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Thursday, 24 January, 2002, 15:45 GMT
Scots census goes online
Hamish Clark, left, Tourism Minister Mike Watson, centre, and VisitScotland's Philip Riddle
Actor Hamish Clark, left, helps launch the website
The 1901 Scottish census is going online and officials are aiming to avoid the problems which beset the website for England and Wales.

That site proved so successful that it crashed on its launch day after 1.2 million people tried to search for relatives.

However, the General Register Office for Scotland, whose site will contain the details, is confident it will be able to cope with the public demand.

VisitScotland logo
VisitScotland hopes to avoid problem
The service comes at a cost, however. Users must pay 6 to access the database for a 24-hour period.

VisitScotland hopes the availability of the information will encourage tourists to come to Scotland to see their ancestors' homes.

VisitScotland marked the occasion with the launch of its own website - ancestralscotland.com - which aims to offer a one-stop internet guide to tracing family history.

It also provides a link to the GRO site, which leads to the 1901 census pay-per-view site, and offers information about genealogy.

The website launch in Glasgow was attended by Hamish Clark, a star of the Monarch of the Glen series.

Accessed online

Ayrshire-born supermodel Kirsty Hume; her husband Donovan Leitch, from Glasgow; actor Alan Cumming, from Carnoustie and US actor Kyle MacLachlan, are due to be at a launch in New York on Thursday.

The Scottish records from 1881 and 1891 can already be accessed online.

However, 1901 will become Scotland's first census of the Edwardian era to become available on the internet.

Officials estimate that more than 28 million amateur historians and people with Scottish ancestry will log on to trace their family roots.

Mental state

The information on offer includes a range of details about those living at the start of the previous century, including where they lived, their age and even their mental state.

The 1901 census website for England and Wales ground to a halt for several hours after its launch while technicians worked to improve access.

During Lords question time on Wednesday, the UK Government refused to say when full access to the site would be allowed.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal said access was currently limited to users at the London-based Family Record Centre, the Public Record Office and 150 libraries and service centres across England and Wales.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Fiona Walker reports
"The internet has made family seachers easier"
See also:

04 Jan 02 | UK
Tracing your lineage online
03 Jan 02 | UK
Census website still jammed
31 Dec 01 | dot life
Dig up your family tree online
06 Dec 01 | England
No 'English' on the census form
09 Oct 01 | UK
Jedi makes the census list
Internet links:


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