Monday 18 December 2017

Christmas gifts for the genealogist in your family

If you're stuck for last minute gifts for your favourite Irish family historian, see below for a brief selection of ideas that just might reach you in time if you order straight away.

History, culture and research books

The Ulster Historical Foundation has some tremendous offers in its December sale. Here's a brief flavour:

  • There are great value history and research bundles, such as 'Irish in Australia Book Bundle' and 'Scots Irish Migration Pack'
  • Newly-published books such as The Origins of the Dairy Industry in Ulster, An Unlikely Success Story: The Belfast Shipbuilding Industry 1880-1935, and The Town Book of Coleraine
  • Bestsellers such as Ulster Emigration to Colonial America, 1718–1775; Irish Covenanters: Politics and Society in the 19th century; and The Belfast Blitz: The City in the War Years.

Browse through the selection at the UHF's online store at BooksIreland.

Ancestry DNA testing kits

Holiday Sale discounts are available until Christmas Eve for Ancestry DNA testing kits for researchers resident in Ireland; for USA residents; for UK residents; and Canada residents.

These are autosomal DNA tests. The test maps ethnicity going back multiple generations and can also help identify relationships with unknown relatives through a dynamic list of DNA matches.

Please note, I'm highlighting Ancestry DNA here because it has the largest DNA network in the world (6 million people are in the database).

There are other companies offering DNA tests (Family Tree DNA, My Heritage, and Living DNA, are among the most popular with family historians). For details of seasonal savings with other companies, see the Special Offers page of Irish Genealogy Toolkit.

Irish Genealogy Guide: How to trace your ancestors in Ireland

Published by the owners of Family Tree Magazine in the USA, my 240-page paperback guide to Irish family history is aimed at both beginner and intermediate researchers, even if some very well-known professionals have also admitted to finding it both informative and useful.

Its principal target readership is Irish American, and it explores the records and techniques used to uncover the immigrant ancestor's place of origin in Ireland. It also sets out the main types of records available in Ireland and where to find them and provides historical and cultural information to frame the lives of our ancestors, whether or not they emigrated.

There are also handy reference sections with online and offline contacts, details of US and Irish societies and groups, a latin glossary to facilitate study of Roman Catholic records, and much more. See John Grenham's review here.

The Irish Genealogy Guide is widely available in bookshops and from online sellers, as well as the publisher. Each of the online bookshops below has stock as of this morning and purchases should arrive before Christmas:

In North America: Family Tree Magazine (publisher),  Barnes and Noble and

In Ireland: Dubray Books

In the UK: Waterstones and

Irish Roots Magazine

How about a subscription (hard copy or digital copy) to Ireland's only independent genealogy magazine?

Irish Roots magazine is published every three months in Co Wicklow. It has a good mix of family history features for researchers of Irish heritage around the world, as well as news of record releases and other developments around the Irish family history societies and major repositories.

It also has articles about culture, local history, and traditions to explain how our ancestors lived, and regular explorations of dna research, surnames and Irish placenames.

Find out more at, and download a free sample of the December edition.