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. Also, see if there are additional ideas in the comments.
Computers and electronics
- 1. The newest thing I’ve seen this year looks intriguing, but I’ve never tried it and I’m having trouble even finding a vendor (this one is from Canada). ZCAN+ looks like a mouse, but it’s a scanner! Thanks to Thomas McEntee of Hack Genealogy for that tip. He knows about all the cool stuff.
- 2. For the experienced genealogist, I like the Evidentia 2 software for analyzing sources and evidence along the lines of the genealogical proof standard. As a gift, you would want to buy it on CD.
- 3. WD My Passport Ultra 1TB Portable External Hard Drive is recommended by Thomas McEntee of Geneabloggers as the one he uses – to quote him “It is light, runs on USB and has auto-backup.” Personally, I like the red one.
- 4. For beginners looking for the first genealogy software, try RootsMagic 7. I also like Family Tree Maker.
- 5. I still like EyeFi Mobi for auto-download of pictures from your camera onto your computer.
- 6. Wacom Sketchpad helps you write, draw and edit photos on your computer. Ever try to edit photos or mark up screenshots for a presentation with a mouse? Then you know why this is great. Thanks to Jenny Lanctot of Are My Roots Showing? for the suggestion.
On the road
- 7. Wow – it’s a Cocoon Grid-It, but also a tablet carrying-case (swoon). Cocoon Innovations GRID-IT! Wrap Case for 10-Inch Tablet
- 8. Magazines are great when travelling. Prologue Magazine is published quarterly by the U.S. National Archives and helps the genealogist explore federal records. For those just learning genealogy, Family Tree Magazine is a good choice. For more experienced folks, a membership in the National Genealogical Society will include a subscription to the Quarterly.
- 9. Here’s an idea I’ve never seen before – 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.
- 10. Midge Frazel of Granite in My Blood suggests: “Give the gift of power! Buy a small easily packed “lipstick” style charger” for your cell phone (another sample here). On the higher end (more for the serious traveler) I love my Mophie. Midge also suggests that a tiny portable stand (cute colors!) for a phone or tablet might make a good stocking stuffer.
- 11. Amazon gift cards are useful for letting the genealogist pick out their own book or tech gadget. This suggestion came from blogger Barbara Poole of Life from the Roots.
- 12. If your genealogist will be meeting others at conferences, libraries and town halls, making business cards is a fun idea. My new favorite is Moo cards.
- 13. A good, simple camera is getting cheaper and cheaper – this Canon looks like a good buy. Don’t forget to get a memory card to go with it. Cheaper than photocopies!
- 14. 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.
- 15. These Post-It tabs are great in binders.
- 16. Barbara Poole of Life from the Roots sent along an idea about custom notepads made with your genealogist’s name and a cute quip (“On the trail of the ancestors of …” or something). I’m sure many vendors offer custom pads online, or try a local store.
- 17. If your genealogist is surrounded by books, there are some bookends with index tabs that won’t get lost when the shelves fill up. Actually, the Container Store has three styles I love: Index bookends, Tower bookends with a little storage cubby, and Mod bookends.
- 18. I like magazine files, also from the Container Store. But I’m still convinced some charming ones could be handmade – some people cut and cover cereal boxes.
- 19. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills. The bible.
- 20. Elements of Genealogical Analysis by Robert Charles Anderson. This is new.
- 21. Guide to Genealogical Writing, 3rd Edition by Penelope L. Stratton and Henry B. Hoff.
- 22. Guide to Published Genealogies in the Library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, published 2012. This book is a little expensive, but it’s so nice to have a guide at home to the full range of compiled genealogies. Then the genealogist can figure out where to find the books needed.
- 23. If you have deep pockets, and you want to give your favorite genealogist the absolute perfect out of print book about the exact family or location (“for the entire United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, and more”) they’re researching, there’s actually a way to do that! Buy the NEHGS Classic Reprints Catalog for $12.95. It comes with a credit for $12.95 towards the purchase of a custom reprinted book from the 12,000 mentioned in the catalog. You could consider a gift certificate to go with it (it would probably be another $30 – $50 or more to get the book) and your genealogist would be all set to choose and order the perfect reprint. But even a thrifty genealogist could use this book to locate pre-1923 volumes that are available online.
- 24. 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.
- 25. Genealogy Standards: 50th Anniversary Edition (2014) – Board for Certification of Genealogists.
