A new programme offered by a hotel in Edinburgh is giving visitors an opportunity to trace their roots with the help of a specialty concierge.
Andy Fraser – known at the iconic Balmoral Hotel as the ‘Tartan Butler’ – has launched a new service, giving guests one-on-one guidance to help trace their Scottish heritage.
Fraser had been informally assisting guests at the hotel for some time, but eventually was in such high-demand the hotel decided to create a formal position.
“It’s something I quite enjoy,” he said. “Before I knew it, it really took off.”
Visitors who want to learn more about their clan history can sit down with Fraser and plan itineraries to encourage more learning and discovery.
“We’ll sit down and have coffee. I plan itineraries to where their clan was originally from, where they ended up; I help with accommodations,” he said. “I just give whatever information I can.”
Before arriving, guests give Fraser any information they have about family surnames and known ancestors. From there, Fraser works to establish connections with traditional clans and their recognised tartan – even booking appointments for specialty kilt fittings for visitors who want traditional dress.
“As a true Scot and Edinburgh resident, I have always had a keen interest in our tartan heritage and the traditions associated with it,” Fraser said.
“It was the Dress Act of 1746 that tried to bring the warrior clans under government by banning the tartan and other aspects of Gaelic culture. When the law was abolished in 1782, it was no longer ordinary Highland dress but was adopted instead as the national dress of Scotland.”
“I am looking forward to sharing this history with guests at the Balmoral who want to trace their own Scottish heritage.”