Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show
Host: Scott Fisher
Segment 1 Episode 84
Fisher: Hello genies! You have found us, America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth on the show where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. Well, I hope you’re enjoying some great breakthroughs in your research as you put to use some of the great ideas our experts share on the program. Liz Munro is sitting on KBZI 94.5 in Elko Nevada, emails that she took to heart Randy Seaver suggestion about crowd sourcing genealogical problems. She says, “Even though I don’t have my own blog, I posted my problem on other people’s blogs and got some great suggestions right away about sources I didn’t know existed. I couldn’t get past my great, great grandfather for four years, but now I’m already back another three generations.” Well how cool is that? Matt Miller listening on WTKI in Huntsville Alabama emailed to say he went to work using Stan Lindaas’s recent suggestion of digging up revolutionary war pension records. He says, “My revolutionary soldier lived in Virginia. In the 1830s he applied for a pension. I learned he had been a school teacher and he was no longer able to walk at the time of his application. He talked about each battle he participated in, when he was promoted and when he was discharged and where. It was like he was talking right to me.”
That’s why you want to listen, not only every week, but also listen to our past shows in podcast form. Find Extreme Genes on iHeart Radio’s Talk Channel, iTunes, Stitcher, Spreaker, and at ExtremeGenes.com. The easiest way to get caught up is to download our free podcast app for iPhone and Android, just search Extreme Genes in your phone store. By the way, I took some of my own advice this past week about collecting things relating to ancestors. I have searched terms pre-programmed into eBay, and this past week one of them generated an email alerting me that a couple of ribbons from the New York Veteran Fireman’s Association 1887 trip to San Francisco, were up for auction. One welcomed the former volunteers to Kansas City and the other was from Omaha as they passed through. My great grandfather was one of the 104 veterans to make the cross continental trip which was written about in papers from coast to coast. Even though these ribbons almost certainly weren’t his, he undoubtedly had one of each of these when he returned to New York in early October of that year. Both are in great condition for a128 years old and will display very nicely. You ought to try this, because every once in a while something hits the market that’s a must have. All right, coming up today we’re going to be talking to Megan Smolenyak. A self proclaimed genealogy adventurer. I like that. Megan is a well known writer and researcher. She’s been on the network talk shows, and was the discoverer of President Obama’s Irish ancestral line. Recently she was asked to come up with something new on Hillary Clinton’s ancestry, and that she did and with it came a challenge to virtually every so called recreational genealogist. What did she find? And what does this experience say to us? You will find out in just a few minutes.
Later in the show, from Ancestry ProGenealogists.com, Gordon Remington talks about those long lines all the way back to Adam and Eve. Do you have one? Do you know someone who does? Well he’s got something important to tell you about that unique linage.
Then, Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com, joins us with more common sense advice about preserving your family history treasures. It is time once again for your family histoire news, and we start out with a couple of great TV shows. Well, it seems like only yesterday that we were talking to Jennifer Utley about the new season of “Who Do You Think You Are?” This weekend marks the end of the season. Melissa Etheridge will be off to Quebec, learning about her French roots on her paternal side. There’s a scandalous lawsuit back there, and an adventurous ancestor in the American colonies. By the way, if you are new to family history research, when you watch this show remember, this isn’t truly a reality show. Family history finds do not happen the way they are shown on “Who Do” and similar programs. It is much easier than it once was, but it still takes a lot of effort and often many years to solve the mysteries of your past, but you know that, of course.
