Episode 149 - Photo Detective Maureen Taylor On IDing Unmarked Pictures / Just Who Was Molly Pitcher?Jul 25, 2016
Fisher opens the show welcoming two new radio affiliates in Maui, Hawaii, bring the total to 42! He also announces the introduction of the official Extreme Genes newsletter, "The Weekly Genie." David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, then joins the segment. David shares a terrific announcement about MyHeritage.com. Hear about what they've done now to make your research journey easier. Next, David notes the upcoming service effort, "Finding the Fallen," from BillionGraves and the Boy Scouts. Listen to the podcast to find out how to be a part of it. Fisher and David then talk about the odd story of Mick Jagger's upcoming fatherhood... two years after he became a great grandfather! (And he's not the only Rolling Stone to be having children these days!) David then shares the name of the newest holder of the title "Oldest Person in America." Who is she and how old is she? Find out on the podcast. David also will tell you about an upcoming display of the hair of several of our nation's forefathers, along with another Tech Tip and NEHGS free user database.
In segment two, Fisher visits with "The Photo Detective," Maureen Taylor. Maureen has made a career (and quite a name for herself) out of identifying unmarked photographs. How can you do the same? Maureen shares some of her secrets. Maureen has also opened a site for posting unknown photos and categorizing them. Catch how you can benefit from Maureen's efforts, and how you can help identify photos that others cannot.
Next Fisher talks with NEHGS Senior Researcher, Andrew Krea, about the incredible legend of "Molly Pitcher," known for bringing water to the soldiers of the Battle of Monmouth in the Revolution, as well as manning the cannons! Was she real, a composite figure, or a just a myth? Andrew has done some research into that and reveals his opinion as to who the real "Molly Pitcher" likely was. Wait until you hear her story!
Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com then returns to talk preservation. When it comes to protecting original materials or digitized copies, Tom shows week after week that there's a lot to know.
That's all this week on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 149
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 149
Fisher: This show just keeps spreading out! Hey, it’s Fisher here, on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. It’s Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. And, very excited to now be heard in Maui, Hawaii, on KAOI AM and FM. Got to give a little shout out to John Detz and his team there. So proud to be part of their great weekend lineup in Maui! A lot of great family history of course, in Hawaii. Well, welcome to the show! We’ve got a lot of great things going on today. Maureen Taylor is going to be here a little bit later on, in about eight minutes. She is the Photo Detective. She can take your unmarked photos, somebody you don’t even know who it belongs to, right? And just by looking at a hat or maybe a hemline, or something about the photograph itself, she can help you figure out who that is a picture of. It’s going to be a great interview coming up later on in the show. And then, after that, we’re going to talk to Andrew Krea, he’s a Senior Researcher at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. And, with all the recognition of the Revolutionary War going on this month, we thought we’d talk to him about the legendary Molly Pitcher. Real person? A conglomeration of several? Of course, the story revolves around a woman who helped the troops in the Battle of Monmouth, June 28th, 1778, bringing pitchers of water, and also firing cannons at the enemy. He’s done a little research to kind of figure out who this person might have actually been. We’ll have that for you later on in the show. But right now, let’s check in with Boston and my good friend the Chief Genealogist for the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, it’s David Allen Lambert. Hello, David.
David: Greetings from Beantown Fish, how you’re doing this week?
Fisher: Awesome! Very excited by the way to have started our Weekly Genie newsletter. And this is a way for people to get to know us, the personalities on the show a little bit more. Learn a few more things about doing your family history research, and also link to some great interviews of the past and the present week that you might not have heard before.
David: Great! Well, I hope I can put in some surprises in the newsletter too, and keep the readers informed.
Fisher: Well looking forward to having you be a part of it.
