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About Rousay Roots



My name is John Marwick and I live in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The website was designed by my late uncle Robert C Marwick (RCM) who was born and raised on the island of Rousay in Orkney, Scotland.

 If you are looking for ancestors in the Parish of Rousay, then this website is the place for you.

The island of Rousay and  the small neighbouring islands of Egilsay, Wyre, and Eynhallow, make up the Parish of Rousay.

If you would like to contact me regarding your Rousay ancestry with any queries, please click on the Contact link on the left side of this page or email me at

John Marwick


  After RCM retired he researched the histories of most of the old families in  the parish and published the results in a book called Rousay Roots which ran to three editions but is now out of print.  However, the whole of its contents appear on this website along with a wealth of material which does not appear in the book.

The information displayed on this site includes -

  • a copy of RCM's book Rousay Roots which contains the family histories of most of the old families in the parish

  • eight censuses of the parish dating from 1841 to 1911

  • gravestone inscriptions from all seven cemeteries in the parish

  • a list of common surnames in the parish

  • lots of old photographs from many families

  • maps of Orkney, Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre

  • links to other sites of  genealogical interest

Since this website went online in 1998, RCM received hundreds of emails from residents in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and South Africa seeking information about their Rousay forebears.  Many of them have followed up the discovery of their ancestors with a visit to Rousay to see where they had lived.

RCM has written two other books about Rousay -

  • From My Rousay Schoolbag covers the history of schooling in the island from 1725 to the present day.  It includes many reminiscences by former pupils of their schooldays

  • In Dreams We Moor is an affectionate look at the island of his birth.

Rousay Roots and these books are no longer in publication (and won't be published again),  but are occasionally available online from Amazon and other similar sites.

John S Marwick

Banner photo - Wasbister, Rousay is bathed in the warm glow of an Orkney sunset.

Photo shown here by courtesy of Charles Tait and Alistair Marwick  - "Saviskaill Bay and Wasbister Loch from Innister, Rousay".
Photo copyright