Episode 137 - 1838 Sale of Woman’s Slave Ancestors By Jesuit Priests Saves Georgetown University from Bankruptcy

podcast episode May 02, 2016

Fisher opens the show with a shout out to two “genies” who follow the show on Facebook. From a photo of Fisher’s father and grandparents in the 1920s, they were able to identify the year, model, and make of Fisher’s grandfather’s car in the background. Find out what the car was, and in what year the photo was likely taken. David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, then joins the show. He kicks off “Family Histoire News” with the story of the birth of a girl in Idaho. David explains the genealogical uniqueness of this baby! David then talks about new “baby naming services” that are springing up all over the world. You won’t believe what one Swiss firm will charge you to come up with the ideal name for your child! Also, a remarkable tee shirt has emerged to help world travelers everywhere. What’s making this piece of apparent such a hot commodity? David will explain. David also has a Tip of the Week, and the latest free guest user database from NEHGS.

In the second and third segments Pat Bayonne Johnson of Spokane, Washington joins Fisher to discuss a story that recently has been making headlines. Pat is an active “genie” and descends from a family of slaves sold by Jesuit priests who, in 1838, ran what is now Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The sale of this family and hundreds of others saved the university from financial ruin. The story has created much discussion over institutional responsibility for both the university and the Catholic Church, discussions on reparation, and a massive genealogical project to find the descendants. It’s a compelling story you won’t want to miss.

Plus, Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority, reviews an outstanding new software for video editing and explains the meaning and importance of “authorship.”

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

Transcript of Episode 137

Host Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 137

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

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

And we’re excited to add another radio station to our growing list of Extreme Genes affiliates around the country.

We’re happy to welcome the Upstate’s Talk Station 1-0-6-3 W-O-R-D in Greenville, South Carolina.

We’re so proud to be part of operations manager and program director Mark Hendrix’s great weekend line up. We know there’s a lot of great family history in South Carolina.  And I’ve got to thank some genies because this past week I went and posted an old photograph from the 1920s.  It was of my dad as a young guy with his parents sitting on a park bench in a park and behind them was my grandfather’s old jalopy, his old car. And I have no idea what kind it was so I posted it and asked some genies to come through and tell me what year, make and model that car was.  And it didn’t take but a couple of hours but Anne Elizabeth Wilder and Janice Luthenburg Simpson came through and said, “That’s a 1926 Buick Coupe.” Very impressive!  So now I’m actually trying to find somebody who owns one so I can take a spin in what my grandfather used to run around in. Unbelievable!

Well later on in the show we’re gonna talk to a lady who is the head of a genealogical society and found out a while back that she is actually the descendent of a family of slaves that were sold by Jesuit priests that ran a college back in the 1830s.  They sold these slaves, among 270 people, to the auction block in New Orleans to raise money to keep that college from going broke. Today that college is still around. It is known as Georgetown University.  You’re gonna want to hear this story with Pat Bayonne Johnson from Spokane, Washington.  That’s coming up in about seven minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show Unbelievable!

But right now let’s check in with my good friend David Allen Lambert, back from his London trip, getting ready to go back on the road again here, actually very soon.  David how are things in Beantown today?

David: They’re doing good. Just touching my feet down before I leave next week for the NGS conference where I’m speaking in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Well I tell you I had a wonderful trip to Europe. I had a wonderful time. It was a genealogy, sightseeing, sore feet, the whole thing all wrapped up into one!

Fisher: [Laughs] Yes and you sent us all sorts of great stuff back. They were posted on Facebook, so check it out... and Twitter.

David: Well some exciting news for a family, the Underdahls family are now welcoming a little girl into the family for the first time in a hundred years.

Fisher: What?!

David: Yeah, apparently this family produces boys, so for the first time since this little girl’s great, great aunt was born back in 1914 there have been no females in the family.  She’s got a beautiful name, Aurelia Marie Anne Underdahl so, “Welcome to the world!”  Hopefully she’ll be one of many happy little girls born into that family and they don’t have to wait another hundred and one years.

