How can I help?

One of my aims with my work to create a complete Unst Family Tree is to be able to help out anyone stuck with their own Unst related ancestry. By being visible online (through this blog among other things) I have already had contact from, and helped out, a number of people who have traced their relations back to Unst folk.

I can’t claim to be being completely self-less in these endeavours because in each case both parties learn something. I can provide details about their Unst relations, and they can provide me details of where an Unst born person who moved away from the island ended up. I’d love to learn where all the Unst people ended up in the world. I know many went to Canada, U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand, but also in the U.K. many moved to Edinburgh, Leith, and Toxteth Park (undoubtedly related to the sea going industries from those places which would attract men with previous sea-going experience as Fisherman).

Here is a newspaper report published in the Zetland Times on 14th September 1874 about emigrating Unst people.

EMIGRATION.—Emigration from the islands to New Zealand is still being carried on, and almost every month a good many people leave to try their fortunes in this new field of industry. In the present state of matters in Shetland it is best that the labouring classes should leave the islands altogether than that being turned out of their crofts to make room for sheep farms, they should settle on wild moorland waster or on projecting points, and lead a life of—at the very best—semi-starvation, for the benefit of a few selfish lairds, whose short sighted policy will ultimately ruin themselves and the islands. On Thursday last about 100 emigrants left here for New Zealand by the “St Clair,” eighty of whom were from Unst. We understand that more are to follow shortly.

 
I’ve written a few blog posts as a result of these contacts:-

So if you’ve found a relation in your family tree from Unst, Shetland and would like some help, please get in touch. Eventually I will have all my research on a webpage but in the mean time I’m happy to help out in an ad hoc manner.

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6 thoughts on “How can I help?

  1. it is so great that you are working on genealogy to fill in your family tree! i’ve done quite a bit of genealogy work myself, but no Unst line has shown up. you’re doing a great service with this! you probably already are aware, but if not, familysearch.org is a REALLY great resource for finding ancestors and historical records, and its FREE! good luck on your work!

  2. Morag the news that over 100 islanders are emigrating is so sad.
    We visited the outer Hebridese a few years ago and they had similar problems as I recall. They were trying to introduce policies where young families were encouraged to return to the islands
    All the best with your blog.

  3. I hope any contacts from the descendants of people from Unst turns into a wonderful learning experience for you. You’re right. These kinds of contacts always work both ways.

Morag would love to hear what you think. Leave a comment here.

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