The Scottish Council on Archives (SCA) has launched a short film to promote Scotland as a unique destination for ancestral tourists.

“Coming Home Ancestral Journeys in Scotland” highlights how Scotland’s rich collection of  archives held by local authorities, national bodies as well as small heritage and community groups tell the stories of the people who have left Scotland over the last four hundred years. These visitors are drawn back time and time again to learn about their ancestors’ lives and the places they came from.

There are about fifty million people worldwide who claim Scottish ancestry from Australia and New Zealand, through Europe to the USA and Canada. Ancestral Tourism (AT) is already worth over £100m a year to the Scottish economy and has potential to grow significantly, according to research commissioned by VisitScotland. Ancestral visitors are particularly valuable, as they stay longer and spend more.

Coming Home Ancestral Journeys in Scotland was commissioned by SCA and directed and edited by Amanda Rogers. The film can be viewed at or by clicking this link:

John Pelan, SCA Director said:

Scotland’s archives tell our stories, enrich our lives, connect us with the past and give us a sense of identity. Whether searching online or visiting an archive in person the ancestral tourist can learn an extraordinary amount of detail about their ancestors’ lives and the place where they once lived. Our film, Coming Home Ancestral Journeys in Scotland gives a hint of some of the amazing material to be found in Scotland’s many archival collections. We are delighted to launch the film in 2022 the Year of Stories.

Ivan McKee, MSP and Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, added:

“With over 50 million people across the world claiming Scottish ancestry, ‘Coming Home’ promotes Scotland as a premier destination for ancestral tourists and urges them to come and experience all that Scotland has to offer.

“Ancestral tourism is hugely valuable to Scotland and is an area where we lead the world, with some of the most complete and accessible family records anywhere in the world. It is fitting this film is being launched in the Year of Stories, as our archives also play a role in helping to tell and illuminate some of our rich stories, allowing us to connect to the past and inform our own sense of identity.”

Noelle Campbell, VisitScotland Scottish Connections Manager, said:

“Scotland’s history and culture is one of the top reasons for visiting Scotland, and research shows that millions of people with Scottish roots across the world are interested in visiting in Scotland and exploring their Scottish ancestry.

“Heritage centres and ancestral research facilities had seen an increase from people interested in tracing their own Scottish roots thanks to TV shows like Outlander. And as international travel opens up again, we hope to welcome more visitors, searching for their Scottish family history and have them enjoy all of the incredible experiences their ancestral homeland has to offer. We will be encouraging them to uncover their own Scottish story as we celebrate Scotland’s Year of Stories in 2022.”

And finally, Laura Mitchell, Director of Information and Records Services and Deputy Keeper concluded:

“National Records of Scotland is delighted to have been involved in the planning and creation of the SCA’s new film, Coming Home Ancestral Journeys in Scotland. The film illustrates perfectly how ancestral tourism would not be possible without archives, the rich potential of Scotland’s archival collections, and the important role of the archivists and conservators who care for them.”