Page 1: About the project

About the project

Vikings, Pirates, and Shipwrecked Princesses is a folklore project that aims to collect legends relating to names (surnames and place names) in Orkney. Such legends may be termed 'folk etymology' and the purpose is to collect the stories, not to find the true meaning of names.


  • Collect stories relating to names in Orkney, for example legends of an ancestor, or stories that explain farm names and other place names.
  • Explore what makes such stories meaningful for people and how they are part of our island heritage.

What you are asked to do

  • Tell any stories you know which relate to a name, either a family name or a place name.

What you are asked to give permission for

  • For us to collect your stories.
  • The stories you share will be included in a printed book/booklet, and in academic publications. They may be edited.
  • The stories will also be retold by storytellers at public events, and a recording with a storyteller will be uploaded online.
  • You may choose whether or not to have your name associated with the story when it is published.
  • The collected stories will be kept afterwards for possible use in future research by Ragnhild Ljosland, but the original data will not be shared outwith UHI.         

Data protection

The project will not collect any personal data apart from your name. It will not ask for any sensitive information.

If you choose for your own full name not to be published in association with the story, any names that form part of the story may still be published. For example, if your name is Jeannie Nicholson, and you tell a story of Prince Nicholas who became the ancestor of the Nicholsons, the name Nicholson will appear in print and retellings of the story, but it will not say ‘told by Jeannie Nicholson’ beside it.

The data collected in this survey will be stored on the secure Univeristy of the Highlands and Islands server in a password protected area. It will be stored indefinitely (minimum 10 years) unless you withdraw it.

Should you have any concerns, please contact the University of the Highlands and Islands research ethics officer Fiona Leiper on 


You can withdraw from the project and ask for your data to be deleted up to 1 month submission, by emailing Ragnhild Ljosland on or phoning 07825617346.

If you withdraw, your own data in this online survey will be deleted and anything you wrote will no longer be included in the project. However, it is likely that other participants may also have told a version of the same story. Unless they also withdraw, their version of the story will still be included in the project.

Benefits and risks of taking part

A benefit of taking part is that you may enjoy telling the story and seeing it in print. You may feel proud to have contributed and strengthen the sense of community. In October to December 2022, you are welcome to attend planned events in various community halls around Orkney, where a storyteller will tell some of the collected stories.

There are no significant risks in taking part. 

Contact researcher: Dr Ragnhild Ljosland, University of the Highlands and Islands / 07825617346

Independent contact: