Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Fisher and David talk about the eclipse, and one in particular that occurred during the Revolutionary War that military leaders used to rally the troops. David then shares the remarkable story of the discovery of a uniform of a World War II vet and how it found its way into the hands of the vet’s granddaughter. Then, another World War II story has had another chapter written. The ship involved in one of America’s great naval disasters has been located. David then talks about the upcoming conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies in Pittsburgh and shares a blogger spotlight on Robin Lacey’s spadeandthe grave.wordpress.com, where Robin talks about digging up a graveyard of ancestors.
Then Fisher begins his two part visit with his first cousin, Joann (Fisher) Schmidt, of Dutchess County, New York. When Fisher and Joann began collaborating on their shared family history back in the 1980s, Joann also looked into her mother’s side. There, she discovered a horrible family secret. Her grandfather’s family had been decimated in a disaster on a steamboat in 1904 in which ten family members were killed. It is called the General Slocum disaster, and it took place in New York City. The tragedy marked the greatest single loss of life in New York City history prior to 9/11. In this two part interview, Joann shares her story of how she learned the details of her grandfather’s greatest trial, and how he endured the aftermath.
Then, Tom Perry checks in from the road as he continues his Preservation Tour, scanning genies’ pictures for free at sites around the country. Where is he now and where will he be next? He will tell you.
Tom then answers another listener question concerning the best way to be sure your material will still be around years from now.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript for Episode 204
Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 204
Fisher: And you have found us! It’s 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 MyHeritage.com. Nice to have you along! We’ve got a great guest today and I must say I’m a little tainted in that because she’s my first cousin. Her name is Joann Fisher Schmidt and she and I started collaborating in family history as far back as the 1980s. You know when we were kids we used to have Thanksgiving together. Well, I was the kid. She was already an adult, but she found out a fascinating story about her mother’s side of the family that is something that just made my jaw drop when I first heard about it. It was a disaster called the General Slocum Disaster. It was a steamship in New York that was taking a large church group from a German Lutheran Church in the Lower East Side to a picnic on Long Island in June of 1904. The ship caught on fire and more than 1,000 people died. You probably never even heard of it, but up until 9/11 that was the biggest loss of life in a single incident in New York City history. So, we’re going to talk about Joann, how she discovered that, her response to it, her family’s involvement in it, her family’s loss in it, the stories that were passed down. That’s all going to start in about eight minutes or so. Hey, just a reminder by the way, don’t forget to sign up for our “Weekly Genie” Newsletter. It is absolutely free. And if you get signed up by the last day of August, you’re going to be eligible for a drawing we’re going to do for some free software from Heritage Collectors. And this will allow you to tag faces in your pictures and to organize them, maybe even make them into calendars, whatever you want to do, but it’s great software. Just sign up on our website ExtremeGenes.com or on our Extreme Genes Facebook page. Let’s head out to Boston right now and check in with David Allen Lambert. He is the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org.
Fisher: How are you David?
David: I’m in Beantown ready to take off again for another trip, but I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
Fisher: Okay. [Laughs]
David: The first thing I want to ask you is, did you have the correct lenses over your eyes when you were watching the recent eclipse?
Fisher: Yes, I did. And believe me I checked it out very carefully. My daughter sent me on an assignment to go to some guy’s house, who claimed in an ad that he had a bunch of them, and he did, sold them to us for like two bucks a piece. But there was a government code on there, and I doubled and tripled checked it and still I was kind of nervous about it. But yeah, it turned out great and nobody was harmed. But we were not too far from the path of totality. A lot of friends went in to that and enjoyed that experience, but I thought it was fantastic.
David: We had about 70% coverage.
David: But you know, that actually historically ties into a previous eclipse back in 1778.
Fisher: Really, during the Revolution?
David: Um hmm. In fact, George Washington was holding a war council meeting and told his generals not to worry about this and tell his men that it’s not a bad omen. In fact, George Rogers Clark told his officers of the Virginia militia that this was a good omen. In fact, a couple of weeks later it worked to their benefit having this positive omen. They won the Battle of Kaskaskia in Illinois on the 4th of July 1778.
Fisher: How cool is that, [Laughs] taking that and using it as a weapon of war. How unique!
