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Niche Tourism: Contemporary Issues, Trends, and Cases

Chapter 5: Genealogy Tourism The Scottish Market Opportunities

Moira Birtwistle

Introduction

Taylor (2002) defines genealogy as a Journey of Discovery if you haven t started researching your family tree yet, you are missing out on what must be the world s fastest growing hobby. And it s not about dry, dusty research. It is a journey of discovery that isn t over until you have actually visited your ancestral homeland. Ask anyone who has been home to Scotland. It is a powerful emotion. On the other hand, Keillar (2003) advocates that Genealogy is such a depressing study. Neither a science nor an art, devotees ferret away amongst the bones of their ancestors and produce a catalogue of couplings not much more enlightening than the begattings and begettings of the Bible .

If this observation was universally acclaimed then the development of genealogy as a niche market would not have been a pragmatic decision in Scottish tourism. Yet the tracing of our ancestors has become a major preoccupation genealogy comes third only to pornography and general entertainment as the most popular subject on the internet (Gilchrist, 2000). Furthermore, anecdotal evidence points to the existence and potential growth of genealogy tourism, alleged to be one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world (scotexchange.net, 2002).

Genealogy is, by definition, the process by which basic information about births, marriages and deaths is linked together to form a family tree. According to Fowler and Fowler (1974) genealogy is the account of descent from ancestor by enumeration of intermediate persons; the investigation of the pedigree of...

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