Although the holidays may feel different this year, we still want to find just the right gift for everyone on our list. This month I’m sharing some of my favorite things which may just be what your family historian is hoping to unwrap.

DNA Kit — This is on my list every year because the results are being refined just as often. There are many available in different price ranges from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage and LivingDNA.

Family Tree software — Family Tree Maker 2019 (my favorite) and RootsMagic 7 are a fantastic way to get organized while recording family history information.

Online search site subscriptions —,,, and If you know someone who has hit a dead end (a bit of genealogy humor!) a gift membership to any of these sites would be much appreciated.

Photo book — Did you find a box of old photos while quarantine cleaning this year? Scan and put them together in a beautiful book they will surely treasure at

The Book of Myself — For less than $15, this do-it-yourself autobiography helps tell our story which we tend to overlook. P.S. Future generations will thank you.

Legacy Box — If they have old VHS family movies, give the gift of digital preservation at

School supplies — My favorite is mechanical pencils and I was thrilled to unwrap a pack along with Post-It notes and flags, pens and pads of paper last Christmas stuffed inside an oversized tote that has also become a favorite. (Thanks Vanessa!)

Society membership — Whether it’s our local genealogical society ( or a national society, membership has its perks. During this current pandemic, many societies (including ours) have brought programs online via Zoom so there’s no better time.

State guidebooks — Although all of New York state is not yet included, National Genealogical Society State Research Guides offer an overview of records and repositories in individual states your ancestors may have lived. Find them at

Maps — I love an old map and have been gifted many over the years. Find one from their ancestor’s homeland, add a frame and you have a very thoughtful gift.

Quick reference guides — My most used is a 4-page laminated guide to the US Federal Census Records from There are many others but I find this handy when you need to recall which censuses were lost, what questions were asked and more.

Laminator — Help them create their own quick reference guides with an inexpensive laminator. I’ve even laminated what genealogists call a "quick 'n dirty" family tree and used dry erase markers as I work through it.

97 Orchard — Although not directly related to genealogy, this fascinating book gives a peek into the lives and culinary habits of five immigrant families living in a tenement on the Lower East Side of New York City around the turn of the 19th century. A wonderful read for any family historian.

Echo speaker — Alexa helps me calculate dates, look up state capitals, calculate distances, tell me about historical events and people and so much more. Oh, and I can also ask her to play some tunes so I never have to get up from my research.

Kindle — A great way to access genealogy books and magazines on the go without having to lug a heavy book around.

No matter what gift you decide on, the fact that you are fueling your genealogist’s passion will put you right up there with Santa as the best gift-giver! I wish each of you a happy, healthy and safe holiday season, see you in 2021!

Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits is a member of the National Genealogical Society and Association of Professional Genealogists. She is a board member as well as president of the Niagara County Genealogical Society. Send questions or comments to her at

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