Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. The guys begin with the kind of story we would all like to be in! It involves a man, his metal detector, and a historic site. Wait until you hear what he found! Then, the remarkable World War II story most people have never heard? how the Japanese bombed Texas, among other places! Find out how they did it? or at least tried. Then, Tom Brady of New England Patriot fame is a California boy. But it hasn’t always been so for the Bradys. New research reveals a familiar place as their first stop after arriving in the United States. David then reveals the recipient of his blogger spotlight this week? GenSpotters.com, who talk about “Dit Names,” additional surnames for French Canadian families.
Next, Fisher visits with Ken Nelson of FamilySearch.org. Ken has been following his grandfather’s journey through the battlefields of World War I. With the United States in the centennial year of our entry into that war, Ken has a lot of great suggestions for anyone looking to research their World War I “Dough Boy.”
Then, Tara Bergeson, Director of Content for RootsTech, tells us all about the upcoming RootsTech 2018. There have been several changes you’re going to want to know about as you plan your trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. Plus, Tara reveals the first keynote speaker for the coming conference!
Then, it is time to talk preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Tom recently received a remarkable email that we can all learn from. Hear what it is and Tom’s response to it.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript for Episode 210
Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 210
Fisher: And welcome to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And this segment is brought to you by LegacyTree.com. And today’s guests, I’m excited, these guys have some great information. It’s the centennial of World War I and we have Ken Nelson on the show. He’s from FamilySearch.org. His grandfather fought in World War I, was in the Tank Corps, and you’re going to want to hear his stories about how he researched his soldier and how you can do the same, some secrets to records that you might not be aware of. And then later in the show it’s the latest on RootsTech 2018. Tara Bergeson’s going to be with us. She’s with Roots Tech. And we’re going to make the announcement of the very first keynote speaker that’s going to be part of RootsTech coming up in February. Good stuff straight ahead. Hey, welcome to a few new members of our Extreme Genes Patrons Club, Robin Falke, Beth Young, Christine Barkley and Amber Ferdig. By the way, we had her on last week, but she liked it so much she actually upped her level so she can be part of our “Ask Me Anything” live YouTube sessions. We’re going to do another one of those later this month by the way. You can sign up at Patreon.com/Extreme Genes or just go to ExtremeGenes.com and click on Patron Club and you’ll find it right there. It’s real easy. For less than the cost of a nice juicy hamburger you can have early access to our podcast. You can get two bonus podcasts, acknowledgement on the website and on the show, and of course our live YouTube “Ask Me Anything” sessions once a month with various guests. David was our first guest in fact, just a few weeks ago. David, welcome back, by the way. David Allen Lambert the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogy Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Last week you were in Kentucky and now you’re back in Beantown. How are things?
David: Oh, I’m doing great because I’m on vacation this week.
Fisher: [Laughs] That’s always a good thing.
David: So, delighted to be kind of in Beantown but on my own terms. [Laughs]
Fisher: Absolutely! All right, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover here. We’ve got some good stories this week for Family Histoire News.
David: Exactly. Well, what I want to do is I want to tell everyone now to go out and take 128 coins and bury them deep in your back yard. And leave a note somewhere so your descendants will find this. Because at a primary school in Northumberland, England one of the local caretakers got permission to take out his metal detector and voila, 128 silver coins ranging from the era of Edward IV to Henry VII, these medieval coins, ready for this Fish?
David: Worth over $15,000 in US currency!
Fisher: Wow! We’re talking from the 1400s to the 1500s here, and these coins are in pretty good shape.
David: They must have been stacked right next to each other. Unfortunately the current zinc pennies that we have now you drop them in the ground, pick them out, they’re mostly all corroded. So, probably chances are you’re going to have to get some pretty hardy coins to put in the ground and leave that note for your descendants for who knows might find it years from now.
David: Now Fish, when you go to the carnival with your family and somebody offers you a Fu-Go balloon, please do not take it home.
Fisher: [Laughs] What?
