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Routes to your north-east routes

18/09/15

Ancestor hunters interested in their Aberdeen and north-east roots will be able to speak with experts at a family and local history fair on Saturday 26 September.

The Routes to Your Roots event, which is being run by the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Ancestral Tourism Partnership, is being held at Stonehaven Town Hall from 10.30am to 4.30pm.

People interested in their family or local history will also be able to chat to representatives from more than 15 organisations including the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society, the Family History Society of Buchan, the Aberdeenshire Libraries Local Studies team, the National Records of Scotland and Deceased Online. There will also be stalls from the Special Collections Centre at the University of Aberdeen, Grampian Books, and Kincardineshire Ancestors.

One of the participants is Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives which holds a huge range of original records for the north-east of Scotland, including a charter which is essentially the founding document for Stonehaven.

The document, which is a 1626 copy of the original, was a feu contract between William Keith, 7th Earl Marischal, and the inhabitants of Stonehaven. It shows the Earl granting them the right to nominate their own baillies, and sets out how land in the burgh was to be measured and divided up.

The beginning of the charter lists all the inhabitants who possessed land in Stonehaven, which makes it a highly significant document for anyone with roots in the town and for local historians.

Aberdeen City Council Communities, Housing and Infrastructure vice convener Councillor Jean Morrison said: "Last year's Routes to Your Roots event at Haddo House was a huge success so it's fantastic that it's taking place again.

"This year's event in Stonehaven is a fantastic opportunity for people who are interested in finding amore about their roots and also for those who love discovering the history of their local area.

"We look forward to welcoming residents and visitors to the event."

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council's Education, Learning and Leisure Committee, Cllr Alison Evison, said: "This is an excellent opportunity for north-east residents to find out more about their ancestry in the historic surroundings of Stonehaven.

"With such a range of organisations attending the event, there will lots of people on hand to provide advice and guidance on tracing your predecessors.

"I'm glad to see the interest in genealogy gathering momentum during September, as recently many residents thoroughly enjoyed being able to access the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives as part of Doors Open Days month."

A series of talks will also be taking place at the event throughout the day with speakers including genealogist Chris Paton, heraldry expert Gordon Casely and Tristram Clarke from the National Records of Scotland.

The event, which follows on from last year's successful Homecoming event at Haddo House, has involvement from Aberdeen City Council's Archive Department, NHS Grampian Archives, Aberdeen University and the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society.

The Archive Department has unique 800-year-old archives which cover Aberdeen and the north-east of Scotland, and is the oldest and most complete collection of records of any Scottish town. It's historical significance was recognised by UNESCO in 2013.

The records of the two local authorities and their preceding bodies are available in the Archive Department, along with local police records, along with privately disposited material ranging from Hall Russell Shipyard records to material from the former Northern Co-operative Society (NORCO).