Fisher and David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, open the show with Family Histoire News… good and bad. They start with bad… The National Records Office in a major UK city has been hit by ransomware. People wishing to research their ancestors while visiting there will not be able to do so for at least a while. Listen to learn which one. The Daily Mail of the UK says many of us still sense the presence of deceased loved ones. David shares one story from the article, as well as one from his own family concerning this very thing. David then talks about the “Fat Man’s Club of America.” A hundred years ago, it was HUGE! (Pun intended.) Was your ancestor a member? David will tell you all about it. He then shares his Tech Tip… how to find millions of ancient London court records from a university in Texas. David wraps up his visit with another guest user free database from NEHGS.
Next, Fisher visits with professional genealogist Kate Eakman from LegacyTree.com. Kate has the inside story on the “SS-5” form… a government Social Security document we’ve all had to fill out, as have our parents and grandparents and other relatives. It’s a record that was filled out by hand in previous decades that gives the date and place of birth, and the names of parents, including the maiden name of the mother. But there are rules governing whether or not you get to see those important ancestral names! Kate will fill you in what those rules are, and how she got around them in one case. It’s a lesson that can apply to other problems dealing with government records.
Larry Gelwix, the “Getaway Guru” from Columbus Travel Agency pops in to talk about the Extreme Genes cruise, set for September 13th out of Boston, cruising to Nova Scotia. Want to join us? Larry and Fisher will share the details and tell you how to sign up.
Preservation Authority Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com then joins the show to talk about what to do when you find undeveloped film from back in the day! How do you get it developed and is it even developable anymore? It’s a great topic. Tom continues the subject at the back end of the show, talking about undeveloped home movies. Tom will help you avoid making mistakes that could permanently destroy your film.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript for Episode 133
Segment 1 Episode 133 (00:30)
Fisher: Hello, you! Welcome to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes 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. Great guest today! Kate Eakman is here, with LegacyTree.com. She’s going to be talking about a very special record that has been left by many of your more recent ancestors.
Did you know that they actually wrote down when they were born, where they were born, the name of the parents, including the maiden name the mother? Yes! And you can actually obtain that record through the government. She’ll tell you about it and some of the tricks and rules involved, coming up in about eight or nine minutes.
Then, later in the show, Larry Gelwix, the Getaway Guru from Columbus Travel is going to be here talking about our Extreme Genes cruise that’s scheduled for September 13th out of Boston, going up to Nova Scotia, and it’s going to be a great family history cruise… fall foliage too.
So, you’re going to want to hear all the details on that and plan to join us in September. I’m very excited to let you know, by the way, that our shows are now being transcribed. So, if you hear something on the air, or you hear something on the podcast, and if you want to find where that was in the show, you can just search the transcription that’s posted along with the podcast. So, it’s a great help as you follow along with us at home, on Extreme Genes. And right now, it’s time to check in with my good friend, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, David Allen Lambert is here from Boston.
Hi David, How are you?
David: Greetings from Beantown, Fish. How are you doing? I’m just great.
Fisher: Awesome! We got a lot of good news and bad news in our family histoire news today.
David: We definitely do. Going across the pond to Edinburgh, Scotland the National Record Office at New Register House in Edinburgh has a computer virus which has shut down the whole system.
Fisher: Oh my goodness!
David: So, you could go into Edinburgh, pay a fee and actually look up your ancestors. Not the case right now.
Fisher: Wow! That is really sad. And you know, that’s happening in a lot of places. This ransomware, it actually happened at the radio station I’m headquartered at, about a month or so ago. So, it’s very prevalent.
David: You know, it’s nice to know that ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk, which is the main website that people access from home, isn’t affected, so people shouldn’t be worried about their accounts. So, I won’t toss that out of there, just the in-house access. So, if you’re planning a trip to Scotland anytime soon, call ahead. You know, there’s a really interesting story that was in England’s Daily Mail. The story goes, basically six in ten people who have lost a partner will continue to hear them or sense them in some way, and then, you know, I think that’s true in a lot of senses. You have a family member that’s gone and some people are still seeing them and hearing them, but it’s not really reported so much. In fact, one of the stories talks about a grandmother mentioning that their granddaughter, who was very, very small, ran into the kitchen and said, “Come in here! Come in here! Grandpa’s in the other room!” And he wasn’t there, at least to their eyes.
