Episode 145 - PBS’ CeCe Moore on DNA Latest / Descendant of Civil War Soldier Thrilled at Find of Ancestor’s Camp Possessions

podcast episode Jun 27, 2016

With David Allen Lambert on vacation, Fisher opens the show solo talking about the nice start to his “genealogical summer” with the recent exchange of photos with a third cousin of a relative who was a Civil War sailor.  Fisher had the ID and a young image. The cousin had a later in life image.  In Family Histoire News, Fisher talks about a pair of sisters who only recently learned they were sisters.  In fact, one had been a student in a class the other taught. Listen to the podcast to hear how they learned of their relationship. Fisher then talks about the ruling by an English Board that DNA can now be used in determining the validity of inherited titles. The implications are mind boggling! E Gads! 

In segment two, Fisher welcomes CeCe Moore, the Genetic Genealogist, and regular on PBS’ “Finding Your Roots,” with Henry Louis Gates.  The two cover a lot of ground about the latest trends in DNA and where the science is going.  CeCe talks about the science of “triangulation,” the accuracy of DNA matches for early ancestors, and her prediction of what is going to be happening in the field over the next five to ten years.  (This will blow your mind!)

Next, Fisher welcomes back Justin Emmons who was on the show only a week ago talking about his discovery of the possessions of a Union Civil War soldier. Without much luck, he had sought out a descendant of the soldier with whom to share news of the find.  Fisher stepped in and found a third great grandson who comes on the show to learn for the first time what his ancestor left behind during the Civil War, and what he can soon see for himself!  It’s a fun reveal for all three!

Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com is next, our Preservation Authority.  Fisher and Tom talk about Fisher’s dive into the deep end of the digitization pool, transferring over 100 DVDs worth of videos. Both discuss the project and what comes next!  It’s awesome effort that will take years to complete.

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

Transcript of Episode 145

Host Scott Fisher

Segment 1 Episode 145

Fisher: Hey, you have found us! It’s America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes 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. This segment is brought to you by Forever.com. Got to tell you, I had a great week with research this past week. It’s always fun when somebody reaches out, maybe a DNA match or somebody who shares some name on your family pedigree chart. Well, in this case it was a DNA match, a third cousin who had a question for me. She said she had an old photo of a gentleman in a GAR uniform, The Grand Army of the Republic, which was the old Union veteran’s organization that went on for decades and decades before dying out in the 1930s. And she wanted to know if I had any idea who that gentleman might be. And I asked her, “Well was that a picture that I had posted?” Because I had a photo like that from my line and she said, “Oh no, this is something I have.” So she sent me the photograph, and the picture showed little emblems on the uniform that actually matched the same unit as the gentleman whose picture I had, the 327th out of Brooklyn, New York. And I thought, “Well, how interesting that we would have pictures of different people from the same unit.” And then as I looked at it closer, I realized that I was looking at the same person!  Yeah, mine from about 1880 or so and hers was from the 1920s. It was the same person about 40 years apart and you could tell because he had a uniquely shaped ear and he had the exact same chin. So I was actually able to help her out and in identifying who that relative was, and she was able to provide me with the second photo of a Civil War relative. So a very fun find this past week, and hopefully you’re having some great experiences as well this summer. Well, coming up today, I’m very excited we’ve got two incredible guests. One is someone you should be very familiar with by now. Her name is CeCe Moore, she is the genetic genealogist, and you’ll see her often on “Finding your Roots” on PBS with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, and you’ll also see her often on 20/20. We’re going to be talking about what is the state of DNA science today? And where is it going? And I think you’re going to be absolutely amazed at CeCe Moore’s vision for DNA over the next 5-10 years. And then, later in the show Justin Emmons is back. Now if you listened to us last week you may recall Justin was just on last week talking about a find he made with a metal detector at the site of a Union Civil War Camp just a few months back, back in February. Well, he was struggling to find somebody who might be descended from the person that this item came from, so I had to step in and do it. And so I have that descendent waiting to join us on the line today, and find out from Justin just what Justin found that tied into his third great grandfather. It’s going to be a “big reveal” later on in the show, so be ready for that. David Allen Lambert is on vacation this week. What is he thinking taking time off to be with his family! So let me share with you a little of our Family Histoire news for this go around. People magazine is reporting that back in 1985 Diane DiProspero Cook was in a preparations class with a teacher named Karen Cometa-Zempel and Diane felt Karen was a very special professor, in fact her favourite. She said, “You know five years ago I actually ran into Karen and told her I remembered her and I so appreciate what a great teacher she was.” Well here it is just a few years later and Diane has learned through adoption papers that Karen is her biological sister. Yeah, unbelievable! She said, “All my life, all I wanted to do was find a sibling!” Well it turns out both had been adopted, and both share both birth parents.  Karen the teacher says, “It feels like divine intervention.” And she’s so grateful for this and she says, “We could have been playing Barbies together and had pajama parties,” but they’re just going to pick up and make up for the lost time. What a great find, and it was all through the New York State adoption registry that allowed for Diane to reach out and obtain her adoption records for medical reasons. And then she learned that those same papers had been mailed to Karen and that’s how they got together. No DNA involved in this one. It sounded like a pretty straight forward case of separated siblings being brought together in mid-life, a great story!  Well an incredible tale comes to us from across the pond from the Telegraph in the UK where a retired accountant from Buckinghamshire is going to be made a Baronet. Yeah, this is the result of this landmark court ruling set to shake the foundations of the British system of hereditary titles. And they’re saying as a result of this ruling it’s going to open them all up to challenge through DNA tests. That has never happened before. They’re saying that centuries of upper class indiscretions are now set to come under intense scrutiny and in a search for historic quote-unquote “cuckoos in the nest.” After the judgment by the Queen’s top constitutional advisors, by the way, she [the Queen] requested this process.  The winner is Murray Pringle. He is 75 years old and he’s from High Wycombe. He’s the rightful heir to the Baronetcy of Stichill, a village near Kelso in the Scottish boarders, in the place of his cousin once removed Simon Pringle. Pringle was actually due to inherit this title following the death of his father. But DNA proves that the rightful heir should be Murray Pringle. Now I’m not going to get into all the details of the case but here’s what the judges had to say about it. “In the past, the absence of scientific evidence meant that the presumption of legitimacy could rarely be rebutted and claims based on assertions that irregular procreations had occurred in the distant past were particularly difficult to establish. Not so now. It is not for the board to express any view on what social policy should be.” It notes the ability of DNA evidence to reopen a family succession many generations into the past. Whether this is a good thing and whether legal measures are needed to protect property transactions in the past, the rights of the perceived beneficiary of a trust of property and the long established expectations of a family are questions for others to consider.” One attorney says, “This case could have far reaching implications for titled families facing a challenge over succession.” Unbelievable! And that is your Family Histoire News for this week. Of course you can check out more on these stories and many others at ExtremeGenes.com. And coming up next in three minutes, I’ll be talking with the genetic genealogist CeCe Moore from “Finding your Roots” on PBS.  Wait till you hear her vision of where DNA science is headed over the next three to five years, on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History show!

Segment 2 Episode 145

Host Scott Fisher with guest CeCe Moore

Fisher: Welcome to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fish here, and I met my next guest a couple of years ago, actually, I guess it was just last year. It was the World’s Largest Family Reunion in New York that AJ Jacobs put on, and CeCe Moore and I kind of connected and she said, “Hey, I know your show!” And I said, “Hey, I know who you are!” And as a result we’ve kind of stayed in touch over the last year or so. And CeCe is on the road doing more genealogy, and of course, involved in all kinds of TV shows. You see her on “Finding Your Roots” all the time. She’s been on 20/20. And CeCe, welcome back to Extreme Genes!

CeCe: Hey! I’m so happy to be here.

Fisher: Let’s talk a little about what’s happening in the world of DNA. Because it’s funny, it’s been around for a fair amount of time now, but I keep running into people who are experiencing it for the first time. And when they talk about it, their eyes just light up about this amazing thing, and it is in constant change. Let’s talk about triangulating DNA for finding ancestors. Both recent, within say a few generations, and further back, the reliability of these things and maybe how any listener can do this with their own DNA test results.

CeCe: Yeah, it’s really amazing what we’ve been able to accomplish with genetic genealogy now. When I first started doing this work at the end of 2009, when almost all the DNA tests were introduced for genealogy, we had really small databases and it was extremely difficult to get anywhere with your research.  But now, about six years later, the databases have exploded. We’ve got a lot of people with great family tree and family history research that they have been willing to share either on sites or privately when you contact them, and so that allows us to be able to use it for our research much more meaningfully. So, if you are trying to break down a brick wall, you’ve been unable to address with the paper trail or documentary research, a DNA test is finally to a point where there’s pretty good hope that you’re going to be able to address it and work out a research plan using DNA.

Fisher: You know, I was thinking about some of what you just said here. You talked about when the trees are up or people keep it private and you contact them, and I haven’t done a lot of reaching out to people who haven’t posted their tree. Are they responsive to that request? Or they pretty much playing their cards close to the vest?

CeCe: [Laughs] You know, I think it pretty much depends. It’s hit and miss. But if someone is active on a site or an active genetic genealogist, then they’re more than willing to share. People have different reasons for keeping their trees private. Sometimes their extended family has agreed to share information or share DNA that they have asked that that be kept private and only shared with their matches. And so, some people are just controlling it a little bit more tightly for various reasons, or maybe they’re adopted and they’ve recently discovered their birth family, and so it’s sensitive information that they can’t just share with everyone.

Fisher: Hmm.

CeCe: So I have found, if they sign into the site, then they’re almost always willing to share the information. Where we run into trouble is where people have tested and then they go away and just never check their results again.

Fisher: Yeah.

CeCe: But most of those people don’t have a tree uploaded most of the time.

Fisher: Yeah. I’m finding there’s an awful lot of people who don’t post a tree with it. And it’s very frustrating when you see, “Oh look, It’s a close cousin!” But, who are they? Where do we tie in? So that’s kind of a challenge.

CeCe: Yeah.

Fisher: Well, I’ve had this conversation in the past about dealing with reliability on DNA matches and the conversation came down to this. With the more recent generations, three or four generations, DNA matches with a common ancestor are pretty reliable, but you start getting back to the sixth, the seventh, the eighth, it becomes a little more challenging to really be assured that this is the person that you actually match from. What are your thoughts on that issue?

CeCe: It is one of the biggest challenges with genetic genealogy because most of our matches are going to be distant. I mean it just makes sense that we have a lot more distant cousins then we do close ones.

Fisher: Sure.

CeCe: So most of the data that you’re going to be working with involves more distant ancestors. I do not want to say that we cannot use it for that because I’ve certainly proven in my own research that it can be done. But we really need more data. So the further back you get, the more data you have to have in order to be able to support the theory of connection or exactly where that DNA is coming from.  As I said with the databases being smaller in years past, that made it very difficult because there just wasn’t enough data out there. Now with these databases just exploding and genetic genealogy becoming a much more general interest amongst the public, I think that we’ve had a lot of new information come in, a lot of new data, it does allow us to get a little bit further back in those family trees with using DNA. 

Fisher: So do you think with the growth of trees and more and more paper material coming out, and those trees becoming more reliable, that in times, some of those earlier matches are going to be more reliable just based on what all is available?

CeCe: I do. Because you want to triangulate, as you mentioned, triangulation is extremely useful in genetic genealogy. If you have just one match that you’re sharing DNA with and you happen to have a sixth great grandparent in common, it’s almost impossible to say for sure where that connection really lies. Is the DNA that’s inherited in common, really from that ancestor? Or might you have another ancestral line in common?  But if you’re matching a lot of people who all descend from that ancestor, and you’re able to triangulate, meaning do they match each other on the same DNA segment, it starts becoming a much more confident conclusion. As far as being able to go way back in to our pedigrees, I think we’re going to need a higher resolution testing.  So right now they’re testing between about 600,000 and 700, 000 genetic markers at the three companies that do this. At some point we’re going to be using full genome sequencing for genealogy. Unfortunately we’re going to have to start over with our databases from scratch.

Fisher: Oh no!

CeCe: Yeah. [Laughs] Which I think you know, is pretty daunting for the commercial companies and for all of us, but at some point it’s going to need to be done. And when we do that, when we’re testing billions of locations in our genome, then I think we will be able to reach back much deeper into our pedigree. And I really do think that that is in the future of genetic genealogy.

Fisher: When do you think that will be happening?

CeCe: I think in five years genetic genealogy will look entirely different than it looks now. I think it’s going to be incredibly exciting the things that we’ll be able to do.

Fisher: Isn’t it fun?! You know I asked this as I moderated a panel at Roots Tech about DNA and asked the panel about what they see happening in five years, and their thought was that we’ll be able to actually see where DNA was at a certain point in time.

CeCe: I also think that we’re going to be able to reconstruct the ancestral genomes of some of our ancestors. Those that have large amounts of descendants, and what’s really interesting about that, is when you can start tracing your trace, your own genetic trace from which specific ancestor you got it from.

Fisher: Wow.

CeCe: And I’m already able to do that to a certain extent. Because I’m mapped my chromosomes back to certain ancestors. I’ve been working on this project for six years now, and so there are certain traits that we know, certain genes vary in effects, and I can tell you exactly which ancestor I inherited that from going back in time, or which ancestral line. And as geneticists come up with more of those discoveries, we’ll be able to apply that to our family history research, and that to me is off the charts exciting.

Fisher: [Laughs] 

CeCe: I mean those ancestors, we don’t know what they looked like before pictures or the ones that no pictures have survived, we’ll start being able to piece them back together and figure out what they might have looked like. And I think that is definitely in our future.

Fisher: Wow!

CeCe: Maybe not five years, but ten, I think that is something that will be happening.

Fisher: So, Y DNA tests? I mean, that was a big thing ten years ago, but we don’t hear nearly as much about it anymore because obviously autosomal came along and encompassed Y, encompassed mitochondrial, is there a lot of use for it now? Are you still seeing a lot of people doing Y testing?

CeCe: I do see a lot of people doing Y testing. However, I think the general public has really veered towards autosomal DNA testing because there’s so much interest in the add mixture or ethnicity percentages, and so people that used to take a Y DNA test because they were interested in their surname now might choose the autosomal test instead. So a lot of Y DNA testers that were seen, I think, are people that have already been exposed to genetic genealogy. Maybe they’ve taken an autosomal DNA test and then they learn about the Y DNA test through that, and they find out that they can learn more specific information about just their direct paternal line.  Now I use Y DNA in conjunction with autosomal DNA every day. Because if you’re able to identify a potential surname line using the Y DNA, like for instance, say you have an unknown great grandfather on your father’s father’s father’s line, you’re able to get a male to test... your father, brothers, in my case something like that, or you if you’re a male, and say you get some hits on that Y chromosome or you’re finding people that share the same or similar Y chromosome and you’re seeing a pattern of a certain surname, well you can then take that surname and plug it into the filters on the autosomal DNA test. All three companies have a place where you can enter a surname and search for all the people that had listed that surname as part of their family tree. And then you can go through those and start narrowing down to a very specific ancestral line with that surname or even a specific ancestral people. 

Fisher: So this could really help with illegitimacies, adoptions, correct?

CeCe: Right.

Fisher: Wow!

CeCe: And you know it does wonders for someone with unknown paternity. So someone just doesn’t even know who their father was, a male doesn’t know, and he can do a Y DNA test and then I can use that information with the autosomal DNA test. But it also applies going further back. A lot of people don’t know who their grandfather was on their father’s line.

Fisher: Right.

CeCe: Or their great grandfather or second great grandfather, and so, if you can get a clue with the Y DNA test of what you’re looking for, it can really help you narrow down the autosomal DNA results that you need and really zero in on that specific line.

Fisher: She’s CeCe Moore. She is the Genetic Genealogist. You can see her on ‘Finding Your Roots’ on PBS, you’ll see her on 20/20, you can catch up with her at www.TheDNADetectives.com  CeCe, always a joy to have you on! Have a great day, have a great summer of research!  

CeCe: Thank you so much! It’s going to be a busy, busy summer of research and teaching, so I’m looking forward to it. And thanks so much for having me on the show.

Fisher: Love to have you on! We look forward to seeing you again.

CeCe: Thank you very much!

Fisher: And this segment of Extreme Genes is brought to you by 23andMe.comDNA.

And coming up for you next – It’s a big reveal for a third great grandson of a Civil War soldier.  Justin Emmons who was on the show last week is going to tell him what he found that tied into his ancestor.

Segment 3 Episode 145

Host Scott Fisher with guests Justin Emmons and Lynn Voyles

Fisher: Hey welcome back to Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And last week you may recall, we had a conversation with my good friend, Heath Jones from Task Force History down in Alabama, where they dig up stuff with metal detectors, usually connected to Civil War battle sites or campsites. And he brought on a friend named Justin Emmons from Jackson, Tennessee, the family originally from Paducah, Kentucky. And Justin was talking about an item he found at a Union campsite with the name of a soldier on it and how he was wanting to actually find a descendant of that person. And Justin, happy to have you back on the show because I’ve got good news for you.

Justin: Oh yes, thanks for having me back!

Fisher: We have a descendant of Henry Garlock on the phone right now.

Justin: That's pretty awesome!

Fisher: Isn't that unbelievable! Let's get him in right now. His name is Lynn Voyles. He's from Columbia, Missouri. Lynn, welcome to the Extreme Genes. How are you?

Lynn: I'm doing well, thank you.

Fisher: I'm very excited to have you on. Say hello to Justin Emmons. He's the guy who has found one of your ancestor's items from a Civil War site. But before we talk to him, I'd like to hear a little from you about your research into Henry Garlock and what you know about him.

Lynn: Okay. Well, Henry Garlock was my three times great grandfather. And he was born in Virginia. And at the age of thirteen, he came to Missouri and that was in 1855. And his parents had ten children and four of those boys were all in the Civil War.

Fisher: Wow!

Lynn: Yeah. Now, in 1861 at the age of nineteen, he reenlisted in the army and he served the whole duration of the war. He was in the 21st Missouri Infantry, Company D. And I know he was in the Battle of Shilo, Tennessee, Corinth, Mississippi and Tupelo, Mississippi. And then I've also seen where he attended those Civil War reunions that they had in the late 1880s and 1890s, like the GAR reunions. So I think his military service meant a lot to him, because from 1905 to 1907 he then joined the veteran reserves. And at this time, he's in his sixties.

Fisher: Wow! The veteran reserves!? You mean active duty?

Lynn: Well, I'm not sure what the veteran reserves were. Maybe they were just for backup or something, but I'm not really sure what was even going on around 1905, 1907, you know, if there was a need for extra veterans, but that's interesting.

Fisher: Yeah. Now how long have you been researching Henry Garlock?

Lynn: Well, I've been doing genealogy for about twenty five years. And I've been kind of looking at him off and on the whole time.

Fisher: Sure. We always kind of circle around and get back to the same people over and over again. And once in a while, you make an incredible find. So it was really kind of fun when Justin came on the show last week and told us about his experience that we were able to dig you up and put you two together. So Justin, explain to Lynn exactly what you were up to and when this happened and what you found.

Justin: Well, my dad and I like to metal detect. And we had been researching some sites in western Kentucky. And I found one of my undergrad friends in college a couple of years ago had told me the she thought or had been told that there was a federal encampment on her property around her house. So my dad and I went down there about five years ago and started finding silver bullets and a silver breastplate and there were some other artifacts, related to a camp that had been there that was a federal camp. And we had gone back over the years just to find more bullets. And back in February, my dad and I went back there again and started expanding the search around this small campsite area and found a spot where some soldiers had thrown some knapsacks, either thrown them or had lost them on this hillside. And in this small area where I found some knapsack parts. I found a little 1cm x 3cm rectangular printing press letter block. And it would have been used to add more letters to make sentences and then articles for printing. And I put it in my little finds pouch and went home. And when I tried putting it with my bullets and this letter press, I saw that there was a carving on two sides of it. And I got really excited because I love finding personal artifacts, either carved bullets the soldier took time to carve, to personalize. And I cleaned it off. And using a magnifying glass and different magnifications, I figured out that on one side it was cursive and it had "H" and then "G A R L O C K" and then on the other side, it had “Garlock” in lowercase.

