Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. The guys are preparing for RootsTech in Salt Lake City, Utah. David talks about a new record set by Queen Elizabeth II? and what a record it is! David then talks about a recent visitor he entertained who was certain of a very unique heritage. Wait until you hear what it is! David also shares a heart rending story about the remarkable way two cousins reconnected after nearly 80 years, and the place in history they share. And a celebration is on in one American city recognizing the anniversary of America’s oldest subway system.
With RootsTech happening this week, Fisher shares a pair of his favorite past interviews. The first is with Professor Emerson Baker of Salem State University. Professor Baker is part of a committee that was able to confirm the precise location of the site of execution of the Salem “witches.” He talks about the methods and clues they used to confirm what once was known only through tradition.
Then, catch Fisher’s visit with “Jersey Girl” Sue Wynne, a passionate genie, who learned that her fourth great grandmother was buried twice AND viewed twice? over several years! What’s the story behind this incredible discovery? You’ll want to hear it.
Tom Perry of TMCPlace.com then joins the show to talk preservation, answering listener questions.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Segment 1 Episode 178 Host Scott Fisher with David Allen Lambert
Fisher: And welcome to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, on the program where we shake your family tree, and watch the nuts fall out! And we want to give a shout out to our friends at KXNT AM840, it’s a news talk station in Las Vegas, Nevada, and we are proud to be part of their weekend lineup now with Extreme Genes. I know there’s got to be a lot of great family history stories to be had in Las Vegas, Nevada. Of course this is the week of RootsTech in Salt Lake City, Utah, so everybody’s tied up with that, including David Allen Lambert and myself. So we figured, okay, we’re going to do kind of a “best of” thing this week, some of our favorite interviews from past shows. And then next week, we’re going to give you the full review on a lot of the things you may have seen at RootsTech or missed if you weren’t able to attend. And it’s going to be a lot of fun. So, coming up in about eight minutes, you’ll hear my visit with Doctor Emerson Baker from Salem State University, talking about how he and his committee actually were able to confirm the location of the site of the execution of the Salem witches. Incredible! And then later in the show, I’ll talk to the Jersey girl, Sue Wynne, about her discovery that her forth great grandmother was buried and viewed twice, over several years! You’ll want to catch that. But right now, let’s check in with my friend from Beantown, David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. How are you, David?
David: I am great! And it’s been an amazing week of excellent lectures and meeting some of our amazing listeners here at Salt Lake City at RootsTech this year.
Fisher: Yeah, it’s going to be so much fun to review this whole thing. We’ve got a lot of pictures up of course happening on our website, ExtremeGenes.com, and on our Facebook page, hope you’re following us there. Hey, don’t forget also to sign up for our newsletter, the Weekly Genie. You can get that by just signing up at ExtremeGenes.com. It’s free! No, we don’t sell our list to anybody, so enjoy. We’ve got a lot of great links to a lot of great material.
David: One of the people that we should have on our newsletter list is Queen Elizabeth II, who just celebrated her 65th sapphire anniversary.
Fisher: That’s what the 65th is. I don’t think I’ll ever live to see that. That’s incredible!
David: That’s pretty amazing. It makes her the longest reigning monarch in history.
Fisher: Right. She came in, in her mid-twenties, right?
David: She did, yeah, sixty five years ago when she took the throne after the death of her father, King George VI. She is a very healthy, nonagenarian. She is ninety-one this year.
David: In connection with that, I had a very weird experience recently in regard to someone related to the British monarchy.
Fisher: Okay, because most of us have some royal connection. Anybody who has any British history at all usually can find something way back there with a little luck, right?
David: Right, like King Edward I is very common, Henry II, but King Arthur of the Knights of the Round Table.
Fisher: What? [Laughs]
David: Yeah. I had a gentleman come in, and was certain that he knew by family tradition that he was related to King Arthur.
David: Oh, it doesn’t end there! He also said, and he is distantly related to Merlin.
Fisher: No! Oh, stop it! [Laughs]
David: No, I really wish. I can’t make this stuff up. This will definitely be for a luncheon talk.
David: “Tales From The Reference Desk” down the road.
David: Yeah, needless to say, I had to go to lunch quickly after that engagement.
David: And I’m not sure what chart he’ll produce, but I’d love to see it. Well, you know, some of stories I give each week for Family Histoire news are from around the world. And of course, I’m in Salt Lake City for RootsTech, but this story goes right back to Beantown where the first subway system in 1897 started under the streets of Boston. PBS is doing a new series on the American experience called “The race underground.” You know, you think of the subway system here in Boston we just take for granted, but how hard it was to build something like that 120 years ago.
Fisher: Oh yeah! No question. And you know, I have the New York background and I was thinking that maybe the New York subway system was ahead of Boston, but it wasn’t until 1904 that New York got theirs first rolling. But they were actually ahead when it came to the “El” system. They actually had an elevated train that ran through New York, starting in 1869, so I guess the latter half of the 19th century these guys were doing some amazing things. In fact, between New York and New Jersey, they dug a tunnel underneath the Hudson River so they could connect to Grand Central Station, which to me is astonishing for the 19th century.
David: That’s a daring accomplishment. You know, when I was a kid, I actually knew a lady who was a toddler when she went on the second car where the public would go through in the first Boston subway, same way that you told me about remembering when McKinley was assassinated in the turn on the 19th to the 20th century.
Fisher: And this is interesting, David, because you obviously did this when you were very young, she was very old. But it reminds us, there are still many among us who remember things now that will be long forgotten. It’s a great time to get out a recorder and tape those people’s memories.
David: Speaking of memories and stories, we always have cousins that we haven’t talked to in a number of years. But Yafa Capluettes was watching a ceremony that was televised in Israel, and one of the speakers, also a survivor of a holocaust, Zabiha Roth started to speak about her family. Yafa realized that it was her cousin who she hadn’t spoke to since before the Holocaust she was seeing on television.
Fisher: You’re kidding me! I mean, we’re talking about closing in on eighty years, right?
David: It really is. And that generation, we’re losing so many of them. And just to think, a television show has now reconnected people that have not seen each other since the 1930s. It’s unbelievable.
Fisher: It’s just an amazing thing, yes.
David: You know, there’s nothing like the discovery of something new in your genealogy. MyHeritage.com has recently released their new discovery pages, which combines their smart matches and record matches in such a way that you’re able to see everything all at once.
Fisher: Boy! And you know, when you’re trying to connect with European cousins, there’s really nothing quite like what MyHeritage does. And by the way of course, full disclosure, MyHeritage is a sponsor of this show, and we’re very proud to have them just for that exact reason, right?
David: Exactly. One of the thing that I want to offer our listeners, if you’re not an NEHGS, AmericanAncestors.org member, you can go on and get a guest membership for free. However, if you want to be a regular member, which is $18.95 per year, put in the checkout code “Extreme” and you will save twenty dollars on any level of membership. Talk to you next week from Boston.
Fisher: All right, all great news, David. It’s been great seeing you in Salt Lake City, Utah. And we’ll get caught up and get everybody else caught up with what happened at RootsTech in next week’s show. Take care, bud.
David: Take care.
Fisher: And coming up next in three minutes, one of my favorite interviews from the last couple of years, a visit with Dr. Emerson Baker from Salem State University, talking about the confirmation of the site of the executions of the Salem witches, it’s coming up on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 178
Host Scott Fisher with guest Emerson Baker
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, and of course, last week, we were talking with David Allen Lambert, from the New England Historic Genealogical Society about this amazing confirmation in Salem, Massachusetts, about the location of where the accused witches were actually hung. And I’m very excited to have on the line with me right now, Emerson Baker. He’s a professor at Salem State University. He’s one of the people who was part of the team that made this confirmation. How are you, Professor?
Emerson: Good! Glad to be with you, Scott.
Fisher: I sure appreciate you coming on, and I know we have so many people who descend from some people, lots of individuals associated with the Salem witch trials. I know I’m one of them, David is one of them, perhaps you do too, but I run into them all the time, people who descend from the accused, the accusers, the judges, the juries. It is just amazing how far reaching that particular incident is, and for you as a historian, this had to be quite a fun thing and exciting thing for you to be a part of, to finally confirm what has been known for some time, but you’ve actually added some new scientific leverage to it, to confirm where these people met their ends.
Emerson: I really wasn’t prepared for how powerful it would be, the reaction we got from people. That we’ve had such an overwhelming and amazing response, in particular from descendants, and yes, you’re right, I’m a descendant as well. I actually am a descendant of Roger Toothaker who died in prison. He never made it to the gallows actually. He died while awaiting trial.
