Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David talks about some holiday meal recipes from the days of Martha Washington, and the story of one woman who cooked them up for friends. Find out the reaction! David then shares the story of three African-American Civil War Union soldiers who were recently reburied with honors in Pennsylvania. Then? what are “legacy letters,” whose writing them, and why? The guys will tell you. David then shares a simple but effective tip of the week about public libraries, and tells you how you can be part of an NEHGS research trip in 2017. He’ll share the itinerary.
Next (starts at 10:39), Fisher visits with Ohio’s David Imbrogno, who recently visited his father’s hometown in Italy. As part of his journey, David and his brother got to visit three abandoned homes that covered three generations of his ancestry. And at one of them in particular, a remarkable thing happened when he simply put his foot down. Hear David’s remarkable story.
Then (starts at 24:19), Fisher visits with Jen Allen of FamilySearch.org, organizers of Roots Tech. Jen has all the skinny on what’s happening at this coming year’s conference in February and how you can be a part of it. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned genie, you’ll want to hear what’s in store at Roots Tech 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Tom Perry then joins the show for his usual insight on what’s happening in preservation. This week? Tom will keep you out of trouble (and maybe out of jail!). He’ll talk copying copyrighted material as well as why anyone would want to transfer a DVD to VHS!
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 170
Fisher: And welcome to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. Our guests today, very excited to have David Imbrogno on. He’s an Ohio man, recently took a trip to Italy and actually visited the house his dad was born in, in 1921. All boarded up, but he was still able to get in there and you won’t believe how he got into some parts of the house [Laughs] we’ll have that coming up for you in about eight minutes or so. And then later on in the show, we’re going to talk to Jen Allen from FamilySearch.org. She’s going to be here to talk to us about Roots Tech this year. Yeah, all the things that are going to be happening, what we can anticipate, it’s coming up in early February in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is something whether you’re a true genie, whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’re going to want to plan to be at! And just a reminder, also make sure you get signed up for our Weekly Genie newsletter. It is absolutely free, we give you all kinds of stories there, I link you to those and also other great interviews we’ve had on past shows of Extreme Genes and a column from me each week. We’d love to have you as part of our Weekly Genie community. It’s easy to do, just go to ExtremeGenes.com and you’ll find the sign up box right there in the upper right hand corner of our home page. But right now let’s head out to Boston and my good friend the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. It is David Allen Lambert. How are you David?
David: I’m doing great, Fish. We’re out in Beantown and getting ready for Christmas this week and everybody is hustling and bustling in the streets of Boston.
Fisher: Yes sir! And we’ve got a lot of things to talk about too as we get ready for all kinds of cultural and family experiences that all kind of tie into creating new family memories, right?
David: Oh well that’s true. And so what are you planning for dinner this holiday?
Fisher: You know, I don’t plan the dinners in my house. We’re a very traditional household. It is all planned by the women folk and they do a great job.
David: Agreed. Well I’m going to send your wife a couple of suggestions you might want to try. Well it may change the amount of people that go to your dinner table. Sarah Loneman just wrote a book called “Eight Flavors, the untold Story of American Cuisine.” Have you ever tried a cake made by Martha Washington?
Fisher: No. Is there something different about it?
David: Well the thing about it that’s a little different is it doesn’t have as much flour as it does black pepper.
Fisher: Oh! [Laughs] Wow!
David: Yeah, so her black pepper cake by Martha Washington, I’m sure is not very popular with current first ladies. But they couldn’t be any more unpopular than something that this author tried which is called “Stewed Moose Face.”
Fisher: [Laughs] That’s a picture isn’t it?
David: Yeah it’s exactly what it sounds like.
David: She ended up spending an afternoon in her kitchen taking a moose face brought in from Alaska, scalding the face in hot water to remove the fur. Well, you know what a wet dog smells like?
David: Wet moose is not nice.
Fisher: No, not good.
David: But at the end of the day, the people she invited, ate it. But in the end they went and ordered takeout pizza.
Fisher: Yes I would too, probably first.
David: The next story is a really touching one and it comes out from Pennsylvania, where three soldiers from the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, were reburied. You may remember the 54th if you saw the movie back in the ‘80s with Matthew Broderick and Morgan Freeman, “Glory.”
