Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David begins “Family Histoire News” with the story of an ancient Roman epitaph that’s been discovered. Hear the remarkable translation. Then, it’s an incredible reunion over four decades in the making thanks to a MyHeritage.com DNA test. It’s the “hit” two parties were waiting for. David next shares the story of an entire country that now lists itself on AirBNB! Find out which country it is and what they’re saying about themselves. David also shares the story of a 96-year-old World War II veteran who kept a secret for over 70 years. Now that it’s out, he is getting his just recognition. You’ll want to hear what this man did during the war. David then says a “fond farewell” to the blogger AncestryInsider who has posted his last blog after ten years of anonymous critiques of the major genealogical companies.
Then, Fisher begins his two part visit with Paul Fronczak of Henderson, Nevada. Paul was given to a Chicago couple as a toddler, as he was believed to have been the couple’s son, who had been kidnapped in 1964. Recently, Paul learned from DNA testing that he was not his parents’ son. He has written a book on this amazing story called “The Foundling,” Paul talks to Fisher about how he convinced his parents to take the DNA test, and their reaction when they learned he was, in fact, not their son.
In part two of Fisher’s interview with Paul Fronczak, DNA Detective CeCe Moore joins the discussion, explaining how she was able to reveal to Paul his real identity? his name, the names of his parents, and aided him in discovering the reason he may have been abandoned over fifty years ago. It’s must-hear radio!
Then, Preservation Authority Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com hops aboard to answer a listener question about how to restore old photos of grave stones from the 1970s so they can be read.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript for Episode 193
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 193
Fisher: And you have found us… 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 this segment of our show is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. And I’ve got to start out by congratulating my good friend Jessica Taylor. She is the founder of LegacyTree.com. She’s one of the sponsors of our show and she was just given this past week the Small Business Administration Woman-Owned Business of the year. And she was honored in a ceremony on May 24th. I got to attend that. And this is a big deal for her. Of course, you know this was 13 years ago she founded this company. It’s seen tremendous growth and I’m not only proud of her, but all of her team which is a great collection of incredible people. So congratulations to Legacy Tree and Jessica Taylor. Now coming up in just a little bit, you’re going to hear a story that is absolutely unbelievable. It begins with the kidnapping of an infant in Illinois in 1964. It fast forwards over 50 years later to DNA testing and it involves CeCe Moore the DNA Detective. I’m going to be talking to Paul Fronczak and CeCe Moore later in the show. You’re going to want to catch this. You’re going to be talking about it and then after that Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority is in talking about a listener’s question about restoring a 1970s era collection of photographs of gravestones. But right now let’s head out to Boston and talk to my good friend David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Hello David!
David: Hello Fish, how are you today?
Fisher: Awesome! By the way, I just found out last night that I am connected to perhaps the biggest Red Sox fan out there, Ben Affleck.
David: My goodness, a Beantown connection!
Fisher: Yes, there’s a Beantown connection, [Laughs] Thomas Newbury and Joan Dabinot. Maybe you’re familiar with those names from your lengthy research?
David: I am.
Fisher: He and I both descend from that couple, so I don’t know if this means I can get free movie passes at some point or maybe a massive inheritance, but still it’s pretty cool to be related to Ben Affleck.
David: Hey, that’s one of those Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon.
Fisher: Yes something like that. I’m related to him too, but that’s another story!
David: [Laughs] Well, my story for you this week is going to lead off with something that’s actually kind of tied in with what Tom’s doing later. You know, I wrote a book on Massachusetts cemeteries, currently working on my third edition of it and you know I really do dig old grave stones (no pun intended) and their epitaphs are sometimes hilarious. Now I want to mention one that I saw and it’s actually for a Roman actor. He was a manager of a pantomime troop. His name was Leburna.
Fisher: [Laughs] So what does it say?
David: “I’ve died many times but never like this!”
Fisher: [Laughs] Love that.
David: Yeah, that one just killed me! I’m sorry, just couldn’t resist. The next story is actually a touching story and as we know there are many players in the DNA world, but thank goodness for MyHeritageDNA and two people that tested. Well, back 43 years ago Robin Adair Passey who lives out in Mesa, Arizona was 14 years old when she got pregnant and then gave birth to a little girl. She gave the girl up for adoption and never saw her again. She tried as many adoptive parents have done over the years to try to find what happened to the girl. No success. However, she and the baby who is now 43 year old Becky Skousen decided to do a random DNA test with My Heritage. They found each other.
