Archive for the ‘genealogy gifts’ Category

Choosing a gift for a genealogist can be puzzling.  Loved ones and, especially, relatives want to be supportive but don’t know how.  To those who search for that perfect idea, maybe one below will be right for your favorite genealogist.  This is an update and consolidation of all previous lists.

Electronic and computer gadgets

  • 1. Lifechat headphones for listening to webinars or group chats on the computer.  
  • 2. Cocoon Grid-It keeps small electronics together when traveling (also available on Amazon)
  • 3. WD My Passport Ultra 1TB Portable External Hard Drive  will help your genealogist keep data in storage in case of a computer problem.  This year, there are optional edge and cord combos to jazz it up.
  • 4. Eneloop rechargeable batteries by Panasonic, size AA, with a charger and case, would be good for a person who already has a Flip-Pal.  Try Amazon or other retailers.  I also like AA batteries that re-charge in any USB port.  These would be great in a computer mouse, for travelers, in case the mouse batteries died.
  • 5. USB flash drives.  8gb or 16gb should be fine.  Look for sales.  Combined with the lanyard, below, from Staples, this would make a terrific tech gift in the $10 range.
USB Drive lanyard would make a great gift, with an 8G flash drive to go with it - probably under $10 total.

USB Drive lanyard cord.  Flash drives sold separately.

Paper and stationery gifts

  • 6. A canvas or quilted bag, with zipper and inside pockets, for carrying notebooks, camera and supplies.
  • 7. Special markers for genealogists.
  • 8. Genealogists love being organized (even if, well, they’re not!)  Try the Brother Printer PT70BM Wireless Personal Handheld Labeler.
Brother Printer PT70BM Wireless Personal Handheld Labeler

Brother Printer PT70BM Wireless Personal Handheld Labeler

  • 9. Clip board. A clipboard, a pad, and a pencil can be brought into most archives, even if nothing else can, and a clipboard serves as a writing surface when at a microfilm machine or library.
  • 10. 97.8% of genealogists love office supplies.  OK I made that up.  But this little book of sticky Redi-Tag Divider notes was love at first sight.
Redi-Tag Divider Notes would be handy when working in books or notebooks.

Redi-Tag Divider Notes would be handy when working in books or notebooks.

About photos and archives

  • 12. Maybe a simple Canon Camera in the $100-$125 range.  In the end, cheaper than paying for photocopies.
  • 13. Camera digital SD memory cards.  And a little case to put them in, like this or this.  I really need these.  Just sayin.
  • 14. For the genealogist who serves as the family archivist (which is all genealogists), my friend Bernadine had a good experience with photo supplies from universityproducts.com, for instance, their archival storage boxes. When she phoned them, they were helpful.
  • 15. I like this Canoscan scanner for pictures and papers, but you might be able to find a cheaper one that you like.
  • 16. I like my Flip-Pal mobile scanner – it runs on batteries and records onto a memory card – no computer needed until you are ready to review and store the pictures. Many genealogists really covet these. A more sophisticated user would probably also like the Eye-Fi SD card to make the Flip-Pal pictures upload directly to a computer.
  • 17. Family Photo Detective by Maureen Taylor helps genealogists figure out those old family photos, and I also like Denise Levenick’s new guide, How to Archive Family Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos Digitally.
A versatile choice for any genealogist who collects old family photos

A versatile choice for any genealogist who collects old family photos

Books and magazines

Bookends from the Container Store

Bookends from the Container Store

  • 23. Genealogists enjoy reading Family Tree Magazine.  This is an especially good choice for beginners, and another recommendation for new to intermediate genealogists would be the book Family Tree Problem Solver by Marcia Hoffmann Rising.  For more experienced folks, Prologue Magazine is published quarterly by the U.S. National Archives and helps the genealogist explore federal records.
  • 24.  Higginson Books is having a sale through December 31, 2015.  This would be a good place to get a modern reprint of an old town history or family genealogy book.
  • 25. Again for experienced folks, a membership in the National Genealogical Society will include a subscription to the Quarterly.
  • 26. I always thought Ancestors of American Presidents, Second Ed, 2009, by Gary Boyd Roberts, was a really fun book.  I’m only related to boring Presidents, though.
  • 27. There are several series of folded laminated quick guides to various genealogical topics.  Check out these:  Portable Genealogist from NEHGS, Genealogy at a Glance at the Genealogical Publishing Company, and the single sheet KwikTips from PhotoTree.com.
Various quick guides are available.

Various quick guides are available.

