Episode 151- LegacyTree.com’s Paul Woodbury on Planning Your Next Genealogy Trip / PA Woman Receives Long Missing Relative’s Ashes
Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Fisher and David discuss a 19th century news article about a woman who was nearly buried alive, because they thought she was dead! David then reveals information about a remarkable collection in the Smithsonian… 17,000 human remains! Might your ancestor be among them?! One was a recent donation of a man who died in 1866. Wait until you hear his story. David then reveals a new online map of London with over a quarter million images tied to places in the city. David then shares with you a site with the names of every Olympian since 1896! Is there are relative of yours to be found? David then offers another Tip of the Week, and another free guest user database from NEHGS.
(11:23) Fisher then visits with a Pennsylvania woman named Becky Perigo. Becky’s great grandfather’s brother fell off the family map about a century ago, and was last believed living in the northwest. A year ago she received an email that she suspected was a scam involving the name of this uncle. It was totally legit. And what an adventure it has led to! Hear Becky’s story in segment 2.
Paul Woodbury from LegacyTree.com then returns to the show. Paul has just completed a research trip to France and offers some terrific tips on preparing for your next research journey, especially one to Europe.
And as always, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, the Preservation Authority, is here to talk about ways to not only preserve your photos, videos, films, and documents, but also how to make them more usable. This segment is best described as “Congratulations! You’ve digitized all your stuff… what now?!” Tom and Fisher give you some thoughts on that issue.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show
Segment 1 Episode 151
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: And you have found America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes, and ExtremeGenes.com. My name is Fisher. I am your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. Great guests coming up today, as always! In about eight minutes we’re going to be talking to Becky Perigo, she’s a Pennsylvania woman, and her great grandfather brother went missing, I mean decades ago, almost a century ago. Then she gets an email one day from somebody who says, “Hey, we found the remains of your great, great uncle!” And you won’t believe where they were and what has happened since. It’s an incredible story. You’re going to want to catch this coming up a little bit later on in the show. After that, Paul Woodbury is back, and he’s literally back from a genealogy road trip to Europe. And he’s going to give you some great tips about how to plan your trip. What went right with his trip? What went wrong with it? How can you make your plans? There’s a lot to this and it’s great advice, coming up later in the show. But right now my good friend David Allen Lambert is on the line from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. He is the Chief Genealogist. How are things in Beantown, David?
David: Oh, it’s doing very well. And I hope that some of our listeners get the newsletter now and enjoying the Top Ten Tips that I supplied for them to check out.
Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. The Weekly Genie is now available, you can sign up, it’s free and you get all kinds of links to great stories and you can learn more about your favorite Extreme Genes personalities. And you can sign up right there at ExtremeGenes.com, or on our Facebook page. And speaking of Facebook, David, the other day I found a newspaper article that had been digitized and I’ve posted it on Facebook and it’s just incredible. This minister back in the 1890s was going to a funeral for this woman, and he enters the room with the coffin, and the lady and the family is very excited. Here’s the quote, “They said the woman’s left hand was moving!”
David: Oh my!
Fisher: The minister found that the woman was not dead but apparently “in a trance.” And “taking her from the coffin he applied restoratives and in an hour Mrs. Westerhous opened her eyes. She is now in good health and she narrowly escaped being buried alive.”
David: Ooh that’s kind of scary.
Fisher: Oh yeah.
David: Unfortunately they have found archaeological evidence of caskets that inside of the coffin there are scratch marks.
Fisher: Ooh the worst thing ever! Unbelievable! So what do you have for us today in Family Histoire news?
David: You know, you may be still looking for great, great grandpa. Have you ever tried the Smithsonian Institute?
David: Yeah. The Smithsonian has in their collection seventeen thousand human remains.
Fisher: I did not know that. That’s crazy.
David: Yeah! It’s kind of scary. Including one of them that was a recent donation from the family. It’s not that somebody recently died. Back in 1866 on an expedition to Alaska, Robert Kennard a Smithsonian scientist died. They thought he died from suicide, but now after unearthing him, he was buried in a led casket so a lot of preservation was present. They’ve discovered that he had gold and mercury fillings that may have been the cause of why he died.
