Episode 123 - Salem Execution Site Part II: Professor On How Site Was Confirmed

podcast episode Jan 25, 2016

Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, lamenting a recent study showing one in ten young college grads believe Judge Judy sits on the Supreme Court. But that's just the beginning!  Hear what else they believe.  Then, David talks about how Indian burial mounds in the midwest may soon be leveled to make room for development!  Hear where this could happen and who's behind it.  Plus, 28,000 New England church records from 1641 to the mid-1800s are soon to be digitized.  David shares the details.  Plus... got a criminal relative back there?  David tells you one way you might be able to own his or her mug shot! David also has another tech tip, and the free database from NEHGS.

Then, Fisher visits with Professor Emerson Baker of Salem State University, one of a committee of seven who recently confirmed the location of the execution site of the victims of the Salem witch trials.  Learn the techniques they used to survey the area and how they all settled on one particular spot now found in a lovely residential neighborhood.  Also, how will this area now be treated by the town, and how and should visitors get to the site?  You won't want to miss this segment.

Stan Lindaas returns to the show next, from HeritageConsulting.com, to talk with Fisher about terms you'll find in old records that don't mean what you might think they mean.  Fisher gets quizzed. Listen to how he does.

Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com wraps up the last two segments of the show discussing the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and what wowy new technology is going to benefit the world of family history.  Tom's got the skinny!

That's all this week on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show!

Transcript of Episode 123

Host Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 123

Fisher: Hello Genies! And welcome to another spine tingling episode of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com

  It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out.

 I am excited! We’ve got some incredible guests today as usual; the first one is one of the guys we told you about last week who helped confirm the location of the execution site of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. He’s going to talk to us about how they figured this out, the lines of sight, the technology that was used, it’s fascinating stuff! You are not going to want to miss my visit with Emerson Baker of Salem State University, coming up in about eight or ten minutes.

 Then later in the show Stan Lindaas from HeritageConsulting.com is back. He’s going to talk about terms you are going to run across in your research that doesn’t necessarily mean what you think they mean. It’s fun stuff coming up, plus don’t forget we’ve got Roots Tech coming up just around the corner in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Hope you’re going to be there, I’m going to be there, I know David Allen Lambert from the New England Historic Genealogical Society is going to be there. We hope you’ll come by and say hello, and get ready for our cruise!  Our family history cruise at of Boston to Nova Scotia in September. We want to get you signed up for that, it’s on our Facebook page, all the information you need for that, right now.

Let’s go to Boston and find out what’s happening with David Allen Lambert the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org

 Hello David!

David: Greetings from Beantown, Fish, How are you?

Fisher: You know I am doing so well, I’ve already had so many amazing discoveries this year, for instance; I just recently found out that a third cousin to my dad had married a guy named William Deegan in New York City back at the beginning of the last century. It turns out that William Deegan was “Major Deegan,” Major William Deegan. The Major Deegan Express Way, that goes past Yankee Stadium?

David: Oh my goodness!

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Well I think as a New York baseball fan, you must appreciate that greatly.

Fisher: Yes I did appreciate that greatly. I thought that was kind of a strange find, but you know, every year has something new that’s kind of unique.

David: Just two days ago I found the adoption from my wife’s great, great grandfather from Quebec, never had found that before, and turns out they’re not French-Canadian after all.

Fisher: Whoa!

David: They’re Irish.

Fisher: Who knew! And you have been looking for what, thirty years?

David: About twenty five.

Fisher: Twenty five, not bad. That’s a great find! So this is something that’s disturbing me; There’s a story out about a study they did of college grads. Twenty five to thirty four years old, and it turns out that 10% of them believe that Judge Judy sits on the Supreme Court!

David: Oh yeah I saw the same story. I think it’s the same one that says that only 60% of the college students say that Thomas Jefferson actually was the father of the Constitution.

Fisher: No that was the Declaration.

David: And I think another statistic said something about 20% of the students couldn’t identify what the direct effect of the Emancipation Proclamation was.

Fisher: Ooh that’s a little disturbing.

David: I don’t think I have to poll the listeners, all our listeners know that that was the end of slavery.

Fisher: I know they all know that. You know this is another reason why you want to get your kids involved in family history, because once they begin to identify and understand their connection back to these times, history has a greater meaning to them, and things like this will not be lost to your kids.

David: We know. You mentioned things about getting lost, one of my first family histoire news stories for you is some sad and scary news out in Madison, Wisconsin, that all those earth and burial mounds of the Native Americans shaped like bears, deer, birds and people etc. are in jeopardy now.

