Episode 141 - A Visit With the Creator of Relative Finder / EG Classic Interview With Apolo Anton Ohno

podcast episode May 30, 2016

Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David is on the road in Albany, New York.  He talks about the devastating 1911 New York Archives fire that destroyed and damaged so many early New York records.  In "Family Histoire News" David and Fisher discuss the recent identification of a sailor lost at Pearl Harbor in 1941, and the return of his remains to his family.  David also has a unique story about the discovery of the funeral cost breakdown from the services for Mary Todd Lincoln in 1882!  In England, a theater where Shakespeare himself once performed has been unearthed.  And it created quite a stir among historians.  Why?  Catch the podcast!  David also has another Tech Tip and NEHGS guest-user free database.

Next, Fisher visits with Dr. Tom Sederburgh, a computer science professor at Brigham Young University.  Dr. Sederburgh is the creator of Relative Finder, a unique software that can tie you to friends and celebrities.  Dr. Sederburgh will share the history of its development and talk about some stories unique to its use.  It's free. We'll tell you where to get it!

Then, it's an Extreme Genes classic interview with Olympic Speed Skating champion Apolo Anton Ohno, now a commentator for NBC.  Apolo is half-Japanese and has learned some fascinating things from that side of his family.  He explains how, as well as what he's doing to break open his mother's unknown background.  It's one of the most talked about segments ever on Extreme Genes!

Then Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com returns to talk preservation.  Who would know there was so much to discuss concerning "thumb drives?!"  Tom shares some important pieces of information on these common storage devices.

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

Transcript of Episode 141

Segment 1 Episode 141 

Host Scott Fisher with David Allen Lambert

 Fisher: And welcome to 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 excited! Later on in the show we’re going to talk to a guy connected with a program I’ve heard a lot about and haven’t had a lot of experience using. It’s called, “Relative Finder.”  And basically, you can put in your tree with those of many other people and find out how you’re related. So if you’ve got an office or a church group or something like that. You can put in all the names and see where these trees come together and you can find out who within your group is related. So that should be a very interesting segment.  Plus we’re going to share an Extreme Genes classic interview, my visit with Olympic champion Apolo Anton Ohno, talking about his background and his search to know more. But right now, let’s check in with my good friend the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org,

David Allen Lambert. How are you David?

David: Live from New York! It’s your Chief Genealogist, here in Albany!

Fisher: [Laughs] Now, Albany is not New York, when you say “Live from New York!”  That is going to throw people off. What are you doing there?

David: Well, NEHGS every other year does a research tour to the New York State Library and Archives. So this is the week they’re out here in sunny Albany, New York.  And it’s been really good, people are finding lots of things. But I can tell you there are some things with the old records that they don’t exist anymore.  Did you ever hear about the fire that happened out here?

Fisher: Yeah. 1911 and of course I’ve dealt with that a lot because I have a lot of New York ancestry. But that fire took out some very important records.

David: A lot of the colonial records are completely gone, and the early Dutch records for New York of course were singed. But it’s going to take many years of digitization and preservation to actually make them all accessible. But it’s a start.  I came across a database that may be very useful for people that are doing New York research.  It’s very hard to get records from the state, sometimes it takes up to a year to get a record.

Fisher: Yes.

David: But they have just recently released the New York state vital record death index from 1957 to 1966.

And on my Twitter feed, @DLGenealogist, you’ll find the link and I’m sure we’ll echo it for Extreme Genes. So that was exciting. But you know getting to “Family Histoire News” I’m going to go right on the other side of the U.S. out to Pearl Harbor where the remains of Albert Hayden a former Navy veteran who perished on Pearl Harbor, on December 7th ’41.  He was aboard the USS Oklahoma, and he is now buried beside his mom, and how’d they do that? DNA.

Fisher: Of course. 

David: It’s amazing.

Fisher: Isn’t that great. And you know all the remains from the Oklahoma were kind of all together, so they buried all these people in a grave of unknowns.  And now they’re able to start going through and say, “Oh this is this person, this is that person.” And they’ve identified five of them so far and it’s only going to get better.

David: Well that’s great. I mean we’re approaching the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and we still have a handful of the vets that were actually there.  So it’s kind of fitting to see their shipmates finally going home with their parents. So that’s amazing.  You know, getting into funerals let’s go ahead a little bit further back in time, in 1882 the late Mary Todd Lincoln passes away, Abraham Lincoln’s beloved wife. The recent acquisition and merger of the Butler Funeral Home with the Boardman-Smith Funeral Home which were both located in Springfield, Illinois has produced a list of the funeral expenses for the late Mary Todd Lincoln.

Fisher: How cool is that!

David: It’s amazing. Including the cost of the casket which cost $225 and $150 for drapes, and a horse drawn carriage for $15, well that’s a pretty good rate but we are talking about 1882 dollars.

Fisher: Right. [Laughs]

David: This is going to be out in a display apparently, talking about the history of the funeral associated with the late 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.

Fisher: How cool is that. That’s amazing.

David: It really is. And you know, I tell you discoveries always turn up, but I always love to dig deep especially with archaeological stories.  So going across the pond to England, remains of the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch, England have been recently found.  And you think of William Shakespeare, you know it’s the 400th anniversary of his death, you’ve got the Globe Theatre which has been recreated on the other side of the Thames in London, and its round.

Fisher: Right.

David: Well, guess what? The Curtain Theatre was not round!

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: It was rectangular. So this has thrown historians through a bit of a loop. Well not a loop, a rectangle! [Laughs]

Fisher: A rectangle! [Laughs] That’s right. They’re going to have to redo some of their books.

David: I think so. I mean they’re finding all sorts of artifacts. They found bone combs to clean out little critters from your hair.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: And they found a lead token to pay for a pint of ale. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be handling lead then drinking or eating anything.

Fisher: No kidding.

David: So that’s exciting stuff that’s happening. For my Tech Tip, and this really kind of comes down to spring cleaning, I found over three hundred old cancelled checks from my late mom and dad.  They go from the 1970s to the 1990s or so and I was going to pitch them.  Then I thought to myself, besides having their signatures, it has the counter signatures of all the people they wrote to, like checks for people who got married, flowers for funerals or vacations we went on, or things they purchased like maybe a bike for me. So it’s really important. It kind of gives you a diary. My parents didn’t keep one, so if I keep these checks in chronological order, some of them are insignificant but it does tell a story that in some cases I forgot about.

Fisher: Interesting.

David: It really is. Speaking of databases that you can make of your own family possessions, NEHGS is always making databases and this week is no exception.  If you go to AmericanAncestors.org you can use the guest user database by signing up as a guest user for free, and we are having currently now working our Western Massachusetts 1790 project.  The key thing on that is, if your ancestors lived in western Massachusetts in 1790, send us in the information, and we’ll include you in the database and help you put together a sketch on your ancestor. That’s it for me this week, I can’t say signing off from Beantown, so I’ll say signing out from Albany, see you next week in Beantown, or from Beantown.

Fisher: All right David, and take care of those kids, it sounds like there’s a lot of learning going on there.

David: There really is. There’s a lot of school groups going through so who knows... these are future historians and archaeologists, and genealogists abounding.

Fisher: All right, talk to you next week, buddy.

David: Take care, my friend. Buh-bye.

Fisher: And coming up next, we’re going to talk about a piece of software called “Relative Finder” that can help you find out if you’re related to lots of people.  Tom Sederberg will have all the details on the way in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 141

Host Scott Fisher with guest Dr. Tom Sederberg

Fisher: Hey, welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com.  It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and with over thirty years of tracing my dead, I’ve often found it interesting to discover that sometimes people you know, maybe somebody who lives right next door or somebody you work with, is related to you.  And it’s often a big surprise, but it’s not that big a surprise to people like Tom Sederberg, my next guest. He is a professor of computer science at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Tom, welcome to Extreme Genes.

Tom: Thank you Scott.

Fisher: I’m excited to have you on because sometime back you were the creator of a program called “Relative Finder.” And this program does exactly what we’re talking about, helps people discover how they might be related to somebody else. This goes way back, Tom. I mean, we’re talking pre-twenty first century!

Tom: Right. Yeah. Yeah. The first version of Relative Finder was written about 1997.  And I’m an avid genealogist, and I was interested in helping my neighbors get interested in family history and genealogy. And back then this was pre-FamilySearch, pre-anything online. But there was a database called “Ancestral File.” And anybody could go to a family history library and download their genealogy from Ancestral File, assuming that they had the data in there due to the kindness of some relative who had entered it.  And many of my neighbors had that and so I went to the family history library over the course of many months, and downloaded my neighbor’s family history and you know, going back 10- 12 generations.  And then I helped them load it on their personal computer. Just to, you know, be of assistance.  Because usually I’ve discovered if somebody just starts to play around with it, they really get hooked on it. 

