A long-awaited archive centre finally opened its doors yesterday, allowing those tracing their Highland ancestors to access thousands of historical documents.
Dozens of members of the public visited the £10.5million centre at Bught Park in Inverness on its first day.
The building centralises records which were previously housed at several locations in Inverness and elsewhere.
And the first of hundreds of documents from the National Archives in Edinburgh arrived at the centre last week.
Eventually hundreds of volumes from Church of Scotland Highland parishes, Customs and Excise, fisheries and J.P. court records will be sent to the Highlands from the Scottish capital.
Among those visiting the family history centre yesterday were Hugh Chisholm, and his 13-year-old grandson Darren Jamieson.
The pair were examining books relating to the Clan Chisholm, which Mr Chisholm, 66, of Dunain Road, has been researching.
Over the past two years, he has traced nine generations of the family, stretching back to the 1750s.
Mr Chisholm said: “I think this centre will be well used. There has been a need for it for a long time, especially with the records being spread out everywhere. It will be so much easier with everything available in one place.”
And professional genealogist Graham MacDonell, of the Inverness-based Great Glen Genealogical Research Centre, said the facility was superb.
He added: “I think this will become my second home. It is a researcher’s heaven.”
As well as the family history centre, the building includes an archive conservation unit, a ceremony suite and modern office accommodation.
In addition, specialist atmospheric and environmental controls have been installed to safeguard the storage of parchment, paper and records in other formats, enabling the return of archives to the Highlands which had previously been stored in Edinburgh.
Police inquiries are still continuing into vandalism at the centre nearly two weeks ago. Two hooded youths threw stones, smashing windows and causing damage put at thousands of pounds.
The centre’s CCTV system failed to catch the incident because it was dark.