Fisher: Were any men actually hung in this situation?
Emerson: Oh, yes absolutely! I believe it was actually like five, including of course, the most famous, Rev. George Burroughs.
Emerson: The ex-minister of Salem. So, in most cases of witchcraft including Salem, about eighty percent of the accused are women, so it really is kind of a female crime and Salem sticks right to that as well too, but you talked about how many descendants there are. You’re so right. I wrote a book on the witch trials called, “Storm of Witchcraft”, and in it I talk a little bit about the witch city and the whole phenomenon and why it’s so well known today. And to me, one of the reasons I think it’s so well known, is because there are so many descendants.
Emerson: I mean, if you think there were more than 150 accused, more than 200 accusing them, more than 200 defending them, more than fifty judges and juries and numerous other people involved. When I give a talk, I say, “You know, if you don’t have any ancestors who were involved in the Salem witch trials, the person sitting next to you probably did.”
Fisher: Right. [Laughs]
Emerson: You know it really is our event, our tragedy, a national tragedy, not just Salem’s, because, if you think about it, you know, you multiply those people and go out nine, ten, eleven generations, and that’s a lot of descendants.
Fisher: So, as you went about this, obviously it’s been known or at least strongly suspected for a long time that this area of Proctor’s Ledge in Salem was the location. What did you have to do to confirm this conclusion from the past, and who came to that conclusion some time back?
Emerson: Right. Well, we were really working on the work of the great Salem historian of the early twentieth century, Sidney Perley who, in 1921, had written an article where he really felt that even though people had placed it, there had been a kind of a collective amnesia, I think, as they’ve forgotten where the execution site was, and Perley would read all the facts, all the documents, no direct evidence, but a lot of, just sort of hints as to where it might be, and he was pretty sure that it was Proctor’s Ledge, which is actually on the lower part of Gallows Hill, and ironically, a few years later, in 1936, the city of Salem actually purchased a small piece of land there, specifically to build a memorial, but I think at the time there were some people that were still hesitant about…who would rather literally bury this then remember it.
Emerson: And, nothing ever happened, and people continued to believe it’s the top of Gallows Hill, it’s this location as opposed to another, and we were brought together about five years ago, a team of us, of historians and scholars, to work with the city to see if we couldn’t come up with the actual site, and that’s what we’ve been working towards since late 2010.
Fisher: Now, you were on a committee of about seven, yes?
Emerson: Yes, and that includes particularly where there were other historians who were expert in the Salem witch trials, Marilyn Rhodes, who’s written extensively about this, several books, Benjamin Ray of the University of Virginia, myself, and the other important scholar we had working with us was my colleague in the Geology Department in Salem State here, Professor Peter Sablock, who used some of his remote sensing techniques as well. So, it really was kind of a team effort, using not only the traditional histories and the documents, but some other new things that Perley couldn’t have done.
Fisher: Well, tell us about that, some of the scientific things. What could you detect using modern equipment in that area of Proctor’s Ledge?
Emerson: Well, the most important thing was the work done by View Shed analysis, GIS work, with aerial photography that was done by Benjamin Ray and his people working with him at the University of Virginia. View Shed analysis is, simply put, as you can take an aerial photograph and determine with topographic features and determine what lines of sight people have, and we were able to figure it out. We know there were several kind of distant eye witnesses to the witch executions, and knowing approximately where they were, we were able to determine through View Shed analysis what parts of Gallows Hill they could or could not see, and indeed, many people have placed the top of Gallows Hill as the location. We didn’t like that for a lot of reasons. I could get into it if you want, but the real clincher was the fact that, from where these people were standing, they could see the lower parts of Gallows Hill around Proctor’s Ledge, but they could not see the much more distant top of Gallows Hill, which really helped us pin down the location.
Fisher: So, do you think that was the one thing that really kind of, to use an expression, “put it over the top?”
Emerson: Yes, it did, and I also think too, frankly, you know, Marilyn and Ben and I have studied the witch trials for many, many years, and for the three of us all look at the documents which are now available online at the University of Virginia website, and to sort of, kind of independently arrive at that, and look at Perley’s research and then compare our notes and argue it out. That was important as well, and the other piece too that was really important of course, once we determined as a couple of years ago, we were pretty sure, frankly, as sure as we’re ever going to be, we’re never going to have that direct evidence, I don’t think, but then, the next question we knew that people would logically ask is, “Well, what happened? Where are our ancestors who were the victims? What happened to the people?” So, that’s where Peter and his geology students came in and did what we call, ‘geo-archaeological Remote Sensing,’ soil redistributing, and particularly ground-penetrating radar, going over the ground at Gallows Hill to see was there any evidence of human remains that could lie buried on the hillside.