Fisher: That’s really true.

Tom: So anyway, one night I was sitting at my computer, I said “Gosh, I’ve got about a hundred of my neighbors’ data on my hard drive here. I wonder if anyone’s related.”  And so, being a computer scientist I wrote a little computer program that would read into everybody’s family tree, and just compare to see if anybody had any common ancestors. And lo and behold, I was just flabbergasted!  It turned out that on average, every one of those hundred neighbors of mine was related to about two thirds of the other people!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: And I’m talking, some of them were second and third cousins. My wife turned out to have three third cousins within a block of us. And we’d live there by then for about a dozen years.  She had no idea that she was so closely related to these neighbors.

Fisher: Wow! That had to be quite a revelation. You know, they talk about George Herbert Walker Bush, as being the first president to be related to perhaps more than half the population of America, because he has early southern roots out of Virginia and early New England roots as well.

Tom: Wow.

Fisher: And that kind of gets into the bulk of the early settlers in the United States, and they were figuring he is related to about a 150 million Americans!

Tom: Wow.

Fisher: Yeah. And so when you break it down to the neighborhoods, I don’t think most of us think that we might have somebody whose related to us just living on the same street.  But I would guess that if you go back to the sixth or seventh cousin level, most of us do!

Tom: Yeah. And you know it’s an interesting mathematical thing. I subsequently did this – I teach here at BYU and I ran this for all of the professors in my college about seven or eight years ago, 180 people, we discovered thirty eight instances of second cousins and 160 instances of third cousins, just amongst these 180 professors. It was quite fascinating.

Fisher: Wow! That’s incredible. This is kind of a mind blower to most people I guess, although I think more and more people are becoming aware of the fact that the math says “We really are one big family.”

Tom: Yeah. We ran a probability analysis and discovered that for two random people with European ancestry, there’s a fifty-fifty chance that they share a common ancestor within twelve generations.

Fisher: That would make sense. That’s going back to about the time of the Mayflower, right?

Tom: Yeah, roughly.

Fisher: Somewhere in that neighborhood. In fact, I just finally found a common ancestor with my wife and myself. So we’re cousins. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

Tom: No! No!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Just as long as it’s not first cousins!

Fisher: That’s right. That’s right. But this goes back about to the late fifteen hundreds to finally find one. I was really kind of surprised it took this long.  So, that was 1997 and then you did the thing with the professors about eight years ago, what has happened with it since? And how can people get a hold of this? And how do they use it?

Tom: Yeah. Well, since then a lot has happened in the family history technology to begin with. FamilySearch is online now, you’ve got Ancestry online. There are lots of companies.  The appealing thing for us about FamilySearch is that all of their names are linked together with fairly good accuracy into one big tree, which is critical for us in order to determine how people are related.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: And so, anybody that has a FamilySearch account, and generally it’s important for them to go back at least eight or nine generations in FamilySearch before they start tying into too many other people.  They can just go to RelativeFinder.org is our website, and it will have them log in to their FamilySearch account and that’s how we credential the users of Relative Finder and it will download their... I think we’re grabbing like fifteen generations, if they have that many.  And we download that much and then we just run a report and compare them against, uh... We’ve got about three thousand famous people, including presidents of the United States, and artists, and movie stars and lots of different groups. And it will show how they’re related to these people.

Fisher: And some of that will be good and some of it maybe not so much.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: We get complaints about people “I didn’t want to be related to this politician!”

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: One of the ones we get coming on a lot is, we’ve got President Obama in the database and a lot of people turn up being related to him and they say “Oh it must be a mistake.” They don’t realize of course that his mother was European, and so that’s how most of those relationships with him show up.

Fisher: Right, because the father’s side goes back to Africa immediately.

Tom: Yeah, and I don’t think there’s too much of his ancestry in FamilySearch.

Fisher: Right. The mother was early American.

Tom: Yeah, I believe so.

Fisher: I’m actually related to President Obama myself. Who else have you found on there that people respond to quite a bit?

Tom: Well, of course the Mayflower people and I just got an email the other day somebody said they do East Coast history tours and its fun for them to have people do Relative Finder.

Because then they point it out in particular if somebody is going to visit Monticello, they can say “Oh yeah, I’m related to Thomas Jefferson” Or Gettysburg and so forth. So it just makes it a lot more of an historical tie in realizing that their own ancestors played a role in some of these historical sites.

Fisher: And some of the places they were actually going. Yeah that’s absolutely true. You know, there’s so much that goes into preparation if you’re going to do a research trip somewhere right?

Tom: Yes.

Fisher: You want to find out about the area, where are the archives? What am I looking for? What can I order in before I even leave so I don’t have to spend a lot of time there doing things that I could do from home? This is a whole other aspect of it that I would have never thought of. Finding out what your relationship might be to the sites of famous individuals that you might be dropping in on.

Tom: Yeah. We have kind of a skeleton crew of students working on Relative Finder, and we’re just computer scientists you know, we’re not historians. So it’s hard for us to broaden the user base of how many famous people we have in our database.  But we are now soon to roll out a feature where anybody could, you know, who might have an historical interest in a certain group of people, who’ll be able to add their own groups of famous people to Relative Finder, and that way we’ll kind of crowd source the management of it.

Fisher: Interesting.

Tom: And make it more usable for people, more interesting.

Fisher: So you’re developing it still to this day, and it’s been 19 years. Did you ever imagine?

Tom: No it’s been very, very exciting, and we’ve been fortunate a lot of very talented computer science students have worked on it.

Fisher: So tell me about some of the most incredible stories you’ve heard back from some of the folks who have used Relative Finder.

Tom: Yeah. Well I think my favorite quotes altogether, I mean of course we ask “Why are we going through all this work?” Because it does take time and money, and effort to maintain Relative Finder, and it all goes back to our passion for family history. And our favorite feedback is just, uh, people that spend three minutes joining Relative Finder and all of a sudden they’re hooked on genealogy. I think my all time favorite quote is somebody who said, “Relative Finder is the gateway drug to family history.”

Fisher: [Laughs] Did that go over well with you?

Tom: Well, you know I don’t know if I like the metaphor so much, but the sentiment! [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Well that makes sense. You know I was thinking about it too that if you’re interested in, for instance, finding out if you can join the Mayflower Society, this might be a really easy way to at least see if there is some kind of path for you to find.

Tom: Yeah.

Fisher: That’s fascinating. When you think about, you just did this to start with, with your neighbors and your friends and it’s turned into this. It’s got to be very satisfying Tom.

Tom: Yeah. No it’s been very exciting. We’ve really just gone live with the FamilySearch version about a little over a year ago.  And we’re already passed a half a million users and this grows about 20 thousand users a week just by word of mouth. So it’s really drawing a lot of attention.

Fisher: He’s Tom Sederberg, Professor of Computer Sciences at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The creator of “Relative Finder” You can sign up through your FamilySearch account.  Dr. Sederberg, great to have you on the show, thanks so much! And good luck with all the things you’re doing to make this thing grow.

Tom: Thank you very much Scott, nice talking to you.

Fisher: And coming up next, it is a classic interview, my visit with Apolo Anton Ohno, the Olympic Champion about his background, and what he’s doing to discover more, coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!

Segment 3 Episode 141

Host Scott Fisher with guest Apolo Anton Ohno

Fisher: And we are back, Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com.  It is Fisher here with my very special guest, Olympic multiple Gold, Silver Medalist, Apolo Ohno in the studio with me today.  And thanks for dropping by Apolo!  It's good to see you.

Apolo: Of course. Of course. I love your guys' show and what you guys do. This is awesome!

Fisher: Well, thank you so much. And I was thinking about this, you're known around the world, but nobody can quite ever figure out what your background is. And obviously you've got an interest in family history. I want to hear a little about what you've done and what you know.

Apolo: Sure. I'll break it down like this. I grew up in a single parent household. My father was Japanese. He migrated to the United States when he was eighteen years old.  Was married to my mom, and then they got a divorce when I was very young. My father took custody of me, so he raised me my entire life. So obviously I'm very close to my father. I don't keep in contact with my mom, so I never developed a relationship with my mother in the sense of got to know her and her background.

Fisher: Right.

Apolo: And my mom was actually adopted.

Fisher: Oh boy!

Apolo: Yeah. So she doesn't know her background ethnicity, because she doesn't know her parents. I mean, you can kind of tell based on the way they look, but because I don't keep in contact with my mom, I don't know.  So when people ask me all the time, "What's your background ethnicity?" I say, "Well, I'm half Japanese." And they say, "What's the other half?"  And I'm like, "I don't really know." So not too long ago, I did the 23andMe genealogy test.

Fisher: Right.

