Let’s face it: finding the perfect gift for the genealogist or family historian in your family can be tricky—especially if you aren’t much into genealogy yourself. What sort of present gets someone who is into family history excited? Actually, there are many different interests in family history and many genealogy gift options to choose from.
Or maybe you’re approaching this conundrum from the opposite direction. Maybe you’re the genealogy lover in the family, and you’re looking for a simple genealogy gift for the other members of your family. Careful—you don’t want to overwhelm them. You need something simple, something fun. Not to worry. We think we’ve got you covered too.
Whichever category you fall in, here are a few genealogy gift ideas—presents for the genealogy lovers and everyone else who happens to sit around the dinner table during the holidays.
5 Great Genealogy Gifts for the Genealogy Lover
Let’s start with what genealogy gifts you can give to the genealogy lover in your family. Consider giving him or her one of these.
1. A Map of Your Loved One’s Homeland
Someone who loves genealogy likely spends much of his or her day reading the names of villages and towns where his or her ancestors were born (ancestral homelands). Sounds like a real hoot; doesn’t it? Make it an even bigger hoot with a wall map that shows these locations in detail. It could be a working map for marking and placing pins—or something more decorative, such as an antique map, with names and titles no longer in use. You’ll have to do a Google search to find out where to buy one, but that kind of research is easy!
2. A Published History Book or Travel Book
Your loved one, or loved ones, like to read and ponder the details surrounding each ancestor’s life, right? Give them something to really sink their teeth into. Give them a history and travel book about a place where one of your ancestors was born. They will be familiar with the localities and appreciate the added insights that can embellish the ancestor stories they are researching. They will undoubtedly love it, and it may even become the catalyst for your family’s next genealogy field trip.
3. A DNA Test
Up until now it’s been all sweat, tears, sore eyes, paper cuts, or perhaps pure love and adventure to find ancestors. Give your genealogist the chance to see what science can do for new ancestor discoveries. Purchase a DNA kit, or arrange for him or her to take a DNA test. FamilySearch recommends several good options.
4. A Membership to a Genealogy or Historical Society
In other words, one of those local organizations or websites you’ve never heard of! Such a membership would probably come with a subscription to a magazine or newsletter and might even include special access to historical records not available anywhere else. Start by asking your genealogy lover what geographic locale they are spending the most time in researching for an ancestral line. To find a society that services that area, do a Google search. Enter something like “New England Genealogy Societies” or whatever the region might be. The FamilySearch Wiki lists several examples. You could also consider an annual membership to a website with access to old newspapers, periodicals, or other helpful genealogy services. Check out the RootTech Expo Hall for a list of cool genealogy-related products and service providers.
5. A Gift Card to an Office Supply Store
Your family historian might go to bed at night dreaming of highlighters, laminators, sticky notes, and other office tools. Make these dreams come true with a gift card to the nearest office supply store—along with a green light to blow it all on 3-ring binders. If the person is all stocked up already, try a gift card that he or she could use in preparation for an upcoming genealogy conference, like RootsTech.
4 Great Genealogy Gifts for the Rest of the Family
Not everyone in the family needs to be a genealogy guru to enjoy, or even cherish, a genealogy gift! For other members of the family, choose something simple—something that only takes a moment or two to engage with but will remind them of their heritage for weeks and even years to come. Here are some ideas.
6. A Framed Photo of an Ancestor
Vintage photographs are just cool, plain and simple. You don’t even have to be related. But if you are related, then the photograph is both cool and inspiring. Vintage photos of ancestors can go anywhere—above the fireplace, on top of a dresser or piano, or on the corner of a desk or windowsill. If a family member has a favorite ancestor, that could be a great choice for an ancestor photo.
7. A Framed Family Tree or Pedigree Chart
Similar to a family portrait, a family tree is a symbol of family unity, love, and connection. Giving your relative a family tree to hang on the wall is a great way to help him or her learn the names or faces of ancestors and to see where they, themselves, fit in. Seeing ancestors in this context often deepens appreciation for the family legacy shared and the stories they remember.
8. A Physical Photo Album or Book
Phones are great for taking, viewing, and sharing photos. Books are better for many because they either do not prefer digital photos and technology, or they just like the tangible benefits of being able to take a photo book from the shelf and reminisce. Unfortunately, we either forget or just don’t have time to create photo albums ourselves—which is why it’s such a nice thing to do for someone you love.
9. A New Journal
Careful, this could be habit forming! Choose a type of journal that takes your loved one’s personality and habits into consideration. Is he or she an artist? Try a journal with completely blank pages for sketching, doodling, or even painting. Is your loved one new to journaling? Then choose a journal with journal prompts for every day. You could also help your loved one purchase a mobile journaling app if that’s more their thing—or upgrade it so that it’s ad free.
3 Great Do-It-Yourself Genealogy Gifts for Any Occasion
Some of the best presents are ones that you can’t order online. Hard to believe, but it’s true. Here are 3 such genealogy gifts to consider, but you can modify or expand on them as you like.
10. Give a Personal Possession
What do you think of when you read the words “family heirloom”? A rare painting? An expensive necklace? Those are nice, but something more ordinary and everyday can be just as special, especially if it’s something connected to your personality or interests. A hat, a jacket, a ring, a baseball glove, a doll, a fishing pole, a favorite scarf or tool—these can all make great gifts if the item has been with you for a long time and the other person knows it. Or perhaps a family member has expressed interest in a particular family artifact. What better time than now to gift it to him or her? You’ll be passing on a little bit of yourself, which is what family history is all about.
11. Share Your Favorite Hobby
Do your loved ones know you for your chocolate chip cookies? Or do they know your passion for and experience with quilting? Consider passing on your talents and hobbies as a gift to others. This could be a 1-day event or a series of lessons you offer yourself or do together through another service. Choose something that’s important to you and that you think the other person would be interested in. Throw in a little refreshment at the end of the excursion, and you’ve given your loved one a memory and skill that will last a lifetime and may be passed on to the next generation.
12. Put Together a Family Recipe Book
Favorite foods are as much a part of family history as photographs and birth certificates. And certain smells coming from the kitchen can take you back in time faster than anything written down in words. Speaking of family heirlooms, this is it. Don’t want to do a recipe book? Give a personal coupon offering to prepare and teach how to make a favorite family recipe—including the ingredients. It will be a gift your family members will value and remember forever, and many future mouths will be grateful for it!
Well, there you have it: 12 genealogy gifts for the genealogy lover and genealogy novice. If nothing jumped out at you in this list, check out the comment section below for genealogy gifts other people have come up with, or take a moment to share your own genealogy gift ideas!