The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


December 12, 2010

Frankie Meyer: Genealogists are easy people to shop for

JOPLIN, Mo. — Searching for that perfect holiday gift for a friend or relative who is a genealogist? Your quest will be easy, because there are so many gifts of various prices that will be useful and much appreciated.

A basket filled with stationary, stamps, pencils and pens will be perfect. Give an address stamp, along with a stamp pad. Other useful items are a pencil sharpener, stapler, staples, staple remover, post-it notes or a 3-hole punch.

Because an essential part of family history research is sending thank-you notes, include some of those. A pair of scissors and a paper trimmer will be appreciated, too. A magnifying glass is essential, because old records are often difficult to read.

Could the person use notebooks, typing paper, index cards, file folders and labels? If he or she doesn’t have a file cabinet, that might be a good gift. You might opt for a brief case or satchel, desk lamp or a comfortable desk chair.

Give a book about the history of an area where the person is doing much research. To learn about those types of books, visit the website of the historical societies, genealogical societies, historical sites and museums that are found in that area. Do an Internet search to learn locate those websites. Give the gift of a family history book.

Does the person have a computer? Paper, printer cartridges and flash drives are very useful. A family history program would help the person organize family history info. A year’s membership to is a great gift.

If your family has several ancestors who lived in the early colonies, consider a year’s membership to New England Historic Genealogical Society, one of our nation’s oldest and largest genealogical societies. Members have online access to NEHGS manuscript collections.

How about a membership to a local historical society or genealogy society? If the person lives in a rural area and has to pay a fee to use a library, give a year’s membership.

How about a digital recorder or a digital camera? Because genealogists often visit old homesites and cemeteries, the gift of a GPS will let your loved one note the exact location of sites for future use by descendants.

An example of a high-tech gift is a netbook that can be easily used on research trips. Though small (which makes them portable), they are perfect for notetaking, as well as browsing the Internet. Another gift idea is a portable scanner, which comes in handy when interviewing families who have old bibles, documents and photographs but don’t want the items to be taken from the home, even for copying.

E-readers will be a hit, particularly for those who have trouble reading small print. Two of the most popular ones are the Kindle, sold by Amazon, and Nook, sold by Barnes and Noble. An e-reader lets a person quickly download new books at a lower price that the shelf price. Make sure the e-reader also has access to books in library collections, as well as older books that are free through Google.

Is there an old family photo of which the person is especially fond? Go to a print shop or use an online website to have the photo added to a coffee mug, a computer pad, a T shirt or a calendar.

As a gift, perform some helpful tasks for your loved one. Transfer old videotapes to a digital format. Take the person on a research trip. Tape an interview with the person and make copies that can be given to the family. Scan the person’s collection of photos or documents. Make copies on CDs so that the person can give those as gifts.

Another idea is to have the photos combined in a photo book. Many websites, such as Shutterfly, provide that service.

Suggestions or queries? Send to Frankie Meyer, P.O. Box 731, Joplin, Mo. 64802, or contact:

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