David: So the family signed over the remains. He is now an acquisition. I don’t know the catalogue number, but there he is at the Smithsonian probably behind a locked door. You can’t go and visit him, but there’s a great article that showed up recently in the Washington Post. Going across the pond, in the spring I had a chance to go back to London. I had a wonderful time. I took lots of pictures. But for the ones I didn’t take, and the ones shy of having a time machine, there’s a great new website. Remember the New York site we talked about last year?
Fisher: Right. With the map and all the photographs, you can click on a little area and a particular block and see old photos of that space back in the day.
David: Well, the Brits have it now going for London. They have over a quarter million images from the 15th century, from engravings, and drawings all the way down to now. You can pinpoint on a map, zoom in and there are so many images to choose from, you really have to think which one you really want.
Fisher: It would take you weeks I think, to go through this thing. We were looking at it before the show, and it’s incredible.
David: It really is. And it just goes to show you technology and archives can work together with mapping. Zoom right in on a satellite view and look at what it was like before the Blitz, or maybe from the 1700s from a drawing. So I think it’s great, especially if you’re looking for your ancestor’s church.
Fisher: Yeah that would be absolutely perfect. Now, where do they find this?
David: This is going to be an easy search. Just search for “London Picture Map.” And that is through the city of London website. I’ll put it on my Twitter feed, @DLGenealogist as well as ExtremeGenes.com and our Facebook page.
Fisher: Excellent. All right, what else do you have David?
David: Heading to the other part of the world, I want to send a shout out to those in the Rio Summer Games! But for us genealogists and those that are doing one-name studies, why not look back at the previous athletes going back to the games in Athens in 1896? From a database that’s available at www.olympic.org/athletes. You can search on anybody who participated in the last 120 years.
Fisher: That’s incredible! In fact, I was looking on there for a friend of mine who was on a water volleyball team back in 1960 and there he was!
David: It’s really fun when you actually find relatives or maybe old school mates. I want to do a shout out this week to my sister-in-law Kelly Saunders out in Surprise, Arizona, and her new kindergartner, Audrey, my niece who is actually the reason for this week’s Tech Tip. Audrey has wonderful art that she created through pre-school and what her mom has done is photographed and created photo collage books, and saved lots of space, and you may find you want to save all your kid’s art and drawings. She’s sampled it and has made up volumes of it year by year and this is what she’ll continue through grade school. A great Tech Tip and thanks, and hello to Kelly and Audrey! And of course they listen in on KTAR in Phoenix. Audrey is one of our youngest listeners. I’m going to wrap it up with our guest user database on NEHGS and American Ancestors, this week and through August 9th you can get free access to our Irish databases on AmericanAncestors.org. Just sign up as a guest user. That’s all I have for this week and catch you later, Fish.
Fisher: All right David, great stuff as always! And we will catch up with you next weekend.
David: Talk to you soon.
Fisher: And this segment of Extreme Genes has been brought to you by RootsMagic.com. And coming up for you next we’re going to talk to a Pennsylvania woman whose great grandfather’s brother, disappeared almost a century ago. Family had no idea where he was, now they found him, and you’re going to want to hear what has happened to those remains. It’s a great story with Becky Perigo from Pennsylvania, coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 151
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Becky Perigo
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and I’m sure most of us over the course of our lifetimes have had the opportunity to watch the movie “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” I think it came out like around 1975, Jack Nicholson, of course, the star. And it was filmed in Salem, Oregon at the Oregon State Hospital, which over the years has developed, frankly, a horrendous reputation for problems over the decades. And among those things happens to be a repository that was discovered not that long ago of the cremains of many people whose families never came to claim the remains of their loved ones. And among the families that have been affected by this is the family of my next guest. Her name is Becky Perigo. She is in Boswell, Pennsylvania. Becky, welcome to Extreme Genes. It’s nice to have you.
Becky: Thanks for having me.
Fisher: This is quite the story and I know that it actually is one that found you, as it worked out. Tell us a little about the background. This is an uncle of yours, a great uncle or something, from a ways back. Fill us in on how this came to your doorstep.
Becky: Well, I always knew growing up that my father’s grandfather had a brother who had disappeared. My dad had looked into it. This is prior to the internet so he just clicked that in. He knew he moved somewhere out west, maybe Washington or Oregon, and then was never heard from again and my dad just kind of gave up on that. I was on Ancestry.com one day, I had logged into my account and I noticed I had an email from a woman named Phyllis Zegers, and she’s from Oregon and she was letting me know that my great grandfather’s brother was one of the people who died at Oregon State Hospital whose cremains were never received or claimed by the family. And I’m reading this and I’m thinking you know this kind of sounds familiar.
Becky: I’m thinking, “This is a scam.” [Laughs]
Becky: This lady is going to demand money from me and I’m going to be out $500 dollars.
Becky: But I Googled it and the first thing I found is the Oregon State Hospital website, and they had a searchable database of names. So I typed in Garretson, and there he was. And it was like I said, my great grandfather’s brother. And it was an amazing thing. I called my Dad, all excited. I was trembling, and I got on Facebook, the nerd that I am, and I’m like “Oh my gosh! You guys aren’t going to believe this.” I actually had so many friends that were like, “This is amazing.”
Fisher: It is.
Becky: It is! And it was something that made national news, and actually changed laws just the fact that they had a database on their website. A hand full of years ago it wouldn’t have happened because of HIPAA laws and things like that.
Becky: So, Senator Peter Courtney in Oregon helped change those laws just as they could get the names out there to find people. But even with that, Phyllis who reached out to me, they don’t have anyone employed that are trying to find the relations of these people. And Phyllis, just on her own in her spare time started checking in to people and seeing if she could find family members. It was something that touched her heart, and that’s how she reached out to me.
Fisher: And she’s reached several hundred people so far, as I understand it, out of like a thousand and something or something around four hundred.
Becky: Yes. She’s researched, as of a year ago, she’s researched over a thousand people, reached out to four hundred, and about a hundred people had gotten back to her to see about how they could go forward in claiming the cremains of their relative.
Fisher: Now tell us a little about your ancestor or your relative, Thomas Espy Garretson. Born around 1883, died 1941. What was he doing in the northwest, do you know, because he was from Pennsylvania originally as you are?
Becky: He was. He was born in Bedford County and moved to Johnstown, Pennsylvania just after the Johnstown flood of 1889. He was one of seven brothers. And the oldest brother, Nathan, owned a tin shop. And I think what made him move out there was the Depression.
Fisher: Umm Hmmm.
Becky: He was in Ohio and was working at Goodrich at the rubber mill. He was a tire builder. Which you know, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, we’re a big – at one time – we’re a big steel town. I think he was just trying to move to where the work was. And we actually did find some newspaper.com articles where he was trying to hire workers out in Oregon. But at this point, I think that mentally he was deteriorating a little bit. Like he thought he was an inventor and all these things. And I think he was running these ads looking for workers that I don’t think he had two cents to rub together.
Becky: We believe that’s how he ended up out there, because all of the Garretsons pretty much fade in this area except for him and one brother. The other brother had moved to Ohio as well.
Fisher: So what was he diagnosed with in the hospital at the time? Do you recall?
Becky: That was one of the nice things we did get his medical file. He was a manic depressive, he was a heavy drinker, and he had some auditory hallucinations. He was having “commands from God,” and he had kind of elevated himself. They would have little quotes from him in his medical file, and he talked about how he was going to be like Thomas Edison. But I think pretty much what it was, was manic depression and alcoholism.
Becky: And those are two things now you know, we’ve got AA these days and if you’re a manic depressive you take a little pill in the morning and you’re as functional as anyone else.
Fisher: Yeah, that’s often the case. No question. But how long was he is the hospital?
