Family history focus of talks in Arbroath

A group of Brechin factory girls, photographed in 1873.'Angus Council Cultural Services
A group of Brechin factory girls, photographed in 1873.'Angus Council Cultural Services

Family history and heraldry will be to the fore on the opening day of the first ever Angus Heritage Week, which gets under way next month.

Top genealogists will provide advice at the Tayroots genealogy workshops and talks which will be held at Hospitalfield House in Arbroath on September 7.

Topics covered will include how to start tracing a family tree, how to discover more than just dates of birth, marriage and death from the past and the ancestral secrets unlocked by the Scottish DNA Project.

Starting at 10am, the programme will begin with a talk by Dr Bruce Durie, professional genealogist and in-house expert of Radio Scotland’s ‘Digging Up Your Roots’.

Dr Durie will discuss the Scottish DNA Project, which has made some fascinating discoveries about the true origins of the Scottish people.

He said: “This project confirms what we always thought we knew. Scotland is a mosaic nation with Gaels in the west, Norse in the north, Britons in the south and Picts, like me, in the east.”

There will also be a talk on ‘Heraldry and Old Angus Families’ by local family historian Jack Blair, who will use the Angus coat of arms to illustrate his findings, which will be followed by a workshop for family history novices by ancestral consultant Marie Dougan.

The session will cover the basics of tracing a family tree, including how to get started, as well as accessing information provided by birth, marriage and death records, old parish records and census records.

She will also offer tips about recording details and identifying reliable online information sources.

The second workshop of the afternoon is aimed at experienced family history researchers with whom genealogist and local historian John W Irvine will share his research expertise.

The event will also feature a variety of expert groups and organisations including Angus Archives, Tay Valley Family History Society, ScotlandsPeople, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives, Deceased Online and the British Newspaper Archive which will provide family history advice.

Councillor Mairi Evans, Angus Council’s tourism spokeswoman, said: “Angus Heritage Week is an exciting way to tell the story of Angus.

“The Tayroots Genealogy workshops and talks provide a wonderful opportunity for people from near and far to find out more about their ancestors and, in particular, their family’s Angus roots and the part their family may have played in the story of Angus.”

Places at the talks and workshops are limited and booking is highly advised. Free places can be reserved by calling 01307 473262 or visiting

The Angus Heritage Week Event Programme is available at leisure centres, ACCESS offices, libraries and tourist attractions across Angus or can be downloaded from