David: I mean, Fish, have you had this happen to you, you know, where there are lost loved ones?
Fisher: No. My wife is very sensitive to that stuff, but not me.
David: I can’t speak for it the same, but I do share them. My daughter was a little girl, probably about three or four. We were driving and my daughter was looking, you know, to the seat beside her, and she’s just, “I have a question for you, mom and dad. When are you having another baby?” And we looked at each other and said, ‘Well, we don’t know, hon. but sometime.’ And I said, ‘Why?’ And she was, “Oh, well, papa just said that he can’t come back unless you do.” My dad had died when my daughter was about three years old.
David: Yeah. So, I mean, so young, why would she be making it up? And this is the only time she ever mentioned it, ever. So, and it’s nice to know that somehow they can still reach out there to us. On a lighter note, well, actually a quite heavier note, have you ever heard of the Fat Men’s Club of America?
Fisher: I have not. Tell us about it.
David: Well, I’ll tell you. Weighing in with this wonderful story, back in 1903, there was a local tavern in Wells River, Vermont, where this club was launched. And essentially, you needed to be a gentleman boasting over 200 pounds, pay a fee of $1, and you learned a secret handshake and a password. They had amazing events. The New England Fat Men’s club had over 10,000 members. They would have an Olympic size breakfast, essentially, where men would cram a huge breakfast into their stomachs, stumble outside, and work up a sweat in a friendly Olympic-style competition showing strength by leapfrog contests, broad jumps and races. And then, come back and have a nine-course meal with oyster cocktail, cream of chicken soup, boiled snapper, fillet of beef with mushrooms, roast chicken, roast suckling pig, etc, etc.
So, I mean, any of the workout that they had, obviously was counteracted by their large meal afterwards.
David: But this was an organization that was very big at the early part of the 20th century, but by 1924, they only had 38 members show up, and none of them met the 200 pound mark. Now I’m not sure if that means they had decided to diet or maybe they cut back the meal portions, but what a funny group to actually find in your family tree. I’ve never seen one in an obituary, but I’m going to look for them now.
Fisher: No. I’ve never heard of it. And the thing is it makes you realize what a different world we live in today.
David: Exactly. I think they’d have to say the ‘Robust’ Men’s Club, The Healthy Men’s Club. Well, my tech tip goes back quite a ways. Actually, it goes back to medieval and early modern England. As you know, next week I’ll be reporting from Who Do You Think You Are in Birmingham, England. And I’ll be over in England for a couple of weeks, but this tech tip is a free database from the University of Houston, Texas. And I’ll provide the link so you can post it, which is, aalt.law.uh.edu. What they have done there, over 9 million frames of historic documents from the National Archives in London. They’re basically going through 12th century court records, all the way from the time of Richard I, Richard the Lion-hearted, all the way to Queen Victoria, and they’re putting them online for free.
David: Yeah. NEHGS, as you know, always will offer a free guest user database. Just become a guest user at AmericanAncestors.org. And this week, we are offering early Vermont settlers with eleven new sketches added to the already comprehensive collection that we’re putting together for your Vermont ancestors in the 18th and early 19th century. Well, that’s all I have. Next time I’ll be talking, it’ll be across the pond, and talk to you soon, Fish.
Fisher: All right. Great to talk to you, David! Thanks for coming on and have a safe trip.
David: Thank you, sir.
Fisher: And coming up next, we’re going to talk to Kate Eakman with LegacyTree.com about a very special document your recent ancestors had to fill out, providing some very important information. That’s in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 133 (11:10)
Host Scott Fisher with guest Kate Eakman
Fisher: We are back! Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com
It is Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth with my guest today Kate Eakman from Legacy Tree Genealogist
Kate it is great to have you on the show. You’re in Oregon, and I love the tip you have come across here, ‘Working with the government’ that’s always a challenge isn’t it?
Kate: It is. Sometimes the government has very specific rules. They tell you what they will and won’t do, but they don’t always follow their rules and sometimes you have to find interesting ways to work around them.
