Last St Kilda residents listed on family history website

St Kilda residents gather at the island post office
St Kilda residents gather at the island post office
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THE last people to live on the remotest outpost of the British Isles, St Kilda, will appear on a list of more than 2.5 million Scots on the Government’s family history website.

St Kilda lies some 41 miles west of the Isle of Benbecula and, after thousands of years of human occupation, its remaining 36 inhabitants was famously relocated to the mainland at their own request in 1930.

The latest release of Valuation Rolls on genealogy site ScotlandsPeople reveals the names of the tenants occupying the 16 houses before the evacuation.

It shows that all the islanders rented their single storey houses from the landowner, Norman Macleod of Macleod, who lived at Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, and that by 1930 six of the houses were empty.

Norman MacKinnon, who was married with five sons and three daughters, was among those still living there at the time. His was the largest family on the island and suffered the most in the lean winter of 1929-30.

At number five lived Neil Ferguson, who acted as ground officer for the laird and ran the post office from a tin shed next to his house.

Finlay Gillies, was the oldest islander at the age of 72, and lived in house number seven with his widowed daughter-in-law Catherine and two grandsons aged about 11 and 9. Catherine’s brother Ewen lived at number 16 with their widowed mother

Rachel MacDonald, the oldest female islander.

A sign of the dwindling population was the fact that three of the listed tenants were widows and three other evacuees in 1930 were also widows.

The decision to evacuate the island archipelago was taken because life there was becoming untenable.

READ MORE: St Kilda pictures discovered in college archives

Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said: “The 16 householders listed on St Kilda in 1930 are just a few among more than 2.5 million names, but they stand for a traditional way of life that was about to end when the remaining islanders were evacuated.

“The Valuation Rolls we are putting online now span three quarters of a century from the earliest in 1855 and allow people to discover more about Scots almost twenty years after the Census of 1911.

“They are an invaluable resource for researchers to explore when investigating family and local history.”

The newly-released rolls include 2,550,479 indexed names and addresses for every owner, tenant and occupier of property, and a record of its annual valued rent, throughout Scotland.

The new records bring the current total of index entries on the ScotlandsPeople website to over 108 million.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop, said: “I welcome the latest addition to the amazing resources that National Records of Scotland makes available so that people across the world can discover more about Scotland’s story through the history of families and communities.”

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