Monday, 12 February 2018

Scotland's First World War Pensions Appeal Records

Work has begun on indexing Scotland's First World War Pensions Appeal records. Until now these records have been arranged by month of hearing. This means that unless you knew when the appeal happened you might have to search 288 boxes to find the paperwork for your ancestor! Not very practical. 

These records hold vital information for around 30,000 Scottish servicemen and the reports can help you understand what these men went through. Here is an example for you.

Name: George Blane

Unit, Rank and No.: 9th Btn. Seaforth Highlanders, Private, No. 4437

Date of Hearing: 5 January 1920

Age: 26

Last Address: 14 Mossvale Street, Paisley

Report and other documents from Paisley L.W.P.C.

Man’s Statement:

I enlisted on 10th September 1914 at Paisley Barracks and went to Fort George where I commenced my training. This training lasted till 23rd November, 1914 when I was finally discharged as no longer fit for service on account of having Chronic Bronchitis. This disability was brought on by constant exposure in very severe weather. I was wet through about twice a week, sometimes with the water running out of my boots and was only provided with one shirt and pair of drawers at the time and could not therefore change my underwear. Very often I had to stand in my trousers and dry my shirt before the fire. I hold that it was due to this condition of things that I contracted my disability. I never had bronchitis before I enlisted and was constantly on the road conducting my business as a general dealer, and through this Chronic Bronchitis I am no longer able to stand the exposure which is required of me.

Historical Search Room - National Records of Scotland
The above (reference PT6/2 held by the NRS) is just part of the record but it gives you a sneak peek at what will be coming. Find out more by reading the NRS blog.

If you want to find out more about the lives of your ancestors our genealogists can help. We can research in Scottish archives and help add colour to your family tree.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Brickwall Service

Our 2-hour brickwall service is proving very popular. Most people find that on one of their lines they hit a brick wall. It may be that our experience or the access we have to Scottish records is just what you need to break through the brick wall and continue with your journey. If you have a brick wall why not give it a try, you could open up a whole new chapter of your family history. Either email me (just reply to this email) or look at our website for more information.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Was Your Ancestor a Convict?

Every year the Scottish Association of Family History Societies (SAFHS) hold a conference and family history fair. This year the theme is, "Was Your Ancestor a Fife Convict?"

The annual event will take place this year on 21 April 2018 at the Rothes Halls, Glenrothes, Fife. 

One of our genealogists, Emma Maxwell, will be giving the talk, “Finding Your Ancestors' Footprints” and all the talks will revolve around the theme of criminal records. 

As well as the four talks there will be a free ‘Ask the Expert’ area, hosted by the Scottish Genealogy Network. It will be a great opportunity to get some professional advice on how to trace your family history.

To find out more and book your ticket go to the SAFHS 2018 website

If you need help to find out what life in Scotland was like for your ancestors get in touch and see how we can help.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Free Scottish Genealogy Tutorials

We are creating free family history tutorials to help you trace your Scottish family tree.

Our first tutorial will show how to find your ancestors on historical maps, using our website.

Our second tutorial demonstrates how to use 'wildcards' to find those ancestors who never seem to spell their name the same way twice!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you don't miss the next tutorial.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Glasgow Docklands 1956 - What was life like?

The National Library of Scotland's moving image archive has thousands of clips and full-length films from across Scotland. They are a great way to get a sense of what Scotland was like in the past and this can help you to research your Scottish family tree.

For example, we love this video showing everyday life in 1956. From the Docklands to the Kelvingrove Park this video shows wonderful footage of Scotland.

From tugs on the Clyde, warehouses on the wharf, coals for export, children playing in the slums, feeding the ducks in Kelvingrove park and children playing in the streets this 10-minute video will draw you back in time.

Hear a young girl reciting this children's rhyme that your ancestors likely sang while they played with their skipping rope.

