Shetland Family History Society

The association was established in 1991, its aim being to offer assistance to members researching their genealogy.  It also aims to provide a forum whereby people interested in studying their family history in Shetland can come together and help each other with their research. 

The Society has numerous members in Shetland, Scotland, the rest of the UK, and overseas.  80 percent of the Society's members do not live in Shetland.

Information about Shetland Family History Society


Shetland FHS
Shetland Amenity Trust


Research Enquiries

Membership Enquiries

Other General Enquiries

Research Centre

A Research Centre is available, located in the Amenity Trust building in Garthspool, Lerwick, where many resources are available.  These resources include unpublished data collected and donated by members.  Other resources held at the Library include:

  • 1841-1901 Census Returns
  • International Genealogical Index (IGI) for Shetland
  • Shetland Old Parish Registers pre-1855

Shetland Parishes

A map showing the location of parishes in Shetland is accessible.  These include:

  • Aithsting
  • Bressay
  • Burra
  • Cunningsburgh
  • Delting
  • Dunrossness
  • Fair Isle
  • Fetlar
  • Foula
  • Lerwick
  • Lunnsating
  • Mid, North & South Yell
  • Nesting
  • Northmavine
  • Noss
  • Papa Stour
  • Quarff
  • Sandness
  • Sandsting
  • Sandwick
  • Skerries
  • Tingwall
  • Unst
  • Walls
  • Whalsay
  • Whiteness and Weisdale


Many publications are available, which incorporate: 

  • Back Issues of their Journal, Coontin Kin (Issues 1-32 available)
  • Binders
  • Census Indexes 1841-1901
  • Dedication Booklets
  • Memorial Inscription and Dedication Booklets
  • One Family, Six Names - well researched book regarding the surnames Arcus and Harcus, which are common in Shetland, along with four other variants
  • Shetland Pre-1855 Parish Sources for Family Historians
  • Shetland Surnames: Information regarding the origin of Shetland surnames and how they came to be in Shetland.  A dictionary of surnames is also included

Research Service

Because the Society is aware that many of their members do not live in Shetland so are unable to access the local resources, the Society has a small number of volunteers who are willing to undertake research on your behalf. 

Any research undertaken for members of the Society is done free of charge, instead being included in the annual cost for membership.

If you are not a member, a small charge is made to cover the research expenses.

Details of links to other sites you may find of use are also accessible.


  1. Family Tree Resources
  2. Family History Societies
  3. Shetland Family History Society