44 pages, 43 graves, and countless stories have effectively recovered the past of those buried in a cemetery overlooking Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean in a small Washington town called Mukilteo. Read about the project headed by genealogist Margaret Robe Summitt.
Genealogist Christopher Child of NEHGS (a past guest on Extreme Genes) recently uncovered previously unknown records of a Massachusetts slave named “Chance.” The home he served in is now on display in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Read the story Chris has uncovered.
During the Revolution, there were TWO solar eclipses of note. Might your ancestors have paused in awe of this celestial event?
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 story of a man who claims to descend from a King of Wales in the 6th century, and says he is next in line to become the successor of Queen Elizabeth II! Then, David shares the story about the discovery of a large number of 18th century coffins in Philadelphia. And, yes, there are dead people in them! Hear how this came to happen. Next, David fills you in on back fill in San Francisco? in this case? 19th century ships! In fact, they are under the streets there. Maps are now available to tell you where you might be standing over a ship. Then, Fisher and David talk engagement rings and how they came to be diamond rings? in the 1930s! David’s Blogger Spotlight this week is on Lorine McGinnis Schulze’s blog OliveTreeGenealogy.blogspot.com. David will tell you about one recent post that David found fascinating.
In the second segment (starts at 10:39), Paul Woodbury of LegacyTree.com talks about commonly asked DNA questions, including ethnicity numbers and why you should test your seniors first. Paul brings his years of insight to this enlightening conversation with Fisher.
Then it’s Randy Seaver (starts at 24:16), the man behind GeneaMusings.com. The well known blogger discusses with Fisher his efforts at a “genealogy go over.” What is it? Where does it come from? What’s the end goal? Randy lends his voice to this increasingly popular method for genealogists to solidify and generally improve their work.
Then, Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com goes way over Fisher’s head (not that that’s hard!). Answering listener questions, Tom explains some of the history of various video formats you may be dealing with.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
TRANSCRIPT OF EPISODE 184
Segment 1 Episode 184
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: Welcome back to another spine tingling edition of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. I am Fisher, 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 RootsMagic.com. And this week on the show we’ve got a couple of great guests. First, Paul Woodbury is going to be on from LegacyTree.com. He is the DNA Specialist for them and of course he had a lot of questions come his way at Roots Tech and his he’s going to share some of those questions and answers that you’re going to want to hear, commonly asked about DNA, coming up in about eight minutes. Then later in the show, Randy Seaver is here, one of the great bloggers in the industry. He’s in the middle of something called a “Genealogy go-over” what is it? How does it work? Why is he doing it? You’re going to find out a little bit later on in the show. Hey just a reminder by the way, if you haven’t yet signed up for our Weekly Genie newsletter you can do that at ExtremeGenes.com. We’d love to have you there. It’s free! And we share all kinds of genealogical gold with you every week. We’d love to have you as part of our growing community. Right now let’s check in with David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org with our Family Histoire news for this week. Hello David, how are you?
David: Well let’s see, I’ve just flown back in from Texas and about in two weeks I go to Denver, so I guess I can’t be on the East Coast for very long before I have to fly someplace else, so, delighted to check in with you!
Fisher: [Laughs] You keep travelling like this David you’re going to lose your accent!
David: That might be a problem for a Colorado man, maybe I’ll see him when I’m in Colorado. Allan Evans has an interesting genealogical claim to the throne of England!
Fisher: Oh yes! I know who you’re talking about. This guy says he’s going to succeed Queen Elizabeth, but out of great respect for her he’s going to wait until she passes before taking over the Kingdom.
David: Yes. He descends from the right primogenitor, from a 5th century Welsh king Cunedda Wledig who, if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, he founded the kingdom of Wales.
David: Before that it was known as the Kingdom of Gondor.
Fisher: Gondor, of course, yes.
David: Yes. So I think that if he is a descendant of this person, there must be literally thousands of others. So maybe he’ll be monarch for a minute and the new monarchy of England will pass every minute to a new descendent. What a nice way of sharing the throne.
Fisher: Yes. I want you to know, in all seriousness, I reached out to this guy to try to get him on the show and it didn’t go very well. It was kind of like, “This is a very legal matter. I can’t talk to you about that.” And he didn’t sound English at all for a guy who wants to be England’s king! He did not speak the King’s English, if you know what I’m saying. [Laughs]
David: Whoa! So if you’re a descendant from this King of Gondor, please let us know at Extreme Genes. We’d like to find out if you have a right to the throne too. [Laughs]
Fisher: Right, exactly. Okay.
David: Okay. Digging into a little bit of history in Philadelphia, a construction crew in Philadelphia actually has found nearly sixty coffins that were supposedly moved in the 19th century that were forgotten.
Fisher: Yeah, these date back to like the 18th century, right? I mean these were well made coffins.
David: They are and it’s a Quaker cemetery if I read correctly, and now they’re obviously going into all of the archaeological work and hopefully after some investigation they’ll be re-interred and they will rest in peace finally.
David: You know, digging on the other side of the country, in San Francisco, California, as we’ve talked before about New York City, a lot of the times backfill was used by old ships. And of course in San Francisco you have the gold rush of the 1840s and ‘50s where people had come out to the west. These ships, never returned to their home ports, were purchased as fill and there are at least dozens of them in the city streets under San Francisco and on a link that I will send for Extreme Genes listeners, you can find a map to where you might be standing over a vessel.
Fisher: Wow! That is very cool.
David: The interesting thing is you might be standing over the vessel that brought your ancestor to San Francisco.
Fisher: [Laughs] Amazing!
David: It’s still in port. [Laughs]
Fisher: Wow yes, still in port. [Laughs]
David: Well, I’ll tell you, spring time is fast approaching, you never know it in New England, but if you got engaged recently or planning on getting engaged, do you know that during the Great Depression the De Beers family held the rights of most of the diamonds in the world? So if you have an engagement ring that belonged to your family during the Great Depression it may not even have a diamond in it.
Fisher: That’s true, because before the 30s, diamond engagement rings weren’t necessarily a big thing.
David: That’s true. And so if you have the engagement ring of say a grandparent or parent, take a look at it. Maybe a diamond was added after the fact. They got a new and improved ring. I know when I got engaged I was eighteen and nineteen with my spouse and well, I went to Bradleys and bought a $75 dollar amethyst with a diamond chip, so I can kind of relate. [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] Well the whole thing about this is this diamond company during the Depression, they started a marketing campaign to make engagement rings diamond. Anything less than that “wasn’t good enough for her.” And it’s been like that now for some eighty years.
David: This week’s blogger spotlight is OliveTreeGenealogy.blogspot.com and this Lorine McGinnis Schulze’s blog. On her blog on March 3rd she talks about an app called “With Me” it’s being developed by a South Korean who allows individuals to create avatars of diseased relatives, then take selfies with the avatar and then have conversations with them through avatar via video.
Fisher: Wow! That sounds a little creepy. [Laughs]
David: It really does, but I suppose if it’s part of the mourning process it might be a way to give some closure. But I mean if you’re digging up pictures from ancestors who you don’t know what they really look like.
David: They don’t know what they sound like, or their personality is, having video chats with somebody from before the Revolutionary War might be a little strange.
Fisher: Yeah, yeah. [Laughs]
David: So check this out and more on Lorine’s great blog which we spotlight this week which is OliveTreeGenealogy.blogspot.com. And don’t forget, if you want to become a member of NEHGS and you’ve already become a free guest member of NEHGS, to become a full fledged member use the code EXTREME and save $20 dollars on membership at AmericanAncestors.org. Well, that’s all I have for you this week from Bean Town Fish, talk to you soon.
Fisher: All right my friend, thank you so much. And you can find links to all the things David was just talking about on our website under Show Notes [with each podcast] at ExtremeGenes.com, and coming up next, from LegacyTree.com, our friend Paul Woodbury is going to talk DNA with us, coming fresh off of RootsTech, of course. He’s heard a lot of questions about DNA. Things like “Why do the older people need to be tested first?” And “What about ethnicity tests, what’s the issue with some of those things?” He’ll have answers coming up for you in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 184
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Paul Woodbury
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by LegacyTree.com, and my good friend Paul Woodbury is on the phone from LegacyTree.com. And Paul, it was great to see you at RootsTech. Lot of questions coming up about DNA and I thought we’d kind of jump right into that. You were hearing a lot of them weren’t you?