Also if you missed it, the AMC series “Turn” based on the exploits of Washington’s Culper Spy Ring is on for its second season. It’s a phenomenal program, especially for depicting life in New York City and Long Island under British occupation during the Revolution. If you want a good idea of just the hardships of day to day living in the 1770s, yet alone the challenges of living through a seemingly unending war for independence, this is must see TV. Of course all of last year’s episodes are available on Demand. So if you haven’t seen it before, you might want to catch up. The British are a little different here then they are in Downington Abbey. Julia Bell whose maternal line is based in Plymouth, England, had been looking for her American WWII GI grandfather for 12 years. During WWII, Arthur Reeves was stationed in England, and met a young British woman. Well, they fell in love and had a daughter named Helen, who later became Julia’s mother. When Arthur was shipped home the relationship was brought to an end. Julia first learned about this when she was about 10 years old and vowed to her grandmother that she would find Arthur. Well, she’s now 45 and lives in Singapore and Julia has worked databases, mailed letters, sent emails, you name it. She began the search in 2003 with a request to the Plymouth Herald to publish her grandmother’s photo, which they did. Well, DNA tests helped narrow the hunt and what’s extra fascinating is that Arthur Reeves later became Arthur Garrett. Julia had no idea of that or his age, or where in the US here was from. She is now in touch with the family and it just goes to show you and the question is, “Just how bad do you want it?” We tend to think about genealogy as always being about the dead, but as this and the last few weeks have shown, it’s often about the living as well and that’s your family histoire news for this week. Read about these and other stories on our website ExtremeGenes.com. Coming up next, we’ll be talking to Megan Smolenyak, a genealogy adventurer who recently discovered a major error in the well known linage of Hillary Rodham Clinton. What did she find and what kind of wakeup call does this error send to every researcher? Find out in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 84
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Megan Smolenyak
Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, with my special guest Megan Smolenyak and Megan, I love the way you title yourself here: “ Megan, a “Genealogical Adventurer and Storyteller.”
Megan: Yes, yes, yes. That’s exactly what I do. [Laughs]
Fisher: And you know that really puts a much more fun spin on it than I think a lot of people think about this stuff as being. You are exactly that! You go all over the place. I remember you discovered the Irish lineage of President Obama. How did you get involved in that?
Megan: I actually did that way back in 2007 when he was running for president the first time, and I was just curious about him. You know, he was sort of a new man on the scene, we didn’t know much about him and so I just started digging into his roots. One of the things I was wondering about is if you talk to his father’s side, because he was an immigrant in the traditional sense in that he came here and then left, I wanted to see how far back you had to go to find an immigrant. The most recent one I found was from Ireland, and so that got out there and the next thing you know I’m hearing from all these people and the Irish media going, “Well that’s great, but where in Ireland?”
Megan: — and everyone whose done Irish genealogy knows that can be a challenge. [Laughs]
Megan: If we’re talking of famine era immigrants it took me about four months, but I finally found tombstones in south eastern Ohio, that told me where to look in Ireland. It’s a town called Money gall.
Fisher: What a great experience for you. Did you ever hear from the president about that?
Megan: I got to meet him when they went to Ireland.
Megan: Yeah, yeah. I got the golden ticket to Money gall, and I actually ended up meeting him and the first lady in Dublin. You never know where genealogy is going to take you.
Fisher: No. Believe me. In the last month of two, [Laughs] I can attest to that.
Megan: Yeah, yeah. [Laughs]
Fisher: Yes, and well, that’s what makes you a genealogical adventurer and the thing about it is we just never know where it’s going to take us in our own lines or in service to somebody else.
Megan: That’s true.
Fisher: Recently, you were asked to do a little work on Hilary Clinton’s lines, because she’s now back in the race for 2016, and I loved your column about this. Give us a little background on that.
Megan: So, it was a magazine called Irish America that asked me to look into her roots because she was going to be inducted into the Irish America hall of fame and, I’ll be real honest with you, when they first approached me I was really concerned about it, because you know how it becomes sort of a sub hobby to research famous people.
Megan: And so I thought, “What am I possibly going to find that’s new?” You know? What can I say that hasn’t been said before? But I just treat it like every other case. I’m old fashioned. I start at the beginning and I prove every parent to child link, you know. I’m just methodical about it. I was astonished to find that everybody, and I do mean everybody, had one of her grandmothers wrong, which of course means that the rest of the tree from that point on was wrong.
Megan: This means that one quarter of her heritage was wrong.
Fisher: [Laughs] Man!
