Page last updated at 23:15 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 00:15 UK

First family history centre opens

Scots and expatriates can use the new centre to investigate their family roots

Scotland's first purpose-built centre for researching ancestral history is due to be opened by the first minister.

It is hoped the Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock will make it easier for people to trace their family tree.

The facility has had a £5m facelift and now brings together an archive centre, registration service, local and family history under one roof.

Alex Salmond will open it in Scotland's Homecoming year and the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns' birth.

The Homecoming programme aims to attract expatriates back to Scotland to celebrate the country's culture and heritage.

It is hoped some of the estimated 40m people around the world who can claim Scottish roots will use the new centre to research their ancestors.

The facility has been created in the town's Kay Park and is built around a statue of Burns.

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