Host Scott Fisher and David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society open the show. Fisher opens the conversation talking about how he had the difficult position of having to inform a neighbor, after examining a DNA result, that her father was not her birth father. It’s never an easy thing to reveal, but even worse during Father’s Day week. David then talks about a fascinating feature at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York? a tomb that resembles a mail box of sorts. Find out what it’s about! Then, a hurricane has revealed some shocking discoveries beneath the floor of a Florida wine store. Some listener just might have a connection to this story. Then, David talks about the discovery of a village under a major North American city. Hear where it is and what is being studied.
Then Fisher begins his two part interview with actress Heather Lind, whose AMC television show, TURN- Washington’s Spies is about to begin its fourth season. Heather plays a historical woman named Anna Strong, who, legend has it, hung petticoats behind her home in various orders and colors to signal to spies in boats on Long Island Sound information about British movements on Long Island. For anyone with ancestry in the Revolution, it’s a program that goes a long way in teaching you what live was like in those perilous times. Heather talks about what she has learned about the life of a woman in the Revolution, and the things that may have required of a spy. Heather discusses the challenges of the costumes of the period, and how the cast settled on their respective accents. It’s a fascinating peek into how a period program such as TURN is created, and how it helps us learn about the various times in our history, and then times of our ancestors.
Next, Fisher visits with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, talking preservation. Tom addresses an important question about how to rid your pictures of mold and how to recover them. (Hint: It’s not a do-it-yourself project!) Tom then reminds you how to do deal with pictures that may be subject to moisture damage.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 196
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 196
Fisher: And welcome to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here. I am your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And this segment is brought to you by 23andMe.com DNA and boy, great show coming up for you today. I’m excited because I’m a fan of our guest that we’re going to be having on, starting in about eight minutes or so. It’s actress Heather Lind from the AMC TV Series “Turn: Washington Spies.” And Turn: Washington Spies starts their fourth season this very weekend [Saturday June 17]. So this is going to be very fun. It’s their final season because it covers the coming of the end of the Revolutionary War. And if you ever wanted to watch a TV show that makes you understand what it was like for your ancestors who lived through that period, who maybe lived through British occupation in their town, this is the show for you to watch. We’re going to talk to Heather who plays the role of Anna Strong in the series, coming up in just a little bit and then of course Tom Perry at the back end of the show talking preservation once again. Hey, I just want to remind you by the way, don’t forget to sign up for our Weekly Genie newsletter. If you sign up in the month of June you’re eligible for a drawing we’re going to do for a free DNA kit. So you can find that at ExtremeGenes.com or through our Facebook page. But get on there. It is absolutely free, but of course. And now it’s time to check in with Boston and my good friend David Allen Lambert the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Hello David. How are you?
David: I am fine. How’re you doing Fish?
Fisher: You know I’ve got to tell you it’s been kind of a heavy week. I had a neighbor come to me with a DNA thing that was kind of strange. She got a match of a first cousin and this person reached out to her and said, “Well, where do you fit in?” And so they started comparing their trees and she said, “We didn’t have a match anywhere.” She laughed and said, “Must be a mistake!” And I kind of looked at her and said, “No, that’s not likely a mistake. Do you want to find out?” And we started talking about it and I explained to her the possibility that there is what they call the “non-paternal event” on her side of the family and it might be on the other person’s side. She said, “Well, yeah, whatever, you know. Well, yeah let’s do it.” Okay great. So she came over in the middle of the week and we started to sort out the other guy’s tree. And then we started going through her other matches and looked at the family trees of her second cousin matches and wouldn’t you know it? Virtually every tree we looked at had a connection to this first cousin’s maternal line. And we figured out that they did actually share a pair of grandparents and that her father was not her father.
David: Oh wow! Well you know this is just like our friend Bill Griffeth with CNBC with The Stranger in My Genes.
Fisher: Yes, that’s right.
David: It’s a Pandora’s Box we open up. I mean, everybody has that potential. We like to think that there are no paternity events. Maybe it’s not your parents, but it could be your great, great, great grandparents. And all of a sudden your surname is no longer a Bradford, you’re a McGintee.
