Episode 130 - "Relative Race" Is Hot New Genealogy Reality Show/ Ireland Senator Talk Irish Records for St. Patty's Day

podcast episode Mar 14, 2016

This week, Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist for the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, talking about the recent birth of a "Leap Baby" in North Dakota.  What made this one unusual was that it is not the first Leap Baby in the family!  Hear all about it on the podcast.  David then shares some fascinating DNA news about the Aboriginals of Australia.  Just how long have they been isolated from the rest of the world?  Now we know.  Plus, another family artifact has been found and returned to a family... only this one was from World War I!  It's a century old piece.  Also, another Civil War vessel has been found.  What kind was it, what did it do, and where was it found?  David will tell you.  David also has another Tech Tip, and guest-user free database from NEHGS.

Fisher then visits with host/creator/producer Dan Debenham of "Relative Race," an incredible new genealogy based reality TV show that everyone was raving about at last month's Roots Tech conference.  Dan will tell you how it works, how his company came up with the idea, and what you can expect in the coming episodes on BYU-TV.

Then... who'd have thought a Senator from Ireland would appear at Roots Tech?  Fisher talks with Senator Jillian Van Turnhout, who is a passionate genie who traveled too many time zones to count to attend the conference.  Senator Turnhout shares a lot of good news about on line records from the Emerald Isle that are coming available for Irish Americans.  Then, Fisher chats with Denise May Levernick about the grant her family has set up in her mother's memory to award a cash grant to a young adult student for genealogy!  Hear how to make your student eligible.

Tom Perry returns to wrap up the show to take on fears and offer advice on using "The Cloud" for storage of your digital material.  Concerned about security?  Usability?  As always, Tom has insight you won't hear anywhere else.  Have questions about preservation?  Email Tom at [email protected].

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

Transcript of Episode 130

Host Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

MC Segment 1 Episode 130

Fisher:  And welcome back to another week of “Extreme Genes,” America’s family history show and extremegenes.com! It is Fisher here, your radio roots sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out! And I’m very excited, finally, to get on Dan Debenham today. H e is going to be a guest on the show in about eight minutes.

He is the host and producer of this genealogy family history reality show that everybody’s talking about. It’s called “Relative Race” and it is nuts! It is so much fun, and you’re going to hear right from Dan himself how this idea came about, how it got formulated, where you can see it, where you can catch it on demand. It is a great show and it was the talk of “Root’s Tech” by the way, when we were there, because they debuted the first program.

Plus, later in the show, since it is St. Patrick’s Day celebration this weekend in many places and, of course, formally in the coming week, we’re going to talk to an actual Senator from Ireland, and find out about what’s happening with family history records for those of Irish descent here in the United States.

Great stuff! And if you have a young adult student, somebody’s offering a free grant as they develop genealogy and family history. It’s like five hundred bucks if you want to hear how your young student can get into this. We’re going to have that for you too coming up later on in the show.

So, great stuff lined up! But right now it is my... I wouldn’t say you’re my cabin mate for the coming cruise in September, from Boston to Nova Scotia, but you’re going to be pretty close I’m thinking David. David Allen Lambert, the chief genealogist of the New English Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org

Fisher: Hi David.

David: Hey! Greetings from Dean Town, and we’re very excited because St. Paddy’s Day is around the corner but it means something more to us here in revolutionary war terms. Do you know why?

Fisher: Because what?

David: We kicked the British out of Boston!

Fisher: [Laughs] Yes you did!

David: A nice little Virginian named George Washington decided to stop by, and evacuation day is why we have closed schools in Boston, not for St. Patrick’s Day as many people think. [Laughs]

Fisher: Interesting.

David: Nice to hear from you as always. You know I’ll tell you, we were talking about leap year week and I just want to say that the odds of this family and this might not be told, probably have the bookies scrambling for the next four years.

Did you hear about the Allison family, new baby?

Fisher: Yes! It’s insane a new baby on February 29th  Congratulations! Pretty rare, but...

David: the strange thing is it happened four years before and both daughters. 

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: You know it’s a 50/50 chance for a boy or a girl but the idea to be born on a leap year that is some pretty good timing.

Fisher: I know, four years apart, so I guess they only have a birthday every four years when they’re 16 they’re celebrate their fourth and the other one would celebrate the third.