Fisher: That’s crazy!

David: She had a very interesting name, but you know if you look at society today you know people sometimes have a lot of trouble naming children.  I mean I told you the story of Davy Jones and the Monkeys which is a story in its own right.

Fisher: [Laughs]

But there’s a company in Switzerland called Erfolgswelle which for $29,000 they will help you name your child.  

Fisher: Really, wait a minute, you would pay $29,000 to a company to help you name your child with a name we can’t even pronounce?

David: I was taking a good stab out of myself. I always say buy American, but “My Name For Life” is a company that would do the same thing for a few hundred dollars.  I wonder if the process of just putting names in a hat still works.

Fisher: Wow.

David: I mean that is what a glorified price tag is. Maybe it’s a really nice Stetson or something.  I’ll tell you with family it is always great to take pictures, but sometimes they can get lost because of moving or a fire or whatever.  There was a person by the name of Oli Lansley in England, who I heard something very interesting when they bought a second-hand sofa armchair at a furniture sale in South London. They found a photo album in the sofa. They were able to return it to Neil Douglas because he lost it 20 years ago during a family move.

Fisher: So it was stuffed in the cushions then? Unbelievable!

David: Apparently yeah. I’m glad to think that somebody didn’t think, “Oh just throw this out, this is a piece of junk.” But they went through the effort to post it online and somebody found it.

You know when I was travelling in Europe I probably could have used something called the “icon speak t-shirt” which has forty universal icons for bathroom, for water, for hospital and it’s going viral with people purchasing these.  It would have come in handy for my limited French when I was in Paris but I bumped around okay.  But if you go to a country where you can’t speak the language this simple t-shirt will allow you to point to something on it and maybe get the help you need....

Fisher: Wow! I love the sound of that. What a great idea.

David: Yeah and I had to put it on my bucket list for the holidays if my family ever let’s me leave the country again. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah.

David: With NEHGS I always try to give you a tech tip, and one of the things, obviously as we’re getting close to the end of the [school] year, how about thinking about how excited you were about when you left school.  Well, how about finding the records when you did go to school?  For me, I tracked down my grandmother's report cards from when she graduated in 1914 a few years back.  How about you? Have you ever got your parents' old school records or report cards?

Fisher: I've got my mom's report cards from the '20’s and '30’s. I've got my own, but I don't have my dad's. This is a great idea!  He graduated high school in 1931 in New Jersey, so I'm going to have to see if they've got those. That would be amazing!

David: It would. And you know some schools don't retain them. So you might be able to get, I mean, in the digital age, they could probably scan them and send them to you if you prove that you're related to the person.  And I got to find out that my grandmother's math grades were no better than mine, even though she rode me on the rail many times over my math grades. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Shame she wasn't alive when I got them.

The NEHGS has our free database for guest users on AmericanAncetors.org, and this includes the American republic baptisms, marriages and deaths.  It spans the 17th century right down to the early 20th century, and this is in conjunction with our partnership with FamilySearch.org.  There were 90, 000 baptisms, 10, 000 deaths and 60, 000 marriages.  I hope to see some people down in NGS in Florida. I'd like to meet some new Extreme Genes listeners, state side.

Fisher: All right, David. Great to talk to you! Have a safe trip. We'll talk to you from Florida, next week.

David: Well, you sure will! Talk to you then.

Fisher: All right. And coming up next in three minutes, we're going to talk to a woman whose ancestors were sold by Jesuit priests at a college in the 1830’s to save that college.  

It still exists today, and that's because of the money they raised from the sale of these slaves. It's known as Georgetown University.  You're going to want to hear this entire story. Coming up next on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show!

Segment 2 Episode 137

Host Scott fisher with guest Pat Bayonne Johnson

Fisher: You know, sometimes when you find an ancestor, you often find a story behind that person that’s just a shocker, and that’s certainly the case with my next guest.   Hi, it’s Fisher, and you’re back with Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and  ExtremeGenes.com.  On the line with me right now from Spokane, Washington, the President of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, Pat Bayonne Johnson.  Hi Pat, welcome to Extreme Genes.

Pat: Hi Scott, thank you, happy to be here!

Fisher: You know I was reading in the New York Times about this incredible story; about a university that we’re all really familiar with, Georgetown University.  I mean every year of course we see them in the NCAA Tournament.  They have a great heritage. But if you go back far enough you’ll find that they almost went away at one point.  And as a result of that, they took extreme measures to make sure that their debts were paid and this involved at least one of your ancestors, Pat.  Tell us the story and give us some of the background on this.

Pat: Well, it involves an entire family, whose last name was Butler, and in 1838 they were enslaved on the St. Inigoes plantation which is owned and operated by the Jesuits, and they were also sold in 1838.  The Jesuits were doing all of this like business, for a number of reasons, mostly economic, and decided to sell the slaves to large plantation owners.  The slaves were purchased for Jesse Bade. The actual purchaser was a former governor, Henry Johnson.

Fisher: What was he governor of, Pat?

Pat: Of Louisiana.

Fisher: Okay.

Pat: I’m originally from Louisiana... New Orleans.

Fisher: Okay.

Pat: So, the slaves were sold on behalf of Henry Bade, but Henry Johnson made the purchases.

They ended up on a plantation in Louisiana by Hugh Mervyn, and they were discovered in 2004 when we were planning a family reunion.

Fisher: So you made the discovery that your ancestor had been among this group of slaves. There were about over 230 of them correct?

Pat: Well the number that the Jesuit priests provided were 272.

Fisher: 272. So the Jesuit Priests, they ran Georgetown University. It was a college at the time in Washington DC.  And as I understand that the Jesuit priests actually tried to get it cleared through Rome, those people who oversaw their institution, and they said well, there are going to be certain guidelines here.  And apparently these local priests did not follow those guidelines in selling them to basically the auction block in New Orleans and shipped them off.  There’s one story there of one of the priests who disapproved of this entirely. Describing one woman on the docks being loaded into the ships, begging and asking “What have I done to deserve this?” and being shipped off to New Orleans.  I mean what a tragic story.

Pat: It is very moving.

Fisher: So when you discovered this, how did this hit you?

Pat: Well, it was quite a shock. We are a big family of Louisiana Roman Catholics, and we have a lot of devoted Catholics in my family, and they had never heard anything about the Catholics being involved in slavery.  

Fisher: Umm hmm. I hadn’t either.

Pat: They didn’t entertain the idea. To say the very least, it was appalling.

Fisher: Yeah, and I would imagine that it was a faith shaker for some people in your family, Yes? 

Pat: Oh yes, definitely. But you know eventually I think they put it aside and they got over it. No one has left the faith because of it.

Fisher: Hmm mm.

Pat: We’ve had people who have left the faith but not had people leave Catholism because of a Jesuit slave.

Fisher: Now you mentioned that this was one family in your line, how many members were there, that were shipped down to New Orleans from Washington?

Pat: From Washington, there was um, okay, Mason and Bee bee Butler, and I think eleven children.

Fisher: Wow!

Pat: Actually, there were thirteen children. Two of them were separated from the rest of them.

Fisher: And sold off to some place separate?

Pat: I think they went to another plantation. We find them on the manifest and this would be Bridget and Susan, or Suki as she was called.  They were listed as being on their own, and all the other family members were together, yeah on the manifest.

Fisher: Sure.

Pat: So you have eleven children, plus Mason and Bebe Butler, and then you have the two daughters on their own separate from the group on the manifest.     

Fisher: So, when you're talking about having a big family reunion, you're talking about descendants of this particular group of thirteen?

Pat: Yes. Right the descendants of that particular thirteen people.

Fisher: Now, how many descendants are there today, would you say?

Pat: Ah, I come from a big family. My grandfather had eight children and six of those eight has children, so they have many. I mean I've never counted them.

Fisher: Right. And you're just going back two generations. I mean there's got to be hundreds more when you go back that far, right?