David: Well, you know as Chief Genealogist there are a couple of other people with that title, and one is my good friend Daniel Horowitz, who is with MyHeritage.com, who gave me some exciting new news. If you’re a MyHeritage user you may know about “Super Search.” Well, a new function is called “Super Search Alerts.” So when you originally did your input and you got your matches, you didn’t get anything? Well now your information is already there, Super Search Alerts will alert you when a match comes up. So this is a great new advantage for MyHeritage users. One of the most interesting things in recent years are apps that are made for your smartphone, and of course, for genealogists, there are plenty of them. One of them that I like is the Billion Graves app that allows you to go take a photograph of a gravestone, have it uploaded. The GPS is fabulous! So if you’re a user of that I would say, “Why don’t you volunteer this weekend?” In conjunction with the Boy Scouts of America, they are starting a project on July 30th all day called “Finding the Fallen.” They want you to go to your local and national cemeteries using the BillionGraves app. And you can go out and capture the images and locations of gravestones of America’s veterans. So I think this is a wonderful way of spending time with your family. Get out there with the app and capture some history.
Fisher: Yes. Boy, that sounds like a great service project!
David: Hey, I want to give an early birthday wish to Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones who’ll be having a birthday coming up this week. I don’t know if you know this, but two years ago he became a great grandfather.
Fisher: Yeah, 2014. He’s 73 years young this week, and he’s got more news.
David: Oh that he does. Sometime next year that great grandchild will have a new great uncle or great aunt because Mick’s girlfriend is expecting a baby in 2017!
Fisher: Yeah. She’s 29, and so Mick’s going to be a dad again, two years after having a great grandkid. This is unbelievable, has this ever happened before?
David: Probably in some of the ceded houses of Europe in the Middle Ages.
Fisher: [Laughs] It’s almost Biblical, don’t you think!
David: I definitely think so, and this kind of leads me to my next news story.
Fisher: Oh no, wait a minute, before you leave the Stones.
David: Yup, okay.
Fisher: Ronnie Wood, two months ago had twins.
Fisher: So it’s like the Stones are starting all over again.
David: Oh my goodness! A rolling stone gathers no moss, I guess! [Laughs]
David: So in other news… Recently in Worcester, Massachusetts, Goldie Michelson was the oldest American. Now the title goes to Adele Dunlap, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, who is now the oldest person in America. Born on December 12th, 1902. She likes to lie about her age so when they asked her how it feels to be a 113, she replied, “No, I’m 104!”
David: Maybe she could say she’s some fraction of 29.
Fisher: Yeah, right.
David: Well it makes sense to go from Goldie to locks.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]
David: And if you ever wondered who had the best hair back in the colonial period, George Washington, John Adams? Now you can find out, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is putting on display the hair of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson and their museum, presidential archives, letters, hair, and fossils exhibit. That’s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and you can see it through July 29th.
Fisher: Sounds like fun!
David: Now my next Tech Tip kind of ties into social media, but it’s also an old fashioned low tech tip if you will.
David: I use genealogical programs, and one of the ones I use is Roots Magic. And I found that as I update the family genealogy this summer, I’ve been adding in contact information. I add an email address and the social media link to their Facebook page, their old fashioned mailing address.
David: Yeah! Can you believe, snail mail is something that I would want to collect. But think about it, it’s a genealogical step, where were they living? It’s a residence, we don’t have phone books anymore, the censuses are done every ten years. Why not ask people where they’re living? And then of course if you mail them a copy, it’s also a nice way to keep in touch, especially during the holidays. I mean the old fashioned traditional holiday cards.
Fisher: You mean through the mail?!
David: The mail, yeah. Remember you lick the envelope and put a stamp on it, there’s a little blue box.
Fisher: Right, yes. I recall that.
David: The NEHGS free guest user database this week are three towns in Vermont from the 18th and 19th century, the towns of Dover, Fairfax, and Hardwick. As always, you can get a free user database account by just going to AmericanAncestors.org. Well, that’s about all I have for this week, Fish, I’ll talk to you next week. And enjoy your summer.
Fisher: All right. Thanks so much David, always great talking to you! And coming up next, we’re going to talk to Maureen Taylor, she is the Photo Detective. How do you tell what era a photo was from or maybe who it was? She’s going to give you a few tips on that, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. This segment has been brought to you by 23andMe.com DNA.
