Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. The guys first talk about the upcoming RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah and plans for meeting you. Next, David talks about the love America is giving its oldest living veteran? 110-year-old Richard Overton. He’ll explain what’s happening. Then, it’s the story of a high school class ring left on a battlefield in the South Pacific during World War II. Yes? it’s been returned to the family with high emotions. Also, a genie / thrift store shopper has found a very special painting. Hear what it was about and what has happened to it. A new stamp in Canada has special meaning for Black History Month. David talks about the man it honors.
Then (starts at 10:39), Genealogy Road Show host and 2017 RootsTech keynote speaker, Kenyatta Berry, joins Fisher for a two-part visit. Kenyatta talks about how she started interacting with historians, whose interests rarely overlap those of genealogists, to discover new sources for her primary area of research, the locating and identification of slave ancestors. Kenyatta notes that the techniques she describes can be used for any type of research. In the second segment, Kenyatta describes how deep in the weeds she has become in researching the various slave companies, which routes they worked, where they sold their human cargo, etc., to narrow the hunt for origins for various slave ancestors. It’s another technique that can be applied to all sorts of research situations.
Then Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com talks about preservation, restoration, and recreation and how these terms might apply to your special heirloom.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Episode 177 Segment 1
Host: Scott Fisher with David Allen Lambert
Fisher: And welcome to America’s Family History Show. It is Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And this segment of our show is brought to you by LegacyTree.com and MyHeritage.com. And this is it! This is the big week coming up for RootsTech, the world’s largest family history conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. And all of us are going to be there, and are so looking forward to meeting so many of you. We’ll be talking about that with David Allen Lambert coming up here in just a few moments. And also coming up in about seven or eight minutes, we’re going to be talking to Kenyatta Berry and you may know her from the Genealogy Road Show. And she’s going to be talking to us about how she’s trying to pull off this merger between the genealogy community and the historian community. Often, the two just don’t go together and she’ll explain why and I think you’ll find it pretty engaging. She’s also going to talk about a technique she’s using in slave ancestry research. They can apply not only to that obviously for you, but to any other type of research… really interesting stuff coming up with Kenyatta Berry later on in the show. But right now let’s head out to Boston and talk to David Allen Lambert the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historical Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. How are you David?
David: Oh, I’m doing wonderful and I tell you if I have to cram another ancestor into a suitcase to go out to RootsTech, I’m not going to be able to do it.
Fisher: [Laughs] It’s going to be a lot of fun. And we’re certainly looking forward to our Extreme Genes Meet and Greet that’s coming up Thursday from 2.30 to 3.30 and Saturday from 10.15 to 11.15 with you and myself and with Tom Perry our preservation guy and that’s going to be at the Extreme Genes booth, which is 1325 on the floor, so that is going to be a lot of fun.
David: I’m looking forward to it. And I tell you it’s going to be nice to meet some of the faces behind the listeners we’ve had out there for the last couple of years.
Fisher: Yeah, and you’ve got a little contest going with this thing too.
David: Lucky number 176 for our last episode if you come and find me and do a selfie at the Extreme Genes Meet ‘N’ Greet. I will have a ticket and the 176th participant in that will get a free one hour consultation certificate from me, which is a $90 value from American Ancestors.
Fisher: Boy, I like the sound of that. Hey, we’ve got good news too about extended hours if you’re a genie and coming to Salt Lake City, Utah. The Family History Library is staying open late Tuesday through Saturday.
David: Correct. It’s giving you an extra hour, but as we’ve said before, the best genealogical discoveries are always on the last day and the last fifteen minutes.
Fisher: [Laughs] That’s true. I had that happen in England. I was sent off to some archives that they told me would contain something I was looking for. I spent hours there. Nothing, nothing, nothing. With like ten minutes to go I find this incredible 18th century book with signatures of my fourth great grandfather in it and what a scramble that was to try and get pictures of everything I needed before I hit the road, because it was the last day!
David: And it’s funny how very stressful genealogists get within the last half hour when the announcement at the Family History Library comes up with the, “We are now closing.” People start to sweat rapidly, hands get clammy.
