SCOTS are being urged to find their overseas relatives and the stories of their family adventures as the nation invites the 40 million people in the Scottish diaspora to join the second year of homecoming in 2014.
The call is coming from Hamilton MSP Christina McKelvie, who recently learned from the story of her own Scots relatives living in Hamilton, Canada.
And Ms McKelvie says that Scotland’s second year of Homecoming in 2014 presents a great opportunity for people to find out more about their family history and their contribution to the wider world.
She said: “I am really excited about the second year of Homecoming in 2014. There are an estimated 40 million people in the Scottish diaspora everywhere from Argentina to Australia and in my case Canada.
“The run up to 2014 is a fantastic opportunity for Scotland to go on a genealogical treasure hunt, to find our own families in the diaspora and to invite those 40 million people to visit Scotland.
“Scots have a history of travelling the world and building communities in far flung places. We will all have great stories in our families of people who set off on boats and trains and made their lives elsewhere. These people are all part of our Scottish diaspora.”
Ms McKelvie’s own family discovery found out that her great aunt Mary McLeod O’Neill set sail alone from Greennock, across the Atlantic Ocean.
The long journey turned out to be something that changed her life in more ways than one, after she met and fell in love with Alex McGee on the boat. They were married on Christmas Day 1929 and went on to raise a family in Hamilton, Ontario.
“I’s always known I had relatives in Canada but didn’t know the story behind it,” Ms McKelvie expanded.
“In my family’s case it’s like something from Hollywood when my great aunty set off on her own from Greenock to Canada, fell in love on the boat and got married on Christmas Day, but we all have amazing stories like that in our family.”
She continued: “As families gather for Christmas and Hogmanay what better time to think of and to begin to find your ancestors who took Scotland to the rest of the world and the friends and family you may not known of, living in the diaspora.
“Scotland has great resources online with Scotland’s People to help families trace their history and to follow that history around the world.
“I’ll certainly be inviting my relatives in Hamilton, Canada, to come over in 2014 and visit Hamilton, Scotland, and I look forward to showing them the sights in my constituency.”
If you would like to find out more and begin researching your own worldwide family connections, visit www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk as a great way to start.