Segment 2 Episode 149
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Maureen Taylor
Fisher: Hey welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. This segment is brought to you by LegacyTree.com. You know over my three-plus decades of researching my family, one of the joys of becoming the point person for pretty much every branch of the family not only on my side but on my wife’s, is that periodically people send me stuff. Photographs, old photographs of all types, CDVs, the cabinet cards, ambrotypes. I mean you go through the entire list. But often these things are not identified. And that’s where my next guest comes in. She is the Photo Detective. She is Maureen Taylor, very well known within the industry. Maureen welcome to Extreme Genes. This is long overdue. How are you?
Maureen: I’m good. How are you? Thank you so much for having me on the show.
Fisher: I am just delighted to have you. And you know, I was looking at your website and how you go about things and obviously everything about genealogy is detective work. And really to me that is the fun and the joy and the excitement because anything that you actually find, you really get to keep forever. But often times we come across these photographs with no names on them and no way of identifying who they might be and this is what you’ve been doing now for some time. Give us a little idea about how you got started in this.
Maureen: Oh gee! [Laughs] Ancient history. But really I credit my mother because she always showed us the family photos. And I don’t have a lot of old family photos, that’s my big secret. I have a lot of early 20th century pictures but not many before that. But she used to drag out the boxes and keep us entertained and tell us stories about these people. And you know I didn’t think anything of it, and I became interested in genealogy as a young kid. And then I got out of college and realized that “Hey, you can actually put the two things together!”
Fisher: Um hmm.
Maureen: That family history and photography go together quite well. And no one was really doing that when I started the photography detective business. Now there’s an awful lot of people who understand the importance of that picture and the power of it to change your family history direction. It’s a fascinating thing. So someone sends me a photo and they find out from one of my consoles they’re 15 minutes in length and I joke “Give me 15 minutes and I’ll change the direction of your research.” And we look at those family photographs and I ask them a series of questions and the questions are things like, “What do you remember about the picture?” And there’s always something that pops into someone’s head that they haven’t remembered until just that moment.
Maureen: Which makes it really exciting because they say, “Well, in fact, the first time I saw that picture it was at so and so’s house. And we were doing this. And they told me that.” Or, “Oh wait a minute, I think I have that piece of jewelry in my jewelry box.” We talk about it and we talk about their family history and nine times out of ten it fits together quite nicely.
Maureen: Then a list of people these pictures can be, this is when they were taken, based on what people are wearing, the family history, the details in the picture, and what other research turns up in the process. So in photographs, it’s so important for genealogy as we all know. I was working on a case just last week and I was double checking the person’s research because that’s part of the service, and I was looking at their research and I said “Ha! Let me just hack around online and see if I can find any new information,” because there’s new documents all the time. And what do you know? I broke a thirty year brick wall.
Fisher: Ooh! [Laughs] You were probably as excited as she was.
Maureen: I called her up immediately and I said, “You have to check my work.” Because I can’t imagine, this is a very accomplished genealogist. She’s done this for a very long time. I said, “How could I have broken this case when you’ve worked on it for years and years?” And that’s what genealogy is all about. That is a pay it forward moment.
Fisher: Don’t you think sometimes we put blinders on ourselves, though? We start making assumptions in the past that, “Oh I can’t find it.” And then we’re just not looking, in the same way, as we would as if it were a fresh case.
Maureen: Oh exactly. I do it myself.
Maureen: We’ve all done it. You get a mindset that it isn’t out there, you can’t find it, you’ve looked and looked and looked, it might not be there, and then a fresh set of eyes says, “Did you notice that?”
Fisher: Yeah, right! [Laughs] Well let’s talk about some of the old 19th century photographs and some of the things that you’re able to do with those because I think that’s really quite fascinating to people. Styles changed even in that era much as they do today for both women and for men, and I know that’s an important part of how you identify unmarked photos.
Maureen: That’s right. You can’t overlook the fashion clues and there are details in every decade, sometimes within a specific year. You know if you think about what the fashion trends are right now today, they might not be the same fashion trend next year.
Fisher: Remember Nehru Jackets? I think they were “in” for like a week in 1967, right?
Maureen: [Laughs] I do, unfortunately. So this kind of thing, it changes quite a bit for men and for women. Now there are people who dress conservatively and so they may hold on to their favorite style clothing a little bit longer. And there are people who change their – young women particularly- who change their fashion style to keep up with the times. So in terms of let’s say, 1890s, you can tell a lot about when a person, a women particularly, had her picture taken in the 1890s by the shape of her sleeve.