David: Well, you don’t have to worry because I haven’t seen these since April of 1945. So what these were, were the actual acts of Japanese school girls’ incendiary devices that were part of the Japanese war machine. They flew above the Pacific and landed in various places around the country including two which made it to Texas in March 23rd and 24th 1945. Now, luckily the people that found them did not get injured. This is not unfortunately the case for the six people who accidently were killed when examining one in Oregon and they were actually the first and only civilian casualties on the continental U.S during the entire war.
Fisher: Yeah, as a result of actions of the enemy. Isn’t that amazing?
David: It is. Fu-Go balloons. Well, everybody loves a little Sunday football and here in Beantown we love, of course, our New England Patriots. And Tom Brady, being one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, actually has a connection back to Beantown.
Fisher: Now he’s from California originally, right?
David: Uh hmm, and his ancestors went out from the Gold Rush after having arrived to Boston as famine Irish immigrants.
Fisher: And they didn’t know this really till fairly recently. That’s kind of cool because I think Brady’s family has been in California for so long they didn’t really think where they’d come from before that.
David: They probably thought they arrived from the west coast as many people did actually come across and coming through steamers that way.
Fisher: Yeah, but they were from Boston. They lived in Boston for at least a generation after coming over.
David: Exactly, and now he lives of course in Boston, so this really makes a connection for him stronger so he can stomp around the same streets his ancestors did down in South Boston.
David: And East Boston. Well, this week’s genealogical spotlight is for a blog called genspotters.com. This is a blog that’s put together by three people including Diane Tourville, Daniel Jaros and Suzanne Galaise. This is a wonderful blog and one of the things I like about it is it touches on French Canadian genealogy which we get a lot of in the United States with our ancestors being from Canada. If you have that French Canadian, you may have found that you have multiple surnames. Well, that is called a “dit name,” and they go into some great detail, Fish, on what a dit name is and how to understand why they have them.
Fisher: Well, and the word dit, remembering my third grade French, means “to speak,” “to say.”
Fisher: So the name that’s “said of you,” so I guess it’s an additional name. That’s kind of cool.
David: It is. So, essentially for my last name, I’m just going to throw out a make-believe example. If you’re a Lambert, you could be dit Belanger so there’s a type of thing where you might use either or in a variety of records.
David: Exactly. And it’s a wonderful way to reach out to our listeners as I found out many of our blogger spotlights are actual Extreme Genes listeners to begin with.
David: Well, that’s all I have from Beantown and my vacation getaway this week and we look forward to talking to you next week. But, don’t forget if you are not an American Ancestors member, you can go to AmericanAncestors.org, become a free guest member user of the Society or save $20 on a regular membership by using the checkout code “Extreme.”
Fisher: All right, very good David, talk to you again next week and thanks for the time.
David: All right my friend, talk to you soon.
Fisher: And speaking of assets, don’t forget to sign up for our “Weekly Genie” Newsletter. It’s absolutely free. Just go to ExtremeGenes.com and you’ll find the sign up right there, or on our Facebook page as well. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to Ken Nelson. He’s with FamilySearch.org and he’s a specialist in World War I because his grandfather fought in it. And he’s got some great ideas for you to research your ancestors during the Centennial of World War I, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 210
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Ken Nelson
Fisher: We are back! It’s America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment of the show is brought to you by MyHeritage.com Can’t believe that it’s been the 100th anniversary now for World War 1. We’ve been going through this now for some time, obviously dating back to 2014, the 100th anniversary of this segment and the 100th anniversary of that, next year. We’re going to have the 100th anniversary of the end of the war and the Armistice. And a lot of people are recalling their grandfathers, their great grandfathers and some of the services that they put in at that time. One of those is a project manager over at FamilySearch.org. He is Ken Nelson. He’s a military specialist and a lot of that just goes back to his family member. Hi Ken. Welcome to Extreme Genes.
Ken: Hi Scott.
Fisher: You know, isn’t it fun after all these years that we have all this material now that we can draw on to start to put together timelines and stories about our ancestors. First of all, there is a 100th anniversary coming up right now for you, is there not?
Ken: Well, yes. To get a little bit ahead of the story, on October the 10th 1917 my grandfather left from Woods Cross, Utah for his training as a soldier. He enlisted and he went to Camp Kearney in California. That’s where he got his initial training.