Apolo: Just to figure out kind of, at least generally speaking, what my history was. And then before that I think there was this show called, “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Fisher: Right. No, it's still around.

Apolo: It's still going?

Fisher: Oh yeah.

Apolo: So a friend of mine was producing the show. I had always told him, “I really want to know what my background is.”  At least on my one side like maybe on the Japanese side, like what does it look like, the tree?

Fisher: Sure.

Apolo: Because of the half Japanese heritage, what they did you know? And the Japanese keep this very strict catalogue historical documentation of where the family and clans, I guess are from, right back to the Samurai.

Fisher: Right. Yes.

Apolo: And they started to dig deeper and deeper and deeper, and they tried to, they had to get like approval from my grandmother.  At the time, my grandfather was alive and my father, and they were trying to just do all this research and using all these different translators.  And they kept hitting a wall, because they got to a point where the Japanese just didn't want to release the information.  There was so much compliance and approval that my grandma was just like, "I don't want to do this anymore!"

Fisher: [Laughs]

Apolo: So, I had the test results back from where I am and it shows that the other portion of my heritage and ancestry is primarily its northeastern European.

Fisher: Okay.

Apolo: Kind of like there's some Irish there. There's a little bit of like, British, maybe some Scottish. 1.6% is North African, which I was like, "Wow, that's a bit interesting."

Fisher: Isn't that interesting when you get those trace elements in there and those.

Apolo: Yes, trace elements. People always say like, "What's one thing that people don't know about you, Apolo?"  You know, and I'm like, "I don't really know."  I'm pretty open on my public, you know like who I am. And then I started thinking the other day, “I do a lot of reading about some pretty obscure off topic things, and one of them is like ‘The origin of human species.’”  I'm always interested in like, what was the first bones being excavated? What about this tribe? Where do we come from?  You know, the other day I was reading about, you know, they found out this, they found this skull and some teeth in China.  And they found that this kind of predates what they normally thought of any human beings being inside China. They found like, "We know what their last kind of meals were based on the…" I was like, "How do you?" That is so crazy!!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Apolo: Was this guy eating like some Dim sum?

Fisher: Yeah.

Apolo: It was incredible!

Fisher: It's fantastic!

Apolo: It's awesome! So really awesome!

Fisher: So did you get some stories out of Japan, about your parents, your grandparents, your greats?

Apolo: I did.

Fisher: What do you know?

Apolo: On my grandmother's side, they found out that I actually have real Samurai blood.

Fisher: No kidding!

Apolo: Real, I forgot those, Yasunaga Clan. It was something in Japan, real Samurai blood. And you know I haven't done a lot of research into it.

Fisher: When did you find that out, at what point? I mean you were probably…

Apolo: Not soon enough, because I would have used that to my advantage.

Fisher: I was going to say.

Apolo: Out there I was skating on razor sharp blades and like feeling “I'm fierce.” You know?

Fisher: Yeah, that had to affect you. So it wasn't until after you'd retired?

Apolo: Well, I'll tell you, it was something interesting, because my father didn't really play sports. My grandfather didn't really play sports. My grandmother didn't really play sports. And so I have this like unique athletic ability that was sort of an anomaly in my family, but there has to be some genetic heritage that has passed down through generations.  We found that there's a relative in my family who was an exceptional runner, but never in a competition setting.  But he would go visit his wife, and back then, you know, this is years and years and years ago, he would run to go see her. It was like sixteen miles one way or something.

Fisher: Wow! [Laughs]

Apolo: So he was like this incredible endurance athlete.

Fisher: Well you must have drawn something from him.

Apolo: Yeah. And then you know, perhaps from the Samurai bloodline, maybe there's some fighter mentality there that is, you know. At least I like to think so.

Fisher: Absolutely.

Apolo: You know.

Fisher: So you found out about the Samurais. How far back are we talking here?

Apolo: I don't know the exact date period, but it's pretty far back. I think we're going into like, you know, the 1400s, 1300s time. So this is pretty far back.

Fisher: And did you get some of your tree back that far?

Apolo: A little bit. It's bits and pieces and some of it's broken, because they were not able to really connect properly given the approval inside Japan.

Fisher: Right. Right.

Apolo: It's going to take, what it's going to take is, it's going to take for me to fly to Japan with my grandmother.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Apolo: And then like basically just say, "All right, Obachan, I need you to kind of agree to this, this, this, this, and this.”

Fisher: So you need certain approvals from within the family?

Apolo: Every single step needs approval.

Fisher: No kidding!

