittings. It was built in 1733, repaired in 1764, and renovated in the interior in 1822. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans, and another 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 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 Northmavine, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

FHL Film Number
Surname Indexes
6086700 (2 fiche)

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on 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: 1758-1854 0919492
Marriages: 1788-1854 0919492
Deaths: 1854 only 0919492

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: Entries for 1758–65 are only a copy of the record certified by the sheriff. No entries, except a few, October 1783–October 1788 and the record from the latter date to November 1799 is merely a copy from the register of Discipline, certified by the sheriff.
Marriages: Entries 1788–99 are a copy from the register of Discipline, certified by the sheriff. No entries 1812–13 or 1817.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book941 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 1729, 1758–1852
Poor Fund Accounts 1770–1849
Note: Available at the Shetland Archives, Lerwick, Scotland, record CH2/286.

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.

Ollaberry United Presbyterian Church

In the autumn of 1853, the Rev. Andrew MacFarlane of Lerwick visited Ollaberry, preached in the warehouse there and, after the sermon, invited the friends present to express their feelings in regard to the location of a mission with the United Presbyterian Church. Steps were thereafter taken for securing the warehouse as a place of worship and the services of a missionary to carry on the public ordinances of religion in the district. Supply of sermon was granted by the Presbytery of Orkney and the Home Mission Board of the United Presbyterian Church. A station was opened in July 1854. The cause prospered and the people were congregated by the Edinburgh Presbytery in March 1859. In connection with Ollaberry there is a mission chapel in the western part of the parish where service was conducted at least one Sabbath a month.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source.

Roll of Members 1850s–1890s
Note: Available at the Shetland Archives, Lerwick, Scotland, record CH3/1504.

Northmavine Sullom Congregational Church

A church was formed here in 1812. It met in a chapel on the margin of Sullom Voe. It closed in 1930.
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

Northmavine 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 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.

Return to Shetland parish list.