Fisher: Yeah right, exactly. And that actually happened to me. I don’t believe my third great grandfather was the father of my second great grandfather Robert Fisher. But that’s certainly a whole different scenario than learning that the man that raised you, the man who believed himself apparently that he was your father, wasn’t your father. And so you know, she left saying thank you and I’m thinking, “Thank me for what?” I mean it felt like I just rolled a hand grenade into her life. And so even over the next couple of days it was pretty heavy and we talked a couple of times and she was taking her time trying to get her brain around this and what this means. But yeah, I’m going to loan her my copy of Bill Griffeth’s book because I’m hoping that it will help her to get through it because it’s a new reality you know.
David: Almost like you need a therapy group for people that are realizing that their parents aren’t their parents or their grandparents aren’t their grandparents. And they grew up their whole life thinking that this is a connection.
Fisher: Yes, that’s right. And both parents are deceased by the way so it’s just one of those circumstances. So you know, I’m giving her a little space right now just to sort this all out. Well we’ve got to move on, though, and get to some of our Family Histoire News. Where do we start today David?
David: Well, I’m going to go back to the east coast, to Brooklyn, New York now. I’m a lover of cemeteries and I’m working on my Mass(achusetts) Cemetery book right now. But one of my favorite cemeteries, and you’ve probably been there, who knows, you probably have family there, Green-Wood Cemetery?
Fisher: I do have. [Laughs] In Brooklyn, New York? Yes.
David: Well, in this cemetery there’s an unusual monument. It was just recently put in there as an art installation by Sophie Calle, a French conceptual artist. Now it’s a marble obelisk and inscribed on it is: “Here lie the secrets of the visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery.”
David: Now here’s the catch.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah.
David: Here, right behind the stone there’s a slot in the stone, Fish, where you drop in notes, burying your secrets in the cemetery.
Fisher; Oh that’s clever. And then what do they do with it when it gets all full?
David: She says that she is going to take them and burn them all and then make room for others to go in there. The question is, “How quickly will it fill up really speaks to you. How many secrets the visitors have?”
Fisher: [Laughs] Exactly.
David: All right, my next story is regarding witches and cemeteries. But I don’t mean the witches on brooms. I’m talking about witching in a cemetery. Out in Topeka, Kansas there’s a lady who’s helping to find unmarked graves in the cemeteries. Some of these are children’s graves that never had a marked grave stone on them but her efforts are amazing! Did you take a peek at that one?
Fisher: Yes I’m looking at this. I mean it’s like how they go water witching you know, with the two sticks and it pulls it down to the ground and that’s how she’s done this. It’s incredible!
David: Well, one of the things I like to do is do a blogger spotlight and this one shines a star on a blog called Genealogysstar.blogspot.com. And this person has gone on and talked about different things you can find at Brigham Young University. She has a five-part online discussion on how you can use the archives. But what I wanted to bring attention to was a site that a lot of people don’t go to, and that’s Archive Grid. If you go into Google and put in “archivegrid” as one word it will tell you about archives that are near to you. You just basically put in the location or zip code and it will tell you college archives, historical archives, that if you’re on a road trip this summer you can find out where you can go when the family doesn’t want to go to the next water park.
Fisher: [Laughs] Nice.
David: Well, and the last thing I want to mention is that NEHGS is very proud that we have now released Berkshire, Massachusetts Probate Files so you can search them and see them from 1761 to 1900. That’s all I have from Beantown this week, but I’ll talk to you soon as we start to enjoy summer here.
Fisher: All right thanks so much, David. We’ll catch up with you next week. And coming up next, I’m going to talk to actress Heather Lind. She plays Anna Strong on the AMC TV Series “Turn: Washington Spies” which has its season four debut this very weekend [Sat. June 17], coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 196
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Heather Lind
Fisher: And welcome back. It’s America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. You know, as I’ve looked back in my past I’ve got nineteen Revolutionaries between my wife’s side and my side, people who were involved in the Revolution. Some gave service, some donated food to the American troops, some tended to the wounded. Some signed Revolutionary pledges, and some of course were soldiers. So that means there are a lot of unsung heroes in the Revolutionary War, many of them were women. And perhaps one of the most interesting characters who were part of the Revolutionary War was a woman named Anna Strong, from Setauket, Long Island, and she was part of the Culper Spy Ring that’s been written about extensively. And if you watch the AMC series “Turn: Washington Spies” you will see an amazing portrayal of this woman by my next guest, actress Heather Lind, who is on the phone with me right now. And I am so honored to have you on the phone, Heather. I’m a big fan! How are you?
