Business tie-up to tap local family histories

Borders Journeys have teamed up with Queen Margaret University to extend the range of their ancestral tourism offers
Borders Journeys have teamed up with Queen Margaret University to extend the range of their ancestral tourism offers

A company specialising in trips around the Borders and north Northumberland has announced two special partnerships.

Borders Journeys currently specialise in providing private guided tours for small groups of visitors to the borderlands.

Now they are adding an extra layer of interest, by working with Queen Margaret University on a project to research the ancestral tourism market.

They will also be collaborating with Interface, a company that focuses on creating and strengthening links between businesses and Scottish academic bodies.

Ian Walker of Border Journeys has already met with Dr Claire Seaman and Dr Miriam Smith from Queen Margaret University to sign the project contract. The project findings will be used to develop Borders Journeys’ ancestral tourism services to the international market.

Ian has been interested in family history from a very young age.

“It started for me with my paternal grandfather,” he said, “who told me many stories about our family. That stayed with me.

“Recently, research done by Visit Scotland on ancestral tourism showed that in the last few years it has been increasing in popularity.

“Mostly, at the minute, this has been through Canadians and Americans researching their Scottish links.”

But the immediate future looks like a boom time for Scottish ancestral investigations, especially, as Ian points out, with next year’s various clan gathering to mark the Year of the Homecoming Scotland.

The partnership project will be headed by Dr Seaman, who is Senior Lecturer and Family Business Researcher at Queen Margaret University.

The project team will consist of Professor Joe Goldblatt, who is Executive Director at Queen Margaret University and Dr Bruce Durie, who is Chairman of the Ancestral Tourism Steering Group for Scotland and regularly teaches at Edinburgh and Dundee Universities. Ian said: “We are delighted that all three agreed to participate in the project.

“Our ancestral research services and tailor-made ancestral tours of Scotland take our clients on a journey of discovery where they will walk in the footsteps of their Scottish ancestors and discover the people, places and traditions connected with them.

Borders Journeys will be working with VisitScotland leading up to and throughout Homecoming Scotland 2014.