Maureen: The size of it, the direction of it, because it’s always a puff.
Fisher: Well recently there was a story in the Smithsonian talking about how tuberculosis affected fashion back in the day, did you see that article?
Maureen: I did see it.
Fisher: And it just blew my mind because I guess the effects of tuberculoses actually affected a woman in a way that was deemed to be beautiful at that time. Pale, really skinny and wasting away [laughs] and so they built fashion also around it to keep the dresses off the floor so it wouldn’t pick up all the germs and then that affected the shoes and the style of shoes going into the early 20th century. Amazing!
Maureen: Exactly. Fashion doesn’t just pop out of nowhere. It’s an influence from whatever else is happening in society.
Fisher: And so do you have a list of things from each year that was unique to that particular time period? I’m sure the Civil War had special styles that were quite different from the 1870s even though as we might look back on it, it seems much the same period.
Maureen: I do. I have been working on photographs for a long time now so I have a lot of this information in my head. But I also have a pretty good library here in my office of all kinds of little bits and bobs about the history of photography and when photographers were in business, and fashion of course. I have many, many fashion encyclopedias in my office. There’s always something that I see in a picture that I may never have seen before.
Fisher: Sure. Well, we were talking off air before we came on about people who throw away old photographs because they can’t identify them, and what a physical sickness that brings on you when you just think about that. You are doing something about that with the Photo Detective Lost and Found. Tell us about that, and what people should be doing with their unidentified photos.
Maureen: Okay. So first off, three times in the last month three different individuals told me that they had either seen somebody throwing out their family photographs or after they met me they looked and they said, “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that. I didn’t realize that you found the clues in the pictures.”
Maureen: And they had tossed them as well. So I’m on this mission to bring photographs back into families. Especially if people aren’t interested in keeping them, please don’t throw them out. Please contact me before you do so and we’ll brainstorm some ideas on what you can do. So on Instagram, I have a new Instagram account or fairly new Instagram account, where I’m posting photographs from my own collection but I could easily post other people’s as well. And I may extend this into Facebook as well where I’m posting images that I have found that have a name on them. And there’s a lot of people that do this, it’s called an “Orphan Photo Movement.” But I’m using the hashtags in Instagram as a sort of index point, you know if you think about an old card catalog subject headings?
Maureen: So somebody could go in and search the hashtags for a particular surname and come up with a list of them that I’ve posted on Instagram. And then I’m dating all the photographs which is something that doesn’t always occur on some other websites. So I’m using my Photo Detective skills to also then reach out to those descendants of those individuals. So if you get an email from me that says, “By the way, I have a picture of your great grandparents.” It’s not a scam! [Laughs].
Fisher: How cool is that? So we go to the Photo Detective Instagram account?
Maureen: We go to Photo Detective Instagram, and I post I think three times week at this point, and all of those will eventually be featured on my website blog on MaureenTaylor.com.
Maureen: And they also go over to Pinterest Photo Detective and find some things.
Fisher: How about Flickr?
Maureen: I am not in Flickr.
Fisher: Okay, so Instagram and Pinterest?
Maureen: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Fisher: All right. She’s the Photo Detective, she’s Maureen Taylor. You can find out about her at MaureenTaylor.com. Once again, you’ve got the Photo Detective Lost and Found for your unmarked photos. You want to get them through to the Instagram account or through Pinterest or through Facebook. You’re all over the place.
Maureen: I am all over the place.
Maureen: Can I take one last pitch before we end?
Fisher: Please, yes.
Maureen: So on my blog on my website, which if you go to MaureenTaylor.com there’s a click where you can click on my blog, I have been working on some really complicated photo mysteries, and everybody out there, many of your listeners, may have a piece of information to help me solve this photo mystery. I now know that these women who were in the military or in the military in U.S. Army Air Corps, they were in Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery Alabama, but I do not know their names and I find it hard to believe that someone out there doesn’t recognize one of the women in those photographs. So please take a look, let me know if you recognize any of those faces.