Fisher: Really?

David: There’s actually a bill, Fish, that’s before the legislature, that actually may cause it to perhaps be built upon, they could be dug into, and pot hunters, which is a term we use in archaeology, I could go in there looking for burial remains and grave goods.  I would hate to think that 500 years from now, the colonial graveyards of our ancestors are going to be besieged by metal detectors or pot hunters!

Fisher: Wow!

David: It’s bad.

Fisher: It’s really not only a horrible thing for those affected, obviously the Native Americans, they’re Americans! First and foremost, what are these people thinking? I mean that’s insane.

David: It is… the first Americans. Well in the idea of preservation, I am happy to announce that NEHGS in conjunction with The Congregational Library, The Archives, The Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum and the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ, I received a grant of over 200, 000 dollars to help preserve and digitize 28,000 pages of church records, different diaries, and pastoral records dating from 1641 to the mid 1800’s. That’s exciting because a lot of vital records are available online, but a lot of the details of the church records of Colonial New England are not.

Fisher: Right and that really was the vital record archive of New England.    

David: It absolutely was, so hopefully there are some new discoveries waiting to be found in this 28,000 pages that are being worked on right now, so that’s exciting. You know sometimes your discoveries don’t have to be in archives, they can be on eBay. We all have a black sheep in the family and myself not excluded, and it’s scary to think that I can search for a particular relative on eBay for his or her mugshot.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: I have seen countless dozens upon dozens, from 19th century mugshots right down to ones that were taken in the ‘50s and ‘60s that were basically deacquisitioned from police departments like Scranton Pennsylvania. If any of the listeners have family from there and have a black sheep in the family, go on eBay, I’ve seen dozens of pictures right now.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: In technology there’s a company called ‘Live Stream’ that’s releasing this month something called ‘Movi’ and what it will do is, it’s a camera that you can shoot from multiple angles. So say for instance you have a family reunion and you want to catch all those cousins and the kids running around or get multiple people being interviewed at the same time, this little device for about 200 dollars or less will allow you to do that. That’s brought to you by Live Stream.

Of course NEHGS every week offers a free guest user database and this is the final week of our January release for the three big databases. We offer just to become a guest user of AmericanAncestors.org and that includes Massachusetts vital records of 1841 to 1910, New Hampshire vital records to 1937 and Vermont vital records from the earliest time right through 2008.  From NEHGS for our listeners and signing off from Beantown, see you in a couple of weeks at Roots Tech.

Fisher: All right. Thank you so much David! And coming up next; I’m going to talk to Professor Emerson Baker of Salem State University, about his contribution in identifying and confirming the location of the execution site of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials. That’s coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.  

Segment 2 Episode 123

Host Scott Fisher with guest Emerson Baker

Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com

It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, and of course, last week, we were talking with David Allen Lambert, from the New England Historic Genealogical Society about this amazing confirmation in Salem, Massachusetts, about the location of where accused witches were actually hung, and I'm very excited to have on the line with me right now, Emerson Baker. He’s a Professor at Salem State University. He's one of the people who was part of the team that made this confirmation. How are you, Professor?

Emerson: Good! Glad to be with you, Scott.

Fisher: I sure appreciate you coming on, and I know we have so many people who descend from some people, lots of individuals associated with the Salem Witch Trials. I know I'm one of them, David is one of them, perhaps you do too, but I run into them all the time.

People who descend from the accused, the accusers, the judges, the juries, it is just amazing how far reaching that particular incident is, and for you as a historian, this had to be quite a fun thing and exciting thing for you to be a part of. To finally confirm what has been known for some time, but you've actually added some new scientific leverage to it, to confirm where these people met their ends.

Emerson: I really wasn't prepared for how powerful it would be, the reaction we got from people. That we've had such an overwhelming and amazing response, in particular from descendants, and yes, you're right, I'm a descendant as well. I actually am a descendant of Roger Toothaker who died in prison. He never made it to the gallows actually. He died while awaiting trial.

Fisher: Were any men actually hung in this situation?

Emerson: Oh, yes absolutely! I believe actually like five, including of course, the most famous, Reverend George Burroughs.

Fisher: Yes.

Emerson: The ex-minister of Salem. So, in most cases of witchcraft including Salem, about eighty percent of the accused are women, so it really is kind of a female crime and Salem sticks right to that as well too, but you talked about how many descendants there are. You're so right. I wrote a book on the Witch Trials called, 'Storm of Witchcraft', and in it, I talk a little bit about the witch city and the whole phenomenon and why it's so well known today, and to me, one of the reasons I think it's so well known, is because there are so many descendants.