David: Next, in our Family Histoire News I have a story from Spokane, Washington. Bruce Campbell was out perusing the racks of a local thrift store when he came across a green uniform. It’s a World War II uniform and occasionally these do show up at thrift stores. This one had the name of the colonel inside, Colonel A.L Shreve. After a little bit of genealogical research he was able to track down Heather Shreve who is the granddaughter and now she has her grandfather’s uniform.
Fisher: Isn’t that the coolest thing? I mean, to go to a thrift store on one end of the country, buy it because it has a name in it, research it, track down the descendant and then pay to ship it to them all out of respect.
David: I just hope that somebody would do the same thing with my dad’s uniform from World War II.
David: Nothing in the mail yet. [Laughs]
David: George Lambert Army Engineer Construction Corps send it to Dave. [Laughs] The next story has a World War II slant. On July 30th 1945 the USS Indianapolis sank. And out of the 1196 crewmen, 317 survived. Most of them died from being in shark infested waters and sadly they drowned. And of those 300 plus crewmembers, 22 are still alive today.
David: They found the Indianapolis this month.
Fisher: Incredible. What a story. My wife was in Indiana. She’s an Indiana native, and she was back there in 2011 and had the opportunity to attend the reunion of the survivors of the Indianapolis at that time. And she came back with some autographed brochures and pamphlets and stories of these amazing people.
David: We’re losing so many of the WWII Veterans that it’s nice to know that this chapter has some closure for some of them. Next week, I’ll be in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Federation of Genealogical Society’s Annual Conference. In fact, I’m going to probably be doing it live from the floor, so stay tuned. And one of the people who’ll be there is Tom Perry who was just here in Worcester, Massachusetts for our Preservation Road show with NEHGS so it will be nice to see Tom again.
Fisher: Yeah, and he’s going to be doing free scanning at FGS as well, so this is going to be a lot of fun. You can bring up to 100 photographs, up to a size of say 8×10, so bring them by and see Tom if you’re anywhere near the Pittsburgh area. It’s a rare opportunity.
David: One of the things I like to talk about each week is our blogger spotlight. And the blogger spotlight goes out to Canada to Robyn Lacy who has a blog called SpadeAndTheGrave.Wordpress.com. She’s an archaeologist and her blog is about death and burial through the eyes of an archaeological lens. She is working on trying to locate the 1600s cemetery that was in Ferryland, Newfoundland. Just an interesting thing because so many of our ancestors are buried in cemeteries and we can’t find them, archaeologists may be the key in helping identify these bodies of perhaps your ancestors.
David: Well, that’s all I have for this week for you. Hope to see some of our listeners at FGS next week.
Fisher: All right David thanks so much and we look forward to catching up with you then and hearing about what’s going on in Pittsburgh. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to Joann Fisher Schmidt from Duchess County, New York about her discovery about her family and its losses in the General Slocum Disaster of 1904. You may have never heard about it, but it was almost as big as the Titanic, details next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 204
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Joann Fisher Schmidt
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 brought to you by FamilySearch.org. You know, I think back sometimes on my youth and I’m sure many of you do the same, and sometimes you think about an individual that perhaps was involved in a historic event and you didn’t realize it at the time. You just go, “Wow! I wish I’d known. I wish I could have asked questions.” And every year my family would go from our home in Connecticut to New Jersey to have Thanksgiving with our cousins and my aunt and uncle. And at the dinner table were members of the family from my uncle’s wife’s side. One of them was a man named John, who was very quiet, didn’t have a lot to say. And I later learned the reason why through my cousin Joann who is on the phone with me right now. Hi Joann, how are you?
Joann: Hi Scott! This is great fun.
Fisher: Jo and I are related through our dads who were brothers and musicians together and we both lost our dads in the year 1972. But as you and I over the years bonded from afar and got into family history together, we learned a lot of things about not only my mother’s side but your mother’s side, and one of them had to do with Uncle John. Now tell us the relationship to Uncle John to your mom and how that all worked out.
Joann: Uncle John was my mother’s brother. He was always part of the family. He was always included in all of my mother’s family events. He was always at our Christmas gatherings on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve was a German celebration not Christmas day… German family celebration and their name was Muth, M-U-T-H. They were all Germans.