Fisher: [Laughs] It’s terrible.
David: And microfilm gets tossed around like you would think they are hot tamales.
Fisher: Oh yeah, the volunteers head out. They’ve got the mops on the floor. It’s terrible!
David: I think in the past we’ve talked about Mr. Richard Overton, and if our listeners don’t know, he’s our oldest World War II veteran at the ripe old age of 110.
David: Well, in his home in Austin, Texas, they’re hoping that he can stay there, and is actually a “Go Fund Me” campaign which is almost maxed out. They’re looking to help him with the goal of a $150 thousand and so far $133 thousand dollars has been raised so he can stay in his home that he’s been there for over seventy years.
Fisher: Incredible. In fact, the family fears that if he had to leave that he would pass.
David: As does occasionally happen when you’ve had familiar surroundings for all those many years.
David: It is sometimes a shock to the system. I hope we have Mr. Overton and many other World War II Veterans for a very long time. This leads me to my next story which is actually a touching one. It’s about a World War II veteran’s ring that was returned to the family after seventy three years when he had been serving in the South Pacific. And this high school ring belonged to Edward J. Dodds. The ring was discovered in Papua New Guinea in 2013 so the soldier obviously had it over there during the war.
David: And through research they were able to track down Dodds’ family. Dodds died in 1996 but his son Richard, age 52, mentioned that his father joked about losing the ring because it was engraved with the wrong initials.
Fisher: Yeah! [Laughs] They had the wrong middle initial on it. I’ve seen a picture of it. Unbelievable!
David: Another reunited story is a fabulous one. This comes from an antique store in Patchogue, New York where Barbara Nelson of Central Islip, New York bought a painting. And this painting turned out to be done by a man of his daughter and she tracked down the family to give it to them.
Fisher: Yeah, it was actually the grandfather painted their mother and yeah, she tracked them down because she is also a genie… so she’s a devoted genie and thrift store entrepreneur.
David: I think that if somebody gave me a billion dollars I would spend six months out of the year going around trying to find these antiques. So a “Go Fund Me” account set up for David’s first billion, will help you find your family relatives artefacts any day you like!
Fisher: [Laughs] Very nice. I like that!
David: Okay, the next story is about Mathieu da Costa who is believed to be the first of African descent in Canada, arrived over 400 years ago in 1608 and they’ve just issued a postage stamp in honor of this man.
Fisher: And this of course for black history month.
David: All right, my tip for all of our listeners this week is remember, don’t forget to get the selfie at number 176 at Fisher’s booth at Extreme Genes or drag me out of my booth for NEHGS. But remember to backup and print your smartphone photographs or at least post them all online. Because you know, you have all these great memories especially the ones that maybe you’ll have at RootsTech or at a family reunion, you don’t want to lose them if you drop your phone or lose your phone. So backup, print and save. One more thing I want to toss out there, if you are not a member of NEHGS, American Ancestors has a special for you as an Extreme Genes listener. You can become a new member of NEHGS and save $20 by using the coupon checkout code “Extreme.”
Fisher: All right, very nice David. Good to have you on. We’ll see you in Salt Lake City, Utah next week.
David: See you soon.
Fisher: All right. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to a woman you are familiar with from Genealogy Road Show. Her name is Kenyatta Berry. She’s going to be one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. She’s going to talk about a merger she’s trying to negotiate between historians and why that might matter to you. That’s coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 177
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Kenyatta Berry
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here the Radio Roots Sleuth with my good friend Kenyatta Berry from Genealogy Road Show back on with us. It’s been too long, Kenyatta! How are you?
Kenyatta: I am good. Yes, it has been too long but thanks for having me today.
Fisher: Well I’m excited because we’re going to be seeing you coming up at RootsTech this coming week. You’re going to be the keynote speaker on Friday for African Heritage Day. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say because you always have something interesting to share with everybody.
Kenyatta: Well thank you. Yes, I’m very excited to be a part of the first African Heritage Day at RootsTech. I’ve been going to the conferences for a number of years so I’m excited to be part of the keynote team on Friday morning. So I look forward to us seeing you and a lot of your listeners there.
