As the holiday season approaches, it’s a good time for genealogists to let loved ones know about the fabulous gift possibilities that are out there. Here are my top 50 choices, but check out the comments, too, where I’m sure others will leave good ideas. Here we go!
On the road
- 1. Some sort of rolling briefcase, for conferences or town hall visits. Not too crazy big, in case it needs to fit into a locker.
- 2. A canvas or quilted bag, with zipper and inside pockets, for carrying notebooks, camera and supplies.
- 3. Cocoon Grid-It keeps small electronics together when traveling (also available on Amazon)
- 4. TableTote – a portable laptop stand for use at microfilm machines, or anywhere a temporary workspace is needed. It folds completely.
- 5. No genealogy trip is complete without cute business cards to exchange with the other researchers. Print the last names of the family lines being researched on the back.
- 6. Clip board. I use a green print one from Staples the most because it is incredibly light weight. 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.
- 7. If you want to get all You’ve-Got-Mail, a bouquet of newly sharpened Mirado Black Warrior pencils and a pencil sharpener would be nice. Also a wooden ruler, desk scissors, highlighters, and White Pearl erasers.
- 8. Genealogists spend a lot of time at their desks. How about a comfortable desk chair?
- 9. Bookends are getting harder to find. A clerk at Staples actually didn’t know what they were. Try The Container Store.
- 10. Special markers for genealogists.
- 11. Personal handheld labeler from Brother to label shelves, drawers, binders and folders. Genealogists always imagine they’re about to get organized. So they love stuff like this.
- 12. For the genealogist who serves as the family archivist (which is all genealogists), archival supplies from Gaylord are always popular.
- 13. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, Second Edition, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Genealogical Pub. Co., 2009.
- 14. Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques by George G. Morgan and Drew Smith, McGraw Hill Education, 2014.
- 15. Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, 2013, available through the National Genealogical Society.
- 16. Try finding a history book, or even a movie, about something the genealogist is researching now. Did he or she just find a Civil War soldier? A California gold miner? A Mayflower ancestor? Even better, read and discuss it together.
- 17. Genealogists enjoy reading Family Tree Magazine. This is an especially good choice for beginners, and another recommendation for beginners would be the book “Family Tree Problem Solver” by Marcia Hoffmann Rising, available here.
- 18. 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.
- 19. There are several series of folded laminated quick guides to various genealogical topics. Check out these: Portable Genealogist from NEHGS, Genealogy at a Glance and Quicksheets by Genealogical Publishing Company, and the single sheet KwikTips from PhotoTree.com.
Computers and Electronics
- 20. Software
- 21. Kindle owners might like an Amazon gift card. Actually, any genealogist might like one.
- 22. Paid subscriptions to online genealogy sites like GenealogyBank.com, Fold3.com, and Ancestry.com probably need to be selected by the genealogist, but a homemade gift card offering to cover one would be good.
- 23. USB flash drives. 8gb or 16gb should be fine. Try finding ones where the cover is not a separate piece.
- 24. Eye-Fi camera memory card to auto-upload from camera to computer (try Amazon.com for a full variety).
- 25. Camera digital memory cards.
- 26. A Canon CanoScan 9000F flatbed scanner is very useful for genealogists that are trying to digitize records and photos at home.
- 27. The portable battery-operated scanner called Flip-Pal is a favorite with genealogists who go to relatives’ homes, reunions or other places and need to scan pictures. No computer is needed on site; the scans are stored on a memory card. There are package offers available which support the National Genealogical Society.
- 28. Eneloop rechargable batteries by Sanyo, size AA, with a charger and case, would be good for a person who already has a Flip-Pal. Try Amazon or other retailers.
- 29. For genealogists that listen to webinars, participate in Google+ Hangouts, or listen to podcasts, these Microsoft LifeChat headphones are popular for $21.00.
Shopping local and small business
- 30. Local genealogy societies welcome members who are looking for ancestors in all parts of the world, not just locally. Around here, Rhode Island Genealogical Society membership is just $25 per year for 2014.
- 31. I love the work of the Gravestone Girls. I have a refrigerator magnet.
- 32. Shop locally for antique or old looking picture frames for old photos.
- 33. There are some genealogy publishers we would like to support – Heritage Books has a coupon code for 50% off Dec. 2 – 6, 2013.
- 34. Try your local historical society. Perhaps they have a membership, event or materials that might be helpful to a genealogist.
- 35. A box of family letters, scrapbooks, pictures, or mementos that the genealogist hasn’t managed to get hold of yet.
- 36. Research an ancestor or story the genealogist is not working on, and surprise them with a little report. They will love it!
- 37. Paint the inside of old mason jars, insert a paper or plastic cup as a liner, for use as desk accessories.
- 38. Offer to explore cemeteries together, of the genealogist’s choosing. Pack a sandwich and a camera!
- 39. 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; there are plenty of instructions online.
For those with Rhode Island ancestors
- 40. 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. Only $15.
- 41. For those researching New England and New York (and other U.S. locations), The New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston offers a lot of online member benefits and discounts for $79.95 per year – see gift memberships here.
- 42. Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, by John Osborne Austin (with additions and corrections by G. Andrews Moriarty). Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1969. This can be purchased new for $65 or perhaps purchased used for less. It maps the first three generations of many early Rhode Island families.
- 43. Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Rhode Island. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co, 1990. $20.50. Lists heads of families in Rhode island, 1790, with brief data.
- 44. Look over the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s Book & Gift Catalog. I am very excited about Elements of Genealogical Analysis by Robert Charles Anderson (coming in January 2014). (hopefully my family has read down this far).
- 45. Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research, 5th edition, ed. by Michael J. Leclerc and published by the New England Historic Genealogical Publishing Company, 2012. Helps for locating record types by location.
- 46. New Englanders in the 1600’s, Expanded Edition by Martin E. Hollick, 2012, published by the New England Historic Genealogical Publishing Company. This book offers a bibliographic summary of genealogical work published 1980-2010 on certain early New England settlers.
Just for Fun
- 47. Tee shirts from Fun Stuff for Genealogists
- 48. Jewelry from Fun Stuff
- 49. Barb’s Branches has some attractive genealogy jewelry in an Etsy shop.
- 50. CAUTION I brake for Cemeteries key chain from Fun Stuff and other silly stuff.
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