Becky: Well he was admitted – we actually found out he was admitted twice. He was admitted in 1924 for the first time for about seven, eight months. And then the second time he went back in 1925. And he was there from 1925 to 1941 when he died there.
Fisher: Now do you think as a tin worker that he was actually involved in creating these little tin canisters for all the cremains of the people who were there?
Becky: I do. And that was kind of me investigating a little bit. I started researching OSH and the things they did there. And they had work farms. And a lot of these people helped out with different things, I believe their bedding, different things that they used there were all made on site. And during the research I started Googling as to whether or not these urns were made there, and they were.
Fisher: Hmm. Incredible.
Becky: So I really feel, because of his background as a tinsmith coppersmith, that he may have made his own urn.
Becky: So a little bit of irony there, but I think it makes it neater for us that he may have made that.
Fisher: Yes. Now you went back there to actually tour the facility and to find his remains. He’s part of a Wall of Honor basically that they’ve created for these people, yes?
Becky: Yes. What they did is that once they found all these copper urns and they decided they needed to do more than fix them in a garden shed, they took these cremains out of them, they put them in new little urns and they slipped into a wall. And then in the wall they have circles, like plates, with the numbers on them, so he was number 2696. So in the wall it had his name and his number and his date of birth and death. And then they took the copper urn and they put those – I think one time it was like a garage or carriage house, they took one wall of it, encased it in glass, and then they had all of these copper urns. I mean all you saw were these.
Becky: It was beautiful. And then when you see that an urn is gone, you know that’s a happy ending. That family came and claimed their people and took them home. So I got to see it when he was a part of it, and then a few months later we got his ashes in his urn. So now he will have – you know, there’s no urn there, we know there’s a good ending to the story.
Fisher: Where did you have him buried?
Becky: Well, [laughs] he is still actually sitting in my parent’s living room!
Fisher: Oh! [laughs]
Becky: I know [laughs] we’re procrastinators! We got him, we wanted to order a stone, we wanted to do everything the right way. And right now it’s just kind of been teaming up. I have a cousin who’s a minister who’s going to perform a service for him. And it’s just kind of been waiting to see when everyone can get together, and then something new pops up [laughs] and it still hasn’t happened. But he’s going to be buried with his mother. We contacted the cemetery in Bedford County where she is buried, and it’s not a problem for us to bury his ashes with her. And then we’ll have a flat memorial headstone that will go there as well. Because he was only four years old when his mother died, but by age four Thomas was an orphan.
Fisher: Wow. So buried with Mom?
Becky: Buried with Mom. His parents were separated. When they died, they died a few months apart and there was a snowstorm and here in southwestern Pennsylvania, you know, that just shuts everything down if we get a big snow.
Becky: So, his dad is buried at one cemetery with a lot of the family, but then his mother, we just felt that she needed her baby with her. You know that was her little boy and he needed to be with his mom. And I think maybe some of his issues had to do with losing both parents at such a young age.
Becky: And bouncing around and living with different people in orphanages.
Fisher: Yeah, had to be very challenging.
Fisher: And one kind of exclamation point on this whole story is that currently, Phyllis found a family of a Civil War veteran who is now making the trek back to the northeast on a motorcycle. That is incredible to me to think that that would be the case. And he’s going to be buried with his family as well.
Becky: Yes, Jewett Williams. I read the article online recently. And even Jewett’s story is really amazing because he was part of the 20th Maine. And now he wasn’t at Little Round Top, I think from what I saw.
Becky: He enlisted after that. But like Colonel Chamberlain, like, that’s just a huge story so that’s a really famous group to be involved with.
Fisher: Yes. And Phyllis is doing just such incredible work to make all this happen. Well I’m afraid we’re out of time, Becky, but thank you so much for your time and sharing your story with us. What a nice ending to a very difficult life.
Becky: Well thank you very much for having me.
Fisher: This segment of Extreme Genes has been brought to you by FamilySearch.org. And coming up next we’ll talk to Paul Woodbury about his recent research trip to Europe. How did he plan it? What were some of the things he learned as he went about getting this trip together? He’ll tell you, coming up in five minutes.