Fisher: Yes, it’s going to be a good time. You know, I was very excited to talk to you a little bit beforehand about what we could get into today because you always have so much to offer, and I don’t want to steal from your keynote address because I know there are a lot of gold nuggets you’re going to hold just for that. But we were talking a little bit off air about genealogists and historians, and this is a kind of thing that you’re starting to get involved in, trying to bring them together. Let’s talk about that a little bit.
Kenyatta: It’s one of my new… I would say new things. I’m trying to bridge the gap between genealogists and historians, and here’s the reason why. As a genealogist, it’s not just about the names, the dates, the information you glean from a record, but you typically want to put it in some type of a historical context.
Kenyatta: So in doing so, you become somewhat of a student of history. At least that’s what happened to me when I started doing genealogy.
Kenyatta: I wanted to learn more about what was going on at that time. And I began to realize that there were folks who were studying various specific areas of history. That kind of impacted my view or at least my understanding I should say, on either slavery or migration, the migration of African Americans from the South to the North, or anything. And so I thought well, why not go to those historians, learn what they learn and apply that to genealogy.
Fisher: That makes perfect sense. But you, it’s interesting because there are certain cultures within the genealogists’ world and the historians’ word that sometimes they just don’t come together, and they should.
Kenyatta: Absolutely. Historians have a reputation, and I think most academics have this reputation, of being in an “ivory tower,” and I can speak to that because I sold software to higher education institutions. So I’ve been through a lot of them.
Kenyatta: But I went to a conference on slavery and public history at Brown University and it was sponsored by the new African American Museum, a Smithsonian museum, as well as Brown and Yale University. And there were probably 350 people in the room. There might have been three genealogists, and what was interesting is that they were talking about slavery centers around the world, right?
Kenyatta: So how do you display slavery at the new African American Museum in DC? How do you do it in Brazil? And then all these folks who study slavery, the architects, all of those people there, and every center had a genealogy center, every one. But there were three genealogists in the room.
Fisher: That doesn’t make sense.
Kenyatta: It doesn’t. It doesn’t make sense. It was astounding and amazing. So I started off and I introduced myself as a genealogist. Normally I don’t do that.
Kenyatta: But I thought it was so important.
Fisher: What, were you slinking in the back of the room going, “Oh, I don’t want to tell them who I am?” [Laughs]
Kenyatta: [Laughs] Exactly. Usually that’s what I do. Because I’m trying to get their information, I don’t want them to kick me out or anything.
Fisher: Right. [Laughs]
Kenyatta: But I thought with this group it’s important, you know.
Kenyatta: I’m at this conference, I’ve travelled coast to coast to go here on my own dime, and it set the tone a little bit for the conversation we had the next few days. Most people kept bringing up genealogy. Most of the historians kept bringing up genealogy. And to me, that made me realize there needs to be a conversation between the two communities. And the way we do is by being involved in our local universities. Most universities have a history department, most historians like to talk about their research which means they have lunchtime lectures if you’re retired and you have time, or they have programs in the evening.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Kenyatta: If it’s some subject you’re interested in, find the historian that studies that subject at your local university, you need to get in contact with them. I mean I’ve done that for folks that study slavery around the country.
Kenyatta: It’s surprising they email me back.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] Well, you know the interesting thing about it is I think that’s really the next level from a beginner in genealogy. I mean I think it’s a huge step where people can learn how to get a document or a certificate and interpret what the information is on there, get it in to their trees and charts and start extending back over another generation. But when you start to put the flesh on the bones, it really comes from work that you’re doing. Just setting the ground work and getting an understanding of the times they lived in, the cultural norms of the time, and you can start to really understand some things you may start seeing in some of the records that you wouldn’t have otherwise understood.
Kenyatta: Absolutely. And the other thing that we as genealogists can learn from you know having these relationships with historians is, they spend so much time researching these very specific subjects of time periods that they know of resources we didn’t even know existed.
