04 December 2011

Ten gift suggestions for the family historian

Shopping for a gift for a genealogist? Looking for ideas on hints to drop? Here's my 2011 list of seasonal gifts.

For those who will not cite their sources encourage them with Elizabeth Shown Mills Quicksheets on Citing Online Historical Resources, and Citing Ancestry.com Databases & Images. There's also a Quicksheet on Genealogical Problem Analysis- A Strategic Plan- Evidence! Style. Check out globalgenealogy.com or amazon.com, amazon.ca or amazon.co.uk. Less than $10.

There is a good selection of publications available from Moorshead Magazines. As well as a subscription to one (or more) of their magazines, Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy and History Magazine, they have a selection of their own and other's publications at http://www.familychronicle.com/books.htm

I'll have more on books in another post.

Getting into electronics, everyone needs to back up the family history on their computer. There are various ways to do so. One of the easiest and most secure is to put the files on a USB flash drive, also known as jump drive, data stick and other names. Store it off-site, with a friend or relative or put it in a bank safety deposit box. Capabilities and capacities vary. I found a Kingston DataTraveler G3 8GB USB 2.0 Drive at Future Shop for $9. Walmart has a SanDisk Cruzer™ Micro 8.0 GB for $12. There's lots more choice.

If you listen to genealogy webinars and podcasts you may get frustrated by the sound quality from built-in speakers. I'm now using an iHome speaker purchased from Walmart for less than $20.

Consider a headset for those long Skype conversations with distant cousins, or to use with speech to text software like Dragon Naturally Speaking. I found models by Logitech at Staples for $25 and up.

A digital audio recorder can come in useful for preserving those conversations with the keepers of the family memories. Staples.ca have models from less than $50 and up by Sony and Olympus. Panasonic have some more expensive models. Make sure you can transfer them, perhaps via USB, to your computer for storage on that USB flash drive.

However, if you're looking at the high end of that range you might want to consider an iPod Touch starting at $200 for the most recent 8GB model. With two video-capable cameras and a microphone it does most of what an iPhone does for considerably less money, except you only get online through WiFi. One of Canada's top genealogists got one a couple of months ago and is delighted with it.

Warning -- once you put your foot in that territory it's a slippery slope to iPhone, iPad. I'm a happy iPhone user continually tempted by the iPad, also looking at the competition.

There are actually more than ten suggestions, and you can add to that number by sharing in a comment.


Ann said...

A fine gift would be a (short term?) subscription to an online genealogy database or historical newspaper archive, or some paid credits to see full records when links are found.

Ellen Thorne Morris said...

On Christmas presents, I got 3 magazines at half price from Morehead: Internet Genealogy, Family Chronicle and a history title.
There are 13 commercial genealogy databases free to patrons at Family History Centers,some limits.