Fisher: And that was a 100 years ago this coming week.
Ken: A 100 years ago this coming week.
Fisher: That’s unbelievable. How long have you been researching him? Did you know him?
Ken: Yes, I did know him. I think some of my first memories of when he talked about going “over the top” and he had an old unit history that he was always reading and it eventually fell apart, he read it so much. So my mother took the book and got it bound. Plus he had war souvenirs, his old doughboy helmet, his victory medal and some pictures. So I had some artefacts that I was very curious about and just asking a few questions. Of course as a very young baby boomer, I didn’t know what kind of questions I needed to ask, but I just knew few tidbits here and there of this story.
Fisher: Now what does it mean by the way for those unfamiliar? What does the term “going over the top” mean?
Ken: That refers to a unique characteristic of World War 1 battles, the entrenchments, the trenches that were dug in like on the Hindenburg Line, and a few places like that. The soldiers would basically be in these trenches and when the call came for them to go over the top, that’s what they did out of these huge, huge trenches.
Ken: Trench warfare.
Fisher: And they’re right out in the open then really.
Ken: They’re really out in the open.
Fisher: To everything the enemy has to throw at them. Was your grandfather ever wounded in battle?
Ken: He has a really unique story. No, I don’t think he was wounded, but he was in the Tank Corps.
Ken: And this is where the story get’s interesting because what a lot of people aren’t aware of is what’s significant about 2017 is it’s the centennial when the United States entered the war.
Ken: The war was declared by Congress on the 6th of April 1917 after President Woodrow Wilson went to Congress and addressed a joint session on April the 2nd asking for a declaration. And that’s sort of when everything started, at least for the United States.
Fisher: How come then your guy was so late getting in at that point?
Ken: Well, our President declared our neutrality from 1914 up to when it couldn’t just be avoided in 1917. Issues like the attacks by the U-boat submarines in the Atlantic that sunk cargo ships and passenger ships eventually and the United States entered the war in April of 1917. Now at that time, we were very small in terms of size. We only had about 200 men in uniform, both regular army and National Guard that was federalized. And from April to May when we passed the first elective service act things just sort of really got going. June the 5th 1917 was the first registration of men from the ages of twenty one to thirty one.
Ken: And that’s when my grandfather came in to play because he was born about 18…I think 93 because that’s what his draft registration card said. So, come registration day he registered and as I look at the draft registration, we have that collection on FamilySearch. I found his registration and two of his brothers, so I was looking into them.
Fisher: And those are so fun by the way. That’s one of those things that so many people who are new to family history are so shocked when they can actually see the actual record where they signed up for the draft with their signature on it, a description of them, who they were working for, what their birth date was, I mean there is so much information on it. But I think just seeing that signature on the card and realizing, “Oh my gosh, they’re signing up for a draft for a war that could get them killed.” It’s kind of personal isn’t it?
Ken: It really is. And after he registered in July of that year, the general lottery was held where they determined the order of the selection. And his number came up pretty high. And you know, the selection was always in the local newspapers so if you have someone who registered for the draft it would be a good idea to check old local newspapers to see how it’s reported. Because what I found out when I went to the paper, he was about seventh or eighth in line to be inducted.
Fisher: Oh wow. So they put their names in or the birth dates?
Ken: Well, after the general lottery was held in Washington to determine the order of selection that was published in the paper. And I went down the list, it was published in the Davis County Clipper, which was a local newspaper so a week later it was in, he came in seventh or eighth. They used his name but the order of selection was determined by the serial number which is on the draft registration cards.
Fisher: Ohh okay. And so they would randomly draw those numbers?
Ken: They would randomly draw those numbers to determine the order of selection so he came up pretty high. This is a little speculation, he enlisted on July 28, a week after this general lottery was held, so this tells me he probably saw the writing on the wall and so he enlisted.
Fisher: Sure. And which branch did he go into?
Ken: He enlisted I think in the local National Guard here. He was with the 145th Field Artillery when he shipped out on October 10th for training in California.
Fisher: Okay. And so you followed him through his course then went through the training. Did you have any letters he wrote back from the war?
Ken: Haven’t found any letters but he did write a few poems that we have in our possession. Since I did not have all the particulars, you know he told me he went to training camp out in California, and then he talked about going to France, and then he said over in France he joined the Tank Corps, and they sent him to England for training. That’s all that I knew about his story.
Ken: So, given the whole process of this, what a lot of researches don’t know are a need to investigate further is those draft registration cards don’t tell you anything about who was inducted into the military.
Fisher: And so where do people find that?
Ken: Well, now they have to start doing a little bit of digging. Perhaps they have information with a discharge certificate or a picture, they might have a victory medal, or some other information in the family that says if someone served. I happen to have that kind of information so I was sort of already pointed in that direction. But other people may not because the selective service starts with the registration, you’re classified, and then the selection process, and there’s the induction and then you’re sent off to training camp.
Fisher: Now, what were the ages generally speaking? You mentioned twenty one was the youngest. Did they ever draft them at eighteen?
Ken: The first two registrations, they registered men from the ages of twenty one to thirty one, the third registration they registered them from eighteen to forty five.
Fisher: Okay. So they broadened the thing. They needed more people at that time.
Ken: But we inducted 2.8 million and most of those probably came from the first and second registrations.
Fisher: Got it. And how many did we lose in World War I?
Ken: Battles deaths I think around fifty thousand, but we lost a fair number too due to the flu pandemic that was going on in 1918.
Fisher: And I would imagine there were a lot of people back home that got the flu as a result of all the boys coming home, right?
Ken: It was obviously a pandemic as terrible as that was a problem, so I would say we probably lost if included wounds and disease, about a hundred thousand.
Fisher: Wow! So he was over there then for how long before the Armistice was signed?
Ken: Well, he got over there in April. He shipped out of Hoboken, New Jersey. The passenger list, when the army shipped the soldiers by convoy the troop transports over to Europe, those are available too, they’re on Fold3. But he left Hoboken, New Jersey April 1918, went to France, they shipped him to England and just recently I found the training camp that he went to in England…
Ken: …in Dorset, England for the 301st Tank Battalion. And then from there he was shipped out back to France and fought in the war from about August to the Armistice
Fisher: Did he have any problems afterwards as a result of his combat time?
Ken: Well, he was in the Tank Corps. He was in one of those British tanks.
Ken: But talking to my father, he said he got gassed but he didn’t want to tell anybody because he didn’t want to be delayed coming home.
Fisher: Yeah, that would make sense. Okay because they were going to treat him there.
Ken: Right. And he probably had some residuals. They must not have been too bad, I’m not a doctor I can’t really say, but that’s what my father said. But he got back to the United States in March of 1919, was eventually discharged at Fort D.A. Russell in Wyoming, came home and got married.
Fisher: Came home and got married and his health was good?
Ken: Good enough I guess.
Fisher: Did he consider this one of the…I won’t say highlights of his life, but one of the defining periods of his life?
Ken: I think for veterans the wars never really end.
Ken: It was very much a part of his life growing up because he was active in the local American Legion post.
Fisher: I see.
Ken: And I think that can be a good source of information too if those applications still exist in the local posts for veterans who joined the organization because the American Legion got its start after World War I in 1919. Those membership applications can be an invaluable source as well. Because one thing we have to remember is fires are very devastating to records.
Ken: And the service records for this generation really for the most part do not exist because of the terrible fire in July 1973 at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.
Ken: We lost sixteen to eighteen million files from men who were in the service from 1912 to 1960.
Ken: And so you look for alternate sources like a unit history, or a discharge, or an application to a local American Legion Post, obituary in the newspaper, cemetery tombstones might have military unit information because that’s something you’ve got to find, the correct military unit to know that you’re on the right track.