Apolo: Yeah, it's very cumbersome.

Fisher: Wow!

Apolo: And so she was just like, "Why does he have to know? It doesn't really matter!"

Fisher: [Laughs] We're talking to Olympic hero and idol, Apolo Ohno, about his family history background and some of his research.  And you were saying you did the 23andMe DNA test.  And since your mother’s side was adopted, did you find any cousins, first of all? Did you find any connection with some folks who might be cousins to help you open up that adopted side?

Apolo: Not yet. Not yet. But there's been like some, I think they give you like some suggestions, right? In terms of like who might possibly be related.

Fisher: Right.

Apolo: I always wondered why my goatee and my sideburns were red.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Apolo: Because Japanese all have black hair.

Fisher: Yeah, that wouldn't be from there.

Apolo: And I'm like, this is, I'm either Irish or like, Native American.

Fisher: Scottish, yeah.

Apolo: Scottish, definitely something in the North Eastern, European region.

Fisher: Sure.

Apolo: And it makes sense now.

Fisher: Well, a lot of people will do that. They'll suddenly find a first or second cousin pops up or even a third.

Apolo: Right.

Fisher: And then they can start coming down into what you know about your mother and start putting this thing together, reconstructing the tree coming forward.  And that’s how that can get done.

Apolo: Yeah.

Fisher: But you're going to have to be paying attention to your results in order to get that to happen. 

Apolo: Basically what is does is, it takes work, right? So you have to kind of sit down and you have to be committed and really kind of see what you can

Fisher: Well, and like you say, you've got that natural curiosity.

Apolo: Yeah.

Fisher: About history and the human factor. I mean, this is something you can do on the plane.

Apolo: Yeah.

Fisher: On your handheld device.

Apolo: That's what I do. I do it on the plane.

Fisher: Yeah, all over the place. So what are you doing now?

Apolo: So you know, I retired in 2010 from my pursuit of the Olympic Games.

Fisher: You miss it?

Apolo: Every day. I miss the Olympic space every single day, but I get a taste of it every couple of years when I go to the Olympic Games. You know, I'm an NBC correspondent for the Olympics.  I will be in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as a commentator. I'll be in the 2018 Games as a commentator. I'll be in the 2020 Games as a commentator, '22 and '24 and beyond.  So that's what I do in relation to sports. Then I have my own serial entrepreneurial activities that I kind of focus on.

Fisher: Sure.

Apolo: I do some, you know, hosting and some acting based in Los Angeles. But those three are the main things that I really spend my time.  And obviously the Special Olympics, and other different types of organizations that I've become partners with and try to lend my time to.

Fisher: Love the Special Olympics!

Apolo: Yeah, phenomenal.

Fisher: I remember the first time I was ever asked to host some even there. And I went there, frankly, with kind of a bad attitude.

Apolo: Yeah.

Fisher: It was like a Saturday and it’s like, “Agh, I've got to go host this other thing.”

Apolo: Yeah.

Fisher: And I got down there. And it was the most fulfilling, heartwarming thing. And I drove home with just such a glow. And I was thinking back about how I'd felt coming down and how I felt. And I couldn't do enough of that stuff for many years to come. And it was just a joy to do it. And I can see you feel the same way about it.

Apolo: Yeah. You know, its…

Fisher: It's a revelation!

Apolo: You think it's a giving experience, but you get so much in return. And that's what I try to tell people, "Look, just try it. Just see what I'm talking about. I can't explain it to you."

Fisher: And the love!

Apolo: The love is so genuine!

Fisher: Yes!

Apolo: Yeah. I mean, the Special Olympic athletes are so incredibly special and they're just unique. And I love being part of an organization blessed to be able to represent them and always kind of take part.  It's been a big part of my life, you know. I'm excited about it.

Fisher: Apolo Ohno, thank you so much for your time. And good luck in your pursuit.

Apolo: Thank you. Thank you so much!

Fisher: Because I know this is going to be something that's going to keep pulling you back, especially when you've got all those Samurais back there calling at you, you know.

Apolo: “Learn more about us!”

Fisher: Well, don't athletes ultimately use things, like anything they can use as a motivation, right? Some kind of slight, like the Koreans did with you, right?

Apolo: Yeah, I was their motivation! [Laughs]

Fisher: Yes, you were! [Laughs]

Apolo: Oh man! Yeah!

Fisher: He's Olympic Legend, Apolo Ohno, on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 4 Episode 141

Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: It’s Preservation Time at Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com.  Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority.  Hi Tom, how are you? 

