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John Marwick

About Rousay Roots

Robert C Marwick

This website was designed by my uncle Robert C Marwick (RCM) to help those who are seeking information about their ancestors who hailed from the parish of Rousay in Orkney, Scotland.  If you are looking for Rousay ancestors, then this website is the place for you.

My uncle's advancing years and a failing memory have made it difficult for him to continue managing this website, so he has passed it on to me, John Marwick.  As its new owner I'll be responsible for the maintenance of the site.

RCM was born and raised on the beautiful island of Rousay, in Orkney, Scotland.  Our family tree is firmly rooted in Rousay as almost all our traceable forebears lived out their lives on this island, earning their living by farming its land and fishing the seas around it.

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

 Both books are available from Brinnoven the publisher.

John S Marwick


Banner photo - Wasbister 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