Megan: Yeah. And you know we see this all the time. We see mistakes in online family trees. But to find it in the family tree of someone who is so well known, literally worldwide and who so many people have researched, that’s kind of an eye opener. So, I think the article you’re reading, I wrote a piece saying, “Hey, this is a wakeup call, because if a quarter of Hilary Clinton’s family tree is wrong, what about your own?”
Megan: What parts of your family tree aren’t quite accurate?
Fisher: Well, now she also got some criticism recently because she talked about all of her grandparents being immigrants. I believe this particular one was one of those that was not, correct?
Megan: Right. She for her, the immigrant generation was really her great grandparents and quite frankly, even that’s a surprise to a lot of people, because a lot of people just assumed she has this sort of deep blue blooded kind of heritage. For her, seven of her eight great grandparents were immigrants. Only one of her four grandparents was. So I don’t know if she misspoke, or I don’t know if she, you know, people sometimes say grandparents instead of referring to grandparents, great grandparents, and great, great grandparents or if she just got the” family lore wrong”. I don’t know what happened. I’d written about her roots and it appeared several months ago, but all of a sudden there was extra interest in it last week because of that statement.
Fisher: Then you found this information about Hannah, and then you came to a great conclusion, and I love it —about being a wakeup call for everybody who’s into family history.
Megan: I mean, I checked. When I found out what was accurate, you know, I went to see, who else got this right. Because I assumed that some people got it right I checked a whole bunch of different family history sites and I could not find anybody who had it right. You would expect somebody who’s as well known as she is that there were dozens and dozens of family trees for her, most of the sites, the popular websites and all I even checked some professional websites. Now presumably, some of them had been updated with the correct information, but nobody had it right. It was a case of two Hannah Jones born in the town of Scranton, Pennsylvania around the same time and nobody else bothered to check to make sure they had the right Hannah Jones. It’s, I mean genealogy 101, and that’s why it was so astonishing for me. I do so much research that I expect there to be mistakes in online family trees. For me, it was a blessing because it gave me something fresh to write about.
Fisher: Right! What was the feeling you had when you ran across the information? I mean it had to be swallowing the canary, right?
Megan: [Laughs] Yeah.
Megan: It gave me some material for the article I’d been requested to write, but you know, as a long time genealogist, I’ve been doing this since the sixth grade, you know that there’s an unfortunate echo chamber effect online where there are lot of folks with good intentions but maybe not enough patience to do methodical research, and everybody just keeps on merging their roots in with everybody else’s, and nobody bothers to check the links. So it starts to look true, just because so many people are claiming it. Unless, I don’t know, you care enough to actually check every single link, and you know yourself, it’s just going to keep on getting amplified. So, overtime I’m concerned, because if you see it in the tree, like I said, of someone so well known, imagine what’s hiding in everybody else’s trees. Imagine how much misinformation is floating out there.
Fisher: You know, I think this is one of the advantages of joining certain lineage societies such as the SAR, the DAR, and the Mayflower Society. Because, maybe you don’t want to be involved with the group itself, but to have them go through and check your lineage link by link, I mean it’s nice to have another set of eyes that are going to be out there making sure you haven’t made mistakes.
Megan: Yeah. That sure would be nice if more people would do that. Whether it’s, you know, with the systems from Lineage Society on their own or even just with their favourite cousin. [Laughs]
Fisher: That’s right! Have you done that before, Megan? I sure have, where I wanted to turn it over to somebody else and say look, I think I’ve got this right but I’d like another set of eyes to go through this.
Megan: I do sometimes, but a lot of times, for better or worse, the stuff that I do is, oh, it’s related to TV shows or there’s the media connection I did. I don’t always have the luxury of sharing what I’ve done.
Megan: So, but I mean, traditionally, for example, I was Chief Family Historian for Ancestry for several years, and I was their spokesperson, and I just believe in bullet proofing, you know, anything you go out with. I won’t share a story unless I’m sure of it and I’ve resisted pressure from PR people to share stories that I just didn’t feel were fully hatched or fully substantiated. And that can take some doing to do, but I won’t go out with anything unless I’m really, really confident of it. And, you know, when I can of course I try to get somebody else’s opinion on it.
