The early 19th century in Scotland marked the time of the notorious Highland Clearances, when landowners evicted their tenants to establish large sheep farms that were more profitable than collecting rent. The Clearances ushered in an era of dislocation, urban migration, and on occasion, famine and civil disobedience. Thomas Douglas, Earl of Selkirk, alleviated the problem by organizing emigration from the area to the Canadian Maritimes and the Red River in what now is Manitoba. By the same token, the Hudson Bay Company was an important recruiter of workers–mainly from Orkney but also from Shetland and Caithness–most of whom were employed around Hudson Bay. On the other hand, as early as 1792 the ringleaders of a group resisting the growth of sheep herding were tried and sentenced to transportation to the colonies.
This book contains references to people in the Northern Highlands of Scotland and the Northern Isles, at home and abroad, between 1800 and 1850. The counties concerned in the Northern Highlands are Ross and Cromarty, Sutherland and Caithness; and in the Northern Isles, the counties of Orkney and Shetland—locations figuring largely in the Highland Clearances. The persons named were derived from primary sources such as court records, contemporary newspapers and journals, monumental inscriptions, and documents located in archives in the United Kingdom. On the whole, the entries bring together emigrants; their destinations, especially in North America and Australasia; and their kin who remained in Scotland.