Fisher: And I should mention by the way that My Heritage has a new collection catalogue that’s out and this is very cool because it’s useful for beginners as well as professional users. And it details like the number of records each collection has and which collections are new and the date in which each collection was added or last updated. It’s available online and it includes many useful functions. So, this is a real advancement in this kind of tool. So that’s good stuff for My Heritage! Well you know David it’s been a few weeks since we’ve spun the “Wheel of Wherever” and I think it’s time we bring it back. Let’s find out where our next story should come from. [Wheel spinning] And it’s Sweden! I’m actually three eighths Swedish so I’ll be interested to see if you can come up with anything from Sweden today.
David: Well this is beneficial for both the genealogists going to Sweden or the tourist. Sweden has a centuries old hospitality tradition, but now it’s actually gone through the digital age through Airbnb.
David: The listing now states that you can actually go out, hike, camp and pick berries or mushrooms pretty much anywhere. So just think, you can camp, supply all your food for free. Just don’t do it where animals are grazing or in somebody’s backyard.
Fisher: [Laughs] I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of an entire country being listed on Airbnb, so that’s very cool.
David: Okay, my next story is one that is 73 years in the making. Private first class James R. “Boots” Beatty was recently given a Bronze Star and seven other recognitions that he had won but lost over the years. He never received the Bronze Star and this 96-year-old who was told to keep quiet about his service was a member of a Commando Unit with combined American-Canadian Service.
Fisher: Isn’t that great? And this was kind of the precursor to the Navy Seals and this type of thing. And he was told to keep quiet, and he did… into his late nineties! [Laughs]
David: Well you know every week we give a Blogger Spotlight and this one is kind of bitter-sweet. This is actually a fond farewell, not that the blogger has passed, but the Ancestry Insider who’s had a blog for 10 years, talking about FamilySearch and Ancestry.com and being critical but very constructive with his criticism on both of the websites has decided to hang up his keyboard.
Fisher: And nobody knows who he is either! This is the thing. He is kind of a mystery guy. There’s a picture of him there but it’s a caricature so you can only guess who he might be.
David: At NEHGS for 172 years we’ve opened our doors to genealogical researchers. We’d like to open that up to Extreme Genes listeners. And if you haven’t become a member before you can use the check out code “Extreme” and save $20 on our regular $89.95 membership. Well that’s all I have from Beantown this week, Fish. Talk to you soon. I’ll be heading off to Scotland next month.
Fisher: Oh boy, I’m looking forward to hearing about that. All right thanks so much David. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to a man who’s had a lifetime journey to end all journeys. His name is Paul Fronczak. His story begins with a kidnapping of an infant in Illinois in 1964 and he will be joined by CeCe Moore, the DNA Detective, later in the show as we talk to Paul about this incredible story. It’s all coming up next on Extreme Genes America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 193
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Paul Fronczak
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is being brought to you by 23andMe.comDNA. And, you may recall several years ago we talked about the story of an Illinois man who had been found in New Jersey as a child and taken to the parents of a baby who’d been stolen from a hospital back in 1964 and presented to them. And of course that child grew up to discover he was not the kidnapped child of his parents. His name is Paul Fronczak. He’s in Henderson, Nevada and he’s on the phone with me right now. Hello Paul! Welcome to Extreme Genes.
Paul: Scott, thanks for having me and thank you to Extreme Genes.
Fisher: Well, this is an incredible story and I followed it very closely over the years. You’ve been featured on network television. Didn’t you have the FBI in on this at one point?
Paul: The FBI actually, because of my interest in the story and getting things going together, they actually reopened the Fronczak case.
Fisher: That’s incredible. Now, this goes back to 1964 and I’m going to let you tell the story here because at this point a child is born to your parents that year. Pick it up from there.
Paul: Okay. So, the Fronczaks had a baby in Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago on April 26th 1964. On April 27th someone dressed like a nurse came in, told Mrs. Fronczak that the doctor had to see the baby, took the baby and was gone. And that kicked off a nationwide manhunt that to this day has never led to an arrest.