David: It was the African American unit that was raised. These gentlemen were buried in a private cemetery on private property during the war. And they were now laid to honor in a cemetery with other veterans. I think it’s wonderful. So Greenbury Stanton, William Anderson and John Nelson were remembered well over 150 years after they passed away.
Fisher: What a great story.
David: The one thing that really touches me, when we go back and talk to our older relatives and get stories, and the survivors of the Holocaust are writing their stories down. These heart wrenching stories and sharing them with future generations, are putting them out on social media. One of the things that they’re creating is called a “Legacy Letter” which allows them to impart their values and advice to the next generation. Almost like a time capsule advice. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if we had that from our great grandparents that they wrote down? By the way, when you read this 100 years from now, keep in mind that the best thing in life is blank.
Fisher: Isn’t that great. What a great idea… Legacy Letters.
David: I instill this idea to everybody else, so you know it’s kind of like a tip. Why not write one ourselves?
David: For our descendants.
Fisher: And that’s from the New York Times. We have a link to that story at ExtremeGenes.com, so check it out.
David: Well, one of the things that I would like to say is that tips are something I love to give out. So here’s one that’s generic that I give out all the time and I hope that our listeners like it. If you have ancestors say upstate New York or somewhere in the midwest and you’ve never been there before and you can’t find the records online, they haven’t been microfilmed or digitized or whatever the case might be. Where do you want to go to get research done? Well you can get in the car and go, but I suggest before you go, find out who the genealogist in the town is. Now, when you’ve done this Fish you know a lot of times we’ll go out and we’ll go to the Historical Society and they’re not open.
David: But I find sometimes the Historical Societies, no offence, are more interested in that old school house or the old fire pump that they had.
David: They may not be genealogists. We’re a special breed. So here’s my tip, call the public library that may deal with the community of interest or a regional library that deals with multiple communities and say, “When you get a reference question on genealogy, who do you turn to?” Who is the person you pull out of your Roladex? And ask that contact. You’ll probably get Mable Saunders whose 85 years old…
David: …who’s collecting every obituary since she was 12 years old and putting scrapbooks together.
David: This week on AmericanAncestors.org, I’m going to do something a little different. Many of our listeners who I’ve met at conferences have said that they wanted to go on some of the research trips that I go on. So here’s my invite to them. For 2017, I invite you to join AmericanAncestors.org, on the road. From March 5th to 12 we’ll be in Washington D.C, where we’ll be visiting the Nation Archives, the DAR Library, and the Library of Congress. If you want to go international with me, I’m going to be in Scotland, Edinburgh doing research in the Highlands there on June 18th to 25th. And then, to the greatest collection of microfilm in genealogical research you can get in one place, right there in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Family History Library. We’ll have a tour to Salt Lake November 5th to 12. Merry Christmas my friend, to you and yours!
Fisher: You too my friend and we’ll talk to you soon!
David: Take care.
Fisher: David Allen Lambert from Boston. All right and this segment has been brought to you by LegacyTree.com. And coming up next in 3 minutes, I’ll talk to an Ohio man who went back to his father’s birth house in Italy. You won’t believe some of the experiences he had, coming up next on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 170
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Imbrogno
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, it is Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, and part of my sleuthing often has to do with finding stories that I think you’re going to be interested in, and this one just is absolutely incredible, and in large part because of the fact that they created a website around an amazing trip to Italy. And on the line with me right now from the area of Lebanon Ohio, it’s David Imbrogno. How are you, David? Welcome to the show!
David: I’m very good. Glad to be here.
Fisher: How did you guys get started in family history? Because I know it wasn’t just you. It was other family members as well.
David: Well I’m part of the generation that had a foot in both worlds the old world and the new. My father was born in Italy, came across with my grandparents, so we had that first hand exposure to the old country and the folks that came over, as well as the modern life here in the US. We were always curious. When we were young I think we took it for granted, as we got older we realized if we don’t look into this and record it and such, it’s going to be gone soon. So my aunt started doing genealogy, my brother and I just started recording stories. He’s a journalist, I’m a photographer and eventually we decided, “This is great, but we’ve got to go to the place where it all came from.”
Fisher: Wow! And so did you get to interview dad before he passed?
David: Yeah. We interviewed and photographed everybody we could. I don’t think we missed anyone. Perhaps my grandfather a little bit but I’ve got lots of photographs. But he passed before we had all the fancy digital recording equipment.
Fisher: But what fun though that you could pass this down to the next generation and they can really participate in the culture of it all. So you went to Italy, and you knew of course where they were from, did you know you had family over there living now?
David: Um hmm yeah, because my grandmother had gone over before she passed, my uncle who lives up in Ontario goes there regularly, and we knew there were some there but holy moly! We arrived and stayed with, I think it’s my grandmother’s niece or something like that, but word spread, there was a knock at the door and more people, another knock and more people. Pretty soon there wasn’t any room in the apartment. So we moved to somebody’s house. More people showed up, and we ended up… one of them owned a restaurant, a pizzeria, and we had to go there because of all the people that came to see us, that were family, everybody including an older man that had babysat my father.
Fisher: No! Wow.
David: Yeah. [Laughs]
David: It was just like one miracle after another on this trip.
Fisher: And the stories are always that they feed you until you just about explode. Did you gain weight on this trip?
David: [Laughs] I have no comment.
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, talk a little about the exploration around the home where your father was born. Now what year was he born first of all?
David: He was born in 1921 I think it was.
David: And they came over in ’29. There were three homes actually. There was the home where my grandmother was born, the home where my grandfather lived, and even the home of my great grandfather. So it went back three generations.
Fisher: Wow! And they’re still all in the family?
David: Well no, they’re not. Most folks in Italy have to rent, at least in that part of Italy. It’s owned by a businessman. One of my cousins has been trying to buy the property but he hasn’t had much luck. But all three homes were standing and available for us to explore. You know I’d been to China right after Tiananmen Square. I’ve been to museum expeditions when I worked for a museum of natural history in the Philippines. I spent a lot of time in India. I was in Pakistan working on establishing cultural relations six months before 9/11. I’ve been all over the world and I thought a trip to Italy to see where my dad was born might be fun. But it just knocked me flat. I can’t even explain it. I’m a photographer, my brother is a journalist. We had two Italian aunts with us that helped a lot with speaking and such.
David: And we switched roles. My brother couldn’t write, I couldn’t photograph, and suddenly I was writing and he was photographing. Because our traditional means of expression were just insufficient to what we experienced.
Fisher: Well, talk about the key. Now you’re walking along, what is it, a field outside of the house where your father was born, what 90 some-odd years ago now, and you feel something under your feet?
David: Yeah. [Laughs] We were just feeling pretty overwhelmed. We’d been to the house where my grandmother lived and we were looking at the house where my father and grandfather lived and I was just kind of kicking around in the dirt and just taking it all in, and I saw something, I was kicking at it in the dirt just right in front of the house, and I reached down and there was this great big six inch long key half rusted away.
David: And I thought, “That’s nice” and then I looked and the door had a keyhole that looked like it fit the key. And sure enough, it did. It was a key to the door in the bottom of the house. I practically fell to pieces, like, “Oh my gosh!”
Fisher: [Laughs] Wow! And so this allowed you to go down to the basement otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get there?
David: Probably not. We were able to get into the upstairs. The house was abandoned but we probably wouldn’t have been able to get down into the basement where the wine cellar was, the wine making and the wine storage and such like that. I took the key when I brought it back. I took some scrapping off the metal off of it and I had a friend of mine make some duplicates of it including some of the original metal. I made enough for my kids and all my grandkids and gave to my kids a copy of the key with photographs of the house and each of my grandkids will get a copy of the key when they’re old enough to have their own household, their own house, in a stable situation that way.
Fisher: What a great idea. So the house had been abandoned. Was it abandoned when your father’s family took them to the United States?
David: No. They left for all the reasons, political, economic and otherwise, that most immigrants from Italy did. I think the reason the two were abandoned was the earthquake finally got to them. There’s a lot of earthquakes over there.
David: And eventually they just got to them. You can see where the house has gotten some poles and things stabilized after previous earthquakes. But finally I think it just got too much and the house just wasn’t safe to live in anymore.
Fisher: Now, I don’t think we’ve even mentioned what town we’re talking about here.
David: It’s near Cosenza called Calabria near the city of Cosenza but out in the countryside. Down near the bottom of Italy kind of around the ankle.
Fisher: At the ankle towards the boot? Gotcha! [Laughs]
David: Um hmm. [Laughs]
Fisher: So, you mentioned there were three houses, and I remember seeing a picture of one of them where there was a coat hanging on the wall now. Whose house was that one?
David: That was the house where my grandmother lived in Northern Nepalese almost exactly like an Andrew Wyeth painting I saw of a coat on a wall. In fact I posted on my Facebook page the picture of the two coats side by side. It was just old and probably would have fallen apart if I touched it. And I’m kicking myself because I didn’t look in the pockets. Why didn’t I look in the pockets?
Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah. And all these homes were abandoned right? I mean the one your father was born in and then the grandmother’s house and there was one other.
David: Yeah, the other one was my great grandfather’s house, and it was a little bit of a shell of a house and it was completely surrounded with brambles. We had to fight our way in. But that one had the biggest wine cellar of all, a great big vat for mixing the grape juice and lots of bottles, even a few barrels.
Fisher: All right. If somebody was planning a trip to Italy, what advice would you give them?
David: It depends on why you’re going. I had once before gotten the opportunity to go and we went to Rome and saw all the… you got to see the main tourist sites. And they’re just so amazing, so spectacular, so much history, so much of everything, the Vatican, on and on and on. But out in the countryside, it’s just an amazing world and there’s multiple worlds. It goes from way up north, down south, and like each region, the southern part, the middle part, the upper part are completely different. Just depends on what you’re looking for, the Tuscan country up north, this wonderful Rome, all the touristy things and Florence and all that. Then the south, in a way it’s like our south. There aren’t as many things that the traditional tourists come looking for. In my opinion, the real Italy, at least as far as our roots, the landscapes, the Tuscan country and all that are wonderful. And in some ways are even prettier than down south. But it’s just a nice simplicity to it and a reality to it.
Fisher: Did you find some records while you were there?
David: My aunts that came with us, they just collected all kinds of information on genealogy from people because they could speak the language. In our case it was a little harder. After I wrote the story I sat on it for almost a year and I don’t know why, I just didn’t do anything with it. And then my father died and I realized what the story was missing, it was missing a conclusion. When my father was in the process of dying, I was rushing out of the house to go be with him and I literally tripped over a box of roof tiles that I had brought back from Italy from the house where he was born, and I don’t know, without even thinking I grabbed a few and I took them with me. While we were with him, he held the roof tile and that was one of the last things he was able to do physically. And then as he faded, he dropped the tile and I put it on the shelf on the top of his bed and then he died. And I was sitting there and I realized almost unconsciously, by putting that roof tile up there, that he died under the same roof he was born. And that is the conclusion of the story, and then somehow deep inside I knew it didn’t have a conclusion until that happened.
Fisher: Incredible. He’s David Imbrogno. He’s from Lebanon Ohio and his site is CowGarage.com and you can see some amazing pictures there of the key to the house his father was born in, back in 1921. David, a pleasure to talk to you, thanks so much for sharing your story!
David: Thank you.
Fisher: And this segment of Extreme Genes is brought to you by MyHeritage.com. And coming up for you in 5 minutes – We’re going to talk to Jen Allen. Now Jen is with FamilySearch.org they’re the organizers and sponsors of Roots Tech, the largest family history conference in the world. It’s coming up in February. You’ll want to hear what she has to say on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 170
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Jen Allen
Fisher: Welcome back to America’s Family History Show, it’s Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth. We’re coming up on it, I know we’ve got the holidays, we’ve got Christmas, we’ve got the New Year’s, we’ve got Hanukah, but the big thing genealogists are looking forward right now is Roots Tech. Coming up in early February in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sponsored by FamilySearch.org one of our sponsors and Jen Allen is here from Family Search. Jen this is an exciting time. This is like another Christmas.