Fisher: Well at Legacy Tree Genealogists of course is a collection of great professionals such as yourself and this is a great tip, I’ve actually worked with the forms that we are going to talk about today, the SS5 and of course SS stands for Social Security, and this was the form that people have used to actually become part of the system, especially back in the day, right?
Kate: Correct. The SS5 is the form that everybody uses. Even you and I filled out one when we applied for a social security number.
Fisher: I have no recollection of that [laughs]
Kate: Well I don’t either [laughs] but I’m going to assume that I did.
Fisher: Yeah right [laughs]
Kate: The form SS5 is really useful to genealogists because the person who is applying for a social security number is the person who is filling out the form and providing the information. So unlike a death certificate where you have grieving family members trying to remember who this person’s parents were, this is a person in full health who is saying this is what my name is, this is my date of birth, this is where I was born, this is my father’s name, here is my mother’s name including her maiden name.
Fisher: Yeah it’s really good, isn’t it?!
Kate: It’s a wonderful tool.
Fisher: And one of the few like it that actually take place in the middle of life, typically we can see a birth certificate filled out by somebody else or a death certificate filled out by somebody else, and even the marriage certificates sometimes are filled out by other individuals with reports from the bride and the groom and perhaps other family members, but to actually be filled out by their own hand, asking this very important information, that’s really what makes it unique.
Kate: It really is. As you said, it’s the prime of a person’s life, not anymore now that babies have to have it done at the hospital for them, but we use the ones that we ask for from the government. You can look at the person’s handwriting, you can compare it to other documents, and as you said, it’s not somebody else reporting it, it’s that person, and usually where somebody might fudge something with a census record about how old they are, it seems as though when they completing their SS5 they were being very honest and so to find out what their birth date really was or who their parents really were.
Fisher: That is interesting you mentioned that about the age. I mean the ages just do vary so much, especially on census records and elsewhere, and people thinking they were born in one year but they maybe were born in another. My own grandmother, her tombstone says she was born in 1880 but she was actually born in 1881. I wonder if she actually knew herself what year she was born.
Kate: You are right! And the reason for that is that it’s only been in relatively recent times that our age has allowed us and not allowed us to do certain things.
Kate: So your specific day of birth or year of birth wasn’t important, just knowing you’re about twenty five years was good enough. You didn’t have to prove your age to get a driver’s license or have a drink at a bar or get married.
Fisher: Yeah that’s a good point. I’ve actually only ordered one SS5 form in my entire life in thirty some odd years of researching and that turned out to be for a woman who turned out to be a half-sister of my grandfather, and I suspected that she might be but by the time I got to this, it was like okay she’s got to tell me herself. I want to know. And I remember checking the mailbox on a regular basis because they don’t email these things to you, they stick them in the mail and you have to run out and wait for the postman to bring it to you. They’re kind of pricey as I recall. This was only about eight or nine years ago, and I want to say it was like twenty five dollars or something like that. Do you know what they are now?
Kate: Yes, the base is $29 if you don’t know the person’s social security number, if you do know the social security number they give you a $2 discount and you get it for $27.
Fisher: Yeah somewhere in that area. So when it came it actually had her listing my great grandfather as her father, and this was quite a breakthrough for us because we had no idea that she existed. So it was a good find.
Kate: And that’s exactly why we want an SS5 for that reason. So many times for women especially, we don’t know anything about the woman because she’s listed as somebody’s wife the first time she comes into the family picture.
Kate: And we don’t know who her parents were, and all through her life she’s always Aunt Susan, Uncle Fred’s wife, and that’s always how we know her. We never know who her parents were or what her maiden name was.
Fisher: Now some of these records, though, because of the timing of them, are redacted right?
Kate: That’s correct. The Social Security Administration has two very clear rules, one is they say they use what they call the one hundred and twenty year rule, which means you have to be able to prove that the person has died if they are less than one hundred and twenty years old. They don’t assume that a person who is a hundred years old is dead.
Fisher: Right okay.
Kate: And so that’s the first thing and often times you have to send a long obituary which they’ll now accept that, they don’t have to have a death certificate but you have to send something to prove this person really is dead and then they’ll send you the document.