Fisher: Yes.

Emerson: I mean, if you think there were more than 150 accused, more than 200 accusing them, more than 200 defending them, more than fifty judges and juries and numerous other people involved. When I give a talk, I say, 'you know, if you don’t have any ancestors who were involved in the Salem Witch Trials, the person sitting next to you probably did'.

Fisher: Right. [Laughs]

Emerson: You know it really is our event, our tragedy, a national tragedy, not just Salem's, because, if you think about it, you know, you multiply those people and go out nine, ten, eleven generations, and that's a lot of descendants.

Fisher: So, as you went about this, obviously it's been known or at least strongly suspected for a long time that this area of Proctor's Ledge in Salem was the location. What did you have to do to confirm this conclusion from the past, and who came to that conclusion some time back?

Emerson: Right. Well, we were really working on the work of the great Salem historian of the early twentieth century, Sidney Perley who, in 1921, had written an article where he really felt that even though people had placed it, there had been a kind of a collective amnesia, I think, as they’ve forgotten where the execution site was, and Perley would read all the facts, all the documents, no direct evidence, but a lot of, just sort of hints as to where it might be, and he was pretty sure that it was Proctor's Ledge, which is actually on the lower part of Gallows Hill, and ironically, a few years later, in 1936, the city of Salem actually purchased a small piece of land there, specifically to build a memorial, but I think at the time, there were some people that were still hesitant about...who would rather bury this then remember it.

Fisher: Wow!

Emerson: And, nothing ever happened, and people continued to believe it's the top of Gallows Hill, it's this location as opposed to another, and we were brought together about five years ago, a team of us, of historians and scholars, to work with the city to see if we couldn't come up with the actual site, and that's what we've been working towards since late 2010.

Fisher: Now, you were on a committee of about seven, yes?

Emerson: Yes, and that include particularly where there were other historians who were expert in the Salem Witch Trials, Marilyn Rhodes, who's written extensively about this, several books, Benjamin Ray of the University of Virginia, myself, and the other important scholar we had working with us was my colleague in the Geology department in Salem State here, Professor Peter Sablock, who used some of his remote sensing techniques as well. So, it really was kind of a team effort, using not only the traditional histories and the documents, but some other new things that Perley couldn't have done.

Fisher: Well, tell us about that, some of the scientific things. What could you detect using modern equipment in that area of Proctor's Ledge?

Emerson: Well, the most important thing was the work done by View Shed analysis, GIS work, with aerial photography that was done by Benjamin Ray and his people working with him at the University of Virginia. View Shed analysis is, simply put, as you can take an aerial photograph and determine with topograph features and determine what lines of sight people have, and we were able to figure out.

We know there were several kind of distant eye witnesses to the witch executions, and knowing approximately where they were, we were able to determine through View Shed analysis what parts of Gallows Hill they could or could not see, and indeed, many people have placed the top of Gallows Hill as the location.

We didn't like that for a lot of reasons. I could get into it if you want, but the real clencher was the fact that, from where these people were standing, they could see the lower parts of Gallows Hill around Proctor's Ledge, but they could not see the much more distant top of Gallows Hill which really helped us pin down the location.

Fisher: So, do you think that was the one thing that really kind of, to use an expression, 'put it over the top'?

Emerson: Yes, it did, and I also think too, frankly, you know, Marilyn and Ben and I have studied the witch trials for many, many years, and for the three of us to all look at the documents which are now available online at the University of Virginia website, and to sort of, kind of independently arrive at that, and look at Perley's research and then compare our notes and argue it out.

That was important as well, and the other piece too that was really important of course, once we determined as a couple of years ago, we were pretty sure, frankly, as sure as we're ever going to be, we're never going to have that direct evidence, I don't think, but then, the next question we knew that people would logically ask is, "Well, what happened? Where are our ancestors who were the victims? What happened to the people?" So, that's where Peter and his Geology students came in and did what we call, 'Geo-archaeological Remote Sensing', Soil redistributing, and particularly ground-penetrating radar, going over the ground at Gallows Hill to see was there any evidence of human  remains that could lie buried on the hillside.

Fisher: Now, Gallows Hill is obviously misnamed, because you've concluded that there were no gallows involved, yes?

Emerson: There were no gallows involved, exactly, and in fact, actually Peter's research, the good news was, first off, there's really nothing that we could find on this piece of land. No evidence of any archeological features, no physical evidence of a gallows being constructed there, and in fact, actually there's very little dirt on Gallows Hill, no more than a foot or so, most of it if you've seen the pictures is, just sort of naked ledge.

Fisher: Sure.

Emerson: So, kind of a relief to us was that there really doesn't seem to be any evidence of any human remains on the property, and once we knew that, we knew we could really, responsible announce our findings. We didn't want anybody running to Gallows Hill with their shovels ready or anything like that.

Fisher: Oh! Oh! [Laughs] Yeah, that would be disturbing.

Emerson: This is Salem, Massachusetts, right?

Fisher: Right!

Emerson: I mean it's a different kind of place.

Fisher: Now, this is...

Emerson: I'm sorry, I kid about that a little bit, and I just met with a lot of the local tour guides this morning, and frankly, people here want to be very respectful and are very concerned about paying proper respect and not turning this into a tourist attraction, and that's what this is about. This is about marking a site and seeing that it's cared for. We don't want it lost again, but this is not another tourist dot on Salem's map. That's really important to all of us.

Fisher: Right, right. Now, well, first of all, it's a residential neighborhood now, is it not?

Emerson: Yes now see that is part of it. It's not just being respectful to the deceased or not. We want to get just a simple monument there but it's also literally in people's back yard. It's a postage stamp of a lot that's probably no more than about a quarter of an acre, and you're quite literally looking into about the back doors and windows of about a half-dozen homes.

Fisher: How do they feel about this?

Emerson: You know, it's interesting, some of them have known about it for a long time and have been very protective and are pleased about that. One of the fellows who's family have lived there for a couple of generations told me about proudly about how the day this big black limo pulled up and he was looking in the back window and see, Yoko Ono and then he said, "And that Beatle!"

Fisher: [Laughs]

Emerson: So, you know, they take great pride in that and they've kind of kept it safe, because they kind of knew that was the location, but some of the neighbors are genuinely concerned. It's a narrow one way street, they're really concerned about people parking there or coming in and disturbing the site.

So, we're trying to be respectful of them, and the city is working carefully with the neighbors and any other interested parties, including the descendants in planning for the site, seeing whatever kind of light and fencing we might need to safeguard the neighbors, to keep the parcel protected, but at the same time, to be able to plan a site that's respectful of the horrible even that happened here, and those brave nineteen people who refused to change their beliefs. It would have been so easy to say they were a witch and would have lived, because only the people who plead 'not guilty' were executed, but they refused to do that. So, this really is an important memorial to those people who were really Christian murders.

Fisher: Do you see perhaps a ceremony that's done on a semi-annual or annual-basis, so that you're not spreading it out throughout the course of the entire year?

Emerson: Well, the good news is, ever since the 300th anniversary, we already have a really wonderful memorial in town. It's administered by the Salem Award Foundation, who actually every year gives a major award for human rights activism in honor of the victims of 1692.

So, we're trying to encourage people to go to that really wonderful memorial on a regular basis, but having said that, if people come - especially cross country - from Salem, we know that they may want to visit the site. I've already had a lot of descendents contact me that want to be there for when this site is dedicated. Also, too, in Salem, you may know this, there's a substantial Wiccan community, and in the past, every year on Halloween, which is Samhain their high holy day of the fall solstice?  They do have a ceremony up on Gallows Hill as well. They may well want to try to move that to this location, but again, it's a very small spot, so it isn't the kind of place where you can bring a couple of hundred people together very easily. So, it's needs to be accessible to some degree and these are the kinds of things that we're still working out, and again, only after we announce this can we start talking to the community and all the stake holders and see what the proper long term plan for this site is.

Fisher: How many people living in Salem right now are descended from people involved in this incident?

Emerson: Well, let me put it this way, I can't give a lecture without a couple of people at the end coming up.  I, in my book, I estimate, I'll bet you there's at least 100 million people who are around the world who had some relative involved in the Salem Witch Trials. I really don't think if your family's been in New England more than a generation or two, it's hard not to have some connection to it, it really is.

Fisher: He's Professor Emerson Baker, he's the author of ‘A Storm of Witchcraft’ The Salem Witch Trials and The American Experience. Thank you so much for coming on and talking about this amazing experiment that has resulted in a confirmation of a very unique place in American history.

Emerson: Oh you're welcome, Scott! We'll keep you informed as the process moves forward.

Fisher: Sounds great! And coming up next, our good friend, Stan Lindaas from HeritageConsulting.com, talking about terms you're going to run across in your research that don't mean what you think! It's going to be a lot of fun, in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 3 Episode 123

Host Scott Fisher with guest Stan Lindaas

Fisher: We are back! America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com

It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth; always good to have my friend Stan Lindaas back in the house, from HeritageConsulting.com

Hi Stan, how are you?

Stan: I’m just great. Thanks, Fish, for having me.

Fisher: Now, I’m very excited about this topic because I think for anybody that’s ever researched, we’ve all run into something one time or another, whether we were a baby genealogist or an expert. When you look at a word in your research and you go ‘What does that mean?’

Stan: Exactly.

Fisher: Or I must be misinterpreting what I’m seeing here.

Stan: Right.

Fisher: And you’ve got a whole host of these things to share and this is really good stuff.

Stan: We’ve got a bunch to share, but I loved the way you phrased it when you were introducing me, was that you know, you asked the question ‘What does this mean?’ so many people don’t bother to ask the question. They just blow over the word and keep moving.

Fisher: Or they assume they know what it means and they interpret it as such.

Stan: Yeah, or as I did when I was a child learning to read, if I didn’t understand the word instead of going to the dictionary, I just kept going hoping I’d get it out of the context.

Fisher: Right. Sure.

Stan: But there are so many different aspects to this where you see something and you don’t understand it. That can affect and help you if you go and investigate, they can help you in your research. There are colloquialisms that are so geographically specific that can put you, let’s say into Southern Indiana.

Fisher: Right.

Stan: If you read something in a family history, if you don’t recognize or you think it is a rather quaint phrase that you’ve just read.

Fisher: Quaint?

Stan: Quaint. From Northern Illinois, it’s quaint.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Stan: There’s an example!

Fisher: What is that?

Stan: It’s something unique and interesting.

Fisher: Right.

Stan: If you heard that word you probably could assume that the individual came from Northern Illinois.

Fisher: Here’s one, when I lived in Ohio for a time, in the Cincinnati area, if people didn’t understand you they’d say ‘Please?’

Stan: Yeah.

Fisher: Now you don’t hear that anywhere else in America.

Stan: Yeah.

Fisher: But you did there. I remember when I first heard it, it’s like ‘Please what?’

Stan: ‘What did I do?’ or ‘What do you want me to do?’

Fisher: Yes exactly!

Stan: Well it can go so far as to delineate the difference between a soldier in the Union army or in the Confederate army.

Fisher: Hmm.

Stan: Names of battles.

Fisher: Right. That’s right.

Stan: I’ll give you the reason then I’ll give you a list of different battles and you’ll be able to more clearly figure out what side of the war these people were on.

Fisher: Okay.

Stan: The Union people ostensibly were more refined and citified, and so they were not so enamored with buildings and villages and structures, man made things, and so they named the battles after creeks, hills, topographical formations.  The Confederacy on the other hand were rural country boys and supposedly they were more inclined and enarmored with the cities and towns. So they name the same battle after a town or a tavern, or a village, or a bridge, something of that nature.

Fisher: Interesting.

Stan: So I’m going to give you some names of battles and you try to tell me which side it came from.

Fisher: I’m ready, yes.

Stan: Um, Manassas.

Fisher: That was Bull Run I know that, so Manassas must have been the South.

Stan: Yes.

Fisher: But the North won, so we know it today as Bull Run, yes?

Stan: Yes, right. ‘Leesburg’

Fisher: Leesburg must have been the Southern term for something. Was that ‘Gettysburg’?

Stan: Uh, no. That was Balls Bluff.

Fisher: Balls Bluff, never heard of that one.

Stan: Yeah, that’s the Union term.

Fisher: Okay.

Stan: Guess who won?

Fisher: [Laughs]

Stan: Yeah, ‘Logan’s Crossroads’

Fisher: Uh, that would probably be the Union’s version of it.

Stan: Correct. The Confederate version is ‘Mill Springs’

Fisher: Okay.

Stan: ‘Elkhorn Tavern’

Fisher: That’s the Union.

Stan: Nope. That’s the Confederacy

Fisher: Okay.

Stan: ‘Pea Ridge’

Fisher: All right [Laughs]

Stan: That’s the same battle. ‘Gaines’s Mill’

Fisher: So that must be the Northern.

Stan: That’s the Confederate.

Fisher: Really?

Stan: Yup.

Fisher: Oh, because it’s a building.

Stan: It’s a building.

Fisher: I see, okay. I’m getting this.

Stan: That’s the same as ‘Chickahominy’

Fisher: Oh boy! Don’t even go there.

Stan: Yeah. We could go with the ‘Second Manassas’, can you get that one, or ‘Second Bull Run’

Fisher: ‘Second Bull Run’ right.

Stan: Yeah, um, let’s see ‘Boonesborough’

Fisher: So that’s the Southern version.

Stan: That’s the Southern version; the Northern version is ‘South Mountain.’

Fisher: I get the pattern here.

Stan: You get the pattern.

Fisher: So if you read a letter, you were to inherit a letter or find one on eBay written by a soldier, you could interpret which side they were on just by the way they refer to battles.

Stan: Yes! Precisely!

Fisher: Okay.

Stan: Another one, ‘Gone to Texas’ what’s that mean to you?

Fisher: It means I’m heading south.

Stan: That you’re heading south?

Fisher: Yeah.

Stan: During the Civil War there were two towns on either side of the Ohio River, one in Kentucky, one in Ohio, and as you might presume the one in Ohio was a Union sympathizing town and the one in Kentucky was Confederacy.

Fisher: [Laugh]

Stan: Well as the war dragged on.

Fisher: Yes.

Stan: Many of the young men who served in both the Union and the Confederacy decided that the war was not the place they wanted to be and they deserted, and so the various armies sent out agents looking for deserters and they would go to these towns and they would ask “Where is your boy?” Well, the answer was ‘He’s gone to Texas.’

Fisher: Right!

Stan: Well he hadn’t gone to Texas as you and I know it. There was an island in the middle of the Ohio between the two towns that the locals referred to as ‘Texas.’

Fisher: [Laughs]

Stan: And at one point there were 3,000 men on this island during the war.

Fisher: Wow!

Stan: And so the agents had no idea where to go, they thought they had gone to the State of Texas. We have some words. Words are really interesting and I think I referred to this in a previous episode. During the 1600’s.  I was looking for and found a probate record and I was talking about a couple of women, Mary and Louise, and it said that they were gossips.

Fisher: Gossips, okay so they were talkative girls.

Stan: Talkative girls? (Buzzer sound)  Wrong answer!

Fisher: Okay.

Stan: In the 1600’s a gossip meant that you were a friend of one another or a business partner.

Fisher: Did not know that.

Stan: In the 1600’s that’s a big deal for women because before discovering that’s what that meant, I just thought it was a little bit of color, that they were talkers you know.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Stan: They were the Gladys Kravitz’s of the neighborhood.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Stan: And so I could put that in, but now knowing that they could be business partners, I’m looking for records about them and I did find, and actually the word ‘gossip’ started out being used as one who was a sponsor at a baptism.

Fisher: Who knew! That’s crazy.

Stan: Yeah and you would never think of this.

Fisher: And you’ve been researching for how many decades? And this is new to you. It really kind of shows that we are all constantly learning when it comes to the research.

Stan: Yeah. Try ‘inmate’ what’s an inmate?

Fisher: An inmate to most people… see I know what this one is because I’ve run into it, but an inmate to most people means you’re locked up, you’re held against your will.

Stan: Right. Generally speaking in our day and age that’s exactly what it means.

Fisher: Right.

Stan: In the past what did it mean?

Fisher: In the past it meant that you were perhaps a patient in the hospital or an asylum, or something like that.

Stan: Uh, yes but even before that, it meant that you were likely one who was hiring a room from someone else.

Fisher: Interesting.

Stan: And it even goes further. It referred to a prostitute who frequently enters a house of ill-repute to practice her trade.

Fisher: [Laughs] That was an inmate!

Stan: Yeah that was an inmate!

Fisher: That’s a bad one to misinterpret.

Stan: Yeah you don’t want to do that.

Fisher: Yeah. Stan, so good to see you again, thank you for coming by! You’ve got a big event coming up in… when is it?

Stan: March 11th and 12th in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Plaza Hotel, the Ulster Historical Foundation, from Belfast Ireland. Executive Director and Research Officer will be there teaching classes all day on the 11th, and on the 12th we have this British staff from the Family History Library and professional researchers who specialize in Irish research, who will help you learn how to discover where in Ireland this drunken Irishman came from!

Fisher: [Laughs] That’s good stuff! Where do they find out more about this?

Stan: HeritageJourneys.net

Fisher: All right, sounds great. Stan, good to see you buddy, thanks for coming on!

Stan: Thanks a lot Fish!

Fisher: And coming up in three minutes, we talk to Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, the Preservation Authority. You know, every year he reports what he finds at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that applies to family history. Gets his latest report for this year coming up next on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!

Segment 4 Episode 123

Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth. It is time to talk preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority, and Tom, you're always up on what's going on at the Consumer Electronics Show which just ended a few weeks ago, and did you find some things that relate to family history there?

Tom: Oh, they had a ton of stuff there that was absolutely incredible. One of the neatest things you can tie in to family history, it's a monitor, but all it is is a sheet of glass, absolutely pure glitter glass.

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: You could make a coffee table out of it, you could make a fireplace cover, in kitchens where you have the glassware, where you have your knickknacks, it looks like a regular sheet of glass, but then, when you fire it up, it becomes completely opaque and it's 4k television!

Fisher: No kidding! Really?

Tom: It is the most absolutely incredible thing you have ever imagined. I mean, the uses for something like this is just amazing. In your kitchen, it just looks like it’s some glass in your window that goes out the back yard. You flip the switch, it goes opaque and you’re watching 4k television.

Fisher: Could you go Bluetooth with that?

Tom: Oh, I'm sure you can!

Fisher: Really!?

Tom: Oh, I don't know why you couldn't!

Fisher: So, you get a video from kids that are showing the grandkids, okay?

Tom: Oh, absolutely!

Fisher: Or you've got a video of your own kids and you want to fire it up from your phone and you could actually watch it in kitchen window while you're doing the dishes? [Laughs]

Tom: Absolutely! Absolutely! Whether you're doing FaceTime, whether you're doing any of these different company things, talking to your boss, whatever, and you know, you're just sitting there doing your own thing, and you could hook up a camera to it so it could be two-way communication.

Fisher: That's insane!

Tom: Oh, it is, and like you say, it's not like, oh, you're going to be seeing things through the glass when the TV comes on. It becomes totally opaque. So, all you're seeing is the television. So, you're not seeing your backyard or whatever is in that window.

Fisher: But otherwise, it's clear?

Tom: Oh, yeah!

Fisher: Nuts!

Tom: It's just normal glass.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: There's not like a weird thing, like a piece of polarized glass or something, it's totally clear, which one day, I'm sure they're somehow going to bring them into cars.

Fisher: Well, it would have to be a self-driving car, right?

Tom: Oh, exactly!

Fisher: Because you can't be doing that.

Tom: Oh, they had those too! But I mean, like, on some of the cars, like the convertibles, you have this glass sheet that comes up between the front and the back seats, so you don't get the wind whipping around. The guys in the back seat can be watching television behind your head.

Fisher: Yeah, maybe an Uber cab or something.

Tom: Exactly! Or limos, this would be perfect to have in limos.

Fisher: Sure! All right, what else did you see?

Tom: They have these 360 degree cameras now.

Fisher: Yes, I've heard about that.

Tom: It is amazing, and they're small enough that you can put them on a drone. So, if you're at a family reunion and you want to get some sky shots, you can do that. If you're at the cemetery where a lot of your family is buried, you can take those up, and if you want to go and actually see a video that's created, go to VideoMaker.com, which we talk about all the time.

If you have an old homestead that you lived on or an old home in the neighborhood, you could take these drones up with this 360 degree camera and shoot your old house, your backyard. It's just amazing what you can do with these, and the prices have really come down a lot. When I first saw this, I'm sitting there thinking, 'Oh how many thousands of dollars is this going to be?’ They have some starting out as little as $400.

Fisher: No kidding!?

Tom: Absolutely incredible. In fact, there's one that's actually what they call a virtual reality camera, and it's with all the whistles and bells, its $900.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: I mean, I cannot believe the prices how these things are coming down, and one that's about $400, it's the re-invented Kodak. They're the ones that make that, and it's absolutely incredible. It's called Pix Pro SP 360, that’s P-I-X P-R-O S-P 360, and you go to Kodak's website, you go to VideoMakers' website, but can you just imagine the things you can do? This is like 920 x 1080 video, so it's good, high quality, in fact, it can be 4k capability.

For a 360 camera, it shoots at thirty frames per second, and one of the neat things about this which you can relate to, when you put it in still mode, it doesn't just take one frame it takes several frames. So, in the instance where we transfer that old film for you that had you, your father, your uncle and your brother in the picture and you only found one where everybody was looking at the camera, this would do the same thing. So, you're now taking the pictures saying, "Oh, Debby was looking away, Shaun was looking away." You can see all the things together, it's amazing, and after the break, we'll go into some more detail on CES.

Fisher: All right, exciting stuff coming up on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 123

Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And we're into our final segment, on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show, talking about preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority.

It is Fisher here, and Tom, we've been talking about the Consumer Electronics Show which wrapped up in Vegas a couple of weeks ago, and all the different electronic devices that could apply to family history and so far, you've given us a couple of amazing ones. What else do you have?

Tom: You know, it'd take us a year of shows just talking about CES to get through everything, so the best thing to do, like I say, go to magazines like VideoMaker, go to CES.com and check out some of the new technology like we were talking about in the earlier segment, about these cameras that shoot virtual reality, they shoot 360, and whenever you think of something like that, you think of something big, but it's not, these are teeny, teeny cameras that you just hook on your drone like we said.  Or you're going to go shoot your old home that you grew up in, look what the backyard looks like now, how the house is outside. One thing that you mentioned which I've never thought about for family history is, look at MLS listings of your old house.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: And you'll be able to see what they've changed on the inside.

Fisher: Yeah, I just did that a few weeks ago.

Tom: So, it's absolutely incredible how you can put these things together, kind of put a timeline together, and just see, you know, what's happened to your old place, but the Ricoh that we're talking about is a great camera to look at, the Kodak is a good camera to look at, and like we mentioned, go to VideoMaker.com, you can see some videos that they have and the awards that they've won. Another thing that's coming out, it's not actually released yet, this is a new imager. Right now, the difference between your iPhone and a good Nikon, there's a gap there, no question about it.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: But there's a new imager coming out that's called Quantum Film. It's going to be small, it's going to be less expensive, but it really, really tightens the difference between what your iPhone is going to be able to do and what a good quality Nikon is going to be like.

The colors are so much better it's going to be set for smart phones. The light performance is amazing. That's one thing I've had a problem with my iPhone, is sometimes when I'm shooting video, the light doesn't come on and so it's going to be too dark. With this new imager, you can shoot stuff in pretty much dark without having any kind of light whatsoever.

Fisher: It corrects itself?

Tom: Oh, it does, and whether it comes out next year, two years or three years, whatever, as fast as Apple moves, I think it's going to be pretty quick. It's professional quality. It's just absolutely incredible technology. The shutter's so much faster, so you don't get the kind of blur that you get sometimes with the other cameras.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: The image sensor that produces the color is incredible; the dynamic range that you get from your solid blacks to your pure whites is amazing. Your real blues look like blues. Your real greens look like greens, because lots of times you take a picture and it’s like, 'Well that's not really what that color is. I have to go into Photoshop and fix it.' With this new image sensor, it is just incredible what it can do.

Now, moving on from that, there's another new camera that's out that is really, really cool and it's perfect for family reunions, it's called the Panasonic HCWXF991. Again, go to VideoMaker.com to get more information about it, but the neat thing about this is, it's almost like a camera in a camera.

Fisher: How's that work?

Tom: You have your main camera then it's got like a secondary camera which is on a swivel. So, if you're narrating, like through a family reunion, you turn it around on yourself. So, you're shooting the main picture, 'Oh, this is Aunt Margret', and you can be shooting yourself too as the interviewer, and then, when you actually go and burn it, you can keep the picture in the picture or you can make the picture in the picture go away. So, it makes it great for doing interviews.

Fisher: Well, you could probably use this then in the editing process for cuts, yes?

Tom: Oh, absolutely! That's what makes this so unique. The picture in the picture of course, isn't going to be the same dynamic range as the main camera. It has a 1920 x 1080 image and its full 4k. So, get on CES' website, get on VideoMaker's website. If you have specific questions about any of that stuff, you can always email me at [email protected] and I'm more than happy to help you.

Fisher: All right, Tom, always good to have you on and we've got to catch up on more of this stuff, maybe next week?

Tom: Yeah, next week we'll do some more CES.

Fisher: All right, thanks for coming on.

Tom: Good to be here.

Fisher: Hey, that wraps up our show for this week. Thanks once again to Professor Emerson Baker from Salem State University for coming on and talking about his role in confirming the location of the hanging site for the Salem witches, those sixteen who were accused back in 1692, plus to Stan Lindaas for coming on and sharing some terms you'll run across in your research that you might not quite understand exactly what they mean. Yeah, languages are always changing. Take care, we'll see you next week, and remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal, family!

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