‘The Arthurs’

A feature exhibition exploring Shetland surnames Arthur and Arthurson is now on display at the Shetland Museum and Archives. The collaboration between the Shetland Family History Society and the Museum and Archives is part of the society’s ‘Sharing Shetland Surnames’ project. Each year they collaborate on a feature exhibition with past years focussing on Shetland surnames Abernethy, Goudie and Robertson.

The West Ridge Ship Wreck, 2015

The exhibition is sponsored by Arthur & Simpson and comprises photos and biographies compiled by the Society members illustrating the lives of some of the Shetland Arthurs and Arthursons. An event was held at the weekend for relations and friends to come together and share stories and discuss the research.

One of the many featured biographies is of John Arthurson who was born in Westerwick, Sandsting in 1838. He went on to become a Ship’s Master and in July 1883 he captained the West Ridge carrying a cargo of coal from Burkenhead to Bombay. The ship and all hands were lost, last seen off the coast of Spain and never heard of again. John’s widow and four children later came back to Shetland. During the 2015 sonar search for the missing Malaysian airliner MH-370, the wreck of the West Ridge was discovered in the Indian Ocean. Lying 12,000 feet down, the shipwreck is one of the deepest ever discovered in the world.

The Shetland Family History Society was founded in 1991 and volunteer members research Shetland ancestry and help members of the public to research their past. The exhibition will run until 14 July and is on display outside the Archives.

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