Fisher: Yes. [Laughs]
Kenyatta: That in itself has been one of the things I’ve learned. I’ve purchased so many books on slavery because I’ve heard about them at these lectures, at the conference of Brown, or at UCLA or wherever, because you’re getting the information not from another genealogist, you’re getting it from a historical perspective, and that’s what makes it so different. But it really enhances your genealogy during the experience I think.
Fisher: Most of these historians that I’ve run into, they’re not too into genealogy and I think like you mentioned, they kind of look down their noses a little bit at the whole thing. It’s like you know, weekend warriors going out having fun for six months or a year and then moving on to something else.
Kenyatta: That is true. I felt that way especially when I lived in Cambridge, when I was doing genealogy right? I lived in between MIT and Harvard.
Kenyatta: So I guess [Laughs] I felt that I really did go through a lot of events at Harvard, but I’ve since over the years realized that actually to me, that doesn’t matter. Because what I’m here for is for the information. I’m here because I am passionate about slave ancestral research, about African American genealogy, and if you’re studying slave ships, if you’re studying slavery in Louisiana, or you’re doing your dissertation on that, and that’s critical to me to be helping other people find their ancestors, I’m going to show up at those events. But, I will say the one advantage I think that helps me is that I have a law degree. So I have the credentials right?
Kenyatta: A graduate degree. So that does help.
Kenyatta: But also when I approach these historians, I approach it in a way that they know I’m serious about it. It’s not a, “Hey, I’m just researching my family and I just want to know a little bit about you know, this area in Pennsylvania.” Its more, “My area of study is slave ancestral research. I connect people to their enslaved ancestors. You mentioned this document, or this resource, where can I find that and what other resources did you use in your research?”
Kenyatta: And they then become like, “Oh, okay.” It’s very specific, very focused, and it doesn’t seem like a weekend warrior type of thing so to speak.
Fisher: Exactly. And this is the kind of thing that anybody can do for any area of interest.
Kenyatta: Absolutely! And I encourage everyone to do it. I mean there’s like four thousand universities in the US. I mean, there’s so many in northeast, specifically even in the Boston area. They have more than anybody.
Fisher: Sure. And how much of this is online now really, you know, you could do from your home anywhere.
Kenyatta: Absolutely, yes! So that’s a great point. The lecture I went to at UCLA, the one they mentioned a four volume book around the slave trade. And while it was housed at UCLA I could physically touch the books. I came home and realized that this entire volume is online.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] You just download it and there it is on your desktop.
Kenyatta: And there it is. So yeah, a lot of the stuff is online. A lot of universities are doing things to digitize their collections online, and I think I talked about this last time, but universities are a great resource for information even if related to your family history, right, but this is taking it to a new level.
Kenyatta: Because what you’re doing now is establishing a relationship with a person whose studying an area you’re interested in. Another key point here I think for folks especially those who take clients, when I approach historians they said, “Oh, well I didn’t know there was someone that does that.” Because people email me and I don’t know where to point them. You could actually get some business out of this.
Fisher: Sure you can. [Laughs] Yes, exactly.
Kenyatta: So it’s a no brainer in my book.
Fisher: Yeah, no question about it. So, what other areas have you found that this has applied to in your research?
Kenyatta: I found that this applies to… I would say probably slavery is the one area, but it does also apply in the research that I do on migration patterns right, folks migrating whether it was a domestic slave trade or post emancipation migrating north or the Great Migration as they called it.
Kenyatta: It helps in communities a lot so what is so interesting is that there are folks who will just focus on a community in South Carolina, or a community in Virginia, so I thought it’s been very enlightening because they go to the resources that sometimes you don’t know exists, or they have pals somewhere in the library that we didn’t even know they were there, right? So for example, diaries or journals that maybe a Southern white woman wrote about life on the plantation, right, or they may find some narrative of a neighbor talking about the community, so those I found that in those areas specifically from my research, it’s been very, very helpful. But it can be expanded to any area, someone researching on Quakers or someone researching on the Dutch concerned area.
Kenyatta: I mean again, historians are laser focused right?
Fisher: Yes. [Laughs]
Kenyatta: Whether we’re doing genealogy we’re laser focused on our family or our client’s family.