Segment 3 Episode 151
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Paul Woodbury
Fisher: Hey, welcome back, it’s America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And here we are in the dead of summer. And a lot of people are travelling, doing research trips this summer. Diving into their family history and going all over the place, rural areas and urban areas, across oceans. And if you’re planning on doing something like this anytime soon, it’s really important to be prepared. And that’s where my next guest comes in, Paul Woodbury from LegacyTree.com. And Paul, welcome back to the show. Good to have you. You’ve been on the road.
Paul: Yes, I have been. It’s been a wonderful summer. I just got back from Scotland and France.
Fisher: Wonderful! You don’t have an accent. I usually pick those up anywhere I go. I’ll come back from Scotland talking like this!
Fisher: I don’t know why that is. It takes me a week or two to readjust. I guess I like to adapt to where I am, right?
Fisher: But, boy! Preparing to go on a trip to Europe is particularly difficult, I think, because you can’t just pick up the phone and make certain arrangements. But at the end of the day, the bottom line is always this, that your time is even more important than your money when you’re going on these trips, because you’ve got to accomplish a lot in a little bit of time. Tell us some of your tips of what you did to make this trip work for you.
Paul: Well, so in my experience, preparing for research trips, particularly to Europe, I think one of the most important elements is make sure that you do as much research as you can in the United States with the records that are available in the United States.
Paul: So that you’re really making the most of your time there, focusing in record collections that aren’t easily available elsewhere. When I was in high school, I prepared a research trip with my family. I really didn’t know what I was doing and I said, “Hey, you know, let’s go to these small towns in Denmark and Sweden where my ancestors came from. And we can go to churches and talk to the people and see if we can find more information.” So it was a little bit discouraging when we got there and we went and visited these churches and said, “Hey, do you have any information on genealogy?” And they said, “Oh yeah, you know, the Mormons came in a few years ago and filmed it all and it’s all available in Salt Lake City.”
Paul: You know, we got all the way over to Denmark to do our family history research and they said, “Oh yeah, it’s all in Salt Lake.” So really make sure that you know what record collections are available on site versus in the United States, so that you can prioritize what you’re really looking at as you go there.
Fisher: Boy! That is absolutely some of the best advice ever! You’re absolutely right. And that’s the thing sometimes you can’t help it though. I’ve had that experience where I’ve done all the research I thought I could accomplish here, went over there, did some work and then came back here and found some of the things that I wish I’d found before I’d left.
Fisher: I mean it just happens that way sometimes.
Paul: It does happen that way sometimes, but I mean that is part of the research process where you know, as you discover things on site, that’s going to inform your decisions as you come back.
Paul: And are working with some of the records later on that you have at your fingertips.
Fisher: Well, and you know when you go to places like France, now you’re dealing with language barriers as well, potentially. And that’s why it’s so important your communication, before you leave, is absolutely essential.
Paul: Yeah. When we went to France, something that I did is, I made a huge research list. I was lucky because my wife came along with and then also my mother-in-law and my two sisters-in-law. So we did a little bit of tourism, but the requirements for them to be able to come was that they had to be my assistants and help me film documents and look through things. So that was nice to have all that help. So we made a huge list of all of the documents that we particularly wanted to look through for specific surnames. I think it’s important to identify your goals beforehand so you’re not getting there and saying, “Okay, well, what do I want to look at today?”
Paul: I mean really have a detailed research plan. And if you’re going to be having other people help you with that, make sure that you have clearly identified the surnames or the individuals that you want them to be looking for. One of the challenges that we ran into was that my wife and her family don’t speak French, but I was able to make a list of all the surnames and identified some keywords and some keyword lists of things that they could begin to recognize, “Okay, this is the surname and this is the town and so these are the types of things that we’re looking for.”