Lynn: Wow!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Justin: So I quickly went onto the internet to figure out exactly if this was a soldier who had dropped this. It may have been in a knapsack. So after a couple of hours of research, I used the Civil War National Park Soldier Database and found that there was a Henry Garlock. And those letters matched up. And he was in the 21st Missouri Infantry like you said. And I figured out that they had camped in this very small town.

Fisher: So Lynn, I've got to ask you, first of all what is your thought on this is, what's going through you right now?

Lynn: Well that's just incredible that something has surfaced or, you know, been brought to the surface after all these years. And that it can be linked to him that is just amazing!

Fisher: Isn't that incredible! My question for you is, what would Henry Garlock have been doing with a piece of printing press or whatever it was?

Lynn: I don't know.

Fisher: Was there a family connection to the newspaper business?

Lynn: No, not that I'm aware of. Now I know that he did marry a woman that was from Columbus, Kentucky and that's over on the Mississippi River on the western side. So I know that her family is from there. So he was in that area.

Fisher: Fascinating, wow! Well, we ought to try to get you two together at some point, because I know Lynn, if you've been researching him twenty five years, there's nothing that's going to stop you from seeing this item. [Laughs]

Lynn: Exactly! I know, I know. I'm excited that something has been found.

Justin: Yeah, it would be pretty cool to meet you, Lynn, because in this same spot, we found parts of a knapsack.

Lynn: Right.

Justin: And in this small area too, we found a carved bullet.

Fisher: Really?

Justin: Uh huh.

Fisher: Now are you thinking that one of those bullets might have been Henry's as well? I mean it was right from that very specific spot?

Justin: See, that's what I'm thinking, because of course if Henry carved his name into this piece… you know, soldiers if they're bored a lot of the time they would use their pocket knives to whittle sticks or to whittle bullets. And this little bullet, I had found in the same spot as this carved piece and it was in the same spot as this knapsack. So I was wondering you know if this bullet and this carved Henry Garlock piece was in that knapsack, because if Henry carved his name into that piece, there's no telling if he had carved that bullet and some other carved bullets in the area.

Fisher: Right. And maybe that knapsack belonged to him as well. I mean, it certainly seems to have all tied together. I would assume the cloth is pretty much all gone, but you're just finding remnants? Is that how you're identifying it as a knapsack?

Justin: Yes, the cloth is all gone, but there's brass buckles and brass ornaments that would have been on the knapsack to close it, to adjust it. And I was finding the brass pieces in a little, small 1 ft x 2 ft area. And then I was finding the iron buckles too.

Fisher: And you're saying this little printing press item was in the middle of that?

Justin: Yes, it was in that little general area where I was finding all the knapsack items.

Fisher: You'd pretty much have to assume then that this was his knapsack.

Lynn: Yes, I would think so, yes.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Lynn: Wow that is just incredible!

Fisher: That is thrilling and it's exciting to get you on, Lynn, as a descendant of this man to talk to guy who found these items. And we're going to get you two together and you can establish some contact so hopefully you can get a chance to visit your ancestor's Civil War items found by this other man.

Lynn: Right. That would be amazing. I would very much be interested in that.

Fisher: All right, sound fun, Justin?

Justin: It sounds great to me.

Fisher: All right. Well, you guys hang on we'll get you taken care of and congratulations to you both. What fun this whole thing is! And this is the excitement of family history, and tying it in also to the kind of work that our friends at Task Force History do, based in Alabama, Heath Jones' group. Thanks so much guys! Hang on we'll get you taken care of, all right?

Lynn: All right. Thank you.

Justin: All right.

Fisher: Wow, it doesn't get much better than that! Hey, this segment of the show has been brought to you by MyHeritage.com. And coming up for you next, we're going to talk to Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. I've been digitizing my home videos we're going to talk about the experience. That's in three minutes on Extreme Genes.

Segment 4 Episode 145

Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Hey welcome back to Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtemeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And it is preservation time with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. And Tom, I've got to tell you, I've been going through… You went and digitized all my old videos here a couple of weeks ago, and I picked them all up. And there's like 100 disks in this collection. Of course I don't know what's on them because obviously as you numbered them, they have to correspond with my videos. So, not all my videos are marked about what they were back in the day. So what we're doing now is, every night we're trying to watch at least one of these disks that you've digitized. And it's a complete potpourri! We have no idea what we're going to see. And last night I wound up watching our 1989 family reunion from my mother's side. And there had to have been I don't know how many people who are now gone. And interviews and visits and you know, Grandma rowing the grandkids on the lake and losing her hat and losing an oar, I mean just fun stuff. I must have watched for two and a half hours last night and it was just like we were back in time. It was incredible!

Tom: It's addicting to find stuff like that. People have 100s of tapes and there's nothing written on any of them. So we don't even know what order to do them in, so we put each one on its own disk.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: And then they pull one out and we get them, they call us back and say, "It is hilarious! We're sitting there watching our kid eighteen years old graduating from high school. The next disk we pop in, it’s his second birthday, riding a camel or whatever."

Fisher: Yes! Speaking of which, we had a camel riding birthday party for my son who is now thirty one. He was eight years old. And it was so much fun because we had some best friends in there that just turned fifty and they're now twenty seven in the pictures. And it’s great! Now the exciting part is getting through all of these, seeing all of these things and then starting to edit them to make them usable for people to see. Because there's a lot of bad stuff, where for instance you've got pictures of people and there's too much light behind them, you can't even see their faces. And you're in a crowd so you really can't hear much that is being said. So those are things you want to edit out and keep it as tight as you can and relevant to the folks you might want to share it with.

Tom: Oh, absolutely. In fact, that's one of the reasons MP4s have become so popular. You can take these disks, put it on MP4s, because it’s easy to edit an MP4, plus they're so small, you can put it on these little USB drives. There's so many different options you can do with these things once you put them on MP4s. A lot of people just edit them off the disk, which we've talked about. Cinematize is gone now, so you have to use something like Wondershare. But if you really want a Cinematize, I actually found four of them on eBay and so I grabbed them all.

Fisher: Really?

Tom: Yeah.

Fisher: Oh, did you? [Laughs]

Tom: Yeah, I grabbed them all. So once we have somebody call that says, "Hey, you know, I really like Cinematize. I really want to go that way." So I've got four of them. But you know it’s just so neat to have this old stuff. You can't let this stuff go away. You need to get it preserved. Start with one tape, at least get something going. It's just like writing a journal. You start writing a journal where you say, "I'll do it tomorrow." And then two years later you think, "Wow, I was going to start that journal two years ago."

Fisher: Right. My wife and I were both amazed at the quality of these old videos, you know, twenty seven, thirty years old. And we realized we've stored them in dry places where the temperatures are consistent and cool. And so we've been very fortunate that way, because as you've preached many times over the years here on Extreme Genes, where you store these things and the humidity and all the temperature differences and the hot and cold places and near the wall of the house and all, it can all affect how these tapes come out. And so we've been very fortunate. And it’s very exciting to see what we've got.

Tom: You know, these things are priceless. If I had a Ferrari, would I just leave it out in the front yard overnight? Would I leave it parked on the street? No, I'm going to take care of this. I guarantee any of your video tapes are going to be a lot more important than that Ferrari. Keep them away from outside walls. Keep them where it's nice and cool. Try to always keep them standing on end, not laying flat they'll last so much longer. And the neat thing about most of your tapes, they were video 8s. And video 8s are awesome to transfer, because they were such a good product when they made them, that they hold the magnetic and everything so much better. In fact, after the break, let's even talk a little bit more about this.

Fisher: All right Tom. And this segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. We'll get under the hood a little bit more on digitization and my experience with this, coming up for you in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 145

Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And we are back, final segment of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show for this week. It’s preservation time, Fisher here, with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com our Preservation Authority. And we’ve just been talking about all these videos that Tom has digitized for me, mostly from video 8s and those were the little ones, weren’t they Tom?