Fisher: Well, we’re led to wherever we’re going to go, right?
Fisher: We don’t choose that. It’s already chosen for us.
Kenyatta: That’s true.
Fisher: I’m talking to Kenyatta Berry from Genealogy Road Show. She’s going to be one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Can you stick around for another segment Kenyatta?
Fisher: All right we’ll get to that coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. This segment has been brought to you by Roots Magic.
Segment 3 Episode 177
Host: Scott Fisher with guest
Fisher: Hey, we’re back at it on America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here the Radio Roots Sleuth, talking to my friend Kenyatta Berry from Genealogy Road Show. Hello Kenyatta.
Fisher: And we were just talking about genealogists. I guess you’d say “versus historians” because you’re actually trying to bring this kind of conflicting discipline together and how that’s helped a lot. And I loved your advice there Kenyatta, you know about finding the backgrounds of people through historians viewpoints, and that’s absolutely essential I think if anybody is going to get real serious about doing their family history. We’ve also talked a little bit off air about some of the complexity involved in slave trade companies. You are deep in the weeds in this and I think it’s got to make you the premier go to person for researching slave ancestors and understanding their history. And you’re coming up really with new ways now to track down where these people came from. Let’s talk a little about that.
Kenyatta: Sure! Well, thanks for the compliment about me being the go to person.
Fisher: You’ve got to be.
Kenyatta: Well, thank you. I mean, I try. My goal is really to help make it easier for folks who are looking for their enslaved ancestors or slaves, right. It’s not just African Americans that are doing this research. It’s not just genealogists that are doing this research. Actually this would make easy for the same folks we just talked about, historians, who do study slavery as well as with the slave trade. To get to these slave trading companies, I felt to truly understand the trans Atlantic slave trade, versus the domestic slave trade I really needed to understand the slave trading companies. So, who was financing the ships that were going to Africa, to the west coast of Africa and what ships were coming from the west coast of Africa to America?
Kenyatta: There have been various studies on this, there’s various books who talk about it and there’s a lot of books that explain and explore the slave trade.
Fisher: Now, you were saying that there’s somewhere around a half million that were actually brought over from Africa, initially over the first two centuries, right?
Kenyatta: Yeah. They estimated number over twelve million Africans that were forcibly removed from Africa, about somewhere in the range of less than half a million made it to North America.
Fisher: Okay and the rest went where?
Kenyatta: And the rest went to the Caribbean, they went to Brazil, to South America. I mean the slave trade occurred over almost four centuries. But primarily the Berrys that we know about and we focus on it’s going to be the Caribbean, North America, four percent in North America, and then Brazil as well as some other areas.
Fisher: What kind of percentage of the population then in Brazil is of slave descent?
Kenyatta: I don’t know the exact number. However, it is often said that a large portion of the population, I would guess more than fifty percent but I’m not having studied that yet.
Kenyatta: But, there were a lot, a lot of slaves that went to Brazil and South America and folks that study that area as well and what went on with slave rebellions and just slave lives in general in South America and Brazil.
Fisher: Have you found DNA matches between American descendants of slaves and Brazilian descendants of slaves?
Kenyatta: No. I have not uncovered that yet. I do know of someone who found DNA matches of their slaves from America and back to their homes in Africa.
Kenyatta: But we haven’t seen or uncovered yet any from America back to Brazil, right.
Kenyatta: Maybe some that may be from the Caribbean, but DNA has been an interesting twist in African American genealogy.
Fisher: [Laughs] I’ll bet. Sure.
Kenyatta: You know, it’s funny, a lot of African Americans are starting to do DNA first and then they’re doing their research. “I want to get my DNA done” is the most common thing I get, right?
Kenyatta: Because I’ve done segments on DNA that’s the one thing I get the most emails about. But I think people realize once they find that information, their results… what does it tell them? What does it really mean to know that your ancestors or your DNA is from Ghana or southeastern Bantu or Nigeria?
Fisher: Nigeria, yeah.
Kenyatta: Yeah, what does that really mean to you? And once you find that information, the stories we’ve heard right, I think they in history surrounding slave trade is most of the slaves came from the West Coast of Africa. That’s what we hear all the time.
