Jose Mier here in Sun Valley, CA, and with December around the corner, we’re thinking of gifts to give for Christmas.
Genealogy, the study of one’s family history and lineage, has gained immense popularity in recent years. Unraveling the mysteries of the past and discovering long-lost relatives can be a fascinating and rewarding journey. If you have a family member or friend who is passionate about their ancestry, consider giving them a Christmas gift that aligns with their genealogical pursuits. In this guide, we’ll explore a variety of genealogy resources and tools that make thoughtful and meaningful presents.
- DNA Testing Kits: Unlocking Genetic Heritage
DNA testing kits are perhaps one of the most exciting and popular gifts for individuals interested in genealogy. These kits provide a window into one’s genetic makeup, offering insights into ancestral origins and connections with relatives across the globe. Leading companies in the field include AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and MyHeritage DNA.
AncestryDNA, for example, provides a comprehensive ethnicity estimate and connects users with potential relatives in its extensive DNA database. These kits not only reveal geographic origins but also help build a broader picture of family connections. Some individuals have discovered long-lost relatives or uncovered unexpected ethnic backgrounds, making DNA testing kits a captivating and eye-opening gift.
- Genealogy Software Subscriptions: Organizing Family Trees
Organizing and documenting family history can be a complex task, but genealogy software simplifies the process. Ancestry.com and MyHeritage are two prominent platforms that offer comprehensive tools for building and exploring family trees. Consider gifting a subscription to one of these services to empower your loved one’s genealogical journey.
Ancestry.com, for instance, allows users to create detailed family trees, search through vast historical records, and connect with other researchers. It’s a treasure trove of information, making it an ideal gift for someone eager to uncover their roots. MyHeritage, on the other hand, not only offers a platform for building family trees but also incorporates powerful DNA testing and matching features.
- Historical Newspaper Archives: A Glimpse into the Past
Newspapers have been chronicling history for centuries, and many genealogists find them invaluable for uncovering details about their ancestors’ lives. Subscriptions to online historical newspaper archives, such as Newspapers.com or GenealogyBank, provide access to a vast collection of digitized newspapers spanning decades or even centuries.
Newspapers.com, for example, boasts an extensive database of newspapers from various regions and time periods. Users can explore articles, obituaries, marriage announcements, and other historical documents that offer a glimpse into the lives of their ancestors. This gift opens a portal to the past, allowing your loved one to experience the events that shaped their family’s history.
- Online Course Subscriptions: Building Genealogical Skills
Genealogy is both an art and a science, requiring a set of skills to navigate through historical records and piece together family stories. Gifting an online course subscription can provide your loved one with the knowledge and tools needed to become a more adept genealogist.
Websites like the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) or the National Institute for Genealogical Studies offer a variety of courses, from beginner to advanced levels. These courses cover topics such as DNA analysis, document interpretation, and effective research strategies. By enhancing their genealogical skills, your friend or family member can take their research to new heights.
- Personalized Family History Books: Documenting the Journey
Turning genealogical research into a tangible keepsake is a meaningful way to celebrate family history. Several services, such as MyCanvas and AncestryPress, allow users to create personalized family history books. These books can include family trees, photos, and narratives, turning a collection of data into a captivating story.
MyCanvas, affiliated with Ancestry.com, enables users to design and print custom family history books. Your loved one can showcase their research in a beautifully bound volume, creating a lasting legacy that can be shared with future generations. This gift not only honors the past but also encourages the preservation of family stories.
- Legacy Preservation Services: Capturing Oral Histories
In addition to written records, oral histories play a crucial role in preserving family traditions and stories. Consider gifting a service that helps capture and preserve these oral histories. Companies like StoryCorps or Legacybox offer unique ways to document and share family narratives.
StoryCorps provides a platform for recording interviews between family members, creating a collection of conversations that capture personal experiences and reflections. Legacybox, on the other hand, allows individuals to digitize old family movies, photos, and audio recordings. These digitized memories can then be easily shared and preserved for future generations.
- Virtual Genealogy Consultations: Expert Guidance
Sometimes, a little expert guidance can go a long way in breaking through genealogical brick walls. Gift your family historian a virtual consultation with a professional genealogist. Many experienced researchers offer their services online, providing personalized assistance and expertise tailored to specific research challenges.
Websites like the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) or the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) can help you find certified professionals for virtual consultations. Whether your loved one is stuck on a particular lineage or seeking advice on advanced research techniques, a virtual consultation can provide valuable insights and propel their genealogical journey forward.
- Family History DNA Book: Integrating Genetics and Genealogy
For those who have explored their DNA results and are interested in delving deeper into the scientific aspect of genealogy, consider a book that bridges genetics and family history. “The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy” by Blaine T. Bettinger is an excellent resource that explains the intricacies of DNA testing in the context of genealogical research.
This book covers topics such as understanding DNA results, analyzing matches, and incorporating genetic information into family trees. It serves as a comprehensive guide for individuals looking to maximize the potential of DNA testing in their genealogical pursuits.
- Genealogy Conferences and Events: Networking and Learning Opportunities
Attending genealogy conferences and events provides a unique opportunity to learn from experts, connect with other researchers, and stay updated on the latest advancements in the field. Consider gifting a ticket to a virtual or in-person genealogy conference, such as RootsTech or the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference.
RootsTech, in particular, is a global conference that brings together genealogy enthusiasts from around the world. It features keynote speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities. The experience of immersing oneself in the genealogical community can be both educational and inspiring.
- Antique Maps and Atlases: Navigating Ancestral Landscapes
For a more artistic and visually captivating gift, consider antique maps or atlases that depict the regions and landscapes associated with your loved one’s ancestry. Websites like OldMapsOnline or the David Rumsey Map Collection offer a wide selection of historical maps that can add a touch of nostalgia to their genealogical pursuits.
These maps not only serve as decorative pieces but also provide a visual context for understanding the places where ancestors lived and traveled. Whether it’s a vintage map of a specific town or a broader historical atlas, this gift adds a unique dimension to the exploration of family history.
In conclusion, there are numerous genealogy resources and tools that make thoughtful Christmas gifts for ancestry enthusiasts. Whether it’s a DNA testing kit, a subscription to a genealogy website, or a personalized family history book, these gifts not only celebrate the past but also empower individuals to continue their journey of discovery. By choosing a gift that aligns with your loved one’s interests and goals in genealogy, you can contribute to their ongoing exploration of family history and heritage.