Paul: Yes we were. We had a lot of questions at RootsTech and actually one of the things that we try to do at the conferences that we attend is our live DNA Q&A where we host a live stream session on our Facebook page and answer questions about DNA, and this time we got a huge amount of questions, way more than we could even possibly get to. So, some of the most common categories have DNA questions that we got were about ethnicity. “Now I have stories about Native American ancestry and it doesn’t show in my ethnicity, why is that?”
Paul: Or, “I should have 25% Scandinavian and I only have 20%. What’s happening there? How reliable are they?” So, lots of questions about ethnicity. And then we also got lots of questions about “Who should I test in order to explore different DNA research questions?”
Fisher: Sure. Let’s start with the ethnicity question because that does come up an awful lot and maybe you can set me straight a little bit because I’m asked this question an awful lot about “Why I’m not seeing 25% Italian when my grandfather was full blooded Italian?”
Fisher: Is this because basically when you look at ethnicity, ethnicity tests really don’t know the borders, right? [Laughs] They don’t know which countries are supposed to be where, right?
Paul: Exactly. And really, with ethnicity there are lots of considerations that you have to keep in mind. With the ethnicity estimates, they’re exactly that, they are estimates based off of your DNA where this DNA is coming from. Now things can get really complicated when we try to draw boundaries of where DNA has been historically. What makes DNA unique in specific situations is when it’s isolated for a long time. So, if you have ancestors from an island population like the Azores, it’s going to be really, really obvious that your ancestors came from the Azores because it’s been isolated for a long time and it has had a lot of time to generate lots of unique mutations that make it easy to detect that that’s where it’s coming from.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Paul: However, when you have populations moving back and forth and there’s gene flow between those populations, it actually results in decreased genetic diversity which makes it really hard to tell what is British versus what is Irish versus what is Scandinavia, versus what is French or German.
Fisher: And that of course is because Great Britain has had a lot of movement right, with the Vikings coming in how many years ago, 1500 years ago now?
Paul: Exactly. And particularly with the Vikings you get lots of Scandinavian influence all over Western Europe, islands, the Normans were the Norsemen or were Vikings. And so, you get lots of influence from the Vikings all throughout Western Europe. And so, it’s really hard to delineate those boundaries. My favorite example is what is French?
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]
Paul: You know if you look at the individuals living in Brittany, they’re much more closely related to individuals in the British Isles. If you look at individuals in Alsace-Lorraine, they’re going to be really closely related to Germans. If you look at the individuals in the Basque country and Southern France, they’re going to have a lot more Iberian DNA. And so, it just goes to show that even depending where you are within modern day boundaries of France, those boundaries aren’t necessarily reflective of the genetic reality of those populations.
Fisher: So do you think we’re going to see a time basically where we’re going to be able to say, “Your genes were at this place at this time.” And kind of track that movement?
Paul: I think so, and at RootsTech this year there were several companies that were beginning to explore those, so there’s exciting things on the forefront of ethnicity estimation and exploring where your ancestors were at specific times in history. However, I said this on our DNA Q&A and I will repeat it here, I think that ethnicity estimate and ethnicity analysis are the ugly step sisters of DNA. [Laughs]
Paul: They get all the attention.
Paul: They get all of the focus when really your Cinderella is your DNA match list.
Paul: That is what is most useful to you in your genetic genealogy research as you’re incorporating as part of your genealogical research. So we get an awful amount of questions regarding ethnicity saying, “It doesn’t match up exactly as what I expect.” And yeah, we expect that to happen sometimes based on the random amounts of DNA that comes down to you from your ancestors, and you may get 26% or 24% or 20% of Scandinavian rather than the exact amount that you’re expecting. It’s not going to reflect exactly your genealogical values.
Fisher: Right. That’s a really good point. And it’s interesting you said that because I was sitting at a dinner table with some people recently and this whole topic of DNA came up and we started talking about these other aspects of DNA, and he says, “Now wait a minute, if it’s not the ethnicity, what good is it?” [Laughs] And I’m like, “Are you kidding me?!”
Paul: Yeah. [Laughs]
Fisher: I think there’s a lot of assumption of that because you can see how many people match up to you that have no trees up. It’s just that they were obviously doing it just to get the ethnicity report. But it’s really pretty messy, isn’t it?
Paul: It is. And I think that the ethnicity report is great because it does bring in all those additional matches who are interested in that ethnicity breakdown. And it is exciting and it can be useful in particular situations particularly in recent ancestry if you’re working with a brick wall in your recent ancestry, but by and large, most of what I do as a genetic genealogist is deal with DNA relatives, genetic match lists, and working and collaborating with those individuals to find out about our shared common heritage.
Fisher: All right. Let’s get to another question here that we heard a lot of at RootsTech. “Why test the older family members first?”
Paul: Great. So, with Y DNA and Mitochondrial DNA testing, this isn’t as much of a consideration because any Y DNA that I get from my father came from his father and so if I test my Y DNA it’s going to represent my father’s DNA and my grandfather’s DNA and my paternal uncle’s DNA particularly for the Y chromosome, and the same with the Mitochondrial DNA except for along the maternal line. Where this question really comes in to play is with the autosomal DNA.
Paul: I get 50% of my DNA, my autosomal DNA, from my father and I get 50% of it from my mother. And so, if I perform a DNA test on myself, then if we consider it within the perspective of what I like to call coverage, 50% of my dad’s DNA is in the autosomal DNA database and 50% of my mom’s DNA is in that autosomal DNA database.
Paul: But that’s only 50% of their DNA. If I test them, I can get a 100%. If I test my grandmother, I can get 100% of her DNA in that database to make connections with individuals across the database and to really preserve that DNA and have that as a resource for the future even if she passes away in the future and that is something that I did. People are sometimes surprised because I have been involved in genetic genealogy for quite a while, but I actually didn’t perform DNA testing for myself until just two or three years ago.
Fisher: And so this is really good stuff for chromosome mapping down the line for people who get really deep in the weeds with this.
Paul: Yes. And you know, the reason for that is because I was testing all of my grandparents, all of my great aunts and uncles, my parents, my aunts and uncles and additional relatives before I really got to myself. By doing that I now have the autosomal DNA test results from my grandmother who has passed away, I have additional information for many of my relatives that I would not have otherwise. So it’s really important to test your older relatives before moving on to yourself. They’re going to share double or quadruple the amount of DNA that you do with their close genetic cousins. And that’s really important for making genealogical discoveries. By means of example, if I procrastinate that, then reconstructing and getting a full coverage of my grandmother’s DNA for example, would require me to test at least four of her children.
Paul: Yeah. So a child of an individual is going to inherit 50% from each parent.
Paul: Their sibling is also going to inherit 50% from each parent but it will be a different 50%. They’ll share some DNA in common with their sibling and some not. If you look at two siblings to test, their DNA will cover about 75% of each of their parents’ DNA. If you test three children of a couple, their combined DNA will cover about 87% of their parents’ DNA.
Paul: And if you test four children of a couple their combined DNA will cover about 94% of that couple’s DNA.
Fisher: And that’s assuming they have four children to test.
Paul: Exactly! Yeah. So I mean, if they don’t have four living children, then you have to go down to the nieces and nephews and you may have to end up doing fourteen or fifteen tests to even get 50% of their DNA covered.
Fisher: [Laughs] So test the old people now!
Paul: Test the old people now!
Paul: And you won’t regret it in the future. I think that increasingly we want to treat DNA as we would any other genealogical resource. However, as genealogists we benefit from a different perspective that archivists took earlier. They preserved records that we benefit from now.
Paul: And so in the DNA perspective if we’re going to benefit from DNA in the future then we need to also start thinking as archivists and thinking about how we’re going to preserve the DNA that’s here now.
Fisher: Boy, great advice. Paul, I wish we had more time because there are so many more questions. Let’s continue this next time we talk in a month or so, okay?
Paul: Sounds great. Thanks for having me.
Fisher: All right, Paul Woodbury from LegacyTree.com, and so great to chat with you again Paul. And on the way next, I’ll talk to Randy Seaver he is the blogger behind GeneaMusings.com talking about his personal genealogy go-over in three minutes on Extreme Genes.
