The population of North Walls and Brims in the 1861 Census was 597; by 1911 it was 401. To try and get behind what was happening, I’m starting to look at children born there in 1835, 1845, 1855 and 1865. Were they migrants? Where did they die? I know that this approach is far from perfect (how long had they lived in another place, were they there short term or long term etc etc) but it is a start. Why they moved is of course the big question. Aiming to update as I go along.

Death place/ year of birth1835184518551865
N Walls/Brims34?22
Rest of island200
Rest of Orkney322
Unknown1 (at sea)41 (at sea)1

Some notes

  • 1835 – working on identifying who was born in 1835 in North Walls or Brims. OPR covers South Walls too and not all baptisms within a few days.
  • 1845 – One very probably died as a young child either in Walls or in Birsay, Orkney. Two, possibly three, women worked in Scotland but came back, two to the island, one to Stromness. Merchant seamen and families account for the England and two of the Scotland deaths. I suspect two of the unknowns could also have been merchant seamen.
  • 1855 – Stromness was the most popular destination in Orkney for this cohort as for 1845 and 1865. Scotland death was a merchant seaman drowned at Greenock.
  • 1865 – the two who died in Walls were under 30, one in the dreadful year 1871.

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2 comments so far

  1. Pauleen says:

    The main advantage is that you have census records, often good OPRs and later BDMs. Of course what they did between times can be a mystery…possibly seasonal farm work or similar. But it’s necessary to start somewhere.

    1. Janealogy says:

      Yes. Census records are a huge advantage for tracking people. It's often the in-between stuff that is the most interesting. For example my x3 removed first cousin who was born and died in Orkney but had rather an exciting life in the middle:

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