Fisher: So let’s fast forward a little bit now to the early 1990s and you and I by that time were interacting quite a bit on our mutual family history and you started working on your mother’s side. Your mom had passed in 1989 and now you started to find out some things about Uncle John. One thing you didn’t know was he was a half brother to your mom.
Joann: Well, I didn’t realize that until I learned about the General Slocum disaster. I somehow, after mother died and after I retired, I had time to go through old papers of my mother’s and I found a hand written letter that she had sent to me, and it said something about a family cemetery in Brooklyn. Because I had done so much research for a reunion for the Fisher family, I thought it was about time I started looking into my mother’s family history. And I contacted different cemeteries in Brooklyn, New York and there was nobody with the last name Muth. And I was talking with my brother about my mother’s family and somehow he remembered that Uncle John one time at the seashore had said to him, “Well, it’s really tough learning how to swim when you just get thrown in the water and you have to survive.”
Joann: I think my brother Jack told me that there had been some kind of accident on a ship. I came to go to the Merchant Marine Academy under the Throgs Neck Bridge in New York City. My husband Dave and I found a ship’s model in there of the General Slocum and it told about this horrific event of fire and how all these people died, and mentioned there was a cemetery in Middle Village which is in a section not in Brooklyn.
Fisher: No, it’s in Queens.
Joann: But of Queens, the borough of Queens.
Joann: As children and growing up, our family never visited that cemetery. It must have been mother visited the cemetery while my grandmother was still alive perhaps. But I learned that it was a Sunday School picnic that happened once a year at this German Lutheran Church, that all the family in lower Manhattan that lived in Kleindeutschland which was the German…
Fisher: Little Germany, right, and I think the church was St. Marks.
Joann: St. Marks Church, yes. And it was in lower Manhattan and every year they had a Sunday School picnic in June. It was a great big event and they sold tickets and hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of families looked forward to this outing where they would get all dressed up and there would be a band on board and there would be food and there would be beer and they would go to a spot on Long Island. They would just go across Long Island Sound and over to a spot for the day and then they would come back again on this paddle wheeler. And they had done it for many years. So because it was on a Wednesday, my grandfather was able to attend and come with the family also because he didn’t have an office job where he had to show up at a certain time every single week day.
Joann: He was in real estate.
Fisher: So it was mostly women and children that were on this ship then?
Joann: There were some men, but mostly women and children yes because it was a Wednesday. And what happened was, after it left the dock it was still in the East River, somehow a spark ignited down in the boiler room or the lower level of the ship, but anyway, the packing for all the glasses for the party for all the food and plates, in those days it was called excelsior, it was like wood shavings as packing.
Joann: They didn’t have bubble wrap back in those days.
Joann: And that’s what kept the glasses and the plates from breaking. And a fire started. It caught very quickly. It totally engulfed the ship. The captain tried to hurry to shore to a dock but the docks were wood, so instead of going to the dock he headed for the shore. But in speeding up the boat the flames just flew to the rear of the ship, the stern, and people were just engulfed. And they tried to get the lifeboats off but they had been painted and wired shut on to the ship. It had a fresh coat of paint and it was just glued. You know how windows are when somebody doesn’t paint carefully and you can’t open and close the windows.
Joann: And the life jackets had been inspected but because of greed they were just paid to inspect but they didn’t really inspect and the life jackets were made of cork and the cork just crumbled…
Fisher: Oh no.
Joann: … and became water logged so when mothers put life jackets on their children and threw them overboard they sunk right to the bottom.
Fisher: Ugh! This was in 1904.
Fisher: June of 1904.
Joann: Most women didn’t know how to swim and children didn’t know how to swim.
Fisher: Well and think about those big skirts they would wear back in the day, right?
Joann: This was Victorian times. Most of them wore black or dark and they became water soaked of course. Then, when they tried to put the fires out with the hoses, the hoses were rotted. They all broke apart. It was just so awful.
Joann: So, of all the people on board, more than eleven hundred all perished.
Fisher: Yeah. Somewhere I think it was between a thousand and eleven hundred out of thirteen hundred something. And there were three hundred some odd survivors that came out of that.
Joann: Very, very few survivors.
Fisher: Including Uncle John.