Tom: Super!

Fisher: All right, what have you got for us today?  

Tom: Okay, we’ve got some updates, we talked a lot about storage devices, people are still asking us questions about storage and we have an update.  We’ve always talked about thumb drive technology, people call them different things but basically they’re something about the size of your thumb.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: Now they have them in shapes of credit cards, they have them in shapes of cars, and they have them in shapes of about anything that you want.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah, I had a cruise ship one once.

Tom: Did you?

Fisher: Yeah, it was great!

Tom: And you know there are a lot of different ones out there on the market. Some of them come pre-packed with information, you plug it in you know, it goes to their website or has information of about whatever when they’re handing them out at trade shows.  The one thing you have to be really careful with, is you have to make sure you get some really good quality ones because there’s a lot of junky ones coming out of China, that you know, I wouldn’t take if they gave them to me for free. But this new technology that makes them better. Always check the warranty, like the ones that we sell in our store and we put like MP3s and MP4s on.  In fact, some of them are like 18GB and 32GB, we can actually put entire DVDs on them.

Fisher: Isn’t that amazing?

Tom: Oh it’s incredible. And the ones that we have, have a one year warranty on them, so if anything ever happens in your first year which is usually when they’re going to go bad, they’re covered.  And these new ones that I really like, they’re like the rubber wrist bands that you wear for like you know, “Be strong” or different things like that.

Fisher: Sure, for racing yes.

Tom: Yeah, all different kinds of little rubber bands. There’s one out there now that’s like that. It’s just when you plug it together it makes a wrist band.  So they’re so convenient, they’re smart, you can put them on your key ring because they’ll snap together but like I say, they’re about the size of your wrist.  And the technology on these ones is just getting so much better.  However, we still want to give you the cover that you need to make sure if you're using thumb drives, use it as a transfer system to go from something to something else. In fact, even if you have the best one ever created that's never going to give you a problem, what if you lose it?

Fisher: Oh yeah, there's no question. The thing is, it's interesting, I've had one for years, the same one and it works great. And I use it for transferring material when I'm in a research center or a library and I can bring it home and it's no problem. But it's still all there. It's never failed me. But I have seen so many of these cheap ones, you wonder why would anybody ever rely on a thumb drive as their permanent storage solution?

Tom: Oh exactly! Look at the big people like Facebook and people like that. They don't store all their stuff on thumb drives, they store it on you know, BluRay disks and such. So what's so convenient about these things is that they are so portable. Like we say, you always want to have stuff backed up on a disk, preferably a Taiyo Yuden disk or even an M Disk which are the ones that are a thousand year disks. You want to make sure it’s in the cloud and two clouds if you can afford it. Make sure both clouds are unrelated.  Like for instance, Google drive and Apple or Dropbox or one of these kinds of things. If you use somebody like ours, we have our own, but ours is actually built on Google.  So if you use LightJar which we have you know you don't want to have LightJar and Google as your two, because basically it’s the same thing. We just built an infrastructure on top of it.  So you want to make sure they're not related. And you always want to put stuff on a hard drive, and the prices of hard drives are coming down, and down and down.  I mean, you know I saw at Best Buy they had, I think it was a one terabyte hard drive for like fifty dollars the other day.

Fisher: No kidding, really?

Tom: It's just amazing. And I remember when a 500 gigabyte was a hundred and fifty dollars.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: So the prices are coming down. And they're small and they're portable. And that's a good way to store stuff. It's an excellent way to ship stuff.  If you want to ship stuff to us to have somebody work on it or ship it to somebody else, a family member. Those drives are so inexpensive, it’s a great way to store stuff.

Fisher: I never thought I'd hear you suggest maybe we could ship something to you on a thumb drive!

Tom: Exactly! Exactly! But you know, like I say things are changing. It's you know, the way of the future.  The nice thing about thumb drives like I say, they're so small. But always back it up. Don't send anything to us or anybody if you don't have it backed up.  You know if you think, "Oh I don't need a copy of this, I'm going to send it to Aunt Martha."  No, you want to make sure you have a copy of it. We'll go into a little bit more detail on some different hard drives and other storage devices after the break.

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

Segment 5 Episode 141

Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And we are back! Final segment of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com.  It’s Preservation Time. We’re talking to Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com.  And we’ve been talking thumb drives, because let’s face it Tom, historically they’re pretty trashy storage items.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: And now finally some people are getting around to making some real good ones, and you didn’t mention in the previous segment, how much are these new ones going to set us back?

