Gifts for Genealogists and their Families

hoiday giftSomeone asked me for a list of gifts for family historians.

They had in mind gadgets and other tangible things you could wrap up with a bow. But I thought, “Most of the things I want don’t cost money and can’t be wrapped.”

Most of the things genealogists want don't cost money and can't be wrapped. Share on X


So, here are my suggested gifts for genealogists:


  • Show interest in their research by asking them about their latest family discovery. Are they planning to attend any genealogy conferences this year? Who, or what, is their favorite genealogy resource, and why? Who is their favorite ancestor, and why?


  • If they have an online family tree, ask them to tell you (or remind you) how to view it. Ask for some in-person or virtual time so they can show you around the site.


  • Share family photos with them. They may not already have copies of the ones you take for granted. They especially might be interested in the ones that are stashed away and you haven’t seen them for years either. And they might have some you haven’t seen.


  • Offer to get yourself DNA tested. Ask them if that’s something they’re into; which company they recommend; and how to connect your results to their online family tree. It’s OK to wait for one of the holiday sales that happen throughout the year.


  • Ask them if there’s a particular tool, subscription, or membership they’d enjoy having. It’s OK to specify a price range.



And here’s a roundup of ideas from some of my favorite resources:


  • 5 Easy DIY Family History Gifts — Amy Johnson Crow, Modern Genealogy Made Easy (Genealogists: Don’t miss “A Gift You Might Want to Reconsider” at the end!)







PLEASE NOTE: The ideas in this “holiday” post, as well as in my Holiday Resource Roundup are intended for all holidays, all year round!


What was  your favorite gift that you gave to (or received from) the family historian in your life?

What’s on your wish list?

Share with us in the comments, we’d love to know!

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  1. Seana Turner on November 22, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    My husband’s uncle was the family historian. He kept a detailed family tree in a notebook. When my oldest got married, he updated the record to include her new spouse, and gave that to them as a wedding gift. SO SPECIAL!!!

    • Hazel Thornton on November 26, 2021 at 5:28 pm

      Weddings are a great time to share family history!

  2. Linda Samuels on November 22, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    I love your take on gift-giving, which is mostly about gifting time, attention, and interest. I love that! Time is the most precious commodity we have. And attention and interest in what someone else is doing…priceless!

    Congratulations on your new (about to be available) book! I wish you all the best of success with it.

    • Hazel Thornton on November 26, 2021 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks, Linda — it’s available now! (I updated the link.)

  3. Janet Barclay on November 22, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    Wonderful ideas! I have pinned this to my Pretty Please board.

    • Hazel Thornton on November 26, 2021 at 5:27 pm

      Maybe Santa will bring you a copy?

  4. Julie Bestry on November 23, 2021 at 10:53 pm

    This is not only an inventive take on gift giving, but it’s a great way for people to make conversation with their loved ones over Thanksgiving and throughout the holidays. Sometimes, people don’t know what to talk about, and this is a great way to start a conversation with the family history experts in your tribe. And of course, once your book will be a huge hit once it launches!

    • Hazel Thornton on November 26, 2021 at 5:26 pm

      Exactly! And thanks, Julie — launched today!

  5. Sabrina Quairoli on December 13, 2021 at 9:27 am

    I can’t believe I missed this one! I need to send this to my husband and family so they can get something for me. =) Thanks for sharing.

  6. Janet Schiesl on December 14, 2021 at 7:12 am

    The DNA kits are a great gift idea. The results are sometimes surprising and always interesting.

  7. Katherine Macey on December 15, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    As others have mentioned, these gifts are mostly of time and attention, which is meaningful AND comes with zero clutter. Showing interest in someone else’s passion, spending time with them, and engaging in what they love are great gifts, genealogist or not!

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