Pat: Oh, yeah! Definitely! The slaves that were discovered in 2004 were my third great grandparents.

So my third great grandparents gave birth to my second great grandmother, and her name is Mary Butler. And Mary had a daughter, who is my first great grandmother, named Rachel.  Rachel married a man named Hicks, James Henry Hicks, and Rachel gave birth to my grandfather, who is Nace Hicks.  So, the name has travelled from 1838 until Nace. The name Nace has been passed through my family for generations, and we didn't know anything about it until we discovered them in 2004.

Fisher: Now that's almost like your own roots story, isn't it?

Pat: It is my own roots story.

Fisher: Yeah.

Pat: Nace Hicks, my grandfather, he only had one son. [Laughs] He named his son Nace. And so, Nace junior named his first son, Nace.  And then Nace junior also had another son who he did name Nace, but he uses it as a middle name.

Fisher: Right. So, it’s almost the Kunta Kinte thing, right, passed all the way through?

Pat: It definitely feels that way.

Fisher: Yeah. Yeah. Well, you being a genealogist, that's probably one of the reasons that you've been so out in front of this. Because really, this story is only starting to break, right now, in the last several months.  And many people are looking at this and going, "Now wait a minute! We have several big things going on here. We have the Catholic Church involved in slavery.  We have a major institution that's still thrives to this day, Georgetown University, that would have gone bankrupt had it not been for the sale of all these people to the auction block in New Orleans, back in 1838.”  So even though it was so long ago, the ripples are still having a major effect and a lot of people are now wanting to get a hold of all the descendants.  And I guess what essentially amounts to a descendant’s organization, yes Pat?

Pat: Yes. The Georgetown memory project was established in November 2015.  I was contacted by Richard Cellini, who's been a mover and shaker in that organization, and at first, he was just looking for a descendant, he found me.  He talked to me and I asked him, "Why do you want to know this? Why do you want to research my ancestors?"  And he said he wanted to find the descendants, he has an association with the university, he has two degrees from Georgetown, and throughout those years he has heard that there were no survivors of 272 slaves that were shipped to Louisiana, and I guess he set out to prove them wrong.

Fisher: Yeah, that's kind of a curious thing, isn't it? [Laughs] Really?

Pat: Yes, it is. And so he, you know, often contacted me and I was willing to work with him. The Georgetown memory book was formed soon after that.  From my blog he also discovered that Judy Riffel was the person who I had hired to help me in my search for my family, for a family reunion.

Fisher: Sure.

Pat: Not knowing any of this other stuff that was going to be there. And I highly recommend her, because I have used her.  I have hired her before, and she found lots of good information for me.  So he hired her to find a descendant of the 272, and I would work with that effort also, but I wanted to research my line.

Fisher: And get to know them.

Pat: My line is the Butler line, and I see my line has spilled over, you know.  Those 272 slaves, because they were shipped and many of them ended up on the same plantation they married each other.

Fisher: So, sometimes you wind up going back into the same lines, right?

Pat: Oh yes! We're just the fifteen people until it has blossomed into at least, two to three hundred, and we haven't added it up because there was a lot of intermarrying between the slaves.

Fisher: Sure. Sure.

Pat: And the slaves had children, and then the children had children. As I said, my grandfather had eight children, and most of them had children.

So there are a lot of descendants and we're just one line. So, I can imagine that the other lines had just as many or more.

Fisher: Wow! It is just an incredible story, and I'm sure it’s just all coming to life with you right now with so many other people getting involved in the story and other descendants coming forward.  You know, this is not unusual. For instance, there was the General Slocum steamboat disaster in New York City at the beginning of the twentieth century, and I think it was like 1,500 people died in that.  And there are still organizations of descendants to remember those people from that experience.  So this sounds like a fantastic project to honor your people who went through a horrendous situation, but have given you, you know a new life in Louisiana as a result. I mean, that's part of who you are.

Pat: Yes. I never forgot my roots.

Fisher: No.

Pat: Even though I've spent, I've spent more time in California. Lived in California from 1964 until 2004 which is when we moved to Spokane.  So I've spent 40 years there as opposed to 21 years in Louisiana.

Fisher: Well, we're going to take a break, Pat, and when we come back, let's talk about some of the efforts people are talking about.  All these complications that have to do with institutional slavery and decisions in the Catholic Church in Georgetown University, and there's even talk of reparations going on.  We want to get your take on that. Coming up when we return with Pat Bayonne Johnson from Spokane, Washington, on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 3 Episode 137

Host Scott Fisher with guest Pat Bayonne Johnson

Fisher: And we are back! Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com.  It is Fisher here, talking to Pat Bayonne Johnson from Spokane, Washington.  She is the president of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, and a descendent of a family from the 270 slaves that were actually sold by Georgetown University or their predecessors at the college back in 1838 to the auction block in New Orleans, in order to save themselves because they were going under financially, some bad moves, and this money actually saved the university.  That’s why Georgetown exists today, and so it’s stirred up a lot of interests because of course you’ve got the Catholic Church involved in it, you’ve got an institution that exists to this day.  And Pat, there’s now this effort to find as many descendants as possible from all these slaves that were sold down to New Orleans, what is happening with that?  There’s been talk of perhaps giving some of the descendents free tuition to attend or something along these lines.  They’re trying to figure out something that could be done not only to honor these people, but to make some kind of reparation.

Pat: Yes. You know when I started this journey in 2004 my main goal was just to tell my family story, that’s all I wanted.  I never had goals of reparation or apologies or any of those things.  And I’m not saying that those are not valid, but that was never my goal. I just wanted to tell my story.

Fisher: To a great extent I think that’s the most important part in honoring and remembering these people because they made a great sacrifice on behalf of everybody who descends from them today.

Pat: Yes. You know I’m just telling this story because it’s not taught in schools. The history is there it just needs to be found and brought to light.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Pat: I mentioned that I was a member of the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California.  In our society we have the saying, “It’s your history; isn’t it time you told your story?”  And when I joined that organization way back, I think probably around 2002, I just took that to heart. That is all I’ve ever wanted to do.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Pat: Now do people deserve reparation for their suffering? Yes.  Not my issue, but yes, I think something is due. I think scholarship is a good idea.

Fisher: Yes, it’s challenging to figure out exactly how do you compensate for something that happened to so many people so long ago. It’s a difficult issue, isn’t it?

Pat: Yes, it is. Yes, how do you go about doing something like that? I find in my family, it’s a very tangled web. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah.

Pat: Finding all of those incentives is going to be a major task in itself and we don’t know how the descendents are going to take this news.  There are many people who don’t know that they’re descendents of the Jesuit slaves. There are many, many people.

Fisher: Now have you had contact with people who descended from some of the other slaves that were involved in this?

Pat: No, I have not. There are not that many people who have been contacted. I think Maxine Croft is one and there are a few others.  We don’t quite know how we’re going to do that just yet. Initially the project was supposed to begin with the 1870s and then go back.  Which will eventually help to go forward also but we don’t know how we’re going to do that yet.

Fisher: Yeah, it’s very complicated.

Pat: We don’t know how receptive people are going to be.

Fisher: So do you ever envision the time where perhaps all the different descendents get together for one huge reunion of all of the people who were shipped to New Orleans from Georgetown?

Pat: That would be wonderful. [Laughs]

Fisher: So tell me, have you discovered anything further about the ancestors; some of the stories that existed or where they were sent off to, what about the plantations, what were the plantation owners like, how were they treated, what have you learned?

Pat: For the most part I don’t know how they were treated on the plantations. We’re still kind of at the beginning of the research because it just started in November.  But we are finding the plantation owners.  Initially when I did the research I just had the phone records that Judy Riffel found, and one of them was an 1851 inventory of the late Jesse Bade and that was when all of my ancestors were there, the ones that were sold to him.  And they were mentioned by; name, color, age, and their value you know in terms of dollars.

Fisher: Right.

Pat: And the next document that she found was in the heirs of Jesse Bade who sold them to the Barrows, and then the Barrows sold them to the Walfolks, so forth and on.  And then the last document that Judy found was the 1838 bill of sale from Thomas Malady to Jesse Bade in 1838.  We can now fill in those blanks 1838 to the 1851-1853 you know whatever.

Fisher: Right, moving forward.

Pat: We kind of have a complete record. It is a lot of information to process.

Fisher: I’ll bet.

Pat: You know the bulk of the records have been found since November, I haven’t really had a chance to go into the plantation records.  I do have copies of those, I do have the inventory, we have newspaper articles, but it’s a lot of information.

Fisher: Sure.

Pat: And I have just not studied any one plantation in great detail.

Fisher: Sure. Now how many documents were actually found at Georgetown?

Pat: We found the 1838 bill of sale. I took all this information because remember we’re preparing for a family reunion.  I sent all this information to my aunt in New York, and she was going to write a story, and I haven’t processed any of this information at all.  The stuff that I got from Judy I just sent right on.

Fisher: Right.

Pat: And she’s the one that plugged in Thomas Malady’s name, and that’s when we found out that Thomas Malady was a Jesuit priest.  And then also she discovered the documents which is called, “The Jesuit plantation project,” and those documents consist of an inventory of the slaves. They list them by the plantations they were on, there were four plantations. They gave the profiles of the slaves, the age, the name, whether they were deceased or not.

Fisher:  Right.

Pat: Also included was a ship manifest and the sheet manifest listed the slaves by name of course, and which ship they were put on to go to Louisiana. My family was on ship number two. I set out to find the name of the ship that my ancestors were on. And then there was also a diary of Brother Moberly, I think that’s not how you would pronounce his name. Father Moberly is how you would pronounce his name.

Fisher: Right.

Pat: And he had spent some time on a couple of the plantations, but it seems to be mostly the one where my family were, which is the St. Inigoes plantation, and there was also a bibliography of all the resources in pertaining to the Jesuit slave holding.  So I copied that documents, it amounts to about an inch thick of paper and later on that document that I copied proved to be the only document available.  Because they have since taken it down; they took it down.

Fisher: Too controversial?

Pat: I have no idea. I understand maybe when I was first contacted, I was told that it had been down about, they had moved about six months.  So it’s been more than that, it’s another what, we’ve been working on this since November, it’s been down since November.

Fisher: So let me ask you this Pat, is this a joyous project at this point or a sad project?

Pat: Oh no way! [Laughs] It’s not a sad project at all. Well, I guess if you could see me, I talk with my hands.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Pat: I don’t want to take all the credit and I really do want to give the names of my Butler team here in Spokane.

Fisher: Sure.

Pat: We have Barbara Braselton, we have Dolly Webb, Mary Holcomb, Carol Anderson, Anita McBride, Pat Eyre, and one other person and her name is Janette Birch.  So that’s my team.

Fisher: Wow, well what a team and what a story! And it’s going to go on for a long, long time.  Pat Bayonne Johnson, thank you so much for your time and sharing your ancestor’s story! It’s a fascinating thing with a lot of different facets to it.

Pat: Thank you very much! I’m glad to tell my story.

Fisher: And coming up next; Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority talking about ways to preserve your family heirlooms on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com

Segment 4 Episode 137

Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: It is preservation time at Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com.  Tom Perry is here, our Preservation Authority. Hi, Tommy, how are you?

Tom: Hellloo. Super duper!

Fisher: You know last week we were talking about some programs that people can use that's cheap and easy to use; you can use for PC and for Mac.  And you were getting into some of these things, and one of them we didn't really have a lot of time to spend on was DaVinci. Tell us about this program.

Tom: Yeah. DaVinci Resolve 12 is an incredible program. I mean, they use it on Star Wars; they use it on incredible programs. So you think, "Ooh, can't afford that!"  Well they actually have a free download.