Heather: Oh, thank you, so much. I’m wonderful. I’m so happy to be here.
Fisher: And you’re from the New York area, from upstate as I understand. So this was kind of a natural thing culturally for you and you probably learned a few things yourself about the Revolution by being part of the show the last three years.
Heather: I did. Yes, I have learned a lot. I grew up outside Albany, New York which is the capital and just a little suburb. And the area was pretty immersed in history and my father works at the Albany Institute of History and Art so he was very interested in history, in the way history was portrayed through paintings. So I grew up in a family that was particularly interested in history and in art and in a way really through each other. And my mother was also a teacher so I grew up with an appreciation. But there was so much that I learned having worked on this show and I read the books that the show was originally based on which is called Washington Spies by Alexander Rose. And he’s actually been an executive producer and a writer on the show. So it’s been a real privilege to learn about these people that you just don’t hear stories about so much.
Fisher: Well, Anna Strong, there’s really not much out there about her historically and factually. How did you prepare for this role? Because basically you got to create the character that I think many people are going to relate to now when they hear her name.
Heather: Thank you. I did some research. I read the book that Alex wrote, and I actually, during my audition process, didn’t realize that she was a historical figure. I think I went on about two auditions before I decided, you know what? Maybe I should Google this woman! I’m ashamed to admit I Googled, and actually one of the first things I found about her in a Wikipedia search was these images that school children, I think I believe in Virginia, had drawn of her hanging petticoats on the line, looking over the Long Island Sound.
Heather: And I had never learned about her in school. I’d never researched anything about her, so, just to see that other kids were researching her and learning about her really ignited my curiosity about her and about what we can learn from her.
Fisher: Now, I grew up just across Long Island Sound from Setauket.
Heather: Oh you did?
Fisher: Yeah, in Connecticut. And very much related to this reading about Anna Strong, the legend about her, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is that she hung petticoats in certain orders and colors to give a code to other members of the Culper Spy Ring to send information back to Washington about the movements of the British Troops. And it was a very dangerous thing to do, and ultimately this Anna Strong put herself at great jeopardy to share information that was going to help the cause of the Revolution. By the way Heather, have you ever traced some of your own ancestry? Do you know if you have any Revolutionary roots of your own?
Heather: You know I suspect that I do. My father and his family, actually both sides of my family really tracked their ancestry well. One member of our family we believe came over on the Mayflower. So we know that our roots go way back. I don’t know any specific Revolutionaries from that time, but I suspect we came from that kind of area. My father’s family were in Rhode Island and Rochester, my mother’s family is Canadian. So you know I’m sure that there were some ties but I don’t know any specific, but yeah.
Fisher: Sure. You know, it’s interesting that the role of a spy in war back in those times was considered rather lowly, wasn’t it?
Heather: Yes. It was something you certainly didn’t brag about. I mean I think if you were a good spy nobody knew you were one. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] Right.
Heather: But yeah, no, it wasn’t considered an honorable profession. It was a time when war was meticulously organized. You know, you see especially in our show when we depict some of the battle scenes you see hundreds of men lined up in red coats marching towards hundreds of men lined up in blue coats, and I think perhaps I’m not sure if the Revolutionary War was the first time that that started to change, but because patriot troops were so eager to fight a lot of them couldn’t afford uniforms and would fight in a little bit of a dirtier more guerrilla kind of manner. And I think that started to change the way the British troops had to fight. So yeah, it was something that you did very honorably, I think very publically if you were soldiers, but to be a spy was something… it seemed to me you had to be a little ashamed of to be a part of, but you look at Setauket, Long Island and they were quartering soldiers in almost every home.