Fisher: How about the Social Security Death Register?
Kate: That’s what’s really interesting is, you can send a copy of that but they don’t necessarily check their own death registry for that information.
Fisher: Okay [laughs] that’s our government at work.
Kate: It’s like I said, it’s always so hit or miss about what gets done and what gets followed through on.
Kate: The other rule that they have, and these are all designed to protect people’s privacy, if you think about a family member that you may know who has passed recently within the past ten or fifteen years with identity theft on the rise, you can see where somebody who may have passed who is a relatively young person, their identity could be stolen and their name, address and social security number used by the bad guys.
Kate: So that’s what they’re trying to prohibit or prevent, which I can appreciate but it does make our job as genealogists very, very difficult sometimes.
Fisher: Well I love what you did though because you had this problem with this SS5 form, it came in and the names, the very names you were looking for were marked out!
Kate: That’s correct. One of our clients knew who his grandmother’s first name was but he wasn’t even certain of her maiden name, what her last name was. We knew who she married of course but we didn’t know anything else about Grandma beyond her first name really. So I requested her SS5 hoping to learn who her parents were, and after waiting four-six weeks whatever the time period was, I got a very nice copy of her SS5 with two big black boxes over the names of her mother and father, and a very nice letter from the Social Security Administration telling me that because of their privacy rules there was no evidence that her parents were not still living. I needed to prove they were dead in order to get an un-redacted copy of her SS5.
Fisher: But you don’t even know who they are so how do you prove it, right?
Kate: Exactly! And I was a little bit stymied for a few moments because I thought, just what you said, how can I prove these people are dead if I don’t even know who they are?
Fisher: [Laughs] “That’s what I’m trying to find out, hello!”
Kate: [Laughs] Exactly. But I started thinking a little bit, just trying to be really logical, what do I know? What are the facts? Well, I knew that grandma was born in 1916; common sense tells us that if she was born in 1916 that her parents probably were born in 1900 or even earlier.
Kate: So my next question is; that’s pretty old. I mean we’re in 2016 now so those are people that would be a hundred and sixteen years old or older, and I wondered how many people live in the United States who are at least one hundred and sixteen years old?
Fisher: Good question.
Kate: So the answer to that is of course you do a Google search.
Fisher: Yeah [laughs]
Kate: And you ask Google how many people in the United States are over a hundred and sixteen years old, and I was directed to a Wikipedia article about ‘Super Centenarians’ people who were more than one hundred and ten years old.
Kate: But there was only one person in this country that would be a 116 years old.
Fisher: And he wasn’t an Italian right?
Kate: No this was actually an African-American lady.
Fisher: Okay, yes, in Brooklyn.
Kate: Born in Alabama.
Fisher: Yeah, the one, she lives in Brooklyn.
Kate: Yes, she lives in Brooklyn. And my client’s grandmother was of Italian decent and so chances were good that an African-American woman who was born in Alabama, was not her mother.
Fisher: [Laughs] Right.
Kate: So I printed all those articles off, wrote a very nice letter back to the Social Security Administration, because as my grandmother always taught me, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Kate: So this is just somebody who’s trying to do their job and they’re trying to protect people’s identity so I’m not going to get cranky with them and I just explained that I could not find any evidence of anybody who would be old enough to be her parents still alive.
Fisher: Good call.
Kate: And that’s the reason I was asking for this record was to learn who her parents were on behalf of my client. Then I sent it off with fingers crossed and then waited for the mail as you said.
Fisher: And it came back and…?
Kate: And it came back with the black boxes removed and I discovered the names of Grandma’s parents.
Fisher: I bet your clients loved you for that!
Kate: I think they were pretty excited because for years they knew nothing beyond Grandma’s first name.
Kate: They thought they knew what her last name was, but even that was not quite correct. So the SS5 told us her correct maiden name and the name of her mother and her father, which allowed us then to trace her family back to her parents in Italy. So we went from a woman born in 1916 back to her grandparents who were born in the 1850s in Italy.
Fisher: Unbelievable. That is great work. Now where do people order these things?
Kate: You can order the SS5 from the Social Security Administration. There are two ways of doing it; you can order it online, I would just do a search for an SS5.