Joann: Uncle John was rescued by his father because he saw him. He was in the water himself and he saw this little boy with a little red jacket with brass buttons. He had made that little red jacket for him. And he rescued him. He was two and a half, three. And he survived, my grandfather survived, and his brother Conrad survived. They were the only ones out of the party of thirteen that survived.
Fisher: The Muth family, thirteen members and only three survived. So, who did your grandfather lose in this?
Joann: My grandfather on that day lost his mother, his wife, his three daughters, his sister in law, and her daughters.
Joann: I just can’t even begin to imagine how anyone can deal with that kind of tragedy. You realize how hard it is to lose a parent and even worse to lose a child, but to lose all those people in your family.
Joann: And you yourself having been there and having been unable to rescue them yourself. I just…it’s unbelievable.
Fisher: Now Joann, you said that you weren’t aware of this until after your mother passed away, how did you get the details about the clothing that John was wearing when his dad rescued him?
Joann: I was on the phone with my cousin John, Uncle John’s son, when I discovered this about the Slocum disaster. And when there was going to be a 100th anniversary event in 2004 commemorating and memorializing this event, I got in touch with him and I invited him to participate.
Fisher: So he told you about it.
Joann: Yes. I have a second cousin who is a granddaughter. She was not on the ship. She was supposed to be on the ship but she had a boyfriend and she wanted to spend the day with her boyfriend so she did not get on the ship to go with her family.
Fisher: Boy was that fortuitous.
Fisher: So Joann, this was one of the great disasters in the history of New York. In fact, up till 9/11, this was the single greatest loss of life in one incident. And it’s kind of been forgotten to history.
Joann: In New York City.
Fisher: In New York City.
Fisher: Yes. And there were two other incidents that happened not long after, one was the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire that killed all these workers in a building, and then the Titanic the next year. And between those two things I think the General Slocum Fire has been forgotten. Let’s talk about the aftermath of that fire, the reunions you’ve attended, some of the survivors that you’ve met, when we return in three minutes all right?
Fisher: On Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 204
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Joann Fisher Schmidt
Fisher: And we are back, America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. This segment is brought to you by 23AndMe.comDNA. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, and today I’m talking to my cousin, I mean, not a fifth cousin or a ninth cousin that I found through DNA, my lifelong buddy cousin, my first cousin, Joann Schmidt from Duchess County, New York. And, Joann and I kind of teamed up, starting in the ‘80s and ‘90s to research the family, and she went off on her own, of course, on her mother’s side, and discovered this horrible disaster concerning her grandfather and his first family that she knew nothing about, and it was the disaster of the General Slocum, a side wheel steam ship that was carrying a group of church goers from the Little Germany section of New York City, on a church picnic this day, in the middle of June in 1904. 1300 people on board, only 300 survived as the ship caught on fire and tried to race ashore which only fanned the flames, throwing a lot of people and heavy clothing into the water, folks who couldn’t swim. There was bad emergency equipment on board, as we talked about in the first segment. And you lost, what, 10 members of the family, your grandfather, Joann, out of 13?
Fisher: Boy and that was the biggest loss of life in a single incident, until 9/11 in New York. That’s the record for New York.
Fisher: And obviously it wasn’t quite as big as the Titanic, which occurred eight years later. The Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire that took place in 1911, of course, that caused a lot of change in the way buildings were put together and how people worked as well.
Joann: The Slocum disaster changed the laws for safety on ships.
Fisher: And what were some of those changes?
Joann: Well, it had to do with the way the inspections were done, it had to do with the way the lifeboats were secured. It had to do with the fire hoses. It had to do with the life jackets. And not just one person inspecting and getting money for the inspection. There were definite changes as a result.
Joann: Of course, legal actions, lawsuits against the owners of the ship and against the captain.
Fisher: Who survived, by the way, which I thought was interesting. There are pictures of the General Slocum disaster all over the place, and for days, bodies were washing up on the shore. There were many who were unidentified, and of course many who were identified and then marked in graves and of course put in that cemetery that you mentioned in Queens, New York, Joann, and you’ve been there and you’ve been part of the reunions as well. There was a centennial reunion in 2004. Did you get to ever meet some of the other survivors of the disaster?