Fisher: Now, Gallows Hill is obviously misnamed, because you’ve concluded that there were no gallows involved, yes?
Emerson: There were no gallows involved, exactly, and in fact, actually Peter’s research, the good news was, first off, there’s really nothing that we could find on this piece of land. No evidence of any archeological features, no physical evidence of a gallows being constructed there, and in fact, actually there’s very little dirt on Gallows Hill, no more than a foot or so, most of it if you’ve seen the pictures is, just sort of naked ledge.
Emerson: So, kind of a relief to us was that there really doesn’t seem to be any evidence of any human remains on the property, and once we knew that, we knew we could really, responsibly announce our findings. We didn’t want anybody running to Gallows Hill with their shovels ready or anything like that.
Fisher: Oh! Oh! [Laughs] Yeah, that would be disturbing!
Emerson: This is Salem, Massachusetts, right?
Emerson: I mean it’s a different kind of place.
Fisher: Now, this is…
Emerson: I’m sorry, I kid about that a little bit, and I just met with a lot of the local tour guides this morning, and frankly, people here want to be very respectful and are very concerned about paying proper respect and not turning this into a tourist attraction, and that’s what this is about. This is about marking a site and seeing that it’s cared for. We don’t want it lost again, but this is not another tourist dot on Salem’s map. That’s really important to all of us.
Fisher: Right, right. Now, well, first of all, it’s a residential neighborhood now, is it not?
Emerson: Yes now see that is part of it. It’s not just being respectful to the deceased or not. We want to get just a simple monument there but it’s also literally in peoples’ backyard. It’s a postage stamp of a lot that’s probably no more than about a quarter of an acre, and you’re quite literally looking into about the back doors and windows of about a half-dozen homes.
Fisher: How do they feel about this?
Emerson: You know, it’s interesting, some of them have known about it for a long time and have been very protective and are pleased about that. One of the fellows who’s family has lived there for a couple of generations told me proudly about how the day this big black limo pulled up and he was looking in the back window and saw Yoko Ono and then he said, “and that Beatle!”
Emerson: So, you know, they take great pride in that and they’ve kind of kept it safe, because they kind of knew that was the location, but some of the neighbors are genuinely concerned. It’s a narrow one way street, they’re really concerned about people parking there or coming in and disturbing the site. So, we’re trying to be respectful of them. And the city is working carefully with the neighbors and any other interested parties, including the descendants in planning for the site, seeing whatever kind of light and fencing we might need to safeguard the neighbors, to keep the parcel protected, but at the same time, to be able to plan a site that’s respectful of the horrible event that happened here, and those brave nineteen people who refused to change their beliefs. It would have been so easy to say they were a witch and would have lived, because only the people who plead “not guilty” were executed, but they refused to do that. So, this really is an important memorial to those people who were really Christian murders.
Fisher: Do you see perhaps a ceremony that’s done on a semi-annual or annual-basis, so that you’re not spreading it out throughout the course of the entire year?
Emerson: Well, the good news is, ever since the 300th anniversary, we already have a really wonderful memorial in town. It’s administered by the Salem Award Foundation, who actually every year gives a major award for human rights activism in honor of the victims of 1692. So, we’re trying to encourage people to go to that really wonderful memorial on a regular basis, but having said that, if people come – especially cross country – from Salem, we know that they may want to visit the site. I’ve already had a lot of descendants contact me that want to be there for when this site is dedicated. Also, too, in Salem, you may know this, there’s a substantial Wiccan community, and in the past, every year on Halloween, which is Samhain, their High Holy Day of the fall solstice? They do have a ceremony up on Gallows Hill as well. They may well want to try to move that to this location, but again, it’s a very small spot, so it isn’t the kind of place where you can bring a couple of hundred people together very easily. So, it’s needs to be accessible to some degree and these are the kinds of things that we’re still working out, and again, only after we announce this can we start talking to the community and all the stake holders and see what the proper long term plan for this site is.
Fisher: How many people living in Salem right now are descended from people involved in this incident?