Tom: You know, this is what’s really surprising, is that they’re so inexpensive. In our store we carry 16GB, 32GB which are awesome ones and they’re under ten bucks.

Fisher: Wow! That’s great!

Tom: Oh yeah.

Fisher: And they’ll last?

Tom: Oh yeah. In fact, like I say we have a one year warranty on them, if anything goes wrong, I don’t care what it is, send it back to us and we’ll send you a new one.

Fisher: But how long do you actually expect it to last?

Tom: You know, just like you said in the earlier segment. I’ve got one that’s hanging on my keychain that I have had for at least ten years.  And every time I think “Oh this is going to be the day it goes away, this is going to be the day it goes away.”  I back it up and everything and it’s still streaming along, I’ve never had a problem with it. And one thing you want to be careful with, we talked about different shapes, there’s one that’s like a credit card.  The reason I would kind of say steer away from that one is because look at the credit cards in your wallet, they’re probably kind of half mooned by now.

Fisher: Right. Yes. [Laughs]

Tom: And so what’s that going to do to the circuitry?

Fisher: Yeah.

Tom: You know, a magnetic stripe isn't as volatile as circuitry in a USB drive, so you want to be careful. And you talked about small ones. We had somebody bring in one the other day it's about the size of your thumbnail. Not your thumb, but your thumbnail!

Fisher: Your thumbnail? Wow!

Tom: Exactly. She hands it to me and I'm sitting there waiting for her. She says, "What do you need?" I go, "Well here's the cap, where's the USB?" she says "That's it!"

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: There's this little teeny cap on it, it’s a quarter of an inch. And you pop that off. I thought, "I wouldn't have those if they were free!" How easy is that to lose or one your little kids could swallow it and there's goes all your stuff!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Stay away from those things! Think, "What am I going to use this for?"  If it's a onetime thing, you're going to load something, send it off and you don't care about it, that's fine. But if you're going to keep it, have something at least the size of your thumb.  And make sure you don't ever leave it in your pocket. We've had people send them through the washing machine and sometimes we've been able to recover them, sometimes we haven't. That's why I really, really like these new neoprene wrist kinds, they're east to keep track of.  If you're out in the rain, it's not going to ruin them. They're just a great way to go. And they're under ten dollars, so it's absolutely amazing with them.

Fisher: Now, they'll last longer if you don't use them a lot, right?  So if you wanted to store them, say you wanted to store some MP4s or MP3s and you load them up there and just put them on a shelf somewhere, those should last for quite a while, right, that way because you're not using them? 

Tom: Oh yeah. Oh absolutely! Yeah, that's true. The biggest thing about using them is not just the using them, it's as you know they slide in tight and you pull it off, so they don't fall off.  And so it's just the pushing in and pushing out, pushing in and pushing out that's a problem.  And one thing I really want to emphasize a lot is, always make sure when you put them in your computer, don't ever pull it out without shutting down your computer or making sure you've released it.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: And whether you're a PC or Mac, it's come on and told you, "Okay, it's safe to remove it now". If you're not sure, if you think, "Hmm I don't know if this is released wrong." shut down your computer and take it off, because that's usually when they get messed up.  Because you might be all done adding stuff to it, but maybe your computer's still accessing it, because it's looking for information or whatever and you pull it out right in the middle of one of those times, that's where you're going to totally corrupt all the stuff that's on it. So most important thing is, careful putting it in, careful removing it. But these new ones are great.  The neoprenes are great, because they're a lot more water resistant than the other kind. And they probably have a better chance of going through your washer if that does happen.

Fisher: Ohh, don't even talk like that!

Tom: It's scary.

Fisher: Thanks for coming on, Tom. See you next week.

Tom: See you then.

Fisher: Hey that wraps it up for this week.  Thanks once again to Dr. Tom Sederberg from Brigham Young University. He's a computer sciences professor who created a little program called "Relative Finder" years and years ago. And they're still improving it to this day. It's a way for you to find out who you're related to who's famous or who you're related to who lives just down the street! It's a great interview.  If you missed it, catch the podcast on iTunes, iHeart Radio's Talk Channel and ExtremeGenes.com.  Hey, next week we'll talk to a man who, as a young Cub Scout got to visit the last living Civil War soldier. Wow, what was that about?!  Find out next week on the show!  Thank for listening. Talk to you again next week.  And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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