chapter  5
14 Pages

Genealogy tourism – The Scottish market opportunities

WithM. Birtwistle

Genealogy is, by definition, the process by which basic information about births, marriages and deaths is linked together to form a family tree. According to Fowler and Fowler (1974) ‘genealogy’ is ‘the account of descent from ancestor by enumeration of intermediate persons; the investigation of the pedigree of a particular person or family’. Most genealogists, however, go further than this and collect information about the way of life of the people concerned, their occupations, stories about them, etc. An old faded family photograph may instigate an investigation into not only identifying the people but finding out where and how they lived – this is ‘family history’. The terms are essentially interchangeable but ‘family history’ using everyday

language perhaps reflects more exactly the ‘amateurs’ who constitute family history societies worldwide, ‘genealogy’ more the professionals. The amateur enthusiast will often use the term ‘genealogy’ to mean ancestral research. For the purposes of this chapter, the terms ‘genealogy’, ‘family history’ and ‘ancestral research’ are synonymous. Genealogy has previously provided the focus, in 1999, for a targeted British

Tourist Authority (BTA) campaign, which encouraged ‘descendants of immigrants and transported convicts’ to come home for the millennium and trace their roots. The campaign tied in with millennium celebrations at the Public Record Office and several family history projects. Individual Tourist Boards have also organised specific, geographically targeted ‘Homecoming’ events, e.g. the Orkney Tourist Board’s Homecoming Event 1999, the Welsh Tourist Board’s ‘Homecoming’ campaign for 2000. At a local level, initiatives such as the Isle of Bute’s ‘Sons and Daughters’ project1

and Ayrshire and Arran Tourism Industry Forum’s (A&ATIF) family history project have placed genealogy on the tourist map.