5 Tips for Gift Giving (and Receiving) For the Holidays

18 Dec 2012


One of the challenging things about this time of year is coming up with gift idea. Not only do you have to decide what to get others, you will invariably be asked what you yourself would like to receive. The challenge to be creative every year can be tremendous. Here are five gifts for you to ask for or give to your favorite genealogist this holiday season.

1. Books

It is my experience that genealogists love to read. We are voracious consumers of all manner of written words. Methodology books on how to conduct certain aspects of research are always a welcome gift. Books on local history and social history are also welcome, helping us to understand the nature of our ancestors’ lives, as well as potentially providing us with new ideas for research paths. One of my favorite book provides is Maia’s Books. Whenever I see Martha’s booth at a conference, I invariable come away with several new tomes to pack into the luggage for the ride home. She has a wide variety of books of all kinds to help you with your research.

2. Genealogical Society Memberships

There are so many worthwhile societies to belong to.  The National Genealogical Society offers a nationwide view, educational opportunities of all kinds, an interesting member magazine, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, one of the stalwarts of scholarly, trustworthy genealogical publishing.  Then there are the state societies, such as the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Not only the society where you currently live, but those where your ancestors once lived. Then there are county and local societies that can provide tremendous insight into research for that area. And , of course, there are also regional societies, such as the Southern California Genealogical Society or the New England Historic Genealogical Society, that offer  invaluable assistance.

3. Gadgets/Software

We genealogists love our computers and our tech gadgets. Where would we be without them? It wasn’t that long ago that research trips involved lugging lots of paper around. Bringing paper on the trip so you would have the proper information to research. Then bringing entire forests-worth of paper home with copies of records for further research. Gadgets and software are a great gift. Perhaps software to help with your land platting. Or finally getting a Flip-Pal scanner. Or maybe that iPad or iPad Mini you’ve been drooling over!

4. Genealogy Trip

Genealogists love to plan their vacations around genealogy trips. And there are so many options. Visiting locations where your ancestors used to live, stopping in cemeteries, libraries, archives, and courthouses to do research. Or attending one of the major national or statewide conferences, where learning and networking opportunities abound. Maybe this is the year you can finally get to the country of origin of your ancestors to research and visit. And, of course, there is always the  granddaddy of all research trips: a visit to Salt Lake City, where you can research locations around the planet in one fell swoop.

5. Subscriptions

Of course being able to research from home at your convenience is one of the benefits of being a twenty-first century genealogist. Even if there is still no single computer or website that will provide you with all of your ancestors, you have a wide variety of options to help you with your research. This is the time to ask your spouse for an upgrade to for example, opening up new doors and avenues for research.