Fisher: Perfect, and then you can also mail away for it?
Kate: Fill out a form and mail it and that’s a good idea if you have somebody who recently passed away and then that way you can send in copies of obituaries, death certificates, whatever you need to prove everything and you don’t have to waste the time sending things back and forth.
Fisher: She’s Kate Eakman, from Legacy Tree Genealogists, with an incredible research tip for breaking through brick walls, the SS5.
Thanks so much Kate! Good stuff.
Kate: Thank you for having me.
Fisher: Find out more about Kate and the team at Legacy Tree at LegacyTree.com
And coming up next; we’re talking about our family history cruise out of Boston this fall with Larry Gelwix, the Getaway Guru on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 133 (24:50)
Host Scott Fisher with guest Larry Gelwix
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com
I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and so looking forward to this September as we’re getting ready for our first ever Extreme Genes Cruise and it’s going to be leaving out of Boston, on Royal Caribbean and going up to Nova Scotia, and seeing some of the places the Loyalists settled after the Revolution. And with me in the studio right now is my good friend Larry Gelwix, who is known to many around the country as the ‘Getaway Guru.’
Larry: Scott, nice to be here with you!
Fisher: I’m excited about this and your Columbus Travel is handling all the bookings for this incredible trip and it’s going to be so much fun! Have you been on this before?
Larry: Oh yes! This is one of my favorite cruise areas and as you mentioned Columbus Travel in Bountiful, Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City, is handling all of the arrangements. You can see the details even a brochure, not only on your website but on ours, ColumbusVacations.com
Now Scott, you’ve put together an incredible package here for family history enthusiasts.
Fisher: I think so! We’ve got David Allen Lambert, of course who you heard earlier in the show, he’s the Chief Genealogist for the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
Larry: Like the Godfather of… no you are the Godfather of family history!
Fisher: [Laughs] No, no, no I am the Mayor of Familyhistoryville, he’s the Godfather!
Larry: You’re one of the wise-guys!
Fisher: [Laughs] So, David’s going to be on the ship with us and of course we’re going to do lectures about Boston, during the Revolution in the colonial days. We’re going to talk about the Loyalists who went up to Nova Scotia and settled some of the very places that we’re going to see, and of course we’re only going to be talking on days that we’re at sea.
If you want to get off at the ports, we want you to be able to do that, we want to do that! It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Larry: Well, the cruise itself departs from Boston steeped in history so many Americans can trace their Extreme Genes, their genealogy, and their family history back to the New England area.
Larry: Where so many immigrants came from Europe, and we have a visit to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, with David Allen Lambert as you mentioned.
Larry: But the cruise itself will depart the afternoon of Tuesday September 13th sailing from Boston. Now catch this itinerary; we’ll visit Bar Harbor Maine,
Larry: Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Some relaxing days at sea, and then back to Boston, this is a 6 day, 5 night cruise. The cruise itself September 13th to the 18th but… and this is so incredible for your listeners Scott, is that you have an optional involvement before the cruise.
Fisher: That’s right. People can go before they get there or they could even stay after the cruise and walk the Freedom Trail, and if you get there a little bit early actually on the 13th we can arrange for a tour of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. It’s the oldest in America, in fact in North America and there are so many things there that David I’m sure would love to show you.
Larry: Right. So it’s my understanding that those who arrive early enough will be going with you and visiting with David Allen Lambert who will also be on the cruise to the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
Larry: Now, your listeners are family history enthusiasts.
Fisher: That’s it.
Larry: What are they going to see, experience, learn and know at the New England Historic Genealogical Society?
Fisher: Well it’s an incredible library; it’s an incredible research facility first of all, and you won’t have a lot of time to spend there but you can get an idea of what’s available in terms of resources if you want to do a little research, you could spend an hour researching right there among their facilities.
Larry: Right. Now are they closed on Mondays?
Fisher: They’re closed on Mondays that’s right.
Larry: So our visit will be Tuesday morning.
Fisher: Yup, before the actual departure of the trip. So you’ll have to get there Monday, we’ll also do a walking tour of the Freedom Trail, if you get there early and we’ll have a place to actually meet up.