David: What a happy first birthday for the sister of little Abigail.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: My goodness! So Brandy and Abigail, happy birthday and happy birthday! [Laughs] Well you know, speaking of birthdays going across the other side of the world, the archaeological and anthropological work being done with DNA studies is just mind boggling.

In recent years they’ve always thought that South East Asians about four thousand years ago intermarried with the aboriginal families in Australia. Well, that’s not the case. New DNA evidence shows that they have had no contact for fifty thousand years.

Fisher: The Aboriginals?

David: The Aboriginals are isolated genetically going back fifty thousand years. So if we think about our ancestors coming up and going into Europe, we weren’t even into Europe yet.

Fisher:  No [Laughs] wow!

David: That’s amazing. So it’s always exciting to hear this news. So a new aspect of genealogical DNA is unfolding. Digging a little closer to home we talked about that mess kit well I’m going to go....

Fisher: Right. That was a World War 2 story last week, right?

David: Exactly. Well, I’m going to go a war before. A gentleman named Michael Babin, who lives in France, is a retired banker, and collector of World War 1 ephemera. At a flea market recently he bought an aluminium dog tag that belonged to Frank L. Smith, of the U.S. army, and the thing about that is he’s tracked down through gravestone records and talked to this man’s 73 year old daughter, and this girl lost her dad when she was twelve. So, Dotty Wright has been reacquainted with an artifact associated with her father nearly a century ago.

Fisher: Incredible! What a great story.

David: I love what metal detectors find. I’m a metal detectorist myself.

Fisher: Really?

David: Oh yeah! It is a lot of fun digging in the ground and finding what other people lost. I haven’t found any Anglo sacks and gold or coins, but I’m still looking.

Fisher: [Laughing]

David: That being said, if you were off the coast of North Carolina, in 18 feet of water, they have found the wreck of what they believe is one of three blockade runners. So this vessel was set up during the civil war to stop the running of the ironclads and to block the coast and the Union Army’s blockade, if you will, and this is fabulous! This is perhaps one of three boats, the Agnes Fry, the Georgianna McCaw and I’m really hoping it’s the third one, the Spunkie.

Fisher: The Spunkie! I hope it’s the Spunkie, yes!

David: I hope it’s the Spunkie too.  

Fisher: [Laughing]

David: So while I waited for the Spunkie too, that will be the one name for the Spunkie.

 Fisher: Right.

David: In any event, so that’s really some exciting news. My tech tip for the week, I talked about it last week that I was going to give a test drive to Research Ties, which is researchties.com   And this is a company out of Provo, Utah. And we all have our research logs where you may print one off and write it down or you might use a notebook. This is a professional program which you can even beta test for free. Our subscription annually is for $30. It gives you three logins and 10 gigabytes of space. I can put in the repositories I want to visit, I can put in the film numbers, I can create all the shopping lists so when I go to the family history library in Salt Lake City, the National Archives in Washington DC or my local public library, I can access it online by logging in. I don’t have to, “Oh I forgot my notebook” or “Why am I here?”                                                                                                                                                   This is a great program online to try out. It is a cheap service, but very efficient.

Fisher: What’s the website again?

David: The website is www.researchties.com

Fisher: All right.

David: And speaking of data bases, on americanacestors.org, every week we give a free data base to our guest users. And this week we have the Chatham, Massachusetts and Harwich, Massachusetts metal records to 1850 help you with your pilgrim ancestors. You probably have some Cape Cod family. If you have ancestors in the northeast then hopefully this will help you find it. Well, that is all I have from Boston until next time Fish.

Fisher: Alright. Thanks David, talk to you next week. And coming up for you next in three minutes we’re going to talk to Dan Debenham, the host, producer, creator of Relative Race an incredible new genealogy reality show on Extreme Genes, America’s family history show.

MC Segment 2 Episode 130

Host Scott Fisher with guest Dan Debenham

Fisher: Welcome Back to America’s family history show ‘Extreme Genes’ and extremegenes.com.  It is Fisher here, your radio root sleuth and I will tell you, at Root’s Tech we were exposed to all kinds of new products and ideas and services, but I don’t think there’s anything that got a bigger reaction, a bigger positive reaction than the debut of a television show that they provided there called ‘Relative Race’ and the producer and host of that show, Dan Debenham, is with me right now.

Fisher: Hi Dan, Welcome!

Dan: It’s good to see you Scott! Good to see you again actually.

Fisher: I know! I haven’t seen you in a long, long time.

Dan: Fifteen years I think.

Fisher: Something like that. But this show, where did you get the idea for it? How did this thing get started? And look at where you’re going with it.

Dan: Great questions. BYU- TV who has a mantra of ‘Seeing the good in the world’ they approached us about a year ago and they said “We have a general concept and a need that we’d like to see created for our programming” and they talked to us about this idea, and I mean really from the fifty thousand foot level.

Fisher: Right.

Dan: Just generically speaking about this idea of a show that would kind of hunt down relatives and gee, wouldn’t that just be great?

Fisher: [Laughs]

Dan: Now when we heard about this project we got pretty stumped and we came up with this concept where we would cast four couples. We flew them to San Francisco, and then every day we provided them with clues to run across the country and discover relatives that they never knew they had and had never met before, and they were racing from San Francisco to New York City, and along the way each day the last one to find their relatives receives a strike, three strikes and you’re off the show.

Fisher: Uh oh.

Dan:  If you make it all the way to New York, you pick up twenty five thousand dollars and even that came with a twist and the twist was, now that you have really earned this money, congratulations!  Because believe me, this trek across the country, this race, is full of ups and downs and highs and lows and happy and sad, and everything in between, but we then said “You can keep the money, or you can give a portion, or all of it, back to the relatives that you’ve met along the way”

Fisher: Oh how cool is that.

Dan: Yeah, so in fact, just this past...

Fisher: That’s easy; I’ll keep it all [laughs]

Dan: [Laughs] I believe you will. It was very interesting to see what these couples and those that made it to New York and ultimately the couple that won first place, what they were going to do with that money.


Fisher: Well you know people who are into family history are very giving people, they don’t only share of themselves but they share information, they find photographs, that type of thing. I’m not surprised that, that carries over in the financial side.

Dan: Well we didn’t know quite what to expect as we researched these couples. They submitted DNA to Ancestry DNA, and Ancestry DNA’s pool at the time was less than a million, so we had to find a route that went from San Francisco to New York City. We provided them with rental cars; we took away their cell phones, all GPS devises.

Fisher: So let me get this idea here; you took the DNA from them and then you had to literally track down descendants that fit the route so that they were all going to the same places?

Dan: Now that’s what we wanted to do at first was to go to the same towns.

Fisher: That’s crazy because it’s not possible.

Dan: That was impossible. So they were going to different towns, and what made the race fair is that every day they were given an allotted time, an allotted time to get to the different towns because they were all racing to different towns.

Fisher: You have to adjust it.

Dan: Yeah. And so it was the couple that came closest to their allotted time that won, and the couple that came furthest from their allotted time that received a strike, three strikes and you’re off the race.

Fisher: You guys must have been up till two, three, four o clock in the morning every day trying to work these little problems out.

Dan: It was wild. It was a wild ride, and the show is... you mentioned that episode one debuted at Roots Tech, and we received a standing ovation.

Fisher: Oh it was nuts! “Did you see it? Did you see it? It was great!” People were really enthusiastic about it. This is the thing about family history, if it’s entertaining the people who aren’t into family history, you know you’ve got something great, and that’s what it looks like to me.   So tell us now, I was looking at this debut, now BYU-TV by the way is a cable station, available on a lot of markets

Dan: Fifty six million homes in America.

Fisher: And there are plenty of places that they do not get into, so I would assume you could watch online?

Dan: Absolutely. Binge watch the first two episodes right now because coming up, we just saw episode two this past Sunday, and every original episode is every Sunday night 8pm eastern time, and then you can back it up from there. 7pm central, 6pm mountain, 5pm pacific. You can watch it online at byutv.org, so anytime. Catch up episodes one and two and then you can watch it on either byutv.org or you can stream it at relativerace.com but again we hope as you get caught up that you’ll join every original episode airing every Sunday night.

Fisher: Sure.

Dan: It’s really fun. It’s wild.

Fisher: It’s just a good thing to set your recorder on no matter what you’re watching and catch the show.

Dan: Exactly, that’s what I do.

Fisher: I was just thinking. I’m looking at your bad luck, the first night you’re on against the Oscars, your debut night. The next week you’re on against the closing, the last episode of Downton Abbey

Dan: And the Presidential debate.

Fisher: Well that we can all skip to watch this, but still, I mean that’s your first two shows, your first two weeks, that’s a tough line-up to be up against.

Dan: You know what, we just filmed this past weekend episode 11 which we flew all the couples back and shot this episode 11 which is called ‘After the Race’ where the four couples come back and then talk about their experiences more and we toss them different vignettes, different parts of the episodes and we have them comment on them more, and there were representatives there from BYU-TV and I actually asked them I said “Can you explain to me what the thinking was here?” and they said “You know, it was a little bit of an error on our part when we put this in place, like eight months ago” and they said “But you know what they said, we’re finding that social media and the streaming is really peaking upwards already” so people are saying “I wasn’t able to watch it Sunday night against the Oscars, but I am streaming it and watching it online”

Fisher: So when you pick these couples, were these people who actually applied to be on the show?

Dan: Yes. We put out a casting call through a number of different mediums including a lot of the social media, and we created a website called ‘TRRCASTING’ which stood for ‘The Relative Race’trrcasting.com. Over a thousand people went to the site, and we asked them to submit a video, 1 to 2 minutes that explained who they are and why they should be on the show, and we gave a little bit of a premise of the show, they didn’t know the details in fact episode 1, which again we really hope you watch episode 1.

Fisher:  [Laughs] it’s kind of important to watch episode 1.

Dan: Well it gives the back stories of all the couples, and you find out on episode 1, when they arrive in San Francisco, one of the very first things that is asked of the host, (me) so I’m standing there at peer 39 overlooking the ocean and I said “Welcome to Relative Race” I said “You’ve come from all over the country and you have four thousand five hundred miles in front of you. Now first thing I want to know is, how many of you like your phones and have brought them here?” They all raise their hands of course, and I said “How many of you think you could do without them?” Their jaws start dropping.

Fisher: Oh boy.

Dan: So we took away all of their cell-phones, we took away every GPS device. I then said “Welcome to your new GPS navigational device” and I raised it up and I said “This is what we call a map, a paper map” And so the age group is all over the map of our couples, we actually thought the youngest couple who were in their twenties, would just implode.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Dan: And they actually did pretty well. There’s much more than a dynamic here of discovering new family relatives. The interesting dynamic is that they have up to 8 hours together in a rental car everyday and they trying to figure out how to get to different...

Fisher: With a film crew.

Dan: Exactly. With six people around them, multiple cameras, Go-Pros inside their car, everything is recorded and it is fascinating to see how they get through this journey.

Fisher: So do you have each team basically have their own editing crew that puts together their package and then somebody else assembles the whole thing?

Dan: Yeah there is a media manager on site and then all that media comes back to us in our studios, and we’ve been spending about five months editing everything and we’re very close to editing the entire series. So again, now is the time to catch up and get hooked because... we’ve done a number of original television shows throughout the years and we feel fortunate to be able to do that, this is, I can honestly say, the best show we have ever created. It is really good!

Fisher: Well that’s what I keep hearing from everybody and I wouldn’t say it if that wasn’t the case. So give us one little hint of one story from this entire season that hits you most right here.

Dan: You know what it’s actually the next episode. Episode 3 happens to be my favorite episode. I got chills right now saying it. In this episode, one of the couples, it’s the husband, because you never know when you show up whom am I related to, is it the wife or the husband.

Fisher: Right.

Dan: And the couple discovers a cousin, and it’s the husband that finds a first cousin that he never knew that he had.

Fisher: Really?

Dan: Oh there are nieces that have never been met. These aren’t like sixth cousins; some of these people are first cousins and uncles that they never knew they had, one is a niece, in this case it’s a first cousin, and for me it was so poignant, it was so strong to see two strong, big, American men hugging each other and the moment they grabbed each other, they just broke into tears. They’re just sobbing and they say; and the statement is made by the couple that’s racing, they say “If we hadn’t done this, we would never know about our family” and he said “And here’s my cousin” and the moment I looked at him, I went “You’re my mother!”   He said “Everything about you” his demeanour, the way he acted, was his mother who he lost fifteen years ago.

Fisher: Wow!

Dan: And he just looked at this man and they both just started sobbing and they said “The same blood is running through our veins.”  And it’s a poignant moment, and these moments, the series is just riddled with them. But there’s also plenty of drama, there’s some compelling... it’s not all these incredibly emotional moments. There are some times when they met relatives where they were kind of like “Nice to meet you...can we get on with our race?”

Fisher: [Laughs]

Dan: Like all relatives.

Fisher: You’re not getting any of the twenty five grand. Okay, don’t like them.

Dan: It’s a good show.

Fisher: Well you know that’s what family stuff is all about.

Dan: Exactly.

Fisher: There’s politics even with this.

Dan: Exactly.

Fisher: So who knew?  Well it’s ‘Relative Race,’ it’s the name of the show. It’s on BYU-TV which is on many cable networks throughout the United States.  Otherwise you get it where?

Dan: Dish and Direct TV both have it nationwide. Everyone who has Dish or Direct or you can go online at byutv.org and stream it, or its own website at relativerace.com

Fisher: Dan Debenham, the host and producer, thanks for coming on!

Dan: Scott, it’s a pleasure, great to see you again.

Fisher: Alright, good to see you.

Coming up next; it’s a “two-fer,” we’ll talk to an Ireland senator who visited Roots Tech, and talk about what’s happening with Irish research... very important with St. Patty’s Day coming up, and another woman who’s offering a family grant to your student for genealogy, in three minutes on Extreme Genes.      

MC Segment 3 Episode 130

Host Scott Fisher with guest Jillian Van Turnhout

Fisher: You have found us! America's family history show, Extreme Genes and extremegenes.com

I am Fisher, your congenial host. And, are you surprised at how much we continue to pull out of the Roots Tech family history conference that was held in the Salt Lake City, Utah, last month? I'm not! Only because I was there, and I can tell you, we continue to have things that came out of it that we have to pass along in the course of the brief time we have each week.

And since a lot of places are celebrating St. Patrick's Day this weekend, it felt like a good time to share with you a visit I had with a woman who came all the way from Ireland for Roots Tech and she wasn't just an Irish genie, she's also an Ireland Senator with a strange name.

So, I'm talking to Ireland Senator Jillian Van Turnhout. I've got to understand, Senator, how it is that an Irish Senator has the name, Van Turnhout?

Jillian: It's not a very Irish name. In fact, you will only find two of them there, my husband and myself. He's Dutch and apparently Napoleon gave them all surnames when he was doing the census.

Fisher: Right, which happened in much of Europe at that time. So, you’re here at Roots Tech. I'm just amazed to have you here, and pleased and honored to have a little time to talk to you. Tell us about what's going on with family history in Ireland, because we have so many Irish-Americans who've had such a hard time over there over the years.

Jillian: Well, the records are really opening up and becoming online. Our national library and archive are coming on board with some of the subscription websites and some of the free websites.  We do have the 1901 census and the 1911 census are free online. You can see the images.

Fisher: They weren’t burned?

Jillian: They weren’t burned. You can see the images. You can see where your ancestors lived. And because we've had so many records that were burned, we've had to be inventive.  But the Irish, we are inventive, and we've found a lot of work arounds. Like, I have been able to trace my family to the late 1700s. And very substantial and they were farm labourers, they weren't anybody of any means, or anything of such sort, that you'd say they'd have land records. So, you can do it. It takes a little bit of digging, a little bit of work, but it is a great achievement. We're also seeing more records now coming online. In Ireland, we're celebrating commemoration this year of the 1916 Rising, so a lot of public are digging out records out of their attics. Coming forward with information and resources and our government are seeing the value that that's encouraging more people in.

Fisher: For travel?

Jillian: Travel. I might be saying, my point is, people don't travel to Ireland to find out if they have Irish ancestors. You come to Ireland to walk where they walked, to stand on the land, to see where they were buried, to see where they were born, see why did they leave that area and the government are waking up to that fact, and the state is beginning to put more and more records online. We see the Parish records are now online on our national library of Ireland, and I believe shortly to be announced, two major companies are going to have an index to those records. So, that would be great, because that's all the parishes around Ireland. You'll really be able to see the births and marriages of your ancestors.

Fisher: Well, and I'm noticing also that there's a lot of talk about hotels now bringing in genealogical consultants to help people find their people while they travel to Ireland.

Jillian: Yes. Many of the top hotels are having consultants online, and many freelance people, genealogists in Ireland if you go to the association of genealogists. They’re there to help you. We want you to come to Ireland, but we want your experience to be rich and rewarding and that you really can. I say there's somebody who travels to Wisconsin, to see three generations of women in my family, who went to a small town in Watertown, Wisconsin. And, I went, because I was able to access the records at home. I was able to go out, meet the historical society, find out even more rich information, and I feel I have a special link, because this town, were very welcoming and I hope in Ireland, we'll return that type of welcome.

Fisher: Oh, I have no doubt that that will be the case. Thank you so much Senator for coming on, and it's exciting to see what's happening in Ireland now. It's been a long time in coming, but new days are ahead for genealogists with Irish ancestry.

Jillian: It's the time to start looking when it's suspected if you have a name that has a slight Irish twinge to it, or you've always heard stories in your families. I'd say to start searching, you will have Irish roots.

Fisher: Awesome stuff! Thanks for coming to Roots Tech.

Jillian: Thank you very much for having me on.

Fisher: How cool is that? That Senator Van Turnhout would travel however many time zones that is to attend Roots Tech. Unbelievable. You know, people are passionate about family history. Enough so to actually start a family grant, to encourage high school and college students to pursue genealogy.

Denise May Levernick is behind this thing and she's on the line with me right now from Pasadena, California.

How are you Denise?

Denise: I'm great, I'm great. Enjoying some wonderful weather here in California.

Fisher: I'm so excited for what you've got going on. Back in 2010, you lost your mom who was a fabulous genie, even researching her cousins right down to the end and you've set up a scholarship in her name for student genealogists. You want to tell us about this?

Denise: Oh, I'd love to. Thanks for asking. Mom was...she called herself a genie, and she was very excited about discovering where she came from, and when she retired, she lived here in southern California, grew up here in Orange County. When she retired, she moved to Arizona and became very active there with the genealogy groups, but every June, she came out to California and we would go together to the Southern California Genealogical Society Conference, the Jamboree.

Fisher: Right.

Denise: And mom just loved it. It's a great conference. Three days and well over a thousand people attend. So, when she passed away, and we were looking for some way to honour her memory, it just seemed like a great fit. She always worked in volunteerism. She worked with students and young people. It just seemed like such a good fit, to set up a student genealogy grant, and tie it in with the jamboree, because, to be honest, I'm a little bit selfish, I get to meet the winner each year.

Fisher: Oh, how fun.

Denise: Yeah, it is fun, and we set it up in 2010, and we had five young people receive the award and each one of them have continued in their family history work and research. It's just been so exciting to see them kind of grow in this field.

Fisher: Now, this is a $500 cash award, and it's going to be awarded at the Jamboree, which be the way is going on June 3rd through 5th of this year so, it’s coming right up.

Denise: Right.

Fisher: And they have to be between the ages of 18 and 23?

Denise: Right. That's it.

Fisher: That's it, and a student? Okay, so they’ve got to be going to school.

Denise: Um-hmm and they have to also come to the jamboree to receive the cheque.

Fisher: Okay.

Denise: And, because part of it is, the whole conference will give them a free registration, so they get to attend at no cost, and we take them around, introduce them to people, and you know, they get to meet the genealogy guys, and David Lambert if he's there from New England. It's just a wonderful opportunity for them to kind of meet a bigger community of genealogists.

Fisher: Absolutely. Well, Lambert, you probably shouldn't have mentioned that, I don't want to discourage anybody, showing up there, but...hey, this sounds like a lot of fun. How do people get involved in this? How do they submit their application to possibly score this $500 cash award?

Denise: Well, send any students you know to the grant page, which is at my website, www.thefamilycurator.com/swf-grant

S.W.F. Suzanne Winsor Freeman, that's my mom's name and the whole packet is available there. We're taking applications through March 20th, so there's still time. I know students love to put these things off till the last minute, so we're looking forward to that.

Fisher: Yeah, this kind of says right now, 'Do it now or forget about it'.

Denise: Yeah.

Fisher: Absolutely. So the familycurator.com actually, you can find the links right there. We'll link it on our page at extremegenes.com as well, so...

Denise: Great! Thank you so much.

Fisher: Great stuff Denise. Thanks for coming on, and we look forward to hearing who the winner is this year.

Denise: I will keep you posted.  Hope you can win.

Fisher: And, coming up next, Tom Perry from tmcplace.com the Preservation Authority returns to talk about "The Cloud" Seems there's some folks that have some concerns about preserving their digital family photos in audio and video there. Are they justified? Tom will set the record straight next in three minutes on Extreme Genies, America's Family History Show.

MC Segment 4 Episode 130

Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And welcome to “Cloud Talk!” On Extreme Genes America’s Family History Show, and extremegenes.com

I am Fisher the Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from tmcplace.com

He is our Preservation Authority we have on every week and Tom we’re just talking about this off air. It is just amazing how quickly things are changing with the Cloud and how that is kind of confusing. You know what it really reminds me of? Going way back when fax machines first came out.

Tom: Yup.

Fisher: Remember this?

Tom: Yup, absolutely.

Fisher: Fax machines came out and business immediately went to these things because it was a huge boon in communication and yet there were so many people that hadn’t even heard of them yet and they were already in all the businesses around the country.

“Wait a minute, what does the fax machine do, we can have this at home?”


Tom: Oh yes! Any place you had a phone plug they had a fax machine.

Fisher: Right. So everything has changed. Now that the Cloud has become, I think in some ways it’s very much the same thing as a 21st century version of the fax machine where it’s out there, everybody’s using it but there’s still a huge number of people left kind of scratching their head going “Wait, what do I count on, how to do I use it, what should it cost me, why should I use it?”

Tom: Oh exactly!

Fisher: All these things.

Tom: Oh you know, that is absolutely the best comparison I’ve ever heard of what the Cloud is. Even before this when there were copy machines which actually turned into fax machines, you’d go into the precursors to Kinko’s and they didn’t let you touch the machines. You’d hand them your stuff, they would run it and then started letting you do it. If you can power on your computer, you can store stuff in the Cloud, it’s really that easy. Not as hard as people think it is.

Fisher: Right and we’re addressing folks who are just getting started in this and in storage and preservation of their digital material. Scanning photographs, photoshopping them and making sure they’re not going anywhere.

Tom: Exactly, and some people they’re intimidated, they think “Oh I don’t want to learn this new software. I don’t want to learn how to fix my pictures up.” Storing stuff on the Cloud isn’t like that. It’s not something new you really need to learn

Anybody that’s even a virgin at computers can figure out how to do this. You have an icon on your desktop and you tell it that’s where you want to store it. Everything is on Lightjar, or Icloud, or Google Drive, or Dropbox, and once its set up it does it for you in the background. You just keep dropping it, dropping it, dropping it, and one of the neatest things about the Cloud that I love is whether I’m on the road, if I’m home, if I’m at work I can access any of my stuff.

I don’t have to “Oh make a backup of this drive, keep it on this thumb drive and haul it with me.” I can go any place where there’s an internet connection, even on the airplane and I can go to Dropbox and work on a photoshop document or work on my genealogy, or anything I want to and the neat thing about it is “Oh hey, my sister Diane might be interested in these photos that I just found.” So I send her an invitation, she gets an email, she has access to just that folder that I gave her permission to.

It’s almost like one of those too good to be true things. It is absolutely incredible and everybody needs to get some kind of Cloud storage. We had a friend that just lost her house just the other day burnt to the ground, and all her stuff was in it. They had nothing on the Cloud, so basically if their brothers or sisters or relatives didn’t have any copies of what they had just had in their house, they would have lost everything.

Fisher: That’s right. We just had a disaster at our home radio station of past storage. Now, fortunately of course everything for Extreme Genes is stored on a Cloud. So while it took some time to restore everything that had been lost locally, it was there and we were able to get back into business pretty darn fast. But this is such an important thing to understand if you’re just getting started in family history, that the Cloud is a simple thing that takes care of itself. In fact, I’ve got one that every fifteen minutes it goes through and looks for any changes I’ve made in my computer at all and makes those changes and duplicates them in this Cloud storage area.  So, if I lose my computer, it goes down or somebody stole it heaven forbid. This is all available to me instantly to restore.

Tom: And like you say “instant” is what’s so important. In fact right after the break let’s talk a little bit about how instant this thing can be, but you don’t have to keep everything on every single computer. You can give certain parameters on what you want to keep on each individual computer.

Fisher: Alright. Great advice! We’ll get into it more, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

MC Segment 5 Episode 130

Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: We are back! Final segment of Extreme Genes America’s Family History Show in extremegenes.com

It is Fisher here the Radio Roots Sleuth. Tom Perry is in the house from tmcplace.com our Preservation Authority. We’ve been talking about, I guess you’d call this “Clouds 101.”

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: Because like we talked about earlier, it’s a little bit like it was with fax machines. They came along very quickly and a lot of people were left scratching their heads going “Wait, do I have to have this, does it have to cost, is it hard to use, what do I do with it?” and this is a lot of folks who are just now perhaps getting into family history preservation.

Tom: Oh absolutely! Like we’ve done film transfers for people that we say “Hey, do you want us to put it on the Cloud? Then you have it instantly you don’t even have to come back in the store, we don’t have to ship it to you.” It’s like “Oh!” Like it’s this big haunting thing. “Oh no I can’t do the cloud, I don’t know a computer very well.”

I can spend ten minutes with somebody and show them how to use the Cloud. Because like I said in the earlier segment once it’s setup it rocks and rolls and the neat thing about having all your stuff in the Cloud, if you’re at home and you’re working on something and you say “Oh you know what, I was going to finish this thing for the report for the meeting in the morning, I’m going to work on that now instead of going in early. You go into the Cloud and you pull it down and there it is. Like I use one of those new mini ipads I use as a GPS in my suburban because that doesn’t have a GPS, it’s cheaper to do that.

Soon as I bought it, plugged it in and typed in my thing, boom! All my photos, all my apps, everything are right there, I don’t have to re-download them, I don’t have to go search for them, I don’t even have to pay for them again and because the way they’re set up. So this ipad I set up last night already has everything on it that I need and that’s the way it is with the Cloud. Sometimes I get a warning on my computer where it says “Oh you’re running out of memory.” So I go to my Dropbox and I say “Okay, well you know I don’t really need these things on this computer because I don’t access them.”

Fisher: Right.

Tom: So, I go in and say “hey I don’t need this on this computer anymore.” So it erases them from the computer but it’s still in the Cloud. So now I have all this memory but yet if one day I go “Oh you know what? I really do need that.” Go back in, click on it and in 5-10 minutes it’s all back through again.

Fisher: Right, downloaded again. And the question always comes up about security.

Tom: Oh yeah.

Fisher: Everybody is kind of concerned about that and certainly there’s risk of security with anything you do. I would suggest that there’s the possibility that security on your home computer is probably riskier than a Cloud like Google Drive or Dropbox.

Tom: Oh absolutely. Somebody could break into your home and steal your computer, they’ve got everything that’s on your computer and even if you have it encrypted with passwords, most people unfortunately don’t change their passwords very often, or they have something really easy like their birth date or the name of their dog or their first born kid

Fisher: Or 1,2,3,4!

Tom:  Oh hey, I’ve actually had customers call and say “Hey, I need you to download this stuff off my phone I want it on a video DVD.” In fact, we tell them “Change your password, send that to us and then change it back so that we don’t have it.” They say “Oh no, it’s easy it’s just 1,2,3,4.”

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: And I’m going “Okay you just gave me your password. What other devices do you have with the same password?” 

Fisher: [Laughing]

Tom: So, security is important. I have never heard of a breach on the Cloud. I’m sure some day it will happen. But these guys, they’ve learned from all the mistakes from Target, Home Depot, that their stuff is so redundant now.  Nothing’s perfect. But I mean it’s getting close to being there. But it’s just so nice that any time you need anything its right there on Dropbox. And like I mentioned in the first segment, if you have relatives and you’re working on things with that, you want to collaborate. You open up a Dropbox folder that everybody has access to.

So they can drop photos in, you can drop photos in. They can look at it instantly.  There’s not “send” or not getting disks or mailing them. It saves you so much time, it’s just absolutely a must have. Everybody needs to have a Cloud and as you mentioned, it’s not expensive, a lot of Clouds are even free if you keep your memory under so much. We have tons because we do lots of video for people, but yet we spend less than $100 a year, that’s less than $10 a month for a terabyte worth of storage.

So it’s awesome if you can get two Clouds, make sure the Clouds aren’t related whether you’re on Google drive, Icloud, Dropbox, Lightjar... get them. 

Fisher: Alright. Good stuff Tom, thanks for coming on.

Tom: Glad to be here.

Fisher: We’ve covered a lot of ground this week. Thanks once again to Ireland’s Senator Jillian Van Turnhout, for talking to us about what’s happening in Ireland with Irish research as we get ready for St. Patty’s Day. Also, to Denise May Levernick who is offering a family grant to students who are in genealogy, and to Dan Debenham host and producer of the “Relative Race” a great new reality show everybody is raving about.

Talk to you next week and remember as far as everyone knows... we’re a nice normal family!

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