20 Family History Gift Ideas

19 Dec 2023


Learning about our family helps us connect with the past and discover a greater sense of self. Looking into our family history gives us a glimpse of where we came from.

It’s no wonder family history gifts are growing in popularity. From simple family trees printed on parchment paper to elaborate coffee table books, there are so many options to explore.

Here are the top 20 family history gift ideas. One is sure to capture your imagination and delight even the most discriminating person on your gift-giving list. 

Top 20 Family History Gift Ideas

1. Pedigree Chart

A pedigree chart makes a great gift for anyone wanting to get acquainted with their ancestors. It’s a simple diagram displaying a person’s family lineage dating back to their great-grandparents. However, a pedigree chart typically won’t show uncles, aunts, cousins, or siblings. 

2. Family Tree Photo Book

Instead of relegating old family photos to a shoebox—or worse, the local thrift store—create a memorable family tree photo book. While a family tree diagram would normally suffice to show your lineage, adding photos enhances your presentation.  Putting faces and surroundings with names can add a whole new dimension. 

3. Family Biography

A family biography is like a personal biography, but instead of focusing on one person, it tells the story of your parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relatives you choose to include.

Also, as with a personal biography, you will probably choose a book format. It’s length will depend on several variables, including:

  • Number of years you want to cover.
  • Amount of detail you include.
  • Number of relatives or ancestors. 
  • Amount of research you’re willing to do.

A family biography book makes a great gift for anyone interested in preserving your family’s legacy. It’s also something that older family members can share with their children and grandchildren. 

4. Coffee Table Book

A family history coffee table book makes an excellent gift for any occasion and provides a visual representation of your heritage.

It serves as a family heirloom to be passed down through the generations. Caption your photos to share descriptions of important family traditions or past events. 

5. Online Genealogy Class

For the aspiring genealogist in your family, a gift subscription to Legacy Family Tree Webinars or a similar online program is a great option. These virtual courses are available to fit almost any schedule—day or night—and you can usually finish them at your own pace. Classes are almost always online, and they range from beginner to advanced levels.

6. Family Photo Ornaments

Personalize your relative’s holiday tree this year with family photo ornaments. Several online vendors offer ornament-making services. Send the photos via email, and you will get the finished product in about 10 days.

Another option is to make the family photo ornaments yourself. Cut and paste your family photos onto the ornament you choose, using printed pictures downloaded from your phone or computer. Available styles include:

  • Glass
  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Rustic
  • Modern/Sleek

You can find photo ornaments in almost any shape and design as well. Some of the more popular ones include retro fabric, popsicle sticks, and wood-slice ornaments. 

7. Legacy Journal

A legacy journal is a written record of someone’s life experiences and provides the reader with advice, wisdom, and instruction.

Unlike a diary that is strictly for the writer’s eyes, a legacy journal is written for the reader.

It is most often used as a gift for grandparents to record their thoughts, memories, and experiences for future generations.

A finished legacy journal about your own life thus far is also a great gift to those who may be interested.

8. Family History Scrapbook

Turn an old photo album into a family history scrapbook to be treasured forever. Besides family photos, you can add:

  • Cards
  • Letters
  • Newspaper Clippings
  • Event Programs

Family history scrapbooks are a creative gift you can modify any way you want. Use colorful background paper, dedicated pages for holidays, or create a section for pets. Use your imagination and enlist the help of others in your family to create the best scrapbook possible. 

9. Autobiography Kit

Also called memoir writing kits, autobiography kits make the perfect gift for anyone wanting to tell their life story. These inexpensive boxed sets usually come with a variety of autobiography writing prompts, such as:

  • Describe your favorite activity as a child.
  • What was your favorite movie growing up?
  • Write about something you learned in school.
  • What was one of your favorite pastimes?

Most autobiography and memoir kits now come in downloadable formats for your computer or smartphone. You can find them on Etsy and other websites, or at your local gift shop. 

10. Ancestry Testing Kit

An ancestry testing kit can unlock insights into your recipient’s family history and uncover secrets about their heritage. 

However, not all testing kits are equal in quality and value, making shopping for the right one vital to your gift-giving success. 

Finding a well-established brand with a good reputation is crucial. Also, choose one that is minimally invasive, requiring only a simple cheek swab. 