Emerson: Well, let me put it this way, I can’t give a lecture without a couple of people at the end coming up. I, in my book, I estimate, I’ll bet you there’s at least 100 million people who are around the world who had some relative involved in the Salem witch trials. I really don’t think if your family’s been in New England more than a generation or two, it’s hard not to have some connection to it, it really is.
Fisher: He’s Professor Emerson Baker, he’s the author of “A Storm of Witchcraft, The Salem Witch Trials and The American Experience.” Thank you so much for coming on and talking about this amazing experiment that has resulted in a confirmation of a very unique place in American history.
Emerson: Oh you’re welcome, Scott! We’ll keep you informed as the process moves forward.
Fisher: Sounds great! And coming up next in our “best of” show, we’re going to “Jersey girl,” Sue Wynne about the discovery that her fourth great grandmother was buried twice and viewed twice over several years! That’s coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 178
Host Scott Fisher with guest Sue Wynne
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, talking to another one of our listeners. This one in Clementon, New Jersey, Sue Wynne is on the line. Hi, Sue, welcome to the show!
Sue: Hi, Fish, great to talk to you.
Fisher: I am so excited to hear your story here. And having got a little peek at what you’re going to talk about. [Laughs] It is amazing the stories that can come from our past and you’ve got one. How did you get started in your research by the way?
Sue: Well, about twenty years ago, my father had passed away previously and my father’s cousin was still alive and he started telling me some of these family history names. Although he didn’t know a lot of the older stories, but he knew some names and, it was about fifteen years ago, because I’m a Jersey girl, been here most of my life… I said to my husband, “Why don’t we go try to see if we can find some of these gravestones down in Mullica Hill? So we went on a mission down there, and we were looking through a couple of graveyards and I’ll be darned if we didn’t come up with some of these gravestones. And one of them, well two of them, Hannah Agging, she was my fourth great grandmother and her husband Enoch, whose my fourth great grandfather were buried in St. Stephen’s’ Episcopal Church Cemetery in Mullica Hill. So I ended up contacting the pastor of that church, because I couldn’t really read the gravestones very well.
Fisher: Right, and maybe there’s burial records that he could help you with.
Sue: Exactly! And so I talked to him on the phone and he said, “Interesting story about your fourth great grandmother!” [Laughs]
Sue: So it turns out that my poor fourth great grandmother Hannah died when she was about fifty five years old. And she was buried in the graveyard of the then St. Stephen’s’ Episcopal Church, which was a little bit further down the road from where the church is located now. Well, they decided after she had passed away that they were going to sell that church property. Well, they decided also at the time, to dig up all of the remains of those who were in that little cemetery and move them along to the new church property to make it easier to sell the old church property, I would imagine.
Fisher: Yeah right.
Sue: I mean, I don’t think anybody wants to build their house on a graveyard.
Fisher: Makes it tough when you’re digging for the swimming pool, you know?
Sue: Yeah right. [Laughs] So apparently there’s this, I don’t know if it’s an element or exactly what it is, but it’s called marl and it’s something that’s found in the soil there, in the Mullica Hill area.
Sue: And they’ve also found quite a few fossils in that area. As you can imagine, after about four years of being in the ground, the coffin had disintegrated quite a bit, as well as the others. But what they didn’t expect to find, was that her body was so beautifully preserved after four years in the ground, and this was quite the news. It spread throughout the area, and there was so much interest in it that they actually held a viewing!
Sue: After four years of kind of being in the ground.
Fisher: Four years in the ground and a second viewing?
Sue: And not only that, my fourth great grandfather had remarried. So can you imagine!
Fisher: [Laughs] Well that’s a little awkward!
Sue: A little awkward. So apparently her hair was still pretty and curly, and her face was marbleized, and very interesting. So they held a viewing and they reinterred her. And she to this day, is in the ground in Mullica Hill at St. Stephen’s’ Episcopal Church. However, in Mullica Hill, being the old town that it is, and in the spirit of Halloween, every year in October they have something called, “The Ghost Walk.”
Fisher: Oh, no!
Sue: So, it’s about an hour and a half program.
Sue: You walk through the town. Well it turns out that my fourth great grandmother, Hannah, is one of the ghosts represented at the ghost walk.
Fisher: Oh, wow!