Fisher: Yeah, you have to think about the ordinary genealogist, the person who’s spending, oh, two-three hours a week at it, perhaps. How difficult that is to resist the temptation to copy somebody else’s line because it looks so good.
Megan: I know, I know it’s something that we all have to just be really aware of while researching our family trees, because I mean, if you don’t care about accuracy, then what’s the point, you know? Why not just make it all up. There’s some good research out there, but you really need to explore the trees that you’re looking at, combined with your need to look at their research, see the sources that they cited, see if they put original documents up there, or are they just citing twelve other trees. [Laughs] You know?
Megan: I use trees to give me theories.
Megan: But I have never merged a tree, ever.
Fisher: Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. You know, you really think about that. Family Search of course is working very hard to try to clean up a lot of the old merges from decades and, really a century of material that’s come in from various people around the world, and now starting to demand that there be documentation for each link and each individual.
Fisher: And it would be nice to see something similar.
Megan: Unfortunately not everybody feels that way. Not everybody is doing the same thing that Family Search is doing. And for, you know, let’s say the recreational genealogist, somebody who’s just getting into it, because they caught an episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” How are they going to know that they should, that you know, depending on what resources they’re using that maybe they should double check? There really is no way for them to know.
Fisher: Well, that’s exactly true. I mean, it’s really the effort that must go into this to make sure that the lines are correct.
Megan: I tend to live tweet the episodes of some of the genealogy shows online, and almost every time there’s, you’ll find other people on Twitter, no matter who the topic is, they’ll go, “Hey, I’m sixteenth cousin three times removed with them.” And you know that they’re just going into one of these online services and taking what they see at face value. When they can find it out in five minutes, [Laughs] you know? So, unfortunately, that whole tendency is becoming more pronounced.
Fisher: Yes, it’s getting more pronounced because of the fact that everybody is promoting it. It’s getting easier and easier. I’m never one to say it’s easy, because it’s not, but it is easier than it once was.
Megan: Well that’s the thing. I’m very much about inclusivity. I’m one of those people, the more the merrier. I want as many people excited about genealogy as possible. But I do think it is harder now for the new genealogists to just sort of master the basic skills set.
Megan: Because you can just go online and click, click and proof instant roots. You know? I just wish people were given a fuller context and how to better understanding it. A little bit of elbow grease isn’t a bad thing.
Megan: It’s actually kind of fun to do the whole detective game.
Fisher: Well it’s like anything else. It’s like when you’re a kid and dad or mom lets you play with certain tools, and they’re great, but they really need to show you exactly how the tools are intended to be used.
Megan: Yeah, and again, I don’t want to sound nit-picky, but I just say this, to somebody who’s been online since the beginning, and started in the old snail mail days, you know, paper and pencil days.
Megan: Just slowly watching the trees become more and more, the word I would almost use is “polluted” over time. Because of that chamber effect I mentioned, which is just unfortunate. Hopefully it will gradually be, you know, rectified as what you mentioned, with Family Search.
Fisher: Yeah, I’m always recommending to people. I think it’s still very important that you keep your own database and not something online that can be shared or lost or whatever.
Megan: Yeah. Yeah, that’s always a good idea, absolutely!!!!
Fisher: Megan, thank you so much for your time. You’re heading out on a world tour here soon, so have a great time!
Megan: Thank you.
Fisher: And we look forward to keeping track of your columns. Of course, you can read more from Megan at MeganSmolenyak.com. Now, coming up next, you’ll know the whole thing about the line back to Adam and Eve that some anti- viewers gave you 30 years ago? We’ve got to talk about that with Ancestry Pro Genealogist Gordon Remington in five minutes, on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show, and ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 3 Episode 84
Host: Scott Fisher Gordon Remington
Fisher: You know, one of the things which happens when you move into the exciting world of Family History research, you’ll learn a couple of things quickly that don’t necessarily work real well, that’s the line back to Adam and Eve and Coats of Arms. That’s why I have my friend Gordon Remington in from Pro Genealogist. Gordon, I’ve known you for 25 years or so, and this is one of the most interesting things to me, where did all this stuff about a line back to Adam and Eve come from? I mean, we all descend from them, but the lines have a problem.
