Fair Isle is a tiny island that sits between Orkney and Shetland off the north coast of Scotland. Lashed by constant seas, it is a haven for wildlife, but a harsh environment for humans.
Its small community has been subject to many changes, tragedies and triumphs over the years. Surviving by crofting, fishing, and the sale of its famous knitware, thousands of people have eked out a living on its unforgiving land for millennia.
But as times changed, individuals, families and groups were disrupted as people left the island, relocating to sites all over Scotland and the UK, and even as far afield as Canada and New Zealand. Most never returned.
The descendants of these adventurous souls now number into the thousands. This project aims to track them down and tell their stories.
Fair Isle Ghosts
Fair Isle Ghosts is a historical novel based on the stories of two of the families living on Fair Isle in the 19th Century: the Quoy Irvines and the Taft Wilsons. It came about following years of research into family geneaology by its author, Carol Tweedie. During her work, she discovered a lost world of photographs, artefacts, and amazing stories, and realised that what she had uncovered was only the tip of the iceberg.
This website is meant as a repository of that information, and as a place where the descendants of the people of Fair Isle, and anyone else with an interest in the subject, can come together to share what they know.
With family of his own from Fair Isle, Dr Jim Wilson has a personal, as well as a professional interest in tracing living descendants of the island's diaspora. Find out more about his genetic studies here.
This site is dedicated to the descendants of the people of Fair Isle. Read our stories, and share yours here.
On December 4, 2015, the book Fair Isle Ghosts was the subject of a feature on BBC Radio Shetland. Listen to the inverview on their Sound Cloud here from about 16 minutes in: https://soundcloud.com/bbcradioshetland/good-evening-shetland-friday-4th-december-2015