Fisher: Absolutely. All right, he’s Ken Nelson he’s a World War I specialist because his grandfather was over there. And Ken thanks so much for coming on. If you want to hear more from Ken about research your World War 1 ancestor, just sign up at our Patron’s page at ExtremeGenes.com and you can enjoy the bonus podcast that only come to members right there. We’ll be back talking to Tara Bergeson about Roots Tech 2018. They named the first keynote speaker. You’re going to want to know who it is. That’s coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show
Segment 3 Episode 210
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tara Bergeson
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and this segment of our show is brought to you by 23andMe.comDNA. And I cannot believe we are already in October, looking down the barrel at Roots Tech 2018. And if you’re unfamiliar with it, this is kind of the Disneyland of family history conferences. If you’re new to family history, you’re going to want to know all about this, and that’s why I’ve got Tara Bergeson on the line with me right now. She’s the Director of Content for RootsTech which happens in Salt Lake City, Utah, coming up in late February this year. Hi Tara, how are you? Welcome to Extreme Genes!
Tara: Thanks! I’m glad to be here.
Fisher: I’m just looking to the calendar here and realizing this is kind of a big change from over the years, because in the past we’ve been in early February. But this year February 28th through March 3rd, why the change?
Tara: We’re hoping for warmer weather. I mean we are in Salt Lake City, Utah. We never know when that cold front is going to hit us. No, you know this is when we could get space at our conference center and felt like it was the right time to have it. Maybe it’ll be a little warmer too.
Fisher: Yeah, let’s hope so. Yes absolutely, and it’s a lot more fun to go between the convention center there and over to the Family History Library too in the evenings, I would think.
Tara: Right. You can get a lot of research done at that Library while you’re here.
Fisher: So for people who are not familiar with RootsTech, this is the ninth year. And the first year I’m thinking you had just a few hundred people show up, right?
Tara: Right. Around three hundred people that we had come to our first event, and now we are approaching close to thirty thousand. I think we came in just around twenty eight thousand for the 2017 event.
Fisher: Twenty eight thousand people last year. And then there are many more who watch it online. Do you know the numbers on that?
Tara: Oh gee, we have about thirty thousand unique individuals that watch online.
Tara: But they come back day after day. We stream everything for free and so they come and they watch amazing classes on DNA and family trees and find out what the latest is and of course watch last year’s innovation showcase that we had. And so yeah, we have about a hundred and fifty thousand views streaming. Again, that equates to about thirty thousand unique individuals watching.
Tara: And that’s around the world.
Tara: Yeah. We have a board actually, here in the office that posts the comments from around the world. We have comments from Mexico, and Australia, and Europe, and all over of people that are watching RootsTech that are unable to attend live, in person.
Fisher: Now, we had all kinds of great celebrity guests last year who were keynote speakers. The Property Brothers came.
Fisher: And if you’re not familiar with them, of course, they talk about flipping houses and fixing up old ones and, I was really surprised. They were excellent. They were fantastic. Talking about their background, their family trees and their roots and how they’ve learned about that. And then there’s Buddy Valastro too, who was the Cake Guy, right?
Tara: Right. We actually even had a cake competition on site. That was a lot of fun. It was something we’d never done before, and we were amazed at the calibre of cake artists we had come and display on different kinds of family events that they have.
Fisher: And you may wonder what the cake guy has to do with family history. It had to do with old family recipes.
Tara: Yeah. And, you know, his business of course has been handed down from his father to him, and all of his family is involved in that business in New Jersey, and so he talks about his father and immigration and the passing down of those wonderful recipes that everybody goes to Hoboken for.
Fisher: And I think the biggest, most emotional moment was LeVar Burton’s keynote address, where it was revealed at the end that his lineage, which he had never been able to break through before in his own research. And seeing Thom Reed from Family Search deliver that to him, dressed in traditional African garb, was absolutely unbelievable.
Tara: I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. And you know, ten thousand people attending that keynote session. Everyone was visibly moved. And we just have recently posted that keynote session at RootsTech.org. So anyone can go and watch it if they were unable to attend and see it.
Fisher: And I’m excited to be among the very first to announce the very first keynote speaker for the 2018 Roots Tech and that is?
