Gifts for Genealogists
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Welcome to Tenacious Genealogy, everyone! February is a great month to dive into genealogy and so while this post is a list of various gifts for genealogists in your life, honestly they aren’t stuck to one holiday. These are gifts that are great to give all month or year long, not just today or this week. (Fun Fact: Carnival/Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, and the Chinese Lunar New Year are all being celebrated this week.)
So in light of all these celebrations, I thought I’d pull together a list of great gift ideas for your genealogically inclined loved one(s).
This is a great little company with an awesome product. I’ve made their family charts for me and for other family members. They are beautiful, customizable and fit as perfectly in kids’ rooms as they would in adult and family areas (an office, hallway, or living room for example).
Another great gift for the genealogist in your family. AncestryDNA has one of the biggest DNA databases among the ‘Big 4’ companies who deal with genetic genealogy. Right now (until February 28, 2018) their kits are on sale for $69. Because AncestryDNA has such a large database (almost 10 million at the current time) it is a great way for genealogists to find relatives and grow their family tree.
On a similar vein, 23&Me is also a DNA database that genealogists to find relatives and grow their family trees. While Ancestry and 23&Me offer many of the same services. 23&Me offers two kits – their Ancestry kit is similar to what AncestryDNA offers, but their Ancestry+Health kit offers reports on certain genetic traits and health issues. Especially for people who are adopted (regardless of whether or not they have any desire to meet their biological family), the Ancestry+Health kit is a good way to explore their family medical history.
A beautiful hardcover book that anyone in a family (but especially genealogists) would love. This book is a great place to write down names, dates, stories, store pictures and other keepsakes that tell a family story. It has room for 6 generations on each side of a family (so 6 generations for the wife’s family and 6 generations for the husband’s family) and lots of space for extra documents. The only issue that I’ve seen pop up with this book is that the exterior is a dark green color with gold wording and decoration and the initial picture on Amazon shows a white and gold cover (I’m assuming to show the wording and such that in on the front) and this has confused some customers.
This book is perfect for the genealogist who has become the family ‘keeper’. The person with all the photos and documents from earlier generations. Having studied archival preservation (and worked on collections at places like the Smithsonian), I can say from personal experience that learning how to archive and preserve old documents and memorabilia is an important skill to have. Thus, this is the perfect book for someone who is just starting out preserving their family keepsakes or wants to know the best techniques for preserving, organizing, and sorting their personal collections without spending a fortune on equipment or supplies.
Inevitably, in every family, whoever the genealogist is, will have to go searching through courthouse records. For a lot of people (including myself), this is not second nature and can sometimes be a daunting task. But this book is a great resource and guidebook for those who need to delve into the world of courthouse research, finding documents, and noting them for future generations. The author, Christine Rose, is well known in genealogical circles and an expert in working with these kinds of records. That said, this book is written for people who are just starting out or have been dabbling a bit with researching their family histories.
A great book for beginners in the world of genetic genealogy, this book is written by one of the foremost experts in the field, Blaine Bettinger. It is geared toward those who are just starting out with an aim to helping them understand what exactly the different terms and phrase used in genetic genealogy, as well as what kinds of DNA testing there is out there, what to expect from results and the methodologies three of the major testings companies, and much more. This is a great gift to give along with a DNA test from places like Ancestry and 23&Me.
Another great book from Blaine Bettinger (as well as Debbie Parker Wayne), this workbook is a good companion to the book up above or the DNA tests mentioned earlier. Once again, it is geared toward people who are just starting out with their genetic genealogy pursuits and educates the reader chapter by chapter with practical applications at the end of each chapter that allow the reader to practice what they have learned so far. While it isn’t a quick read, it is a concise and thorough book that will allow any layperson in the field to understand what is going on with their genetic genealogy.
Do you have a family member who LOVES genealogy and might be interested in becoming a professional genealogist? (Or are you that person?) If so, the Association of Professional Genealogists is a great professional association to join. They have tons of resources and webinars to help genealogists of all levels improve their skill, learn how to start a business, or even explore the different career fields open to genealogists. They also have plenty of benefits in regards to professional development and courses that genealogists can take, as well as conferences and other ways for genealogists to connect and network with others. The annual dues are also reasonable compared to other associations ($100 per year and $50 for members under 30 who agree to get just the online version of their newsletter/ members over 74 who have been members for 20 or more years).
NEHGS (New England Historic Genealogical Society) is one of the preeminent genealogical societies in the United States and membership in their society overs access to numerous collection, both offline and online, from around the United States and abroad. Even if your ancestors never lived or stepped foot in New England, the NEHGS likely has records or access to records about them. They currently have 450 databases and a variety of learning resources including webinars and online courses. Memberships start at about $90 a year, so if you are or know of a genealogist who would benefit from access to NEHGS’s collections and resources, this is a great gift.
Got family members from French-speaking Canadian provinces? Know a genealogist who is researching those lines or areas? A membership to Genealogy Quebec may very well be an excellent gift for them. The cost is similar to other organizations ($100 CAD per year), but it gives access to not only the Drouin Collection (an AMAZING collection of primary sources for records in Ontario, Quebec, and other Canadian provinces) but other related collections as well.
Last but not least, an amazing gift for the genealogist in your life (especially one who is interested in local history and genealogy) is a membership to your local genealogy society. The link above is to the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ list of genealogical societies. While the list is not necessarily complete, it is a great place to start and find what local genealogical societies are nearby. With most of the societies, you can access their website and/or email to see what kind of resources they offer their members and the cost to join.
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