Fisher: All right. Thanks so much Maureen. Hopefully, you’re going to get that solved and we can help a lot of other people solve their mysteries with their photographs at home. Great having you on!
Maureen: Thank you!
Fisher: And coming up next, of course, every family has a family legend that needs a little exploration. We have kind of a national family legend that we’re going to get into with Andrew Krea from NEHGS, the legend of Molly Pitcher, in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 149
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Andrew Krea
Fisher: You know, just a few weeks ago, it was the 238th anniversary of the Battle of Monmouth in the Revolutionary War, June 28th 1778. Hi, it’s Fisher, and one of my ancestors, Samuel Pease who lived in nearby Freehold, New Jersey was a part of that. And as a result of looking into the Battle of Monmouth in my own studies, I ran across this incredible article in a blog, the Vita Brevis blog with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, from my next guest, Andrew Krea who is a Senior Researcher there. Andrew, how are you? Nice to have you on the show!
Andrew: Hi Fisher. Thanks so much. I'm very happy to be here.
Fisher: So you've been researching into one of the great sub stories of the Battle of Monmouth. And the Battle of Monmouth by the way was one of the final battles of the Revolution. It kind of put an end to British hopes of winning the war. And in the middle of all this was supposedly, theoretically, historically a woman. And she was nicknamed "Molly Pitcher." Now Molly of course is a nickname for the given name of Mary, especially back in those times. So a lot of people think that her name may have actually been Mary something. And you decided to dig into this and see if you could actually put a name on this mythical person or this actual person who was out giving water to the soldiers and helping fire the cannons, supposedly dressed in men's clothing. She was quite a woman. What can you add, by the way, to my description here, Andrew?
Andrew: I can add some things like, she smoked and chewed tobacco and swore like the best of them! [Laughs]
Fisher: Aha! Okay. [Laughs] So Molly Pitcher became really quite the legend and we still hear about her to his day. There are all kinds of illustrations of her, especially through the late 18th and into the 19th century. And I guess it’s been some kind of, shall we call it a mystery or debate as to her actual identity or is it simply a matter of she's a conglomeration of several people who participated in the Battle of Monmouth that day?
Andrew: Yes, that is definitely the question. There's many theories out there. I believe it’s just a conglomerate of various women. When I started looking into this, I found it fascinating that there are some actual women on file who were paid pensions by the local state and federal government.
Andrew: For service in the Revolutionary War. And I had no idea about that.
Fisher: I didn't either. I've never run in anything like that.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s very few. I believe, in the sources I checked. Most people find maybe three to five women in the general New Jersey area that I happened to be researching, throughout the entire war that actually received pensions. But still, I didn't even know two or three women. I didn't even know about that at the time.
Fisher: Right. So you started digging into this to see if you could put a name on this individual. And what did you learn?
Andrew: I learned from, first of all, I want to say that I learned from an article written in 1999 by Emily J. Teipe. She has an article titled "Will the Real Molly Pitcher Please Stand Up" in Prologue magazine which is online at the National Archives website. And while reading her article, I learned that most researchers can boil it down to perhaps three different women that may have been Molly Pitcher, or, as we mentioned, it might be a conglomerate of all of them. The first is a woman named Mary Ludwig Hays. And the first name, Mary, as you mentioned earlier, Fisher, Molly is the nickname for that, so that lends credence to the fact that this could be the actual Molly Pitcher.
Andrew: She was the daughter of German immigrants and her husband was a captain in Francis Proctor's company in the Pennsylvania artillery. Her husband was John Hays. So, because her husband was a captain and they didn't have children at the time, she fought alongside her husband. And she has an official Revolutionary War record. She certainly participated in the Battle of Monmouth. She supplied soldiers with drinking water as you mentioned earlier. I believe that's how she earned the nickname "Molly Pitcher" bringing pitchers of water to people.
Andrew: And supposedly there are reports that she may have received thanks directly from General George Washington. But that's sort of more of a family lore type of situation.
Fisher: She was actually at Valley Forge too, right? She was camp follower there.
Andrew: Yes, good point. She collected an annual pension of forty dollars from the State of Pennsylvania. So this is a likely candidate. And also in my research when I wrote this blog post, some people commented on my blog post and happened to mention that there is a memorial right next to Mary Ludwig Hays’ gravestone. There's a memorial to her remarking that she is Molly Pitcher.
