Gift suggestions for the genealogist on your list

Diana Tibert
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Tis the gift-giving season once again and time to think about what to give the genealogists on your list. Although every genealogist wishes to find under the tree the clue to help them knock down a brick wall that has been dogging them for years, thats a gift most loved ones cant manage. However, there are things to help make their research a littler easier.

Books specifically on family research and those on local history can be found at most book stores and are helpful for the novice and those who have been researching for years.

Most contain charts to help plot the progress of the research. The Dummies series has published Genealogy On-line for Dummies, Family Reunion Planning Kit for Dummies and Family Tree Maker for Dummies.

Software is also popular with genealogists. Many use family tree programs to organize their data. Popular programs include Legacy Family Tree, The Master Genealogist and Family Tree Maker. The best program to buy depends on the persons computer skills and level of genealogy interest.

Photo software is also useful to manage current photographs, touch up old photographs and keep them all in order. Many good programs are available starting at $20.

If you cant decide on a book or program, maybe a gift certificate for a store that sells one of these items is best.

On my journey of researching the family tree, I have gone through many pens, pencils, duo tangs, notebooks, file folders and bundles of looseleaf and copy paper. Although I have an addiction to stationary products to justify my excitement when I walk into a store like Staples, other genealogists need this stuff, too.

Computer accessories like CDs (for backing up information), scanners (to digitize old photographs and documents) and printers all help make the research easier. Camera memory cards are great for those of us who visit cemeteries and photograph headstones.

For those frequent trips to cemeteries, a detailed map that includes the back roads is essential. Taking it a step further, some utilize GPS for those hard to find places or to plot exact locations. On those trips, items such as large wax crayons and charcoal for headstone rubbings come in handy. When photographing old headstones charcoal pencils (white charcoal for dark stones) are used to neatly trace the information to make it visible in photographs.

Another item often forgotten about is garden pruners for cutting those nasty thorn bushes while visiting old graveyards. Throw in a pair of thorn resistant work gloves and theyll love you for life.

A more personal gift to give to the genealogist who does not drive is a homemade ticket to drive them to the public archives, historical centre, museum or cemetery. Memberships to historical societies also make great gifts.

Researchers File

Where did John Francis Frank (or Jack) Chisholm go? Did he marry? When and where did he die? The son of Mary MacGillivray and Duncan Yankee Chisholm, John was born in 1882 at Cambridge, MA and grew up in Harbour Boucher, Antigonish Co., NS. Contact: PJ Chisholm, PO Box 28, Lewiston, CA 96052 USA; email:

Diana Lynn Tibert is a freelance writer living in Milford, NS ( Submit queries to: RR#1 Milford, Hants County, NS B0N 1Y0; email:

Organizations: Staples, Antigonish Co., Roots.html

Geographic location: Milford, Cambridge, MA, Lewiston Hants County

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