Segment 3 Episode 184
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Randy Seaver
Fisher: And we are back! It is Extreme Genes America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth. And this segment of the show is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. On the line with me right now, one of the bloggers we recently spotlighted that David Allen Lambert recently focused on, he is the man behind GeneaMusings.com, Randy Seaver. Randy, how are you? Great to have you back.
Randy: I’m fine Scott. Good to talk to you.
Fisher: You know, we like to catch up with our blogging friends and find out what’s on their minds these days because you know everybody has something that kind of lights their fire at a given period of time. What are you working on right now?
Randy: Well, I tend to write a lot, two or three blog posts a day kind of keeps me busy.
Randy: And the genealogy world and my own research I find that I’m getting older and consequently I’m thinking about what happens you know, next.
Fisher: Uh oh.
Randy: What happens at the end?
Fisher: Uh oh.
Randy: And so I want to write books and I want to have a database that will live in perpetuity and things like that and I want it to be good. I want it to be sourced. I want my descendants to know who their ancestors were, and what they did, how they persevered. Consequently, I’m doing what’s called a genealogical go-over and basically this is from the genealogy do-over Thomas MacEntee has been promoting and guiding for researchers on his Geneabloggers blog and he suggested this several years ago in order to refresh your research and maybe start over and source everything. And so the do-over was to put your current tree and documentation aside and start over except for the things that you paid for like certificates or other documents you got from researchers, something like that.
Fisher: Don’t you think there’s a real emphasis right now on sourcing? I mean it seems to be with FamilySearch for instance, that’s their big push is to get people to go on there and link resources to their materials. And as you mentioned, Thomas of course has been pushing it and I found myself doing much the same thing. It’s really fun and you find some things that you miss now and again.
Randy: Well, that’s the whole idea I think. You start with yourself, document your own profile, and then do your parents and your siblings and your grandparents and it goes from there. And people have done this since Thomas laid out a whole year’s program to do it. And basically you’re finding records and you’re citing sources for every relationship and every event in someone’s life, most of us have trees we started a long time ago, and we didn’t source anything and we didn’t make notes.
Randy: We copied out of other people’s trees, things like that. You know, I did that. Most of us have done that.
Fisher: Isn’t that kind of the mass crowd thinking… we always feel safe when we’re copying the same thing that everybody else has?
Randy: Yeah, and we see beginning genealogists doing that because that’s what they find. They find online trees and they find books with their ancestors in it, so they use that material. So, my thing is I didn’t want to do that.
Fisher: Right. [Laughs]
Randy: Three years ago I had a tree with about forty five thousand people in it and they had a lot of relationships and events that were not sourced and my thought was, “Well, why don’t I just try to improve what I have? I’m probably too old to start over and get to where I’d be in five years say. So what I do now is two things. One is I have this forty five thousand person tree. It’s on Ancestry, it’s on FamilySearch, FamilyTree, it’s on MyHeritage, it’s on FindMyPast, it’s on Genie, it’s on WikiTree etc. And so a lot of those places have hints.
Randy: So I use the hints to find the records and documents and I source those events in my RootsMagic database. And this is what I’m doing, almost every day. I add, it seems like, about a thousand sources a month.
Randy: So that’s like thirty a day, you know?
Fisher: Yeah, I was going to say, Randy, that by you using RootsMagic then you’re able to actually disseminate these things back out to all the trees, right?
Randy: That’s kind of the theory, yeah. The trees out there I have to keep the way they are so they generate the hints and I can accept or ignore the hints on a rational basis so I don’t duplicate the hints. I don’t want to put a new tree out there and get in another forty thousand hints that I’ve already looked at half of them, that sort of thing.
Fisher: Right. Good point.
Randy: Okay, so that’s the first part of it, is just refreshing and finding stuff. A lot of it is moving the census records, the military records, it’s now wills and probates.
Fisher: Do you post your own circumstantial evidence that you’ve put together, to come to some of your conclusions?
Randy: Yeah, I put those in notes. That’s the next part. The first part is using the hints. The second part is I’m trying to enrich the profiles for each of my ancestors. Meaning, I concentrate on one ancestral family or one ancestor at a time and bring their profiles up to date. I go search on the websites, I look at the hints. I write down a to-do list, what I want to do at the Family History Library the next time I go, or a local library. And so I concentrate on one ancestral family and go through everything that I can on all the resources I have at home. And then I use weekly blog posts to document some of the things like transcriptions of wills, and analysis of documents, land, pension, and probate.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Randy: And then extract information and analysis of records like vital, or church, or census. And then I have blog post themes every week for the transcriptions called the “Amanuensis Monday.” Amanuensis means one who transcribes. And I have about 360 of those now in my hopper. And then I also have a “Treasure Chest Thursday” theme for Thursdays. And I have about almost 400 records that I’ve analyzed, and every time I do this I add the content into my RootsMagic database. So I’m enriching my database all the time.
Fisher: Right, and then documenting exactly how you did it through your blog.
Randy: Exactly. And so based on the records and documents, then I create for this person that I’m focusing on, an inclusive and insistent chronological life sketch in the notes on RootsMagic, and eventually I put that into the life sketch in FamilySearch, FamilyTree too.
Fisher: Do you find yourself focusing first on your direct lines, because you mentioned a database of tens of thousands?
Fisher: I mean, to go through and redo all of them would be years and years worth. Maybe more years than we all have in this world, right?
Fisher: You know in my mind I work with two different types of databases. I have my direct line and then I have those with all the descendents in there. And when I go through I really try to focus on the directs first because that’s plenty big enough.
Randy: Exactly. I figured the ancestors are mine, you know?
Randy: The collaterals aren’t mine.
Fisher: That’s right.
Randy: And I’m probably the only one researching most of them, at least in the last eight or ten generations.
Randy: And consequently I want to get a good enough biography that I could publish something about my ancestors. So then, focus on a person and try to update the sketch and things like that. Then I publish on the blog a new biography every week in a theme called “52 ancestors in 52 weeks.” I do that on Friday. This was started by Amy Johnson Crow three years ago.
Randy: So I’m in the fourth year of this. I have 166 biographies now from my ancestors. And you think that’s not very many.
Fisher: Ooh I don’t know, I think that’s incredible.
Randy: This is kind of the power of blogging too. One of the things this does for me is it keeps me focused on advancing my research. I can’t let things ride. Otherwise the hints get overwhelming. [Laughs] So I publish a biography. I use an individual summary port template in RootsMagic to create the template of the model of it, and then I source all the events and also add sources to the life sketch narrative that I produce. After that, I add the source documents and the life sketch to the FamilySearch, FamilyTree profiles for those folks. And so, after three years I have 166 biographies done, doing one a week. Now, to go back to your point, I have about twenty two hundred known ancestors back into the 1500s.
Randy: So I have my work cut out for me till about the year 2060.
Randy: Maybe my grandchildren will carry it on you know, I don’t know! [Laughs]
Fisher: I think your doctors have their work cut out for them till the year 2060! [Laughs] He’s Randy Seaver. He’s the blogger behind GeneaMusings.com. What a great idea to hear how you’re doing with your genealogy go-over. Thanks so much for your time Randy, good to have you back on again!
Randy: Okay, thank you Scott. Good talking to you.
Fisher: And coming up next, it is our Preservation Authority Tom Perry, answering another listener question, frankly one that’s got me just a little concerned. That’s coming up for you in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 184
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: It is time to talk preservation on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth. That is Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. Hi Tom, how are you?
Tom: Hello, super!
Fisher: All right, our email today is from Dennis Lazenby. [Laughs] I don’t know what he’s talking about here. This is the alphabet soup thing. So, you know, if you’re all sitting there thinking, “Oh man, he knows everything about it.” Forget it! Listen to this, “Can you digitize Betacam SP and DVCPRO HD to ProRes on my hard drive?” What the heck does that mean, Tom!?
Tom: Yes, we can! [Laughs]
Fisher: Oh, for goodness sake!
Tom: They’re professional formats like TV stations use when they’re shooting music videos, any high end stuff. Betacam SP is one of the best tape formats they had. After that came Digibeta, but Betacam was really good. Remember the old Betamax from the old days that lost to VHS?
Fisher: In the ‘70s.
