Do you have a genealogist on your Christmas list and don't know what to get them? I have a few suggestions which will please the beginner to the most experienced genealogists on your list.
Genealogy software: The first step in organizing family information is to put it into a genealogy program. There are many options available and include programs for the computer (PC and MAC), PDA, and online. A good place to start the search for a program is http://genealogy-software-review.toptenreviews.com/
Online subscriptions: These are sites which offer indexes and digitized copies of documents from census records to newspapers. Some are available at libraries for free but an individual subscription allows your favorite genealogists to work at home late at night. Some of the more popular subscriptions are Ancestry, Footnote, World Vital Records and Genealogy Bank.
Books: You can never go wrong with a book and there are lots of new genealogy books published every year. Most genealogists keep a list of the books they want, so it would be best to ask them for the list. That way you won't buy something they already have.
You could also give them a novel with a genealogy theme. A few examples are Angel of Repose, Isle of Canes, A Promise to the Past, A Ghost Upon Your Path, and Only a Few Bones.
Conference Registration: Conferences are one of the best ways to gain genealogy knowledge in a short amount of time. The National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conferences hold national conferences yearly. The 2010 NGS conference will be held close in Salt Lake City, making it more economical than some years. There are also many regional and local conferences and seminars.
Genealogy class: Week-long seminars like the Samford Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, National Institute on Genealogical Research, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and the British Institute are held each year. Other options, that can be done at home, are the NGS Home Study Course, NGS online courses and Pharos online classes for British Isle research.
Digital Camera: Genealogist use digital cameras for many things. Dick Eastman wrote an article about cameras posted 30 November 2009, "Digital Camera for Genealogists," which can be found on his website at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/
Scanner: A scanner is a must for genealogists. They have become an invaluable tool for preserving documents and photographs. The low cost models are just fine and will do the job. I have a Canon LiDE 70 flatbed which I use for old photos and fragile documents. I just bought a Fujitsu SnapScan for the bulk of my papers because it scans faster and will save as a PDF. The papers have to go through a roller so I wouldn't recommend it for the old photos and documents.
Digital voice recorder: Every genealogist needs some type of recording device to record family interviews and for reading tombstones during cemetery visits. They come in different sizes with a variety of options.
Membership: Give a membership to a genealogy society, such as NGS or a regional society. Society membership benefits include copies of the quarterly publication, access to online content, and discounts on products.
Genealogy magazine subscription: These are a good source for keeping up with the latest genealogy news. They also include "how-to" articles, book reviews, and personal stories. Some of the popular magazines are Family Tree Magazine, Ancestry Magazine, Everton's Genealogical Helper, and Family Chronicle.
Trip to an ancestral home or a research facility: There is nothing like the thrill of standing where our ancestors stood or where they are buried. This is often a once-in-a-lifetime trip which is guaranteed to please any family historian.
Another idea is a research trip to a major research facility such as the National Archives in Washington, Family History Library in Salt Lake City, or the Allen County Library in Fort Wayne, Ind. The genealogist could travel alone or they could join a group on a research tour organized by various genealogy societies.
Genealogy DNA test: The DNA test is one of the newest tools that genealogist use to discover their family history. The cost has gone down in recent years and is now affordable. Magnifying glass, book light, USB flash drive: All great gifts for taking along when researching at the library or archive.
Novelty items: T-shirts, sweatshirts, and coffee mugs with genealogy sayings are an inexpensive way to please the genealogists in your life. A few Web sites that carry these items are www.funstuffforgenealogists.com, www.cafepress.com/genealogyforyou, www.zazzle.com/genealogy+gifts.
Have fun shopping and have a happy holiday!