Larry: Isn’t it a wonderful experience?
Fisher: Oh it’s incredible! I’ve done it before. I actually have some ancestors who are buried along the Freedom Trail and you can see where Paul Revere is buried, you can actually visit his house from back in the time when he went about warning everybody that the British were coming.
Larry: Right. You know what’s also exciting? This is fall foliage time. Now it’s always difficult to outguess Mother Nature.
Larry: Because as I see fall foliage sometimes we see it in early September, sometimes it doesn’t arrive till early October. But this particular cruise is nestled right in the middle. It’s a wonderful time to experience New England, the Eastern Seaboard of Canada, and Fall Foliage.
Fisher: When you go north it gets a little cooler.
Larry: Exactly! Now our first stop after leaving Boston, is Bar Harbor Maine, what’s interesting about Bar Harbor is you get up into Maine, what do you think, “Heavily wooded areas,’ which this is.
Larry: But Bar Harbor’s actually a community on an Island and the name of the Island makes no sense given the topography.
Larry: It’s about ‘Desert Island’
Fisher: [laughs] Yeah.
Larry: I mean what’s up with that?
Fisher: I don’t know. But that’s what we’re going to find out about when we get there, right?
Larry: Well, all of these stops caught my attention as a foodie. I mean if you love seafood, just fine dining.
Fisher: Ah, oh yes.
Larry: Not only does the ship, but Royal Caribbean, does a great job in the dining room, but the food in each Port…. Now Bar Harbor’s steeped in history, you’ve got a Canadian National Park; it’s a wonderful place to visit in horse-drawn carriages, atv’s, and bicycles. All of these things make for an incredible visit. We then move on to Saint John’s, New Brunswick, now these were where a lot of the Loyalists went after the Revolutionary War in Eastern Canada.
Larry: Well one of the things that I like is the ‘City Market’ now have you been to Pike Place in Seattle?
Fisher: Oh yes, many times!
Larry: Well it reminds me a lot of Pike Place, or the Ferry Building in San Francisco, where I just was with a group. You know the market and the shops and all of these things. So you’ve got this the City Market in Saint John’s, New Brunswick, but one of the most exciting places is Reversing Falls.
Fisher: What’s that?
Larry: Well, you’ve got waterfalls, rapids and whirlpools that change the direction that they flow depending upon the tide.
Fisher: Oh wow! [Laugh]
Larry: So when the tide is out it flows one direction, when the tide is in it flows in another direction. Of course National Parks Ivvavik and Fundy National Parks, and then again think of food, think of lobster and clams and salmon and fresh seafood, and finally back to Halifax, Nova Scotia, you think you’re in a bit of England there.
I like the ‘Waterfront Boardwalk’ the ‘Maritime Museum,’ again parks and outdoors and the walking along the shoreline, and then of course food.
Fisher: I’m not surprised that’s at the top of your list.
Larry: Thank you very much, as I’m wiping the clam chowder from my lips right now.
Larry: The Extreme Genes, Canada and New England Cruise, the cruise itself September 13th to the 18th, it’s a 6 day cruise. Catch this great start at just $699 that includes the Extreme Genes Seminar fee. Now, we can guarantee availability Scott, if cabins are booked no later than Wednesday April the 6th.
Larry: Can you book after April the 6th? Yes. But our group space will be returned to the cruise line on April 6th and we then sell out of general inventory. So for the preferred cabins, the best locations, book your cabin now with a refundable deposit.
Larry: No later than Wednesday April the 6th and join us on the Extreme Genes, Canada and New England Cruise.
Fisher: Well it’s going to be so much fun! Get on the phone because really the deadlines are right here now for guaranteed space.
Larry: Guaranteed space is April the 6th and that’s a refundable deposit so there’s nothing to lose. Hold your cabin now for the Extreme Genes Cruise!
Fisher: All right, it’s going to be a lot of fun. Thanks Larry for coming on!
Larry: It’s my pleasure.
Fisher: And, Tom Perry is coming up next, our Preservation Authority, he’ll be answering more of your questions from AskTom@TMCPlace.com when we return in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 133 (37:10)
Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: It is time to talk preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority.