Andrew: Anyone can put a memorial anywhere.
Fisher: Right. Sure.
Andrew: But it’s very interesting that all those facts just come together. So the second woman who Molly Pitcher may be was a woman named Margaret Cochran Corbin. She was the daughter of Robert Cochran and she was the wife of John Corbin. John Corbin enlisted in the same company, Captain Francis Proctor's company in the Pennsylvania artillery. So her situation, the reason that she's another good candidate is, her situation mirrors and follows Mary Ludwig Hays’ very similarly. They were in the same company and their husbands were in the military and they followed their husbands into battle basically. And Margaret Corbin also received disability pay for her services.
Fisher: So she's another one who got the pay and she was also in the Battle of Monmouth. This is crazy!
Fisher: Because it certainly breaks the stereotype, right, that it was all men? These were very active women in this battle.
Andrew: Yes, exactly. And the descriptions of them are fantastic! I mentioned earlier, but I'll reiterate. Mary Ludwig Hays was described as, and I quote, "A rough, tough woman who reportedly smoked and chewed tobacco and swore like a trooper." [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] Okay.
Andrew: That description alone is worth, you know, I can picture her in my mind. [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah. And then these are tough women. You wouldn't want to run into them in a back alley.
Andrew: Especially with a cannon. No, definitely not!
Fisher: No! Right, and they had cannons. They had guns and things!
Andrew: Yes, I know, I know. So the main reason I mentioned both Mary Ludwig Hays and Margaret Corbin is because I believe that their situations were mirrored and so similar that they're both excellent candidates to be the real Molly Pitcher.
Fisher: Except that Margaret is really not a name from which Molly would come.
Andrew: Exactly. That's a good point.
Andrew: Now the third, in my opinion, least likely candidate, and her first name is Deborah, so that's even less to the nickname of Molly than Margaret.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] Okay.
Andrew: At least Margaret begins with an M. But the third candidate that myself and most of the other researchers have found in the past, was a woman named Deborah Sampson. She is reported to have actually disguised herself as a man, cut her hair really short and dressed up as a man to sign up, basically out of patriotism. And she thought it was her duty. I mean, she signed up with the 4th Massachusetts regiment where she was nicknamed, again supposedly nicknamed "Molly," because of her high voice and her girlish complexion.
Andrew: Compared to the other men fighting along next to her who must have had beards and you know beards and so forth. So, she received a federal pension for her service also. And eventually, she settled in Massachusetts, had three children and so forth. But I mean, she seems, very possibly, a viable candidate as well.
Fisher: But the least likely of the three. Who do you think it is?
Andrew: In my humble opinion, I think it’s Mary Ludwig Hays, because of the name Molly. And because her family, the generations that followed her are adamant about her service and the plaques along the side of her gravestone and things like that, just a sort of a gut feeling on my side. There's no true evidence that she was actually Molly Pitcher.
Fisher: Well you know, it’s a lot of fun too, you can apply all that you're doing to any one of our family history stories, right? There are legends in everybody’s family.
Fisher: And it takes this kind of effort to kind of get a handle on what's real, what's not and what might have been. And I certainly think that's the case here, because it could have easily been a conglomeration of all these three women and maybe some others we don't even know about.
Andrew: That's the thing. I agree 100%. It’s probably even many, many more women that we don't know about. Because as I found all this information, I mentioned three that were actually paid by the governments, so I was shocked. But you know, there's so many women out there that may have participated in the battles.
Fisher: He's Andrew Krea. He's the Senior Researcher for the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Thanks for coming on and talking about this, Andrew. Enjoyed it!
Andrew: Oh Fisher, my pleasure!
Fisher: And this segment of Extreme Genes has been brought to you by FamilySearch.org. And coming up in three minutes, we'll talk to our Preservation Authority, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, about your questions about preserving your precious heirlooms and documents. That's in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 149
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: It is Preservation Time on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show, and this segment is brought to you by Forever.com. Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com is here. How are you, Tommy?
Tom: Super duper.