Tom: Right. Even though it was a better format, it lost out. So Sony thought, “Well, okay, we messed up. Let’s take Betamax and see what we can do.” They came out with Betacam, which is like, incredible. That’s what all the studios used to use back in the day and all the TV stations, everybody used Betacam. Then they had Betacam SP and Digibeta. And then later on, they came out with another one called DVCPRO, which was Panasonic’s real high end thing to compete with Betacam.
Fisher: How do you keep track of all this stuff?
Tom: I don’t know. Somehow it’s in the cobwebs upstairs.
Tom: And so, basically what happened is, everybody tried working together again. And so, Panasonic came out with DVCPRO and Sony came out with DV Cam and they were supposed to be universal, and at the last minute they had a part in ways and they weren’t. So these are professional formats. They’re still around. You can still get equipment. When these first came out, the decks were like $30,000!
Tom: They were very, very expensive. And so, I’m assuming from Dennis that he has some stuff from maybe when he used to work in a TV station or maybe he shot professional NFL, but now he wants to put them in high definition so he can edit them.
Tom: And so now what ProRes is, ProRes is kind of new. It’s what Apple developed for Final Cut Pro. It’s the absolute best way to preserve something without compressing it. Like when you go into MP4s or AVIs or MOVs, they compress them. So ProRes is totally uncompressed, so it’s absolutely awesome. And we do this a lot with film. When we’re scanning film for people, if they’re making a documentary, like we just did something for somebody a couple of weeks ago, that they’re making an Elizabeth Smart documentary. And so what we had to do is, we had to do that in a higher format, so that they could edit it and do the right things with it. The drawback to ProRes, if you want to call it a drawback, it can only be used with Final Cut Pro, which is an Apple product, so your Windows, it won’t do you any good.
Tom: You won’t be able get to this high of quality. You’ve got to get a Mac. And this is a good reason to go buy a Mac.
Fisher: Okay. Is this something that people will use for genealogy, generally?
Tom: Oh yeah! Oh absolutely! The thing is, we have, and we’ve talked about this on the show before, you have to figure out what your end game is, where you want to be at the end when you’re all done transferring, scanning and all these kinds of things, what your ultimate goal is, and then work backwards to find out where you need to start. You know, if you’re going to be running a trucking company hauling dirt, you don’t want a station wagon. You want something with an open bed.
Tom: So same thing, people need to call us or whoever your local transfer people are and say, “Okay, my goal is to have these slides just so I can watch them on the computer. I’m never going to make prints, any of this kind of stuff.” So you don’t have to do like 3400dpi if that’s all you’re going to be doing, so it saves you some money. So basically tie it down to this same thing, we just within the last couple of weeks upgraded our film scanner. Now it’s even better. It’s called a universal HD. And you look at our old stuff and it looks great that we were doing two months ago.
Tom: But you look at this, and if you get really, really, close, it’s even sharper. And it’s like, “Okay, this is crazy.” So that’s why we say, don’t ever throw anything that’s optical away, whether its slides, film, negatives, because there’s always going to be something better, and we have this now.
Fisher: When are we going to get to the top of the mountain, Tom?
Tom: Probably about the same time the meteor hits the earth and destroys it!
Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah. All right, this segment is brought to you be 23andMe.com DNA. What have we got coming up next?
Tom: Let’s talk some more about editing and some different things that you can do to improve your quality of what you’re doing on your transfers, and also some ways to save some money.
Fisher: All right, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 184
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: I’ve got to admit, Tom, I still get a little intimidated when I hear all this alphabet soup when it comes to technology. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. We’re talking preservation with Tom Perry. And this email we got from Dennis about things I’ve never heard of, and that frightens me.
Tom: No problem. That’s why I’m across the table from you.
Fisher: Yes, exactly! All right, most people don’t need things to this level obviously, which is why most of us have never heard of some of these things, you know, the DVCPRO HD, Betacam SP.
Fisher: This is professional stuff. So let’s talk a little about what people generally need and the best way to go about it and the best way to save money.
Tom: Absolutely. And kind of we left off in the last segment about this you need to find out what your end goal is. And I tell people, don’t say “I can’t afford this right now. I’m going to put it off.” If you can’t afford the deluxe program, do something basic to at least get it stopped from your needing more color correction, because they fade, you know.
Tom: They fade day to day to day. So what you need to do is, when you’re calling your transfer place, whether it’s us or anybody else out there, we always tell you what questions to ask. Make sure they’re scanning your film. If they say they’re scanning, say, “Oh, I want jpegs with all my frames as well.” And if they say, “Oh, that’s not an option.” then walk away because they’re not really scanning.
Fisher: Okay, but his email had to do with videos, right?
Fisher: But that could also cover film.
Tom: Exactly. Exactly, anything that’s going to deteriorate. And so with film, like we were talking about this new universal HD we have which is sharper than the old. I mean, the old is incredible. And this is even more incredible! But sometimes people say, “I just want to get something really inexpensive. I can’t afford the high definition stuff.” Your high definition, which is 1080p x 16 x 9, if you’ve ever looked for a new TV, you know what those numbers mean. And it’s great! It’s more than what anybody out there needs. And it generally runs, if the people are being legit and really doing that, it ranges about 22 cents a foot. That’s what we would charge. Most good people around you are going to charge.
Fisher: And that’s video and film?
Tom: No, that’s film only.
Fisher: Film only, all right.
Tom: Film is charged by the foot, where video is usually charged by the minute or the hour.
Tom: So with this, if you say, “Hey, that’s great. I’ve got, you know, 10,000 feet or 1000 feet or 500 feet. And I’d really love to do it, but there’s no way in the world I can afford it right now.” We have another option, as most of the other people do, too, it’s still scanned, it’s still high definition, but instead of being 1080p 16 x 9, its 960 x 720, which is what the old widescreen TVs were. It still looks great.
Fisher: So this is like the old formatting. And we see… like we watch on TV shows once in a while and they say, “This has been reformatted, so it will fit your television.”
Fisher: This is kind of the original dimensions.
Tom: It’s just that, if you get real close to the image, so to speak, and if you could actually see the dots, like you can in a newspaper photograph, there’s going to be more dots than 1080p 16 x 9, than there is in the 960 x 720. So if you go into like a store that sells televisions, they’re going to have a whole bunch of televisions up there and they’re usually all playing the same video feed.
Tom: So you can go to some that say 1080p x 16 x 9 and the other ones are going to say 960 x 720. So you can physically see the difference. And if you look at that and say, “Hey, I really do like the 1080p. However, the 960 is okay, and we can do that now.” So then you’re only looking at about 14 cents a foot.
Tom: So it’s quite a bit cheaper, especially if you have a ton.
Fisher: A third at least, yeah.
Tom: So that’s the way to go. So talk to your people. Make sure you ask the right questions. It’s still scanned. It’s still frame by frame it just doesn’t have the resolution that the 1080p has. So if it’s like, “Hey, I can afford to do the 14 cents a foot right now. I’d love to do the 22, but I can’t.” Then do it! Get it done. Get it stopped from fading. And get it all transferred, because maybe your kids one day, they’ll have more money and they’ll want to go and do it the other way. And then you can go into color correction and get DaVinci which we’ve talked about before, which is a great program that’s free. And with those programs, you can edit on either Windows or Mac. And then let us know whether you want AVIs, if you want MOVs, if you want MP4s.
Fisher: All right, AskTom@TMCPlace.com. Good to see you again, Tom. Thanks.
Tom: You bet. My pleasure!
Fisher: Hey, that’s a wrap on this week’s show. This segment has been brought to you by MyHeritage.com. Thanks for joining us. Don’t forget to go to ExtremeGenes.com or our Facebook page and get signed up for our Weekly Genie newsletter. We’ve got links to all kinds of great interviews, past and present, some great stories, and I give you a column each week. And if you missed any of the show, don’t forget to catch the podcast on iTunes, iHeart Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. Talk to you next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family!
The “We Can Do It” poster that became famous in the 1980s became the personification of “Rosie the Riveter,” the women war workers who played a large role in America’s war machine. But just who the woman was who served as inspiration for the poster has been a subject of debate. And while the identity hasn’t been 100% proven, we have a much better idea now.
DNA tests can bring the joy of discovery… or the pain of discovery. For two men who were taken from their mother in Puerto Rico in the 1970s, it was pure joy!