Tom:  Oh yeah. Yeah they’re about the size of an audio cassette, a little bit thicker.

Fisher: And the quality has been absolutely fantastic. A couple of things I got a real thrill out of because like I said, I don’t know what I’m going to see when I plug them in because they’re not all marked on the original tapes and certainly not marked on these. So it’s a big potpourri and we’re keeping a notebook as to what is on each video, so as we go to decide what we want to start working on we can kind of prioritize what’s most important. I think one of the things that really thrilled me was my late mother taking us on a tour of her childhood home at a reunion in 1989, and the quality is absolutely fantastic and it felt like she was right there again. Especially when you’re on this big screen high definition TV and seeing all this stuff, so that was very exciting and I think it’s something that my kids and grandkids will enjoy and appreciate at some point.

Tom: Oh really, and that’s something that’s really important too that I really emphasize. You know who the people are, some of your kids might know who the people are but your grandkids aren’t going to have those strong feelings because they won’t really know.  That’s why it’s important to go in and narrate them. And there’s a couple of different ways you can do this. If you’re really into editing you can go in and add a third track of narration and if you do it just right you can turn the narration on and off. And you’ve got to remember, if you shot these old video tapes in mono, they’re not in stereo, so what you can do is when you get them transferred or when you go in and edit them, put all your audio on the right channel and then you go in and narrate on the left channel. So you have the ability to turn on the right channel and go back and forth on the left channel just like some of the new DVDs. You get like a Steven Spielberg movie you can go in and watch the entire movie where he’s talking about what’s going on. You don’t want to do that first time through but later on you want to go in and do stuff like that and think, “Oh that’s so interesting.” You can do the same thing with your home stuff... you don’t need any special high end equipment. If you get your stuff on MP4s you can go into anything like Wondershare, or Final Cuts Pro or any kind of editing program and go in and put all your audio on channel A and your narration on channel B, right or left however you want to call it, if you want to.  If you don’t want to get that involved you can go and record it, dictate it to yourself while you’re watching it and then go and transcribe it. So people can read, “Oh I see. Oh this is Aunt Martha,” which just makes it so much more personal, and pulls on the heart strings.

Fisher: Now couldn’t you also put titles underneath just like they do on television with the name of the anchor on the newscast, could you say “This is Uncle Harold and this is Uncle Leo, and this is Aunt Martha.”

Tom: Oh absolutely. Just like closed caption that comes on and tells you what’s going on. I have closed caption all the time. Sometimes I’m like, “What did they say?” and I can read the closed caption, then I’m never confused. Or you can go in and like you say, put a scroll down the bottom and say, “This is Aunt Martha.” With today’s technology we could do today what we couldn’t do five years ago it’s absolutely amazing. So you can say, “Oh this is so and so and this is so and so.”  Even on your photographs you can put a little QR code in the corner and you can scan that QR code and you can pop up and have a recording of the people talking about themselves they’ve been long gone for 5 or 10 years. Or you’re saying, “Hey, this is Grandma and Grandpa at a party. We were touring our house.” Like you just mentioned, and just by that little QR code that has all this encoding to teach you this stuff with a program as simple as Heritage Collectors. It’s just amazing the software we have now a days.

Fisher: I’ll have more to tell you about here Tom. I know you kind of light up when we talk about what we find on these things. It’s a lot of fun, isn’t it?

Tom: Oh it’s awesome! I love looking at my Dad’s old stuff and it’s just so much fun.

Fisher: And of course if you have any questions for Tom Perry about preservation, you can send an email to [email protected]. Good to see you again, Tom!

Tom: Good to be here.

Fisher: Hey, that’s our show for this week. This segment has been brought to you by Roots Magic and LegacyTree.com. Thanks once again to the Genetic Genealogist CeCe Moore for coming on the show and sharing with us her vision of where DNA science is going over the next five to ten years. Unbelievable stuff. And if you missed the big reveal, Lynn Voyles a third great grandson of a Civil War soldier, got to find out what Justin Emmons from Paducah, Kentucky found at a union camp site a few months ago. You’re going to want to catch that on the podcast. Take care, talk to you next week, and remember as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice, normal, family!


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