This holiday season, when you’re wondering what to give the person who has always talked about preserving family memories or conducting genealogy research, consider building them a family preservation kit. If you are the family historian, however, feel free to drop a few gift-giving hints with our top preservation gift ideas.
Mary Danielsen of Documented Legacies has created an Amazon Gift Registry that you are welcome to use.
When you’ve been wondering what to get your parents, grandparents or elder family members, consider giving this kit as a joint gift. It’s a great way to get family members to compile their family history. You’ll have a lot of fun together. It also make a great gift for someone who recently retired.
Whether you package some of these ideas together or separately, any of these items will be a welcomed addition to a family historian’s tool kit.
Flip-Pal mobile scanner
Don’t make things complicated. This portable, lightweight mobile scanner is versatile enough to work anywhere from grandpa’s lap to the National Archives. The flip-and-scan technology provides you the ability to scan documents larger than a 4 x 6” and stitch them together on a computer. This is a great gift for elders who want to scan and print at a local photo store. Plenty of how-to videos. (Starting at $149.99)
Flip-Pal Sketch Kit
The patented Sketch kit comes with a clear acrylic sketch sheet with three erasable markers (two black, one red) designed for work with your Flip-Pal mobile scanner. Scan the original photo to keep as your “master” copy. Then, gently lay the Sketch sheet over the original and draw on the Sketch using the supplied erasable markers. You can add names, dates, arrows, circles and details about the original. Next, scan the original with the Sketch between the scanner and original. The result: a digital label that will always stay with the picture.
Documentation Preservation Kit
When you’re just starting a family history project, compiling photos, documents and other important artifacts pile up quickly. Our priceless memories deserve archival care. Family Tree magazine is offering a Document Preservation Kit that helps you identify your documents and record additional facts or stories; photocopy up to 25 fragile documents onto archival paper, protect originals in polyethylene bags; and create a digital backup on an Archival Gold CD. The instructions are loaded with great tips. (Price – Under $29) Add a downloadable tip sheet for old documents ($1.99)
Shop Family Tree
Genealogy website gift certificate
If they don’t have one already, consider a buying a subscription to a genealogy website, such as Ancestry, Archives, Family Search or Fold 3. (Prices start at about $80 a year.)
From the gas and tolls to lunch on the road, family history road trips get expensive. Consider giving your loved one gift cards to local businesses that will ease the burden.
When you think about preservation you have to consider the greatest threats to your family history collection, based on where it’s stored. Is it water, fire, pests, dust or misuse? You want this information to last. We like the plastic watertight totes offered by The Container Store (Starting at about $10) and the Sentry® Safe Guardian™ Fire/Water Security Chest offered online at Staples (about $140).
When you start sharing and scanning generations of photos, everyone wants a copy. Consider a gift card to your local photo duplication center or online photo site. Suggest multiple copies and back up these scans.
This is a great addition to any family history toolkit, because you can store a lot of work on a little gadget. Take the thumb drive between locations when you’re scanning at relatives homes. When finished back it all up to archival grade DVDs and the cloud (link to an eGuide). We love our Picture Keeper PK8, which will automatically backup photos on your computer. Other thumb drives (8GB or larger) are available at local office supply stores. (Starting at about $15).
Do a Google search for “USB Flash Drives”
When working with delicate family documents or researching at a museum, historical society or library, it’s good to have a set of 100% cotton archival gloves. Another option to avoid old newspaper ink and dirt in grunt work is a box of disposal latex gloves. It’s not necessarily an attractive gift, but everyone needs it. Have fun wrapping the box. We found a set of 12 at Archival Methods (Under $15).
If your new family historian is sporting a camera around on each treasure hunt, why not buy a new memory card. They fill up quickly when your traveling between homes and locations, scanning old photos and shooting new ones. Find out what kind of card they use first. Flip-Pal uses a standard speed SD or SDHC card (Basic 4GB Class 4 SD cards start at about $15).
Do a Google search for “Memory Cards“
Life Story Questions
Family history records are simply data until they’re filled with stories. If you have older family members that you’ve been meaning to interview consider hiring a professional personal historian to conduct an audio or video interview or buy a DIY book on recording family stories and make a plan to meet monthly until it’s completed.
Blank Journals & Pens
Family historians are always on a treasure hunt. They’ll take lots of notes, write stories and sketch out ideas. Wrap up an artsy ruled journal and a fresh set of pens from your local office supply store. (Prices start under $10)
Family historians tend to store lots of records in binders, folders and boxes that are acid-free, lignin free and/or buffered. They like supplies and bags that passed the PAT test. Those are key terms you’ll need to research when buying archival storage supplies. Consider a simple gift certificate to an archival supplier or simply buy them a ream of acid-free laser paper. (Start at $25)
When identifying old photos or documents it is recommended that you use soft No. 4 or No. 6 pencils. These art pencils are softer than the No. 2 pencils we used in school. We like using the Flip-Pal Sketch Kit for taking notes, because it’s lightweight, reusable and fits inside our Deluxe Flip-Pal Carrying Case. You can easily write notes on the clear plexiglass using erasable markers to help you organize the volume of scans later. There may be times, however, when you actually need a specialty pencil. (Art supply and craft stores starting at $10)
Give the Gift of Time – an afternoon together sharing memories
The gift of time can be the hardest gift to give when our schedules are so full. Yet, it can also be the most meaningful, particularly for senior parents. Make your own gift certificate to help your family historian. Offer to research, write, duplicate and compile records for an afternoon. Join them on a road trip. Family historians are treasure hunters and love to talk about what they found.
(Cost – $0 The time spent is priceless.)