5 Useful Tech Gifts for Genealogists

Not sure what to get the family historian in your life? Here are 5 gifts for genealogists that will help them out with all their tech.



(Note: the links below are Amazon affiliate links, meaning that Amazon pays me a little bit when someone buys through these links. Please know that these are products that I personally use and recommend.)

1. Jumbl Slide and Negative Scanner

If you have negatives or slides that you want to digitize, you need a scanner that’s designed to handle them. The Jumbl 22 MP All-in-1 Film & Slide Scanner is the scanner I wish I had several years ago when I was scanning slides for my parents’ anniversary party. (I’m thankful I have it now since I need to scan about 14 gajillion more!) The Jumbl scanner handles both slides and film negatives and scans at up to 22 megapixels. You can save up to 40 images in the unit or save the images to an SD card. You plug it in, so there’s no worrying about batteries running low. This little scanner really gets the job done.

My Jumbl scanner.

2. Bluetooth Keyboard

If your favorite genealogist would rather use their iPad than a laptop, a bluetooth (wireless) keyboard is a must. I love using mine when I’m at conferences or other events when I don’t want to schlep around my laptop. The keyboard makes it so much easier to take notes. Some of them also serve as covers for the iPad.

3. Portable Smartphone Battery

We genealogists love our smartphones, but their batteries often don’t last as long as we’d like. That’s where a portable smartphone battery comes in handy. Charge it up before you leave and then when your phone dies, plug it into the portable battery. No more searching for an outlet at the library or archive! (This has saved me more than once!)

4. Multi-Outlet Charger

We need to recharge all of those phones and iPads at some point, but what do you do when you don’t have enough outlets? That’s when you need a multi-outlet charger. I swear by the Belkin mini-travel swivel charger. I have one that lives in my travel bag. (It’s so frustrating to get to a hotel that doesn’t have enough outlets!) What I love about the Belkin is that it has 3 3-prong outlets plus 2 USB outlets. The plug actually swivels, so you can adjust it however it will fit best into the outlet on the wall. So handy! It also serves as a surge protector. Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about this charger.

5. Laptop Lock

Help keep your laptop safe at the library or courthouse with a cable laptop lock. Wrap the cable around something like a table leg, pull the cable through the loop, and attach the cable to the laptop’s security slot. (It’s that little 1/4″ slot on the side of the laptop.) I like the locks that use a 4-digit combination, rather than a key.

By the way, there's nothing saying that you have to give any of these items away... Maybe you should treat yourself to a bit of tech this holiday season!

Here are 5 useful tech gifts for genealogists. These gifts won't just sit in a drawer.

9 thoughts on “5 Useful Tech Gifts for Genealogists

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  4. Amy, I have this Jumbl film scanner right now and I’m very disappointed with it. I’m not getting anything like a picture of my negatives out of this thing. Any chance you could show me an example of the kind of photos you got from it?

    • Hi, Laura. I was disappointed in my slides until I realized that the “film type” was set to “color negative” instead of “slide positive.” (If there’s anything I wish Jumbl would change, it would be their menu system!) Also making sure that the slide or the negative is shiny side up helps a lot. Here’s a link to a slide that I scanned a few minutes ago, just as an example: http://www.amyjohnsoncrow.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/PICT0001-resize.jpg. The only editing I did to it was to resize it in Photoshop Elements so that the file size wouldn’t be as big for the web.

  5. I love my wireless keyboard for the iPad. It makes note taking at conferences, as you mention, a breeze. And anything that spares me from having to lug around my laptop gets a thumbs up. I’ll have to look into the portable smartphone battery. I actually can’t believe I’ve gone this long without one!

    • It’s hard to beat the Flip-Pal scanner for photos. It’s small and portable, you can take the top off of it if necessary, and it has software so you can stitch together multiple sections of an oversized photo. I’ve scanned hundred of photos with mine. Available on Amazon and at Flip-pal.com. (You never know which one is going to have the better price!)

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