Tara: That will be Scott Hamilton, the international ice skater, who will be joining us shortly from returning from the Korean Olympics. Oh and on Sunday, there’s closing ceremonies. He’ll come home, hopefully adjust to the time frame and then he’ll come speak at RootsTech 2018.
Fisher: Isn’t that unbelievable. This is a guy who’s overcome a brain tumor, he was the world champ for four straight years, a US champ for four straight years, he was the gold medallist in 1984, and this guy knows about achieving goals. When you’re researching your family, you got to set those. So he’s the first of four?
Tara: Yes, that we will be announcing over the next few weeks. Stay tuned. If you don’t subscribe to RootsTech.org’s newsletter or email, that’d be a great place for you to found out. You can also go to RootsTech.org to see who it is that will be coming. And then I can promise you, we will be having some fun announcements over the next little while. Some different kinds of contests that will be coming up, some more to the cake competition we did for 2017, and some other exciting keynotes will be there as well.
Fisher: All right. Now I think we touched on the change of dates a little bit, and there’s some changes even within the dates we need to talk about.
Tara: Right. So, the conference is starting Wednesday, February 28, and goes through Saturday, March 3rd of 2018. Some changes that we’re having: RootsTech is now a full four day experience in the past. We had Innovators Summit on Wednesday. We’re now including that in your registration with RootsTech, and we’re going to have a general session on Wednesday afternoon. Your regular session will start at 9:30 Wednesday morning, so we’re really recommending that anyone coming to RootsTech does their check-in on Tuesday. The check-in will open on Tuesday at noon, lots of new and fun things happening and some changes as well.
Fisher: So if you want to register for this, it’s an easy thing to do. You go to RootsTech.org, and obviously you can figure out how many days you want to be there, or if you want to be there for the entire four day event, and there’s also a page there for hotels in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Tara: Yeah. We have hotels that are very close to the Salt Palace. They’re within walking distance, so even though it’s Salt Lake City, Utah, and it’s a little bit cold sometimes, you’re just a few feet away from the Salt Palace Center and can walk right from your hotel.
Fisher: Okay. So let’s talk about the Expo Hall a little bit. That place gets more and more packed every year, with new businesses and new people wanting to share new products.
Tara: Yeah, we have over three hundred booths available in our Expo Hall, and it is just a buzz of activity. It’s vibrant and alive in that facility there. You can come and walk through. We have everything from Ancestry, Living DNA, to local people that do art with your family history. You can buy bracelets and beads, but there’s also classes. We have a theater in the back where we do 20-minute sessions. So we do three sessions, an hour, where you can sit and learn more about family history, all the way from records and photos and digitization and even DNA classes that will be offered back there, so even just if you can come and experience the Expo Hall, you will walk away with amazing learnings and a lot of information that you never thought you could have before.
Fisher: Yeah, the demonstrations are absolutely incredible, as are the classes. And last year I MC’d the DNA panel, and it was just incredible. The place was packed. In fact, I would recommend anyone coming to look for a DNA class at RootsTech, get there early, get signed up for it, because that is a tough place to get into sometimes.
Tara: Yeah, DNA is one of our most popular classes that we have, as well as like German. Who would have thought?
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]
Tara: A lot of Germans of course immigrated to the US. And our class schedule is available and it is up online, so you can see the classes we have. There’ll be some tweaking that needs to go on before we finalize that by the end of October.
Fisher: Of course.
Tara: But it is available, so you can see what classes are there. We offer a getting-started pack, so if you’re just new and you’re not quite sure about all of this, whether it be to the conference, or just to family history in general, we have getting started classes that are there to help you feel more comfortable and help you learn how to do family history work.
Fisher: Well, I’m so excited about all this. I’m going to be teaching two classes myself this year, so check out the schedule. You go to RootsTech.org, you can find out how to get reservations at local hotels, and of course, you can make sure that you get your tickets for the number of days you want, the level you want, the level of participation. She’s Tara Bergeson and she’s Director of Content for Roots Tech. Thanks you so much for your time, Tara. It sounds like it’s going to be another great time at Roots Tech 2018.
Tara: Thank you so much.
Fisher: And coming up next, Tom Perry talks preservation on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show, in three minutes.
