"The Earldom of Orkney and Lordship of Shetland combined has come down through all the ages as a distinct and determinate corpus. It is otherwise with the Scottish Maormordoms and Thanages, which can now be recognised only as traditional and undeterminate, in respect both of their extent and their revenues. It is this Iiving permanence, so indissolubly and so largely mixed up with the history of the islands, that gives to the Earldom its abiding interest, and renders the investigation of its records from age to age important in the study of Orkney and Shetland history". [From Goudie]
"No family in Europe beneath the rank of royalty boasts a higher antiquity, a nobler illustration, or a more romantic interest than that of St.Clair. Cradled in the baronial castle whose towers crown the brink of the most precipitous and wooded glen in the Lothians, and buried under the florid arches of the richly decorated chapel which crowns the adjacent bank, the Lords of Roslyn made Scotland ring with the renown of their deeds, which needed not to be enhanced by romance and poetry - for both are outdone by the vicissitudes of their fortunes". [from Burke's Peerage].
From the preceding citations it will be readily recognised that this work on the "Sea-Kings of Orkney" and the "St. Clair Lineage" can only serve as a fore-runner to the many volumes required for the more complete elucidation of material available in so extensive a field of research. The documents in the Diplomatarium Norvegicum, in the Vatican Records, and in the Scottish, English, and French national repositories, relating to the earlier history of Orcadia, remain unpublished, and what is worse still, uncalendared, while no attempt has as yet been made to grapple with the enormous amount of information lying hidden in the Particular Register of Sasines, the Retours of Heirs, the Wills and Testaments, and the numerous Parochial Registers, and there are of course many other supplemental sources.
A Scottish Record Society has recently been formed, and in due course its operations will arrive at the Orcadian section. This might be greatly expedited by Orcadian support, nor should the interest be limited to those resident in North Britain, as there are now more Orcadians abroad than at Home. Many are to be found in Canada, in the United States, in Australia, and in New Zealand. The Sinclairs and St.Clairs In New Zealand alone number about 1,000 out of a total population of some 650,000 Europeans and 50,000 indigenes.
The author will be glad to receive communications having reference to Orcadia or the St.Clairs.
16th April 1898