Support genealogy small businesses

  • 31. I love the work of the Gravestone Girls.  I have a refrigerator magnet.
  • 32. Lookup the historical society for an area your genealogist is researching and see what they offer – maps are always good.  Also, the local genealogy societies usually offer publications or guides.  For instance, the Rhode Island Genealogical Society has many valuable books and cemetery guides at their online store.
  • 33. Research Mini Binder is adorable and would be good for a newer genealogist who is NOT completely computer-oriented.
Research Mini Binder for genealogy

Research Mini Binder for genealogy

  • 34. The idea of heritage cookbooks was sent to me by Wendy Grant Walter.  She recently purchased Great German Recipes and said: “in it are many dishes that I remember having as a kid that I assume my mom learned from her 1st generation German mom.”  At that same link many other cultures are covered, too. 
  • 35. Barb’s Branches has some attractive tree jewelry in an Etsy shop.  Among her interesting handmade “tree” pieces, she has the inspired idea of making jewelry from old silver spoons.  Amazing!
A pendant made from an antique silver spoon, by Barb's Branches.

A pendant made from an antique silver spoon, by Barb’s Branches.

  • 36. Every genealogist loves a beautifully executed family tree chart.  Two suggestions:
    • I have seen the work of Family Chartmasters and it is not only excellent, but each piece is tailored to the family’s preferences. Go to this link and scroll down to check out the samples.  If you have access to enough info, you could order one, if not, you could give a gift certificate and allow your genealogist to collaborate with Family Chartmasters on a wonderful end product.
    • i (chart) you makes beautiful custom ancestor charts; you send the data and they send you the file electronically, ready for you to have printed in the size you prefer.  This would have to be ordered by the genealogist, but a gift certificate (see the last few boxes on the main page) might be nice.  Thanks to Wendy Grant Walter for this idea.

Make your own gift

  • 37. Most genealogists have subscriptions, and would like magazine holders.  The pink print ones are from the Vera Bradley Outlet; the black ones are from Staples. It would be possible for a creative person to make some cute ones from boxes; there are plenty of instructions online (try Pinterest).
Magazine holders can be made out of boxes and covered with paper.

Magazine holders can be made out of boxes and covered with paper.

  • 38. Genealogists need – and lack – enough hours in the day for the endless organizing that they suddenly realize is necessary for family history.  Offer to visit for an afternoon “ScanFest” where everybody grabs a scanner or rigs up a photo station to hold a camera still, and captures those old family photos and papers digitally. Sort them first and then file in folders on the computer. And bring brownies. Thanks to genealogy’s own Miriam Robbins for the great ScanFest tradition.
Research bag, handmade.

Research bag, handmade.

  • 39. This is my “research bag” – I take it to libraries; it holds my notebook and camera and a few papers, flash drives, pencils, etc.  It’s lined brocade and filled with interior pockets on each side, and two long tape handles.  My mom didn’t make it, but she did buy it at a church fundraiser or something.  I have many bags; I use this one because it’s perfect.  For an experienced sewer this would not be that hard.

For Rhode Island genealogy

  • 40. Good news!  All 9 volumes of The Narragansett Historical Register (originally published in the 1880’s-1890’s) are back in print from Heritage Press.  Check them out!  vol.1  vol.2  vol.3  vol.4  vol.5  vol.6  vol.7  vol. 8  vol.9  How about one volume a year?

Narragansett Historical Register logo

  • 41. I heartily recommend the new book Rhode Island in the American Revolution: A Source Guide for Genealogists and Historians by Eric G. Grundset for the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR Source Guides on the American Revolution Series No. 4), 2014.  It is 200 pages of guidance on where to find Rhode Island records from the 1770’s and 1780’s, but it will not contain the records themselves – most of those are buried in archives and manuscripts.
Rhode Island in the American Revolution - A source Guide for Genealogists and Historians, by Eric G Grundset

Rhode Island in the American Revolution – A source Guide for Genealogists and Historians, by Eric G Grundset

  • 42. The most valuable book for those with ancestors in Rhode Island during the 1600’s is The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island by John O. Austin, published by Genealogical Publishing.  It maps the first three generations of many early Rhode Island families. You can sometimes find a cheaper used copy on eBay, but be sure to buy one with additions and corrections.
  • 43. The Rhode Island Historical Society has a bookstore at the John Brown House, and online, offering my favorite print of Providence ever, President Street by Joseph Partridge, 1822. I also love Market Square.  Only $15 each.
  • 44. New England Court Records by Diane Rappaport.
  • 45. The complete three volume New England Marriages Before 1700 by Clarence Almon Torrey would be quite a thrill for any serious early New England researcher.
  • 46. A gift membership in the Rhode Island Genealogical Society is a terrific gift for the serious Rhode Island genealogist.

Trying something new

  • 47. For those new to DNA testing, and looking for an easy way to try it out, I could recommend an Ancestry DNA test kit.  Your genealogist will use the kit to submit a sample (in fact, it will be important to the genealogist to choose WHO will be sampled) which will be analyzed, and the results, available online, will show links to other individuals.
  • 48. A better choice for the same money, for a genealogist who is more experienced, is the Family Tree DNA Family Finder test kit.  Family Tree DNA gives enough information to more accurately allow you to estimate, if the right people are tested, the common source of your matches.