Fisher: Unbelievable. And then, fast forward a year later, a baby is found in New Jersey.
Paul: July 2nd 1965 a baby was found outside of a produce variety store in Newark, New Jersey, abandoned in a stroller wearing a brand new suit.
Fisher: And that baby was you!
Paul: That baby was me.
Fisher: And so what did the officials at that time determine about your identity? How did they figure out that you must be the Fronczak boy?
Paul: That happened way down the road. I was placed in the system, I was put into a foster home, I was given the name Scott McKinley, I was baptized, and I was living with this really nice family who took in foster kids. And they were so taken with me that they wanted to adopt me themselves. The FBI and the local police didn’t have the Fronczak connection till over a year later.
Fisher: And what brought them to that? And how did they come back around to you?
Paul: Okay. So basically, I think they needed to close the Fronczak case because it had so much media attention and they based the whole thing on the shape of my ears. Out of ten thousand other children I was the only one that they couldn’t rule out 100%.
Fisher: That’s breathtaking, because you know when you think of the FBI, you think of all of the techniques they’ve got, all the methodology, all the paper trails they develop, and they make this conclusion based on the shape of your ears!
Paul: And off one little picture of the real Paul, the only picture of Paul that was ever taken.
Fisher: All right. So let’s pick it up from there. Now, they say yes, you must be the child, let’s find out. They take you to the Fronczaks and what’s their response?
Paul: Actually, they contacted the Fronczaks, my mom and dad, and they said, “We think we have your child. You need to come out to New Jersey and identify this boy.” So my folks drove out to New Jersey from Chicago where the whole thing started and they had to sit in a room with me and with everyone looking at them, the FBI, all the authorities, they had to say whether or not this was their kidnapped child.
Fisher: Wow. What a choice though. I mean because they’ve got to be thinking if we make a mistake, we’re actually rejecting our own kid, right? And they’re going from a newborn to a child whose now how old?
Paul: Between two and three years old.
Fisher: Wow. What a difference. So how would you know?
Paul: Well, you know the thing was, I asked my mom about this, we never talked about this at all during my whole life. And just recently my mom and I were talking about it and she’s telling me how she was feeling and she said the whole world was waiting for their response, how could they say no and have this child go back into a system and maybe have a bad life, and if they say yes, they really don’t know. But all they knew was that this child needed a home.
Fisher: Sure. And this is going to be “our Paul.”
Fisher: And maybe it is their child, right?
Paul: Exactly. In their hearts I was Paul.
Paul: Because the FBI was saying so.
Fisher: Yeah, and that’s a pretty authoritative group to put an identity on you, right?
Paul: Absolutely. Back then it was the highest authority.
Fisher: And they had no other children to compare as siblings, right, to look for a certain look.
Fisher: So now, you’re in the Fronczak home, you’ve been adopted, it’s 1967, you’ve not been adopted, you’ve been taken in because you are believed to be the birth child of the Fronczaks. Everybody’s happy and life goes on. What kind of childhood did you have there, Paul?
Paul: I had an amazing childhood. My parents to this day are the best parents I could ever imagine or hope for. Of course, coming off a kidnapping, I was extremely sheltered, I was over protected, I couldn’t do a lot of things that most of my friends could do. But I mean that’s a small price to pay for having an amazing childhood.
Fisher: So, time went on, you grew up, what have you done with your life?
Paul: I’ve done a lot of things, actually. I’ve had I think over a 150 jobs in my life, I’ve been in the military, an actor, musician, and almost everything in between.
Fisher: So you had this great normal life but in the back of your mind you had to always wonder “Am I really the baby that they lost?” When did you find out about it by the way?
Paul: When I was ten years old I was snooping in the crawlspace looking for Christmas presents and I found all these different looking boxes in the back of the crawl space. I started going through the boxes and I realize it’s about newspaper clippings and headlines and all these sympathy cards and a letter from the Pope, all saying well, “we’re sorry for what you’re going through and your kidnapped child,” and I found one headline that said “Searches for Paul Joseph Fronczak.” I saw a picture of Mom and Dad and I thought, “Now this is all about me. I must have been kidnapped!” So that kind of changed everything right there.
Fisher: How did you approach your parents about that once you found that box?
Paul: Well I was ten so I immediately went upstairs and talked to my mom. I said, “I found these in the crawlspace. This is about me. What happened?” And my mom looked really stern, looked a little angry at me and said, “You know you shouldn’t be snooping around the house.”
Paul: “But now that you found it, you were kidnapped, we found you, we love you, that’s all there is to talk about.” In my house when my Mom and Dad said something you didn’t go against them. We never talked about it again.
Fisher: Sure. So at that point, how did that change your identity and when did you start to doubt that perhaps maybe you’re really not the son of the Fronczaks?
Paul: Well, I started noticing things like I really didn’t look like my parents. And I didn’t have the same interests, the same goals, the same mannerisms, and the name Paul never really felt comfortable to me.
Paul: My whole life I never liked being called Paul. And not until I had my daughter did I realize, she was only about six months old, she had my mannerisms, my characteristics, and as she got older she had the same interests as me. And our DNA really holds our traits and our habits and you know things like that. So my whole life I’ve really realized that I probably wasn’t Paul. But it went against everything I was told.
Fisher: Sure. And what are you going to do? You’re going to disrespect your parents and cause them discomfort? It’s done. But then of course things start changing in the world of identity with DNA and at what point did you start to think that maybe that’s something you would like to do, and how were you going to approach your parents about contributing their DNA to possibly match or not match?
Paul: That’s a good question. My whole life I always carried a few of the newspaper clippings about the kidnapping with me no matter where I moved, I moved quite a bit. And I never had the means to do a DNA test because it was so expensive. Then in 2012 I’m at a CVS Drug store and I see an identity gene paternity kit, it’s only like $27 dollars.
Paul: And a couple of hundred dollars to get it processed and I thought, “I could actually afford this.” So I bought it with the hopes of one day asking my parents if they would do a DNA test with me. And it took about six months to actually have the opportunity and then to have the nerve to ask them to do that with me.
Fisher: And what was their response Paul?
Paul: They came to visit us like they often did and they were here from Friday till Sunday. It was Sunday evening about half an hour before I was going to take them to the airport. And I finally thought this is it, I’ve got to ask them. So I asked my mom. I said, “Mama wait, have you ever really wondered if I’m really your child?” And my mom said, “Yeah, we only thought about it.” I said, “Well what if we could really know for sure? Would you be interested?” She said, “Sure.” I ran and got the kit. Within ten minutes we’re all swabbing away and then I took them to the airport. And it was so surreal that I finally did that and they agreed.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah, without any issue at all. Now, is your father still living?
Paul: My Dad’s still alive yes. He’s doing fantastic. I phoned him as soon as I tested.
Fisher: Okay. So did he do DNA also?
Paul: My Mom and Dad both did it. I took them to the airport and not till they got back to Chicago they called back and said, “We don’t want you to do this.”
Fisher: Oh boy.
Paul: And my heart just sank.
Fisher: They’d been talking on the plane.
Paul: Yeah the whole way I’m sure.
Fisher: And so what happened at that point? You have the test. You have the material you need. Did you just figure well, if I can preserve it long enough I’ll wait till they’re gone? What were you thinking?
Paul: No, you know honestly, I’ve always been the kind of person that you have to live the truth. If you have information you need to follow through with it. So, I held on to it for a couple of weeks. I had it in my desk drawer and I’d walk by every day looking at it just thinking, “I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to do this.” But I love my parents. I don’t want to go against their wishes. And then one day I took it and put it in the mailbox and I didn’t look back.
Fisher: Wow. How long did it take you to get the results?
Paul: A couple of weeks.
Fisher: And now you had to tell them, “No, I am not your son.” How did that go?
Paul: Well, once I got the news back I wanted to go on a mission to find their real son. I wanted to find Paul. Because they raised me and they were such amazing parents I felt the best gift I could give them was to find their real son because the tragedy that happened to them was never solved.
Paul: And I didn’t want to tell them on the phone because they might not hear it correctly. They would only hear what they wanted to hear and they wouldn’t have time to process it. So I gave them a letter, a letter that they could process at their own speed.
Paul: They could reread it over and over and really understand what I’m saying to them.
Fisher: And what was their response, Paul?
Paul: It didn’t go as well as I had hoped it would. They were really upset. They were really angry, and instead of, the way I planned it was to help them find their real child, they took it as I wanted to find new parents.
