Get out the popcorn, and settle in for an evening with Finding Your Family History in the Attic, a new video from 123Genealogy. Presented by family history expert Tony Burroughs, the 73-minute film is jammed with tips on finding genealogy clues in your home. Join Burroughs as he discovers old Social Security cards, baby clothes, funeral records, business records and farm account books, and then shows viewers how to use them in genealogy research. The $ 19.95 video is ideal for beginners. For more-seasoned family historians, 123 Genealogy produces videos on an array of other genealogy topics, from software tutorials to cemetery research tips. (877) 263-2267, <www.123genealogy.com>
High-Tech Time Telling
Remember when Dick Tracy caught the crooks by talking into his radio watch? Now, Dick’s improbable gizmo is nearly a reality with the Fossil Wrist PDA, a wristwatch with a built-in, fully functioning personal organizer. With 2MB of flash memory for the operating system and 2MB for data, you can store thousands of names and addresses, plus download third-party applications such as a genealogy program or trip planner. Amaze your friends (and Tess Trueheart, too!) at the next genealogy meeting. Sport, casual and dress models sell for $275 to $295. (800) 449-3056, <www.fossil.com>
If you’ve ever thrown up your hands at the tangle of phone cords in your laptop case, you’ll definitely ask Santa to leave a Targus retractable telephone-cord reel in your stocking. This $9.99 gift is about the same size as a pack of playing cards, with a cord that extends up to 8 feet. The reel also protects the little clips at the end of the phone cord that always break off when you’re on the road. When you’re ready to log off your e-mail account, just reel the cord back into its protective case.
Be sure to check out Targus’ rolling notebook cases, too. They range in price from $69.99 to $199.99, and will hold your computer as well as your files, a tiny printer, your family history notebooks, a roll of quarters for the copy machine, and even a few protein bars. (714) 765-5555, <www.targus.com>
Plant a Family Tree
What better way to honor an ancestor than to plant a tree from America’s past? You can buy offspring of famous flora from American Forests’ Historic Tree Nursery. Favorite gifts include tulip poplars grown from trees George Washington planted at Mount Vernon; red maples from Walden Pond; and pin oaks from Appomattox Court House. For the outer space buffs in your family, buy a seedling whose parent tree was grown from seeds taken to the moon. Prices vary, but most trees cost $40 to $50. (800) 320-8733, <www.historictrees.org>
GEDCOM to Go
Take your genealogy data anywhere with a mini hard drive from Wolverine. Plug the skinny module into the USB port of your Mac or PC, then drag and drop any files you want into the storage device. Next, plug the Wolverine into another computer’s USB port, and transfer the data instantly. It’s perfect for backing up those files you can’t afford to lose. Wolverine units can store from 32MB ($26.99) to 1GB ($289.99) of data — the equivalent of hundreds of floppy disks in a drive that fits on your keychain! (653-6300), <www.wolverinedata.com>
Keep your laptop safe during genealogy trips with this $99.99 motion-activated alarm. Another great Targus product, the DEFCON MDP card slips into your computer and sounds an alarm if a bad guy moves it beyond a user-defined area. Once the alarm is activated, the operating system shuts down and requires a password when you turn the computer back on. You can even select important data to he automatically encrypted when movement is detected. (The manufacturer recommends deactivating the card while driving, to avoid accidental shutdowns.) (714) 765-5555, <www.targus.com>
Fun and Games
Although you can’t plant this tree, you and your family can have hours of fun with it — and learn all about your heritage. It’s a 1,000-piece Family Tree Puzzle that your clan can put together, and then add names and dates for five generations. There’s even a spot for family photos. This $27.95 puzzle includes glue and stick-on labels, and is suitable for framing. What a great way to spend a winter evening. (800) 361-5168, <globalgenealogy.com>
Bigger Is Better
Save your eyes by carrying a high-quality Carl Zeiss magnifying glass in your library bag. This practical gift allows distortion-free viewing even at the edges of the lens. It works great in dim lighting or when the print is just too small to see without squinting. The lens has a special hard coating that resists scratching, and it comes with a protective sleeve. Available through Hammacher Schlemmer, it costs $99.95. (800) 321-1484, <www.hammacher.com>
Look, Ma, No Wires!