Tingwall, Shetland, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Shetland Gotoarrow.png Tingwall

Parish #10  This parish included Whiteness and Weesdale

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


TINGWALL, WHITENESS, and WEESDALE, a parish, in the county of Shetland, 5 miles (N. W. by W.) from Lerwick; containing the village of Scalloway, and the islands of Linga, Oxna, and Trondray. This district consists of the ancient but now united parishes of Tingwall, Whiteness, and Weesdale. The church at Tingwall was built in 1788, and contains 570 sittings, but, when full, can accommodate 700 persons. A church has been built at Whiteness, in the place of the old church dedicated to St. Ola, for the use of the districts of Whiteness and Weesdale. A church has also been erected at Scalloway, for the benefit of the village and its neighbourhood. There is a small place of worship 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 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 Tingwall, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

FHL Film Number
Surname Indexes
6086700 (2 fiche)

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
Family History Library Film Number
1709-1854 - Tingwall

1727-1765 - Whiteness & Weesdale
1695-1854 - Tingwall

1727-1765 - Whiteness & Weesdale
1740-1787 - Tingwall


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: The registers contain separate records up to 1765, after which there is one register for the united parishes. Tingwall register has only two entries in 1709 and none to May 1812 and June 1723–May 1727. There are duplicate registers for the united parishes 1775–1780.
Marriages: Tingwall has no entries for 1697 and October 1699–July 1727. There are no entries for the united parishes December 1772–1775 and December 1777–November 1791, except between November 1783 and February 1787 among the deaths.
Deaths: There are no entries 1741–1783, except August–October 1761. The entries 1783–1787 are on four pages at the end of the volume, which contains entries of births and marriages for the same period.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970.Family History Library 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 1675–1765, 1806–1872
Accounts 1718–1730
Communion Roll 1849–1877
Note: Available at the Shetland Archives, Lerwick, Scotland, record CH2/1078.

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.

Tingwall Congregational Churches

A congregation was formed at Scalloway in January 1840. A chapel had been erected the previous May. Another congregation was formed at Whiteness about 1844. Another was formed at Tingwall about 1854.
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.Family History Library 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

Scalloway Baptist Church

This church was formed about 1850, but a chapel was never built. Its only minister died in 1864 and after that it shared speakers with other Shetland churches. This fellowship ceased by 1924.
Source: History of the Baptists in Scotland, by Rev. George Yuille, pub. 1926. Family History Library Book 941 K2hi. More details are given in the source including ministers.

The extent of records is unknown. Early records may be included with Dunrossness. For more information write to:
Baptist Union of Scotland
12 Aytoun Road
Glasgow G41 5RT

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

Tingwall 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.

Return to Shetland parish list.