Give the Gift of Genealogy

By: Carolyn L. Barkley

The holiday season is here and it’s time (or perhaps past time) to put your gift list together. As we research throughout the year, or as we attend conferences and exhibits, we see books, software, and other items that might be the perfect gift for another genealogist – or even for ourselves. If you are the only genealogist in your family, chances are that your potential gift-givers don’t have any idea what you would really like. If that’s the case, print the following suggestions, use it as a check list, and provide it to family members, thus insuring that at least some of your gifts will support your genealogical efforts. (Please note that items listed here were selected by the writer. They are not meant to be inclusive and are not specifically endorsed by

?  1.  Give a subscription to an online service.

? access to 1.5 billion fully searchable records and historical documents. Subscriptions cost $39.95 per year. access to over one billion family history records, including historical newspapers (1690-2007), historical books (1801-1900), and historical documents (1789-1984). Subscriptions start at $9.95 for a thirty-day trial and then cost $69.95 per year (monthly rate is also available). access to 5,000 historical newspapers (1609-2011) from ten countries and all fifty-states. An annual subscription at $5.99 ($71.88) is the most economical, but monthly rates based on monthly or semi-annual subscriptions are available. access to 79,321,956 record images, among other features, with a focus on military records. Subscriptions cost $79.95 per year. access to what is, arguably, the world’s largest collection of online genealogical resources. Ancestry makes it very easy to give a gift subscription; just look for the “gift membership” tab at the upper right of the home page. Subscriptions focusing on United States research are available for $159.00 per year, or $89.00 for six-months; subscriptions encompassing the world are available for $299.00 per year, or $169.00 for six-months.

?  2.  Give a subscription to a genealogical periodical.

Family Chronicle: the “how-to magazine for tracing your ancestors.” The subscription rate is $29.00.

Internet Genealogy: “your guide to successful genealogical research using the ever-increasing power of the World Wide Web.” Print subscriptions are currently available for $29.00 per year; online subscriptions for $19.95.

Family Tree Magazine: self-described as “the leading family history magazine for researching genealogy.” Print subscriptions are $27.00 per year, with digital subscriptions available for $24.00.

?  3.  Give a scanner.

Flip-pal: This mobile scanner is capable of scanning photographs, drawings, documents, and other printed items, as well as small objects such as coins. Images are stored on an SD card and can be uploaded to your computer or laptop. Cordless, compact, and lightweight, the Flip-pal makes the perfect scanner to take along on research trips. The cost for a Flip-pal is $149.99 with accessories such as a carrying case available for an additional cost.

?  4.  Give books.

At a Glance: This series is new from and features laminated, usually four-page quick references that are easy to pack, weigh almost nothing in your luggage or briefcase, and will prove invaluable during a research trip. Available titles include Ellis Island Research, Immigration Research, Scottish Genealogy Research, African American Genealogy Research, French-Canadian Genealogy Research, Michigan Genealogy Research, English Genealogy Research, Irish Genealogy Research, Revolutionary War Genealogy Research, and German Genealogy Research, with more titles to be released in the coming months. These titles are available for $8.95 each.

Map Guide to the U. S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920: My all time favorite reference book and an absolute must for your home reference library, this work shows all United States county boundaries from 1790 to 1920. On each of the nearly 400 maps, the old county lines are superimposed over the modern ones to highlight the boundary changes at ten-year intervals. Also included are (1) a history of census growth; (2) the technical facts about each census; (3) a discussion of census accuracy; (4) an essay on available sources for each state’s old county lines; and (5) a statement with each map indicating which county census lines exist and which are lost. Then there is an index listing all present-day counties, plus nearly all defunct counties or counties later re-named. With each map there is data on boundary changes, notes about the census, and locality finding keys. There also are inset maps that clarify territorial lines, a state-by-state bibliography of sources and an appendix outlining pitfalls in mapping county boundaries. This title is a bargain at $59.95!

Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. The “bible” of documentation standards, this book is another essential title for your home collection, providing citation models for most historical sources–especially original materials not covered by classic citation guides such as The Chicago Manual of Style. Beyond that it can help us understand each type of record and identify each in such detail that we, and our readers, will know not only where to go to find our source, but, equally important, the nature of that source so that the evidence can be better interpreted and the accuracy of our conclusions properly appraised. This title is available for $59.95.

?  5. Give software. Genealogical software is one of the best vehicles to organize family       research and to share it with others.

Family Tree Maker: FTM is the best selling software program on the market and is perhaps the easiest for the beginning genealogist. Linked to, FTM provides hints to records available on Ancestry. In addition, you can add photographs, images of historical records and interactive maps, share your family tree with others and create charts, reports and family history books. The software is available for both PCs and MACs and costs between $29.99 and $59.99 (promotional pricing) depending on the version purchased.

The Master Genealogist: TMG is a powerful genealogical software program. As such it will meet the needs of the genealogist from the beginner to the professional and allows for a great deal of customization. One of its useful features is the ability to import Family Tree Maker and PAF files directly into TMG. The software is available for $34.00 (as a download) or $39.95 (CD by mail) for the Silver edition; or $59.95 (as a download) or $69.96 (CD by mail) for the Gold edition. The latter edition provides enhanced chart output and publication tools.

Personal Historian: Produced by RootsMagic¸ this software “helps you write the story of your life and of other individuals. Overwhelmed with the thought of writing a personal history? It breaks this seemingly monumental task into small, manageable pieces and then reconstructs it into a complete, publishable document. The software is available for $29.95, but is also available bundled with other RootsMagic software products.

?   6.  Give a conference registration. One of the best values for the money is registration at a genealogical conference or seminar.

? National Genealogical Society annual Family History Conference: The 2012 conference is schedule for Cincinnati, Ohio, May 9-12. The conference program and the registration form is now available online. Member registration prior to 20 March 2012 is $175 ($210 after 20 March); non-members registration is $210.00 ($245 after 20 March).

?  7. Give something fun. Cyndi Howells of Cyndi’s List fame has just opened a new boutique at Café Press.  Her new collection features a wide-range of items including a coffee mug, mousepad, keychain, sweatshirt, iPad sleeve, stadium blanket, T-shirts, holiday ornaments, pj’s, and my favorites – a T-shirt for your dog and water or food bowls for those pedigreed canines and felines in your family. Just the thing to round out your shopping list.

I hope you have fun with this list and that it will help Santa put some genealogy in your holidays.






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