Here are some of the best genealogy gifts for anyone researching their family tree, a special surname, or local history. From one family historian to another, these fabulous items are sure to please the genealogists in your life. You’ll never be stuck for birthday, Christmas or holiday gift ideas again. Here are my top ten! Enjoy!
1. Custom Vintage Map Necklace
Do you have a connection to a particular town, city or ancestral homeland? Keep it close with a piece of custom vintage map jewellery, like this super pendant. From Atlanta to London, Melbourne to Zurich, everyone has a special place they treasure, so now you can wear it with pride.
Can’t narrow your choice to just one place? Then, how about a double-sided, personalized map necklace? Many of our ancestors travelled great distances to find work or start new lives. For a poignant way to commemorate such a journey, why not place your ancestor’s original home on one side and their destination on the other?
2. DNA Genealogy Testing Kits
DNA testing is the hottest thing in genealogical research right now, so this may be your chance to make someone very happy indeed. There are three types of DNA tests available, so it’s important to choose the right one. If you’re not sure, here’s a helpful guide that explains the options.
If you’re interested in finding ‘cousins’, AncestryDNA’s autosomal DNA test has the largest database and is a good place to start for anyone who hasn’t already.
For tracing surnames and the father’s ancestral line, I recommend one of the y-DNA tests available from Family Tree DNA.
3. Genealogy Websites Gift Memberships
Ask any family historian what they need most and they will probably reply ‘more information’. Access to vital records, such as birth, marriage and death registrations, church records, censuses, probate and wills, is widely available online, but increasingly, if you want to find most of these in one place, you will need to pay to view the crucial facts and details that will build a solid foundation for any family tree.
A year’s membership subscription to any of the major genealogy sites, such as Ancestry or Findmypast, or specialist sites (like ScotlandsPeople for anyone tracing their Scottish heritage), is bound to be appreciated by most family historians, whether beginners or more experienced researchers.
4. Family History Notebook
Half the fun of genealogy is making discoveries, but unless you have a brain the size of a planet, you’ll want to take plenty of notes, record facts and findings, and jot down ideas for future research, preferably in one easily accessible place.
This genealogy notebook is designed to be both practical and stylish, which makes it the perfect gift. Inside, you’ll find a blank pedigree chart, research records list, space to record research goals, plus over 120 lined pages to write down those exciting and precious discoveries.
5. Family Tree Charts
Nothing beats a customized family tree to really show off your ancestral credentials. Choose from giant pedigree wall charts to cosy, handmade, more intimate representations, with names inscribed on wooden hearts dangling from the family tree.
I love some of the more artistic renditions, like this one, designed to brighten up any room and make family an integral part of modern living.
Don’t have enough wall space? No matter. Take a look at these handmade, family tree-inspired cushions and pillows.
Books make fabulous gifts for anyone interested in genealogy, local history, tracing a particular surname, house, or occupation. For anyone starting out, guides like the BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ or Graham Davis’ ‘Your Family Tree Online’, remain good introductions to tracing a person’s ancestors, from wherever you are in the world.
For UK research, some of my personal favourites have helped set my discoveries into historical context, while suggesting further sources to explore. For example, Sue Wilkes’ ‘Tracing your canal ancestors’ (published by Pen & Sword) has been invaluable since I discovered one of my ancestors lived and worked aboard an English narrowboat during the 1800s, while for anyone who has exhausted their BMDs and census records for England and Wales, I heartily recommend Jonathon Oates’ clear and highly informative guide to ‘Tracing your ancestors from 1066 to 1837’.
Meanwhile, readers of fiction may also enjoy the exploits of family history detective, Jefferson Tayte, in Steve Robinson’s series of genealogical mysteries.
7. Internet password and web address book
If the genealogist in your life doesn’t have one of these yet, try one of the Peter Pauper Press range. The old map theme is sure to be a hit with anyone looking into their history.
8. Portable scanner
Spending a long time in the archives? Make life easy with a Doxie Flip.
This portable, cordless, flatbed scanner will scan almost any physical item and turn it into an image for digital storage. Registers, certificates, photographs, medals, coins, you name it, this lightweight scanner with removable lid easily captures images of those unique records and precious items, wherever you go.
9. Personalized templates and printables
Hosting a family reunion? Want to share your research and make it fun? These personalized ancestor templates and printable family trivia game can help you pass on your knowledge and make it easy for others to learn about shared ancestors and distant relatives. Each one comes as a downloadable template, so you can save it to your computer and use it as many times as you like.
10. Thoughtful gifts
For those on a tight budget, there’s another way to give the genealogist in your life the best present ever. Time!
After all, who doesn’t want to spend more time doing something they enjoy? How might you free up an hour for them to go check those census records or locate great uncle Tom’s birthplace? It could be as simple as walking their dog or running a few errands for them.
Be creative. Remember, generosity doesn’t have to include a price tag.