Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

6/9/2005

Scottish Roots – Dig into the Past

The website www.ancestralscotland.com has been created for people interested in learning more about their Scottish family ties.

It is hoped to encourage them not only to do their research online, but to become “genealogy tourists” and come over and see for themselves what modern Scotland is like.

Designed to be simple and user-friendly, it is possible to enter a place name, parish name, or even a surname, and begin the long trail to discover where their ancestors originally came from, and what their life might have been like then.

With an estimated 28 million people of Scots descent around the world – Bill Gates, Donald Trump, and Tommy Hilfiger among them to name but a few – the potential of the website is huge, even more so with its direct link to the www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk another site which charges a small fee for downloading information and copies of birth or death certificates. It has just added all the data from the 1901 Census in Scotland to its comprehensive database.

The new site, devised by VisitScotland, is free to all-comers aims to become the definitive web portal for people interested in discovering the Scottish connections in their family history. It was launched simultaneously in Scotland and New York, with Ayr-born supermodel Kirsty Hume doing the honours on the other side of the Atlantic

Although the website focuses firmly on convincing family history enthusiasts that they should travel to Scotland to complete their family tree, it will also cater for those who feel sure they have a connection to Scotland but don’t really know how to get started.

Tourism and Culture Minister Mike Watson said that combined, the two sites offer a perfect “one-stop shop” for customers who wanted to trace their roots.

“In attracting those with Scottish ancestors to come to Scotland ancestralscotland.com supplies an essential package. Providing not only the ancestral details, but also marketing what Scotland has to offer – the culture, vibrant cities, friendly people and an outstanding natural landscape.

“The opportunity for Scotland to benefit from this growth is huge and a major opportunity to attract the estimated 28 million expatriate Scots and close descendants around the world to trace their roots and visit their origins.

“This is a one-stop shop for those eager to trace their roots and gain a sense of where they came from. Today I have done just that. It was fascinating, I would encourage everyone to do the same. Not only look into your family ancestry but bring it to life and by re-visiting your history.”

VisitScotland has undertaken extensive research and consultation on genealogy tourism and is confident that genealogy forms an important stimulus for travel. It is one of three – the others are golf and culture – identified as of prime importance in attracting visitors.

Maureen Sprott, Marketing Manager at VisitScotland said:

“Amongst certain markets particularly in North America and Canada, we have discovered that genealogy is a strong motivational factor in travelling to Scotland. As electronic marketing is the most effective method of reaching this market we felt that a web portal needed to be created.

“An extensive number of Scots heritage websites are currently available on the Internet but we felt that none of these specifically linked genealogy and tourism for consumers ease of use. The essential difference between this web portal and other sites, will be that the portal will seek to create an interest in travel to Scotland not just a general interest in Scotland.

“It is an opportunity to persuade consumers already interested in their Scottish family roots that they will learn much more about who they are if they travel here and stand on home soil, and to inspire them with the range of experiences they can include in such a trip. Only when they are in Scotland can they truly appreciate the culture that they and their ancestors are part of.”

VisitScotland will be supporting the launch of the ancestral history website in January with an extensive marketing campaign to encourage potential genealogy tourists to visit the land of their ancestors and will be creating a series of reciprocal links to other selected Scottish interest and heritage websites.

Other useful sites:

National Archives of Scotland

VisitScotland

National Museums of Scotland

National Library of Scotland

General Register Office for Scotland

Scottish Natural Heritage

National Galleries of Scotland

Source-Scottish Executive

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