Fisher: Well, and one of things that I’ve noticed too when you go on these trips is, you have to make a list of the times that these places are open, because often you know, certain people are on certain days and certain times and others aren’t. And so if you’re making the full list you can actually start to map out, “Okay, on this day I’m going to go to this area.” Maybe you’re going west of where your headquarters is. On another day you might be going east of where your headquarters is. And sometimes you have to wrap these things around what the schedules are of the various archives or facilities that you’re going to go visit, and that can save you a heck of a lot of time and a lot of frustration too, nothing worse than getting there, and crossing the pond and getting to a place and finding, “Oh! I’ve travelled a day or whatever from where I’m at and I can’t get in!”
Paul: Yeah. And it’s particularly important to check with the archives regarding their summer schedules. A lot of people particularly during the months of July and August, a lot of Europe is on vacation, including the archives. So make sure that you are checking the times and being aware of the archive websites, being in contact with those individuals to say, “Hey is the archive going to be open?” One of the archives we visited during this trip is currently under construction. And so I was worried for the first few months before we were headed out, and kept emailing them saying, “Are you going to be open when we’re there? We’re coming to visit you, so…” Luckily none of the construction interfered with the documents that we were able to find there.
Fisher: Did you find it easy to email with people, especially in France, because of the language situation or were you actually writing them in French?
Paul: I was writing them in French and I speak French and know French, so that did help a lot.
Fisher: And did they respond well to Americans? I mean, you hear the reputation in some places. [Laughs]
Paul: You know, if you go and start trying to speak English, a lot of the times they’ll assume you’re from England. And so when they find out you’re American, they’re much nicer. [Laughs]
Paul: At least that’s what we discovered as we were there.
Fisher: It always seems on any trip that I take like that… I’ve been over to England myself especially to do some research… right at the end somewhere there’s always somebody who says, “Oh, by the way, have you looked into this stash?” And I had that happen at the very end of one trip and wound up finding some amazing things, a book that my ancestor in the 1700s had signed that had to do with a group of merchants actually creating their own little insurance company for their own burials when they died. And so it was a very interesting thing to look at and see some of the names that were signed and who they were grouped with, because you can assume there are associations there on those kinds of lists, you know?
Paul: Yeah. On a previous trip while I was in the archive, I was researching a specific family and I mentioned the name of the family I was researching to the archivist and she didn’t know anything about it, but another researcher overheard our conversation and pointed me in the direction of a journal article that was written by a local history professor on my sixth great grandfather and his times and his social history. They mentioned his house, and because of that, I was able to get in contact with a local priest in the area who then invited me to come and stay at the monastery with him. And then we went out and visited the house of my sixth great grandfather which is still standing.
Fisher: You stayed in a monastery?
Fisher: Wow, how cool is that!
Paul: It was really cool. And what was really neat about this experience was that this particular ancestor in his free time would engrave in stone. And he decorated the walls of his home with these engravings which were proverbs, hymns to the French nation, and most important to me was a stone that documented his genealogy back five generations that was just sitting there on the walls of his house!
Paul: That was pretty amazing.
Fisher: Did you get pictures of that?
Paul: Oh yes, I did!
Fisher: [Laughs] And are these names that were not available in other records?
Paul: There were names that were available in other records, but this stone actually proved an alternate genealogy than what we had for that individual previously.
Fisher: Validated it, unbelievable!
Paul: Really clarified what his family history actually was.
Fisher: Boy! And on that note we say, thank you Paul Woodbury. Great to chat with you! And preparation, very important part of any trip, make those calls, prepare ahead of time and check in with people, they’re going to help you out.
Fisher: Thanks so much, Paul.
Paul: Thank you.
Fisher: And this segment of Extreme Genes has been brought to you by 23AndMe.com DNA. And coming up next, it’s our Preservation Authority, Tom Perry talking about what happens after you’ve digitized your stuff, in three minutes.
Segment 4 Episode 151
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And it is preservation time with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he’s our Preservation Authority. And this segment is brought to you by Forever.com. How are you, Tom?
Fisher: And I guess the best way to title what we’re going to talk about today is this: “Hey, congratulations. You’ve digitized all your stuff, now what?”
