Events - Listings

The price for the whole day is only £7

Wha's Like Us? presents a day of informative and fun talks for everyone with an interest in people and the past.

Tolbooth Foyer - 9.00 am - 9.50 am - Registration and coffee

Main Theatre 1 - 10.00 am - 11.00 am - Richard McGregor "So who, exactly, did you think you were?"



Main Theatre - 11.15 am - 12.15 pm Pam McNicol "A person of good character who has seen better days"



Attic Room - 12.00 - 5.30 pm - Ask the experts - surgery for the Identification of photographs and Memorabilia.

Gallery area - 12.00 - 5.30 pm - Family History Fair



Main Theatre - 2.00 pm - 3.00 pm - Ross Blevins "Cum hame and dwell nae mair in Stirling"

Meeting Room 1 - 2.00 pm - 3.00 pm - Look into your Library and explore your Archives

Meeting Room 2 - 2.00 pm - 3.00 pm - Elizabeth Ferguson "Loves, Labours, Loss"



Main Theatre - 3.15 - 4.20 pm - "We are all Jock Tamson's Bairns... does Chris Brookmyre have murder in his blood.

Bigamy, illegitimacy and bloody murder.....find out what has made Chris the writer that he is today when we present him with the vivid details of his family history - specially commissioned and researched for "Wha's Like Us?" Hear what Chris thinks and has to say about what his forebears got up to at this unique event. It should be unmissable!



Events - Talks

Look into your Library and explore your Archives

Speakers: Jane Petrie, Archivist and Lesley Russell, Library Officer

Jane and Lesley will give a fascinating insight into the sources held at the Council's Archives and Library Service that can help with your family history research. Find out about this fabulous FREE service with lots of examples and stories of research undertaken and ancestors found.

Jane Petrie has been working as an Archivist in Scotland for 8 years and is Archivist with Stirling Council. Prior to this, she worked as a museum curator in Scotland and England for 8 years and brings expertise from that discipline to her current work. She works as part of the team to care for the records of Stirling Council and those of the community from all over the area deposited with its Archives Service. Lesley Russell has worked with Stirling Libraries for many years in various roles, including assisting the public with local and family history enquiries. She is enthusiastic about what libraries can offer to family historians, has researched her own family tree and is currently working as Information and Systems Officer based at Central Library.


A person of good character who has seen better days' The riches of Scottish Poor Law records

Pam McNicol

Speaker: Pam McNicol, Stirling Council Archivist

Where can you find out how tall your ancestor was, or what their nickname might have been? People applying for benefits in 19th century Scotland had their circumstances and relationships scrutinised just as minutely as anyone living in 21st century Britain. All of this personal information was then recorded in detail and included: the state of health of the applicant, their place of birth, the names and relevant dates of all family members and often an account of where they travelled and what they were doing over a lengthy period of time. There are entries about people such as travellers and gypsies who may not appear in other official sources and the kind of personal details about people's lives that bring them very vividly to life. Find out about what interesting additional facts this wonderful set of records can reveal about your ancestors and add flesh to the bones of your genealogical research.

Pam McNicol has been working as a local authority Archivist in Scotland for 18 years and is Stirling Council's Archivist. Along with her two colleagues, she cares for the records of Stirling Council and those of the community from all over the area deposited with its Archives Service.


'Cum hame and dwell nae mair in Stirling'

Ross Blevins

Speaker: Ross Blevins, Senior Steward at Stirling Castle

So wrote William Dunbar, court poet to James IV, as he urged the King to abandon the 'purgatorie' of Stirling for the 'delyts' of 'hevinlie' Edinburgh. But perhaps the poet was being unkind. Stirling was neither the 'purgatorie' nor the 'hyddows hell' that Dunbar would have it. Instead, within its castle Stirling was blessed with arguably the finest collection of royal buildings in the kingdom, and the frequent presence of the royal court in the town ensured that a host of colourful characters, both famous and obscure, graced and adorned Stirling's stage. The stories of some of these characters will be explored in a short talk aimed at confounding Dunbar's calumny!

Ross is a son of the rock, born in Stirling in 1972. Ross studied history at University of Glasgow and has been enthralling visitors with guided tours of the Castle since 1999. In addition to his role as senior steward at the Castle Ross also helps train new guides, works on developing themed tours with his team and often helps host evening events at the Castle when guests are looking for a Master of Ceremonies with historical knowledge. Amongst others Ross has developed tours on Robert Burns and the influence Stirling Castle had on his work and James IV's reign of Scotland with the anniversary of Flodden in 2013.


