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Gifts Ideas for Genealogists

This list was put together for MCPL's Heritage Hounds group.  We meet the second Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m.

DNA Kit – Usually $99/ea

Ancestry DNA kits are on sale for $79, but additional kits can be ordered for $69/ea (don’t know when sale ends). currently has kits on sale for $49/each when you buy 2 or more kits. Sale ends November 23. – currently on sale for $59/ea. Sale ends November 23.

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Ancestry membership – 20% off until November 23, but gift delivery can be within 90 days.

• US Discovery 6 months - $79 (usually $99)

• US Discovery 12 months - $149 (usually $189)

• World Explorer 6 months - $119 (usually $149)

• World Explorer 12 months - $239 (usually $299)

Family Tree Heritage software – If you don’t want to put out the money for Ancestry or if your relative would rather save their data to their own PC, Family Tree Heritage is the way to go. Family Tree Heritage will also convert data from the now defunct Family Tree Maker software. Currently $25.99 on Amazon.

Membership to Kentucky Historical Society – membership gets your relative free admission to the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, the Old State Capital, two for one admissions to state parks, discounts on some publications, and more. Memberships are $40 per year and available for purchase at

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Portable Scanner – Available on Amazon from $45, Magic Wand Portable Scanners and the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner are great choices researchers on the go when visiting MCPL, the Kentucky Historical Society, or other genealogical institutions.

Rechargeable batteries or power bank – Rechargeable batteries are great for people using digital cameras or other items that use regular batteries. Items such as laptops, tablets, and phones need other power sources, which aren’t always available. Power banks can be charged up at home and provide power to mobile devices in a pinch.

Archival scrapbooks – Not all scrapbooks are created equal. Look for archival paper, acid-free glues and archival-quality polyester or polypropylene. If you’re getting someone started from scratch, go ahead and splurge for some packets of archival paper, pens, and adhesives.

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Archival pens – Perfect for scrapbooking or writing in photo albums. Archival ink won’t fade over time, nor will it damage your items. Sakura Pigma Micron pens and Sharpie fine point pens are both acid-free, bleed-less and archival.

Photo book or gift card – Have those digital photos on your phone turned into a photo book on Shutterfly or another printing service. You can also have your digital photos printed through those same companies or locally at Walgreens or Wal-Mart. And with those printed photos, you can get…

Archival photo albums – Something I get my mother almost every year are new photo albums. The photo albums feature space to print information about the photos, such as location and the individuals in the photos. This keeps her from writing on the back of the photo, as well as from taking the photo in and out of the album in order to get information about the photo. Look for acid-free paper and archival-quality polyester or polypropylene inserts. These won’t adhere to photos or discolor paper.

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Archival storage boxes – If your loved one has way too many photos for just a few albums or needs a place to store photos before mounting in a scrapbook, invest in quality storage. For serious archivists looking for long-term storage, choose lignin- and acid-free boxes. For short-term storage, storage bins sold at Wal-Mart, the Container Store, and other retail outlets will suffice.

Archival framing – If there are rare photos or pieces of clothing that someone in your life wants framed or just can’t stand to have in a box, have it framed by a professional. Brenda Followell down at Family Frame Shop has years of experience ensuring that items are framed with archival mats and glass.

Expanding file folders – These are especially helpful for genealogists on the go. Many archives will only allow you a notebook and a pencil, but also provide lockers for use. Small expanding files are great for taking those essentials files you need.

Notebooks, pocket folders and pencils – While many of us use printed pedigree charts, family group sheets, etc., notebooks are always handy for taking additional notes. If you are planning on visiting an archive with restrictions on what you can take in, a pocket folder with prongs, pre-printed forms, loose leaf paper, and a few pencils can’t be beat (unless you’re lucky enough to have a wand scanner).

USB Flash Drives – Some places allow scanning directly to thumb drives or saving directly from a microfilm machine. An assortment of flash drives will allow genealogists to make sure they have enough storage room if they hit the family history jackpot.

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Custom Genealogy Charts – Companies like i (chart) you ( and Family Chart Masters ( offer some pretty cool charts that do double time as both genealogical data and home décor.

Hopefully these gift ideas will help you find something for a researcher in your life, or you can use the list when people ask you what you want this year!