Heather: So you’re surrounded by the enemy and I think at some point people just couldn’t take it any longer and had to find subversive ways to resist.
Fisher: Absolutely. Now, have you ever been to Setauket?
Heather: I have been to Setauket. I think I’ve actually mostly driven through. I haven’t been to Strong Manor which still exists and I haven’t been to the Strong family cemetery where I believe Anna and Selah are both buried. I haven’t been to those places, yet and I really have no excuse. I don’t know why. [Laughs]
Heather: I live in New York City so it’s not very far, but no, I’ve never been.
Fisher: I was going to say isn’t that just a little train ride… isn’t it?
Heather: I know. I really have no excuse! [Laughs]
Heather: I’m ashamed!
Fisher: Oh stop it. Stop it. No, that’s fine. So, I’m thinking back over the last three seasons the various things that you’ve been called on to do, because you’re a real key player in this Spy Ring. I mean, you’ve got love triangles.
Heather: [Laughs] That’s right.
Fisher: You’ve got the fake love with Major Hewlett.
Heather: That’s right.
Fisher: And you’ve got where you had to play the role of a lady of the night with the British officers,’ right? [Laughs]
Heather: That’s right, yes.
Fisher: I mean it’s like, my goodness, that’s a lot of love of real and fake and everything.
Fisher: Is that something that you’ve run into a lot in your career?
Heather: [Laughs] Well, I think that love triangles for one just served television really well.
Fisher: Yeah, you’re right. [Laughs]
Heather: They hold an audience’s attention. It’s great story telling and especially in the center of a story that was so much about choosing sides. I think it really lent itself to telling the story of unrequited love, and sort of a love history between her and Abe. It allowed for that kind of push and pull because the climate politically in that time was so back and forth and so confusing, and families were pitted against each other. I mean it’s not unlike what our country is experiencing now with having such a highly charged political climate.
Heather: Families being torn apart or argue between each other. I think at that time perhaps it was a similar situation. And so yeah, all the love triangles are very dramatic for television.
Fisher: Sure. [Laughs]
Heather: And yeah, I think it’s interesting to play a female spy because they were, particularly in this time period, and women in general were underestimated in so many ways. And never would anyone believe that women had any political interests whatsoever. So, in my experience working on this show, so much intel is gained by for example, flirting with an officer, or serving an officer beer, or just walking down the street and being chaperoned by a man, the man would also get to places he wouldn’t normally be able to go. So I think women have always found ways to be quietly revolutionary. And I’ve really experienced that in the telling of this story.
Fisher: Well, and it’s been interesting to watch as the characters develop. So, for instance in the character of Abraham Woodhull, he was kind of a gentleman farmer but he reached the point where he was willing to kill and able to kill because he had to kill or be killed.
Heather: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it’s very interesting to see where people need to draw a line or where people are faced with ultimatums. In any conflict I think people have to have a relationship to those moments in their own lives when they’ve been pushed too far or when they are willing to risk everything.
Heather: My character Anna had a lot of opportunity, thanks to our incredible creator Craig Silverstein, to get to the place where she really had nothing to lose.
Heather: I mean she’s losing so much all the time that I think in those circumstances you start to make very efficient decisions about what’s important to you.
Fisher: Well, and don’t you think that in situations of war sometimes people make decisions that they never would have considered under normal circumstances because of the desperation and the situation.
Heather: Yeah that’s right. And so many people, especially “ordinary” people living in Long Island at the time and their livelihoods were at risk. All their resources of which they had very few, were being given to the British Army or being given to support the British cause. And I think that feeling of not being able to support your family, not being able to earn a living. That really hit people at the core and made them react in really risky ways.
Fisher: I’m talking to Heather Lind. She plays Anna Strong on the AMC series Turn: Washington Spies. It’s Season 4 debut is happening this weekend. [Saturday June 17] It airs Saturday nights. You’ll want to check your local listing to find out what time it’s on but if you want to have an idea what your ancestors lived like during the Revolution, this is the show to watch. Heather I’m going to be recording it, making sure, I always watch it at least twice because there’s always so many things that you have to pick up on a second go round. But can you stick around? We want to talk more about the coming season.
Heather: Of course, I’d love to.
Fisher: All right, we’ll get to it in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 196
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Heather Lind
Fisher: And we are back, it’s Extreme Genes America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher your congenial host, and this segment is brought to you by LegacyTree.com. And I’m talking to actress Heather Lind who plays Anna Strong on the AMC series “Turn: Washington Spies.” It’s back for Season Four this weekend, on Saturday in fact. Check your local listings for times near you. It’s all about the spy ring that General Washington started and is actually still studied by spy masters to this very day. Because they started things like the dead drops, invisible ink, and it’s hard to imagine that for 240 years this was going on, Heather, but portrayed brilliantly on your show and it’s got to be fascinating for you.
Heather: It is. It’s been really fascinating to learn about all the spy craft that was being developed, and General George Washington at the time, he had so much to do with it really. I mean, he had the invisible ink, the way they put messages on the insides of hard boiled eggs.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]
Heather: I mean it’s just so creative. It sounds like it would be a failure, but it really worked!
Fisher: Now I know a lot of actors and actresses for whatever the reason is… and it’s a part of it I don’t quite understand… they kind of avoid “period shows” for some reason.
Fisher: And then there are others who kind of gravitate to them for whatever, maybe they have a Shakespearean background. Obviously you’ve embraced it and you’ve enjoyed the experience. Why is that a lot of actors want to avoid period shows?
Heather: I think that’s a great question. I think sometimes in the acting world a lot of what we choose to do and what comes our way has something to do with how we look, obviously the public’s visual discretion.
Heather: I think some actors somewhat unexplainably just look more “period” or look like they may be out of a portrait from the past and I think in some way period work begets more period work.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]
Heather: And I’m thrilled it works that way. I love history and I do see acting as a way to serve the stories of people who came before us.
Fisher: That’s right.
Heather: It’s such a great lesson about the universality of human experience, of how so many things can change and yet nothing changes.
Fisher: Yeah that’s right. That’s right.
Heather: It’s a life experience for me.
Fisher: Well it’s time travel, isn’t it, as an actress?
Heather: That’s right. It’s such a gift to work in television, particularly for AMC. The set designers, the production designers and the set decorators. I mean we have the opportunity of working inside a set that looks like it just came right out of the 18th century. And down to the tiniest crack, down to the ink wells.
Heather: You can let your imagination go. You’re in an environment that supports your imagination so well.
Fisher: Let’s talk about your costumes a little bit here now.
Heather: Um hmm.
Fisher: I’m seeing a lot of tight clothing on the guys. But the corsets, that looks horribly uncomfortable!
Heather: It is actually. You’re right! The corsets did take some time getting used to. I mean it’s extraordinary these were able to physically accomplish what they did.
Heather: As Anna Strong I had to do laundry, which was about basically about beating laundry with a stick. I had to hang laundry. I had to run.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yep.
Heather: I had to get groceries. I had to cook. I mean, I was humbled, as a contemporary woman, just to see the sheer physical acts that they were capable of in those costumes.
Fisher: And you’re running a public house too. I remember the one scene where you had to go and dump the waste of your guests out in front of the place, which reminded me of the smells that must have been in some of these places. I mean, that’s the one thing I’ve really appreciated about this show, is it really makes you appreciate what real life was like back in those times for our ancestors.
Heather: Yes. And really I was thankful we didn’t try to recreate the smells.
Heather: I mean you can see the filth and the dirt but luckily all of us decided to keep showering during the shoot.
Heather: So we didn’t fully appreciate the smell of horse waste all over the streets and all that.
Fisher: Oh my goodness. Now let’s talk about the accents on the show, because this to me has been kind of fascinating. Now, last year I spoke to Sam Roukin who plays John Graves Simcoe on show. He’s the evil character. I mean, a much lower voice, very British.
Heather: Um hmm.
Fisher: But on the show he’s got this high pitched voice. Now Jamie Bell, he’s British but he plays Abraham Woodhull with something of a British accent, but his dad, who’s British, has a very American accent. You, on the other hand, are very American and you have something of a British accent for your character.
