It’s that time of the year again; the dreaded question of what do I get my ancestor-hunting family member for the holidays? Here are 10 gift ideas:
1. Clear Research Bag – I love mine as I can keep everything I need for boots-on-the-ground research in one place. Guards like it, too, as they can readily see you are not bringing in a dreaded ink pen, red especially, into their precious collections. Available on Amazon.
2. Genealogists like to take notes, make lists, research plans, and remember hints that are discovered that don’t quite fit with what they’re currently working on. These notebooks, available in two sizes, are perfect for jotting down ideas and odd finds. Available on Amazon and in a larger format.
3. For the home office, a desk organizer is so helpful! Fill it with the right stuff – mechanical pencils so no sharpener is needed, red pens for underlining important info on lineage society Apps, a transparent ruler to keep those lines straight, plastic clips to hold papers without worrying about rust, a magnifying glass for those hard to read old documents, calculator to determine age, and post-it notes for flagging finds in books. Yes, all are available on Amazon but it’s less expensive at Staples.
4. I’m really trying to save trees but sometimes you just have to print. A ream of acid-free paper, print cartridges, and a packet of sheet protectors are definitely useful. Throw in a binder and your gift is complete.
5. I love my Dymo label maker. I can print out an address quickly for snail mail connections. I’ve labeled binders and file folders so everything can be found easily. In the past, I even used them for citations, then placed the label on a notebook page so when I went to the library, I could take notes under the citation. I use tech now but if your genealogist is old school, a Dymo is a good way to get them started using tech as it’s simple to install and use.
6. Renew their online subscription to a loved genealogy company – in alpha order, Ancestry.com, Findmypast.com, Fold3.com, GenealogyBank.com, MyHeritage.com, Newspapers.com, etc. Go to their website to obtain an eGift Certificate. Many of these companies allow you to purchase now and extend the existing subscription to a future date but check that out before you purchase.
7. Boots-on-the-ground research is still necessary. Get family members together to chip in cash to contribute to the genealogist’s dream archive visit site. In the U.S., it may be Salt Lake City, Utah, Fort Wayne, Indiana, the National Archives in various locations, or perhaps an in-person conference. This gift will just blow them away.
8. Techie, are you? Then use your skills to video record an interview with your genealogist. Flip the tables – they’re always asking you and now it’s time for you to ask them. You can refer to my blog article here for question ideas or make it more personal – ask them “When did you begin your interest in family history?” “What has been the most difficult line you’ve researched?” “If you could meet one deceased ancestor you’ve discovered, who would it be and why?” “What ancestral home location would you love to visit?” “What ancestor just confounds you?”
9. If you’re artsy, then make a gift. My oldest decorated a mug so I can enjoy a cup of tea while I research. I’ve also been gifted over the years with t-shirts and my business logo on the bag noted in item 1. I’d even appreciate a gift basket of healthy snacks. Get creative!
10. Your time – the cost is nothing but the gift is priceless! Sure, you could care less about Great Uncle Waldo who discovered gold in them there hills but your genealogist family member would just love to tell you all about what they discovered. Humor them and schedule an hour or two after the holidays to listen and learn about your ancestors. You might surprise yourself and realize that this gift of heart was also meaningful for you.
Next week, tips on writing a short ancestor biography. Stay tuned!