Fisher and David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.com, open the show with news about a recently discovered World War II mess kit that has united a family. Then David shares great new for Midwestern researchers at the Allen County Genealogical Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. David and Fisher then talk about finding your ancestors in the diaries of people who were involved in their lives… like ministers and doctors. Wait til you hear what David found for someone recently in a minister’s diary! Then David shares another Tech Tip, and this week’s NEHGS free guest user database.
Fisher then welcomes to the show, for the first time, Lisa Louise Cooke, host of the long-running “Genealogy Gems” podcast.
Lisa has written a book on Mobile Genealogy and shares some tips on how to maximize your research experiences while away from home. You won’t want to miss what Lisa has to say!
Next, meet professional genealogist Carolyn Tolman from LegacyTree.com. Some time back, Carolyn relocated with her husband to Pennsylvania where they moved into an old house. Wanting to know more about it, the house’s “genealogy” turned into a whole new adventure! You’ll want to hear how Carolyn did what she did, and what the result was!
Then, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority, joins Fisher for the final segments. Tom talks about a turn-of-the-last-century photo brought Tom at Roots Tech. It’s the earliest “selfie” he’s ever seen, and he coveted it! He’ll explain how it was done, as well as how to salvage a picture with “outlaws” (former in-laws!) in it.
It’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 129
Segment 1 – Episode 129 (00:30)
Fisher: Hello America! And welcome to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com
I am Fisher your Radio Roots Sleuth, on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out.
Exciting guests today! I’m really delighted to have Lisa Louise Cooke on, and if you’re not familiar with Lisa, she is the host of a podcast called “Genealogy Gems” and she’s put together a book called “Mobile Genealogy” so this is kind of a way to help you when you go do research on your family history somewhere where you don’t have to be transferring things from one computer to another, and she’s got some great tips for you coming up in about eight minutes.
Very excited to have Lisa Louise Cooke on the show!
Plus, later on from our brand new sponsor Legacy Tree Genealogists, Carolyn Tolman is going to be here and she has a great story too. She moved into a house some years ago in Pennsylvania and what a house it turned out to be! Some incredible history, it was going to be removed and she went to work to save it. With a history on a house, how do you do a genealogy on a house and what would that mean to you? Carolyn Tolman will tell you about that later on.
But right now let’s check in with Boston and our good friend the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAnsestors.org
David Allen Lambert, how are you sir?
David: Things are wonderful in Beantown. How are things with you Fish?
Fisher: All right. I’m excited we have a long list of things to cover here today. Let’s get started on it right away. First off in our “family histoire news,” there’s a mess kit that’s caused a lot of attention.
David: It did. And actually it’s amazing. Metal detectors are always finding amazing things on battlefields but this thing reunited a family. The mess kit for Hudson Funk of the 83rd 330th infantry who was over at Normandy and as you probably saw in the story the unfortunate thing, he lost part of both of his legs and never talked about the war to his children. But this mess kit simply had HLF, his initials and part of a serial number but it was enough to catch the imagination of the metal detector to start searching for it. He found the family out in Pennsylvania, in a town called Roxborough where his sons and one of his brothers have now been reunited with this wonderful artefact and it’s brought a family together.
Fisher: They came from all over the country, they hadn’t been together in years, and they’re celebrating, there are pictures of them toasting this thing and holding this mess kit with a big dent in it with their relative’s initials in it. In fact, the brother is still living at 95 years old.
David: That’s wonderful, it really is. But in Allen County Public Library out in Fort Wayne Indiana, I give a hats off to Curt Wicher and his staff. They have just finished a quarter of a million dollar renovation that has helped in creating both their Life Story Center, where people can come in and do oral histories and they also now have a new auditorium that seats over 240 people on a theatre style amphitheatre.
Fisher: Isn’t that great. The Allen County Library is the second largest library in the world and serves largely the Midwest, so this is a big move for them. Very exciting.
David: It really is. An interesting thing happened here in our library in Boston, I had a lady come in and she was looking for her ancestor but she had a specific question “Where was his diary?” Do you have any diaries of your ancestors?
Fisher: I don’t. I have like one paragraph of an autobiography by my great grandmother and that’s about it. But I do have a second great grandfather who hand wrote five pages of his autobiography by about 1905. I have that original but no diaries.
David: They’re great things when you can have it. But I don’t have one from any of mine. However, I can tell you that the brother of my ancestor was a judge at the Witchcraft Trials. Samuel Sewall, and he published a diary for decades but also lots of details.
David: But getting back to this lady’s query, I could not find a diary for her ancestor but I did find a diary for the minister in her family’s town.
Fisher: Oh, wow!
David: And the minister had some peculiar things to inform.
David: About good things and also the confessed sins.
Fisher: Oh! The naughty and nice list!
David: Exactly. So you just never know when doing genealogy what things you might find and will get you an interview on Extreme Genes.
Fisher: Now wait a minute, were the sins very specific in this diary about the ancestor?
David: Oh yes! They were very specific!
Fisher: [Laughs] All right. So the minister had a diary on the ancestor, anything else?
David: The other thing I told her is “Look for doctors.” Couldn’t find one for her but the town in Maine where my family came from, Westbrook, Maine, there was a doctor in town who actually recorded the birth of all the children he had attended, and I can tell you that my great, great grandmother in 1822, cost a dollar twenty five when she was delivered first thing in the morning.
Fisher: Really? I have never heard of something like that. Of course also there are a lot of the stores that kept a record back in Revolutionary times of people who came through and bought things and how much they paid for it and what they bought, and I found material there that’s really interesting.
David: A couple of years ago one of our members gave us the family store account books from Roxbury, Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War, that gave things that were sold to the British troops and the American troops.
David: I want to give a shout out to the followers of Extreme Genes and myself DL Genealogist on Twitter, and because I participated in my first ever hashtag “Gen Chat” it happens every other Friday. This coming week they’re talking on Civil War research, but it’s free, you’re on Twitter #genchat it’s a great tech-tip to go in and network and follow a genie as I say, on Twitter. What I am investigating hopefully for the next show or the show after, is the company in Provo, Utah called ‘Research Ties.’ They offer for free a basic version of their research log which you can create right online. They also sell a version for 30 dollars annually which has 3 logins and it has 10 GBs worth of space. Basically you have a research log. Fish, you can go check at any time. You can print it out, you can add to it, you can create certain criteria, great stuff.
David: And speaking of databases, for the guest users of AmericanAncestors.org, we are very excited to have the Annals of Barra Island which is the Robert O’Dwyer papers of the 3 volumes of the studies from the Barra Peninsula in West Cork Island that covers from 1776 to 1992.
Fisher: That’s all free, of course?
David: Free exactly from the AmericanAncestors.org. One of the many guest user databases we do. Well that’s all I have from Beantown, catch you next week. Fish, have a good one.
Fisher: Great stuff, thanks David. And coming up next in 3 minutes, we are going to talk to Lisa Louise Cooke, she’s the host of ‘Genealogy Gems’ the podcast about Mobile Genealogy, and why should it matter to you. On Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 129 (25:20)
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, with a legend on the other end of the line. She is the host of Genealogy Gems, a podcast. It’s been around, what, about ten years now, Lisa Louise?
Lisa: Nearly. We started in 2007.
Fisher: Yeah, a long time ago, Lisa Louise Cooke, whom I’ve admired, well, from not too far a distance actually, over the last several years. She’s a great teacher, very knowledgeable in family history and coming up with little nuggets. I think those are the gems you talk about in the name of your show, Lisa. And I’m excited about your new book that you’ve got out, called, “Mobile Genealogy”. And this really kind of takes things into the 21st century. What got you started on this?
Lisa: Well, thank you for having me on the show. It’s great to be here. And what got me started on this was actually, several years ago, when the iPad first came out, I got my iPad and I was sitting there and my husband was looking at me and going, ‘Oh my gosh! Did you just buy the most expensive email checker in the universe?’ You know? Because that’s all I was doing. I said, ‘No! I’m playing Angry Birds. What else do you want me to do?’
Fisher: “I’m balanced!”
Lisa: Yeah, exactly. And he says, “Yeah, you know, well, you said you were going to do your family history on this as well, right? So, he set the challenge for me to say, I’ve got to learn more about how to use this device. How to make the transition from a laptop to going mobile with a tablet, and of course, our Smartphone is just a small version of a Tablet.
Lisa: So, my first book was, How to turn your iPad into a genealogy powerhouse. Because I had an iPad, that’s what I was focused on. And that one came about four years ago, of course, it’s already so obsolete.
Fisher: It happens that way.
Lisa: You know, technology moves so fast, doesn’t it?
Fisher: Yeah, it really does.
Lisa: So, Mobile Genealogy came out of, it was time for a new book, and I wanted to expand, because there’s Android, right? There’s Android, there’s Apple, there’s everything in between and the key here is that it’s all mobile. And so, the book addresses all the different platforms, all the different types of devices, and really digs ever further into, how to get the most out of them for family history, which is awesome if you don’t have to lug your laptop around, you’re in good shape.
Fisher: Well, that’s really true. You know, the thing is, I think, for a lot of people who have the time to do this, they haven’t necessarily come up in the age of the devices that we’re in right now. So, it’s a scary thing, isn’t it? And I think, part of the challenge for all of us, is not only for us to get comfortable with these devices, but to help other people to get there as well. And I’m sure you’ve had some people who are seniors particularly who are catching on to some of these things right now or having some success as a result of your teaching. Tell us about some of that.
Lisa: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, for most of us, we didn’t grow up with all of this, and it can be kind of intimidating, but the way I kind of approach it is to say, you know, we have to get into what I call, ‘Tablet Mindset’ and stop looking at it as something that’s going to function like the laptop.
Lisa: Because they’re two different animals. When we start with that in the book, that’s where they kind of make the mind shift and then I talk about how to then approach it so that you’re using it from a Tablet Mobile perspective, and we’re really focusing on the tasks. What are the tasks that you do in your genealogy research? And if you’re focused on that, then the right apps will come to you, the right functionality, you’ll know how to move around, but if you’re going at it, first and foremost, how do I duplicate what I was doing on my home computer on this Tablet? You’re going to get snarled up.
Fisher: Oh boy.
Lisa: So, I find that people really like that approach. I think it makes sense and then we just in the book, dig right into a lot of the apps, and what I’ve been hearing from folks, is that they like the fact that, as geeky as I am, I don’t write techno geek, you know?
Fisher: Right, and that’s important.
Lisa: It is. You know, way back in the day, well, I’m dating myself now, but way back in the day when the TRS-80 computer came out, I was one of the only women working at RadioShack of all places.
Fisher: Oh, wow.
Lisa: And we had to explain what a computer was. What this device was supposed to do, and so, I’ve been kind of doing that for a long time and you know, if you’re not in the mode of trying to prove how techno savvy you are and smart you are, but you’re just trying to help people, then it goes a lot better, and that’s certainly my goal. I want them to feel like they’re getting the most use out of their Tablet. So, one of the apps that really has jumped out and that is new to this edition of this book, Mobile Genealogy, is Chrome Remote Desktop, and I think this one is like, changing people’s lives.
Lisa: Yeah, because it means that those limitations that the Tablet or the Smartphone has, and I keep saying ‘Tablet or Smartphone’ because they’re just pretty much the same thing.
Fisher: Right, yes.
Lisa: The limitations that you run into, like, it won’t play my flash video. It won’t let me use this form or whatever it is that you’re doing, or this app is kind of stripped down version of the full blown website or software. Well, Chrome Desktop just unleashes the power of your Tablet, because it gives you access directly into your full blown computer at home, which you can have open on your desktop and sleeping, if you want to. You can ping it. And now, you’re running your entire computer right from your Tablet. So, you have no limitations. You are back to being able to do all the functionality of a laptop.
Fisher: I love that.
Lisa: I think that’s one of the main chapters that’s just been blowing people’s minds.
Fisher: Well, it’s also, you save everything back to your home computer which is so nice.
Lisa: Yeah, and you put it in another app which we really go in depth in the book which is Dropbox or any other type of cloud storage. We think of those kinds of apps as being kind of Grand Central Station for our files. So if we are accessing our home computer with the remote desktop, and we’re making new files, but we want to access them back on our Tablet, how do we get them there? But we don’t want to email them to ourselves, we save them to Dropbox and then they show up in our Dropbox app on our mobile device. What could be better?
Fisher: Boy, I’ll tell you! What a great tip just right there. That’s make the whole thing worth it. All right, so that’s one great app, Lisa Louise. What else do you have?
Lisa: Well, I think another thing that we’re struggling with as genealogists is when we face the relatives in our family who get that ‘glazed over’ look when we start talking about family history. Does that ever happen to you, Scott?
Fisher: Oh, no, no. They light up like a Christmas tree!
Lisa: They light up like a Christmas tree? You have a special family!
Fisher: No, I don’t. There’s like maybe one person out of 17 at the end of the table during the holidays, maybe that one person. Like you say the geeks, you know? But it’s funny how it works, because usually by the end of a vacation visit or a holiday visit, everybody’s saying, ‘Hey, what was that story? Go ask Scott.’ you know? And they always come back. So, they have a lot of fun at our expense, but at the end of the day, they love what we do, don’t you think?
Lisa: I think they do, and the trick is to talk their language, right?
Lisa: To share a compelling story or do something – share is the key here – as one of my daughters says, if it’s not shareable, it doesn’t exist.
Fisher: Yeah, that’s right.
Lisa: To the Millennials, you know? It’s got to be shareable and that’s what’s enticing. And so, here’s an app that I love that I have in my photograph chapter, and it’s called, Retype, R E T Y P E, it by Sumoing LTD and it costs, I don’t know, $3, but I love this, because it takes photos and turns them into what we call ‘memes’ right? These are really fun, shareable images on Facebook or whatever. We see them all the time. It’s so easy to create your own, so I kind of walked the family historian through, let’s take some of your family photos, your old family photos, add the text and they’re really cool…it adds kind of a really fun font, there’s zillions of them to choose from and you can either use the saying that they offer up or you can give it its own caption yourself, but I’ve been using this constantly, not only personally, but on my Genealogy Gems website to convey ideas in really fun, shareable ways.
Fisher: And so, all these apps are coming along to basically take your family history and turn it into some form of art, and that’s what’s exciting too, because art tells a story in a different way.
Lisa: Exactly, and in a really quick way, don’t you think? That you can look at something and you get it. You get what that concept is.
Fisher: That’s exactly right. Yeah, exactly, and that’s the joy, but what’s the name of that app again for people who missed it.
Lisa: It’s called Retype, and like I say, it’s about $3. You’ll find it in the app store, and I’ve got loads and loads of other types of exciting apps like that. So, you can see, this book is not just, ‘These are the Genealogy apps’, but I’m really focusing on what are you trying to accomplish? If you want to snag and captivate those people in your family, here’s the app for you. We got to get outside that genealogy box and we’ve really got to focus on what we’re trying to accomplish and get it done, and that’s what I’m hoping that people will find that the book will do.
Fisher: Well, that’s the end game, it’s to get everybody excited about it and sharing and preserving at the end of the day, and in a way that is useable by future generations, because we all want…it sure beats writing in a tree, right? You know, carving your name someplace, because that’s about all there is otherwise. She’s Lisa Louise Cooke. She is the host of Genealogy Gems, a great podcast. It’s been around for a long, long time now and of course the Genealogy Gems website with all kinds of great things there. I’m just delighted to have you on, Lisa Louise. What do you have coming up on your show in the coming weeks?
Lisa: Well you, sir, will be coming up on our show in the coming weeks and we’re also going to have one of the couples from the Relative Race on the show, which is the NUBY, kind of DNA amazing race of genealogy TV show that’s come out and lots of good stuff. And if people are interested in more on mobile genealogy, we have a YouTube channel, youtube.com/genealogygems. You can also get to it from GenealogyGems.com, our main site, but I’ve got a class the we did at Roots Tech and I saw you at Roots Tech. We did it in our booth. We recorded it and they can watch it for free on video.
Fisher: I love the way you think. Great stuff! Lisa Louise Cooke, thanks for coming on. It’s good to have you finally.
Lisa: Awesome to be here. Thanks Scott!
Fisher: Lisa Louise always has tons of things going on at GenealogyGems.com. Hey, and just a reminder by the way, coming up in September, it’s going to be our very first Extreme Genes cruise! Yes, it’s a Fall Foliage Tour, but a lot of history mixed in as well. David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist for the New England Historic Genealogical Society, will be joining me, giving lectures on days we’re at sea. Talking about the history of Boston, the Colonial Period, the Loyalists who settled in Nova Scotia, the area we’re going to be going to. So, if you want to find out more, go to our Extreme Genes Facebook page and you’ll see everything you’ll need to know. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to Carolyn Tolman from LegacyTree.com about the “Genealogy” of a house. That’s in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 129 (44:45)
Fisher: And Welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth.
I am very excited to have a new guest on the show, someone we haven’t had on the show before. She is with Legacy Tree Genealogists, one of our new sponsors. Carolyn Tolman is here, Hi Carolyn welcome!
Fisher: It’s great to have you. I’m excited about what you’ve written on a blog here recently about doing the genealogy of a house. Now I’ve gone through this recently where I saw that the home my Dad and Mom built when I was 3 and we were in for 20 years, recently went on the market for only the second time since we sold it. And so all the MLS listings had all the pictures of what it looks like today, and I was able to actually create some side by side pictures, photos of us back in the day and what it looks like now, and it’s so much fun. But you actually went through – you moved into a home that you had never been in before, never even been in the neighbourhood before, and researched the house. What a great experience. Talk about this a little bit.
Carolyn: Yes my husband had the opportunity to go to the U.S. Army War College which is on the Carlisle Barracks Army Post in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and because of the size of our family they assigned us to this old farm house that was on Post and no one could really tell me the history of it, and being a genealogist I just had to know.
Fisher: You just had to know. What year did it go back to?
Carolyn: We figured out that it was in about 1856, so before the Civil War.
Fisher: Wow, so Antebellum, yeah?
Carolyn: Uh huh.
Carolyn: And Confederate soldiers actually spent the night there, the night before they were called away to Gettysburg. They had invaded the town, and the mother in the home fed and sheltered them for the night.
Fisher: Now wait a minute, how’d you find that out?
Carolyn: There was a magazine that was from 1918, the author was the farmer at the farm house and he talked about a young woman visiting who had grown up in the house, who shared that story.
Fisher: So this was in the magazine, where did you find the magazine?
Carolyn: Okay, I found out that the house was going to be torn down and I visited the Cumberland County Historical Society, one of the great old historical societies in Pennsylvania, and they found out where I was living and they knew immediately that this was the Indian School Farmhouse and they brought out this magazine article and shared it with me.
Fisher: How cool is that.
Carolyn: Yeah. That’s what started the whole search.
Fisher: And so you decided you want to get into this a little bit more and see what had happened, because this place was going to be torn down after you left.
Carolyn: Uh huh. Once I visited the Historical Society, they said “Someone needs to document the history of this house” to convince the army that it does not need to be torn down.
Fisher: Well who better than a professional genealogist like yourself!
Carolyn: I felt like I was in the right place.
Fisher: So you started from there, you had a story from the very early years.
Fisher: What did you find and how did you do it?
Carolyn: Well I noticed that the street behind the house was named Parker Springs, and there was also a big spring behind the house, so I knew I was looking probably for a Parker family. So I went to the land index and found a deed of an Andrew Parker selling his land to the army, selling his farm. So I knew that it was the family of Andrew Parker. I then went to the Cumberland County Courthouse, and for me, I’m used to going to the Family History Library and dealing with microfilms, but there they pulled out their big dusty books and let me look through them.
Fisher: That is special isn’t it, and just the smell of it, I like that.
Carolyn: It was all I could do to keep from rubbing my cheek on the page [laughs]
Carolyn: I was able to trace the owners of the house from the Parkers back to the farm owners. So I have this list of names and dates of owners. I then went back to the Historical Society who housed the tax records and because I knew who owned the house and where they were living, I was able to find those records and notice what the tax man wrote on them, and I found out that in 1855, the house on the property was a stone house.
Carolyn: But in 1858 it was a brick house. So that’s how I figured out that they bought the property with a stone house and replaced it with the brick house that I was living in. So thanks to the tax records…
Fisher: So that’s how you got an idea of when the house was built, from the tax records.
Fisher: That’s awesome.
Carolyn: Yeah. So normally a genealogist would use those to trace people coming and going in a county, but I used it to trace the house and the condition of the house.
Fisher: Absolutely amazing. So where did it go from there? Now you’re back just before the Civil War, you know what happens during the Civil War with the Confederates taking over and staying in there before they head off to Gettysburg, then what?
Carolyn: Well, that house was right next to the army Post and the Post needed training ground, and in 1879 they had been abandoned after the Civil War, the army wasn’t using it, and Richard Pratt who had been a soldier had been out fighting the Indians, and he realized in his dealings with them that they weren’t savages, they were humans, and he wanted to teach them. So he managed to get the Post as an Indian school.
Carolyn: So in 1879 the Indian School began and they wanted to teach these Indian students how to farm, so they needed a real working farm and they bought the Parker farm. So the farm house became a place where the Indian students would sleep and get their meals and then work on the dairy in the morning, and they also had classrooms in the house where they learned how to run a farm because they were teaching them how to compete with white men in white society.
Fisher: Wow. Now how long did that go on?
Carolyn: That school lasted until 1918 when the end of World War 1 required the Post to be used as a hospital. So the school shut down in 1918.
Fisher: What a history though. Civil War barracks to an Indian school, to a hospital for the military.
Carolyn: Yes, and then the Medical school used the farmhouse also to teach the soldiers occupational skills in going back into civilian society.
Fisher: Now how did you learn this? That it had become at this time a hospital?
Carolyn: I visited the library in Carlisle and every library has a local history room, and that’s a favorite place for genealogists.
Carolyn: And there was a history of Carlisle Barracks in that room and thanks to that history I was able to trace what was going on with the farm in connection with the Post which also meant I knew what was going on with the farmhouse.
Fisher: Wow, this is amazing.
Carolyn: Yes. The house continued to run the farm until about 1930 when the Post took over most of the farmland, and the house became quarters for soldiers. From that point on the connection that the house had to the Indian school became forgotten and diminished and it didn’t matter anymore. So that’s how it came to be on the list to be torn down. People didn’t realize the significance it had, the history that it had.
Fisher: Right. So you did all this work, you used tax records, I would assume some census records. Some land records to determine who the people were who’d been there.
Carolyn: Yes I did. I did use the census to trace the family and then the soldiers who lived in the house.
Fisher: And so now, you’re facing the potential of your work actually saving this historic home that you’ve come to love now as a result of this.
Carolyn: Very much.
Fisher: What happened from there?
Carolyn: Well I published the history on just a free website, I wanted as many people to see it as possible, I shared it with the army post hoping that they would realize that this was too valuable to tear down, and they were already very set in their plans to build new housing. But the word got out to the descendants of the Indian students and they started a partition and the local newspapers picked it up, and at the very last minute when the demolition was supposed to happen within just a few weeks, there was a conference of Native Americans on Post about the Indian School, and the army knew that they were there and they chose that time to have a round table meeting when they announced that they were not going to tear it down after all.
Fisher: What a victory!
Carolyn: It was.
Fisher: Now were you there for that?
Carolyn: I was.
Fisher: Oh wow.
Carolyn: I couldn’t miss that.
Fisher: You were probably answering a few questions too, weren’t you?
Carolyn: Yes, and interacting with these wonderful Native American people who cared very much about having a landmark. There are not a lot of Native American landmarks in this country, and that one serves as a great landmark because it’s where the Pan Indian movement began, it’s where the National Congress of American Indians got its start, so there’s a lot of significance to it.
Fisher: Using genealogy to learn the history of houses and save them from demolition, how cool is that?
Carolyn: That’s right.
Fisher: Carolyn Tolman from LegacyTree.com. Thanks so much for coming on.
Carolyn: It’s been a pleasure. Thanks for letting me share my story.
Fisher: And coming up next: He is our Preservation Authority, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Talking about the oldest ‘selfie’ he has ever seen and how he coveted it! He’ll tell you all about it coming up next on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 129
Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
It is Preservation time. I am with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com our Preservation Authority.
Tom, you were having such a good time at Roots Tech and its fun, I mean we have stories that go on for weeks from what happened over just a few days as people were bringing things to your booth and asking for advice on some of these items, but the one thing that really lit you up that I noticed, what was it, a 19th century selfie?
Tom: Oh yeah, it was like late 18 early 19 hundreds, I wanted it so bad.
Fisher: [Laughs] Now have you ever seen anything like that before?
Fisher: And explain what this was. Because I think when we talk about ‘selfie’ most people picture a long stick, a little modern camera there, the remote control and the whole thing, but obviously back then that wasn’t the case. Who is the person? How old? How did they set this thing up in those times?
Tom: Yes, a pretty incredible fact. One of the things that made it so cool to me, I remember back when I started my career in photography back in junior high school, I remember they had this big mirror when you walked through the front door, and I did the same thing, before I had eye contacts, and I had the tripod set up, smiling in the mirror and pushed a little button, and it’s like flashback a 100 years earlier and here is this kid wearing the type of clothes they wore back in those days, the tie, he had his tripod set up, had a little brownie camera on top of it
Fisher: You saw that in that picture?
Tom: Oh yeah. Because what he’s doing is, he has his camera and he’s looking into the mirror.
Fisher: Oh I see, okay.
Tom: Yeah. So this mirror is on, I don’t know what they used to call them back then, kind of like a bureau, you could see the drawers, you could see the sides, because it’s back far enough, but he not only got the mirror, he got part of the surroundings of it, and he’s just standing there with his little tie on and his little period clothing, and just standing there smiling and took this picture. It’s so cool, and the thing that makes it so cool is that it’s not just a selfie, but you can see it’s not a fake selfie because you can see the things on the outside, the old mirror that it’s sitting on, the handcrafting around the mirror, and that was a cool thing. I saw this and I loved it.
Fisher: So that’s a mirror image of himself though, right?
Fisher: Which you could reverse and flip if you wanted to.
Tom: Exactly. So it was a selfie in the old fashioned way, because in the old days you didn’t even have timers on your camera so you couldn’t run and get into the picture, you had to have somebody else do it. So it truly was a selfie. Somebody took a picture of him and it was so cool, but then the one down side of the picture had a lot of spots on it, just from being old and wear and tear. The lady that brought it in told me the history that I believe, she said it was like an uncle or a grandfather.
Fisher: So it was a relative.
Tom: Right, it was definitely a relative and she told me a little bit about him, and this guy actually got into photography. There’s people who every once in a while do these selfie contests, send in your best selfie and they give away prizes and such. I told her “You need to make a copy of this and send it in because I guarantee this is going to be the oldest selfie anybody has ever seen!”
Fisher: It’s a winner.
Tom: Oh yeah, absolutely. But I wanted it so bad. It was awesome.
Fisher: What do you think something like that would be worth? Are you a collector? Do you collect photographs?
Tom: No I don’t collect stuff like that. I mostly just look for family things related to me, if I saw it on eBay and happen to run across it and it was a 100 bucks, I would have bought it without even thinking about it because it’s so special to me.
Tom: So I tried to bribe the lady, I said, “Give me all your pictures let me scan them for you and I’m not even going to charge you, I just want to have permission to keep one of these pictures and be able to use it on our store, it’s so cool”
Fisher: Did she agree?
Tom: Oh yeah, she’s totally on board with it.
Fisher: Oh that’s fine. So what are you having to do to fix it?
Tom: What we’ll do first is, we’ll scan it on a really deep hue since it is black and white, and we’re going to scan in color like we talked about last week because it gives you more information. Most of the spots on it are about the size or a little bit bigger than a pencil led, so they’re not huge, and so we go into Photoshop which is a great program to do editing, once we get all these things done it will look like the guy just took the picture and it will look awesome.
Fisher: Well isn’t that great. And Photoshop Elements too, a cheaper version with all those same tools on it for anybody.
Tom: You don’t have to get the full blown Photoshop like mentioned, if you’ve got Elements that comes free with a lot of scanners, you’ll be able to rock and roll just fine.
Fisher: All right. What are we going to talk about next?
Tom: We’re going to talk about what if my pictures got torn up, what if I got an a line on my picture that I want removed.
Fisher: Oh, boy! Coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 129
Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: We are talking Preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority on America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And Tom recently, of course we were both at the Roots Tech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, and your had a lot of people bringing things to your booth for evaluation, for restoration and recovery, and talk about some those other items that you saw.
Tom: Oh, exactly, and the thing is, some people don’t want to give up their stuff, even though they flew in they don’t want to leave it. I understand that, so one thing that you need to do too if you’re in the situation where you don’t want to do yourself. You don’t want to ship it, you want to fly it in. I’m sure there are people in your area that can help you with this, and one thing you need to really do is look outside the box.
If you just want to go to a trasher place and you don’t think, ‘Oh they’re not really into photos they don’t know what they’re doing,’ go to places that do billboards. Go to advertising companies with good references and they might be able to tell you, oh yeah, there’s a color correction place that does billboards, and take it to them and say, hey here’s what I need done, and they can usually scan it for you right while you’re there, because they have their equipment set up always, to do things like that. Scan it, you can take the photo back with you, and they can do it for you.
Fisher: They can take a little tiny photo and blow it up to billboard size!
Tom: Oh, absolutely. So, these people definitely know what they’re doing.
Tom: And if you still don’t want to leave it, that’s fine. Just have them scan it. And even if they say, hey, we don’t do photo restoration, but we can scan it for you at a gazillion DPI, then that’s fine. Have them put it on your thumb drive or a disk, take it home. You can email it to us or anybody and get a quote. And the thing is, if you email it to us and ask us for a quote, you don’t have to have us do it. You can just say, okay, this is what it would cost and then take it to somebody local. And if they’re in the same ball park, you know they’re being fair with you. So, we’re just more there to kind of help you out. We had one this person who brought us a photo that was torn.
Fisher: Right in half, huh?
Tom: Yeah, torn right in half. So, half the face was missing, however, we’re like detectives. We need to get as much information as we can, which we kind of alluded to, last week.
Fisher: So, part of it was missing? It was in two halves?
Tom: Oh, exactly. A whole part of the guy’s face was missing. Kind of like the thumb print we talked about last week, but not as severe, because, if you have a person’s face, you know they’re not asymmetrical. So, you can kind of take things and kind of know what you’re supposed to do. But anything you can give to us, like, type of clothing it was, other photos, even if they’re younger, or older, it helps our artist say, okay, this is when he was eight years old. Here’s a picture of when he was twelve, based on that, I can kind of do these things to fix the photo. So, be like a detective. Get us any information you can. If it’s a color photo that’s faded, let us know, oh yeah, so-and-so used to wear this colour. They had this. This is what their eye color was, so we can make sure we get everything right. So, you had a little sister that had green eyes, we don’t make them blue or brown.
Fisher: Right, Right.
Tom: We want to be as authentic as we can, so bring us this information. Even if it’s a black and white photo, get us that information, because you think, who wants black and white? Why do I need to know eye color? Well, in gray scale, blue eyes, brown eyes and green eyes are going to be different shades of gray scale. So, if you want to be authentic, get us as much information as you can, so we as a detective can recreate this picture and make everybody look right. Also, they knew that there was supposed to be somebody else in that picture that wasn’t there, because that half was torn and nobody knew where it was. So, if you can get us a picture of that person, close as you can to that age, we can make a new family portrait and put that person in.
Fisher: That’s incredible.
Tom: Oh, it’s amazing what technology will do now. We’ve even had people bringing us photos they had of “outlaws”, like ex-in-laws, there was such a bad situation that they wanted us to take them out.
Fisher: I’ve done that.
Tom: Oh, you have to. And we can take people out, even if they’re in front and blocking people, we can remove them, and rebuild people shoulders or arms or hands or whatever, to make it look like they were never there. And as we just mentioned, we can take people and put them in. We’ve had people that had lost a child that was really, really young and they still wanted the person to be in there, and so, we can either put him in at the age that they became deceased or if they passed away when they were fourteen and this picture was taken when they would have turned sixteen, we can put him in as a fourteen year old or even kind of age him and make him maybe sixteen.
Fisher: Really? You can do aging?
Tom: Oh, absolutely.
Fisher: Oh boy! Great stuff as always, Tom! Thanks for coming on.
Tom: Good to be here again.
Fisher: I cannot believe we’re done for another week. Thanks once again to Lisa Louise Cooke, host of Genealogy Gems. A great podcast at GenealogyGems.com, talking about mobile genealogy and why you need it. Catch our podcast at iTunes, iHeart Radio’s talk channel or ExtremeGenes.com if you missed it. Also to Carolyn Tolman from LegacyTree.com, talking about doing “genealogy” on a house. Talk to you next week, and remember as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family!