Jen: That’s right. It’s huge and we love it and we’re so excited for it to come every year but this year especially. It’s going to be really special for everybody.
Fisher: It’s going to be big. I mean what is this, the sixth one?
Jen: This is now actually the eighth conference.
Fisher: The eighth! My goodness!
Jen: Yes. We are planning the eighth. It started in 2011 and here we are.
Fisher: How many people did we have last year? I’m thinking in the buildings during the three or four days, it was like what, twenty eight thousand? Something like that?
Jen: Yes, you’re right on. It was over twenty five thousand, close to twenty eight thousand and we had so many people. Everyone engaged and loving the experience.
Fisher: And then when you add in everybody watching streaming online in remote locations around the world, it’s like six figures.
Jen: Yes. It’s huge. We have over a hundred and forty thousand watching during the four days of the conference, but then throughout the rest of the year engaging in the content and using the videos. It’s well over three hundred thousand people.
Fisher: So if you’re new to family history, this is a big deal for you. If you live somewhere in the west in the Salt Lake City area or within driving range, this is something you want to plan for. Now the dates this year are…?
Jen: February 8th through the 11th that’s always a Wednesday through a Saturday.
Fisher: Right. The Innovators Summit is the first day. And this is kind of fun because this is where the tech part of Roots Tech comes in to play, and we see some of the great ideas for making genealogy better, easier to do, from very creative people around the world.
Jen: That’s right. Yeah, Innovators summit has grown to be very huge and perfect for that audience that are the developers, the entrepreneurs, even the investors in the space, and FamilySearch really tries to foster that so that we can grow that industry and provide even more great companies and products for us to use.
Fisher: And big money too. I mean prizes for this thing. What was it last year?
Jen: We had a hundred thousand dollar prize for the innovator showdown piece which is the competition part that we have. You know it’s the Shark Tank meets America’s Got Talent on stage.
Jen: We have the developers who come and pitch their product to five judges on the stage who ask them hard questions and a hundred thousand dollars at stake. It’s a great opportunity for those new companies.
Fisher: So we got that money again this year?
Jen: That’s coming again yeah, and that event is hosted on Friday at ten thirty in the morning.
Jen: Right after the keynote.
Fisher: We have some incredible keynote speakers this year as always. I keep wondering every year how they could get much better.
Fisher: But this year… incredible guests.
Jen: Really bringing in some inspiring speakers that will help us be motivated to continue doing what we do. But also, get people to come in the doors. So we’re really excited. On Thursday we’ll have Steve Rockwood back, the CEO of FamilySearch, really excited to hear his message as always. Following him we have the Scott brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott from the Property Brothers on HGTV and they are busy everyday building experiences for families to gather and make memories in their homes.
Fisher: I cannot tell them apart. I’m sorry. [Laughs]
Jen: No, that’s okay. [Laughs]
Fisher: Then we have Levar Burton?
Jen: That’s right.
Fisher: Of course he was the guy who was Kunta Kinte on the original Roots, which really started this for an awful lot of people.
Jen: That’s right. And I know a lot of people who are very excited to see him. He has some really great stories and memories from that experience but also stories of his own life and how his mother has really impacted his life. Very excited to have him, and that will kick off a whole African celebration day that we have going on, on Friday at Roots Tech.
Fisher: Are we going to have a lot of people showing up in their Star Trek gear for this? That’s what I’m wondering.
Jen: I have a feeling, yes. I’m pretty sure that will be happening. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] There’s Oscar Hammerstein the third. Now he doesn’t go by that.
Jen: No, he goes by Andy.
Fisher: Right. Well he’s got an amazing heritage obviously on Broadway and he’s going to be bringing that to us and I’m really looking forward to that. Not only that, he’s going to be part of this big Broadway celebration of Hammerstein going on during Roots Tech at the Conference Center at Salt Lake City, Utah. And tickets are available for that still and they are free?
Jen: They are free, and it’s open to the public. And actually, to go to that event you don’t even have to have a Roots Tech pass. But, our Roots Tech pass holders get special seating for that as well. So either way, come and join us at the Conference Center. It will be a great event highlighting the Broadway history of America and really focusing on Rodgers and Hammerstein music and the stories and memories that built the Broadway that it is today.