Fisher: Oh boy.
Paul: And that was never the case.
Fisher: Yeah. I can understand that. But now you also have DNA that can tell you who your birth family might be and that was a whole new adventure. And we’re going to get CeCe Moore the DNA Detective in for our next segment to talk about that next part of your incredible journey. I’m talking to Paul Fronczak. He’s a Nevada man who, I can’t say you were kidnapped because you weren’t. You were abandoned in New Jersey and then placed in a family that ultimately discovered he was not their kidnapped child. We’ll continue with more in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 193
Host: Scott Fisher with guests Paul Fronczak and CeCe Moore
Fisher: And we are back, it’s America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth. This segment is brought to you by MyHeritage.com. And I’m talking to Paul Fronczak. He is a Henderson, Nevada man who has quite the story. Found in New Jersey, abandoned as a child, thought to be a kidnapped son of a family from Chicago, Illinois. Put back into that family and ultimately found through DNA that he was not their child. And Paul Fronczak is on the line with me right now. And Paul, we were just talking about your parents’ reaction when they learned you actually put through the tests that they initially very agreeably took, but then decided they really didn’t want you to run through. Now, you had the DNA information that could lead to your birth family. Tell us where the story picks up from here, what did you decide to do at that point?
Paul: So once I had the information, I figured the only way that I could try to solve what happened to the real Paul and maybe find out who I am too would be to go to the news.
Paul: And there’s only one guy I could think of, and George Knapp I think is the best reporter in the country, so I contacted him.
Fisher: I see. So the story went out from Las Vegas and then of course it went national and we saw you on all kinds of talk shows. Were you on 20/20?
Paul: I did two 20/20s.
Fisher: Two 20/20s, and of course that always leads to my good friend CeCe Moore the DNA Detective. And she joins us on the line right now too. Hi CeCe, how are you?
CeCe: [Laughs] Good. I don’t know if it always leads to me, but it definitely did this time.
Fisher: [Laughs] I don’t know, I think stories like this always seem to find a home in your office!
CeCe: And I’m so glad!
Fisher: Oh, I am too.
CeCe: I love being able to unravel these mysteries.
Fisher: It’s a great joy, isn’t it, to put something together and make it happen? And Paul’s story is so unique. At what point did you meet CeCe, Paul?
Paul: I met CeCe last summer.
Paul: And it was amazing because we’ve talked and emailed almost daily for a couple of years. And CeCe actually reached out to me.
Fisher: Okay. And so CeCe, what were you thinking with this, what could you do with this?
CeCe: Well the news story that Paul mentioned, that made its way across my desk at some point and when there’s especially an intriguing application of genetic genealogy that really sparks my interest.
CeCe: So I reached out to him and he responded, but then he didn’t get back to me. And then when he was on 20/20 they asked me if I could help out as well. So it was quite a while ago that Paul and I met through email and phone. But as he said, we didn’t meet in person until just last summer.
Fisher: And obviously this was not one of those simple things, “Hey I’m going to put in the test. Oh look I’ve got a brother, there’s my family.” It wasn’t that simple, was it?
CeCe: No, and especially because it was, what was it now, three years ago Paul? The databases were much smaller.
CeCe: So it was much more difficult than it would have been today.
Fisher: So what did you do with this? Now you obviously were going to look over what Paul had already done, where he’d already placed his samples hoping to find a match. What does someone do with this situation when it is that limited?
CeCe: Well the most important thing to me initially was to just get him into all three of the databases that were available at that time.
Fisher: Um hmm.
CeCe: So we wanted to make sure that we had 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, Ancestry, and a Y-DNA test from FamilyTreeDNA as well to try to indentify that direct paternal line.
CeCe: Nowadays, I would also get him in My Heritage of course. But at that time they weren’t offering the test. So we just had these three ponds that we needed to fish in, trying to find the strongest DNA matches that we could.
Fisher: Okay. Was there a Y-DNA match?
CeCe: There was Y-DNA matches. However, because his direct paternal line is Ashkenazi Jewish we weren’t getting any surname continuity.
CeCe: So if you have Ashkenazi Jewish lines because they adopted surnames so much later in general, you don’t see the kind of continuity that we would see with British surname that goes hundreds and hundreds of years back.