Sue: She stands out there in the cemetery, and someday, my aspiration is to be Hannah in the ghost walk. [Laughs]
Fisher: To play Hannah!
Sue: To represent my fourth great grandmother. [Laughs]
Fisher: What a great idea! So…
Sue: You know, I often wonder how she feels about that, being represented as a ghost, but it is what it is. Hopefully she takes it in the good fun that it’s meant to be.
Fisher: I think that is exactly right. So, where was this record by the way? I mean you obviously have a lot of details about this, including the husband and his remarriage and the whole story about how the body was preserved. What record did you find that in, so others might be able to do the same kind of thing?
Sue: Well, this particular story was found in the parish register of St. Stephen’s’ Church. So, they had kept pretty good records and pretty detailed. And you know, so often we go searching for our ancestors and there’s nothing but names and dates, because they haven’t written anything about themselves. Nobody’s written anything about them. And this particular church did a really great job of keeping records, because I know about my fourth great grandfather as well, Enoch, kind of the whole thing.
Sue: Yeah! It says that he was a small, wiry, athletic man, who farmed a small place of twenty acres, and for many years kept one the village stores. He was a most estimable man and respected by all who knew him. Was a man of sterling worth in every way, of a gentle, kindly disposition, and left a memory that is lovingly cherished by all who knew him. And he was a vestryman and warden of that church and one of the originators of the parish. So they wrote about him as well. So, this is all in church records.
Fisher: Wow! That’s an exceptional church record though, nonetheless. I mean, I don’t want to give the impression to people that you’re going to find records like this everywhere you go. In fact [Laughs] if you find out who the historian was who recorded those things, you ought to put a flower on his grave because he did a great job.
Sue: Yeah! I agree. And you know, I feel this connection to Hannah and Enoch because of those little excerpts of things from their lives that I know about them now.
Fisher: Right, right.
Sue: It’s a beautiful thing.
Fisher: Do you know anything about Hannah’s life? I mean you know about her death and what happened afterwards, but have you actually learned anything about her life?
Sue: Well that is the sad thing. I really don’t know a lot of details about her life. And I’m curious and would love to know. I mean, I know a little bit about her husband. I know where they lived. Right across the street from the church, there’s a house and it has a plaque on it that says “The Enoch Agging Home.” But no, I mean the only thing that I really know about them is that they had a couple of children that passed away when they were very young, because they are buried with Hannah. One was about eighteen months old, the other, about two years old. And they obviously had my third great grandfather, Carl.
Sue: Whom I descend from.
Fisher: Don’t you think that a lot of the women in the households from back in those times were actually defined by the family, obviously?
Sue: Yes, I’m sure they were. I’m sure they were. So, knowing what I know about Enoch, I’m assuming that she also was a lovely woman.
Fisher: Yeah similar nature, exactly. All right, so where are you going from now with all this?
Sue: Gosh, I’m hoping to go further back. Now, there’s a gentleman by the name of Hugh Agging who lived right next door to Enoch, and I’m guessing Hannah as well. And he has a Revolutionary War pension. So, my next goal is to try to link those two for sure, as father and son and who knows, maybe my daughters and I can join the DAR!
Fisher: So, what records have you checked to try to link Hugh to Enoch?
Sue: Well, one of the things that I looked at the Gloucester County Historical Society was land records. And from that, I knew that Hugh and Enoch had lived next door to one another. But other than that, I just have not been able to find anything.
Fisher: There’s got to be a will for him someplace.
Sue: No, I have not gotten that far yet.
Fisher: You might also want to look into letters of administration. Also go to Fold3, look into his military records. Often the military records will contain a family Bible record or a family Bible page that could list all the names of the people in the family, and pretty much give you the relationship as well.
Sue: Yeah, that’s a great idea, because he did. He was a Revolutionary War pensioner. So, would love to make that connection.
Fisher: Well, and to have the pension, you might also see some name patterns come up, unusual names; perhaps his father was Enoch as well. That would give you a good, strong hint. And certainly, being right next door, I think you’re right. You know what you’ve got to do and you know what the relationship likely is.
Sue: Yeah, that’s a great tip.
Fisher: All right.
Sue: I’ll definitely follow through with that.
Fisher: Well, great talking to you… Sue Wynne, from Clementon, New Jersey. And what a story about your fourth great grandmother, Hannah! Good luck, I do hope you get into the Halloween thing, getting the opportunity to portray her.