Fisher: How do you develop those voices?
Heather: That’s a great question! It seems we all just decided to do something the opposite of what our natural voices are.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yes.
Heather: We had a vocal coach when we started the show four years ago and she spoke with us briefly on how we could try to grasp at what their accents might have sounded like.
Heather: We don’t have any recording of what their voices were like. We assume there was a kind of English, American mix. I mean some people just sounded very Irish. Some people suspect it was kind of like a Middle English situation. So we weren’t sure.
Fisher: You had the Dutch to deal with.
Heather: That’s right. There were many sounds that were coming together all at once and because the country was trying to re-identify itself. I think in some ways the fact that all of our accents sound somewhat disparate was part of the struggle of early America. It was just to find who they were and who they wanted to be and where they all came from. That’s how we justified it.
Heather: But the sad story is, we tried to, at least the four Culper Spy Ring members, Anna Strong, Abe Woodhull, Benjamin Tallmadge and Caleb Brewster, we decided to get together and try to go for something similar because we imagined if we were growing up together as friends we would have a similar sound.
Heather: And most of that came off of Jamie, because Seth Numrich who plays Ben Tallmadge and I are both Americans, then Dan Henshall who plays Caleb Brewster is Australian. So we decided to try and kind of converge our voices towards what Jamie sounds like and he also kind of leans his voice in a kind of West English way. So we listened to some samples of Devonshire and we listened to just the west country in England.
Heather: And tried to, almost like an English accent that had slightly harder R’s and a little bit more of an Irish sound to it. And of course once we decided to do that all of our accents evolved.
Heather: It’s what you do when you’re developing a character. It was actually a really complicated decision we all had to make and we didn’t have a kind of evidence for it. So we all tried to find our characters within some kind of west country sound. But then we have Judge Woodhull who really wanted to do a hard American accent. We all put our personal spin on it I guess. Kevin McNally is a genius and it was great to work with him. The cast itself was an ensemble of such beautifully trained, beautifully disciplined actors, Burn Gorman, Meegan Warner and Sam Roukin and JJ Feild.
Heather: We had an embarrassment of riches!
Fisher: Yes it’s a great cast, there’s no doubt. All right, real quick, give us a summary, it’s the final season coming up we have disposed of Major Andre.
Heather: Um hmm.
Fisher: In fact, one of my ancestors was supposed to be among the captors, at least a cousin of one of my ancestors, David Williams.
Heather: Oh really?
Heather: Oh wow.
Fisher: So it was an interesting scene to watch how he was captured, going, “Oh there’s my guy right there!”
Fisher: But he’s out of the picture now. Now we go to the end of the war, what should we expect this season?
Heather: This season we tell the story about these final dramatic efforts by the patriots to subvert English intelligence and I think we get a lot more very specific spying going on from all our characters. Not only secretly spy but actually take on new identities in order to slow the other side. There’s a lot of role playing and of course we hit through the more historically famous battles at the end of the Revolutionary War. So you’ll see a lot of action, a lot of spying, and it’s really it’s the last chance to win the war. So the urgency was really exciting and despite what the Brits may tell you, we ended up winning!
Heather: I don’t think that’s a spoiler. Even after we won, things were not all tied up and we’re fighting some of the same battles today.
Heather: So it’s messy and exciting and I can’t wait for people to see it.
Fisher: She’s Heather Lind. She’s the actress that plays Anna Strong on Turn: Washington Spies on AMC. Back for season four, the final season, check your local listings for times. Heather, what a pleasure to have you on Extreme Genes, I’m so appreciative.
Heather: Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.
Fisher: We talk preservation with Tom Perry coming up next.
Segment 4 Episode 196
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth. And this segment is brought to you by MyHeritage.com. And we’re talking preservation now with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, the Preservation Authority! How are you, Tom?
Tom: I’m super duper.
Fisher: [Laughs] Hey, we’ve got a great email here from Kerry Brown. She asks this question, “Tom, I was given your contact information to ask how I should go about cleaning mold off pictures that were given to me. How do I cut away paper that the picture is mounted on? The pictures are about from 1890 to 1910. I’m taking pictures of the photos and uploading them to my FamilySearch files. I’d like to be able to put them in family albums, but I don’t want them to be continuing to rot, any suggestions, please?”