Fisher: Sure that makes sense.
CeCe: We did have some matches but it wasn’t pointing to anything too specific except that we knew it was Jewish.
Fisher: Okay. So you then had to work with the autosomal?
CeCe: Very, very hard work with my team, which is Carol Rolnick, Michelle Trostler, and Allison Dempsey. I wanted to be sure I mentioned them because this was very much a team effort.
Fisher: Well, and those things have to be sometimes, lots of sets of eyes keeping an eye on theories. And then trying to prove things and then trying to disprove them once you come to a conclusion.
CeCe: Very true, and we worked on this every day. We just kept at it, kept hammering away. And we had a lot of different strengths in the team, which helped a lot. For instance, Carol was fantastic at calling people and getting information which ended up being really key in Paul’s search.
Fisher: And so you had some DNA matches, some distant cousins I presume. And unfortunately we don’t have the time to go through all the details of the journey that you must have gone through. But I have an idea of how incredible that had to have been. At what point did you come to the conclusion you’ve got the right people, who where they and what was their response like?
CeCe: Well, I’ll start that and Paul can finish it.
CeCe: When we finally realized that we had it is when we saw the Tennessee line come together with the Ashkenazi Jewish/ Italian line. So we knew one side of the family had Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry and Italian and we knew the other side was from Tennessee. But funny enough, they also had some distant Jewish ancestry. So I kept telling myself, when I find someone in Tennessee that’s got a Jewish great, great grandparent and an eastern European great, great grandparent, we’ll have it. And so when we realized there was actually a married couple in the trees that we had been building that fit those travellers, we knew that we were in the right place.
Fisher: And were these both of his parents?
CeCe: They were. And this is where Carol’s work really became key, she was calling these relative that we thought would be fairly closely related based on the DNA. And someone told her there was twins missing, basically.
Fisher: Paul, how did you take this news?
Paul: CeCe texted me out of my work and said, “You want to know who you are? Call me!”
Paul: So I went to my car and called her and she said, “What do you think of the name Jack?” and I said, “That’s a good name. It’s a strong name.” She said, “That’s your name. And by the way, you had a twin, her name is Jill.”
Paul: I think I was silent CeCe.
CeCe: Yeah, You there. We were all on the phone? Everyone wanted to be part of that conversation.
Fisher: I can imagine. That is incredible. And so what about the parents now, why did they leave you there Paul?
Paul: Well, there’s different theories I’ve been working on presently. The main theory is that they weren’t very nice people and they did something terrible to my twin sister. So to cover it up they abandoned me because they couldn’t explain one twin around the house. Because they had told one side of the family, the other side was watching the twins and they told the other side, and nobody had the twins, the twins just vanished.
Fisher: Wow. Are you in touch now with some family members from this bloodline?
Paul: I am, yes.
Fisher: And how is that going?
Paul: It’s going really well. It’s hard to explain it really quickly because there’s so many twists and turns and peaks and values and really dark places.
Paul: Yeah and my book “The Foundling” actually lays it out really well, but it’s not the fairytale ending that you hoped for.
Fisher: Sure I understand. And then the other side of it is, you don’t know who the real Paul Fronczak is.
Paul: We don’t. But we’re working on that right now as well.
Fisher: Boy, what an incredible story. The book is “The Founding” it’s by Paul Fronczak. And you can find it, I would imagine everywhere, right… Amazon?
Paul: And also, FoundlingPaul.com.
Fisher: All right, very nice Paul. Thanks so much to you and CeCe. I wish we had three shows to talk about this whole thing.
CeCe: And we could. We definitely could.
Fisher: Yes we could. It’s one of the most incredible stories I think of the last several years. Certainly since we started Extreme Genes back in 2013. Thanks to you both. Always a joy to talk to you CeCe and we look forward to getting you back on the show here soon.
CeCe: Great. Thanks so much for having us, Scott!
Paul: Scott, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Fisher: Tell me that’s not the most incredible story you have ever heard? And coming up next, we talk preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, answering another listener’s question about the restoration of photographs with some very important information, that’s in three minutes on Extreme Genes.
Segment 4 Episode 193
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: It is time to talk preservation on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And Tom Perry is in the house, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. This segment is brought to you by RootsMagic.com. How are you, Tom?