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 the conversation with word of a milestone achieved by MyHeritage.com (one of the show’s sponsors). MyHeritage now has 8 billion records in their SuperSearch archives! David then reveals how a search for what do to with old pants pulled up a story about the discovery of the world’s oldest known trousers? from 3,000 years ago! Catch the details on the podcast. Then, DNA has again given us a remarkable discovery: The modern day identity of the people known in the Bible as the Canaanites! David will tell you who they are today. Next, a body has been found in Ohio? and you won’t believe how old it is! And finally, David talks about the recent discovery of bodies in a mass grave in London dating back nearly 500 years. He’ll explain the significance.
Then, Fisher visits with blogger Kate Porter of Slatersville, Rhode Island. The author of genijourney.com talks about how her preconceived ideas concerning the life of her nomadic great grandfather changed as she got to know him through the records and other relatives.
Fisher next visits with archivist Melissa Barker from Houston County, Tennessee. Melissa was something of a reluctant archivist when she first took the job of setting up an archive in her county. Now called the “Archive Lady,” Melissa offers great stories from her own archives and advice on what you might find in archives tied to your family lines through materials typically not yet found on line.
Then, it’s Preservation time with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Tom walks through a problem presented by a listener email about a century old large photo in a frame that is flaking apart. What does Tom recommend to save this treasure? Listen to the podcast.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 202
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 202
Fisher: Welcome back! It’s America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And this segment of the show is brought to you by LegacyTree.com. On the guest list today, Kate Porter from Slatersville, Rhode Island is coming on. She’s a great blogger and [Laughs] has written a series of articles about “The Great-Grandfather That Never Was.” And she’ll explain what that means and where her research led her and some really interesting stories involved with that one. And then later in the show, a lady who is, I’d guess, you’d call her a reluctant archivist. Yes, she was a professional genealogist and kind of got roped into being an archivist for a small county in Tennessee. She calls herself the “Archive Lady.” You’re going to love hearing from Melissa Barker and what she’s learned about archives since she took on this new task and what you can get from it as well. That’s later on in the show. Hey, by the way congratulations to Mary Lore. She is the winner of David Allen Lambert’s free one-hour consultation for being a subscriber to our weekly “Genie Newsletter.” You can sign up at ExtremeGenes.com or through our Extreme Genes Facebook page. And by the way, if by the end of August you are a subscriber, you’re eligible for a drawing for a Heritage Collector Suite of software. And this stuff is incredible. You can take photos with it, you can get yourself organized, eliminate duplicate photos, there are slideshows, you can find photos in seconds and this is like an $80 value. So get signed up at ExtremeGenes.com. The “Weekly Genie” is absolutely free and we’d love to have you as part of that community. Right now, let us head out to Beantown and my good friend David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org.
Fisher: How are you, David?
David: I’m doing great Fish. How about yourself?
Fisher: Awesome! In fact, looking forward to seeing you soon in Boston.
David: I know Beantown will never be the same with two of us in the same place. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] Exactly.
David: I’m going to start our Family History News with a shout out to our friends at MyHeritage.com. They’ve recently announced they have surpassed 8 billion searchable records on their super search.
David: So, congratulations to the people at My Heritage.
Fisher: Yes, very nice.
David: A lot of times on genealogy I search on genes and genetics and DNA. Well, I was searching on old jeans. I mean blue jeans.
Fisher: You’re talking J-E-A-N-S.
David: I’ve been losing weight because I’ve been trying to get more healthy and a lot more walking. So I’m thinking, “What am I going to do with these old jeans that don’t fit me anymore?” And I discovered a story from 2014 about the discovery of the oldest known trousers in the world.
David: Under “jeans.” Apparently a team of archaeologists in Western China uncovering the remains of two Nomadic herders came across a 3,000-year-old pair of pants with a woven pattern.
David: Needless to say, you’d never think your jeans are wearing out while these must have survived pretty well. So, I’d like to find out who made them.
Fisher: Wow! That’s unbelievable. Did they have Levi stitched at the back?
David: I don’t know, But I’ll tell you something if they do, Levi needs to market a new set of them to sell to people.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yes.
David: 3,000 years of wear and still wearing fine.
David: My next story is a real DNA story this time. This story is about ancient DNA of the Canaanites. The Canaanites were a biblical people mentioned in the Old Testament. Well, recently burials from about 3,000/4,000 years ago were discovered and they’re now being able to extract DNA. They found, Fish, that the descendents of these ancient Canaanites are pretty much the people who now live in Lebanon.
Fisher: The Lebanese are the Canaanites. Yeah, they were saying something like 90% of their DNA came from the Canaanites. I guess they had like five different bodies they found from 3,000 years ago. And they were able to extract DNA from behind the ear. It’s like the hardest part of the skull. It’s a fairly recent discovery that this area basically keeps a little time capsule of DNA, so people can capture that now and match it up to living individuals. How incredible is that?
David: Ah, it’s pretty amazing. Speaking of finding bodies, a body of a 12th century Native American was found in Ohio by a field hunter for arrowheads while searching down by the Mohawk Dam. Last month, a man who was out basically looking for arrowheads stumbled upon these human remains and it turns out they weren’t of a recent murder. So they don’t have to call the detective work of Fisher here.
David: This is a 900-year-old burial.
Fisher: Wow! So we’re talking 12th century here.
David: Um hmm. The local Native Americans who live in this area of Ohio will no doubt take a great interest and see the remains repatriated and buried on native land.
David: In jolly, old, England, back in the days of the plague, thousands upon thousands of people were buried in mass graves. Some of these graves in the new church yard are Bedlam Burial Ground in London have an estimated 25,000 people buried there. They’ve already cataloged and done a database of over 5,000 people that have been found on the site. So think about this, we’re not talking thousands of years ago. We’re talking hundreds of years ago. So if you had an ancestor who lived in London during the era of the plague, it’s quite possible you could be getting a GED match in a database someday of, “Hey, Bob was found in London and he’d like to connect with you.”
Fisher: [Laughs] And we’re talking, what, from the 1500s?
David: 1500s, 1600s during the Great Plague.
David: Yeah. And starting around 1569, the cemetery existed, so yeah, I mean it’s possible these are people that have descendants who came over to the colonies years later. So you may have an ancestor that they’ve recently dug up, so stay tuned.
Fisher: That’s incredible. And by the way, the story is found on our website, ExtremeGenes.com. You can see some incredible pictures from this.
David: Today’s blogger spotlight goes out to my good friends with The In-depth Genealogist. And on the blog, TheIndepthGenealogist.com/blog, you’ll find interesting stories, including their weekly chit chat on genealogy. Well, the story I loved was the one just recently posted called, “The dog days of summer.” And on this, they talk about family pets.
Fisher: Oh, good call.
David: So that’s one that you might try. In fact in the recent issue of American Ancestors, we talk about family pets, so I thought there was a nice little connection there. Well, that’s all I have for this week. But don’t forget, if you’re not a member of American Ancestors, NEHGS offers you a free guest membership or if you decide to join, save $20 off the price by remembering “Extreme” brought to you by Extreme Genes. I’ll see you soon in Beantown, Fish.
Fisher: Alright. Thanks so much, David. And coming up next, we’re going to go out to Slatersville, Rhode Island and talk to Kate Porter. She’s a blogger, talking about “The Great-Grandfather That Never Was” and her journey to discover him. She found out a little more than I think she bargained for. That’s coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 202
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Kate Porter
Fisher: Welcome back! It’s America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It’s Fisher here and this segment is brought to you by 23andMe.comDNA. And you know, when we become genealogical detectives we often go into a certain case dealing with tracing down an ancestor which certain assumptions. And that happened to my friend, Kate Porter. She is the author of the blog, GenieJourney.com, and recently wrote about this, “The Great-Grandfather That Never Was.” She’s in Slatersville, Rhode Island. Hi Kate, how are you? Welcome to Extreme Genes!
Kate: Hi. Good. How are you?
Fisher: Awesome! This is a great, little, article and I love the kind of the progress that you make and the updated pieces that you documented as you went along this journey. Let’s talk about the beginning. Who were you looking for and what were the assumptions?