Fisher: Now who are the performers that are going to be in this?
Jen: In that opening event we have Andy who will be providing the stories and memories, but the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be providing the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein which will be very powerful. We also have Dallin coming in as the guest soloist.
Fisher: Wow! This is going to be such a huge time. All right, so obviously in the gathering in the main hall there, we have all kinds of different booths. How many different exhibitors do you expect this year?
Jen: So we have over 200 exhibitors that will be coming and joining and showcasing their products for the consumers and the attendees at the event. It’s so interactive and so fun. If you’ve never been to Roots Tech, the Expo Hall tends to be the highlight of everybody’s visit.
Fisher: Yeah, the Expo Hall’s fun also, because right in the middle of it, just rows and rows of computers. So you might learn something in a class or find out something from one of the exhibitors, and then you can go right online and start doing some of your research right there in the Expo Hall.
Jen: That’s right. And there’s people all over ready to help you, answer your questions, give you direction on the different things that you need help with specifically in your family lines. It’s so engaging. It’s so much fun. You really can learn a lot just from going to the Expo Hall.
Fisher: Here it is December now. We’re only six, seven weeks away. What do people need to know about getting tickets, especially for various classes and that type of thing now and how do they do that?
Jen: The best thing to do is, go to RootsTech.org, and register at that point for your pass. You’ve got to get your pass to come to Roots Tech. Really, the best thing after that is, to download our mobile app, and that will give you all the classes, you can create your customized schedule, see all the events and activities that are taking place and really organize your time while you’ll be here.
Fisher: Yeah, plan ahead is the most important thing, just like with the research, right? No matter what, you’ve got to know what you’re doing before you get there. Where can people see syllabus for all the classes?
Jen: The best place for that this year is on the mobile app. And you’ll be able to download them for free. If you register for Roots Tech this year, you can actually purchase a whole printed binder of all the syllabi, if that’s something of interest to you to have permanently.
Fisher: Now, what’s really fun is Saturday. And that is the madhouse.
Fisher: Now I see you just cringed again, because Saturday of course is the last day of Roots Tech. It’s on a weekend. And this is where all the kids come in. And it’s a big, family day. But boy, do those kids have fun! Because there’s so much for them to do there, and if you really want to get your kids hooked on genealogy and family history research, get them involved on that Saturday.
Jen: That’s right. A lot of people ask why we continue to have them on the same day, but we love bringing the future of genealogy to meet those who are already engaged in loving it so much. And really, it’s our opportunity to pass that torch. We want these kids to continue doing the work that we’ve all started.
Fisher: Now, FamilySearch has a very special little booth.
Jen: Yes. FamilySearch has a lot of experiences, but specifically the Discovery Zone in the Expo Hall is a great place for everybody to come and see the fun side and the more interactive side of family history, and to be able to call Grandma and record a story from her. But also, there are huge screens everywhere that you’re able to interact with and see where your family came from and see a big interactive map of where they’ve all been, what your name means, lots of different things to help you engage in some of those other pieces of family history, not just records and dates and names.
Fisher: All right, tickets… how much?
Jen: Tickets start out at $49.99, and you can get those at RootsTech.org. But there’s all sorts of passes, whether it’s a “Getting Started Pass,” a full Roots Tech pass that will get you into everything and then you can add “Innovators’ Summit” to those as well. All those options are available to you. There’s a price comparison sheet on RootsTech.org, so you can see what pass makes sense for you and your experience level.
Fisher: She’s Jen Allen from FamilySearch.org. Thanks so much, Jen. I cannot wait for February 8th through 11th in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Jen: You’ve got it, thank you.
Fisher: And this segment of our show has been brought to you by 23andMe.com DNA. Well, coming up next, its preservation time. I’m going to talk to Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. We have your listener emails, a question about legalities, can somebody convert something from DVD to VHS. Why would somebody want to do that? We’ll find out some of those answers coming up for you here in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 170
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. This segment of our show is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. Tom Perry is here for preservation time from TMCPlace.com. Hi Tom!