Gordon: Well, yes, Scott, it’s basically a matter of can you prove it on paper or by documentation. A long time ago, back in England in the 700s – 800s AD, the kings of England were all Pagans. They were Anglo Saxons that came over from Northern Europe to England, and because they had to prove their descent or say they descended from a god, they all had a line that went back to the god Odin, who is the chief god of that Norse group.
Fisher: I thought he was that centre with the Portland Trail Blazers, that didn’t work out so well.
Gordon: [Laughs] well yeah! He’s got a lot of descendants.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Gordon: Anyway, the Anglo Saxon kings, in order to be kings they had to have this descent from a god. When they became Christians, probably come around that same time period, they couldn’t do that anymore because they couldn’t descend from a Pagan god. So they called their court poets together, and all the Anglo Saxon kings, there were 7 of them and they’re all distantly related, they all claim the same descent. They got the court poets together and the bards and so forth and they said, “We want to know how we descend from Adam.” And I think these guys were under threat of death.
Fisher: Sure, they would be. I mean, if the king asked me to come do that I would find the line that you require, sir.
Gordon: Because remarkably they all came up with the line.
Gordon: And so, they added from the earliest king that they all agreed upon, that was a real person. They added generations going back to Odin. Well, they already had done that. They already had gone back to Odin from that king and then they added more generations from Odin back to get to Noah.
Fisher: Okay, wait a minute. What’s the story of Odin, by the way? What was his… you know every god had a purpose, as the god of the sun.
Gordon: Well, he was the chief god of the Norse gods.
Fisher: Oh, okay.
Gordon: Now then, in Norse mythology, you had Odin, and he was the father of Thor and all these other gods that were up there, and he was like the head god.
Fisher: Okay. He sat at the head of the table, on the cloud.
Gordon: Basically, yeah. He was called “Odin the All Father”. Yeah, father of everything.
Gordon: So anyway, he was a pretty powerful guy.
Fisher: And so they would link back from earliest guy they agreed on.
Fisher: Then try to figure out how this connected back to Noah?
Gordon: Well, what they did was they invented generations between Odin and Noah, which included, in some accounts, a son that was born on the Arc who wasn’t in the Bible.
Gordon: So they conveniently got around the Bible thing of three sons of Noah by inventing a guy who was born on the Arc. and because… I guess, it just wasn’t written down, but these guys figured him out. I don’t know how, but they all agreed on it.
Gordon: They all lived.
Fisher: Yeah. They all lived. [Laughs] They survived.
Gordon: And so this was written down in chronicles and I don’t want to even call them documents, it was just written down. Well, the reason why they wanted to know this descent is because when they came in to greet their subjects and their barons and everything, their ancestry would be sung out —“The son of so and so, son of so and so”.
Fisher: In song, for generations.
Gordon: Yeah, yeah and it would just be, establishing their kingship. This was written down and it was accepted as the descent of the Anglo Saxon kings. The Anglo Saxon kings were, after the Normans invaded, William the Conqueror who was from France invaded and they married into that line. So the current kings and queens of England do descend from those early Anglo Saxons king, way long back.
Fisher: From the 800s then, at that point.
Gordon: Yeah. Oh yeah. So basically if you look at anybody whose ancestors goes into the royalty of England, it will eventually go back to the Anglo Saxons, and from the Anglo Saxons that’s where you get this line to Adam. Now it isn’t that tough for Americans to have a descent from royalty.
Fisher: Right, because many New Englanders are… What are they called, those “Gateway Ancestors”?
Gordon: “Gateway Ancestors”. I’ve had a couple. I’ve got a couple of gateway ancestors.
Fisher: As do I, yeah.
Gordon: You know, I think the thing for people to remember is whether you’re descended from royalty or whether you can prove a descent from Adam, it doesn’t make you any different of a person.
Fisher: No. [Laughs]
Gordon: And especially putting that descent from Adam down on paper doesn’t make a lot of difference.