Tom: Super excited and ready to rock and roll!
Fisher: All right. And we got a great email here from another guy named Tom. And he says, “Tom, we have some 1970 vintage photos of headstones with names we cannot read. Remind me again of how we might get those enlarged and enhanced, so that we can read the info?” That’s kind of interesting, you know. You think about people taking pictures of tombstones long before Billion Graves and FindAGrave, and now those pictures are fading and maybe some of those stones are gone. It’s important that this guy is able to actually enhance these photographs, so he can read what’s on them.
Tom: Oh absolutely. This is not one you want to do with something gotten at Sam’s Club. You want to get a real high end scanner. Come to a place like us, come to a place that specializes in this, a place that does billboards or whatever where you can get a really high end scan. Then once you have that incredible pixel rate, you’re going to be able to go into Photoshop or Digital Darkroom, whichever you prefer and do all kinds of cool things with contrast, with changing your gamma colors. Even though it’s probably in black and white, I’d almost guarantee it is, you can still go in and scan it as color. And we’ve said this a million times, I don’t care how black and white your pictures are, always scan them in color, because it’s going to give you a lot more options when you get in to do your editing. So once you scan it in color, get into Digital Darkroom or Photoshop and go in and play around with the chroma, so to speak, and the different colors.
Tom: Take different bands, because even though it’s black and white, the different grayscales still think they’re color. And so, if you grab the green band and bend it up, you might see, “Oh, wow, that started to show me things!” And just go in and mess around with them. And then keep good documentation of what you’re doing, so when you go back and do it again, you’re not going, “Now what steps did I do this?”
Fisher: Yeah [Laughs] because if you have a bunch of them, you don’t want to have to reinvent the wheel.
Tom: A lot of people do that. They work on one, “Oh, this is so cool! Oh, I love this! Now, how did I do it?”
Fisher: Right. [Laughs]
Tom: So one thing which we talked about a few weeks ago, if you’re going to use Photoshop, make sure you go into your undo menu and max it out at a 100 whatever yours will max out at, so you can go back and look and see what you’ve done if you forget to write down. Another good idea is, just take your iPhone and put it on a little stand or a camera or anything and just shoot the screen, that way, you’ll know what you’re doing. As long as you do things like that, it won’t be that hard to do it. Always do a save as. There’s some automatic things you can try, too. Try those first, but then just go in and try the different menus.
Fisher: Well, and just to touch on that point again from the beginning of this conversation, these gravestones may already be on FindAGrave or Billion Graves.
Fisher: And if you’ve got a bunch of these from the 1970s, there’s not a lot of point in spending your time in enhancing these old photographs when you may have beautiful color versions of them right now waiting for you online, for free!
Tom: Exactly! That’s always the best thing to do. You don’t want to spend all that time if you don’t need to. One thing this reminds me about, on last week’s show where they were talking about working with kids, teaching about genealogy, show them, “Hey, here’s grandma’s picture. Let’s fix it up.” When you’re doing that, make sure you have your iPhone or Android on audio record. And record you talking to your grandchildren who these people are, so you’ll actually have an audio recording of it, too, that is going to be precious ten, twenty years from now. So make sure anytime you’re talking about your family, have some kind of recording device going on, even if it’s only audio, because it’s going to be so cool for your grandkids. When they’re your age and they have their own grandkids and they’re talking about you and talking about these other pictures they discovered when they were young.
Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. And we’re kind of excited, because we just had a brand new granddaughter this past week.
Tom: That’s so awesome.
Fisher: And I have three of the grandkids at our house right now, so they’re cousins to this little one. And we just a great time in the hospital room all getting acquainted this past week and recording all of this. And I’m thinking, twenty years from now, that is going to be absolutely priceless stuff.
Tom: And that’s why it’s so important, you’ve always got an iPhone, just hit the record button. It’s always with you, use it!
Fisher: All right, what are we going to talk about in the next segment?
Tom: We’re going to talk about some upcoming conventions and maybe do another email if we have time.
Fisher: All right, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 193
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And we’re back, final segment of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com, talking preservation with Tom Perry. And this segment is brought to you by LeagacyTree.com. And now that summer is practically upon us, Tom, and I guess you could count the Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial beginning of it. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the family history world.
