» Skip to content

Shetland Archives

Ordnance survey map for Sandwick, Unst Ordnance survey map for Sandwick, Unst Zoom Many useful sources for place name studies are deposited in Shetland Archives. Documentary sources include:

Ordnance Survey (OS) maps and object name books. The original name books include place names gathered as part of the 19th century OS survey and record variations of spelling and who provided the information. They are held in the National Record of Scotland with microfilm copies available in Shetland Archives.

Notional Records of Scotland can add more detail to the OS maps, often listing houses which do not appear on the maps.

Scattald maps are another useful source. 19th century surveyors drew plans of the scattald land throughout Shetland. One such surveyor, Andrew Dishington Mathewson of East Yell, produced numerous maps and reports of land divisions throughout Shetland, some even showing names of individual rigs.

Lawrence Williamson's Fetlar Place Names Lawrence Williamson's Fetlar Place Names Zoom Laurence Williamson recorded place names from Yell and Fetlar in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He used small odd shapes and sizes of paper to write on and used a magnifying glass – the result being the manuscripts are very hard to read.

Shetland Archives also holds several place name maps including for Aithsting, Cunningsburgh and several smaller islands, and a good oral collection with several recordings discussing local place names.