Monday, December 22, 2008


If you know your genealogist well, and you have lots of money to spend, you’ve probably already thought about that expensive new scanner they’ve mentioned (29 times), the ‘little’ computer they’re dreaming of, or even a travel ticket to the little town where ggg grandma was born or to Homecoming Scotland 2009. But, if you’re still looking and you’ve only a couple of days to shop, here are a few ideas.

Software and Website Subscriptions: If you know specifically what software or equipment your genealogist needs or wants, or which pay websites your genealogist uses, or would like to use, or which journals or magazines they read, or which courses they’d like to take, you could go ahead and buy a gift or subscription direct from the company involved, but if you don’t know for sure what your genealogist is pining for, a credit card gift card could be an option. These cards can be used on-line apparently, but not all companies are set up to accept them. You should likely check that ahead of time.

Note though that there are fees associated with the purchase and use of these cards which many will disagree with. I did see one already with a Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games design. This might be appropriate especially if you plan to come here for the games.

Other Gift cards and Certificates: Few genealogists can resist buying a book or two about their areas of interest, so a gift card from a larger bookstore which takes orders could be good. On-line genealogy shops and bookstores offer gift certificates too, for example, I’d choose Genealogy Unlimited from Victoria, B.C. (previously known as Interlink Bookshop) or Global Genealogy in Milton, Ontario. If your genealogist has photographs and documents they’d like framed or printed, how about a gift certificate from a local framer or photo shop? If they haunt one particular library, how about pre-paid photocopy cards? Do you know there is a local genealogy society they’d like to join? Ask about arranging a gift membership. And, is there a genealogy or history event or conference coming up in their area – how about giving a ticket or two? (Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak will be speaking in Surrey, BC in March, 2009. Tickets available from the BC Genealogical Society or the Cloverdale Branch of the Surrey Public Library. See below for an info link.

File Folders and Paper: If your genealogist loves to file all those documents (or you really think they need to) look for some pretty or pretty funny file folders. I found some Anne Taintor ‘Modern Office revisited’ files at the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library’s Bookmark shop. These, with vintage designs, are both pretty and funny. I’ve seen others at Chapters bookstores with labels for ‘in’ ‘out’ and ‘limbo’. I have a lot of unconnected people to put in that LIMBO file.

If your genealogist is like me and prints out a lot of brochures and booklets, how about a good supply of fancy and coloured papers – something attractive for the family newsletter perhaps, with envelopes to match. (If your genealogist doesn’t get out much, a thoughtful gift of a few months supply of ink and paper wouldn’t go amiss either.)

Other organizing tools
: Most genealogists do worry about their organizational strategies – trust me! At your closest office supply store you will find lots of options – from file boxes and project sorters to coloured (and paper safe) paper clips and coloured CD boxes. And if you can find archival storage supplies locally (maybe at an art store) you could buy a selection for storing vintage clothes or memorabilia or photographs.

I just saw a doorknob organizer at Chapters – I immediately thought how handy that would be to store all my library photocopy cards and genealogy related name badges. If your genealogist is really organizationally challenged, and needs the rest of their life to be more organized so that they can concentrate on genealogy, how about booking time with a personal organizer for them?

Computer Gadgets and Accessories: Many of us now love our flash drives. These have come down in price and up in capacity, so this could be a good gift (and you’ll be remembered fondly each time it’s used). Your genealogist might like a USB headset or a web cam if they chat a lot on-line. Or how about a waterproof case for their digital camera. This is especially useful, I find, on fall and winter cemetery trips in my area. How about a cute or useful ‘skin’ for their computer. I’d like a ‘book' design one, or there is a Mac keyboard skin showing Photoshop shortcuts at Photojojo. Also at Photojojo, there’s a Magnetic Photo Rope to display photos. Something like this would be a great gift.

If your genealogist isn’t a techie, but wants to learn more, think about registering them for a local continuing education course, perhaps ‘using your new digital camera’ or ‘digital scrapbooking’ or ‘setting up a new website’. And, if you’re at all interested, why not register yourself as well. It will be twice as nice a present.

Photo accessories: Does your genealogist scan all the old photographs – everyone and anyone’s photographs? Look at the digital photograph frames --all kinds of sizes and prices for these now – there are even nifty digital key chains and Christmas ornaments. There are many nice looking ‘old fashioned’ photo frames too – we do love to have our favourites all around us. A big collage style mat with a nice frame would would be grand.

If you can’t get to the store or connect on-line in time, you could still make up your own certificate by hand or on the computer promising the gift you’ve chosen.

Better yet, why not promise a gift of yourself. If you’re a techie, you could give a coaching session on organizing computer files or scanning photos and documents or what about an gift certificate for transportation, assistance and lunch on that next cemetery trip, or perhaps a present of a photo album scanning session with afternoon tea or dinner at your house –including afterwards copies of CDs or DVDs with all your family photos.

And how about resolving to think about gifts earlier next year! You could make a gift video of that family cemetery trip or you could craft personalized file folders or vintage ornaments with family photographs for a very special gift for your family genealogist.


Kimberly Powell at

Lisa Alzo at

Tracing the Tribe:

Really different gift suggestions at GeneaNet:

And, a few gift websites...

Genealogy Unlimited:

Global Genealogy:


JMK Genealogy Gifts from Jimmy Kavanaugh – great designs here – if I had seen them earlier, I would have sent myself a gift, but there’s always next year:

Interested in tickets to hear Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak in Surrey, BC in March, 2009? Go to:

1 comment:

Janet Iles said...

What a greaat List! I hope the appropriate people see the list if they need a last minute gift. Too late for Christmas perhaps for their next birthday.