Fisher: Right, all the time.
Kenyatta: But for example, I’m seventeen percent southeastern Bantu. I’ve had my maternal DNA done and it says that my maternal line is East African. So what does that really mean?
Fisher: Right, sure.
Kenyatta: How many of the East Africans made it, they were forcibly removed. They may have gone through, marched or led to the coast, right?
Fisher: That’s a thought, sure.
Kenyatta: Yeah, but that kind of prompted me to say, why do I really need to understand more about the slave trading companies? And also going to the African American museum in DC, the Smithsonian museum where you have a display on all of the different countries that were involved in the slave trade, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British, the French, everyone.
Kenyatta: And they take that information from the Atlantic slave trade database which talks about the numbers and the ships. They’re not going to have names obviously they were slaves.
Kenyatta: But, if you understand who was most active in which area, right?
Kenyatta: If someone was more active in Brazil versus the Caribbean, versus the Colonies. You can narrow it down especially with the half a million number and say, I know these five companies were very active in these ports and this is how many ships we had come through.
Fisher: Wow. [Laughs]
Kenyatta: If that’s the case then you can really get… you can kind of take it from that area and then branch out and this is where that connection we talked about before with genealogists and historians comes into play, because now I’m getting really focused on slave trading in Virginia. So I’m going to want to know who was coming into Newport or whatever the ports were that they were coming into. I’m going to need to know what documents are available, right?
Kenyatta: Because there are documents available.
Fisher: Yeah but you’re narrowing it down. You know what I’m getting excited about is I’m listening to this, Kenyatta, between DNA and all this material you’re putting together about, “Okay, the DNA tells me I’m from here, which companies worked out of here?” I mean, ultimately there’s going to be this big ball of information that suddenly all comes together in a way that people are going to be able to discover things that they have never considered before.
Kenyatta: Absolutely. Absolutely.The way they I approach genealogy and the way that I approach these things is because I don’t look at it… I come from a business and a law background, so I look at it from that perspective.
Kenyatta: What’s very interesting is the books that I mentioned that I found online, when I went to work on them on the campus of UCLA, they were in the business library.
Kenyatta: Because they focused on the economics of the slave trade.
Kenyatta: That itself is so different, right?
Kenyatta: Who would ever think to go look in the business library for something related to slavery? But that gives it a different perspective and by doing this and understanding that, imagine if you could get as far back and you say for example, “The oldest person in my tree I think was born in 1790, right, in Virginia.
Kenyatta: I know that area and I know who was involved in that area. But those documents lead me to other folks. Another key piece of this is understanding the slave traders for taking slaves from Africa and going back and forth to North America. But also that once they got on land, understanding who were the slave auctioneers or local slave traders in that area.
Fisher: Yes, and where did they send the people to.
Kenyatta: And where did they send the people. It’s fascinating when you get into leads. There’s documentation around how certain areas preferred slaves from certain parts of Africa.
Kenyatta: And that is so interesting because that links you back to DNA. So, it’s somewhat complex but then it’s also in my mind somewhat simple and logical.
Fisher: It’s totally logical and it really applies to anybody. Europeans can do the same kind of searching the history of Norway or something.
Fisher: Kenyatta, I can’t believe we’re out of time already but I’m so looking forward to seeing you next week at RootsTech. I know you’re going to give a fantastic keynote and thank you so much for coming on!
Kenyatta: Well, thank you for having me, it’s been really fun.
Fisher: And this segment of our show has been brought to you by LegacyTree.com, and coming up next we’ll talk preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 177
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And welcome back. It is Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. And this segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org, the folks who bring to you RootsTech! We’re just a week away, Tom. Can’t believe it! Looking forward to that and seeing you there, and of course doing our meet and greet, which once again is Thursday from 2:30 to 3:30 at booth 1325 and Saturday from 10:15 in the morning till 11:15 in the morning.
Tom: Mountain Standard Time.
Fisher: Yes, in the mountains of Utah. It’s going to be a lot of fun. So what’s on your mind this week in preservation?