So who, exactly, did you think you were?

Speaker: Richard McGregor

Richard McGregor

DNA testing has become big business: for crime detection, paternity testing, health risk prediction and genetic genealogy. People assume that because in other cases DNA can produce the definitive answer, it must also be the same for genetic genealogy. Unfortunately it's just not as simple as that!

This talk will aim to demystify the whole area of DNA testing for genealogical connections, show what is possible, and indicate what isn't (currently) possible. With DNA testing there are always surprises, and one thing that can be said for certain is you can never be sure what will turn up in your DNA - you might even find out that you are a Viking!

Richard McGregor is by training a musician who has lectured for many years in University, but is a genealogist by obsession! He has been Chairman of the Clan Gregor Society for almost 20 years and was one of the first clan genealogists to realise the potential that DNA testing presented for family historians to make new connections between individuals and families. The MacGregor DNA project has been running for 13 years and currently has nearly 900 members bearing various surnames which are associated with the septs and aliases of a clan, whose history is littered with bloodshed, mayhem and blackmail. When you couldn't use the name MacGregor, because it was banned, you called yourself Drummond, Bain, Stirling etc. Now after hundreds of years you can find out that your ancestors adopted these names: because the DNA says you are a MacGregor!


Loves, Labours, Loss: Family history in the Records of the Stirling Register Office

Elizabeth Ferguson

Speaker: Elizabeth Ferguson, District Registrar, Stirling Council

Everyone knows about the Registrar's Office, it is where you go to register births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships. Registrars are commonly known to hold records for Hatches, Matches and Dispatches. You can also arrange to have a civil marriage or civil partnership ceremony. Stirling Council Registrar's can also perform Naming Ceremonies and Renewal of Vow ceremonies. However, there are things about the records that you may not be aware of. What records are closed to the public? How do you get access to them? What problems may the Registrar encounter in the course of their work? Elizabeth Ferguson will give an insider's view on this important service as well as talking about the famous and infamous people whose details are held in the local Registrar's office.

Elizabeth Ferguson has worked in registration for 21 years and during these years, has seen many changes and many weird scenarios.


Jock Tamson's Bairns

What skeletons does popular crime writer Chris Brookmyre have in his ancestry? We have been using both local and national resources to look into the Brookmyre family tree and see where his origins lie. Join author Gordon Brown who will be presenting the findings and hear what Chris has to say in response during the last talk of the day.


Events - Walks

Stirling Graveyard Tour

Stirling Cemetery Walks

In association with Wha's Like Us? Stirling Walking Tours is offering a series of guided walks around Stirling's 'dead centre' on the afternoon of the 13th September.

Join us on tour of Stirling's most famous graveyards with local expert guide David Kinnaird. From the earliest burials beneath the 12th-century Dominican priory, through riot, revolution, Reformation and Restoration to the Victorian landscaping of evangelist William Drummond, the Church of the Holy Rude and it's graveyards offer a unique insight into the lives, fortunes and aspirations of the citizens of Stirling over the past millennium. Every stone - be it scarred by Cromwellian or Jacobite guns, pinioned my Mort-Safes to deter Body-Snatchers, or marked with the indicia of the Guildry and the Trades, the Reaper and the Green Man - tells it's own special story...sometimes sad, sometimes silly, and always surprising.

Meet outside Cowane's Hospital (opposite the Church of the Holy Rude)

  • 12.30 pm and 5.00 pm
  • Tours last 60 mins approx.
  • £8 adults £6 concessions

Please pay the guide before the start of the tour

Stirling Walking Tours


Stirling Walking Tours

Stirling Walking Tours run a regular tour of the Old Town of Stirling to enable visitors and curious locals to discover the secrets of the Royal Burgh.

The walks, run by an experienced local guide in costume are a hilarious mix of comedy, drama and storytelling. The walks have been described as 'Great fun and fabulous value for money!' and 'Awesome storytelling with a great guide!' and the tours have been given 5 stars on the 'Trip Advisor' website. There is no need to book and no minimum numbers required.

Meet outside Cowane's Hospital (opposite the Church of the Holy Rude)

For Group & Bespoke Tours email Information

Visit the offical website Stirling Walking Tours