Episode 86 - Listener Discovers Her Titanic Connection / The Ideal Mother's Day Gift At A Discount!

podcast episode May 11, 2015

Fisher opens the show with more family history memorabilia discovered on eBay.  The 1887 ribbons of the Veteran Firemen's Association, a group to which his great-grandfather belonged, have arrived, and now he has found DVDs of old movies from the 1940s in which his mother appeared an an extra!  Fisher also answers a listeners question about doing DNA tests on bits of hair left between the pages of a family Bible.  Can it be done?  Fisher has the answer!  In Family Histoire News, Fisher informs us that the 1977 mini-series "Roots" may be making a comeback in a whole new form.  Also, Springfield, Illinois has honored hometown hero Abraham Lincoln with a recreation of his funeral, featuring pallbearers who are descendants of the originals!
Then, Jill Kirby, a native of Southampton, England, shares with us what she has learned about her great uncle, a crewman on the Titanic!  Alfred Albert White survived the disaster, but not by taking the place of a passenger.  Hear his remarkable tale of survival.
Nick Baum, creator of Storyworth.com, visits the show.  If you don't know about this, Fisher strongly recommends you look into it.  Nick's product is the ideal Mother's Day Gift, and he's offering a 20% discount for Extreme Genes listeners only... and yes it does apply after Mother's Day!  Here's the link to get it:  Storyworth.com/promo/extreme.  
Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority returns, with news about Cinematize, the important software for editing your home videos.  He'll also share some important advice about preserving your old audio tapes.
That's all this week on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show!

Transcript of Episode 86

Host: Scott Fisher

Segment 1 Episode 86

Fisher: Greetings, genies and welcome to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. The show, where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth. You know, I’m coming to realize, there’s so much going on in family history, and we probably need to do six produced hours of the show a week. But, my wife Julie says, the lawn needs to be mowed at some point, so we’ll have to put a hold on that. Last week, I told you about picking up two ribbons from 1887 related to the excursion of the New York City veteran fireman, to and from San Francisco. They were given to the 104 travels, which included my great grandfather, by other veteran fireman organizations along the way. One ribbon was from Omaha and the other was from Kansas City. You can see them on our Facebook page, that’s Facebook.com/ExtremeGenes. They’re going to look great in a shadow box. Well, this week I found some DVD’s of some obscure movies from the 40s, one of which starred Humphrey Bogart. Well, my mother was a big actress in Hollywood back then, and I found a newspaper clipping recently, among her effects, that listed all the movies she had been in up to that point. Only a few movies are available at all now. So it’s exciting to know, I’ll be able to see her in a few scenes, I’ve never been able to watch before. I’ve been able to determine she was in about eight or nine movies before she moved in to radio. Her movie career was so huge, I can sum up all the lines I ever heard her utter on the big screen -- “Whistles” and “Oh Cookie.” Needless to say, she was never invited to attend the academy awards with the cool kids of Hollywood. 

Still, it’s fun to have these and add them to the family archives, and yes, eBay again. The two cost me a total of $8.50. On this week’s show, our first guest is a woman whose family history takes her family back to a certain ship that made headlines when it sank in 1912. This is what makes family history so outrageously interesting. Jill Kirby will be on to talk about what she’s learned and what happened to her relative, that faithful night, on April, 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic. That’s in about six minutes. Then later in the show, we’ll talk to the creator of the new product that was voted number one at Roots Tech this past February.  It’s a product that makes it easy for you and the seniors in your family to capture their stories. We’ll talk to Nick Baum of StoryWorth.com and find out about the latest improvements. I like this product a lot, and yes -- they are a sponsor on the show and I couldn’t be happier to have them. With Mother’s Day going on, you might find “StoryWorth” to be an ideal gift and for everyone else in the family. Then, of course, Tom Perry returns. He is our Preservation Authority, with the latest on the cinematized software saga, and the psychology of getting your family to actually use what you preserve. Well, a few days ago a listener, Mary Ash Baker of Vancouver Washington, asked a question that I’d been thinking about myself. Recently she discovered, in an 18th century bible, belonging to her fifth great grandfather, an English sea captain, a lock of hair. She was wondering if there was a best way to test it for DNA and possibly determine whose hair it once was, or how the person was related to her. Well, only the week before, I’d come across some hair, from the19th century bible from my wife’s side of the family. So Mary’s question led me to reach out to my friend Doctor Scott Woodward, a true pioneer in family history DNA, and he texted me the following, “Hair is usually a good source of DNA, but only if there are roots. Usually, hair kept in a bible has been cut rather than pulled and doesn’t have any roots, so not a good source. Any DNA recovered from that sample would probably be a contaminant from someone that has handled it. So there’s your answer Mary, and yes, I’m disappointed too. It sounded like it could have been another fun adventure. 

It is time, once again, for your family histoire news from the pages of ExtremeGenes.com. Well, some of you will like this and maybe some of you won’t. The Hollywood reporter says that the miniseries “Roots” by Alex Haley, will be redone and ready for viewing in 2016. The original 1977 version of the show is still ranked way up there as an all time miniseries. The new version will air on ANE, History Channel, and Lifetime, all three sister stations. Levar Burton will be co-producer on this project, though nothing has been reported about the possibility of him returning to be a part of the cast. Of course, he was the star of the ‘77 version. It will again be a miniseries running a total of eight hours and will hit the air sometime next year. The original series was nominated for thirty seven Emmy Awards, with victories in nine categories. The three channels will collaborate with historians who cover African and African American history to assure accuracy. More material from Alex Harley’s Roots, the saga of an American family, will be the basis of next year’s miniseries. The first one was so brilliant you have to think they’re taking quite a risk to roll it out a second time. We’ll see how it’s received.

Springfield, Illinois has honoured their native son, Abraham Lincoln, by recreating his funeral procession’s final leg. Well, Lincoln had fourteen pall bearers at his 1865 funeral. Six descendents of those original fourteen came back to Springfield to participate in this 150th anniversary experience. The youngest was William Paulsen, age eleven from Minneapolis who said, “I’m learning more about history here, than I ever would at school.” William is a descendent of Stephen Trigg Logan. William witnessed the casket taken from the train and followed the hearse through the numerous re-enactors of civilians and military people. William’s mother’s line is where the family connection comes in. Only recently did the family learn about Logan’s tie to the Lincoln funeral. A Lincoln funeral coalition for 2015 found William Paulsen and his family through Ancestry.com and they were more than excited about the invitation. Most of the re-enactors saw their participation as a way to teach their children of the significance of Lincoln and his contribution to our nation’s history. If you would like to read more about this and other stories, be sure to check out our website ExtremeGenes.com. and coming up next, how would you like to dig in to your lines and discover that you had a relative on the Titanic? That’s what Jill Kirby has in her family. We’ll talk to her about her great uncle, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com  

Segment 2 Episode 86

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Jill Kirby

Fisher: Welcome to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth. Always looking for ordinary people, with extraordinary finds and extraordinary stories, and boy--- do we have one right now. Jill Kirby is on the line. Hi Jill, how are you? Welcome to the show.

Jill: I’m just fine, thank you.

Fisher: How long have you been researching?

Jill: Oh, probably about 25-30 years, since I joined the LDS church.

Fisher: So tell me -- you grew up with an interesting story in your family, no doubt something you wanted to find out more about. Let’s get into that. What was that story and how did you first hear about it?

Jill: Well, this is the story of my grandmother’s brother, Alfred Albert White, and he was born in Southampton, Hampshire, which is where I was born. He was born on March the 25th 1880. My father would say,” You know, my uncle Alfred was on the Titanic”. I was fascinated by the story and started researching everything about him.

Fisher: What did you learn, and how did you go about the research?

Jill: It was actually not talked about in Southampton, because so many people, over 500 people from Southampton died on the Titanic. He happened to be crew and he survived, and little really was known about him, so I found out that he had actually been on the Oceanic. He was a merchant seaman, and he was on the Oceanic, which was another ship that was docked in Southampton in 1912. About three or four days before the Titanic sailed, there was a big coal strike going on in Southampton, and I think what happened was they switched the crew from the Oceanic onto the Titanic, and my great uncle, Alfred Albert White, was one of those crew members. He was transferred over to the Titanic, because of the cold strike, I suspect, I’m not sure, that the coal was probably put onto the Titanic because it was such a hyped up ship and it was the biggest ship in the world.

Fisher: Of the age, yes, and of course, it was the maiden voyage.

Jill: It was the maiden voyage, it was unsinkable, and so he ended up as a crew member on the Titanic.

Fisher: Wow! What was his role on the Titanic as a member of the crew? Do you know?

Jill: Well, there’s varying things. He’s listed as an electrician, he’s listed as a greaser, but he worked in the engine room of the Titanic.

Fisher: Oh, wow! Not a good place to be.

Jill: Yeah, and as they set out, he was actually on duty on the night of April the 11th. He was on watch, with his mate, with his lantern, when they hit the iceberg. There are a lot of varying reports of the things that happened. I found, as I researched a lot of books, every story was different and you don’t know how true everything is.

Fisher: Yes, there are lots of twists and turns, right. Yes.

Jill: So, he was on watch when they hit the “berg”, as they call it. As it hit, he was sent to inspect the side of the ship with his lantern, along with his mate, and they reported that there was no visible sign of damage above the waterline. So he made his way back down to the engine room and he reported that everything was going on as normal.

Fisher: Yes.

Jill: Essentially, everybody on it was unsinkable, then he went back down to the engine room, and it wasn’t until 1956 that this whole story came to light, when they were making the film “A Night to Remember.” How he survived, it is quite remarkable, and they do mention him by name in the film, they mention about the crew of the Titanic also.

Fisher: Ah!

Jill: So he went back down to the engine room, and he was in charge of the lighting and things like that in the engine room. How he managed to survive, was that the one in charge down there turned to him, and asked him to go up and see what was going on. So he made his way up through the dummy funnel. There are four funnels on the Titanic, and the one at the back of the ship will be the… [Laughs] I’m not too good on the different terms.

Fisher: No, I don’t think most of us are. He got up there somehow.

Jill: It was a dummy funnel that the crew used for going up and down the different levels of the ship.

Fisher: Okay.

Jill: That’s how they got up to do their work, you know, on the decks. So he made his way up through the dummy funnel because he was asked to go up by the man in charge. It says here, “In 1956” (I’m just reading a little bit that was written by Charles Pellegrino) “Historians overlooked Alfred White. Indeed, aside from providing some background for brief engine room scenes in the film version of A Night to Remember, the White account never made the final cut. Primarily because historians universally doubted, until it was discovered in 1985, that the Titanic actually broke in two (as Alfred White insisted that she had), and because even if believed, scenes of White’s remarkable escape as the ship’s spine disintegrated beneath him and he rode the fourth smokestack into the sea would have been a prohibitively expensive special effect in 1956.”

Fisher: [Laughs] Wow!

Jill: Now, it’s highly likely, because he did go up through the dummy funnel, the fourth smokestack, and it says that the Titanic “yawned open underneath him”. In other words, it split in two under him and it was never believed, until they actually found the Titanic and could see that it had broken in two.

Fisher: That’s unbelievable.

Jill: His story was filed away, largely forgotten until Walter Lord and Pellegrino, who did this article, began in about 1991 preparing to join the Tulloch expeditions to the Titanic. He actually had a letter that showed up on his desk, written by Alfred White, to the family of one of his mates that was with him in the engine room, to let them know that he was there and he did die on the ship. He talked about how he had been with him, and that he was his friend, and how he lost him. It was written two months after the Titanic, when he got back to Southampton, because he was quite badly injured.

Fisher: Now, do you have some of these letters?

Jill: Oh yeah, I’ve got loads of information on it.

Fisher: But I mean, some of the stuff, some of his original material relating to the sinking?

Jill: Yeah, I did actually go to the national museum in Greenwich, in London, where they actually had a transcription of his actual letter. I was disappointed. I thought it would be the actual letter.

Fisher: Right.

Jill: But it was a transcription that was transcribed in 1956. So, the original is out there somewhere, but this is a transcription that I did copy. It is printed in a number of books that he wrote and I think, having not died, more would have come out about it, because the White family, lived into their 90s. His wife lived into her 90s. She didn’t die until 1965. I was a child. I probably met her, actually, because my dad was close to his family in Southampton. They were all Southamptons going back many generations. But anyway back to the story; he actually got up to the top and he realised how terrible and how awful it was, and how the second funnel was already under the water and it was sinking fast. There was no way that he could go back to report. All the lifeboats were gone. This was about ten minutes past two in the morning and, so, the likelihood that he rode off on the fourth smokestack could possibly be correct. Do I know for sure? No I don’t. But he did end up in the ocean. There were no lifeboats and he was injured because there were these inflatables and they were hitting him about the head to keep him out, not because they wanted him to die but because if he’d gotten in maybe all of them would have died. So it was basically every man for himself. He was pulled into lifeboat four, which was the one with Lady Astor and I believe there were three crewmen. I know he was the only one that lived.

Fisher: Jill how has this affected your life, knowing that you have this connection to the Titanic.

Jill: Well, actually, it adds colour to your life more to find somebody on the family tree that has a fascinating story. You know, my father would never have done anything about it, no pride in them and I love family history, but it was just fascinating and very interesting. I go to Southampton often. I’ve been there this summer and I found his grave in the old city cemetery where a number of Titanic survivors are buried. In fact, Alfred Albert White was a witness on my grandparents’ wedding in 1911 -- I believe, or 1910. So he was a witness at the wedding, and his actual wedding was in 1902. My grandmother and her younger sister were actually part of the wedding party. So I do have pictures.

Fisher: Wow.

Jill: So, it makes it more colourful when I go to Southampton. Southampton does very little about capitalising on it, because so many people in Southampton were left destitute. There was no money coming in because they had lost their fathers, their brothers, their nephews. Everybody died on the Titanic.

Fisher: Real quick, Jill, was there a survivors’ guilt for crew members and were they shunned, do you think, in Southampton?

Jill: No, I don’t. I never found any evidence of that. I do not think he was, because I think it was quite miraculous. I’m sure he did feel guilt. But his was a very legitimate survival and it was miraculous that he lived in the icy water and, so it really was a great miracle. And as I said, he was following orders. The people that were with him in the engine room weren’t following orders. He lived and they died and, you know, he could have died just as easily had he not been sent up to see what was going on.

Fisher: That’s right.

Jill: So it was absolutely a fluke that he lived and all his friends died. It is a remarkable story and I’m hoping to put it into a book to take to the new Titanic museum in Southampton and also, for the family members. I have become acquainted with them because of this. I’ve got all the background details, his birth, and going through the census records onto the Oceanic and the Titanic and they don’t know that when the Titanic sank their pay stopped.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Jill:  So you can see on the list, at 20 past 2 in the morning, and how much money they would have collected, but that they weren’t there.

Fisher: Unbelievable.

Jill: Fired from their jobs because it was no longer there.

Fisher: Jill Kirby, what an incredible story. Thank you so much for sharing it, and I can only imagine what that’s like to have that in your family history. And I imagine it’s going to affect generations to come.

Jill: Yeah. That’s why I need to put it into a little book form.

Fisher: There you go. Well, thanks for coming on! Appreciate it.

Jill: Oh, you’re most welcome. Thank you for asking me!

Fisher: Oh, and by the way, what Jill didn’t mention was that her great uncle was actually sunk by a torpedo in World War I and survived that as well. Now coming up next, we’re going to talk to Nick Baum from StoryWorth.com, the ideal Mother’s Day Gift. It’s coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!

Segment 3 Episode 86

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Nick Baum

Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and I will tell you that at RootsTech, as we were looking at all kinds of new products that were coming out, I don't think anything made anybody more excited than this, “StoryWorth.com.” And I got to meet its inventor, we've become good friends, Nick Baum is on the phone with us right now. Nick, how are you?

Nick: Great. It's good to talk to you again. I'm glad we finally got a chance to meet in person at RootsTech.

Fisher: Well, you know, Nick's project kind of began around the time as mine. We're watching our growth kind of parallel, and you guys ran away with the best new product for family history at RootsTech, and there was such a good reason for it. I'll let you explain exactly how it works, Nick.

Nick: Great. So StoryWorth is really the easiest way to record your family's stories. The idea is, if you're into genealogy you can get your whole family involved telling stories about their life, and really collect these stories from all family members. The way we make it this easy is we do it all over email and over the phone. So if your relatives aren't super tech savvy or you don't have a lot of time to spend on it, we make it super, super easy for them. You sign your relatives up, each week we send them one question about their life, things like, and “What is your favorite memory of your grandmother?” Or, “Tell me about the day you got engaged.” And all they have to do is reply with a story.

Fisher: Yeah. One story, once a week, and in a year you've got 52 stories, which is unbelievable.

Nick: Right. People are often surprised. We offer printed books now and when they order the book we say, “Well, you have 237 pages.”

Fisher: [Laughs]

Nick: They can't believe they've written 237 pages in a year.

Fisher: Exactly. And it's done so easily. What I like about it is that so many seniors, and those are the people we really need to get to first, they are often really struggling when it comes to computers and that type of thing. You even have a phone version. Tell us how that one works.

Nick: So, again, we try to keep it as simple as possible. So for the phone version, you really just have to call in to our phone number once a week and it asks you to record the story just like you would record a voice note. So the nice thing is it that it works with any phone, it doesn't have to be a smart phone, it even can be a landline. If they have a cell phone, we'll also send them the question by SMS, and if they have an email address they can start the call directly from the email we send them. But at the simplest level it's really just call in and we'll ask you the question and just record the story. And we save the recording, we email it to your family, and now we also offer transcription. So if you want to get that recording transcribed and have the text of it, we can do that as well.

Fisher: Is that all automated, Nick?

Nick: It's all automated, yes. For the transcription, we actually work with real humans, right? So automatic transcription isn't quite up to par, but for you, it just requires a click of a button and then we handle finding the person to transcribe it and sending it back to you.

Fisher: Isn't that incredible? And I can only imagine the gems, the treasures that have come from this already. You've only been around, what, 2 or 3 years?

Nick: Yeah. We're a little over 2 years old right now, so we're just starting out, but we feel very lucky that we're getting so many people interested in family history by making it easy.

Fisher: Give us some of the feedback that you've got and a couple of stories that have come back.

Nick: Sure. So, one of the things that I've been really happy to see is that people use it for such a wide range of times in their life. So, recently we worked with one customer who was preparing a gift for her mother's birthday, and so she collected stories about her mother from all of her mother's friends and she compiled those into a book, which I thought, was a really lovely thought and a really lovely gift.

Fisher: Sweet.

Nick: On the other end, a very touching moment for me was when I got a phone call, just last week, from a customer whose mother sadly passed away, and as you know, it is never a fun call to get, but she was calling to thank us because she has a full collection of stories from her mother that she told me she would never have gotten otherwise. Her mother really opened up to her through this medium, and she spontaneously called just to express her gratitude. So often we don't think to have these conversations until it can be too late, and I feel very lucky that we can make that happen and get so easy.

Fisher: Yeah, isn't that a great thing to do! You create a product that serves so many people in such a great way. That's a great business to have and we bring this up, of course... and I wanted to talk to you because Mother's Day is just around the corner. I was thinking, "What would be a great thing for Mother's Day?" I can't imagine anything better than StoryWorth.

Nick: That's true, and we actually do get a lot of sign ups around Mother's Day. It does make for a good gift. The way you do it is this---if you go to our website, and because you've been such a supporter of our product,  I wanted give something back to your listeners, I've set up a promo code and it's “StoryWorth.com/Extreme.” If you sign up at that link you will get 20% off your subscription and then you can invite your mother, set up some questions and then she can basically start recording her stories for the year to come. At the end of the year, if you have a good collection of stories, then you can go ahead and order the books and get a physical copy of them.

Fisher: It's just a phenomenal thing because people are always struggling to find the time and ask the right questions. Well, let's talk about that a little bit. How do you pick the questions? Or can the customer pick the questions? Explain that to us.

Nick: That's a great question. So we have hundreds of questions that you can choose from, and we try to spend all different times of your life, whether it's childhood or work or love or travel. By default we'll select some suggestions, but you have full control over which questions get sent out, so you can change them, you can remove some, you can add others, and of course you can write your own. I really encourage people to do that because the best stories are the ones that come from the most personal questions. One way we make sure that always the good questions are getting sent out is that we'll actually send our customers the questions that we're going to send their relatives ahead of time. So every Friday we say, "Hey, on Monday we're going to send out these questions. Do you want to change any of them?"

Fisher: That's a great way to go. Okay, so on Fridays you send that out, then on Monday they get the question and then they have pretty much what -- a week to get it done?

Nick: Exactly usually we send them out once a week and we find that that's a good manageable schedule. Of course then some people batch them up they’ll save a couple and do them on the weekend and catch up.

Fisher: Now, in the books, that you've put together, you've probably read a few stories that touched your heart a little bit, Nick. What have you seen?

Nick: One of the things that I should point out is that we actually don't read the stories. We are very, very serious about privacy, and so we want people to feel comfortable sharing their personal stories with only their family members. We never look at the stories. So, one of the things we've been doing for Mother's Day is reaching out to customers and asking them if they would like to share a story about their mother for our community, and so we've been posting those on our blog. One that I particularly like is a customer's mother who was actually working during World War II in a garment factory creating garments for the military, and so she has the story about real kind of Rosie the Riveter moments.

Fisher: Right.

Nick: It's actually been really fun. Our community lead, Hope, has been collecting these stories and it's just amazing to hear the incredible women and how inspiring they are.

Fisher: You know, you're right, we have lost so many World War II people now and men and women from that era. And I liked what you mentioned earlier too, you can recapture stories of your people simply by getting in touch with friends or great aunts and uncles and they can fill in a lot of holes for you through this.

Nick: That’s right, Scott. So on that topic I actually have a bit of a personal anecdote which is that my wife's father sadly passed away when she was college, and of course, my wife was one of the earliest StoryWorth users and she found out her aunt, (her father's sister) had been getting a lot of stories about his life and their life growing up together that she would never have gotten otherwise, that she just wouldn't have thought to ask about them. She's getting these very rich stories about her father, even though he passed he passed away 13 years ago. So yes, inviting siblings, inviting friends is a great way to learn.

Fisher: So, once again just for people to understand, you save the voices of these people as they tell the stories, right?

Nick: We save the audio recordings. If you attach pictures when you write an email story, we save the photos. And then of course when you send the email then we save the text. So, really, everything you send us we save for you, to safeguard.

Fisher: Six family members under 80 bucks in an entire year. Unbelievable! What a great service.

Nick: And again, you get 20% off if you sign up at StoryWorth.com/Extreme.

Fisher: That's right. Just in time for Mother's Day. Nick, great stuff, great product, great invention! You know, it's always exciting to meet people with new ideas on how to preserve our family history. In my mind, you've got the killer of them all, it's “StoryWorth.com.” You can get the special discount at StoryWorth.com forward slash Extreme. Thanks so much for joining us.

Nick: Always great to talk.

Segment 4 Episode 86

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com It is Fisher here with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. He is our Preservation Authority. Tommy, good to see you again!

Tom: Good to see you. I am SO excited for today's show!

Fisher: Really?

Tom: Really!

Fisher: Big news?

Tom: Oh, HUGE news!

Fisher: A couple of weeks ago, we were talking about this Cinematize, This is like THE software for editing videos, and maybe digitized old home movies and everything. You were horrified to hear that they may be going out of business or something was going on, because they weren't on the market anymore. Your usual supplier had gone dry. What have you found out?

Tom: I am cautiously thrilled. What’s has happened is, they actually called me back to talk about what was going on.

Fisher: Wow! You couldn't get a call back a few weeks ago.

Tom: I know. But they finally called me back, the guy that's basically running the operation now. What has happened is a larger company which we're not at liberty to disclose right now actually bought out Cinematize, or they bought out Miraizon and said, "You need to close your store. We don't want you selling Cinematize anymore." The unique thing about it is this company is not interested in Cinematize itself. It wants the technology that Miraizon actually owns the patents for. So they're going to take this technology, develop it into something else which I don't even know what they is. However, they can't sell Cinematize anymore as that company.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: They're not interested in it. So I was talking to him and say, "Well, what's the possibility of licensing it from you?" And they go, "Well, that's a great possibility. We can do that. We just can't manufacture it ourselves."

Fisher: Are you telling me you could become Cinematize?

Tom: We could actually become the distributor.

Fisher: Wait a minute! Maybe you and I need to have a little conversation here!

Tom: We do!

Fisher: Well, that's incredible! Are you going to pursue this?

Tom: Oh yeah-- absolutely! This software is so important, it can't go away. Just like a few weeks ago, you talked about newspapers and how obituaries are incredible things for finding out genealogy. When I was listening to that episode, I was thinking, "This is exactly what happened with my dad."' We found out in his fifties that he was adopted. We didn't know that.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: And the way we found out who his family is, and we found a brother, and through his obituary, we read all these people, brothers, sisters nieces, nephews, and started contacting these people which we never would have got without obituaries. If somebody bought newspapers and said, "Hey, I don't have newspapers around anymore." like if Rupert Murdoch went away or something.

Fisher: Right!

Tom: We wouldn't have access to these things and so there'd be all these brick walls that you've taught people how to get through, a whole bunch more brick walls would go up.

Fisher: So, Cinematize is THAT important.

Tom: Oh, it is! It is! The neat thing about Cinematize, if you don't already have it, you need to get it. Try to find it on Amazon, find it on eBay, anything like that. You want to get a copy of it. What this allows you to do is so many people out there have old analog home movies where there's film or video or audio or whatever it is, and it’s in an analog state. You can't really edit it unless you've got really old school equipment. What you need to do is, get it digitized. Whether you bring it into one of our stores or somebody else, you need to get it in a DVD or a CD or a hard drive or some kind of format that it’s going to be preserved. And usually the easiest most inexpensive way is CDs, DVDs, and even now BluRay disks. So now once you have this digitized, you'll be able to take hours and hours and hours of talking or movies or VHS tapes or whatever, get them on your computer, and then Cinematize will allow you to go in to say a two hour VHS, and there might be a DVD you want to make for Mattie. And so what you do is, you go and clip out all the pieces about Mattie, and put them on a DVD so she has her own. And in the upcoming segment, we'll go into a little bit more detail and teach you how to make DVDs that people are going to actually want to watch.

Fisher: Oh that's important. Yes, the psychology of preservation.

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: When we return in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 86

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: All right, we're back for our final segment of Extreme Genes for this week. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, and talking about the psychology of preservation. Actually creating a product that your descendants will actually want to enjoy and use.

Tom: Like we were talking in the previous segment, with Cinematize, you can take these DVDs that you've created now and you have a two hour DVD and you want to have dozens of them. We have people that bring in sometimes a hundred VHS tapes and have them all transferred to DVDs. And now you've got you know, 200 hours of stuff. Nobody is going to sit down and watch 200 hours.

Fisher: That is absolutely true. You actually digitized my old home movies from the 50s and 60s, it was actually my parents and I've looked through it and it’s really fun. But the idea of making it usable is very appealing to me because I really have no idea where to find to find the good stuff over those two hours of scanning that you've done.

Tom: Right. A lot of people see this. They see this big, huge mountain in front of them and think, "I can't get over this!" so they just forget it and go away. And that's not what you want to do. Just start with small things. Set up you know, like they call "short term goals". If you want to setup something for grandma and grandpa because they're probably getting a little bit older. So what you do is, you go through these DVDs and find the segments that have grandma and grandpa, whether they went with you to Disneyland or you had a family reunion that they're in, things that are important to them. Go through these DVDs and find out what parts you want. Now the best way to view a DVD is super simple, and most people don't even know that the remote will do it. Put it in a standard DVD player and click on the button that's called "display", it might say "dsp" or have the word "display" put out. And what it does is it shows you the time code in the corner. It tells you that there's like five chapters and you're in chapter one of five and that you're at five minutes and thirty two seconds into the clip. And just get out a ledger pad, or if you have a laptop or a little computer and just type down notes and say, "Okay, this is this. This is this. This is this." You're making an index of all your records, and it’s a fun thing to do because you're going to see stuff that you don't even remember shooting.

Fisher: So, even if you don't go through and do the full edit job in a nice production package which might be over some people's heads, this would be a nice way to at least make this mass, bulk digitized product usable.

Tom: Oh absolutely and you can use, if you're a PC user or a Mac user, you can Excel, you can use Word, there's so many different products that you can go out and use. And the neat thing about Excel is if you put the time, say, “Okay, chapter one of five, five minutes and fourteen seconds, this is here.” then you put it as an Excel file, then you can sort it. “So the main character in this is grandma and grandpa. The main character in this is Bonny. The main character in this one is David.” And so, then you can take these DVDs, make copies or put them up in the cloud, however, you want to do them. Distribute them to your family and they can go through this Excel sheet and format it any way they want to.

Fisher: Yeah. Maybe there's a younger member of your family if you struggle with technology, who could actually turn this into something for you, having access to that material.

Tom: Right! You bet! If you have anybody that's in kindergarten, they're more than happy I'm sure to do it for you.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Because with these kids, it's amazing, the technology they understand!

Fisher: It is true.

Tom: By going through this, they do a sort and so they can see, “Okay, in chapter five of sixteen at five minutes and fourteen seconds, this is our trip to Disneyland. I want to relive this.” They'll go and watch that point. But they're not going to go through ten DVDs, twenty hours and find stuff and so that way at least, you're getting it out. They can start doing stuff. You'll find maybe they have a neighbor or a son or a daughter or somebody that's going to actually go in and want to do the editing. You've kind of got them indoctrinated into it, then you can take your next step and then you can start doing the same thing with yours, going through and say, "Hey, I want to put together a little thing for grandma and grandpa, here's these twenty DVDs." With Cinematize, you can rip out a five minute segment, a two minute segment, and a one minute segment, whatever you want. So you're compiling these all down to a small DVD. So when you're done, you might have a thirty minute program which anybody is going to sit down and watch and enjoy. And that makes it so much easier. And if you have any more questions about Cinematize and how this is going, just send me a question, [email protected], and I'll try to answer your question just as soon as possible and possibly even on the air.

Fisher: Real quick, Cinematize works with both PC and Mac?

Tom: Yes, it does!

Fisher: All right, great stuff. Thanks, Tom!

Tom: Glad to be here.

Fisher: That wraps it up for this week. Thanks once again to Jill Kirby, talking to us about her great uncle who was on the Titanic, and to Nick Baum, the creator of StoryWorth.com, talking about a great Mother’s Day Gift. We'll talk to you again next week. Have a great one! And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family.


Subscribe now to find out why hundreds of thousands of family researchers listen to Extreme Genes every week!

Email me new episodes