Tom: Wow! [Laughs] There’s a lot of things in here. First, step away from the photos that are mounted. Put those scissors down!
Fisher: Yes, exactly!
Tom: You definitely do not want to cut them apart. What you want to do is, have them professionally scanned by somebody near you or send them to us, because once you get them scanned, then you can make new prints to put in the album that you want to create. And then since they’re already digitized, they’re easy to upload to your website or wherever you want to share them with your family. So don’t cut them. That’s a big no no in this business.
Fisher: Right. [Laughs]
Tom: You have things stuck to photos, don’t cut them, don’t try to take them off. If you have more questions, you can still write to me at AskTom@TMCPlace.com. And also, on your photos that have the mold on them, there’s several things you want to do. First thing, you want to find a professional. This is not something that you want to try your first time out, because there’s a good chance of making a mistake. But even when you take stuff to a professional, whether you’re sending them to us or having somebody in your neighborhood or in your area that do these things professionally, you want to make sure you scan them first. Even if you don’t have a high end scanner, set your scanner as high as you can and scan them, because there’s always a possibility, even though rare, that something might happen to them. So you want to get them scanned, so worst case scenario, at least you have a scan of the moldy pictures. Then any professional place such as ours, what we will do, first we have to see what kind of mold it is. If it’s a water soluble mold, then what we’ll do is, we’ll rewash your print and the mold will go away and then we put it on our special chrome dryer that will make it glossy again.
Fisher: Wow, you’ve got that kind of thing!
Tom: Oh, absolutely, absolutely! And sometimes you’re going to have pictures that have like black mold and certain kinds of mold that’s not water soluble, like maybe somebody spilled some soda on it, and that’s what your mold’s coming from, then we have to use some chemicals to reduce as much of that as we can before we can go to the next step and wash it and get as much as we can off and then re dry it on the chrome dryer, so they’re glossy again.
Fisher: So basically, don’t touch the mold! [Laughs]
Fisher: Let somebody else do this. But don’t let it go too long either, because it can only get worse.
Tom: And if this is something that you can’t deal with right now, what you want to do is what we’ve talked about on previous episodes. You want to make sure there’s no moisture around these pictures. And I don’t see on your email what city you’re coming from, but if you’re coming from someplace in the south, like Alabama where there’s a lot of humidity, you want to make sure you go get some long grain dry rice, put it in cheese cloth, tie it up with thread, not a rubber band and put it in a Ziploc bag along with those photos to try to absorb any moisture, or if you bought a TV or any electronics recently and you see these little bags that say “Do not eat,” they do the same thing.
Tom: Throw it in there.
Tom: And that’ll absorb it. If you have some that are really, really old and probably have already absorbed a lot of moisture, you can put them in a toaster oven for about five minutes and that will take the moisture out, and they’re just like brand new and you can use them over and over and over again.
Fisher: Wow, No kidding! I’ve never heard that one before.
Tom: Oh yeah, I always save them. Any time I get electronics, I have a little bag that I always throw those things into for people that come into our store that need something like that and I loan them to them. Plus if you don’t have anything like that, this will sound really funny, but it’s true. You can go to a hearing center like Belltone and they have these little aluminum things that are made to take moisture out of hearing aids. And do the same thing. Put it in the bag with your photos or whatever and it will take the moisture out.
Tom: So a different business can make things that are good for us.
Fisher: What a minute, wait a minute! Do you know anybody who’s actually gone to Belltone to get that and save their pictures?
Tom: Nope! I know of nobody that has done it.
Tom: But I know they exist.
Fisher: All right, Tom, we’re going to come back in three minutes with another listener question on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 196
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: It is our final segment of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com for this week. Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth. We’re talking preservation as always with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Tom, this email comes from Mary Spasek, and she said, “You know, quite a while back, you were on Extreme Genes and talked about an app that would scan a page in a photo album, but automatically separate it into individual pictures.” I remember that. She said, “Please let me know what that was. Thanks, Mary.”
