With the death of Alexander Sutherland’s mother in child birth and his father shortly before in Jamaica, he was brought up and educated in the south of England by his guardians. His paternal grandparents were Dr Hugh Sutherland of Kirkwall and Margaret Graeme (b. 1707, d. 1762).
The Graemes were another of the Orkney lairds with property in Holm on the East Mainland of Orkney. They were descended from George Graham, Bishop of Orkney (b. 1565, d. 1645) and his son, Patrick Graeme of Rothiesholm and Greenwall, I of Greameshall.
With the death in 1818 of the unmarried Admiral Alexander Graham VI of Graemeshall (b. 1741), a cousin of Alexander Sutherland’s father, the estate passed to Alexander. The admiral had never met the 12 year old who was to inherit his estate.
Alexander married Mary Ann Graham. He adopted the name Sutherland Graeme as opposed to just Sutherland, to reflect his ownership of the Graemeshall estate. He was therefore the first of the “Sutherland Graemes”. He only made three visits to Orkney.<>Alexander and Mary Ann Graham had a son:
Alexander Malcolm Sutherland (Graeme) died in 1894.