Tom: First of all, there’s some great conventions coming up this summer, and you want to be able to attend those. We’re going to put together scanning party tours where we’ll be able to do scanning and all kinds of things across the country. For instance, there’s a huge convention in Pittsburgh, which is August 30th through September 2nd. We’ll be doing a scanning party there, Louisville, Kentucky, August 25th and 26th, Tucson, Arizona, July 25th and 30th and Columbia, Illinois, August 4th and 5th. If you have conferences along our scanning tour, let us know. We’d love to set up at your place and have some scanning parties and really have a lot of good times with each other.
Fisher: All right. Now you’re going to be posting where this route is on your Twitter page, I would imagine, which is, @AskTomP.
Tom: Exactly. And for those that are getting ready to start going to conventions next week, in June, there’s the big Cherokee Heritage Center annual Cherokee Ancestry Conference June 3rd, which is in Oklahoma. There’s the Southern Cal Genealogy Society, Jamboree and Genetic Genealogy Conferences June 8th through Saturday the 10th. There’s the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference, Thursday June 15th through Monday the 19th. And for you that are into Irish ancestry, there’s going to be a big thing in Ireland on Wednesday June 14th to Wednesday June 21st. It might be a good time to go to Ireland and look at your roots.
Fisher: Boy you’d have to grab a reservation pretty quick for that one!
Fisher: But wouldn’t that be fun!
Tom: Oh it would be awesome to do something like that, especially a lot of times they have last minute deals that are really good.
Fisher: Yeah, you know, back in 1990, I made a discovery of my third great grandfather in Germany, and two weeks later, I was standing in the church where he was christened in 1768.
Fisher: I mean, we put it together like that. And it was absolutely amazing. Long story behind it that was kind of fun, but nonetheless, it can be done.
Tom: Oh yeah!
Fisher: So with this conference coming up in Ireland, if you’re intrigued about it, you’ve got to look into it.
Tom: Right. And it will be awesome to do things like that. Sometimes spur of the moment trips are the best ones. Check out ConferenceKeeper.org, and you can actually upload your dates to those two. And we use them a lot. So if you have conferences going up, let us know, we’ll tweet it out, we’ll promote it. And also, go to ConferenceKeeper.org and load your stuff up there, too, so everybody will know when you’re having a conference.
Fisher: Now I’m kids of excited about next week’s show, because you’ve been digging into a little piece of hardware or is it software?
Tom: Yes, it is!
Fisher: It’s both!
Tom: We call it “The Black Box.” It’s about the size of two shoe boxes, so it’s totally portable and it is the coolest thing I have ever seen. We’ll get into a lot of details next week. What you can do, you can hook up almost any kind of source into it. It will save your content as a DVA, which is immediately uploaded to the internet.
Fisher: What’s DVA?
Tom: Digital Video Archive.
Tom: And so, once it’s in there, you can burn MP4s at the same time, you can put DVDs, it puts it right up into the internet for you, and the neatest thing about it, this technology is so smart, it will understand every time you make a scene change. So you’re shooting, you stop your camera, start again, it will know and it will put a separate thumbnail at every one of those. So it so simple to find out exactly what you want to edit and what you want to work on.
Fisher: So basically, it will save all your video in one piece to the cloud and in separate pieces, yes?
Fisher: Wow! [Laughs]
Tom: It’s just like it’s got the timeline built right into it. This is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. And its inexpensive enough that like libraries can buy it. If you want to do stuff for your neighbors, it’s a good way to do business. We’ve had people write to us and say, “Hey, I want to get in doing this.” And we’re going to talk about a non franchise that you can get into for an incredibly low price. It’s a turnkey situation to start your own transfer business, so we can send people to you.
Fisher: Unbelievable. All right, Tom, we look forward to next week. Thanks for joining us. And we’ll see you then.
Tom: My pleasure.
Fisher: Hey, that wraps up the show for this week. Thanks for joining us. This segment has been brought to you by LegacyTree.com. What a story earlier with CeCe Moore and Paul Fronczak! If you missed any of it, catch the podcast at ExtremeGenes.com, iTunes or iHeart Radio or TuneIn Radio. And don’t forget also to sign up for our Weekly Genie newsletter, all kinds of great links and stories there, you can get it through ExtremeGenes.com. Talk to you again next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family!