Sue: I think it will be a blast!
Fisher: I think it could be a lot of fun, too.
Sue: It will be a blast. [Laughs]
Fisher: And coming up next, Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com, on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 178
Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: It is Preservation Time on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. And we do this every week, where we go through some of your questions, and we also mine the great mind of Tom Perry, from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority. Hi, Tom, how are you?
Tom: Is that a different Tom Perry that you’re speaking about?
Fisher: [Laughs] Well this is a great email we got from Dusty. Dusty says, “I have a VHS tape that has a family interview that was done in the late 1990s with a family member that is no longer with us. I transferred it to DVD, but the audio is so bad, I have to turn the volume on the TV all the way up in order to hear what’s being said. I still have the VHS. Are you able to transfer the VHS to DVD and fix the audio?” Good question, Dusty. What do you say, Tom?
Tom: We have that come up quite often. There are a couple of different things… is the audio bad because it’s low? Is the audio bad because there are noises in the background? What exactly is the problem? So the first thing you need to do is, send it to us, and we’ll load into our computer and we’ll listen to the audio. And if it’s a volume thing, that’s not that big of a fix, so it’s not going to be that expensive. If it’s something really bad, like there’s pigs oinking in the background, refrigerator’s humming, then what we have to do is, we have to write what we call an algorithm, which basically finds those tones and pulls them out. And then if it’s consistent through the entire tape, we just set up the algorithm, run the audio through it, and then it’s pretty much gone.
Fisher: Now, those algorithms I take it, do not hit the same frequency as the human voice, right?
Tom: Exactly! That why you have to be so careful. If you just look at the part that’s bad and do an algorithm to remove that, and we it crosses the human voice, you’re going to have a lot of problems. A lot of sounds are either below or above the normal human voice or even people that are talking, because if you’re talking about somebody whose interview is almost kind of monotone, then it’s really easy, because they have such a small range in their voice. So there’s a lot of technology that’s into this. If you’re a DIY person, you can get Adobe Audition and you can kind of do it yourself, because it takes these different wave lengths in their different colors.
Tom: And so, you can sit and listen to it and kind of while you’re watching Adobe Auditions and say, “Oh, his voice is a blue part.” so you don’t want to mess with a blue part. So, then you basically, with a stylus pencil go and remove the yellow and the green and the orange and maybe some of the light blue and some of the really dark blue. And then when you remove that, it’s going to bring the volume down, but yet his voice is still pretty much preserved in the way that you know Uncle Ted talks or whatever. So, then you can take that part and actually amplify it, and then some of the little parts of the refrigerator noise or whatever that crosses his voice are going to kind of get drowned out by bringing his voice back up. And so when you do this it sounds so much better. And a lot of times these new TVs have the bass and the treble, they have all kinds of different adjustments you can make. But if this is something you want to do for your family, it’s pretty much too late for Christmas now. However, if you want to do things for them in the future, you can take these things and clean them up and make DVDs, because you don’t want to send it off to somebody in your family and say, “Oh, by the way, make sure you turn your volume up. Do this, do this, do this.” because then they’re not going to listen to it. There’s a lot of things you can do, and like the cost as he mentioned, it depends on the length of the tape. If it’s a long one, it’s usually about twenty five dollars. And to actually do the transfer and then the audio, we’re guessing it’s a simple thing like a volume thing, so it’s probably going to take about fifteen minutes to do it, so about twenty five bucks. So fifty dollars for the whole transfer.
Fisher: And that’s typical of places throughout the country.
Tom: Yeah. Just about any place you go that’s about what they’re going to charge you. Walk into a place, most people are pretty flexible with what they’re doing and pretty compatible with prices. If you ever run into somebody, and I’d had people complaining about this all the time, you see people on the internet that’s doing something that’s like half price of everybody else. The person knows what his work is worth, so be really, really careful. Read the reviews on the internet and see what people have said, if they’re happy with him or if they’re not happy with him and that will help a lot. Unless you’re on such a tight budget, it’s like, “Hey, I have to do it at this cheap rate or I don’t get it done.” It’s better to do it at the cheap rate than not do it. However, always remember, keep your tapes, keep your video, keep your film, keep everything. Don’t throw it away! Coming up in the next segment, we can teach you how to have your unborn children…
Tom: …and all other relatives love family history. You’ll start a whole new generation of people that love family history!