Fisher: Really? [Laughs]

Tom: It's amazing.

Fisher: That's so awesome!

Tom: Oh, it is! We very lightly touched on it last week. Things like color correction… six months ago you couldn't do your own color correction with a program that cost $1000.  With this you can do it. And it's like a lot of the other things; it’s not really hard to do. It’s just there's a learning curve to it.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: And once you get the hang of it, or have your grandkids help you out with it, it’s actually kind of fun to do; to kind of go and play with your colors.  It will blow your mind! Just like when we did the film for you years and years ago, when you saw the colors come out so much brighter and vivid. You can do that with even your old VHS tapes. It’s amazing!

Fisher: So I don't have to pay you anymore to correct my color?

Tom: Nope, you can do it yourself.

Fisher: If I had just waited a little bit, argh!

Tom: You could have saved sixty dollars!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: But you know, that's what this whole thing's about. I mean, I love doing this radio show and I don't care if anybody ever brings us anything ever again.  I want to teach people how to do this kind of stuff. If you've got a local guy that works with it, that's what you, should be doing. You should support your local people. But if you're in some place where you can't find anybody, and we've talked about what questions to ask, ask the right questions.  We're happy to help you. Even if you just email us questions at [email protected]  I'm happy to answer your questions. You can call us on a phone, you can send us stuff, but whatever you can do yourself, do it yourself. Just get your stuff digitized. Get your stuff done. Even if you save the stuff, like you've mentioned before, when somebody dies, it’s like a library burned out and we need to take care of these things.

Fisher: Well, you know, it’s funny, the other day I came home and my wife was up in a closet and pulling all this stuff down, boxes out. And I said, 'What are you doing?'  She said, "Well, it’s about time we got all these things digitized. You and Tom have been talking about this for so long."  And so now we have these two huge boxes of VHS and the smaller videos and the cameras that went with them as well. We tried to watch some of them and they looked pretty good. Then she said to me, "Ah! I'm so relieved that we're going to get this done." And I said, “Oh, no, no, no honey. We're going to get this started!”

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: That's all this is… it’s you get going on it because it’s going to be a lot of work over a lot of time to just save the different segments that really matter and get rid of the junk, so the stuff becomes useable.  Now with this DaVinci program, does it have a way for you to do titles on it?

Tom: Yeah. In fact, that's one thing that's really important.  We have a lot of people that bring us in film and video; they want music added to it.  And you know back in the '60s and '70s when we were doing VHS transfers from film, you know, we added music, but we have people that come in that say, "Can you please remove this music because it doesn't fit the scene?"  You could have like a funeral scene and you have pop music playing or you can have fireworks going off and it sounds like some sad symphony of somebody who just passed away.  So music is okay to add; it’s just kind of a background type thing, but what you want to do, you want to go in and narrate them. That's more important.  And even if you have old segments of audio tapes, whether they're cassettes reel to reel and sometimes they may not match the scene exactly, but you put this in so they can hear great grandfather talking about things, you can go in and do your own narration.  And the neat thing about multi tracking which you can do in DaVinci is you can go and put different things on different tacks.  So if somebody wants to listen to the narration they can listen to the right channel.  If they want to listen to grandma and grandpa talking they can listen to the left channel.  Just like if you bought the new Star Wars DVD that just came out that has all the things where you can go and hear the Director talking about the scenes. You can do that kind of stuff where you can hear the basic. 

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: It’s amazing what you can do. And the neat thing is, this software is so easy to use.   In fact, after the break, we'll get into it and teach you how you can lay down different audio tracks and keep them separate.  And it just makes it so much more useful in the end.

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

Segment 5 Episode 137

Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And we are back! Final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.  Tom Perry is here from TMCPlace.com, the Preservation Authority. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth.  And we've been talking about this FREE program that they use to shoot all kinds of mega Hollywood shows.  It’s called DaVinci, and you can get it and use it to edit your own digitized home movies and videos.  You can use it, as we've heard from Tom, to narrate and to put up titles. Now talk about titles a little more. We didn't spend much time on that, last segment. 

