Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

11/7/2004

£1.6 Million for Scottish Family History

Deputy Justice Minister Hugh Henry and Tourism Minister Mike Watson today announced £1.6 million to create a Scottish Family History Research Service.

The service, to be fully operational in 2006, will create a ‘one-stop-shop’ for genealogy research by bringing together services provided separately by project partners the General Register Office for Scotland, National Archives of Scotland and Court of the Lord Lyon.

There will be a family history ‘campus’ based around the General Register House and New Register House buildings. Online and other facilities will be integrated to provide a seamless and enhanced service to family historians.

Deputy Justice Minister Hugh Henry said:
‘I am very pleased to announce as part of Spending Review 2002 the approval of £1.6 m of funding over four years for this extremely innovative and valuable project.

“This will involve three of the most respected institutions in government in Scotland in pooling their many centuries’ worth of records and expertise to provide a modern, seamless and customer-oriented service for family historians.

“This reflects well the Scottish Executive’s priorities of cross-cutting initiatives and putting the emphasis on service delivery. So we are pleased to have agreed funding for the project as part of this year’s Spending Review. We have allocated £1.6 million over the next four years to help with the capital costs of creating a first class facility. This will not only be of value to Scottish ancestor hunters, but to international genealogical tourists.”

Mike Watson said:
“This will provide a family history experience as well as a research facility. This first-class facility will build on the resources already available to genealogist through services such as ancestralscotland.com which I launched this Spring.

“Genealogy is the third most popular interest among people using the World Wide Web. Its importance to Scotland is illustrated by the fact the 20 per cent of US visitors to Scotland said that tracing their family heritage was the reason behind their visit. This has huge potential to our tourism industry.”

Notes For News Editors

The Scottish Family History Research Service will build on work already begun by the partners in creating digital images of their records, and online versions of indexes and catalogues. It will enable staff to give a fuller, more tailored service to genealogists to provide enhanced exhibition facilities, and to exploit more fully the visitor potential of the magnificent Register House buildings. A part of the project will encourage local authorities to set up similar one-stop-shops in their areas. In addition, the Scottish Family History Research Service will bring together the various internet facilities offered by the project partners to improve the links between them, and work towards seamless online searching of the resources they contain.

At present, the main records which individuals use as the basis for their family history are held by three separate institutions (General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), National Archives of Scotland (NAS) and the Court of the Lord Lyon). They occupy two buildings – General Register House and New Register House – which lie in close proximity at the East End of Princes Street in Edinburgh. The project being announced today aims to exploit this proximity to create a Register House campus that is fully integrated behind the scenes and seamless to the customer who visits or calls.

The GROS is an Associated Department of The Scottish Executive and forms part of the Scottish Administration. One of its functions is to make its genealogical database available to members of the public. It holds the statutory registers of births, marriages and deaths and census records for Scotland and Old Parish Registers of the Church of Scotland.

NAS is an Executive Agency and Associated Department of the Scottish Executive. NAS has one of the most varied collections of archives in the British Isles. It is the main archive for sources for the history of Scotland as a separate kingdom, her role in the British Isles and the links between Scotland and many other countries over the centuries. NAS holds records spanning the 12th to 21st centuries, touching on virtually every aspect of Scottish life. As well as being the repository for the public and legal records of Scotland, NAS also holds many local and private archives. It also advises Scottish government departments, institutions, businesses and private individuals on the care of their records.

On behalf of the Sovereign the Lord Lyon King of Arms exercises the Royal Prerogative to grant Arms to ‘virtuous and well deserving persons’. The Court of the Lord Lyon is a court of law, and deals with petitions for grants of Arms. The Court holds the Registers of Arms and of Genealogies as well as other collections.

Contact: Siobhan McGuire: 0131 244 2656

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