Kate: So, the man I was looking for was Otto Stanley and he is my great-grandfather on my father’s side. So I am not familiar with my father’s side because I actually did not grow up with him. But I still find it interesting to really track down his roots and more about him. So story has it, that Otto left his wife and his son, which is my grandfather, behind in Massachusetts because his wife was involved in some pretty illegal stuff, so I heard. What I heard is that he kind of just went over to Michigan and started to just live his life there. And I had thought that, you know, my grandfather was the only son and that he just married and had no children moving forward. So that was kind of my assumption.
Kate: My assumption was that he might have been a pretty decent guy and maybe he just kind of left because he had to.
Fisher: Well, those things do happen.
Fisher: So you began the journey to look for this guy in Michigan, and what techniques did you use?
Kate: I definitely used Ancestry.com, obviously, and the files that were available even just a few years back, there weren’t as many, right? So obviously, they add a lot more files and records as the time goes on. So, all of a sudden you know a new entry came up and it included his marriage record to a woman named Lena Rondi. So, next I saw another record come up that really kind of threw me off, right? It was another woman and this was prior to that marriage. So I started thinking, you know, was this guy married to three women?
Kate: And this started to kind of put me down another path.
Fisher: And then your assumption started changing?
Kate: Yeah. My assumption started changing. So as I was looking around actually for Otto’s siblings’ obituaries, I found a couple. And I found one in particular that stated all of the children’s names. From there I started to use just Google and I realized that one of the children who was a son of this sibling of Otto, his middle name was Otto.
Fisher: Ah ha! A little closeness there perhaps.
Kate: A little closeness there. So as I started to look through the obituary, I started to notice the names of living members of the family. That’s when I started to use Facebook which is good and sometimes it doesn’t end up the way you want it. Some folks will answer you; some folks won’t. Luckily these folks who were in Canada who were my second cousins and second cousins once removed, they responded and kind of unravelling the story from there.
Fisher: Alright. What did they tell you?
Kate: So they had told me that he definitely got married a second time. Not only did he get married, but he had a whopping five children from that marriage.
Fisher: Oh boy. Wow!
Kate: Yes. So, I began to see the pictures of them and it really struck me as a surprise because I just had no idea that he had this whole other family and never knew that my grandfather had all these half siblings out there. From there, I had then found out that he had actually left that family too.
Fisher: Oh boy, so it was a pattern now?
Kate: It was a pattern, yes. And so he had left that family and actually ran off with the aunt of one of his son-in-laws.
Fisher: Oh! [Laughs] You know you can’t tell the players without the scorecard they always say at the baseball games, right?
Fisher: And that’s the way it is in genealogy sometimes.
Kate: Oh my goodness, yes. So that was quite a surprise. Now I guess I forgot to mention that prior to finding out about this family, I found where he was buried. He was buried in Inglis, Florida and he was buried with his third wife. Now the sad thing that I saw about this headstone was that it did not show a death date for Otto. And I began to feel really kind of sad, right? I started to think, “Well maybe he just didn’t have anyone else to memorialize him after he was gone. Maybe Lena had passed before him. Maybe there was just no one else there to kind of wrap up that paperwork.”
Kate: So I started to feel bad and thoughts started to come around in my head to say, you know even though I didn’t know this man, would it make sense to kind of close that story and fill in that date of that year? And then, lo and behold, less than a week later that is when I found out that not only did he have five children from another marriage, but he left them too the same way that he left my grandfather and technically the same way my father left me.
Kate: So it’s kind of a pattern. [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah, something that goes on the Y-chromosome side of your family.
Kate: [Laughs] Yes, apparently. Only poor Charles, he never left. It definitely skipped a generation. So that’s when it hit me a bit you know, again I had this assumption that maybe he had to leave and he just led a quiet life thereafter and then I realized that he tended to make the same, I’d call it a mistake, again. So from there I did end up reaching out and found his one, final, last, relative whose living. She was left when she was about seven years old. Which really struck me and it kind of broke my heart right.
Fisher: So it was your grand aunt?
Kate: Yes. Yes, it is. So, she is the last living child of Otto’s family including my grandfather who I never met. And I was able to get a lot of information from her daughter, actually, who was kind of the being middle between us.
Fisher: And was she aware of the existence of your grandfather?
Kate: Apparently she was, but only later on in life.
Kate: Yeah. Yeah. So I think she hadn’t really thought too much about it because he had left so early. But she was and she received a few letters actually from my father’s side of the family kind of introducing themselves. So, this is news to me, but this was definitely something that she, I guess, had known but didn’t really pursue at a later age.
Fisher: Wow. So, what did you do with the gravestone now? You’re feeling a little dilemma here I sense. It’s like wait a minute, do I want to memorialize this guy? He’s abandoned two families and six kids and who knows what else. What did you decide to do?
Kate: Yeah you know, as I started to think about it, I started to think about how no matter what he decided to do or chose to do, if it weren’t for him, as all several other people, I wouldn’t have been on this earth.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Kate: And maybe if he didn’t mess up, maybe the other mess ups thereafter wouldn’t have occurred either. So he’s still human and it kind of made me sad to think that death date was just not on there and it wouldn’t be ever probably.
Kate: I mean, I can’t. I know no one would probably think of doing that, so I contacted a local company and got a quote. [Laughs] It’s pretty expensive, but they got it done pretty quickly and now he rests with a final burial date.
Fisher: Wow! What a great story Kate, unbelievable journey. Now let me ask you this because I like to find out what other documents and photographs relatives have when I reach out to them. In fact, before the internet was really a big thing, I did that a lot. You know you use things like directory assistance and you’d write letters. Those are long paper things with a sticky flap on the back and you put a stamp on them and you put them in a thing called a mailbox. And you’d hopefully get a response and they would share photographs and documents. I got family bible records. Were you able to obtain anything relating to this branch of your family from some of these people?
Kate: Oh yes. So, not only did I receive a picture of him at the ripe old age of ninety-seven-years-old…
Fisher: Whoa! [Laughs]
Kate: in a nursing home down in Florida, but I also received a photo of him and the family that he left not long after he did so. And really kind of looking at all their faces you see something’s going on with the family. I can just feel it. And so that’s actually on my blog as well. So I was able to get that photograph from the daughter of the last living child, and I also received the death certificate and the death notice. And here’s the kicker actually, when I had originally reached out to the local offices to enquire about getting his death date on his gravestone, they had actually told me that they had no record of him being buried there at all, which threw me for a loop.
Kate: Because I started saying, “Where is this guy’s body buried?”
Kate: And that was kind of a mystery question I put forth on that first blog, where is his body buried?
Fisher: Where’d they take him? Yeah.
Kate: Yes. [Laughs] Where is he? So, once I received this confirmation that he was in fact buried here by the remaining family who somehow had this information, it seemed to be that it was perhaps an error and maybe they just didn’t file the paperwork with the town. So I was relieved to know that he is in fact buried there and the services were held thereafter, the church services.
Kate: So I did receive a lot of information and it was just really interesting to know that the last living child had all this information, just by her, being left long ago. She actually now wants to meet me and she’s about eighty-three-years-old.
Fisher: Oh how fun.
Kate: So that will be interesting. [Laughs]
Fisher: Yes. Here’s one question for you, did you ever calculate when he died? How old were you? Were you around yet?
Kate: I was actually. Let’s see, so I was seven years old.
Fisher: Seven years old. So theoretically you could have actually met this guy.
Kate: I could have, yeah, which is funny because many of my ancestors on that side I couldn’t have. They died rather early on.
Kate: So he’s one of the few that I definitely could have met. I think that’s kind of where my title came in because he just never was my great-grandfather, you know.
Kate: And yeah, he still is, you know.
Fisher: Yeah, he is in one way but in other ways he’s not. That’s why you called it the “Great-Grandfather That Never Was.” She’s Kate Porter. She’s from Rhode Island. She writes the Genie Journey. Go to GenieJourney.com and you can see some of the photos connected with that. Kate, it’s been a pleasure having you on. I know you’re also involved with NextGen, right?
Kate: Well, I just got started by following them on Twitter and LinkedIn and my goal is after my genealogy research class through BU, I hope to reach out to them and get more involved.
Fisher: Awesome. Kate Porter from Slatersville, Rhode Island thanks for coming on and we look forward to keeping up with you, Kate.