Tom: Well, a good way to do this is to go to ExtremeGenes.com, you can type in “picture separation,” any kind of word that you want and it will help you find it, because all of our episodes are all totally searchable on our ExtremeGenes.com website and also on Google.
Fisher: Oh absolutely. All you’d have to do is put in “Extreme Genes” in quotes and then put in probably search terms like “apps” “Tom Perry” in quotes and then you’ll see all kind of things that will come up that will maybe help you find the episode you were looking for.
Tom: And just as a reiteration of what it was, if you have a Kodak scanner, they’re high end scanners, they’re like about $3500, so most people probably don’t own one, but a lot of the family history libraries do have them, because Kodak has a program where they get as many as they can into libraries. And if they have that, they should have that app. When you go in and start scanning your photos, you go into settings and you’ll find a place that says “enable separation.” And you don’t want to do this for all of your pictures, because that’s going to assume every single photo you want to go in and take more photos out of it.
Tom: So you want to do your album pages last. Go in and enable this particular app, and then when it does it, it’ll go in and it’ll do its best job of cropping the separate pictures, but then it gives you the ability to go in and fine tune them, make them better. If you’re in a place where you don’t a have a library or access to a library that has that, like I know a lot of people go to Utah because of the big family history library there. And I know they have them there. Also, if you go to EZ Photo Scan, which there’s a link on our page, on TMCPlace.com, they will rent them to you for about $300 a week.
Tom: So there’s a lot of different ways you can do that. Just make sure if you do rent them, you mention that you need the flatbed scanner and you want to make sure you are able to enable that app, so then you can go and do those things. It makes it so much easier.
Fisher: And it is reunion season, so this is a really great time to do that. And these are really terrific scanners.
Tom: In fact, a lot of times we’ve run into situations where you have grandparents who will not let those photos out of their hands. That’s fine. Let grandma hold it in her handbag, walk up to the scanner, she can feed the scanner herself or have somebody assist her, hand her back the pictures, they were never out of her sight. And so then she should have nothing to complain about.
Fisher: Right. [Laughs] Absolutely!
Tom: So you know, one thing that’s important, I got an email just the other day from a listener that said, “You always are talking about your home video studio and the DVA. It sounds like you’re trying to put competition out there against yourself.”
Tom: And I say, well, yeah, that’s true. However, you know, I’m not possessive of it. I want to share my knowledge and experience of preservation to everyone who wishes to participate in furthering the work of preservation, just like you do, Fish.
Fisher: Well, absolutely. The nature of the show here is trying to share what we know. I mean, I’m sure we could all monetize everything we know better. But the point of this is getting everybody involved in their family history. It’s going to make the world a little better, because right now, we need that.
Tom: Oh absolutely, no question about it. My goal is to have everybody get everything preserved. I don’t care who it is, whether it’s somebody across the street from me or down the road. If you can save one family’s memories and then they have a flood or fire or something and everything’s on the cloud and so they’re okay about it, that’s the only thing that matters to me. I want to get this stuff preserved. That’s why on the show we say, hey, if you can get somebody to do it locally, that’s fine. If you can’t find anybody, we’re happy to do it for you, but if you can do it yourself or find somebody locally, that’s what you need to do.
Fisher: Yeah, that’s a great way to go, Tom. All right, thanks so much. And by the way, if you have a question for Tom Perry, it’s easy to reach him. Just email him at AskTom@TMCPlace.com, or you could go to his Twitter feed @AskTomP, and he’ll respond there and everybody can benefit from his answers. So thanks for coming on, Tom. We’ll see you again next week.
Tom: My pleasure.
Fisher: And that is our show for this week. Thanks so much for joining us. Hey, if you missed any of it, catch the podcast on iTunes, iHeart Radio or ExtremeGenes.com, TuneIn Radio. And don’t forget to sign up for our Weekly Genie newsletter, it’s absolutely free. In the month of June, if you sign up, you’re eligible for a free DNA kit we’re going to be giving away next month. Hey, I hope you’re making great discoveries. Thanks for joining us. We’ll talk to you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family!