Fisher: No. Not really, it doesn’t. Now I remember hearing once that they wanted to link into the Bible lines, but the Jewish fathers, at the time of the Bible, when those lineages were in there, didn’t like ancestors, they were out. Is that correct?
Gordon: Maybe so. I’m not a Biblical scholar.
Fisher: All right.
Gordon: Yeah. I don’t pretend to be that.
Gordon: But I do know my history. I majored in English History and this is one of the things I’ve studied, with these Anglo Saxon chronicles and so forth. I learned very early on that the earlier you go the more it’s based on tradition and wishful thinking and staying alive.
Fisher: [Laughs] Wow. All right, so what about these charts now? I mean, those charts are everywhere. You see people with the line, and if you connect back to this person — boom! There are many different branches are there not, by now, or is that mostly because of the royalty branch?
Gordon: That’s the royalty stuff. In most cases, the people that want to claim descent from Adam on paper and who hook into these royal lines, its ready made for them. It’s going to be out on the internet. I’m sure that if you’re genealogically savvy and you go to the internet, you can find all sorts of things that tell you this is not right. But there are some people that just see that and they say, “Oh wow! I have a descent from Adam.” And I say, “Well, so does everybody.”
Gordon: But the thing is the matter of documentation.
Gordon: Because documentation doesn’t exist. First of all, these oral histories that were written down eventually started out just as songs and traditions, and so you have no documents to back them up. It’s just names that were repeated and repeated and repeated and long lines, and you know, so there’s going to be no paper work back then that’s going to prove what these guys said was the truth.
Fisher: What percentage of Americans do you think right now are descended from English royalty?
Gordon: Oh, I have no idea.
Fisher: Has to be a large percentage.
Gordon: Well, you’ve got to calculate in there how many people have lines that go back to Colonial New England, because that’s the gateway.
Gordon: Most of the royal descents in this country come out of Colonial New England ancestors who came over.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Gordon: There were also some that came to the Colonial south, but their documentation back to England isn’t as good as the New Englanders.
Fisher: So it’s been a long going tradition though for a lot of people to link in. The royalty’s the big thing, which to me is kind of surprising because the fact if you really look it on the history of the royals, it isn’t really pretty.
Gordon: No. No.
Fisher: A lot of death.
Fisher: A lot of really bad marriages… You know, ask Henry the 8th. It ended badly for a lot of people. And yet we seem to like to tie into them. I suppose because they’re historic figures more than the fact they were really swell guys and gals, how reliable are the royal lines? Beginning at what I, obviously think must be right now to Queen Elizabeth, all the way back to a certain point, are pretty reliable to win, would you say?
Gordon: I’m going to say probably to about around 700 or 800 AD, because beyond that in the Anglo Saxon lines is when you begin to have this tradition. The Anglo Saxons came from Germany, what’s now Germany in that area, to England about 400 to 500 AD. And there are reliable chronicles that talk about who was there at that time that were kept by monks at the time, the only educated people around who were keeping records, reporting on these were the people who were in charge, but before that, a lot of it is just tradition.
Fisher: And then this comes from these people you were talking about, working to keep their jobs.
Gordon: Right. Well, basically.
Fisher: By proving the lines. [Laughs]
Gordon: That’s right, proving in quotes.
Fisher: Exactly. So there it goes. This is an education. I know there’s got to be people who are listening right now are going: “Oh no! Aunt Bessie’s just going to be devastated.”
Gordon: You know, you’ve got to realize that it’s not always the best thing in the world to start your genealogy, you find out things you don’t want to know.
Gordon: But, I say thankfully it’s just this bogus stuff back a thousand years ago and not something about your grandfather.
Fisher: Yeah, that’s true. Although there is always something about grandfather too, isn’t there?
Gordon: Oh yes.
Fisher: All right, great stuff. Now, this is just one part of the fake line business that is always out there, waiting for new suckers, basically, to come along.
Fisher: There are other areas which are?
Gordon: Well, heirs to estates.
Fisher: Oh yes. I descend from the anarchy genes.
Gordon: Oh, you’re one of those.
Gordon: One of the most famous ones.