Caution I brake for cemeteries

Just for fun

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2015/11/04/50-gifts-for-genealogists-2015/


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I had the idea while writing my 50 Gifts for Genealogists post of making tile coasters with old photos.  I got some inspiration from this post I saw on Pinterest from Boxy Colonial, as well as several other Pinterest examples, but I also improvised.

I thought I would like to use family photos, but not of people.    I ended up doing two variations of this:  old New England houses that had belonged to my direct ancestors, and, at my daughter’s suggestion, the four houses that my parents owned before their present house.  I also bought scrapbook paper and made some with Christmas themes, and some for year-round.

Getting the pictures

I had taken pictures of the historic houses I wanted to use.  For my parents’ houses, my daughter had one picture that was suitable, and I went out while the leaves were still on the trees to photograph the three other houses, which are nearby.

So I was starting with pictures like this:

Former house on Waterman Avenue, Warwick, R.I.

Former house on Waterman Avenue, Warwick, R.I.

I needed to do several things to make them work:

  • make them square (by cropping)
  • eliminate aspects of the picture that were not accurate for the period they owned it (in the case above, the color is wrong, and the addition to the house beyond the garage is not original)
  • make them more interesting with special painting effects
  • make them just under 4 inches in size (for this, I actually needed to take the edited pictures and move them onto a blank Word document, then resize.  I printed on a normal color printer, on copier paper, from there).

I could handle the cropping and resizing, but I got my daughter to use a special app called “Waterlogue”on her iPad to make the “watercolor” effect on each picture.

So at this point I had pictures that looked like this:

The square, resized, watercolored picture of the Waterman Ave house.

The square, resized, watercolored picture of the Waterman Ave house.

For the historic houses, I wanted to get those done on my own, and I downloaded a free one week trial of AKVIS Artwork 8.1.  It was fairly easy to use.

Editing one of the historic pictures using AKVIS Artwork 8.1.

Editing one of the historic pictures using AKVIS Artwork 8.1.

The results were nice:

The watercolor version of the historic house in Sheldonville, Mass.

The watercolor version of the historic house in Sheldonville, Mass., built by my 5th great grandfather Nathan Aldrich and his father, Asa Aldrich about 200 years ago.

I also used Paint to retouch the photos, eliminating a few window air conditioners and other modern touches.

I moved the pictures into Word when I was finished editing them so that I could size them exactly, in inches. Then I printed them.  I measured them against the tiles and cut them out with scissors.

Putting the tiles together

I also purchased:

  • scrapbook paper on sale at Michael’s which I cut to size
  • 4 inch square ceramic tiles, color Bisque, from Lowe’s, 16 cents each
  • Modge Podge and some foam brushes.  I got the shiny Modge Podge, but the matte might have been better
  • Acrylic spray for finishing
  • We already had glue and some quarter inch cork sheets around the house.

I covered the tiles with Modge Podge, placed the picture on top immediately – you can wiggle it at this point, but once you let go, you can’t really move it again.  Then I coated the top of the picture with Modge Podge, being careful to make sure each edge was held down firmly.

Modge Podge going on one of the scrapbooking paper tiles.

Modge Podge going on one of the scrapbooking paper tiles.  It dries clear.

I gradually put about 24 tiles together, and went back and recoated each one with Modge Podge three additional times.  They were looking good:

My parents' four previous houses

My parents’ four previous houses

This is the historic house set:

Some historic houses owned by my direct ancestors

Some historic houses owned by my direct ancestors

Along the way of all that Modge Podging and drying, I cut the cork for the backs, and began applying the backs just before the last coat of Modge Podge.  My husband made me a wooden template to use for the size I wanted the cork to be (slightly smaller than the tile) and I cut the cork with a knife.

Cutting the cork backing.

Cutting the cork backing.

I glued the cork on the back of each tile.  I just used Tacky Glue along the edge of the tile back, and on some of the raised areas; it worked fine.

Gluing the cork on the back of each tile.

Gluing the cork on the back of each tile.

The Christmas tiles

The Christmas tiles

The last step was to spray an acrylic finish on the tiles (the smell was really annoying!).  Although that dried quickly, I plan to leave them out for a week or so before packing them up for gifts.

The finished tiles after the acrylic spray.

The finished tiles after the acrylic spray.

In closing

I think the tiles made with scrapbooking paper are cute, but I think I would only be interested in doing these in the future with my own artwork or photos – that’s the fun and unique part.  I was surprised to see that the Modge Podge didn’t damage the print at all on my copied photos.  It worked fine.

I made 25 tiles, and it took about a half day to take and manipulate the photos, and most of a day to make the tiles.  I think I could do this faster next time.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/11/30/a-quick-gift-for-mom-and-dad/


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