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Last Updated: Friday, 14 December 2007, 15:24 GMT
Boost for family history research
A page from an old census
The records date back as far as 1553
Scotland's first family history centre has opened in Dundee.

The facility brings together the Registrar's office, city archivist, the local history library and the burials administration section.

Staff in the centre at Central Library should be able to trace most families back to the late 17th century.

They have access to large catalogues of books, directories, maps, plans, photographs and even images of gravestones.

Staff can also issue authenticated certificates of any Scottish birth, death, civil partnership or marriage record, after digital images held by the General Register Office for Scotland were made available.

If answers cannot be found on site, there are also electronic links to other agencies.

Family Tree

More than a decade ago Dundee City Council was the first local authority in Scotland to introduce a family history service, when the genealogy unit at the city's registrar's office set up an informal partnership with other record holders.

It was decided to re-house the facilities in one central location because of the popularity of the services with locals and expatriates.

Births, deaths and marriages from 1855, divorce records from 1984, the civil partnership register from 2005, old parochial records from 1553 to 1854 and open census records covering 1841 to 1901 can be accessed.

If researchers can establish a date of death, staff can also find a wealth of information from their database of the city's graveyards, including the lair's proprietor, interments, relationships and pictures of the gravestone itself.

Bailie Helen Wright, convener of Dundee City Council's social work and health committee, said: "All of the services essential to the compilation of a standard family tree are available here and bringing them together in one place will boost the city's already excellent services to the growing ancestral tourism market."

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