Nov 282016

It is that time of year again when the non-genealogist in the family is wondering what to get the
genealogist in their life (assuming said genealogist has not been leaving hints all over the place!)

Here are some suggestions:

1. A subscription to Legacy Family Tree Webinars 
US$49.95 annual subscription   

As of November 2016 over 443 webinars are available on demand 24/7 – over 616 hours of  instruction with handouts (in fact more than 2000 pages of handouts!)

Classes for all skill levels as can be seen in the image showing the categories including the Board for Certification of Genealogists, skill building webinars now available.

Guaranteed to keep them out of mischief for quite a while especially as there are new webinars added at very regular intervals!

2. Subscription to a pay data site such as Ancestry, Findmypast, The Genealogist, GenealogyBank, Fold3, MyHeritage etc. If you haven’t already had a hint as to which one they would prefer (or already have), you may need to give a promissory note as depending on their area of research, they will likely have a preference.

3. Subscription to a Family History Society: 

  • their local one where they could attend meetings  do research and generally these societies will also have subscription to the paysites,  
  • a national Family History Society 
  • one in their ancestral area of interest.

4. Agree to do a DNA test for them (would be even nicer if you also agreed to pay for it). 

There are different types of tests (at different costs). For the autosomal test Ancestry in Australia is A$149 plus postage (US $99 plus postage) Family Tree DNA is US$79 plus postage.

Both have sales at regular intervals. (check prices in your country). As of 28 November 2016, FTDNA has a sale at US$59 for the autosomal test. It is not known how long this sale will last.

Most important thing is that the test is done with a company that has a genealogical database. For the autosomal test Ancestry currently has a database with over 2.5 million tests and steadily increasing and Family Tree DNA also has a large database (they also do other types of tests: Y-DNA and mtDNA).

5. A copy of Blaine Bettinger’s book The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy. This is an excellent book for anyone who is interested in DNA testing for genealogical purposes as Blaine writes in a clear and easy to understand way. Able to be ordered from all good book stores. it is also available as an ebook on Kindle.

He and Debbie Parker Wayne have also written  Genetic Genealogy in Practice. A workbook in areas of Y-DNA, mtDNA, X-DNA, atDNA, the Genealogical Proof Standard, ethics, and more.

This workbook shows how DNA testing is used in real genealogical examples. It shows what can be done and what can’t be done using the new tool for genealogists:DNA. 

I strongly recommend both books. The workbook takes the theory and by doing the exercises enhances the learning. 
Published by the National Genealogical Society it is available in hard copy and also as an ebook with Kindle. The ebook does not have the same page numbers as the hard copy but does have hyperlinks from the test to the figures and tables and also to external web sites (if you have an Internet connection)

Both books are recent publications (2016).


6. A subscription to a genealogical magazine/journal of their choice.

7. Road Trip! 

Go on holiday to an ancestral place of interest with the understanding that they may have x days to do research in the archives, museum cemetery etc. (or offer to look after things at home so they can do the trip on their own or with a genealogical friend)

8. If in Australia, get them a registration to the Footsteps in Time conference being held May 2017 on the lovely Gold Coast Queensland. Sure to be plenty you could do there as a tourist while they were at the conference. Early bird registration is now open. Or the Australasian Congress which will be held in Sydney in 2018.

If not in Australia, registration at a genealogy seminar or conference of interest to them such as Rootstech in February 2017 in Salt Lake City, National Genealogical Society conference, Federation of Genealogical Societies, in England Who Do You Think You Are? Live.

There are so many confernces, seminars and local meetings available.

9. Promissory note for x number of certificates (birth, marriage or death) of their choice.

10. Gift certificate from Gould Genealogy the company in Australia that has been supplying the needs of genealogists for 40 years!

11. A subscription to Genealogy Gems Premium with Lisa Louise Cooke US$29.95 gives you access to her Premium podcast and a number of classes including her Evernote series and Google series. (Lisa also does a monthly free podcast available on iTunes)

12. Technology always goes well. A good headset microphone combination is the Microsoft Lifechat LX-3000 (then they will be able to listed to those webinars without disturbing anyone else)

13. Every genealogist needs to back up their research so an external drive is always an appreciated gift. External storage is now very cheap I recently bought a Seagate 4TB portable drive for A$268.

14. Cloud back up services are also an appreciated gift as “many copies keep it safe” Sadly computer drive will fail. It is just a matter of when. Cloud back up services like BackBlaze or Carbonite  automate the backup for you (there is a yearly subscription).

15. Even more technology, most genealogists use a computer so maybe a new laptop or an iPad. 

16. A family history program that stores your family information on your own computer. There are many programs around and this is where the person should probably choose the one they like.Programs like Legacy, Rootsmagic, Family Historian, FamilyTree Maker are all family history programs. Some have free versions that do 90%+ of the full product while others have a trial version so you can “try before you buy“.

There are also other programs of value to family historians such as Evidentia, Map My Family Tree, Clooz, Charting Companion, Genelines (all available from here), Custodian 4

17. Gift certificate for office supplies. I have never come across a genealogist yet that didn’t like office supplies!

18. Archival supplies. Genealogist have treasured family papers and these should be stored in archival protective materials. Gould Genealogy in Australia have a range of archival supplies or overseas do a search for archival suppliers.

19. Scanner to scan all those photos and documents. Many people have the all in one printers now that can also scan photos and documents or you can get a stand alone scanner.

20. Slide/negative scanner Most genealogists have a collection (horde) of 35mm slides and negatives that need to be scanned. This site has a review of a number of slide/negative scanners.

21. It is not just photos, slides and negatives that genealogists have. They also have family heirlooms that they should be recording for the future. One way of doing this is using Shotbox which has it own lighting system which makes for much better images and you can use a smartphone. Also useful for photographing craft items or items for sale on eBay.

22. Not every gift for your genealogist needs to cost money. Perhaps you could write a blank cheque for a day a month where you will look after things at home and they can visit an archives or library. Or maybe a blank cheque for an evening at home where the genealogist has research time in their study.

23. If the genealogist in your life does not have a dedicated “genealogy area”  in the house are you able to create one for them?

24. Are you a computer whiz who is good at using Photoshop or a graphics program that could digitally restore a photograph for them? Every genealogist has photos that need restoring.

25. Maybe you could write that blank cheque for x hours talking about your childhood, school days, or the time before you were together. 

Perhaps find some of the photos of your life or family  and write the story of the photo. It is so much easier than it sounds.

You get the photo and then:

When was it taken and who took it?
Where was it taken?
Why was it taken?
Who is in it?
What was your memory of the occasion?

This will be valued by the genealogist in your life.

Oct 132016

Hooray FTDNA has now added a Pedigree View on their site.

I was the primary person on this one and so cut off my details.

You can then click on a person such as Robert Henry Philpott and get the further details as shown below.

Now this lovely new Pedigree View is only of value if someone has uploaded their Gedcom.

FTDNA has been encouraging people to upload their Gedcoms for quite a while but there has not been the take-up we would all like (although hopefully everyone who is bemoaning no Gedcoms have uploaded their own!).

And of course it is really no different to Ancestry where there are very, very many DNA tests that have no tree attached. It would be nice to know if the people who have no tree attached have an Ancestry subscription.

I am assured by Ancestry that you can add a tree if you are someone who only has a DNA test and  was told they are encouraged to do so when activating the test.

From what I have been able to determine from this help page on Ancestry the DNA test only member can contact matches and receive messages. They cannot view the trees of their matches.