It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth on America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and, welcome back, Tom, first of all.
Tom: Good to be back.
Fisher: Got a great email here from Melinda Lucas. She’s actually from my mother’s home town area, back in Oregon and she’s writing about all kinds of undeveloped films she’s found. And this is an unbelievable list of stuff, thirty-one of 110 millimeter film C41, seventeen of 110 millimeter film CN60, I mean, the list goes on and on, nineteen instant cameras that all seem to be thirty-five millimeter film, and she points out, “Hey, wait a minute! Kodak doesn’t exist for this kind of development anymore. What can be done?” What do you say to Melinda, Tom?
Tom: [Laughs] Uh, well, you should have developed your film when you shot it.
Tom: But you know people do that, they get all excited, they go and shoot all kinds of things, family events and whatever and then they just take the film out and put it in a drawer, and now they’ve got it, but they never do anything with it. We even had people that had eight millimeter super-8 film that they’ve fortunately developed, but then they’ve never ever watched for thirty years.
Tom: And then they bring it in and “I don’t even know what’s on here. All I know is that I found this in Grandma’s drawer or whatever.” And so, the sad thing is as she mentioned, Kodak is no more, as far as chemistry goes, so you’re out luck that way. However, there’re some different people I know that are chemists and they make their own chemicals.
Fisher: Oh, you’re kidding me.
Tom: No. I’ve got a couple of friends that actually make their own chemistry, because they still like to shoot on film. So, what you all need to do is, if you’re in the same situation like she mentioned that she went to Walgreens and they just kind of looked at her and pushed it back towards her off the counter.
Fisher: “Just step away from the desk please, lady!”
Tom: Exactly! Crossed her fingers and said, “No, we can’t do anything like that.” So, what you want to do email me at AskTom@TMCPlace.com
And give me the quantity you have, what type of film it is, like she had some 110s, she’s had some thirty-five millimeter and most importantly, look on the case and it will say something like what you just mentioned, C41 processing, C16 processing, and all these different kinds of processing, because then I’ll know if one of my friends has the chemistry where they can do a lot of these kinds and so the ones that they can do, I’ll have you go ahead and ship it to us, and remember what we teach you on all of our episodes, ‘you want to always double-box everything.’ You want to put it in a box. Seal it just like it’s ready to go with a label on it, but no stamps or postage and put that one inside another box with at least two inches worth of styrofoam all the way around it, to keep the heat in summer, the cold in winter from possibly damaging your film.
In fact, we had somebody just call us one day to send us some SD cards. Those you don’t have to double-box. If you put them in a padded envelope, then put the padded envelope in a box, it will do the same thing, so that’s good too and so organize your film, let us know how many exposures it is, any information you can see. It’s better to have too much information, so you send us something we don’t need, then go, “Oh, we need to call you and say, ‘Okay, particularly what was this? Was this a 24? Was it a 36?” In fact, we’ve even had people run in that they had some old film – like I used to do, I used to load my own film – but unfortunately, it doesn’t say on the case what it is, because I knew mine was always, you know, tri-x or plus x or whatever I was loading. So, you might even have some kinds like that, and so, we have to kind of experiment on your film to find out what it is and hopefully we can get it right for you, but that’s about the only thing you can do.
Fisher: Does this give you any hint as to when this might have been shot? Just by the names of these things?
Tom: Well, C41 fortunately which is what most of her film is, is a pretty standard type of film, so, I feel very confident we’re going to be able to do most of it. She has a couple of them that are little bit different, like the CN16 which is a little bit different.
So, what we’re going to have to do is find out what works. If you see yourself in the same situation as Melinda and you have some old film that hasn’t been developed, go ahead and send me what kind of film you have, what the processing is, and any information on the plastic cartridge or the little aluminum can to AskTom@TMCPlace.com
The eight and Super-8 come in at the same situation, so right after the break, I’ll tell you how we can preserve that as well.
Fisher: All right, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode133 (44:20)
Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: We are back for our final segment of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, the Preservation Authority.
Fisher here, and we were just talking about Melinda in Oregon, dealing with all these undeveloped rolls of film from back in the day and now what do you do to try and get them fixed? And now Tom, we’re looking at movies is that right, old movie film?
