As much as we like to give during the holiday season – admit it – we like to receive too. And as it is possible that the ones you love don’t quite understand how much you love working on your family history, you may just have to give yourself a genealogical gift this year.
What is your wish-list? I will share mine, and perhaps it will give you some ideas for what you may need or gift ideas for our significant others. Please know that the following are not endorsements for these products, just a few of my personal preferences.
- Subscriptions. So many business are feeding our need for records. I have a lot (don’t tell my husband!) of subscriptions to companies online including Ancestry, GenealogyBank, NewspaperArchive, and various genealogical societies whose websites offer more digitized records. This year I’m planning to give myself a subscription to a new society, one I have been meaning to join. Maybe it will be the Federation of Genealogical Societies or the Genealogical Speaker’s Guild.
- Conferences. I could attend every genealogical conference in the country this year and still not be satisfied. I love the feel of conferences, the commraderie, the vendors! If I had to pick this year (and I really can’t), I think that I would enjoy the National Genealogical Society’s conference in May 2013. On a personal note, it is located near some family and I could make the most of my visit by seeing them as well. But let’s face it – its in VEGAS! I am not a gambler at all, but I love the shows and the buffets.
- Books. I think I would have to dedicate an entire website to the books I love on genealogy. I did an inventory once of all the books I have at Library Thing, but I had to stop once I reached 100 genealogy books, out of sheer exhaustion. Among my long list of published resources, one has been on my list for too long, and I think I just have to get it. Its Joan L. Sevra’s Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840 – 1900, available at many stores.
- Stories. It is crucial to keep stories alive. Names and dates are well and good, but where’s the personality? Where’s the voice? My gift to myself will be a way to pass the story along to my siblings, my children, and all my relatives. I can start small right now by deciding which family I want to highlight, collecting their information, and then choosing a media that best suits my story. Of course, a Reel Tributes documentary is my first choice! Talk about giving my ancestors their voices back. For something quicker and less expensive, ReelGenie promises to be an amazing tool. If only it were ready for this holiday season!
- Time. My family thinks I am crazy (for many reasons). This is mostly because I think a valuable family vacation should be spent in a state and local archives in New York where my ancestors came from. What’s wrong with having family time in the cemetery, or the court house? So I think one thing I would really like is my own ”vacation” to work on my family history. I have taken some serious time this year writing about my ancestors. Now I want to walk where they walked. This year: New York. Next year: Scotland!
- Answers. I would like to ask a favor of the universe. Please send me the names of my fifth great-grandfather’s parents. I am stuck! Have you felt this way? I often say that I am the only person to prove my ancestors were actually dropped by aliens, because there is no other evidence to refute it. In all seriousness, I have taken to keeping an 8×10 framed photo of great grandpa James Wescott Whitman (1794 – 1878) in my office to inspire me. So, if the universe is listening, that’s what I want most of all. More family.
What genealogical treats would you like in you holiday celebrations this year? I’d love to hear your ideas. Inspire us with what genealogical gifts you are giving to yourself. The trick is that when you continue to search out and celebrate your family, it becomes a gift to everyone in your family. Happy Holidays!