8 Family History Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

So, Mother’s Day is almost here. How weird is that? I confess that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day tend to sneak up on me every year. I should know that they’re coming but I’m usually blindsided at the last second, totally reliant on Amazon overnight shipping.

I figured I’d give you guys fair warning that Mother’s Day is May 8th this year, which gives you just about three weeks to get your act together if there are moms in your life that you want to honor. I haven’t decided what I’m doing for the moms in my life, but I might do something in the family history vein because that’s kind of my thing. I know that personally I would love a dusty old genealogy book or a new photo gift more than a spa day or World’s Best Mom mug!

Mothers Day

8 Family History Gifts for Mother’s Day: Subscription /// I use and I think it’s the best way to keep everything organized, but it is a little pricey. If this isn’t something your mom would buy for herself but you know she’s been talking about organizing her family history info, buying an annual subscription would be a very nice gift!

How-to Genealogy Books // In the same vein as the subscription, if you have a mom who keeps talking about putting together a family tree but doesn’t know where to start, a how-to book could be a fun surprise. There’s a whole range of these types of books out there from the text-heavy ones that make you feel like you’re taking a college course to the photo-filled ones that are mostly other people’s success stories. Personally, I like this one, this one, and this one.

Photo Book of Scanned Family Snapshots /// Old candids and photo booth strips look like pieces of art when you scan them, blow them up, and have them printed in a hardcover book. I’ve done photo books like this a few times for gifts and always been happy with how they turned out. If the thought of scanning a ton of photos is overwhelming, you might consider doing just one falling-apart-album this time. For example, if you have a bunch of photos from one particular trip you took when you were little, making a nostalgic vacation album by scanning and enlarging some of those photos would be a very cute idea! I’ve used a few different companies for these, but is still my go-to. Be sure to check online for coupons!

Art from a Historically Significant Place /// My mother’s family comes mostly from San Francisco and San Rafael, with origins in China. My father’s family spent time in the Chicago area and the south, but originally came from very specific places in the U.K. My stepfather’s family has a lot of history in Wyoming and Colorado, but if you go back far enough you get to riverside areas in Germany. Maps, paintings, and framed photos from any of these places would work both as genealogical pieces and as nice gifts with that little extra bit of thought behind them. My favorite source for things like this is eBay.

Professionally Designed Family Trees /// You can purchase framed family trees in all sorts of designs and styles, assuming you have the names and dates to fill them up. There are big companies out there who handle them, but you might want to browse for family trees first. Sometimes there are young designers who are still building up their portfolios and they do really nice work for a fraction of the price.

Recipe Books /// Like the photo books, you can put together your own family recipe books and have them printed and bound nicely. If you don’t have very many recipes (and there’s no secret stash of your mom’s that you can sneak out), consider combining dates and family stories with recipes that fit that person (like a campside bread recipe for a great-grandmother who was on the Oregon Trail). Even knowing the general place a person lived tells you a lot about what they were probably eating. Neighborhood organizations often published cookbooks featuring recipes popular in that area at that time and you can usually find these either at the library or online.

Framed Prints of Family Photos /// I did this for Mother’s Day last year using and the results were really nice. Just be sure you’ve scanned the photo in at a high enough resolution that it won’t be pixelated once it’s blown up.

A Gift Certificate for a Family Photo Session (with Prints) /// Don’t forget that family history is more than just the historical – you want to be sure you’re capturing today as well! A gift for a family photo session is a nice surprise that they can organize on their own schedule and including at least a few prints makes this a gift they’ll appreciate for years.

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  • Reply Gwendolyn

    These are great gift ideas! The DNA kit was a nice gift from that site (they gave a discount during Mother’s Day last year)! I found many 2nd+ cousins along with pictures of my father’s side of the family that I’d never seen.

    The report also gave an ethnicity estimate and now I’m trying to figure out the North African branch of my family tree.

    April 18, 2016 at 6:55 pm
  • Reply Morgan

    These are really fabulous ideas for Mother’s Day gifts. Blowing up old pictures or even just framing them would be great; moms love gifts with sentiment like that! This post is packed with excellent suggestions! Thank you so much for sharing!

    May 18, 2016 at 10:20 am
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