Tom: [Laughs] Exactly.
Fisher: Right? I mean, because there are a lot of options of things to do, and I’m in the middle of this right now.
Tom: Oh, exactly. In fact, you’re a good source for information and what you’re doing right now. What’s really interesting is a lot of people as we tell them on the show “Get this stuff digitized.” Once that’s done, you can do whatever you want to do.
Fisher: You can take your time.
Tom: Yeah, exactly. No big deal. It’s digitized, it’s stored, you know, I can get to it. Now there are some people who are so excited like yourself, they’ve taken that step, they now want to find out what do I do now? And like we’ve talked about it in shows in the past, you always want to kind of do this on a backwards type thing. You want to go in the future and decide what you want to do. If you want to make YouTube videos, if you want to be able to distribute this to all your family, if you want to have this just for your own kids, there’s so many different ways, so you have to figure out what you want in the end and then start working towards what we’re doing now. So we need to see what the end goal is. If you want to distribute it and do a lot of fun things, there’s a lot of cool things we’ve talked about like DaVinci, which is a great program and you can download a basic version of it absolutely for free, which you have done.
Tom: And it’s totally free. If you get into it and really find out: “Wow! I love this video editor. I want to go fully on board on this.” Then you can buy the other one and knock out some pretty incredible things. You can add photos, you can add audio. It’s really nice to use.
Fisher: And the metadata.
Tom: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely!
Fisher: Very important.
Tom: That is. In fact, that brings up a really interesting thing too another software that we highly recommend is called Heritage Collectors. It does all kinds of metadata like you’re talking about, so, you’re looking at these photos 20 years from now, you’ll know exactly what the GPS coordinates are, where they were shot, different things, if they’re aerial views. You can do all kinds of cool things with them. They even have the software that you can go in and physically make a calendar, but you make up the file that you then take to a Kinko’s or FedEx store, or something like that, or put it on your home computer and it will have like little QR codes built right into it. So on grandma and grandpa’s birthday, they can scan it with their smart phone and it will be the family wishing them happy birthday and singing happy birthday to them. You can go in and take things from the past like old audio recordings. And on grandpa’s birthday who is now passed, with these metadatas, with the QR codes, all these kinds of things makes it so fun and interesting.
Fisher: Yeah. It’s amazing the technology that’s available right now. But at the end of the day you’re right, you’ve got to decide a couple of things. First of all, how much time do you have to devote to the project?
Fisher: I think you need to know that even before you figure out your end goal.
Fisher: Because that can affect it. I mean if you’ve got 50 years to work on it, you know, you might have a different approach than if you had 5 to 10 years to work on it, you know, in terms of life expectancy and your interest. And then the question is, is who in the family or who in the general public is going to want to access this or do you want to give access to. And then you have to narrow it down and say “What am I capable of doing? Am I capable of paying somebody to do some of the things I’d like to have done? Or is there somebody in the family who can help us out?” So you’ve got to sort a lot out before you can determine maybe what your next step is, and what you can actually use as tools to get you there.
Tom: You know, that’s really good too, because our transfer facility, as well as other transfer facilities across the country say, “Hey, you can come in and you can just drop it at our doorstep and we’ll give you a finished product, we’ll put it on YouTube, we’ll do whatever you want.” Where some people just want the basic digitization done so that they can go in and do their own editing, and so we make it totally flexible, whatever you want to do, it’s not a package you have to, you know, buy. And then after the break we’ll go in and talk a little bit more about, you know, it’s like a race, do you want to sprint? Do you want to do a relay race?
Tom: What do you want to do? And we’ll help you with that.
Fisher: Boy, it’s a difficult challenge. But once you have it digitized, you have all the options in the world, and that’s the good news.
Fisher: Yeah, we’ll get to the next segment coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 151
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: We are back, final segment of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here the Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. And we’re talking preservation. And this is part 2 of our segment we call “Congratulations, you’ve digitized all your stuff, now what?”
Tom: [Laughs] Exactly.
