Local Border ancestry companies draw crowds at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in London.

Local ancestry companies draw crowds at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in London.



Edinburgh – Three Borders ancestral and historical research companies recently travelled to Olympia, London to exhibit at Who Do You Think You Are? Live (WDYTYA? Live). Over the last weekend of February, Borders Journeys, Borders Ancestry and Berwick Timelines shared a stand at the live event of the world’s biggest family history show. They chatted to hundreds about connecting with their Scottish ancestry and promoted the stunning but often neglected Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway and North Northumberland as travel destinations.


WDYTYA?  sees celebrities explore their family trees, uncovering sometimes shocking truths about their ancestry. The show is beloved worldwide, and the live event is an enormous spectacle which gathers hundreds of ancestral research experts and thousands of enthusiasts keen to explore their ancestry. At the event, Borders Journeys, Borders Ancestry and Berwick Timelines teamed up with VisitScotland to answer questions about Scotland’s Year of Homecoming – though, as Ian Walker of Borders Journeys says, ‘It doesn’t have to be this year that you visit – you can come home anytime!’


Ian was keen to invite ancestral enthusiasts at the event to connect with their Scottish roots and to visit the beautiful Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway. Borders Journeys offers ancestral research services as well as individually tailored ancestral tours, allowing people to walk in the footsteps of their Scottish ancestors. The company researches family history throughout Scotland, specialising in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway. Unsurprisingly, these tours attracted great interest at WDYTYA? Live.


For the event, Ian teamed up with Susie Douglas from Borders Ancestry and Jim Herbert from Berwick Timelines. Susie specialises in researching family histories with roots in the Scottish Borders and North Northumberland, while Jim explores the history of Berwick-upon-Tweed. At WDYTYA? Live the three answered hundreds of queries and were staggered by the level of interest in visiting the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway. ‘So often people just fly into Edinburgh or Glasgow, travel north to the Highlands, and think they’ve seen Scotland – there’s so much that they’re missing!’ says Ian. ‘We’re trying to change that!’ Ian was invited to join the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) at the event – an international organisation with a strict code of conduct of which Susie was already a member. He’s thrilled by the success of WDYTYA? Live.


It’s also good news for tourism in the regions – a recent VisitScotland publication predicted that ancestral tourism could bring around £2.4bn to Scotland over five years. Increased tourism has the potential to boost local businesses – not only museums and cafes, but accommodation providers, shops, craft centres and more. Indeed, tourism can transform local economies. Events like WDYTYA? Live provide an unrivalled opportunity to promote Scotland beyond the Central Belt and Highlands. Ian and Susie can’t wait for the next one – they will be exhibiting together at WDYTYA? Live Glasgow at the end of August.


Who Do You Think You Are? Live Glasgow will take place at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre from 29 August to 31 August 2014. More information and tickets will be available nearer the time.

Pictured above is an Australian family that I did research for and organised an ancestral tour to Lockerbie last year – Edith, John & Carol meet their ancestors.



Latest Articles