My family and friends spend the year constantly asking what I want for Christmas. Yes, I want that absolutely amazing Mirror of Erised from Pottery Barn right now. I know my chances of getting one are slim to none.
My wishlist of genealogy goodies is also quite long. I tend to squirrel away some funds in my search for all those rare bits of paper, photographs, and resources in my ongoing quest for deceased relatives. It’s a list, a last minute one if you wish, for anyone married, related, or in debt to a genealogist.
I should start with the disclaimer that I’m highlighting gift suggestions, and in no way making any money from endorsing the following items. These are just some last minute remedies for anyone in a tough spot in finding a gift for the doggedly determined genealogist in their life.
What Genealogists Want: Smart Phone Organizational & Research Apps
Gift Ideas: iTunes, Android, or Google Gift Cards
Things, ABBYY Text Grabber, and Tiny Scanner Pro are just a few of the pay pay to use items available for purchase through your app store. While there are lots of free apps, and I always advocate using free apps before making a purchase, your research materials can benefit from the boost a paid app can provide.
- Things is an organizational app which puts your usual pencil and paper checklist to shame. In a time where the trend in in archives and research facilities are cracking down on researchers bringing their own paper notes into reading rooms, Things can easily help you make straightforward research lists, add research notes, make changes, and tick items off easily. I love it, and it’s well worth the money.
- ABBY TextGrabber Scans type written pages with a click and translates the text into over 60 languages. Say you’re going through a book or newspaper in another language. Just whip out your phone, pull up the app, take a photo, and the app will translate the page in a snap. No more going through Google translate to get the information you need. Wow!
- Tiny Scanner Scans documents quickly and easily, converting them into a file of your choice, and has a ton of extra features I have really enjoyed. Items are searchable, can be edited, password protected, and ready to be printed on a variety of paper sizes.
My three new pay to use apps, range from $4.99 to $9.99. Not a huge chunk of change to be sure, and a quick $20 gift card could easily purchase both Things and ABBY Textgrabber.
Subscription services are a huge investment for genealogists. When looking at my budget, I would love someone to send a gift certificate or gift voucher to some of my most used subscription sites. I’m not going to go in depth to each of them, they’re all awesome. I will say it’s easier to request a gift voucher for RootsIreland than I expected. As this is a pay-per-view site, I think they have a lot of gift voucher selling experience in their corner.
What Genealogists Want: Really Big Organizational Software
Gift Ideas: Evernote & Dropbox
At some point in your research, every genealogist takes a look around and realizes they have a mountain of information on so many deceased people it has become difficult to keep them all organized effectively. That’s where Evernote comes into play. Evernote is quick and powerful way to sort, organize, store, and share information across multiple devices. Yes, it has a free version available on a smart device. However, I use my smart phone and laptop during research trips and desktop computer at home to bring most of my research together. I love having the ability to add information from multiple devices and have it sync, saved, and pulled up flawlessly between devices. It saves A LOT of time and frustration. If you haven’t seen Thomas MacEntee’s presentation on Evernote for Genealogists, you should definitely book him or check it out at a conference.
Dropbox is an easy and safe place to store and sync files and folders via online cloud storage. By storing files in the cloud, I can download them, share them, and utlize them just about anywhere in the world and on any device I have. When I’m scheduled to speak at a conference, I always save my presentations to Dropbox so I can have them handy in case something happens to my portable flash drive or laptop. When my friend Jennifer Holik published The Tiger’s Widow, A Woman Who Took Up The Fight, the story of Virginia Brouk, she sent a pre-published copy to me to read before hand, and Dropbox allowed me to read the file, add notes to the manuscript, and let Jennifer read them and make adjustments in real time. Very cool.
What Genealogists Want: Cool Mugs, Wall Art, and Wearable Stuff
Gift Idea: Etsy Gift Card
Yes, it’s cool buying stuff off from large online retailers. However, I have found some immeasurably cool and amazing stuff than I would ever to be able to afford on Etsy. The amazing array and variety of artist designed items on the site never fails to impress me. Here are a few of my top picks from the site this year:
- Custom Family Tree Art Prints, 4 Generations, 5 Generations Poster –
The very modern design of this wall print makes it a great gift for anyone who loves this type of non-fussy design. I’m buying one for my brother and his fiancee as a wedding gift. Four generations is the standard, but an upgrade can be ordered for five. I’m a go big or go home sort of person, but it depends on how much you know about each couple’s overall family tree. The print can be ordered in three colors – Green, Turquoise Blue, and Gray. Price starts at $29
- Long Line of Dead People Mug – I have a few research mugs, venerated vessels of much needed green tea or caramel vanilla coffee which are used during long sessions of genealogical research. Flying solo at your computer is easier when a ready-made joke is clearly printed on your beverage holder – “Been Looking Into My Family Tree…Turns Out I Come From A Long Line of Dead People.” It goes well with the memorable All My Friends Are Dead T-shirt.
- Mothers Necklace, 1-10 kids – I’m not a parent, and I don’t pretend to be one, but I ran across this sweet little necklace on a search one day and almost fell out of my chair! The artist can customize the necklace to include parent and child initials, ensure the baby birds are either gold or silver, and offers several chain lengths. The artist also offers single parent versions of the necklace as well. I inquired into the possibility of ordering one of these as a bar pin for my mom, and unfortunately that’s not something they offer right now. This was a bummer, but I’ll make sure to check back to see what new goodies they’ve added to the page in the next few months.
As a genealogist, these are just a few of the things I’d love to have in my stocking and under the tree on Christmas day. There’s plenty out there to gift to your favorite genealogist, and these choices don’t have to break the bank. Any sort of a gift, from biological headstone cleaner to a simple gift card makes their ongoing search for the people in their family tree a little easier. Besides, what they are documenting today will be the Christmas gifts of future generations.
Wishing everyone a lovely holiday season,