Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
I have been doing a TON of Amazon shopping thanks to the pandemic and I thought I'd share some of the things I've found for genealogy. I feel like we all have our copy of Evidence Explained and our favorite photo scanner but there are a lot of other things offered on Amazon that would make your family history journey a little easier (or just more fun!).
1. Magnifying Glass with Antique Wooden Handle ($18.95, Amazon.com)
I'm a very visual person and I love using beautiful things in my office. I have a few magnifying glasses around for looking at details in old photos and documents but this vintage style one is my current favorite. It just feels so good in your hand, you know?
2. LED Page Magnifier ($19.95, Amazon.com)
I haven't been leaving the house to research lately, but when I do go out this is something I keep in my genealogy kit bag. The large screen is helpful when I'm magnifying an entire page of some tiny text and the LED lights are great for those dimly lit library corners.
3. Set of Ten 16GB Flash Drives in a Variety of Colors ($27.99, Amazon.com)
Why would you need ten flash drives? Well, you want to back things up. You also might need flash drives to transfer files between computers, to transfer a file to a printer, to "borrow" digital photos from family members, to share video files on your smart TV, etc. I like to use different colors so that I can divide flash drives according to the family trees I'm researching or the tasks I'm accomplishing.
4. Letter-Size Expansion Folders ($19.07, Amazon.com)
Occasionally, I have loose documents that I need to hang onto before I scan them, toss them, or file them away. I love these colored folders because they hold a fair amount and they keep my papers together (usually sorted by family tree) so they don't vanish into the mom-life mess on my desk.
5. Large Capacity Pencil Case ($12.99, Amazon.com)
Even when I'm at home, I prefer to have all of my smaller office supplies in a case like this. When I dump things into a drawer, they all just roll to the back and get lost and I can never find anything but promotional pens and dried up bottles of white-out. The compartment in this pencil case are fantastic and you wouldn't believe how much this holds.
7. Sharpie Art Pens ($12.04, Amazon.com)
These are my favorite acid-free pens. When I have to make notes on printed pages in my family tree notebooks (as I often do when it's not worth printing out a whole new sheet), I always use acid-free ink just in case the note stays in my notebook for a long time. Plus, you know, pretty colors.
8. Pen/Highlighter/Post-It Flag Combo ($6.44, Amazon.com)
Big note here: these pens are not acid-free. Do not use them on anything that needs to stay archival. That being said, use these pens for EVERYTHING else. I adore these, especially when I'm doing some studying. I'm one of those people that marks up my books (blame law school) so when I read books to help with my family history work, I highlight, make notes, and flag important parts.
9. Tab Divider Sticky Notes ($4.85, Amazon.com)
These notes are incredibly handy when you're working on a family history mystery. I use these to mark active mysteries I'm working on and to compile all of clues in one place even if I'm not quite ready to put them in my family tree notebook officially.
10. Archival Document Tape ($9.23, Amazon.com)
I try to leave original documents and photos that are damaged alone as much as I can or, if I must, to slip them into page protectors to preserve them. That being said, sometimes you just need tape and there's nothing you can do about it. This is especially true for book repair and documents that are too large for the page protectors you have. In that case, it's good to have archival repair tape on hand because regular adhesive tape will damage your documents.
11. Heavy Page Protectors ($22.99, Amazon.com)
Not all page protectors are created equal. If you've ever tried a cheap store brand page protector, you know what I'm talking about. I love these page protectors because they're solid and they never fold, crease, or stick together. They're also archival and the thickness makes them great for protecting photos and documents.
12. Trading Card Pages ($12.39, Amazon.com)
Trading card pages might seem like a weird thing for a genealogist to keep in her pocket but these archival pages are great for small photos, old receipts, tintypes, slides, etc. The little stuff is the most likely to get lost or damaged so I love these pages.
13. Archival 5x7 Pages ($8.98, Amazon.com)
Cabinet cards fit nicely into these archival page protectors and the pockets are thick enough to other portraits that are cardboard mounted.
14. Archival 4x6 Pages ($8.96, Amazon.com)
I don't use these as often as the other types of pages, but occasionally there's a smaller photograph or document that I need to be able to reference easily.
15. Lumbar Support Pillow ($27.95, Amazon.com)
I can't believe this pillow is less than $30 and it took me a decade of hunching over my desk before I realized my back didn't need to be so sore all the time. Believe me, you want.
16. Tailbone Support Pillow ($32.95, Amazon.com)
Same issue, different part of my body. Fixed.
17. Northern California Candle ($28.85, Amazon.com)
This is a little trick I learned at a blog conference years ago. I was complaining that I have a hard time focusing on work sometimes because I work at home where I also raise three kids and generally keep the house running. It's tough to suddenly shift into "office mode" - especially when I'm pretty much working in the same space that I mom and online shop, etc.
To stay focused, a friend recommended that I start lighting a candle every time I work and to only light the candle during that time. The act of lighting the candle tells my brain that it's time to work and the pleasant scent pulls me away from all of the everyday craziness. I don't know if you also need this kind of distraction but even if you don't, this is a delicious candle!
PS - if you aren't familiar with the Homesick brand, they make candles for cities and states all over and most of them are pretty amazing.
18. Herbal Tea ($19.46, Amazon.com)
I love late-night tea but I can't do caffeine, so this sampler set is on subscription for me.
19. Snack Box ($25.99, Amazon.com)
I also like late-night snacks but I have problems both with portion control and with remembering to buy snacks when I'm at the grocery store. I wouldn't have thought Amazon was a good option for snacks but when the pandemic hit I became a huge fan of these variety boxes. It's fun to dig something out that sounds good at the moment and I never feel like I'm overindulging.
20. Gaming Chair ($229.99, Amazon.com)
Ok, this was a HUGE splurge for me and it took me months to work myself up to it. However, I spend a ton of time sitting at my desk and even the support pillows weren't enough to fix the fact that I wasn't changing position often enough. This gaming chair is designed to be sat in for ridiculous amounts of time and it reclines almost all the way back. It also has a built-in footrest and a massaging pillow so it's kind of a magic chair. I don't know if there are genealogists out there who are as addicted to sitting at their desk, but if you need a good office chair: this is the best.