Fisher: All right, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 178
Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And we are back! Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com, Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth. It’s our final segment, with Tom Perry, from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority. Now Tom, you were talking before the break about how we can get future generations of unborn children and grandchildren to love family history forever. What have you got?
Tom: This is back to the science thing, like we talked about quantum physics a few shows ago, about how to store your stuff on the cloud to make sure it’s taken care of and it’s not taken by other people that have access to it. Well, this is something really, really new that scientists are now able to do. You know how your genes work. If you have blonde hair, your husband has dark hair, blue eyes, green eyes, some of your kids will be blonde, and some will have blue eyes.
Tom: It’s just kind of a…
Fisher: …random thing.
Tom: But with the master gene, if you go and change the sequence, then that is permanent. For instance, fruit flies, which is what they always start with, because they’re easy to…
Tom: … you know, breed!
Fisher: And nobody gets mad about them.
Tom: Exactly! And they breed so fast, you can get a new generation a couple of times a week.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]
Tom: So what they did is, they went, took black fruit flies and they put a blonde sequence in the master DNA, and so every single one of their offspring were blonde. There are no blacks at all, a hundred percent blonde so if we take the same thing with us and put the family history gene.
Fisher: Oh, stop it! Now wait a minute!
Fisher: We’re going to program it into everybody, they’re going to preserve and share and discover?
Fisher: Stop it!
Tom: You don’t have to worry about anybody losing your stuff down the road. Everybody’s going to have it. It’s going to be wonderful!
Fisher: Yeah. Move on! What do you have? [Laughs]
Tom: The next thing I want to talk about, we talked about 3D printing before.
Fisher: Yes. Very cool!
Tom: And the biggest problem people have with 3D printing is it’s really, really slow. And we’ve talked about family heirlooms. So you can take them and make 3D copies of it, so everybody has a pseudo copy of it.
Tom: But they’re slow, they’re cumbersome, etc. Well, there’s a new one that they’re working on right now that works out of a polymer type thing. So, what happens is, it has this liquid polymer that the 3D printer actually goes down inside the polymer, and as it pulls it out, there’s kind of like a photo, a picture that is done with light and oxygen. The light and the oxygen mixing with this polymer, causes it to harden and liquefy, and harden and liquefy as it’s coming out of the vat. It’s almost like sci-fi, like you see this human form come out of this liquid mess.
Tom: This is exactly how this 3D printer works. It pulls up this polymer and it zaps it with this light from this photograph that’s in the vat and says, “Okay, this goes here. This goes here. This goes here.” So it’s so much faster and it’s a lot better. Once the form comes out, all you do is basically hose it off and it’s ready to rock and roll! You don’t have to get down and sand it. It is absolutely incredible.
Fisher: How much faster?
Tom: Over 100 times faster.
Tom: They’re going to be expensive. However, they’re working with different businesses that this will be a part of their cache, so to speak. So we could have one of these in our place. People could bring in an old watch, any kind of an heirloom, and we could actually photograph it, put it in the vat, and they could pick it up the next day.
Fisher: [Laughs] That’s insane!
Tom: So many times when somebody dies in your family and everybody wants this. Well, with something like this, we can actually take it and make you another pocket watch. Make you whatever. It won’t be functional, however, it’d be a replica of the original one, and you could go in and paint it. Do all kinds of cool things with it. It’s just absolutely amazing. Because like I say, one of the biggest problems the old kind, say you’re making a round ball, it’s not perfect. You’re going to have to kind of sand it down, because it takes out these strips, turn them into liquid, forms them really, really slow, doing one layer at a time. With this one, as the thing is coming out of the vat, it’s just shooting it with oxygen and with light. And if you want some more information, get the latest copy of Popular Mechanics. Super fun stuff!
Fisher: All right. Interesting! Boy! Where are we going?
Tom: A mad scientist.
Fisher: Great stuff! Thanks, Tom.
Tom: Thanks for having me.
Fisher: That’s what we call in the biz “a wrap for this week” for our best of show, as we’re all out enjoying RootsTech in Salt Lake City, Utah. So next week of course, we’re going to tell you all the things that went on there, some of the new things we’re learning about, some of the new technology that’s going to help you with your research. It’s going to be a lot of fun. David will be back, Tom Perry will be back. Check out our Facebook page, lots of pictures and videos posted there as well. We’ll talk to you again next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice, normal, family!