Tom: Oh, right, we get a lot of that. In fact, let me tell you what to watch for. In the later years probably more in the late 60’s and the 70’s usually the Super 8 film came in these plastic cartridges, they were kind of squarish but they had rounded corners on them.
If you have any of those, you can usually flip them over and there’s a little window in them and on the window if you can see film, if it’s been exposed all the way to the end there’ll be little white letters that says “Exposed” so you know “Okay that one’s been exposed.” If you see nothing in the window it’s probably been exposed and gone all the way off the edge of the cassette which is still fine. If it has film and it doesn’t say exposed. It’s either never been shot, or it’s been partially shot, so it’s kind of up to you whether you want to take the gamble and have us try to develop it for you and see if there’s something on it so that’s kind of your choice.
Now a lot of people that had it before that, they had the regular 8, they were little tiny round cans almost like a miniature tobacco can like they had back in the day. They’re approximately 1-inch across and usually silver, sometimes black. If there’s black tape around the can and there’s a little paper hanging out, it would usually say “Unexposed” which means it’s never ever been shot. If all you’ve seen is black tape around it or no tape around it at all, it’s probably been exposed.
If you measure the height of the tin, they say “Oh no this isn’t 8 millimeter.” Because this is 16 millimeters you know, or about three quarters of an inch. Well we did it in the old days when I was young. You’d put the film in the camera and it’s in these little round reels and so you put that in your camera and you load it and it’s actually the film that you’re seeing, there’s no lead or anything and then you shoot it. Once you’re done shooting it you take that cassette off, put it back on the other end of the reel and run it again. That’s why it’s 16 millimeters wide because you run it twice.
Tom: Now one of the problems is that some people run it three times.
Fisher: Uh oh.
Tom: And then you get double exposure which is sad.
Fisher: Of course.
Tom: Because some of my dad’s films, some of my favorite pictures are double exposed and there’s not a heck of a lot you can do about it.
But those that come in the raw, it’s just raw film. So if you see a can like this and it doesn’t have any tape on it but you can shake it and rattle something, I would suggest you don’t open it because if you do, you could expose your film and make all the edges foggy. If you say “Well I don’t know if there’s film in there or something else in there. Go into a totally dark room, you know no windows no nothing, something in your basement. Just take it and feel it and if it feels like film then you know it’s film, it’s not some knickknacks in there, then close it up, tape it and then send that to us.
Now one thing with those kinds of films, we have to kind of experiment because we don’t know for sure what they are but usually if they’re old they will be called a ‘Double Wide’ the only way we can develop them is in black and white because we can’t manufacture the chemistry anymore to do true color like Kodak, we can do it in black and white or nothing.
Fisher: This is like the idea that we can put a man on the moon in 1969 but we couldn’t today.
Fisher: Right? This is strange.
Tom: Exactly. I know a lot of wedding videographers and even some TV commercial people and film people that still like to use the old fashioned film and there are some places… like there is this place in Denver, that actually sells the film.
Fisher: So, bottom line is, you can digitize this potentially.
Tom: Oh absolutely! If you’re going to go through the hassle of developing all this you might as well get prints at the same time. With all these things we’ve talked about, we have some friends that can make their own chemistry that can develop a lot of these different things, so if you have stills like Melinda had, we can develop it then we can make prints for you or we can scan the negatives and send them back to you on a photo disk or email them to you however you want them.
If you have the 8, the Super 8, the 16 that hasn’t been developed, I have some friends that can do the developing.
Fisher: It’s kinda like ‘I got a buddy!’ ya know?!
Fisher: [Laughs] Thanks so much Tom!
Tom: Glad to be here!
Fisher: Address your questions to AskTom@TMCPlace.com
Hey, that wraps up our show for this week! Thanks once again to Kate Eakman from LegacyTree.com, for sharing with us a little tip about the SS5. Sounds like something from World War II right?
But no, it’s an incredible document that can help you in your research. If you missed it, catch the podcast. Also, thanks to Larry Gelwix, the Getaway Guru that’s helping us book our Family History Cruise out of Boston this fall.
Take care; we’ll talk to you again next week and remember as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice normal family.