Tom: Well, a lot about preservation. At RootsTech, we’re going to be announcing the preservation tour, where we want to go across the country, especially places like tornado alley, and do preservation versus restoration. And that falls right into what we’re talking about at RootsTech. So a lot of people are confused about this. You might want to get out your ledger pad and a pen.
Tom: It’s going to get crazy. We’re going to talk about preservation versus rehabilitation, restoration, recreation, reconstruction and what all these mean and how they fall together.
Fisher: Wow! And you know, there are varied nuances with each of these terms. Talking about mostly heirlooms, photographs, right?
Tom: And the thing is, you need to realize, you can do any of these things, however, the closer you are to A, the better things are going to be. So if you do the preservation right now, you’re going to save a lot of money, you’re going to save a lot of time and things are going to be a whole lot more accurate.
Fisher: So when you’re talking about preserving some type of heirloom, you want to make sure you’re keeping it from further deterioration over time.
Tom: Exactly. You’re basically stopping any decay. So whether it’s a photograph, a slide, home movies, video tapes, anything like this, you want to go ahead and preserve them, than wait ten years and have to be able to go into one of these other things because there’s damage now.
Fisher: Okay, those other things. Now, you just mentioned restoration, what does that mean specifically.
Tom: My dad would take things and write down dates on them to kind of keep a chronology of them, so we know, “Oh, yeah, this happened in ’67 or ’75.” or whatever.
Fisher: You mean on the photograph?
Tom: Exactly. So he was actually writing on the photo.
Tom: And a lot of people do this.
Fisher: Yeah, my mother did that. I hated it!
Tom: Ugh, it drives you nuts! And the thing that’s really bad about a couple of them that my dad did, I was looking at them and going, “No, this isn’t the year, because I wasn’t there.”
Tom: And so, I knew the year was wrong. It’s not like, “Oh, big deal. Who cares.” Well, every copy we have made of that photograph now has that date permanently into it. So what we do is, we go into restoration and remove something that has actually been added to it.
Fisher: Right, that makes sense, okay.
Tom: So you can do it in Photoshop, whatever, but like we’ve talked about on several shows, you always want to go back and scan things before you start playing around with them. Even if you have magic pencils and pens where you can erase things, before you do that, always preserve it first, because you could end up screwing it up.
Fisher: That’s absolutely true. You’ll remember a couple of years ago, we were working with electrolysis on a daguerreotype. And before I did that, I made sure I made some really good scans of these, because we didn’t know what was going to happen. The first one came out great. It removed all this grit. We were able to see the face on this old photograph as we had never done before. And we got pretty bold and excited, “Hey, we’ve got this down!” And then I went and did another one, and it started to darken the entire bottom part. We kept it out of the solution so that the face at least remained the same, but it had done some damage to it, but we had the scan, so the photograph will exist in perpetuity as a result of that anyway.
Tom: Exactly. Always do that. And whether you’re working on a PC or Mac, you always want to make sure you always do it “save as”. So anytime you make any changes, I don’t care how small or insignificant, you look at it on the screen, you think, “Ah, this looks beautiful. I don’t need to do a save as.” No, no, no, no, no, always do a save as, and never destroy the first one until you have really searched the segment, because there might be something that you mixed. There could be a hair in it, there could be anything in the second version that you didn’t see, and if you kept that and erased your first one, you’re going to have a lot more work to do.
Fisher: That applies to even writing. If you’re doing a history and you’re making a few changes, save as. I had like forty different versions of my mother’s history as I was working on it. All right, we’re going to take a break here, Tom, and when we come back, we’re going to talk about some of these other terms that you can apply to preservation, including rehabilitation, recreation. How does this all work? You’ll find out in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 177
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: So we’re talking about preserving heirlooms and photographs, and it is preservation time. This is Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. I am Fisher and that is Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Give them a little wave, Tom.
