THE world's largest genealogy showcase is coming to Scotland for the first time for the country's year of culture, sport and heritage.
Organisers have managed to revive a plan to stage the BBC spin-off Who Do You Think You Are? Live show in Glasgow for Homecoming 2014, with up to 18,000 people expected to take part.
Last year the show was shelved, but a deal has been reached after talks between the Scottish Government and organisers and producers Immediate Media.
Loading article content
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said it would help firms "tap into the ancestral tourism market gold mine this year".
The event is scheduled for an August slot in the year-round celebrations, which include ancestral events such as Bannockburn Live in Stirling in June, the Highland Homecoming in Inverness in September and October and clan gatherings throughout the year, as well as the Ryder Cup Golf Championships in September.
It is believed the negotiations involved the Scottish Government's Ancestral Tourism Steering Group, which was set up to help firms and communities access up to £500 million a year from tourists looking to discover their roots.
With more than 50 million people across the globe claiming Scottish ancestry, the scope and potential of the ancestral market is described as vast. Each year hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the world come to Scotland either to explore their ancestry further by accessing local records or to get a feel for the place where their ancestors lived, tourism leaders said.
Mr Ewing added: "There is tremendous curiosity to uncover family roots, especially in the USA, a country that boasts an estimated 9.4 million Scottish descendants."
Mike Cantlay, chairman of tourism body VisitScotland, said: "People don't just want to research their roots online, they want to come here and walk in the footsteps of their ancestors, experience the sights, sounds and atmosphere and join in the many Homecoming events featuring ancestry at their heart."
George MacKenzie, chairman of the Ancestral Tourism Group in Scotland, said research showed "1.5 million people in the UK are interested in finding out more about their ancestry and planning to visit Scotland in the next two years, so it's fantastic news to hear this show will be coming to Glasgow in 2014".
The popular genealogy show famously featured the colourful family history of singer Annie Lennox - one ancestor was hauled before the Kirk after giving birth to an illegitimate child - and now the live version will bring workshops and stalls to the SECC from August 29 to 31. Members of the public will have the opportunity to meet genealogy experts to help them unravel their past, as well as celebrities who have taken part in the television series.
Previous episodes of the show have also included comedian John Bishop, singer Marianne Faithfull, sports presenter Gary Lineker and actor Alan Cumming.
Andy Healy, Show Director of Who Do You Think You Are? Live, said it was the first time in the show's eight-year life that it was to be held outside of London.
He said the event "helps genealogists, from beginners to experts, to further unravel their family history stories".