Monday, 18 August 2014

Why we moved to Scottish Indexes (and why we're happy that we did!)

We’re settling in to our new home at Scottish Indexes ( It’s been amazing to hear all of your comments and compliments on the new site – we’re so excited about our new venture and it’s lovely to hear that you are too!

Having got our breath back a bit, we thought now would be a nice time to discuss why we made the change, and what the new site offers. Questions and comments are always welcome – contact us here or join us on Facebook or Twitter to have a natter.

Even while up to his ears in dusty documents, Graham has always recognised the possibilities of modern technologies to help make your ancestral research easier. Cast your mind back to those far off days when the internet moved at the pace of a decrepit sloth, access was billed by the minute and plugging in the internet immediately meant you’d miss the phone call you’d been waiting for all day. Our founder Graham Maxwell, undeterred, created his own website (catchy URL, we know!)
This first website Graham had is listed in the guide, “Cyndi's List: A Comprehensive List of 70,000 Genealogy Sites on the internet, Volume 2” (2001 edition). 

Back then, Graham focused on researching the ancestors of individual clients to create family trees. This involved regular trips to Edinburgh to painstakingly search documents such as the census - there were few indexes in those days. It wasn’t long before Graham moved his site to There’s still a version online – looking back it is very basic and quite embarrassing but at the time we were quite proud of it!

Genealogist Emma joined the business in 2001 and together the husband and wife team created in 2006. Intended to provide a clearer service to their clients, the website showcased not only research services but also the printed indexes which the company had already made available, mostly consisting of many South of Scotland census records from 1841, 1851 and 1861. As technology moved on, companies like Ancestry, Scotland'sPeople and FreeCEN started offering immediate online access to the census. Graham and Emma updated their website, adding a searchable census database with free access without subscription. Since then our online database of indexes has grown enormously, with a variety of records from around Scotland.

Today many people want to trace their family tree for themselves rather than enlisting a professional to do it for them. We totally understand the thrill of engaging in your own ancestral research, so while we still offer a full research package we’re also here to offer our expert advice and research assistance to those who simply need a little help along the way. As genealogists, Graham and Emma know that basic sources such as the census and birth, marriage and death entries can only take you so far. Records like prison registers, court registers and health records can tell you much more about the real people in your family tree.

This is why Graham and Emma are launching a new website Since the early days we’ve often found it easier to index records than to return to the physical copies again and again. By making such records more widely available we hope to make genealogical research simpler for amateurs and professionals alike. We're keen to make ancestral research as affordable as possible so that everyone has the opportunity to discover more about their past. On the website, you can search intuitively across a broad range of records, deepen your understanding of Scottish genealogy resources in the learning zone and buy books from the bookshop. We’re always standing by though, so you can get help when you need it from expert Scottish genealogists. 

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