This is always my favorite topic. I bet you can guess why. I wrote this in hopes to help those who are less genealogical incline find the perfect gift for the person in their lives that is addicted to genealogy. Whether this might be your brother, sister, parent, or better half.
1. A membership to a genealogical society. This one is definitely a chart topper on the wish-lists of many genealogists who have to spread the money around to many different places. The problem is that its the one that usually gets left off and there are reasons for this. While you can live without a membership to a genealogical society you will usually need to pay for subscriptions to multiple types of genealogy services that end up feeling more important. While someone can get quite far online for free, often genealogists would choose to pay for a subscription to popular sites with records or archive collections and forgo the society membership. Why is membership to a genealogical society important? They offer their members discounts to databases, offer training, conferences, education, books at discounts, and other programs at a discount. In addition to those perks, there is usually services and a publication also included in a membership. In short, they keep genealogists on the cutting edge and save them money.
2. A new software program. Have they mentioned a dozen times they would like the latest version of roots magic or family tree maker? Of course, there are many different genealogy software programs so make sure you actually know which one they want before you buy them one! Why are software programs important? This is where the genealogist stores all of their work, this could amount to a lifetime of research so it is extremely important. Think of it as the tool a genealogist uses to do their work, much like a carpenter needs a measuring tape, or an artist needs a paintbrush.
3. Tickets to a conference. There are many great conferences for genealogists to attend across the United States as well as in other countries around the world. A quick search from any search engine on the internet will produce several choices. Likewise, you can check with the local genealogy group or society for the best regional conferences to attend. If you have heard them mention multiple times how much they would like to attend a particular conference then pay for it!
4. Buy them a book. The topic can cover just about any aspect of genealogy but try to make it personalized. For instance, if they are researching ancestors in Ireland get them a few books about the areas of Ireland they are researching. Even history of the area is important. If you aren’t sure about areas or cultures being researched ask them, we love to talk about our work! If you would like to just get a few books you can’t go wrong with a genetic genealogy guide and a book about writing family histories is a good start. Most genealogists tend to drag their feet about writing their history into a story and this might just give them what they need to put all that hard work into a readable story.
5. Pay to publish their history. There are plenty of print on demand publishers for histories. Do your research and make sure that you have chosen the best fit for their project. There are different types of books and formats available. Some charge more and help you format it while others let you set it up and order the book on your own. It might be best to have a discussion with them about what they picture their final product looking like and how knowledgeable they are about computers and design.
6. A genealogy road trip or vacation. This will probably be a favorite. Do you know that a part of their family came from Texas? How about a Texas vacation to their hometown? Maybe they found the city their family came from in Germany, how about a vacation to their hometown! It can be as far and as big as you can afford but one thing is certain, regardless of how far you go they will deeply appreciate it.
7. Annual subscription to a genealogy database. Let’s face it, subscriptions add up quickly. Before you know it, you could be down several hundred dollars for just a couple of websites. One way I have always managed it was to pay for one at a time. Carefully plan out what you will research at each site and rotate through them. You can cancel and start up again as needed. If you are a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints you can get free subscriptions through family search partners on findmypast, myheritage, and ancestry websites. I think most people know this but it is worth mentioning in case I can save anyone some money!
8. Make them something for them. Create a scrapbook for the family, old or new. Make or recreate an item like one of their favorite ancestors might have if you have knitting or sewing skills make them a quilted lap blanket or knit them a hat and a scarf. Make it special by including a book of nineteenth-century crafts or gift making and make something from inside it. Check Pinterest for loads of heirloom projects.
9. Buy them a new tech device. Needs can vary but there are plenty of portable tech items to make genealogy on the run much easier. It can be as expensive as a laptop or as cheap as a scanner. There all sorts of handy things to make genealogy easier, some people have switched to iPads.
Whatever you choose it will be greatly appreciated but the greatest gift you can give is your interest. Genealogists love to share their work and stories. Sometimes an ear is the best gift of all but helping someone to achieve their goals always feel good doesn’t it?