Joann: Well, at that time, at the 100th anniversary, one living individual, a woman who was just a very small child at the time, her name was Chippy Liebenow. Her married name was Wotherspoon. And, the Chippy was a nickname for Adella. So it was, she was at that time living in Watchung, New Jersey, which was so interesting to me because my husband’s father grew up in Watchung, New Jersey. His uncle was mayor of Watchung, New Jersey. And when I met Adella, Chippy, I found out that as a child, she was great friends with my husband’s aunt, Helen. So, I visited her at her house. She had a huge scrapbook of all the Slocum events. We met on three different occasions, Chippy and I, at different luncheons, out on Long Island, but this Middle Village Cemetery where so many of the Slocum deceased are buried, there’s also a Muth family plot. And when I visited it the very first time, not only were there the names of all these people in the family that I never knew… my mother had half sisters!… there were red begonias all lined up in front of the stones, and I was so confused because I hadn’t ordered any flowers and I didn’t know why there were flowers there. I went to the office and they pulled the card and found out that my grandfather, when all his family were buried there, he not only purchased perpetual care, but he purchased perpetual care with flowers, and to that day, they were still putting flowers every summer at the grave.
Fisher: Isn’t that incredible. To think that was the result of your grandfather’s order. When did he pass away?
Joann: He passed away in 1938, the year I was born.
Fisher: [Laughs] Wow!
Joann: He passed away in January and I was born in November, so I never knew him.
Fisher: That’s amazing. And so, you show up and the flowers that he ordered are there.
Fisher: So are there still reunions going on, Joann, for the Slocum family descendants?
Joann: No, I haven’t been aware of anything. There probably will be another one sometime or another. There’s also a memorial in a park in New York City, to this disaster, in a children’s park.
Fisher: And yet, as many people as can name the Titanic disaster, and the Triangle Factory fire, very few would know of the General Slocum disaster.
Joann: But you have to remember that Germany was not a friend of the United States through the first half of the 20th century. You know, there was World War I, there was World War II, and these also were immigrants.
Joann: These also were not wealthy people like the Titanic, and the Triangle Shirtwaist was so awful because they couldn’t escape through the fire escape. The doors were all locked shut. So, no, not many people knew about the Slocum disaster. Not until 9/11 when they would compare it to this other great disaster.
Fisher: Exactly. What an incredible time. Was it emotional for you to come to the Muth family cemetery within that memorial, at that time, the first you saw them?
Joann: Of course. It was not only emotional, it was almost other worldly, because I had no idea that my grandfather had been married once before. I didn’t know that my uncle had a different mother. My Nana, my grandmother, I just thought, growing up that they were husband and wife and that my mother was born and she had an older brother. I just never knew that there was another family, and then to see all of these names and to see three Muth girls’ names and their ages, and, it was emotional, yes absolutely. And then, I immediately wanted to find out more, and I went to this New York Historical Library and saw the original newspaper stories from when the event happened.
Fisher: And your family name is mentioned in there quite a bit, isn’t it?
Joann: Yeah. Just thinking about how a person can continue to go on. But my grandfather, I guess, had to go on, because he had a son and no wife, and he didn’t know how to cook, probably, or how to clean house, or how to….
Fisher: But he was probably also part of that German community, and a lot of people lost folks, so maybe they all kind of came together, right?
Joann: No, well, yes and no. The whole section of lower Manhattan became totally transformed. It was quiet, there were no children laughing and running around in the streets. My grandfather left. He left that part of New York and went up town to escape it, to get away from it.
Fisher: To start it all over again.
Joann: Yeah, and the church became a Jewish temple. Yeah, it was one of those really awful, awful tragedies.
Fisher: She’s Joann Schmidt, from Duchess County, New York.
Joann: Joann Fisher Schmidt!
Fisher: [Laughs] I’ve got to get that in there, Jo, absolutely! She’s my cousin, and I love you Jo. Thanks so much for the story. I can’t imagine why we’ve never talked about it on the show before, because, I think it is one of those incredible disasters that’s worthy of mention, that happened in the course, not only of New York history, but in the United States as a whole.
Joann: You’re absolutely right.
Fisher: Thanks so much, Jo.
Joann: Okay, Scott. This was fun.
Fisher: And coming up next, it’s Tom Perry’s Preservation Tour. Where is he doing his scanning parties this week? Where’s he going to be next week? He’ll catch you up, some great benefits for you. Keep listening. He’s up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 204
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: Well, last week we taught our Preservation Authority how to say “Worcester” Massachusetts.