Fisher: Got a great email here from Ryan McMichael and I love this. He says: "My mom came across a single 25ft roll of old 8mm film." He does “old” all in caps, and he says, "The catch… I'm not sure it was ever processed and I'm a little nervous about checking because I don't want to expose it to light. If it hasn't been processed, is there any hope at all of anything useful coming of it, if the process before date is February 1957?"
Fisher: He says: "Are you done laughing yet?" [Laughs]
Tom: I just got started.
Fisher: Oh my goodness! Well, where do we go with this one, Tom?
Tom: Alright. That's a really good question. We'll talk about a couple different ways to do this.
Fisher: Sounds like nothing to lose.
Tom: Oh no. Yeah, you have nothing to lose but a few bucks. Yeah, he actually, which is smart, when you write to me with weird stuff, take a photo of it with your phone and attach it, because I would have to question him. But he actually sent a picture of the box. He also sent a picture of the can inside. This is definitely Regular 8, and in the old days, you had this little can that was 16mm wide. You'd put it in your Regular 8 camera and you'd shoot it until you got to the end of the roll, then you'd pop out the reel, pop it back in the opposite way and then run it again. And then what you're supposed to do is send it into Kodak, have them develop it. Once they developed it, they split it into two 8mm reels so then you can watch the 10 that you've just recorded. But in his case, he shows a picture of the can with the black tape still on it. If the tape looks like it's never ever come off of it, chances are it's never been shot. However, to me, it's worth the money to take the chance. We don't physically do it in our store because Kodak doesn't even make the chemistry anymore.
Fisher: [Laughs] Right.
Tom: But there is a place that's called “Film Rescue.” Just go and Google the word "Film Rescue." They're actually in Canada, but they also have a shop in the U.S, I believe it's in Michigan. And you can send the stuff to them. They take it across the borders, you don't have to worry about customs or anything. And they only do it a couple of times a year because they have to make their own chemistry. So what I would do is do exactly what this gentleman did. Send them a copy of the box, or it will say Chemistry C41, or whatever. See, I've got one reel of this. They will give you quarter of what it would cost to develop it, when you want to get it in, so you can make sure you make one of their deadlines.
Fisher: Is it pricey?
Tom: It generally runs... I've seen it go as high as $50 a reel, depending on how many it is. But if you have like 10 reels it's not going to cost you $50 for each reel.
Tom: So go in there, find out. Some of the chemistries are less expensive to make, some of them are very expensive. But find out. I mean, he's had it for longer than I've been alive.
Tom: So I mean, if he has to wait another 6 months or even a year, it's probably not going to be a situation.
Fisher: This goes back to the Eisenhower Administration.
Tom: It does.
Fisher: I guess the question would be, Tom, how old is the oldest bit of film that you've actually developed? I mean, as far as how far back it went.
Tom: I would actually have to look at our stuff. We've got stuff from, you know, the Candy Bomber from World War II, we did all of his films for him. We've got some video that I've watched like a 1920 Model A Ford driving by so you know it's got to be older than that.
Fisher: Right. But you did film?
Tom: Oh yeah.
Fisher: You actually processed film that hadn't been processed before?
Tom: Oh, absolutely. Back in the day, you know... In fact, it's funny about, you said our 3rd-anniversary last week, it was out 43rd anniversary for us last month. And so we've been doing this forever. And in the old days these guys at Film Rescue they used to do film for us once a month.
Tom: We would get it a lot in. We would get it, send it back to them, they would develop it for us, send it to us. And also if you have the newer kind that's in a little hard plastic things, and you can actually see a little bit of the film hanging in the cassette, we have people bringing those in today too. And on those kind of films, in the little plastic black cartridges, you'll see a little bit of film and if it has white words “exposed” on it.
Tom: The whole roll's been exposed. If it doesn't say exposed, you really don't know if it's the beginning of the roll or the end of the roll. And so after the break, I'll come back and tell you some little ways you can find out if it has been exposed or if it hasn't been exposed.
Fisher: All right. Really interesting stuff, great question too! We'll be back in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 149
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. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, the Preservation Authority. Tom, some exciting events coming up, I know you're going to be at some of these if people would like to visit you personally.