Fisher: And coming up next, we take you out to Houston County, Tennessee where you’re going to meet a lady named Melissa Barker. Melissa was a little hesitant about taking a job as an archivist, locally. She’s a professional genealogist and it turned into something incredible. You’re going to want to hear her stories and how you can take advantage of archives, coming up next in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 202
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Melissa Barker
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, it’s Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. And you know for a long time, I’ve been reminding people, you know, if you’re getting into your family history research, into your genealogy, don’t just sign up for a subscription somewhere. You’ve got to get out and get into the archives. And in the process of working on this show of course, I ran into a lady who calls herself, “The Archive Lady.” Her name is Melissa Barker. She’s in Houston County, Tennessee, and I’m in love with her little southern accent. How are you Melissa?
Melissa: I’m doing great Scott. How are you?
Fisher: Awesome. How long have you been The Archive Lady?
Melissa: I have been The Archive Lady for about six years now.
Melissa: Working in the Houston County, Tennessee Archives has just been a dream come true job.
Fisher: Really? Now, I remember you were telling me off-air that this wasn’t the way you approached it when you first heard about this.
Melissa: Actually, no. I’ll tell you a little story about how our archive was formed. In 2010, a local lady here was researching her genealogy and found that her grandfather had been murdered here on the streets of Houston County in 1921, and she had accessed the court records on microfilm, but she wanted to actually touch the original records. And how many of us genealogists want to touch those original records?
Melissa: And she was sent to the basement of the courthouse to the vault, and when she got there, she couldn’t get in the vault because the records were stored to the ceiling and to the door.
Fisher: Oh no. [Laughs]
Melissa: So she called several of her genealogy friends and we got together and started cleaning up the vault on this particular day. Went to lunch and decided we needed an archive to preserve our records. Our county had been formed in 1871 and nothing had been done with our records. And so they asked for a volunteer to head this up, so they all looked at me and said, “Oh, Melissa, you’re a professional genealogist, you know how to do this. You be the archivist.” I almost said no, and then I thought, “Well, maybe it might be interesting.” And so I went back to school and got my certification in archive management, and as they say, the rest is archival history.
Fisher: Well you know, there is so much material that is not online. So much is not even on microfilm! I bet you have a lot of that stuff in your archives there.
Melissa: I do, and one of the first things that I ran across when we were organizing these records was a dog registration book.
Fisher: Really? [Laughs]
Melissa: Yes. Evidently, this is actually a mandate or a law that was in Tennessee, started way back in the 1800s, that if you owned a dog that was over six months old, you had to register that dog.
Melissa: And the book that we had is dated 1901 to 1919. You came into the county court clerk’s court office to register your dog. You had to give the dog’s name, a description of the dog’s breed, and then pay the tax. It started out being a dollar, and then by 1919 it was $3. But the interesting thing about this dog registration that I found out is all the money goes into what was called the sheep fund.
Fisher: The sheep fund?
Melissa: Like the animal. And when the local farmer had one of their sheep that was damaged or killed by a dog, they were able to recoup money from the sheep fund to purchase another sheep.
Fisher: So it’s like dog insurance, basically.
Melissa: [Laughs] Exactly. At the end of the year, if there was money left in the sheep fund, it would go to the school to purchase books and materials.
Fisher: Wow, what a clever idea. Somebody got to do that today.
Melissa: I can tell you, one of the most popular dog names in the registration book was Fido.
Fisher: Fido. [Laughs] Well that was Lincoln’s dog, right? So sure, it would be popular at that point. What else have you found in there?
Melissa: I tell you, Scott, one of the most wonderful records to find, stories about your ancestors were court records. And you asked about finding relatives. Well, one of the wonderful things about working in this archives is that my husband’s family has lived in this area for over five generations and every once in awhile, I run across a record that has to do with his family. And in 1945, his great-grandfather, Walter Grey Barker, was divorcing his third wife, Ms. Janie, and in the court records, it described his reason for the divorce. And that was because he felt like she was trying to kill him by putting a spider in his biscuit.
Fisher: [Laughs] I love that. There’s a little flavor for your family history.
Melissa: [Laughs] Yep. And then in another court record that I’d located from 1887, seems there was a scoundrel in town, a Mr. John Elliot. He was brought up on charges of disturbing the peace, which is a fairly normal charge, but once I started reading the court case, he had taken a dead squirrel and tied it to a horse that was also attached to another horse and a buggy. This dead squirrel spooked that horse, and the horse and buggy went all through town, wreaking all sorts of havoc.
Fisher: [Laughs] I love that.
Melissa: One of the things I had found is we find artifacts. And a Mr, William Hughes, he had been brought up on charges of going armed with a straight razor. A lot of times the court records are tri-folded, put in these little sleeves.
Melissa: And after I had taken the documents out, I felt the folder and I thought that there was something else in there. And I looked in there and the actual straight razor from 1962 was in there.
Fisher: [Laughs] No! That’s amazing. Now were you able to maybe track down some of the descendants of this person?
Melissa: I did. I talked to his granddaughter, and she was very surprised to find out that her grandfather had done this. [Laughs]
Fisher: Oh really? She knew him well, probably.
Melissa: Yes, she did, and so she was very surprised.
Fisher: So people come in there, obviously from out of town. You’re kind of a new archive then really, only six or seven years. What’s been the reaction so far to your efforts?
Melissa: Very positive, locally and for people coming into our archives from out of state, because our little county is one of those counties you drive through to get somewhere else.
Fisher: Yes. [Laughs]
Melissa: We actually were very a big county back when the railroad was here. It’s one of those little stories about how they pulled the railroad out and things kind of died out. But we have a lot of history in these small counties, and those people, their families grow up and they move off to other places. So when they research their families, they come back looking for those records.
Fisher: Exactly. You know, I think it’s important for people to realize that a lot of these archivists out there are like yourself. You love what you do, you’re happy to research it on behalf of people, as a service. I actually reached out to a lady in London with an email back about 15 years ago, and she actually went to an original book which had been digitized, because the date that was in by the crease in the centre of the book, I couldn’t read it, and I needed to know that date to prove that that was my person. The very next day I got an email back despite the time difference that validated that I had found my second great grandmother in this little book in London, because an archivist was there to help me.
Melissa: Yes. And one thing that helps me with me is I am a genealogist. I’ve been doing genealogy for twenty-seven years. And so I love working with genealogists, but most archivists do. They want to find that information for you. They love sharing the records that they have, and especially those ones that are not online or not on microfilm, because they’re usually the most precious and they hold the most stories.
Fisher: Right. Do you actually make copies for people or scan them for them periodically?
Melissa: Yes, we do both. You email us, and if we’re able to scan them and email them to you. We will be glad to do that. Or if you walk in the door, want a copy of what you find, we are glad to copy it.
Fisher: And that’s the way it is with an awful lot of archives around the country as well. What other advice would you have, Archive Lady, for people who have never been?
Melissa: I would just encourage them to contact either by phone or by email. Or if you’re able to travel, go to these archives, ask the archivist about what’s behind those closed doors. Because many times these records are not sitting in front of you to look at that. A lot of these records are stored in back rooms on shelves. So talk to the archivist. Get to know the archivist there. Ask them about their records. What is not microfilmed? Ask them about their unprocessed records. We have records donated all the time and we have so much to do in the day that we can’t get to them. And so, a lot of the time they have to sit on the shelf for just a little while before we can process them. But if you walk in and ask, “What kind of unprocessed records do you have?” You might find some gems.
Fisher: She’s Melissa Barker, she’s the Archive Lady in Houston County, Tennessee. It has been a delight, Melissa. Thanks so much for the advice and some great stories there.
Melissa: Thanks a lot, Scott, for having me on!
Fisher: Alright. And Tom Perry is coming up next, our Preservation Authority, with more advice about how you can preserve your precious heirlooms. He’s been on the road, we’ll find out where he’s headed next, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes.
Segment 4 Episode 202
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And it is preservation time at Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here. And this segment is brought to you by MyHeritage.com. And Tom Perry is here from TMCPlace.com. He is our Preservation Authority. How are you Tom?
Tom: Pretty good! Had a lot of fun down in Tucson last week; they’re doing some new deals with the DVA which are really going to be exciting for people to get into. There’s a new thing that they announced there that’s called SMS messaging, and it’s cool! If you have like a lot of people in your family line, you can sign up for this and send everybody a text at one time saying, “Hey, we’re going to be doing this. Hey, do you want to get together and do this?” So there’s all kinds of new and cool stuff coming down the family history pipeline.
Fisher: I love hearing that! And next up on your summer travels, you’re going to be in Worcester, Massachusetts for the New England Historic Genealogical Society event and you’re going to be a keynote speaker there about preservation.
Tom: Oh, that’s just great. I’m sure David tried to nuke that for me. [Laughs] But they’re keeping me on! David’s so fun. It’s going to be neat to go to his turf and actually talk to his people. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking really forward to it.
Fisher: Absolutely. Alright, we’ve got an email here from Dave Basit in Tacoma, Washington. And he says, “Tom, my question is in regards to an old family photo of my grandmother and great-grandmother and it is attached. The child in the photo is my grandmother. She was born in 1908 and this is the only known photo of her and her mother.” Now you can see the photo is in a state of decay. He said, “I desperately want to have it scanned and touched up, but I’m afraid if the frame and glass are removed, it will crumble. I’m looking for a miracle and hoping you can help. My problem is this: I live near Tacoma and the photo hangs in my mother’s home in North Carolina. We’ll be travelling back home in a couple of weeks and I’m hoping you may have connections of a reputable company who can assist me with this. I’d prefer it be you, but my fear is the transportation. And I estimate the size to be about two feet by three feet.” It’s a real classic picture, isn’t it Tom?
Tom: Oh absolutely! And once again, those that aren’t driving we’ll hold the picture up to the microphone, so you can look into your speaker and see it. But it is. It’s a wonderful picture. I have the exact same frame on some of my grandparent’s. I think it was like a famous plaster molding back then. In fact, some of these are actually carved out of wood. And if you actually have a real wood one that’s not plaster, they’re worth a lot of money.
Fisher: And I’m seeing a lot of flaking going on in the picture. What causes that?
Tom: Well, there’s a lot of things that can cause that. As he suggested, it might be adhered to the glass now. And so, just when it gets adhered to the glass, as it goes through hot and cold spells even in the house just from the furnace kicking on, it can kind of pull away from the glass and re stick to the glass. And every time it does that, one little piece of the front of the photo sticks to the glass. And then when it gets warm, it falls off. So if we actually took this apart, DO NOT DO!
Tom: DO NOT TAKE THIS APART! There could be all kinds of flaking down to the bottom, the little pieces, but you’re not going to able to put them back together. That makes no sense.
Tom: So a picture like this, don’t transport it! Leave it in North Carolina where it is. I’m going to do some research and find somebody up there that can help you. There’s a couple of different ways you can go. If you find a professional sign company that makes billboards, they should have a big scanner and they can scan it. Some of those kinds of places have only a scanner that you have to have flat things go through them.
Tom: But some people, when they want to do something with like an old oil painting, there’s ways to scan that. If that’s unavailable, what I would do is find the best professional photographer you can in the area that does portraits, take it in to him. All he has to do is, he sets up his tripod over the picture so his camera’s on the bottom of the tripod instead of the top, so it kind of hanging down between the legs, and put on a polarizing filter. Because once it gets it lead with the polarizing filter, that kind of has two stages to it: you turn one ring until all the glare goes away and then you take a photo of it. And if he has a real super high DPI on his camera, which he should be able to if he’s got a good Nikon, he can shoot like a RAW. Have him shoot a whole bunch on them.
Fisher: Yeah. And you know, when I had my picture taken with the firemen that I found, it was over thirty inches long. And that’s exactly how we did it. They set up a camera in front of it and took an outstanding picture of it at a very high dpi. And my copy is better than the original. When we return, what are we going to talk about, Tom?
Tom: Let’s do some more emails.
Fisher: All right, coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 202
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: We are back! It’s our final segment of Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth on America’s Family History Show. And we’re talking preservation with Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. And you had one last thought on Mike’s email from our last segment, Tom, and what was that?
Tom: Yeah, right. During the commercials when we were talking a little bit about this, make sure when you go to a professional photographer, make sure he shoots it at all different kinds of settings. Do the RAW, do a TIFF, do jpegs. Do everything you can, as big as you can. Even if right now you can’t use a RAW file, you don’t know how to deal with it, that’s fine. You want to get that, because any professional editor such as ourselves, we would want to start with a RAW picture. And we could go in and make this thing just like the day it was taken. In fact, like you said, the firemen, make it actually better than the photo ever was.
Fisher: Yeah. I was actually able to go in and take out discolorations. There were even letters that were completely ruined by discolorations, but I took letters from other parts of the name key and just replaced them with those. And it came out just gorgeous. And I’d rather have the one I have, than the original I copied it from.
Tom: Oh absolutely. This is one of the kinds of things that you can actually make a better duplicate than the original was. If you can afford it, have the guy shoot some film also, because film has a special touch to it that regular digital doesn’t. If they have like a large Hasselblad, a large format picture, it’s going to cost a lot more money. But something like that, having a good two and a quarter square negative of something like this, you want to make this so beautiful. Knock yourself out! If you just want to get it restored as little as possible, then just go the digital route. But something like this, if it was mine, I’d spend a little money and get it done right.
Fisher: Alright. Now here’s another email. This is from somebody else named Tom. And he says, “I have a photo 1919 vintage and a digital file of two World War I ancestors that I’d like to get made into high quality prints for framing. You mention on the show to use high definition scanners, but no one around here seems to know what I’m asking for! Can you give me more specific info to take to a photo shop or sign maker shop?”
Tom: Well Tom, Amazon has some really crappy scanners and some really good scanners. There’s an Epson on the site right now. I can’t recall the number. You can call me or write to me again and I can be in my office and write it down for you. And it retails for about two grand and it is an amazing scanner! You can do negatives; you can do photos. I used to use Canons a lot, but Canons kind of got a little bit away from their professional and more into like prosumer and consumer. And I love my old Canons, but this new Epson is just absolutely incredible. So give me a call or send me another email or get me at @AskTomP on Twitter and then I can get back to you immediately and tell you what the model number is. And other followers will be able to see it, too.
Fisher: Now wait a minute! Nobody’s going to be able to afford something that expensive. How would they manage that?
Tom: Get together with your family. Have everybody go in on it. A lot of times, I’ve seen people get something like this: spend two grand or even a less expensive one for a grand, they go and scan all their stuff, they get everything done, then they turn around and sell it on eBay. So if you pay, say two grand for it, you should be able to easily get $1500, $1800 for it, and so it costs you a couple of hundred dollars, but that’s nothing to be able to scan all your stuff! So that’s one thing you can always do, look for used ones. This is too new to probably find a used one, but look on eBay. But get a good quality scanner and then turn around and sell it on eBay. Because people are looking for stuff and, “Oh, I can save $250 by buying a used one that they said, you know, grandma just drove to church on Sunday and they’ll be able to buy it from you.”
Tom: So it costs you $250 for a $2000 scanner to use it for a week.
Fisher: Boy that’s good thinking! Very smart. All right, you can email Tom at AskTom@TMCPlace.com or you can tweet him as he mentioned @AskTomP. All right Tom, good to see you again. Back on the road in a week or so, right?
Tom: Oh absolutely! We’re getting all ready to go back and hang out in David’s territory.
Fisher: Alright. Talk to you again next week.
Tom: My pleasure.
Fisher: Hey, that wraps it up for this week. Thanks for joining us. Hey, just a reminder by the way, when you sign up for our Weekly Genie newsletter this month, if you’re on our list of subscribers by the end of the month, you’re eligible for a drawing we’re going to do for Heritage Collector software. This is very special stuff that will help you actually tag people in your photographs! It’s really useful and you’ve heard Tom talk about it in the past. So you can sign up at ExtremeGenes.com or on our Facebook page. Hey by the way, if you missed any of the show, of course don’t forget to catch up on the podcast at ExtremeGenes.com, iTunes, iHeart Radio, or TuneIn Radio. Talk to you again next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family!
The Old Testament tells about the people of Canaan and how the Israelites were commanded by God to destroy them. Well clearly, not all were destroyed. Who are they today? DNA has given us the answer.
Do you have ancestors from Medieval London? Read this incredible story of how some of their lives may have ended.
It took years of research, but a Massachusetts man finally was able to identify the burial site of his ancestor Revolutionary. This past weekend, it was rededicated.