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Fair Isle

Fair Isle Cemetery

Does anyone know how many existent cemeteries there are on Fair Isle? Has anyone surveyed the memorial stones or are there records of those who are buried? I am a descendant of some of those who left in the 1830s and would very much appreciate any information.


Phil Pursley

for more information on my Fair Isle ancestors check out my Home Page at

1 Answer

answered by
Mary Smith from Leicester

Fair Isle is tiny, with only 70 inhabitants at the present time. There are two churches, a Methodist chapel and a Church of Scotland church. Both were built in the late 19th century. In the 1830's people were buried in 'graveyards' or 'churchyards' associated with churches, not 'cemeteries'; the latter were created away from places of worship as towns grew during the Industrial Revolution and the church graveyards began to fill up.

It is quite possible that many of the Fair Isle dead never had grave markers, other than (perhaps) wooden ones. Records of births, marriages and deaths(the 'parish registers' or 'parochial records') were originally kept in individual churches, but may well now be kept in a centralised store; perhaps in Lerwick (the capital of the Shetlands).

I think you might get some useful information if you contact the Shetland Public Archivist; his contact email is on this page: If they do not hold the information you are seeking, they will at least be able to point you in the right direction. Good luck!

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