Tom: You bet! On DaVinci Resolve 12, the free download, you can go in and do all kinds of titles.  You can do the crawls, which go across the bottom of the screen, like on Fox News, or you can do the rolls like you see at the end of a movie type thing.

Fisher: Oh, I could think of all kinds of things you could do with that, “Grandpa's lying here.  He actually did this…” [Laughs]

Tom: [Laughs] Oh, it’s great. It’s fun.  You can put titles anytime, and sometimes they add a lot of character to it, sometimes they're just funny, because maybe there's a cute thing you know about grandpa that everybody else doesn't know and they make it so funny.  If you want to put titles over video and there are a lot of colors, you think, "Well, what do I do? Do I use a light color or dark color?"  Well what you want to do is pick a color that you like that's pleasing, but use a drop shadow. So the drop shadow kind of sets the title out.  So, whether it’s white in the background or black in the background as the video is moving past, you'll still be able to see it okay, because the shadow kind of separates the title from the background.

Fisher: And so that's a simple thing to do?

Tom: Oh, in DaVinci it’s really, really easy. In fact, you can actually go in and animate your text. You can go and set up motion paths and you can make your text follow these motion paths. I mean, you can get as creative as you want to, and it is so much fun when you're doing this kind of stuff yourself.

Fisher: Now where could people get this?

Tom: I believe its DaVinci.com or just go into Google and type in DaVinci Resolve 12 (one two) and then just download the freebie one because that's what most people need.  It’s like walking into the old TV production studios of the old days.  You have your main screen; that is what you're recording and you can have all these other clips on all these other windows so you're seeing a whole bunch of clips.  You don't have to go and click through different things. The technology in just the last few years has just been so good for the consumer that they can do so many things at home now that before we couldn't even dream about doing at home.  Okay so what you want to do after you get all your titles put in, in the right place, then the most important thing which I talk about all the time is, “What's your end user?”

Fisher: Right.

Tom: Is your end user family?  Do you want to put it on YouTube?  What do you want to do with it?

Fisher: It’s always the question of who's your audience?  You've got to know who they are. If you're going to do it for children, it’s obvious that you're going to do something entirely different than for adults.

Tom: Exactly! And the thing that you mentioned before; sometimes you're going to do things for different members of the family like some either your cousins will be uninterested in these things. And that's what's neat about DaVinci Resolve. You can go and set up different timelines for different people and different audio tracks for different people.  You can get as specific as you want or as wide spread as you want to make different ones for the kids, for the aunts, for the uncles.

Fisher: You use the same content basically, to make several different versions of it for the different audiences.

Tom: Exactly! Like if you remember the old days like eight track tapes.  Basically what an eight track tape is, it’s exactly what it sounds like. There were eight lines of audio on it. So you could listen to track one or two all the way through eight.  With DaVinci Resolve 12 it’s the same thing. You have all these different levels of not only audio but video.  So you have all your video clips when you're putting it together; you know what your end use is. So you put everything that the cousins are going to want on this line.  You put everything that everybody else is going to want on this line.  And just make up your different lines and then when you go and make your final DVD or BluRay or however you're going to do it or QuickTime movie which are nice or MP4s, then you just click and run line one.  Then you go back and run line two. Then you go back, run line three, and then you can run all the lines together so everybody’s got what everybody wants. It makes it so sweet and easy.

Fisher: I cannot wait to download this and try it, because you're digitizing all my stuff right now.

Tom: Right!

Fisher: So, I'm ready to learn!

Tom: Great! It's awesome.

Fisher: Hey, thanks Tom! That's it for this week. Thanks once again to Pat Bayonne Johnson from Spokane, Washington for talking to us about the sale of her ancestors by Jesuit priests, from what is today Georgetown University, and how the sale of those ancestors actually saved the university. Incredible story!  If you missed it, catch the podcast. Talk to you again next week. Thanks for joining us, and remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal, family!


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