Genealogist Elizabeth Cunningham  (Photo: Finestripe/BBC Scotland)
Genealogist Elizabeth Cunningham (Photo: Finestripe/BBC Scotland)

Scots discovering their fascinating family trees

Scots looking into their personal histories continue their journey this week.

On the southside of Glasgow, Laura Cripps runs her own online antiques business.

With a personal interest in history and Scotland’s links to slavery, Laura is desperate to find out where her ancestors came from and what kind of lives they led.

She has some basic information from her father, Ian, who went to Jamaica to find out more, but Laura has a personal desire to discover more about her identity. With help from genealogist Elizabeth Cunningham and expert Sir Geoff Palmer; Laura explores the realities of slavery and the effects on her family story.

She discovers that had it not been for the bravery and strength of her ancestors, life today might have been very different for her.

Genealogist Elizabeth Cunningham (Photo: Finestripe/BBC Scotland)

Neil is a keen landscape photographer and scout leader living in the north east of Scotland. There has been a long standing family rumour that they are related to Burke and Hare, the notorious Edinburgh murderers and Neil wants to find out the truth.

With the help of genealogist Lorna Kinnaird, Neil journeys through the winding closes and underground world of the old town in the hope of finding out the truth about the skeletons in his family’s closet. With rumours explored and war heroes remembered, Neil discovers long-forgotten ancestors who shaped the life of his family.

Watch this week’s episode HERE.

Meanwhile, next week’s episode will feature Red Cross volunteer Heather from Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, who has spent many years piecing together her family tree but she still has questions that remain unanswered. Heather knows her family have followed both ‘the fish and the farm’ and now wants to piece together who they were and what their lives were like.

Heather Roy with Alex Wood (Photo: Finestripe/BBC Scotland)

With celebrated ancestors through the generations, Heather discovers there are more heroes than she first thought, and unknowingly she has been in possession of a very special war medal. The harsh reality of war shaped the lives of Heather’s family and journeying to Orkney, Heather finds out the special role her grandmother had whilst stationed in Kirkwall in WW2.

In the Highlands, Jo wants to unearth the part her ancestors played in Scotland’s social movement. She hopes to discover that her ancestors were involved in Scotland’s first industrial dispute – the Calton Weavers Strike in 1787.

Jo comes south to Glasgow and the place where it all happened. With help from genealogist Elizabeth Cunningham and archivist Irene O’Brien, Jo discovers the roots of her ancestry dating back to Ireland and her family’s immigration to Glasgow. Driven by a desire to share everything she’s learned about her ancestors with her father, her discoveries bring them closer together and place them firmly in the history books of Scotland.

This is the third episode in the series and will be shown on Monday 3 June, on BBC Scotland from 8-9pm.