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John Stewart

John Stewart (courtesy of John Stewart's family) John Stewart (courtesy of John Stewart's family)ZoomJohn Stewart, a Shetlander working in Aberdeen, followed in Jakobsen's footsteps establishing a comprehensive project to record Shetland place names. In 1951, adopting a model from Western Norway, he issued almost 5000 numbered questionnaires to school children to take home to their parents and neighbouring households, asking them to write down every name they knew, recording them as they were pronounced (eg Soombra, Saanis) and grouping as follows:

1) Names on your Croft

2) Names in the Hill

3) Names at the Shore

4) Names in the Sea

The response was overwhelming. Almost 1200 original sheets are now deposited in the Shetland Archives, some listing up to 250 names.

Blank Recording Sheet (Shetland Archives) Blank Recording Sheet (Shetland Archives)ZoomStewart worked on his collection for years and his study of Shetland island and farm names was published as Shetland Place-names in 1987, 10 years after his death. Like Jakobsen's book, names are arranged by linguistic element, but with the addition of grid references and a good index.

The book includes 4000 place names, but Stewart's entire collection stretches to 30,000 names. The Shetland Place Names Project is building on his work by asking local residents to help pinpoint the exact locations of thousands of previously un-mapped place names.