Segment 4 Episode 210
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And it is preservation time at Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and this segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. Tom Perry is in the house. Haven’t seen you. You’ve been on the road for a long time. How’re you doing, Tom?
Tom: Oh, super duper! You know, two months on the road, got to see a lot of the country, took my fifteen year old with me. He had an absolute awesome time, saw all of the history sites from the founding of America, which is really great, had a good time. And I had to use a GPS to find the studio again, it’s been so long. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] It has been. Tom of course with TMCPlace.com, and recently, we got this incredible email relating to Tom. It’s going to take pretty much the whole segment, but you’re going to find it’s worth it. Laurie Fortner emails us that she recently found Extreme Genes, and she said, “It’s kept me company on my four trips back and forth to Iowa from Houston this year. My parents are elderly and I drive from Houston to keep them in their house. On my most recent visit, I rescued a huge bag of negatives that date back to the ’20s and ’30s. While I was visiting a cousin, she took out a huge box of antique photos for me to take back to Houston with me. Now while I was chatting about the old photos, my cousin said in passing, “I have another bag of negatives from Aunt Mary’s that I’ll throw into the burn pit tomorrow.”
Fisher: “The bag was outside by the burn barrel. Our family came that close to losing a priceless chunk of our story. I picked up the sack of negatives, put it into the van. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with such a large collection of negatives other than preserve them for our family members. So with the bagged photos safely loaded into the van, I left for home. I spent most of my trip thinking about how am I going to develop my treasured negative? I have absolutely no money to spend at this time because of all the trips, so I came up with the idea of using a light table, an iPhone on 2x and the software app, PS Express on my cell phone. And later, I used Adobe Photoshop Elements, which is what I use all the time. It’s not as good as a high powered scanner, but it’s all I have right now. So I’ve been busy uploading photos to Facebook for others to see. I uploaded an example of my work using the above mentioned process. So what did I get in this batch of photos? My great, great grandmother standing in her apple orchard with her second husband, she was famous for her apple wine. Another negative, my great grandmother washing her car along with her two and three year old helpers, one is my grandmother. And since Halloween is on the way, I’ve attached one of the strangest photos I’ve ever seen. The man is Frank Skilikey and the woman on her deathbed is Theresa Batlech Skilikey. Theresa died in June of 1923. Older family members had told us of this photo as they were children, and they were scared of it. But when I asked around about it, no one seemed to have it. I found two different negatives of the deathbed scene. “And it is frightening, isn’t it Tom! [Laughs]
Tom: Oh it is, it crazy! In fact, I don’t know who’s more scary, the Frank standing behind his wife that’s on her deathbed or the deathbed photo itself. But yeah, it is a scary picture. We’ll put it up on Facebook.
Fisher: Yeah. And Laurie says be the way, “The moral of my story, which I hope you and Fisher pass on to your listeners, Tom, don’t toss the negatives!” Well, we’ve been saying that for a long, long time.
Tom: Oh absolutely. I beg our listeners, if you ever have negatives or photos you don’t know who they are and you’re going to throw them in the burn barrel or you have friends of neighbors or anybody you hear that story, send them to me! If you can’t afford to send them to me, I’ll send you a postage paid envelope. You can throw them in and get them to me, so we can find who they belong to.
Fisher: Boy I’ll tell you what. Laurie that is absolutely incredible. What I take from this, the best part of what she’s writing here is, do something! Even if you can’t afford, you know, the full proper treatment. Do something to preserve those things. Rescue them because maybe you’ll have money down the line. Just keep them somewhere and keep them safe and get it done. But actually, the job she did on these pictures, fantastic!
Tom: Oh absolutely, absolutely! You need to do something better than nothing.
Fisher: Exactly. And she has done exactly that. All right, we’re going to talk more about this incredible email from Laurie, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 210
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And we are back, America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com, talking about preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. It is Fisher here, and what a great email from Laurie Fortner out of Iowa, talking about how she found these incredible negatives from the ’20s and ’30s relating to her family. She could not afford to have them actually developed properly, so she went about creating her own method, and did a great job!