Fisher: [Laughs] And I’m thinking back to when I inherited from my father, it was a recreation of an old ship. He built this thing in like the ’20s. He was eleven years old. His dad helped him with it. And there had been a plan for it, like in Boys’ Life or some magazine back at the time. And we had this on our mantle at home all the time I was growing up. Dad died when I was seventeen years old. And then mom moved and it went all over the country, and by the time I got a hold of it, it had been damaged, there was dust all over it, caked all over it, and now it was a decision of what do we do? We want to get it fixed. We want to get it cleaned up, but we want it back to looking like it did when I was growing up, but that means we’re going to be having to replace parts that Dad had made and replace them with parts that he did not. I think this moves into the realm of, what, rehabilitation?
Tom: Yeah. And its, some of these terms are irrelevant, but just so people know what we’re talking about. Rehabilitation’s basically you’re repairing something and possibly adding something new to it.
Tom: So you might go and you know, fix these little things that have broken off of it and say, “Hey, you know what, I’m going to add this sticker, because this sticker really should go on it,” yet it was never there at the first place.
Fisher: Right. Yes. Okay, so that would be rehabilitation.
Fisher: Okay. And so we put this whole thing in a big plexiglass box and it’s on display in a special place in my house now. So what about this other term that we were looking at, reconstruction?
Tom: Okay, reconstruction is actually a step away. It’s another thing that’s kind of in between, if you want to go to restoration, well, restoration will be like this ship you handed down to your kids. And maybe your kids are really into history like you are and they’re looking at it and going, “Well, you know what, I have these pictures of when grandpa made this. Those stickers weren’t on there.” so they go in and they take off the things that you added.
Tom: Even though they’re fine to be there, but they took off those things.
Fisher: Because they want to restore it the way it originally had been.
Tom: Exactly. So that’s what restoration is, you remove anything that was not original on it. And then we go onto the next step, which you’re talking about, which is either recreation or reconstruction, where you remember, “Oh, I had this thing, but I don’t know what happened to it, and I want to build a new one.”
Fisher: Right. And you know, I’m doing that right now with a fireman’s helmet. My great grandfather, I never had his helmet, but I found one just like it and I bought it. And it’s a 19th century, I think it’s called a Cairns & Brother helmet. And we’re going to actually recreate the fireman’s badge that sat on the top of the helmet out of leather.
Tom: Oh, and see, that’s cool. If you have an old heirloom that you remember, but you don’t know what happened to it or maybe “Aunt Bessie” got it and you really want it and “Aunt Bessie” won’t depart with it, you can go on eBay, you can go on Amazon, different places like this and search for things. And like the helmet, it might not be his helmet, but its close enough. You can go make some adjustments, maybe change the paint color, make an emblem like you’re talking about.
Tom: And then you’ve got a recreation.
Fisher: Right. And you can display that recreation with his photograph and other medals or whatever it might be that pertains to that period in his life.
Tom: In fact, some of the things that you were showing me off the air, that’s a perfect use of like the Shotbox, because they’re three dimensional. And you’re trying to take pictures with your phone. And you have the little lines, you’re trying to line things up, but you just never do it right. So put the three dimensional things in the Shotbox or build one yourself like we told on one of the other former episodes how to do. You set your phone there, everything’s flat. You take your pictures, and it’s just amazing! It makes you look like you’re a pro, and you’re not.
Fisher: Well, and the lighting is going to be perfect. You’re not going to have reflection issues.
Fisher: And that’s what I really like about Shotbox, it’s a great product.
Tom: Absolutely. You know, there’s so many things out there that will make these things happen. Make sure if you’re coming to RootsTech, stop by our booth, say, hi. We’re going to have some real killer stuff to show you, and it’s just going to be totally awesome.
Fisher: It’s a lot of fun. Tom good to see you again, thanks for coming by! Look forward to seeing you at RootsTech.
Tom: My pleasure. We’ll be there.
Fisher: And that wraps up our show for this week. Thanks once again to Kenyatta Berry from the Genealogy Road Show for coming on. She’s going to be one of the keynote speakers at RootsTech. We appreciate all that she had to offer on the show. By the way, if you missed any of the show, make sure you catch the podcast, it’s on iTunes, iHeart Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. Download our free Extreme Genes podcast app through your phone’s store. Talk to you again next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family!