Before ordering, ensure that the person receiving the gift is open to having their DNA tested by a third party. 

11. Family Cookbook

Take those old recipes passed down through the generations and make a family cookbook as a gift.

While this idea is not new, you can add some creative flair to yours.

Paste printed photos of finished dishes onto colorful background paper, as well as any pictures you have of relatives who gave you the recipes.

Use a 3-hole puncher, set the pages into a large binder, and you’re done!

For a more professional look, enlist the help of a writing agency for guidance on how to format your book.

12. Family Heirloom

Finding a gift for a family member who appears to have everything can be a challenge, so a unique family heirloom is a logical choice. There’s no need to give away expensive jewelry. It could be anything from books to antique furniture. Other ideas include:

  • Fine China
  • Linens
  • Chrystal
  • Tea Sets
  • Wedding Dresses
  • Quilts

13. Genealogy Society Membership

A genealogy society membership is ideal for those family members interested in genealogy and just starting. Contact a local society for more information about membership costs and requirements. You may be surprised at how affordable it is.

Genealogy societies offer newsletters, educational programs, and live events. You can also receive discounts on research and translation services exclusive to members. 

14. Photos of an Ancestor

Grandma or grandpa may have passed, but their memory lives on.

Their framed photo is a wonderful gift for a relative whose heart holds a special place for them. 

15. Family History Comic Book

The latest trend in family history gift giving is customized comic books. Companies like Your Comic Story and Make Me a Comic will take the family photos you send and use them to create an entire comic book. Once completed, the color print book will be sent to your recipient.


Preserve your family history

16. Historical Fiction Novel

Bring an ancestor or relative’s story to life using historical fiction. This book format is especially effective if they’ve done something spectacular, such as:

  • Fought in a foreign war.
  • Taken an exotic trip.
  • Had an unusual job.
  • Achieved something amazing.

Writing a fiction novel about an ancestor’s life allows you to get creative without worrying about getting every detail correct. Of course, for living relatives, get permission first.

It’s best to enlist the help of a writing agency to get you started. 

17. Family Tree Art

A family tree diagram can look rather dull unless you create a unique design around it. This is where family tree art comes in.

You can choose from several designs and layouts to enhance your family tree and make it worthy of wall space. You can use the branches, not only for your ancestors’ names, but also for family events, inside jokes, and even the names of pets!

18. Genealogy Notebook

A genealogy notebook makes a nice gift for someone interested in making a hobby of tracing their family’s history. It’s a set of worksheets designed to keep track of all the photos, records, and stories that tell about each ancestor’s life. 

Companies like familytreenotebooks.com offer several styles, each containing:

  • Index Pages
  • Worksheets
  • Pedigree Charts
  • Family Group Sheets
  • Decorative Binder

19. Family Tree Chalkboard

One of the most exciting and creative ways to display family photos is with a family tree chalkboard. The first step is to gather up all those old pictures from the storage room. Try getting a few from family members—cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents—as well. 

Next, decide who you are going to include. A pedigree chart can provide a starting place, or you could simply ask an older relative for the names of their parents and grandparents. 

Last, attach the photos to your chalkboard and write the names of your ancestors with a chalk pen. Draw lines or arrows to connect everyone, and you’re done!

20. Memoir Book

A memoir is a book you write about your own experiences in life. It’s a unique gift for a family member that tells your story in a personal way. 

When the recipient is part of that story, it becomes an even more valuable keepsake. You could also write about their life, which would be more like a biography. Just be sure to get permission first.

The primary drawback to writing a memoir is the time it takes to research, write, edit, and proofread your book.

Still, with the help of a writing agency, it doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. 

Additional Tips for Sharing Your Family History

When giving a gift of this kind, the old cliché still rings true: It’s the thought that counts. There are a few important things to think about concerning your process:

  1. Get permission before sharing intimate details about a living family member. Even when limiting access to the gift, you still must consider basic privacy concerns.
  2. The same goes for photos. Be sure to get permission before using anyone else’s pictures.
  3. Always ensure that names, dates, and addresses are correct before displaying them on a family tree or other format.
  4. Memoir books and biographies are often time-intensive and require careful research, writing, editing, and proofreading. A writing agency like The Writers For Hire can make the process much easier. 
Steve Epperson 

Related Content

  • 0 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *