Episode 131 - Advances in Irish Ancestry for St. Patrick's Day & The Freedom Bureau Project Advances African American Research

podcast episode Mar 21, 2016

Fisher opens this week's show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, talking about the genealogy of the fictional Crawley family of "Downton" Abbey fame.  It's received a lot of attention on the Extreme Genes Facebook page.  David then talks about another incredible discovery, by a tourist no less, of a coin dating back to the early second century AD.  Who found it and where is it now?  David explains.  David then gives the history of St. Patrick's Day.  (Bet you didn't know St. Patrick wasn't even Irish!)  Hear David's quick summary on the man for whom the holiday is named.  David's Tech Tip is an ancestral "longevity chart."  What is it and how does it work?  Listen to the podcast to find out. David also shares this week's guest user free database from AmericanAncestors.org.

Next up is guest Judy Lucey, also of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.   Judy and an NEHGS colleague are currently working on a handbook for Irish research.  The good news is (as we learned from Ireland Senator Jillian Van Turnhout last week) Irish records are hitting the internet in record numbers right now.  So while Irish research in the past has been very difficult, things are dramatically improving.  Judy will have some specifics and stories from the "Old Country" in this segment of the show.

The good news keeps coming in the next segment, with Thom Reed of FamilySearch.org.  Thom is immersed in the Freedman Bureau Project which began last June.  These records give the first extensive account of the freed slaves in the years immediately following emancipation.  (And because the destruction of the South was so overwhelming, many poor whites sought services from the government and are included as well.)  Thom explains how these records are breaking down the walls in African-American research and fills us in on the present status of the indexing project.  Where can you find these records and how can you help the project?  Thom has the answers.

Then, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com talks preservation.  This week, Tom does some myth busting.  For instance "disks are going away." Not so, says Tom!  Hear his explanation.  He'll also explain how salvageable many disks really are.  (You won't believe the damage he's seen!)  He then takes aim at the myth that thumb drives are a great permanent storage solution.  Tom tells you why, when it comes to thumb drives, you should be afraid... VERY afraid!

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

Transcript of Episode 131

Host Scott Fisher with guest David Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 131

Fisher: Welcome back to another spine-tingling episode of “Extreme Genes,” America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com!

I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And I’m very excited once again of course this week with our guests because we’ve got Judy Lucey on the show, from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. She’s going to be talking about how to research your Irish ancestors, and there has been huge changes going on with that. You know, in the past it’s been very difficult because of burned census records and the like.

Judy’s going to bring us up to speed on what’s happening with Irish research. As we celebrate, shall we just say, the weekend following St. Patrick’s Day.  And then later in the show we’re going to talk to Thom Reed, from FamilySearch.org. He’s been involved heavily with the Freedmen’s Bureau Project, and what this is is an indexing of the records of four million slaves and poor whites from the South, who between 1865 and 1872 needed a little help, and the project is making great progress.

We’re going to catch up with him on that, and find out what you might be able to do to help bring this thing to completion. It’s going to be great for African-American researchers in particular. We will catch up with Tom at half past the hour, but right now let’s go to Boston and talk to my good friend, the Chief Genealogist for the New England Historical Society in AmericanAncestors.org, David Allen Lambert.  Hello sir!

David: Hello! Greetings from “Beantown” in post St. Patrick’s Day celebrated Boston.

Fisher: Yes! I bet you that was quite the party there. I’m kind of going through this withdrawal right now David, from “Downton Abbey,” my wife and I have watched this of course for six seasons. We didn’t catch up with it actually until about the third season and then followed it faithfully all the way through to the end. And the other day, I found online, trying to figure out exactly how all the family members of the Crawley Family tied together...

David: ... exactly...

Fisher: ... there’s a Crawley Family Genealogy online.

David: Oh my goodness!

Fisher: Yeah it goes back; remember at the end the third cousin once removed? We had of course Matthew and all these different branches of the family and of course the children, now the grandchildren, and the new husbands in all this.

So, I posted it on our Facebook page with Extreme Genes.  It has been reposted countless times, viewed thousands of times now, it has gone absolutely nuts because everybody loves Downton Abbey.

David: Well, I love Downton Abbey now too, but I must say I’ve only been a fan since Christmas time where I sat down, we watched season 1, binged watched in about two months the entire series and watched the very last episode the night before it actually aired on TV. So, I’m caught up with the clan completely

Fisher: What a great show it was, and I’m looking forward to what Julian Fellowes comes up with next because he’s got a deal with NBC for a show called “The Gilded Age” which is going to talk about New York City in the 1880s and it’s going to be on network television.

David: Oh that’s going to be wonderful.

Fisher: Coming out next year.

David: Well there’s gold found everywhere, if it’s not on TV it’s out in the Eastern part of Galilee. I don’t know if you saw the story about the two thousand year old Roman coin?

Fisher: Yes!

David: That’s amazing! Laurie Raymond, while out hiking, looked down and found this coin that dates to around 107 AD of the former Emperor Traygen, which was an image that was in honour of him by the then-current Emperor Augustus. I mean, I was a metal detector kid, I still use it occasionally. I’ve never found anything a thousand years old just lying on the surface.

Fisher: No.

David: But a very lucky lady.

Fisher: Incredible.

David: Yes, so something washed out of a wall or something.

Fisher: And it’s in great shape.

David: Amazing, and apparently it’s so very rare and I understand it is now in the possession of the Department of Antiquities in Israel. So it will be shared by all the people out there and that’s the great thing about archaeology, is that you just never know what the amateurs might find.

Fisher: Exactly.

David: Like the Anglo Saxon Viking hordes that we’ve talking about. Well, going back a little further west from Galilee, northwest actually we go, for a recap on St. Patrick’s Day history.

Do you realize St Patrick’s Day as a holiday didn’t start until 1631 and that was centuries after, in fact twelve centuries after the death of St. Patrick himself. It started as a church feast. But did you realize that St. Patrick really wasn’t from Ireland?

Fisher: No. I did not know that! Where was he from?

David: Yes! He was Roman. We should really be calling it St. Maywyn’s Day or Maewyn’s Day. His real name was not Patrick, it was Maewyn Succat they believe, and he changed it to Patricius which is a Latin term for “Father figure,” and of course because he was a priest and is well known for converting the Druids to Christianity. And the American side of this holiday, well it didn’t come over with the Pilgrims.

The first celebration in America that they can see occurred in your great old state of New York in 1762, and the idea of wearing green doesn’t go back to the Leprechauns. It actually dates from about 1798 during the Irish rebellion.

Fisher: Wow!

David: Gave me a little bit of a wakeup call of what I knew of my own Irish heritage.

Fisher: Well, Happy Maewyn’s Day 

David: Exactly! Well, you know I’ll tell you we’re talking about things trending on DL Genealogist on Twitter and I’ve got a lot of followers and I follow a lot of people follow back. But this tech-tip that I came up with on the back of a Post It note actually was to create a “longevity chart.”  Well it’s trending and being re-tweeted all over the place.

It’s a simple idea as I told you. I just took a regular Genealogy chart or a Pedigree chart as some people would call it, and instead of putting in the names, I put in the age at death of my parents, grandparents, great grandparents and great, great grandparents and you look at it and realize how different of a focus we’re looking at genealogy and if somebody died like, they were shot, or killed in a war, or suicide, circle that number because that’s not a basis. But I look at it and I say “Oh my God! The average mean age that I could live to doesn’t look like I’m going to push 90.”

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah right.

David: It’s a fun little tech-tip, it’s free, something to do and of course on AmericanAncestors.org, as a guest user you can get our free databases and the ones we’re highlighting this week include, Brooksville, Maine, and Farmington Maine, which are records from the 18th and 19th century of their births, marriages, and deaths.

That’s all I have for this week from Beantown. I’ll look forward to talking to you next week!

Fisher: Alright David, great stuff as always and have a Happy St. Maewyn’s Day!

David: The same to you Sir.

Fisher: And coming up next, another member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society team, Judy Lucey, is going to be talking about your Irish research coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. 

Extreme Genes, Segment 2 Episode 131

Host Scott Fisher with guest Judy Lucey

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

 It is Fisher here and I'm talking to Judy Lucey with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, one of our friends there we've had on before and Judy is in the process of working with a colleague on a handbook for Irish Genealogy. And Judy, welcome back to the show nice to have you again!

Judy: Well, thank you Scott. It's great to be here.

Fisher: Have you been wearing green around the office this past week, did people get pinched, what was the story?

Judy: Well, actually, I'm wearing a bit of green today. Yes, this is the time of the year where the color green is very popular. A lot of my colleagues and myself are wearing our little green outfits or little buttons that say, 'I'm Irish for the day.'

Fisher: [Laughs] So no pinching is allowed?

Judy: Not in the library, no.

Fisher: Right. That would be improper.

Judy: Yeah. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah, we can't have that. Well, this is exciting, last week on the show we had Senator Jillian Van Turnhout from Ireland on. Talking about all the things the government is doing to improve Irish research over there for Irish Americans. And, of course, they’re doing all they can so that they'll get more tourism out of it.

Judy: That's exactly what they want to do.

Fisher: Yeah, and so, as a result of that, I would imagine as you work on this handbook, things are changing really fast, what do people of Irish ancestry need to know as things are evolving?

Judy: Well, first of all, things are evolving very rapidly and I think when we look in the context of time, from say, the last few years when nothing of Irish records were really online, very little, to today, there's just been this huge explosion, and then in the last two weeks the biggest thing to come online has been the Roman Catholic Parish Registers.

Fisher: That is so huge. I mean, people have waited for that forever.

Judy: Oh, they have! And I remember when I first started out in Irish. I had to physically go to Ireland to use those records.

Fisher: Yes.

Judy: They were on microfilm at the national library in Dublin, and last year the national library scanned those microfilm images, and now they're online, but Ancestry and Find My Past have taken it one step further and have indexed those records.

Fisher: Wow! And so, this is now all available. It’s interesting because you know, you would think about the cost of actually going to Ireland, and I think many of us wouldn't hesitate to do it, but sometimes the cost of actually paying to get these records online we would hesitate.

Judy: I know exactly. And if they are both on subscription websites so you do need to pay to use them. However, I think Find My Past is now going to offer that index to the Parish Registers for free permanently.

Fisher: Wow. Wow.

Judy: So that will be a great plus for people who just want to go through and look at them and see if they can find their Irish ancestors.

Fisher: Now, for people who aren't familiar, the issue with Irish research has to do with the fact that the Irish actually burned their censuses records back in the day.

Judy: Yes they did. Back in 1922 during the Irish Civil War there was an explosion and fire at the public record office in Dublin, which was in the Four Courts building. At that time they housed the Irish censuses there. And the censuses from 1821 to ‘51 pretty much went up in smoke. There are some fragments, and it’s really a shame because the Irish census records were probably the best censuses in the world at the time. It listed everyone in the household, and I've seen those fragments, and one wants to cry at the loss. And in the latter half of the 19th century, they were destroyed by the Irish government.

Fisher: Yes, and what was their reasoning behind that?

Judy: I'm not quite sure if it was bureaucratic bungling, but it’s simply I think they used some of it for pulp or paper during World War I. They’re such precious documents, but I don't think it was thought of at the time and I don't think it was intentional, I think it was accidental. I think they thought there was another copy available, but I'm not really sure of the historical details.

Fisher: Boy, talk about bungling huh? Unbelievable!

Judy: Absolutely.

Fisher: So what else has come out that that people have to be aware of?

Judy: Well, in addition to the church records, there are some Protestant records online, although they're mostly transcriptions, and again, those are in subscription websites. A lot of the other records, the 1901 and 1911 censuses which are the first full censuses for Ireland, they are online and are free at the National Archives of Ireland. If you have really interesting ancestors, the Irish prison registers have come online. And I have found a few of my own ancestors in those. So, those are very interesting.

Fisher: What were people in prison for mostly in those times?

Judy: Well, I think the British were trying to keep a very tight rein on the Irish, and so, the slightest infraction, you could be arrested for. So, whether it was for stealing your neighbours chicken, or breaking a window. In my case, my own ancestor, my great grandfather assaulted a local police constable in his town and was sent to the jail for two weeks.

Fisher: And so, you were able to find that record. That's awesome!

Judy: Yes, and then two months later he was on a boat to America, so, now I know the reason why.

Fisher: [Laughs] Wow! That had to be great find then. Yes, that would tell you a story right there, wouldn't it?

Judy: It really was. I mean, I had heard about my great grandfather in stories from my grandfather and my father, but sometimes it’s hard to separate fact from fiction, but that certainly tells a little bit of a tale about the Irish rebel that he was.

Fisher: Was the grandfather and your father, were they aware of this story?

Judy: I don't think they were aware of the prison record. I think they were aware that he had some difficulties in Ireland, some trouble, but no one ever really talked about what it was, and then, I discovered that when the prison registers went online. I happened to go through them thinking that, well, you know, it might be an interesting source to see if I could find anything, and lo and behold! There he was, in County Cork in the city jail for two weeks.

Fisher: That's awesome. What a great find.

Judy: It’s a great find.

Fisher: Now, you mentioned land records as well. Those are recent releases?

Judy: Those have been online for a bit of time, probably in the last couple of years, and the land records, particularly what's called, Griffith’s Valuation. It’s a land and tax set of records that were done during the time of the famine, and they serve as a census substitute, really.  Now, because of the loss of the census records and what it can do for 19th century research, it can actually identify the piece of property that your ancestor was on. It was a sort of a valuation of the property and the occupiers of each lot of land in Ireland.

Fisher: So, whether they owned it or whether they were just renting there.

Judy: Right. So, whether they owned it and primarily, most people in Ireland did not own land. They were either tenants at will or they leased their property.

Fisher: That's exciting stuff. So, you could actually find the exact location where your ancestors lived, and go over and visit it.

Judy: And I had people do that, and then they shared their photographs in front of the ancestral home or what was left of the lot, and have sent me their photographs. That's really the fun part of helping people with their ancestry; it’s when you have something like that.

Fisher: Yeah, that really gets personal, doesn't it?

Judy: It really does. And for Irish-Americans, I think that a really important part of discovering your Irish ancestors’ origins is being able to go over there, and to stand on that little lot of land where your ancestors once lived.

Fisher: And isn't it exciting that the government over there is recognizing it’s a good thing for them too, so they're helping us.

Judy: I know, and it’s great. Nothing like this I don't think would ever be possible 15 or 20 years ago when I was starting out, and I think it’s just fabulous, what not only the Irish government, but the Irish people, there's been a real renewed interest in Irish Genealogy.

Fisher: Now Judy, what about probate records in Ireland?

Judy: Well, probate is interesting. A lot of the pre-1900 probate records were destroyed in that great fire in 1922. Indexes survived. People can certainly use the indexes, but for the most part, a lot of wills were destroyed. There are some that have survived, and those are in Northern Ireland. In Ulster, for example, the public record office of Northern Ireland, Belfast has taken and indexed 1858 to about the 1920s or 1930s probate records and put those online. They've indexed them, and then they've, if there's an image available, they've scanned the image and put them up. It’s just an abstract of it, not the actual will, but it just an abstract.

Fisher: Yeah, that's helpful though.

Judy: It is. It’s extremely helpful. I recently helped someone find one online just last week, here in the library. It was really exciting.

Fisher: So, tell me one of your greatest Irish stories from your ancestry. You mentioned to me off-air that your father's line is full Irish. What have you found that just blew your mind?

Judy: Well, I had always thought most of my Irish came over either during the famine or afterwards, and it wasn't until I was working on my grandmother's line. My grandmother wasn't born in the United States. She was born in Atlantic, Canada, and when I decided to research her line, she was from Newfoundland, and what I discovered was that my Irish ancestors through my paternal grandmother actually arrived in North America, probably sometime in the late 18th century or early 19th century, and that they were part of a group of Irish families that had helped found and discover this little fishing village in Newfoundland. So, my Irish roots actually go very deep in Atlantic, Canada, which I was very surprised about.

I had no idea of any of this, because my grandmother never spoke of her background. So, that was very exciting for me, because I think we typically think of Irish coming over in the famine or after the famine years, but a lot of Irish were here in the 17th century. Here in Boston, we can find plenty of examples of Irish in the records. So, for me to find those kinds of deep Irish roots, long before the famine here in North America was very exciting for me. I actually went up there and visited the place and stood on the piece of land where my grandmother was born.

Fisher: How'd that feel?

Judy: It was bitter-sweet. You know, it was a small village. All of the people made their living through fishing, and I kind of understood why they had to leave, because of the economic downturn, and also just that life must have been very hard for them. So, it was exciting to see it. I had heard about it through my grandmother and her sisters, but to go there was really...I was very glad that I did it.

Fisher: How far back do you think a typical person could expect to go with their Irish research if they're just getting started today?

Judy: For Irish Catholics, probably maybe about 1800. For people with Protestant, it might be about the same. You know, a lot of people want to get back further, it’s just going to be depending upon the place where your ancestor is from and the records, and how far back they go.

Fisher: She's Judy Lucey from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. She's working on a handbook for Irish Genealogy. It's going to be out when, Judy?

Judy: Late spring.

Fisher: Thank you so much for your time and coming on and sharing all this with us.

Judy: Well, thank you, Scott. Thanks for having me.

Fisher: And, coming up next, The Freedmen’s Bureau records are behind schedule when it comes to indexing. This has to do with all the freed slaves and many others. We'll talk to Thom Reed from FamilySearch.org about it, coming up next in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Extreme Genes, Segment 3 Episode 131

Host Scott Fisher with guest Thom Reed

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

It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, and you know it is so exciting always to be talking about all these different ethnicities and backgrounds as people try and find their ancestors.

We’ve talked Irish today and we’re going to talk African-American right now with an incredible project that I think is going to be life changing for a lot of people looking for African-American ancestry.  And on the line right now from FamilySearch.org is my good friend Thom Reed. Hi Thom! How are you? Welcome to the show!

Thom: Hey! Thank you for having me. I appreciate being on today.

Fisher: Tell me about the ‘Freedmen’s Bureau Project.’ This is a very big deal.

Thom: Very, very, very big deal. It’s monumental for those who are searching for African-American roots because the project aims to take records from the period between 1865 and 1872 that were kept by the Freedmen’s Bureau, or the Bureau of Refugees ‘Freedmen and Abandoned Lands’ were their official name, and take these records that have been in the national archives for years, were converted to microfilm in the 70’s and then again in 2000, and make these records now searchable online for anyone who has family members so that they could type in the information and actually pull up documents.

For years in the African-American community, as you’ve done family history research, you run into what’s called ‘The Brick Wall’ which is the 1870s census. The first time that African-American’s were documented in federal records besides the bureau records,

Fisher: Right.

Thom: the records that we have online. So now you can trace your genealogy typically back to 1870, but once you get there, it gets kind of that dark period where it’s hard to find records. There’s nothing for your family. But these records provide that bridge and just bring light for millions of Americans.   At the time of Emancipation there were nearly four million slaves. They became free and they needed services. They needed things like schooling, and healthcare, and education, and the Bureau documented all this. They wrote for the first time ever, names of individuals. They weren’t just tick marks in the 1850 census, but now they were actually names, and they had family relationships, and they had occupations associated with them, and where they lived, and when they were married. This provides a treasure trove of information that’s invaluable for those doing African-American family history research and the projects just aims to take these digital images, transcribe and index them, and make them freely available and searchable for anybody who wants to do this research.


Fisher: Now you’re working on the indexing project right now and I know when we ran into each other at Roots Tech you were saying “Oh my gosh, we’re behind!” because you’re working in a partnership with the Smithsonian, right?

Thom: Yes. Since we launched on June 19th 2015 which is actually a significant day in African-American history because it’s Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, back in 1865 when the slaves found out they were finally free. So in 2015, the 150th anniversary of June-teenth, we announced this project in partnership with this Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American history and culture and the Afro-American Historic and Genealogical Society, and those two groups have been helping us have events around the country, walking through their societies or with different organizations to actually get people together to volunteer and index these records.

The challenge though is, these records are not simple to index, unlike maybe your traditional censuses or death records, one that’s handwritten a lot of times in cursive, older kind of arcane language in some regards.

Fisher: Right.

Thom:  It makes it so much tougher, so we struggled a little early on with the project in getting all these records digitized kind of according to our timeline. Our goal is to have all the records indexed and readably available by June 19th, and then it takes a few months after that to publish all the records and get them online because on September 24th the Smithsonian’s opening the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington DC, and as our gift from FamilySearch.org to them as a partner we want to give them this database complete, ready, searchable for them to use.

Fisher: And even before that though it will be available online, yes?

Thom: Absolutely. So as we come across records we do these kind of indifferent groups of records and for example, since June 19th last year the Freedman Bureau field office marriage records have now been indexed and published on FamilySearch.org that’s where all of these records will reside and as we complete other projects, for example we’ve completed recently, hospital and patient records, we’ve done some court records, applications of rations issued, those kinds of documents. We finished the indexing and we are just in the publication process right now so we look forward to seeing those records online here in the next few weeks, and then as we complete more and more projects they’ll be published online with the goal of completing all the indexing and arbitration by June 19th and then having everything published and ready available by September this year.

Fisher: Boy that’s exciting stuff. And you know, it’s not just the 4 million slaves that had been freed there, there are a lot of impoverished whites as well. Now what’s their involvement in this?

Thom: Well you know, at the time during the Freedmen’s Bureau era, many were displaced by the armies during the Civil War and they came to the Bureau seeking help as well, so there are families, not only African-American, but white families who are documented in these records. So it provides a lot of historical context and a lot of detail that maybe would be lost if we didn’t have these records that had been preserved so carefully by the National Archives, and then FamilySearch was able to acquire.

So a lot of times people say “Is this project just for African-Americans?” No, it’s for all Americans. It’s anybody who’s researching their family and anyone can be involved. You don’t have to be African-American, you don’t have to be of any kind of faith background or genealogical expertise, you can participate in this project by helping us index, and then who knows, you may be like me, searching for family who are in these records where their line stops in the 1870 census and hopefully somebody will index these records, the name of your ancestors specifically, so that in the next couple of months you’ll be able to type in that name and find that Tom Banes in Montgomery County Mississippi, that’s my ancestor that I’m looking for in these specific records.

Fisher: Wow.

Thom: So we’re happy to have anybody and everybody who wants to participate involved in this project.

Fisher: So these were freed slaves back from 1865 getting actually registered for the first time during this Freedmen’s period. Thom, how long have you been looking for them?

Thom: Well for my people specifically, I’ve been looking for them for probably the last two or three years. I’m still kind of new to Genealogy Research myself, but once I got that 1870 census, I’ve really been wanting and thirsting to get into these records and find my family who I knew were most likely born into slavery and received services during this period of time from the Bureau, and I’m just one of many.

Fisher: Sure.

Thom:  I know there’s Doctor Cece, in Los Angeles who I helped with some of his family history research, runs into the same thing. You hear some of the famous genealogists who are on TV talking about this ‘Brick Wall’ that everybody faces, and so it’s so important that we find the names of these individuals, but we can only find them if individuals help us finish the indexing in this project.

Fisher: Now so far you are almost two thirds done though two thirds of it is not yet available on FamilySearch.org but hopefully by June we’ll be seeing all of it, which is very cool. Where do people go if they want to be part of the volunteer effort?

Thom: If you want to get started with volunteering with this project, you can go to our website DiscoverFreedmen.org that’s DiscoverFreedmen.org That’s Freedmen (MEN) and you can click on the ‘Get Involved’ button and volunteer now. It takes you through the steps. You can see the progress of the project there as well as we have kind of a calendar. As of today it’s 63% but maybe when this airs we’ll be much closer to our goal.

Fisher: Great stuff. We’ll make sure we have the link for that on our Facebook page and on ExtremeGenes.com

Thom: Thank you.

Fisher: That’s Thom Reed, from FamilySearch.org. Thom, thanks for coming on and we can’t wait to hear of the completion and the rollout of all the records as a whole. That’s going to be a great day.

Thom: Thank you, I appreciate it.

Fisher: And coming up next it’s Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. He’s going to be talking about some interesting myths that come up concerning preservation, that’s in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Extreme Genes, Segment 4 Episode 131

Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com

Fisher here the Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. He is our Preservation Authority, and today we’re doing a little “Myth Busting.” Tom, because we have some people that are “misunderstanding” some of the instructions that you’ve been sharing over the last couple of years.

Tom: And I try to do all my instructions in English, so I don’t know what the problem is.

Fisher: [Laughing]

Tom: One of the biggest things, we just did a tradeshow this last weekend, people would come up and say “Hey, I don’t want anything on a disk because disks are going away. Everyplace I read they’re not going to have disks anymore.”

That is a huge “myth”

Fisher: Yeah, exactly.

Tom: This is not like VHS or Beta where there’s a war and somebody’s going to be victorious and somebody else is going to die. Just like BluRay, when they had BluRay with Warner Brothers and Sony, Sony won out and Warner Brothers went away. Disks are here to stay. The reason is, people learn from past mistakes.  If you buy the newest, latest BluRay player they will not only play BluRays, they’ll play your old DVD’s, they’ll play your CD’s, they’ll play anything.

So they’re learning to be backwards compatible so you shouldn’t have a problem. The only time you’ll have a problem is if you get some of weird after-market disk that for some reason doesn’t play on certain machines then that’s usually because it’s such an old disk, it’s got problems with it, the foil’s starting to go away. Because people don’t understand it’s not a rock except of course the course one which we’ll get into so they will go away.

Disks, whether they’re CD’s, DVD’s, BluRays are actually burned with a laser, what we call the one off disk. The ones you’d use at home to duplicate. The most duplicating centers would make for you; they’re actually done with a laser like a red laser. The new ones are going to be a green lasers and what it does is it takes dye that’s in there, it’s like an LCD watch and turns it on or off, so it’s either a 0 or 1, and since it is a laser, laser is light and I’ve had people that have left their CD’s on their dashboard upside down.

Fisher: Oh boy, yeah.

Tom: And they’ll say “Well, no it’s not warped everything should be fine.” Well, basically the sun is a giant laser and it erased your entire disk!

Fisher: Some people are thinking of it like an old record.

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: A 33.

Tom: Right. If it’s not warped it should play. That’s not the case.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: So I mean, you could leave it on your window sill, you can have it on your kitchen drain-board and if the sun happens to come through part of the day and shine on that, there’s a chance you could erase your disk.

Fisher: Argh!

Tom: So, two things are; don’t put it where the sun’s going to pass. Make sure that the dye side is down so the label side is up because then you have a less chance of damaging it.

Fisher: So essentially, put it where the sun don’t shine.

Tom: Exactly! [Laughs] can we say that on the air?

Fisher: I think we just did.

Tom: Okay, so basically and this is a thing we need to get back to, we haven’t talked about in a long time. People are confused how a disk is actually made up. Even though the laser reads it from the bottom, your information is closer to the label on the top.

Fisher: Huh!

Tom: It’s just a way the way that a disk is made. There’s a big piece of polycarbonate on the bottom for the laser to go through to read the zeros and read the ones. But actually that layer is very close to the top. So I’ve told people this and I’ve had people bring us in a disk that needs to be resurfaced because it got scratched or they tried cleaning it with toothpaste and all kinds of weird things.

You can scrape a paper clip on top of even a Disney DVD, any kind of a DVD and scratch it, and its toast. Or you can take a knife on the under-side which is where the laser reads from and make a big gouge in it and I can still fix it and it will still play.

Fisher: Really?

Tom: Because I haven’t gotten into the foil layer. So as long as you don’t hit into the foil layer, you’re fine, and if you’ve got that’s facing up and you’re looking at it and it’s clean, there’s no dirt on it but it’s still skipping the best thing to do is hold is up to a light, with the label side towards the light and see if you can see little pin-holes coming through. Because what that’s telling you is that some of the foil has been damaged. It can be like a long line where it’s actually expanded and cracked like your sidewalk would do.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: It could be pin-holes and this is really funny, we get ones that have teeth marks in them where kids have actually bit the disk!

Fisher: [Laughs] wow.

Tom: And depending where they are on the disk, usually they’ll still play up to that part because disks are played from the inside out.  They’re not like vinyl played from the outside in. So after the break we’ll go into some more details about different things you can do to protect your disks and ways to store.

Fisher: All right, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Extreme Genes, Segment 5 Episode 131

Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: We’re back! Final segment of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show; we’re talking preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com and we’re doing a little “Myth Busting” today because it must be kind of interesting for you Tom to have people come into your store and say “Hey, I heard you say this” when you didn’t say this.

Tom: [Laughs]

Fisher: “I heard you say that.” when you didn’t say that. We were just talking about people who believe that disks are going away.

Tom:  Exactly.

Fisher: Now you had another one too.

Tom: Right. A lot of myth busting is about “thumb drives” we’ve talked a lot of about thumb drives on the air and I’ve always said “That’s not a good place to keep stuff permanently.”

Fisher: Right.

Tom: Because they’re volatile. The biggest thing you want to understand about thumb drives... I have one in my pocket that I’ve had for about probably at least five years. You told me off air that you have the same situation.

Fisher: Maybe seven or eight.

Tom: Yeah, never had a problem with it. The thing is you have to realize that thumb drives are like cars. You can have a Yugo thumbdrive which is what they pass out at the tradeshows, home shows and different fairs because they so inexpensive, because the silicone that they use is really cheap. The components they use are really cheap, so all these things cause problems with volatility on them. This is a good example of “What you pay for is what you get.”

Fisher: Right.

Tom: If they’re handing them out to you for free, yeah they’re okay to use around your home to transfer from one computer to another but I wouldn’t put my permanent stuff on them and expect them to last because they won’t, and a lot of times what they do is when they make these thumb drives that they hand out at trade shows, they permanently put a little ROM-Chip on them that has information when you plug it in your computer it automatically opens up your computer to the internet and goes to their website as an advertisement.

Sometimes they just have like quick time movies on them that come up and play on your computer, it’s not going to hurt your computer, it’s just that this thing is on a ROM-Chip so it might say it’s a 15MB or GB  or whatever size you’re looking for and since they have a ROM-Chip which is read-only memory, then the RAM which is read-write and erase is going to be so small and they don’t have to use very good components because the ROM is the main thing that’s all they care about is to show you the advertisement.

Fisher: Sure yeah.

Tom: So we have them around for little things if we need to transfer something off from one computer to another. “Scan Disk” is good but it might not be as good as the other ones. Just go and read the reviews on them. Make you buy a decent one and like I say “If the price is too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.”

Fisher: Right.

Tom: There’s a lot of information, Video Maker which we talk a lot about on air, they’re always reviewing things. They’ve got a lot of reviews where they’ve gone in and studied thumb drives. You can just go online and type in Google “Thumb Drive Reports” and you won’t believe the pages that come up, that these people... it’s like they have nothing better to do, they just sit and test all this stuff.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: They just sit and run this thumb drive... do this to it and that to it... and see which ones fail, what caused the problems. But if you look at big places like Facebook, they store all their stuff on BluRay disks they don’t use thumb drives. They can do whatever they want because they’ve got the money but they use BluRay disks because it’s the less volatile media.

But like I say, even if you get a really good thumb-drive like we have, I still back it up. I put stuff on it whether it’s calendar or whatever and immediately do what we teach everybody to do, the trifecta is, you want something on a disk a good Taiyo Yuden disk that’s going to last forever, you want it on a hard drive and you want it on two Clouds and make sure your two Clouds aren’t related, as we talked about.

Drop Box is great, I love Drop Box. We have our own that’s called Light Jar which is basically piggy backed on Google. We take the Google frame, put it on top of it so you don’t want to say “Oh, I‘ve got Light Jar and I’ve got Google.” because really you don’t. They’re both on the same server.

Fisher: Yeah right.

Tom: So even though Google has them all over the country, if Google ever went down we’d probably be in a nuclear war so it really doesn’t matter anymore.

Fisher: Wow that’s frightening.

Tom: I know. So you want to be careful. Remember, Hard Drive, Disk, Cloud, Cloud and you’ll be good and everything will be taken care of, and use your thumb drive sparingly.

Fisher: Thanks, Tom.

Tom: Thank you.

Fisher: Hey, that’s a wrap for this week. Thanks once again to Judy Lucey from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and Thom Reed from FamilySearch.org for filling us in on what’s going on in their world. If you missed any of it you can catch the podcast at iTunes, iHeart Radio’s Talk Channel, and ExtremeGenes.com

Hey, and don’t forget we’re getting close to the time you’ve got to get signed up for our Fall Foliage Cruise on Royal Caribbean. David Allen Lambert and myself will be talking about The Revolution in Boston and the Loyalists who went to Nova Scotia. It’s going to be a lot of fun! Find out more on our Facebook page.

Take care, we’ll talk to you again next week and remember, as far as everyone knows we’re a nice, normal, family!

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