How to Select a Fantastic Genealogy Gift for Your Favorite Family Historian

If your friends or family members enjoys studying family history, you might be scratching your head over what could be a perfect genealogy gift.

Many gift givers think of subscriptions to sites like Ancestry or a DNA test kit – but most likely the genealogy buff on your list already has those things. It is a challenge to find something unique but useful. Here are some thoughtful ideas for you.

Genealogy Gift #1 Historical Map Books for Reference

Family researchers use maps to better understand areas where they are researching. You have several gift choices in this area: an antique book of maps, an old atlas, or even a current atlas. The older the map, the more desirable because the boundaries and place names change. When research older parts of the family tree, the locations may have been renamed or one county becomes part of another.

Here are some suggested books for researching the US, but you might consider ones that are focused on a particular state.

The Family Tree Historical Maps Book: A State-by-State Atlas of US History, 1790-1900 

Get the hardback version – even used one is good. It has maps, stories, and pictures. I keep this book by the computer so I can quickly reference how places use to look.

Plus it is just a fun book to browse through while thinking about family research.

Genealogy Gift #2 Historical Maps for the Wall

When you love maps, it is nice to have one near your desk. When I am trying to understand Kentucky in the late 1800s and where an ancestor moved, it is nice to have the map on the wall. There are many antique maps available for framing and some are even already dry mounted.

Carey Map from 1814

Carey Antique Map of Kentucky, 1814 shows the geography and river ways. There were only a few counties at that time.

The 1836 map of Kentucky has more color. You can see the quickly expanding counties! There are several other choices, but these make nice office décor and serve as a quick reference. Plus there are forty-nine other states available.

Genealogy Gift #3 Genealogy Skills Improvement

Any genealogist, even those just doing it as a hobby, appreciate ways to hone their skillset. Many attend webinars or join genealogical societies. Books are still a popular way to learn skills.

Here are some suggested ones by respected authors:

Genealogy Gift #4 Archive Supplies

Genealogists come across many old papers, antique pictures, and other artifacts. These items require special storage materials to prevent yellowing and further deterioration. There are archival materials especially created for this purpose.

Genealogy Gift #5 Genealogy Mysteries

In recent years, a cozy murder mysteries have followed genealogists. There are several authors in this genre and they get high marks from their readers. Here are a few of the better known ones.

  • Nathan Dylan Goodwin has written at least nine of these mysteries. Many family researchers noted that they pick up techniques and ideas from his characters.
  • M J Lee also has a following and has written a series of books.

Genealogy Gift #6 Fun T-Shirts or Mugs to Celebrate Hobby

Sometimes its just fun to advertise your hobby or skill on a t-shirt or with a coffee mug. There are several funny ones.

Genealogy Gift #7 Photo and Document Scanner

It is great to have a scanner on your desk for quickly capturing documents or photos. There are many affordable ones on the market. I purchased a Canon scanner for my desktop but there are many others good ones. Make sure the software can put photos in their own files when multiple ones are scanned.

The family researcher on your list will appreciate your thoughtfulness. Please note that these links go to the Amazon store where I am an affiliate. If you make a purchase, I receive a small commission that does not affect your final cost.

About the author

Tricia Aanderud has been researching her Kentucky family since 2008. While the genealogy is interesting, the stories are what makes their lives compelling.

Surnames include Watkins, Hudson, Mann, Payne, Abney, Hollearn, Martin, Salyer, Spencer, and Hadley.


  1. Loved reading all of this info. My husband is Kentucky born and I’m his (now old & retired) family research ‘assistant’. His KY ancestors dropped out of the sky into 18th c Kentucky…from Virginia? from NC? Trying to clear up misconceptions about his Williams line, etc. We hope our grandchildren will pick up the research bug after we’ve passed.

    1. I think several of my grandfathers dropped out of the sky or were left by aliens. (The alien theory explains some of my cousins. shhh!)
      I appreciate your comment. Let me know if you want to share a family story on this blog.

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