Fisher: And this week we’re working on getting him to say “Noo Yawk!” “Noo Yawk…,” can you say that Tom?
Tom: Noo Yawk!
Fisher: Very good! That’s not bad. Hey, it’s Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. This segment is brought to you by LegacyTree.com. And Tom, your Preservation Tour continues across the country. You’re in New York City today.
Tom: Yeah! We’re in New York City looking at the Statue of Liberty as we speak!
Fisher: [Laughs] Sound like an old New York movie from the ’30s there. “Yeeh, suuure!”
Tom: [Laughs] You know, it’s true, in New York you have some of the sweetest, nicest, incredible people that will give you the shirts off their backs to help you. And then you have the others.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] Then you have the rest. That’s exactly right. Now you just got back from where?
Tom: The Boston area. Then we’re heading over to the FGS, which is in Pittsburgh, which is going to be a lot of fun. So we’re hanging out in New York today just having a great time showing my son all the sights here. This is a beautiful fun city that never sleeps.
Fisher: Exactly right. And FGS of course is the Federation of Genealogical Societies. And their conference is going on in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And we’re doing an Extreme Genes scanning party there with your unique vehicle.
Tom: Absolutely. It’s going to be so much fun. Anybody can bring in a hundred photos they want scanned as long as they’re like 3 ½ x 5 to 8×10 and they’re not crinkled or damaged in any way, so we can scan them for you. And bring your own USB drive. And there’s no charge. We’ll do a hundred photos at no charge whatsoever. If you don’t have a USB drive, we’ll have some there for just like ten bucks, so it’s pretty cheap. So come by, say hi. Extreme Genes is sponsoring besides the scanning party, we’re giving away a Shotbox which is a photo studio, which is absolutely the most incredible thing ever invented. And also we’re giving away Heritage Collector software. So it’s going to be really, really cool. So make sure when you get here you sign up for the drawing for the show. And you could win one of those incredible items. And hey, how can you beat scanning for free!
Fisher: Absolutely. I mean, how many opportunities are you going to get to scan 100 photographs for nothing! So if you’re anywhere near the Pittsburgh area, you’re going to want to get over there for the FGS conference. That’s Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, though you’re not setup I don’t think for Wednesday, right?
Tom: Right. Wednesday the exhibit hall won’t be open. We’ll actually be doing all the loadings on Wednesday, but Thursday, Friday and Saturday we’ll be scanning our hearts out.
Fisher: Boy that’s going to be so much fun, I’m excited about it. Hope to see some of the unique pictures that come out of that event.
Tom: That’s my favorite part about scanning. Just like when we were up in Boston. Some of the things that customers brought in for us to look at were just absolutely incredible. I love these old photos, these old timey photos. We had daguerreotypes, we had tintypes. We had some pretty amazing things brought in. And it’s just so much fun.
Fisher: Yeah, it really is. And so, after Pittsburgh, what’s next?
Tom: After Pittsburgh, we’re heading out to, actually we have three things on top of each other. We have the big Utah State Fair where we will also be doing a scanning party. We will be doing an Ogden show, which is at Weber State University, which is a great thing. It’s a one day event and I’ll actually be giving two lectures on the “stories from Extreme Genes.” And then we’ll be heading down to St George, Utah, which is great for people living in like Las Vegas and we’ll be doing a free scanning party there as well and have all kinds of fun stuff. So if you’re going to be at either the Utah State Fair, if you can come to the St. George show, we’ll be doing free scanning parties, complementary of Extreme Genes. Bring in a hundred photos and we’ll scan them for you for free while you going to your classes, going to the conference or enjoying the fair.
Fisher: Yeah, we’re talking about the Preservation Tour with our Preservation Authority, Tom Perry, from TMCPlace.com. Boy what a good time! I’m glad you’re staying safe and you’re having a great experience. By the way, I was just thinking about this now, your son is like fifteen, right? Isn’t he supposed to be in school?
Tom: Well, actually school starts next Monday.
Tom: So I’ve already talked to his counselor and his teacher. He’s having an experience that some kids grow to maturity that never have an experience like this.
