By Sheila Benedict

Contributing Writer

It is holiday time, and if you are looking for something different to purchase for a family member, here are some ideas for both the naughty and the nice.

If you are an avid genealogist already, make sure your bookshelf is filled with good texts. One or two columns back, I gave a list of books that deserve a space on your bookshelf. One that was mentioned is “Genealogy Standards,” 50th anniversary edition, written by Board for Certification of Genealogists, published by in 2014.

About two weeks ago, it was announced that the book is being revised to add standards that apply to DNA evidence. The goal is to have it ready to purchase by March 2019.

Others to consider are books by Robert Charles Anderson, Blaine Bettinger, Val Greenwood, Thomas Jones and Elizabeth Shown Mills. If you do California research, I’ll suggest the book I wrote for the National Genealogical Society, “Research in the States – California,” published in 2015.

There are many others for both beginning and advanced researchers. Also, if you prefer e-books, Kindle, or other sites that offer books to read on your phone, tablet, or computer, those are available as well.

Regarding DNA testing, many people give test kits to family members, and testing companies offer holiday specials. There are four companies that most genealogists use because their pricing is competitive: 23&Me, AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, and MyHeritageDNA. Their websites can explain the difference between the various tests offered.

You might consider a gift subscription to the various online research companies. You can usually go to Google search and a list of those sites, too numerous to list here, will come up.

Whatever your interest, I can guarantee there is a book or a website that can offer information for you. However, and I have said this several times, there is nothing better than going to the place where your ancestors lived. The experience is amazing and should be considered.

Seven of us, including a 9-, 11-, and 18-year old, went to Ireland last spring and the young people got to walk the ground where some of their ancestors once walked. That is a gift that can never be forgotten, and it was a gift for me to see them there.

Maybe Santa will be especially generous to you! Have a wonderful Christmas and the happiest New Year in 2019!


Sheila Benedict is a professional forensic and family genealogist. Send questions to so they can be answered in future issues.