genealogy gifts, Lee family, Virginia,

‘Tis the Season for Genealogy Gifts

Editor’s note: The following is a version of a post originally by the late Carolyn L. Barkley. Her ideas of what to give the genealogist in your life are just as awesome today as they were several years ago when this post was drafted. As technology has improved and prices have changed, some edits and updates were necessary. 

We hope this list inspires you to give the perfect present to both the naughty and nice genealogist in your life.

Genealogy Gift List

Do you have a genealogist on your holiday list? Perhaps, you are a genealogist who needs to provide a list of gift ideas to a family member. Here are five ideas to help your holiday shopping.

Give the gift of books

Thomas Jefferson stated “I cannot live without books.” There are many titles that would be great additions under your tree. Examples include any – better yet, any combination of titles – from the Genealogy at a Glance series from These laminated, four-page basic research guides make great research travel companions, weighing little and consuming minimal suitcase space. Library Journal, in its December 2012 issue, includes a “Short Takes” in which it states that “offering vetted online resources, further reading suggestions, and practical tips…these pamphlets will provide novices with a starting point, while more advanced researchers will likely discover in them a detail or two they hadn’t considered.” Currently, there are thirty-one titles in the series including research in the Family History Library, ethnic research (French, Italian, Scottish, Cherokee, African American, French-Canadian, English, Irish, and German), research in various states (Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Virginia), and several other topics including American cemeteries, Ellis Island, immigration, U. S. federal census records, and Revolutionary War genealogy. The cost is perfect for filling that Christmas stocking – just $8.95 each.

Andrea Wulf’s Founding Gardeners: the Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation is a great book for a cold winter evening. Perhaps one of the best gifts would be a copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (3rd ed., Genealogical Publishing Co., 2010. $59.95), a must-have for anyone’s home genealogical library.

Give the gift of an online subscription

This is a gift that will keep giving all year long. The choices are limitless, but here are a few to consider:

GenealogyBank: a gift membership will give a year’s access to over one billion family history records, including historical newspapers (1690-2010), historical books (1749-1900), and historical documents (1789-1994), plus additional collections such as the Social Security Death Index.

Newspaperarchive: access to 120 million newspaper pages (1607-present) from ten countries and all fifty-states. Instructions on purchasing a gift subscription can be found on the shopping cart tutorial.

Fold3: access to 101,397,324 records in the “web’s premier collection of original military records.”

Ancestry: access to what is, arguably, the world’s largest collection of online genealogical resources. Discounted gift memberships are available until Christmas Day.

Give the gift of technology

If you keep up with genealogical posts on Facebook, or read genealogy-related blogs throughout the year, you will have run across many possible gifts in the technology category. Probably the one most prominently discussed is the Flip-pal mobile scanner.

This device is capable of scanning photographs, drawings, documents, and other printed items, as well as small objects such as coins. Large objects can be scanned in sections and the device’s software will “stitch” the images together.  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.

Give the gift of membership

There are many membership opportunities starting with local historical or genealogical societies, and ending with regional organizations such as the New England Historic Genealogical Society and national organizations such as the National Genealogical Society. Membership in an organization such as the Association of Professional Genealogists, moreover, will support life-long learning on a continuing basis.

Give the gift of learning

Genealogy, both as a profession and as a hobby, necessitates constant learning and skill-building, and numerous opportunities are available annually. You may want to gift a small scholarship to defray the cost of registration or travel to one of the many genealogy conferences and programs available each year. Some examples of the latter include the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy each January; RootsTech, in Salt Lake City in February 2016; the New England Regional Genealogical Conference, held every two years and scheduled in Springfield, Massachusetts, in April 2017; the National Institute on Genealogical Research to be held in Washington, D.C. in July of 2016, and the Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference, scheduled for late August 2016 in Springfield, Illinois.

I hope that some of these ideas will help put genealogy under your tree or in your stocking – or those of your favorite genealogist.

Image credit: Genealogy. Lee family of Virginia and Maryland, c1886 Apr. 26. Library of Congress.

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