Genealogy fair offers top tips for family research

DUNDEE will become a Mecca for family history researchers from across the area next weekend when it hosts the annual Tayroots Festival.

A joint project between Angus and Dundee City Councils, the festival offers a one-stop shop for researchers keen to find out the finer points of tracing their family histories or how to get started.

The event next Saturday, September 24, at Discovery Point will also feature a number of top genealogists who will be able to set their feet on the correct path.

In addition to a beginners’ workshop and lectures will also be given by genealogist, author and broadcaster Dr Bruce Durie; author, genealogist and ‘Scottish Genes’ blogger Chris Paton, and Archivist Andrew Nicoll, Keeper of the Scottish Catholic Archive.

Bruce Durie presents BBC Radio Scotland’s popular series ‘Digging Up Your Roots’ and is returning to Dundee to discuss the Scottish DNA Project, which is based at the University of Strathclyde – in his presentation ‘Genes and Genealogy – Who Are You Really?’

Dr Durie said: “DNA is the ancestral ‘barcode’ we all carry that connects right back to the origins of life. That means different sorts of tests can be used to determine recent relationships, deeper ethnic background and the migrations our ancestors took to wherever we live now. It’s the latest club in the genealogist’s bag – but like any club, you have to know how best to use it and when.”

Chris Paton will be offering a workshop on ‘Getting Started with Your Family History’ for anyone who is keen but needs help to get going or solve problems or get around obstacles.

He said: “I’ll be giving a general talk on how to get under way with your Scottish family history, giving a broad description of the kinds of records that can get you started and describing where problems often occur and offering a few solutions.

He will also deliver a talk on ‘The Weavers of Perth – boom and bust is not a new concept’.

Keeper of the Scottish Catholic Archive Andrew Nicoll will attend to cast light on Catholic family history and to talk about what researchers can derive from the rich resource of the archive.

Stallholders at the fair, which will run between 10am and 4.30pm in the Robert Falcon Scott Suite, will include representatives from a variety of Scottish groups and businesses. Family history societies, local history and heritage societies from the Borders, Fife, Angus, Dundee, the Central Belt and Aberdeenshire will provide free information, books for sale, and practical guidance on family history throughout Scotland.

The Genealogy Fair is free to attend, and visitors will also be offered half-price admission to the Discovery exhibition and vessel.

The day’s programme is: 10.15 to 11.30am, workshop - Getting Started with Your Family History, by Chris Paton; 11.45am to 1pm, lecture – Genes and Genealogy – Who Are You Really? The Scottish DNA Project explained, by Dr Bruce Durie; 1.30 to 2.30pm, lecture - Scottish Catholic Family History by Andrew Nicoll; 2.45 to 4pm, lecture - The Weavers of Perth – boom and bust is not a new concept! By Chris Paton.

Doors open at 10am, and the fair and the lectures are free to attend, but places may be limited on Chris Paton’s beginner’s workshop at 10.15am and can be booked by e-mailing Arriving in plenty of time for the other lectures is also advised. Further information about the event is available online at