Fisher: Yeah. Probably so, and if you’re not familiar with it, it was basically… She had a piece of dirt in Manhattan Island by her first husband, and then he died. She married the second minister among the Dutch, a guy named Everardus Bogardus, and it was just one of the greatest name ever given to anybody. He Latinized his name when he came over from Holland and then when they passed away the land was distributed among her children, but one of the children was not represented in the transfer.
It was discovered about 75 years after her death, and one of the descendants said, “Hey, wait a minute, that land is now valuable.” Because New York was turning into a thriving city, this old farm land which was, you know, on a swamp, wasn’t worth anything back in the day. So they started battling to gain control of that, and that battle went on I’ve heard as late as the 1950s. Lawyers were approaching people going, “Hey, it’s worth billions now. We can make you a lot of money.”
Gordon: Yeah, and actually though, one of the courts in New York had already settled that by that time, saying that it was so long ago and the records were so bad, you know, there’s no way we can figure it out.
Fisher: Gordon, great stuff. Thanks for coming on.
Gordon: Hey, thank you, Scott.
Fisher: And coming up next in three minutes, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com with more common sense advice for preserving your family treasures, on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 4 Episode 84
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com – Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. He is our Preservation Authority. Tom, you are in a dither right now about some software that I know you’ve been recommending for years. Look at you! You’re almost white! What’s the deal with you?
Tom: This has really got me scared! I hope the rumors are not true. I had people send me some emails. I had somebody actually stop in one of our locations the other day and say, they had heard that Cinematize went out of business in January and I’m going, “What!! That can’t be!” So I’ve been doing some sleuthing around. I went to NewEgg.com, which is where I always tell people to go to buy the software. Basically, this is what is says– I’m looking at their site right now. I typed in Cinematize and it says, “We have found 0 active items that match Cinematize. Results below are deactivated items related to the keyword.” There they have all the versions of Cinematize out there which is actually made by a company called Miraizon that is spelt, M I R A I Z O N. So, this really scared me. Then I went to their website, Cinematize’s website and their online store is closed. They still have a functioning phone number where you can leave voice notes, because nobody answers. I’ve left voice messages for them to call me back. So I really hope these rumors aren’t true and I hope somebody is buying them or they’re doing a relicensing thing or something like that.
Fisher: Something’s happening there though.
Tom: Exactly! Yeah, and it’s really, really scary. So the thing that I’m hoping is they’re just going through a thing right now where somebody new is going to buy them or somebody’s going to re-release the software. You have to have this software! It’s both for PC and Mac. The cool thing about it is we have people every day that bring us in video tapes and reel to reel audio tapes and film and all kinds of stuff that they want to be able to edit at home and so, the most economical way to do it which we’ve talked about in previous shows.
Fisher: Many times.
Tom: Yeah. We want to transfer to a DVD because it has two things. It preserves it and gets it in a digital format, plus it gives them the ability, they can edit it later on. With this software called Cinematize, you can take any DVD, and now with their new version 3 HD program, you can actually take BluRays also, and rip sections off of the DVD. You don’t physically rip it off. It basically records it to your hard drive.
Fisher: Now wait a minute! When you say that it’s new software, how new are we talking?
Tom: Well that’s their latest incarnation. It’s called Cinematize 3 Pro HD. and it’s the first software I have ever seen that comes out that will actually let you rip out of a BluRay. But Cinematize came out with this new one late last year and I hope it’s still available some place. I hope somebody licenses it because the neat thing about this software is, once we digitize it for you on a DVD, you can take the DVD home. Say you have a two hour VHS tape that you’ve transferred and there’s this little two minute section that’s really, really cute, Cinematize will allow you to rip off just that two or five minute segment. This is a program you HAVE to have in your arsenal or your quiver.
Fisher: All right, all right, Tom! Tom! Remain calm! Take a deep breath! You know, inhale.
Fisher: Yes, we get the picture here, back in three minutes, Extreme Genes.
Segment 5 Episode 84
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: All right, final segment, Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, the Preservation Authority. Tom, have you recovered from your meltdown?
