Motherwell show is the biggest history day in Scotland

Lanarkshire Yeomanry in the early 20th century - some wearing the archaic Uhlan style of cavalry uniform that would soon give way to plain khaki field dress.
Lanarkshire Yeomanry in the early 20th century - some wearing the archaic Uhlan style of cavalry uniform that would soon give way to plain khaki field dress.

History, and particularly local history, is often thought of as a dusty, obscure subject pursued by a handful of exclusively elderly enthusiasts.

It’s a perception which itself should be consigned to history, when you consider the massive popularity of local heritage in its many different forms to be found in the annual show run by the Lanarkshire Family History Society - which has an enormous following.

In fact it is fairly claimed to be the biggest event of its kind in Scotland.

The show, which takes place on Saturday next week (September 2) in Motherwell Theatre and Concert Hall is an eagerly awaited event which typically plays to something like capacity audiences.

Thanks to the Society, too, it continues to gain stature year after year, with distinguished keynote speakers delivering expert lectures on a vast range of topics.

Lanarkshire is possibly such a hotbed of history enthusiasm because in the post industrial age, in which traditional communities have been under enormous social pressure, the links with the past are both important and - in a town like Motherwell - unusually strong.

There will be four keynote speakers in the Theatre this year.

Genealogist Chris Paton will be speaking about researching how our ancestors dealt with times of crisis in their lives.

Dr Irene O’Brien of Glasgow City Archives will give her insight on how to use business records and directories for family history research.

Ruth Washbrook of the National Library of Scotland’s Moving Image Archive will talk about the film collection and its use in adding flesh to the bare bones of family history.

And Sharon Paton will be shedding some light on what life was like on the Duke of Hamilton’s estate during the 18th century, based on research carried out during the restoration of the Duke’s Chatelherault Hunting Lodge.

Family history societies from throughout Scotland will be attending, as well as representatives from local museums and attractions including Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life, New Lanark Mill and Friends of Low Parks Museum.

A large number of organisations involved in local history, archives and heritage are involved, including North Lanarkshire Archives (with historic NHS material from Hartwood Hospital), Motherwell Heritage Centre, Lanarkshire Yeomanry Group, Glasgow City Archives, Friends of Cambusnethan Priory and Shotts History Group.

Major genealogy website FamilySearch will be exhibiting, along with the Scottish Genealogy Society, Historic Environment Scotland Archives, the Guild of One-Name Studies, Scottish Monumental Inscriptions, NLS Kelvin Hall Film Archive, Scottish Local History Forum and the Scottish Military Research Group.

Genealogy supplies will be available from My-History.

Professional genealogists from the Scottish Genealogy Network will join members of Lanarkshire FHS and FamilySearch in the Ask the Experts area to offer free one-to-one advice to anyone starting out researching their family history or who has hit the proverbial brick wall.

Specialist help on Irish heritage, and military research, will also be available.

Information about tickets and an up-to-date list of exhibitors can be found on the Show website

Entry costs £2 per person, with talks priced at £4 each.

Buying one or more talk tickets allows free entry to the show, which runs from 9.30am till 4.30pm.

hildren under 12 are admitted free with a paying adult.