- 26. On Your Own: How to design and construct a family history book to inform & captivate readers by Elayne and Stephen Denker (see a review here at The In-Depth Genealogist)
- 27. Mastering Genealogy Proof by Thomas W. Jones and Genealogy and the Law by Kay Haviland Freilich and William B. Freilich.
- 28. This is just a thought – but two suggestions if your favorite genealogist is trying to interest children in genealogy:
- Zap The Grandma Gap: Connect With Your Family by Connecting Them To Their Family History by Janet Hovorka – and see a variety of new, specialized workbooks for children at her website.
- Branching Out: Genealogy for 1st – 3rd Grade Students Lessons 1 – 15 by Jennifer Holik
- 29. I own and can heartily endorse these books by Christina Rose:
- Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 4th ed. (THIS IS A NEW EDITION)
- Military Bounty Land 1776-1855
- Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures
- Military Pension Acts: 1776 to 1858
- 30. New England Court Records by Diane Rappaport.
- 31. 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.
If the genes fit …
- 32. 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, and with any luck, those individuals will be showing an accurate tree online.
- 33. 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 has a more robust promise to maintain your access to your information, and it gives enough information to more accurately allow you to estimate, if the right people are tested, the common source of your matches.
- 34. This year, hubs made me a cork bulletin board for the genealogy room.
- 35. Old photos on tile coasters – any genealogist would love these – also same idea and same idea. I made them with old photos of family houses.
- 36. A family calendar is popular with Heather Wilkinson Rojo’s family. She says: “A gift my husband does every year is a family calendar using Power Point. We give it out at our family Christmas party, and everyone looks forward to it every year. Around Thanksgiving I solicit photos from my family along themes (vacations, or school photos, or sports images) and I also steal photos from everyone’s Facebook accounts. We arrange the photos for the large calendar pages (above the chart of the months and days) and we also put tiny photos in for everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries. You can find an old blog post for this here“ on Heather’s blog Nutfield Genealogy. Thanks, Heather! I would never have considered PowerPoint for easily formatting the pictures. Great idea!
- 37. Another idea Heather sent along: “For a few years I made charm bracelets and necklaces with vintage family photos, until everyone I knew had one and I had to think of a new idea. I got the idea from my daughter. Everyone loved them, but you can only give it once.”
Shopping local and small business
- 38. Heritage jewelry from this Etsy shop by Danette Taylor. I am fascinated by these custom pieces – not sure if I’m more intrigued by the decoupage bangles, the collage brooches, the decorative recipe plates, or the portrait pendants.
- 39. 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.
- 40. 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! Barb is offering my readers a break – for 15% off, use coupon code: RIFAMILY2014 at checkout. The coupon/discount will be good through Dec 31, 2014.
For those with Rhode Island ancestors
- 41. A gift membership in the Rhode Island Genealogical Society is a terrific gift for the serious Rhode Island genealogist.
- 42. 1797 The Year the Elephant Visited Providence (scroll down the page) by Wayne G. Tillinghast from the Rhode Island Genealogical Society – and lots of other good choices on that page.
- 43. South County Studies of Some Eighteenth Century Persons, Places and Conditions In that Portion of Rhode Island called Narragansett by Esther Carpenter. Heritage Books has lots of other Rhode Island books, too.
- 44. I need to look for my ancestors in the two volumes of Runaways, Deserters, and Notorious Villains from Rhode Island Newspapers by Maureen Alice Taylor. And there are other interesting Rhode Island Books at Picton Press.
Just for Fun
- 45. eat.sleep.genealogy canvas tote from SuperCoolTShirts on Etsy.
- 46. Apparently, there are genealogy mysteries – this is news to me. Try The Lost Ancestor or Hiding the Past by Nathan Dylan Goodwin. I understand Steve Robinson is well known – here’s To The Grave.
- 47. Genealogy haiku, anyone? Census & Censusibility? The appropriate gift for the genealogy addict? You don’t see too many silly genealogy calendars. Lots of cute cemetery themed gifts at the Zazzle site.
- 48. I’m not going to lie – this looks intriguing – Colonial Comics: New England, 1620 – 1750 by Jason Rodriguez.
- 49. Check out the Latest and Greatest gifts from Fun Stuff.
- 50. My favorite genealogy fashion statement, also from Fun Stuff:
If you’re not finding what will make your genealogist happy here, try last year’s post. Hope the links still work!
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