Are you one of Northern Ireland’s many Andrews?
Many of us living in Northern Ireland have ancestral ties to Scotland, with 8.1% of the population stating they have some ability to communicate in Ulster Scots.
However, not everyone has uncovered their own family tree. With Andrew being one of the Top 100 most popular names in Northern Ireland and approximately 50 million people worldwide of Scottish descent, you could be one of them.
In the run up to Homecoming Scotland 2014, this St Andrews Day, VisitScotland is encouraging Ulster Scots to unearth their family history.
Whether your name is Andrew, MacDonald or another leading Scottish clan, you can discover if you are a descendant of a weaver, quiet crofter or a rading and marauding clan.
The Year of Homecoming will celebrate the very best of Scottish food and drink, Scotland’s outstanding active and natural resources as well as creativity, culture and ancestral heritage through a programme of over 250 exciting events.
Researching your family tree is a pastime that rewards again and again, and there is a vast collection of local historical publications, maps and archives available to help you uncover the real Scot in you.
To begin your research, head to Scotland’s People Centre located in the heart of its historic capital city, Edinburgh.
It is the largest family history centre in Scotland and home to the National Records of Scotland, one of the most varied collections of archives in Europe.
Other archives can be found throughout Scotland, including Co Leis Thu? on the idyllic island of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, The Ewart Library and Archive Centre in the beautiful region of Dumfries and Galloway famed for its wildlife or amongst the sweeping valleys, emerald forest and heather-clad moorlands in the Scottish Borders Archive and Local History Centre in Hawick.
In addition tailored tours are available throughout Scotland, including Scotia Roots Ancestral Tour. Here an itinerary will be designed based on areas inhabited by your ancestors, enabling you to go beyond the written family history and literally walk in their footsteps. You could find yourself pacing down the same path that your family followed on their way to work or in the church where they were married.