It’s Christmas Eve, and we’ve had a nice quiet dinner at home with the Christmas ham and a bottle of champagne. The corny Christmas TV programs are over. The tree is all lit up; the presents are wrapped and piled up underneath.
The house is all clean and the floors and ceilings vacuumed (spider webs). The fridge is full of food and the bar fridge full of sparkling wine (and a ham).
Christmas Day will be spent with family, and really, that’s what it’s for.
If you are a genealogist you know that there is never enough money for all the things you need. Here is a list of possible gifts for yourself, or for the genealogist in your family. Print it out and leave it lying around…
- DVDs – Who Do You Think You Are and other such TV programs on family history and general history
- Furniture – such as:
- dedicated desk for genealogy
- bookshelves (you can never have too many!)
- filing cabinet
- Computer hardware such as:
- a new laptop
- digital camera
- flatbed scanner – worth investing in a new one if your existing one is a few years old
- slide and negative scanner
- smart phone. I know a phone just needs to make calls, but what if you could put your whole family tree on it as well!
- surge-protected power board
- portable hard drive
- USB flash drive
- Software – the possibilities are endless. Here are some ideas:
- family tree program, such as The Master Genealogist
- an add-on program for the family tree, to publish to the web, for example Second Site for The Master Genealogist
- library catalogue
- speech recognition
- backup or synchronisation software
- Subscription – many possibilities here too, for example:
- Ancestry, World Vital Records or similar, for finding records
- GenesReunited or similar, for finding relatives
- A membership of a family history society, for their journal or visiting rights
- Dick Eastman’s blog (US$19.95 per year for the Plus edition), for news, reviews and tips and tricks
- A commercial family history magazine subscription
- A lifetime subscription to LibraryThing, the web-based book catalogue
- Online backup such as Mozy
- Course or conference in genealogy or history. The Society of Australian Genealogists and other societies have educational opportunities throughout the year, as do historical societies. Even a voucher for accommodation would be helpful.
- DNA tests for the many branches of your family – Y-DNA for your father, your mother’s father; mitochondrial DNA for your mother, your father’s mother, etc.
- Document preservation materials – acid-free sleeves and boxes for storing photographs and documents
- Scrapbooking supplies – if you or your genealogist is that way inclined. Gould Genealogy has a good range.
- Pre-printed family tree charts. Software is all very well, but nothing beats seeing it all on one large piece of paper, even if you have to fill it in by hand.
- Research time – if you can’t get to the records, pay someone who can. Many researchers offer gift certificates for a specified number of hours, or for specific records such as probate files.
- Domain name such as mine – caroleriley.id.au – for when the family tree goes on the web. $29.95 for 2 years at Jumba.
- Hosting for a personal website. I pay $29.95 per year at Jumba to host this one. Business sites cost more, usually per month, but a private one is cheap. There are cheaper ones, even free ones, around, but I reckon you get what you pay for. Blog software such as WordPress is also free.
- Set up a blog – if you are more technologically aware than your genealogical relative you could spend half and hour helping them set it up for them. You could also set up FTP software for them.
As I think of more things I will add them to this list. Can you think of anything I’ve left out?
Here is a link to a remarkable story in the New York Times a few days ago about a suitcase found in the attic of the writer’s mother and the story it contained.
It reminds us all how fragile the well-being of a family is, and how we all love to hear stories about the kindness of others.