Fisher: We have an email sent to us from Ryan Bennett in Austin, Texas. Oh, our podcast producer! [Laughs]
Fisher: How about that! Asking, “Hey, Tom. What can I do to take my DVDs and copy them over to my server so I can access them on my devices? Is this legal, even if I were able to do it and is there software for it? Ryan Bennett.”
Tom: Yes, Ryan, you can do this. In fact, we’ve talked about this quite often with the Wondershare software. It’s awesome software! You can take DVDs or BluRays and go in and turn them into, what I would recommend is MP4s, because if you put MP4s on your server, then you’re going to be able to access them from your iPhone, your iPad, you know, anything that you want, and you’ll be able to watch your movies. Now, one thing that’s cool about that also is, if there’s any specific things, if you’re like a sales person, you have like a sales training DVD that you want to be able to access on your iPad when you’re going out and visiting people, Wondershare also has a way that you can convert that to a specific file that will just reside on your iPad, so that you can go and make presentations right there. So that’s a great way to do that, too. But if it’s just movies and different things that you’ve created, or as you talked about, some copyright things, the best way is to do MP4s as I recommended. And to let our listeners know that differences between a computer and a server. A server is a special computer that is designed so that you can access it with your, you know, your iPad, iPhone, anything that you want, different kind of devices. And so, things kind of rest on that, and then you can go and access them. A lot of people get servers that they rent from other people, but a lot of people are starting to have servers in their own home, so they can do whatever they want. They can have any room in their home, any television in their home can access their server to watch their movies. So once you’ve converted these to MP4, there’s nothing illegal about that, as long as you don’t resell your DVDs or give anybody access out of your immediate household to your server. So, if you take these DVDs and sell them, thinking, “Oh, I don’t need them anymore,” then you’re in major copyright infringement. If you give your neighbors access to it or your uncle, your friends, your cousins or things like that, then you’re going to run into major copyright programs. But if it’s for use in your household, in use on your devices that you’re not loaning or giving to somebody else, there should not be any copyright issues at all. And I like MP4s. Again, they’re extremely good quality, but they’re only about half the size of a normal DVD, so you can get a lot of them on there and you can download them very easily.
Fisher: I was really hoping that you were going to give him some advice that would make him think he’s already going to jail, but all right.
Fisher: Let’s move on. Now this comes from Richard Bonaduce, with Western Governors University. And he says, “Tom, WGU is looking to convert at least ten VHS tapes to a digital format, not DVD necessarily, but to a digital file. Please let us know what kind of price quote and timetable we should expect.”
Tom: That’s a really good question. We have a lot of people that are trying to get into digital files. And like we’ve talked about on the show before, you need to find out what your end game is. Do you really need to go to a digital file? Is a DVD going to work for you? Why do you want a digital file? Why do you want a DVD? And when you know that answers to that, we can better help you. Now one thing, going straight to a DVD is usually less expensive, because it takes less labor, but anything you’re doing nowadays with computers or any kind of devices, it’s your labor that you’re paying for that’s the most expensive commodity. And it’s just going up, up, up, up, while electronics are coming down. So if you want to go to the most inexpensive route, you always want to go with DVD, whether it’s us or anybody out there. There are other duplication and transfer houses. They can usually do DVDs less, because they can do a whole bunch at the same time. Or when they’re going from a VHS to a digital file, they’ve got to go through a translator, they’ve got to put it on the computer, they’ve got to go back into the computer, turn it into an MP4, an AVI, an MOV, whatever format you want, which is going to involve more labor in it. Across the country, you’re generally going to spend approximately about thirty dollars to convert any kind of a tape to digital format. If you’re going just straight to DVD, if some of them have a discount, and that’s what you’re going to expect to pay, so basically, 25 to 30 dollars to be able to convert those.
Fisher: All right, so what do we have coming up next?
Tom: In the next segment, we’re going to talk about going back to the future.
Fisher: All right, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 170
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And we are back for our final segment of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, talking about preservation. You know, I think we’re saving a lot of people from trouble.
Tom: Oh yeah!
Fisher: As we do this. We’ve got another question here. This is from Cathy. And she said, “I’d like to have The Young Messiah movie on a BluRay DVD transferred to my old VHS tape, because that’s the only kind of player I have. Can you do this?”