Fisher: Absolutely, absolutely. I’m just giving you a hard time. All right, very good. We do have a listener question from email coming up next. We’ll get to it in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 204
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And we are back for our final segment of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com, talking preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. And our email today Tom is from Jay Todd from Holladay, Utah. This sounds kind of complicated, so I’m going to give this to you in little pieces, okay?
Fisher: All right, here we go. He says, “I have four flash drives containing six different family histories that I want to transfer to a fine quality DVD-R and then make fifteen copies of that DVD-R.” Tell me when to stop…
Tom: Okay, that’s perfect. What people have to understand is, data and videos are like totally different. So if all he has is just data, the files are already formulated, you don’t say mpeg’s or MP4s or anything like that, all you need is a data disk. And when you pick out what kind of disk you need, of course I always recommend Taiyo Yudens, because I’ve never had a problem with them. You need to look at these disks as different size boxes, which we’ve discussed before. Like a CD holds about 700 megabytes. A DVD holds about 4.6 gigabytes. BluRays hold more and BluRays are in all different sizes. So you need to look at these as different size boxes. If you’re shipping a little letter to somebody, you put it in an envelope. You don’t put it in a great, big 12×12 box. So you need to figure out what it is on the flash drive. If you just have data and you’re looking its under 700 megabytes, put it on a CD data disk. If it’s something that’s actually a playable video that you want to be able to play, then you might want to look at something like a DVD. If it’s really, really big, it’s BluRay. Just like we talked about a few weeks ago, if somebody comes in and, “Hey, I have this VHS I want to put on a BluRay so it looks better.” It’s like, “Well, it’s the same as it is there. It’s not going to look any different.”
Tom: So whether you put it on a DVD or BluRay is still going to look the same. What would change the quality is run it through what they call a decipher or a ProCam, which can improve the colors, improve the brightness, the contrast, all these kinds of things. And so then it doesn’t matter whether it’s on a DVD or whatever. Look at things as storage devices and don’t buy a DVD if the CDs going to work fine for you. So when you’re making your fifteen copies, it is a whole bunch of things you want to combine onto one DVD or do you have some stuff that goes to these cousins, some stuff that go to these cousins, some stuff that goes to these cousins? Then you’re going to want to break it onto smaller things and maybe send everybody CDs or as we talked about also DVAs if they’re video are a great way to go. If you have a DVA or you want to make a DVA from a VHS or a video8 or any kind of product that you have and make it digital that’s already analog, then you put it in the DVA. You can give anybody that has his email access to your DVA account and they can go view it for free. So they don’t even have to make duplicates to send all over the world.
Fisher: All right, let’s pick up with the next part here. It says, “It looks like the size of collected histories for each DVD-R is 923 megabytes or nearly 1 gig. Words, black and white color photos only.” No mention of sound material and wanting a good DVD-R that lasts fifty years or as long as can be expected.
Tom: Okay, now that’s really important. That’s where we want to talk about the kind of disk that you’re going to use. So 923 obviously is too big for a CD, so it will fit fine on any DVD. In fact, 1 gigabyte, you can get 4 and a half gigabytes on a DVD. So you’re still going to have plenty of room. You want to make sure you use a good quality disk. I run into people all the time that says, “Hey, I made this DVD ten years ago and it won’t play anymore.” And we do everything we can to recover it, it’s non recoverable. It you want to do something that’s archival, I would go to something like an Mdisk or what they call a millennial disk. But anybody can buy them now and the prices have come way down.
Fisher: All right Tom. Wow there’s a lot! And there’s even more in this email here, so we may have to come back to this next week, all right?
Tom: Sounds like a good deal.
Fisher: All right, thanks so much to Jay Todd for the email. And of course you can always email Tom at AskTom@TMCPlace.com or you can ask him on Twitter at @AskTomP. Thanks so much Tom. Safe travels, talk to you next week.
Tom: Sounds good. My pleasure!
Fisher: Hey genies, that is it for this week. Thanks once again for joining us. Hey, if you haven’t signed up yet for our Weekly Genie newsletter, now’s the time to do it, because if you are a subscriber, as of August 31st, you’re eligible for the drawing we’re going to do for free software from our friends at Heritage Collectors. It is great stuff for tagging your pictures and organizing them. You’re going to love it. Thanks for joining us. Talk to you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family!