Fisher: And as we got to the end of the last segment, we kind of kicked around the idea that there’s really a lot of factors involved in determining what you do with your materials once you’ve already had them digitized. And that can include your age, your technical capabilities, your financial status, how many years you may have left to live, who your audience is, I mean there are a lot of things. So let’s get into a little of this, Tom, and talk about different tools that may be involved, depending on what direction you want to go.
Tom: Exactly. And that’s really good, and at the end of the segment when we talked about the race, if you look at racers, all different kinds of races. So if you want just a sprint, you just want to get something to your kids really quick, find out how you want to distribute it, so it’s easy for the kids just to get it down and dirty and quick, and they can do what they want to do. The relay race which you kind of talked about is “Hey, I’m 75 years old, I’ve got 40 different tapes I need to edit, it’s not going to happen in my lifetime, let me go and write down what I have here, give a good description, get started on it, do what I can, then hand it down to my kids and then they can pick it up,” because some of these people are working on projects that have been handed down from generation to generation.
Tom: They’re adding more photos as they become available, and people that are doing family research they find out that there’s, you know, weird things in their family history and that’s a new piece that now needs to be added to the family history, videos, films, scrap books, all these different kinds of things.
Fisher: And I would imagine people who, say, are in the peak of their careers don’t have the time to deal with this, even if they have the technical ability to do a lot of the editing.
Fisher: And so that’s the point where you say, “Well, can I turn this over to somebody like you? Or some local distributor or some local editor who can actually do the work for you,” and that in itself is probably the simplest thing, but it’s also the most expensive way.
Tom: It is, absolutely. You know, we have to pay our employees so it can be kind of expensive. One thing you can do, you can go to your local high schools, you can go your local junior collages, regular collages, and a lot of times that they have kind of a media program, they might, you know, take on a project as a freebie almost, just to help their students get some real world experience.
Tom: And so you give them your stuff and they can go in and edit it, kind of draw and outline what you want. The tools they have now with smart phones and with, you know, Macs and PCs and all these different kinds of computers, they used to cost $10/20,000, now you can get a system for $1000, and a lot of schools will let the kids use the school computers to do projects like this. So especially if you’re in an area where you don’t really have the time and you don’t have the money to pay somebody else to do it, go and look at local resources. Check out your junior colleges, even your elementary school.
Fisher: Yes, somebody might be willing to help you with that and get it done.
Tom: Oh, absolutely.
Fisher: And that’s so important. And then once you’re done with that you can post it to where it needs to go or send copies to where it needs to go. Let’s talk programs, we’ve only got about 45 seconds here, Tom, a few tools that might be of use in different types of projects.
Tom: One thing I tell people to check out is if you’re a PC user, get Power Director, it’s a great program, it’s only $50, and it’s rated really, really high. We’ve already talked about DaVinci, it’s a great program. We’ve talked about Heritage Collectors, its great software.
Tom: People use to use Cinematize which I love, and there are a few copies still out there. The one that’s really replaced it is WonderShare. It’s a great program, I can’t give enough recommendations to it. Their text services are great. You have any kind of questions, problems, you call them or send them an email, and they get back to you so fast. And if they find out something that you’re having problems with, they’ll fix it. They’ll also, if you have ideas, they’ll put it in the next version. We’ve given them ideas and they’ve come out with it already.
Fisher: [Laughs] You’re sounding like Donald Trump, “They’re gonna come back so quickly it will make your head spin!”
Fisher: Fantastic. Tom, good to see you, thanks for coming on! We’ll see you next week.
Tom: Sounds good.
Fisher: Hey, that wraps up our show for this week. This segment has been brought to you by LegacyTree.com and MyHeritage.com. And just a reminder, you can sign up for our new weekly newsletter “The Weekly Genie” on our Extreme Genes website, and also on Facebook.com it’s free, and when you do you get David Allen Lambert’s Top Ten Tips for beginning genealogists. We’ll be back next week with more expert guests, so we hope you’ll join us then. Take care. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family!