Tom: Yeah, we can!
Fisher: Um hmm, but?
Tom: BluRay players are pretty inexpensive nowadays. I see them, you know, about a month ago when they had Black Friday, they were fifty bucks. I’ve see them on Amazon really inexpensively. You can buy used ones really inexpensive, too. If that’s totally out of the question, you can’t get a BluRay player. Yeah, we can turn anything back to a VHS. In fact, it’s kind of funny that you mentioned that. We have some older clients that refuse to go digital. They don’t want a DVD player they don’t want a BluRay player. They like their VHS machine flashing 12 o’clock at them, all the time.
Tom: And they’re happy with it. And so, yeah, we can do that, but it usually runs about the same price. Now one thing, back to the BluRay, DVD, all this kind of stuff, there’s no reason to keep a DVD player now that BluRay players are out there. It’s not like the old days when they had VHS and Hi8 and VHSCs and mini DVs. They were all cross contamination, so to speak. Well now with the BluRay player, the good quality BluRay players, you can play DVDs actually better than your old DVD player. So if you have like a Disney DVD, it looks great and everything’s fine. You put it in a BluRay player that does up conversion and its going to make everything look better. So Snow White’s going to look whiter, the dwarves are going to look more dwarfie!
Tom: Everything’s going to be better. It’s going to be awesome. And one thing you want to make sure, if your new television or the television that you’re using right now is what they call an HDMI input on it, any BluRay will work. If you haven’t upgraded your television right now and you’re not interested in doing that, make sure when you buy a BluRay player that it has the composite plugs on the back of it. Those with the little round ones, one is red, one is white and one is yellow. So if your television has that and does not have an HDMI, make sure the BluRay player that you get has those. Some do and some don’t. Sony makes great BluRay players, because they’re the ones that basically invented the format. It was them and Warner Brothers in the beginning, so, Sonys always good. I use Samsungs. I sell Samsungs. I really like them. I’ve never had a problem. But the most important thing you want to remember is, that you have the right TV to match the right player. As I mentioned, if you have a newer flat screen, I guarantee it’s going to take HDMI.
Fisher: All right. Both of these questions, though, the one we had earlier and this one from Cathy, still touch on that question of the legality of copying a copyrighted piece. It’s okay, when?
Tom: It’s okay if it’s only for your use and it’s a convenience thing. If you have a VHS tape and you want to make another VHS tape of it that’s like a Disney movie, that’s totally illegal. You cannot do that. In the Fair Use Act, there’s kind of a convenience clause in there that will allow you to change it from VHS to DVD or backwards, either one. And now, remember, I’m not an attorney, I’m not a lawyer, I don’t play one on the radio or on television. So if you want to check, talk to an Attorney to find out for sure, but the way I understand the law is, it’s the Fair Use Act, which is a convenience thing. You’re just making a VHS into a DVD, so that you can play it on your DVD player, because your VHS player doesn’t work anymore.
Fisher: But you can’t do it making copies for each of your kids and sharing them throughout the country or whatever it may be.
Tom: Exactly! And a lot of people tried doing that, especially with music. They try to make a compilation CD and say, “It’s my property. I can make copies for my kids.” They may be your kids, but you can’t make copies for them, unless you get hold of the Harry Fox agency and get permission.
Fisher: All right. Thanks so much, Tom. Good advice. Let’s save our listeners a lot of trouble moving forward with that, and they don’t get hung up.
Tom: Exactly! You don’t want to FCC knocking on your door.
Fisher: Ooh! Or anybody else! All right, thanks so much. And if you have a question for Tom Perry, you can always email him at AskTom@TMCPlace.com. And this segment of Extreme Genes has been brought to you by FamilySearch.org, the people who bring you Roots Tech, February 8th through 11th in Salt Lake City, Utah. Well, thanks so much to David Imbrogno from the Lebanon, Ohio area for talking to us about his incredible Italy trip and finding the key to the locked up old house his dad was born in, a lot of components to that story. And to Jen Allen, for talking to us about what to expect at Roots Tech, coming up in just a few weeks. Take care. We’ll talk to you next week. And remember, we’re a nice, normal family!