Gifts for dads who love family history
As we speed towards June, we find ourselves stuck for Father’s Day gift ideas. It’s impossible to fathom how we’re already 6 months further on (or closer) to Christmas! The simple fact is, Dads are great, and we tend to forget to tell them just how much we appreciate them. This year, we are going to help you change that with this handy guide of gift ideas for what to get your genealogy-loving father.
Side note – These gifts are catered, but not specific to, family history Dads, so you may find something that your non-genealogy father would like.
You probably didn’t get to meet all the family members your Dad did, but one thing you have in common is memories of each other. This gift requires a little bit of searching around, but in the end, it will be something you can both treasure. Rummage through those old photos in the attic and find as many as you can of you and your Dad. With these, scan them onto the computer, or take photos of them on your phone, and get them printed. Once you have all your lovely prints, stick them into a scrapbook, you could even label these up with the date taken, a memory you have of that time, and any other fun information you have!
FreePrints is a free app which allows you to print up to 45 photos for free. They also have an option of a free photo book, in which you can have the photos printed in the book itself.
Although the results will get to him a few weeks after Father’s Day, it’s something that can really help with his research, so we’re sure he won’t mind waiting. A Living DNA test brings history to life. Help Dad discover where his ancestors (and half of yours) come from and much more. The kit comes with step-by-step instructions and is fast and simple to complete. Once he has sent off his test, he will receive his results online, as well as printed if he would like, within 10-12 weeks.
Our aim is to help people find out where they came from and discover lost stories from their ancestor’s past. We understand the importance of knowing where to look, understanding genealogical tools, and knowing the best places for finding relevant documents. However, we also know that not everyone is a tech wizard, no one knows every tip and trick, and we all love to read others' success stories. Because of this, we pack our magazine with everything from expert guides on reading certificates, to fun lunchtime crosswords, ensuring there is something for every family historian. We even offer a £2.99, no-strings attached subscription, which can be cancelled at any time.
The big city
If your Dad loves genealogy, there is nowhere better to take him than London itself. With the Imperial War Museum, the Society of Genealogists’ Library, London Metropolitan Archives, and many other great places to visit, the genealogist within him will be spoilt for choice. Some of these places are free to enter and can be a massive help with family history research. All you need to know are the basics and as you delve into the information and records available you will soon be flooded with extraordinary information about your ancestors.
If you're looking for a more sentimental gift, a memory box could be the perfect thing to draw at his heart strings, that can be personalised full of lovely things that remind you of him. This box could be as serious, or as silly as you want. We have created a small, definitely not exhaustive list, of some of the items you could include in this box;
- Pictures of him as a child, or of you with him
- His favourite treat
- A book he used to read to you
- His favourite film
- Items from big occasions he was involved in, or attended (e.g. wedding invitations, birthday cards, anniversary cards)
- Tickets from sports games, concerts, etc.
Once you have collected a range of items, place these in his memory box. Then, tell your Dad to add to the box, and every Father’s Day you could add a little more to it as a tradition.
Though Dad may have finished school on what seems like ages ago, it is never too late to learn or develop a skill. This is especially true if the course is on something you are very passionate about, as you are likely to really take in the information. We know that Dads probably don’t have time to go to night school, or they would rather be with you! So, our courses are completed at home, and have no deadlines or timescale. Courses include tutor-style videos, bonus content to help your progress even further, and a Facebook group where you can talk to other family history enthusiasts and gain extra tips and tricks. Our course topics range from ‘Case studies and real-life examples’ to ‘Your guide to visiting the Society of Genealogists,’ so there really is something for everyone.
Watch and learn
Although streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, are usually seen as a way of watching films, there are many fascinating documentaries available on them too. These may not be a tool for researching family history per se, but war documentaries, history documentaries, etc are a great way to get a good look into what life was like for your ancestors.
These subscriptions vary in price and usually come with a free trial period. It’s also a good idea to find out what is available to watch on them before choosing one that would best suit your dad.
Something to read
When sitting in the garden, there is nothing better than being able to read a good book. So, why not ensure it’s one which will help Dad learn more too? Pen & Sword have many books, dedicated to the genealogy sector. Books that may interest Dad include; Second World War Lives, The Wills of our Ancestors and Air Force Lives. To find other genealogical titles, Pen & Sword have a specialised section called ‘Pen & Sword Family History’ which includes hundreds of titles relating to genealogy and finding your ancestors. There really is one for everyone! So, do some digging and find out what your dad is interested in, and then find a book relating to that.
As a genealogist, whether you are a beginner or an expert, you need basic tools such as a pen and paper, to note down ideas and findings. Remember, one day you might need to read them when you’re looking further into his discoveries. So, we have created many aids for him to make sure he finds out all he needs about each individual ancestor, whist ensuring others can understand his findings. For example, one of our products is the ‘My Family History Notebook,’ a pocket-size companion, made specifically to keep findings super organised, and packed full of helpful charts and research logs.
How much do you really know about Dad’s life before you? You probably know which school he went to, where he lived and maybe even what he studied. You probably don’t know what beliefs, traditions and treasured moments made him who he is today. With that in mind ‘Dad’s Journal: A Keepsake of What I Want You to Know About Me and My Life,’ by Jennifer Basye Sander, is the perfect way to find out more. Beginning with his childhood and teenage years, moving onto his time before you and of course his journey through fatherhood, it’s the perfect gift to show how much you care. With questions from the author as prompts, it’s an enjoyable and special place for Dad to tell you the story of him. Once he has finished, why not read it together, or have him read it to you, and gain another treasurable memory.
Whether you live with your dad or he lives on the other side of the world, if he’s biologically your father or actually a friend of the family, show him you care this Father’s Day, and make sure you give him a hug, a call or even do your secret handshake!
Happy Father’s Day