Fisher: [Laughs] Catch your breath. All right, we’ve got to talk about this, because we’ve got an email from Tennessee, asking about sticky photo albums. You remember these?
Tom: Oh absolutely!
Fisher: These were in the ’70s. They are horrible because of what they’ve done to photographs.
Tom: Oh exactly! They were horrendously bad! In fact, I tell people, “What you want to do if you have stuff in a sheet like that or even the old ones that they had the black paper? They had those little licky corner things you put over your photo. The problem with a lot of that stuff is, people try to remove it and they end up damaging their picture, and they say, “Well, you know, the corners are covering part of the picture.” Yeah, that’s sad, but before you go ahead and try removing them, scan the stuff in the sheets. If you don’t have a big enough scanner, there are a lot of places like our facility you can go to. We can scan them for you because once they’re scanned, if something bad happens, at least you’ve got what you started with. Too many people try taking it apart, they destroy their picture, or the damage their picture, and it’s almost impossible to go back to where they used to be. There’s no “undo picture” when you’re doing stuff physically, only on the computer. So what you want to do if you have the old albums like that, first you want to do is scan them. Then the next best thing, if you have the ones that have the little sticky corners is, get a knife very carefully and cut the corners away from the black.
Tom: You’re not cutting the corners away from the picture; you’re cutting them away from the black background.
Fisher: Yeah. So that goes back to what? The ’30s and ’40s.
Tom: Oh yeah!
Fisher: And the ’50s.
Tom: Oh yeah! My grandma had photo albums, before I was even born, and those kinds of things, so they’re really, really old. The old nasty tasting little corners you want to do is— you want to cut the corners off of the paper so they’re still on the picture. Then some of them hopefully will just fall right off. And then you find some of them, if they licked them too much or they got some humidity some of the glassy photo substrate could have actually adhered to the top part, and then that’s going to be a problem. So then the next thing, if it’s actually touching a part of the printed paper I wouldn’t even try to take them off. If it’s on the corner where it’s white, you can be real carefully and with an xacto knife try and cut them off as carefully as you can. But then once again, if you’re going to do that, go and scan them again, because you basically removed more bad stuff from it. So now scan it again so you have a second scan.
Fisher: And you know that’s an important point for anything you’re going to work on is, if you’re taking a risk of possibly damaging something and making it worse than where it was at the beginning, scan it first! And it doesn’t matter what it is, you will NEVER regret it!
Tom: Exactly! You’re in Photoshop; you create something and say, “Oh, that’s ugly. I don’t like that.” you hit “undo”. In a physical world, you can’t do that. There is no “undo” button. So you want to scan, scan, scan, scan, and once you’ve done that, then go to the next step. For instance, if there’s a wax kind, a lot of times the wax will have dried off. You just kind of shake the page and the picture might just fall right off, then you’re fine. If they’re stuck on and they won’t come off and they’re starting to decolorize it, do the same thing; scan it without the clear sheet. Make sure you remove the clear sheet. Scan the photo. Then the same thing, get a xacto knife or sometimes even a credit card and just kind of slide it, pushing more on the backing of the substrate, not the photograph. Because if you going to dig in and damage it, if you damage the book, who cares! You want to preserve your picture.
Fisher: That’s right.
Tom: And then once you get that off, you can get some more pliable paper. If it’s still sticky, put it on that, because at least that’s going to keep from getting any worse. Sometimes you going to turn them over and very, very carefully with a xacto knife or something as simple as a credit card, get that wax off enough that it’s not going to be sticky. The wax can become almost like liquid and work its way through the picture.
Fisher: Oh boy!
Tom: And then that totally cannot be removed unless you Photoshop it.
Fisher: All right. Great advice once again Tom! That’s why you are the Preservation Authority. We’ll talk to you again next week.
Tom: Sounds great!
Fisher: Thanks once again to Megan Smolenyak for joining us today, talking about her discovery of a major error in all the published lineages of Hillary Clinton, and what that means to all of us, whether you’re a democrat or a republican. Also to Gordon Remington for his great insight into your lines that are supposedly documented back to Adam and Eve. Take care. See you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family!