Tom: It's awesome because a lot of times you can come up with your questions, bring things and show them to me because it's a lot easier sometimes to see something when somebody's describing it to you. And I can give you some tips and tricks to transfer it yourself or give you some leads to where you can go.
Fisher: All right. We've got the Scandinavian and German Research Expo at the Nebraska Prairie Museum, that's in Holdrege, Nebraska, coming up August 25th through 27th. I know you're still making plans on that one to see if you can be there.
Fisher: There is Salt Lake City Family History Library Research week in Salt Lake City, Utah, October 10th through 14th. And then there's also one in Midway Utah. And I know you're going to be a part of that one. What's the story on that one, Tom?
Tom: This is one of my favorite ones to do because it's a little bit smaller. It's kind of like a mini Roots Tech. So you have chances to go and talk to the exhibitors. You have a chance to go and talk to the presenters. So it's an awesome opportunity. You can go to FamilyHistoryExpos.com. It's at the Homestead in Midway, Utah which is absolutely picturesque. It's one of the most beautiful places in Utah. It's wonderful. It's November 11th and 12th. Hope to see you there.
Fisher: All right. Getting back to Ryan's question here that we were getting into the last segment, and I love this, about processing old home movies from 1957. It was never processed and he wants to find out more about this, and you had some other direction you wanted to take this?
Tom: Exactly. So we've covered his, which is the old 16mm which they split into two 8s. If you have the cartridges, little black cartridges that just go right into the Super 8 cameras generally, if you see it and it doesn't say "exposed" and you're not sure… do I want to send this and develop it… one thing you can do is go into a dark room and make a little mark on it with like a grease pencil and go into a dark room, and get like a screwdriver and kind of turn the crank and see how far it goes. If it goes for a long, long ways, then it's probably never been exposed. If it goes a short time and, "Hmm, It's not moving anymore" and you can see the word "exposed" then it's at the end of the reel. Then you know it's almost done.
Fisher: And so the flashlight though wouldn't cause any damage because you're at the end of the reel, right?
Tom: Right. Exactly, and the thing is even if you turn it on at some other time, all you're going to lose is like a one inch section which is like a fraction of a second.
Tom: So if you want to put a mark on it, in fact, if you have a red light it won't even expose the film at all. And then you can actually see it moving and see how long it takes to move. If you're really tight on dollars or you found a whole draw of these, if the box itself is sealed from the factory, I guarantee nobody's ever done anything with it. So it's not even worth using. You know I would always take the gamble and develop it just to see, because you never know what's going to be on it. It's not that big of an expense but it makes it kind of cool. If you're really tight financially and you found a lot of these, this is just a simple trick to go and find out "Hey, how close am I to the end?" Because in the old days, just like today, people sometimes would keep one reel when, for Christmas, they'll keep another one of birthdays, another one for their vacations, and when they're done with that they take the cartridge out, put in another cartridge. And then when it goes to Christmas again they put in the Christmas cartridge until the whole thing is shot. And so quite a number of times you'll find one that never ever got to the end so it says "exposed." So this is just a cheap trick to kind of find out how close it is to the end.
Fisher: Boy, I had no idea there was so much to this. And you're right. I actually found in an old family Bible once a negative of a photograph.
Tom: Oh yeah.
Fisher: And I was able to take that and put it on a scanner, scan it and then reverse it because of course, it was a negative. Made it into a positive and I was able to see the photograph from it. But these things are out there.
Tom: Oh absolutely. And another thing that you're bringing up that is really wonderful is you can get color negatives and scan them. And if your scanning them at home or don't have the right kind of a scanner, there's software and apps you can go out and turn it into a regular positive.
Fisher: Great stuff. Thanks so much, Tom. Talk to you again next week.
Tom: Great to be here.
Fisher: Hey, that wraps up our show for this week. This segment has been brought to you by MyHeritage.com, and our friends at RootsMagic.com. And by the way, if you get on our Facebook page or ExtremeGenes.com, you can now sign up for out new weekly newsletter, The Weekly Genie. No, we will not be spamming you! Just giving you great information to help you with your family research. Thanks so much for joining us. Take care. We'll talk to you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!