Tom: Oh absolutely! In fact, I’m really impressed with the job she did. And as we were saying at the end of the last segment, it’s better to do something that’s not complete than nothing at all. There’s so many different ways to do this on the cheap. One of the things we talk about constantly is the shotbox. You can buy a ShotBox retail, the deluxe version for $200. If you’re an Extreme Genes listener, you get it for like $170. And there’s so many things you can do with that little device. I’ve shot YouTube videos in it with my laptop sitting inside the box. If you have the deluxe version, it has what’s called a side shot, you can turn that sideways so it’s facing away from the ShotBox itself. And it has a LED light built into it as well. And you can put that over something up to 11×17, so it’s really, really big. Get a light box. If you have a university in your area, I guarantee they have a surplus. And go and knock on their door, talk to them, and they sell these things for cheap. And they work great! And you’re picking up $25 for something like that and great for doing your negatives.
Tom: Oh absolutely.
Fisher: I wonder if they’d take my old microfilm reader in trade.
Tom: I think you’re out of luck there, but I might take it in trade.
Tom: But there are so many ways to do it. I hate to say it, on the cheap, but that’s the way to do it, you know.
Tom: If you have situations like that. If you have a good 35mm camera and a tripod, if you have the kind of tripod where you can unscrew the bottom part that goes up and down, you can take that off, put it in upside down so the pole’s going up instead of down.
Tom: Then mount your camera, get a couple of lights and put your photos or whatever you’re scanning down underneath it, or a light box or whatever you have, adjust the height right, and you can shoot it. If you want to use your iPhone like we mentioned with your ShotBox. If you’re getting a little, teeny negatives, you can buy it for about $20 this really cool lens that you can use as a wide angle lens, and you can also use it as a macro lens.
Tom: Which means, if you’re shooting really, teeny, teeny things, your iPhone can handle it or your Android or whatever you have. There’s so many ways to do this on the cheap. Another thing we mentioned on a few shows was this Epson scanner. If you can afford it and you want to get an absolutely killer scanner that is beautiful for negatives and slides. It also works for photos, of course. We use it for negatives. It called an Epson [J221B] J, as in John, 221B, as in boy. It’s a really super high end scanner. It’s beautiful. And you have two options when you’re done scanning it, you can either sell it on eBay or you can donate to your local historical society and take it as a tax deduction.
Fisher: Yeah, what a great idea. Or you just buy it with a group of people in your family and share it as needed at reunions.
Tom: And it is a great scanner. I love it to death. I’m really pleased with. There’s just so many ways to do things. And this lady is very creative. She’s really creative with the way she’s done this, because, “Hey, my negatives are bode.” If you get some glass, some really clear optical glass, you can set it on top of them, on the light box, it will keep them flat. And if you’re getting glare, get a polarizing filter, which you can get at any good quality camera store. Make sure it’s what they call a dual stage, where there’s two rings to it, not just the one, because then you can turn the one ring until all the glare disappears, set your iPhone on it and shoot away! And if you have problems with your iPhone not staying on the filter because it’s too small a filter, get a pencil and put it on the other end of your iPhone.
Tom: It will keep it totally flat and it looks absolutely beautiful. When I shot this YouTube video, I could not believe how wonderful it came out.
Fisher: Boy you have some ideas don’t you, Tom!
Tom: I’ve got a couple.
Fisher: I think we could be going for another ten minutes!
Fisher: Thanks so much. We’ll see you again next week.
Tom: My pleasure.
Fisher: Hey that a wrap for this week. Thanks to our guests, Ken Nelson from FamilySearch.org, a project specialist, talking about how you can research your World War I vets during the Centennial Year, also to Tara Bergeson from Roots Tech, talking about what’s coming up in 2018, if you missed any of it, catch the podcast on iTunes, iHeart Radio or ExtremeGenes.com. Download our free app from your store onto your phone. You can catch all the back shows right there. And don’t forget to sign up for our Patrons Club! Go to ExtremeGenes.com, click on the link, or go to Patreon.com/ExtremeGenes. You get all kind of great bonuses there. Talk to you next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family!