Oh there she goes,
Oh there she goes,
Peerie heels and pointed toes.
Look at her feet, she thinks she's neat,
Black stockings and dirty feet

If you need help to find out what life in Scotland was like for your ancestors get in touch and see how we can help.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Press Release - 40,000 ‘Lunatics’ - Scottish Genealogy Website Enables People to Discover the True Lives of their Ancestors

Logo with words purple 10cm 72dpi.jpg

40,000 ‘Lunatics’ - Scottish Genealogy Website Enables People to Discover the True Lives of their Ancestors

4 August 2017

Glasgow, Scotland – Today Scottish genealogy website move another step closer to their goal of indexing all historical Scottish mental health records from 1858 to 1915. This release means the index now has 40,000 entries from across Scotland and includes people from every walk of life.

Admission forms for John Rae Thomson MC2_1 No. 3503 image 3 section _ Facts indicated by others_ the boys called him “daft feck”.jpg
John Rae Thomson - Facts Indicated by Others - “His mother states...that the boys hooted & ran after him in the street crying “daft Jock”. (More images available in the press kit)

These historic mental health records give the story behind the facts. A census record may tell you that your great-grandmother was in an asylum, but not why she was there and that’s what we really want to know. This project, lead by Scottish Indexes, is supported by a growing team of volunteers.

Emma Maxwell, genealogist at Scottish Indexes says, “Our mission is to help people not only research their Scottish family tree, but also understand the lives of their ancestors.”
MC2_3 No. 4105 page 2 _ Question 13_ Supposed cause _  A fall on his head as a child.jpg
George Patrick Baillie - Supposed cause -  A fall on his head as a child (More images available in the press kit)

The records being indexed by Scottish Indexes are held by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) in Edinburgh. Without an index they are hugely time-consuming to search and access to the records would usually mean a trip to Edinburgh. These records contain not just names, dates and places but personal information. For example the admission form of John Rae Thomson tells us that the supposed cause of his mental health problems was ‘Premature Birth’. The same record gives his mother’s account of how boys tormented this poor 26 year-old.

Viv from Scotland says, "Although I knew that some of my relatives were in mental health institutions, the indexes at Scottish Indexes and linked original records have allowed me to find out far more about their stories. I feel that I know so much more about these people, and the information is invaluable."

Ailsa from Australia says, “I have been using Scottish Indexes for quite some time now and found many references to my own family within them. They are great for me to use from Australia.”


For further information please contact:
Emma Maxwell, Genealogist, Scottish Indexes,

Notes to the Editor

  • We have prepared a press kit containing 15 images which can be used across all media platforms (download here: These show full pages of the records and we have selected certain interesting sections of each page which we thought would be of particular interest to your readers. Each is embedded with a copyright statement (approved by the NRS) for your convenience. The examples given can be found in our index: MC7/1 p. 168  - John Rae Thomson and MC7/1 p. 173 - George Patrick Baillie

  • is run by Scottish genealogists Graham and Emma Maxwell, a husband and wife team based in East Kilbride, Glasgow, Scotland. Indexes are created by Graham and Emma with the help of a team of volunteers. All indexes are free to view and the National Records of Scotland (NRS) reference is given so users can either access the documents without charge at the NRS, or purchase the service from Scottish Indexes.

40,000 Scottish Mental Health Records

We have been working along with a very hard working team of volunteers and we have now reached a milestone in our project to index Scottish mental health records. We have indexed the first 40,000 entries.

If you have not used these records before you will be amazed by them. Sometimes the stories are sad, sometimes reassuring, but there are so many stories to tell. For example here is an excerpt from the entry of Jean McTavish or McAlpine. Jean was aged 60 and a widow, it seems that the ‘supposed cause’ of her health problem was intemperance. Below is an account of what a doctor observed. It seems she imagined herself to be only 26 years of age, and that she was a bird.

Reading these records makes the people come to life in our minds, I can almost picture poor Jean in front of the official, looking rather older than her 60 years perhaps, but all the while believing she was only 26. Granted, this record does not answer all our questions, but it makes Jean real. It tells us more than the basic records and it preserves the memory of poor Jean for her descendants.