Episode 15 – Scary Stories from the Listeners! Dr. Scott Woodward On DNA Matching Origins

podcast episode Oct 28, 2013

On this weeks show, Fisher talks about Halloween and audience members who have actually seen ghosts!  Hear two stories that’ll make your hair stand on end!  There’s another reunion story on ExtremeGenes.com… this time it’s a Vietnam vet who was adopted. Plus Dr. Scott Woodward on the origins of DNA matching.

Transcript of Episode 15

Host: Scott Fisher

Segment 1 Episode 15

Fisher: Hello genies and welcome to another edition of Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com, brought to you by TMC the MultiMedia Centers preserving your memories for over forty years. And this segment is brought to you by Heritage Consulting Genealogy Services your family history resource. Call 877 537 2000. I am your Radio Roots Sleuth Fisher and I think it was back in Episode 2 we talked about Heritage Societies and we had on some great guests from the Society of Mayflower descendents and the Daughters of the American Revolution, Andrea Cranny from Utah and Sarah Hermans from Upstate New York. And we had a lot of fun finding about just what they do and how you join and whether one of a gazillion organizations out there is for you or not. You can hear the whole thing by the way of course on our podcast at ExtremeGenes.com or iTunes. Most of the time, I like to think of these things the way Groucho Marx did. “I wouldn’t want to belong to any organization that would have me as a member.” But I decided to see just who might have me a member. As it turned out it’s the Mayflower folks. I don’t know what this says about them but I passed the test, got the stamp of approval a few days ago and now I guess I have to see what happens next. They’ve got a big dinner next month. [Laughs] I’ve got to imagine there will be some kind of initiation involving large belt buckles and a blunderbuss. I’m not sure but I’ll let you know how that goes. Okay, down to business. Coming up tonight always excited to have Dr Scott Woodward back on the show our DNA Authority from Ancestry.com. Some big things are happening in the ethnicity analysis in ancestry and he’s going to explain it and tell us why your numbers may be changing as mine did. Dr Woodward has some exciting news also for African Americans in this too. And he’s going to be in here in about ten minutes. 

With Halloween here we asked the poll question this week, “Have you ever seen a ghost?” Among those who responded a small majority said, “Yes!” Now I don’t know that that reflects the population at large but it’s always interesting to hear from people who’ve had the experience. I’ve got a couple of Facebook responses on the subject this past week. Katie wrote, “I’ve seen my mom and my grandpa sitting on the couch in my livingroom.”  Dave wrote, “When I was a small kid my mom and sister and I moved into my recently deceased great grandmother’s house. The first night we were there we were all sleeping in my mom’s bed. We saw a white glove that was sitting on the dresser float in the air and wave at us. My mom grabbed it out of the air and threw it out the front door. It rotted there on the front lawn. We just avoided it.”You know I don’t know that I would ever [Laughs] have been the same after something like that. I’ve always wondered how I would react if I had had a ghost experience especially Katie’s. I mean, would waking up in the middle of the night and seeing a see-through figure freak me out or just seem so natural? Would it being a relative or ancestor take the fright out of the experience? I have no idea. And I’m good with getting through life without finding out first hand but happy to hear you and others tell it.

This week’s poll “Have you seen a significant change in your ethnicity numbers with the new improvements in Ancestry.com’s upgrade?” I have and perhaps you have too. Vote on the poll at ExtremeGenes.com your place for all the latest in family history news. Well here’s what we have for you this week, and I love the reunion stories especially for people who have never known their families. Last week we told you about an 80 year old man who met a blood relative for the first time in his life. This week’s it’s a Vietnam Vet who was adopted, who grew up so close to his birthmother that he walked past her house all the time growing up. He had no idea. He even went to High School with two of his half brothers [Laughs] and didn’t even know it. His name is Howard Rice. He’s sixty four. He lives in Aurora, Illinois. He had some letters that his birthmother had sent to his adoptive mother. Now the return address was close to where he grew up and one of the letters mentioned a half sister by name. It took the better part of a year but Howard was able to track her down and then one day showed up at her doorstep in nearby Yorkville, Illinois. Well, Janet Growner is the half sister and knew right away from Howard’s looks that he closely resembled her mother’s brothers, so they recently had their first ever family portrait. You can see that with the full story on our website ExtremeGenes.com

Remember too by the way, if you’re hearing this via podcast long after the original broadcast you might not see these stories when you go to ExtremeGenes.com as we’ll have some more recent material there. So just pop in a keyword or two and you’ll certainly be able to find it that way as nothing ever permanently goes away. All right, here’s a fun one that we’ve linked to on ExtremeGenes.com. It’s a site that shows the number one most popular girl’s name in every State in the United States for every year since 1960 to now. It shows on a slide show. You can also see it page by page and it is really fun. And the names were tallied by Social Security Applications. And no, they don’t seem to have one yet for boys’ names. It gives the most popular girls’ names nationally as well as each State. And it’s pretty interesting to see how trends will go on for a few years and then a new one begins some place and spreads every place. For instance, let’s take Florida. In 1960 the most popular girl’s name was Mary. This went on for two years and then it was Lisa. Lisa was number one in Florida and most of the nation from 1962 all the way to 1969 then came Jennifer. Florida’s number one girls name was Jennifer from 1970 to 1984, yeah, fifteen years. That’s when Jessica took over from 1985 to ’87. Then it was Ashley for ten years till ’97. From ’98 to 2005 Emily was the queen of Florida and since then we’ve seen Isabella as the queen of names from ’06 to the present day. People are pretty conservative with their kids’ names despite what Hollywood would like you to think. See the trends for your State at ExtremeGenes.com

A previously unknown branch of the Jewish ancestry of Secretary of State John Kerry has been found and confirmed. And you may recall about ten years ago the Boston Globe carried the story first breaking the news of Kerry’s Jewish ancestry. This new connection makes for a fascinating read and that it goes back to name changes, a branch that wound up rejected in their quest to come to America which resulted in their deaths at the hands of the Nazis in the holocaust. And a woman tied to Kerry’s lines who had periodically run into him in Boston but had never known that she and he were related. So Republican or Democrat, if you’re a true genie you’ll love this recent article in the Boston Globe. It’s linked to our featured stories at the top of ExtremeGenes.com. Also on the website this week, something our Preservation Authority Tom Perry will like and certainly endorse. It’s an article from Ireland [Music] with tips from the top conservationists at the National Library on how to preserve your paper archives, newspaper clippings, photographs, letters, you name it. It speaks to how you’ll be able to not only be able to preserve your paper but still have it available to enjoy as well. After all, I mean who wants to keep their treasures in the dark? Look for the old envelope on the website, and I think many of these things are common sense but there are a lot of great ideas you may not have thought of as well, a good article to bookmark by the way.

And finally, Otzi the iceman is back in the news. Yeah, he was originally found frozen in Austria in the Alps back in 1991. They’ve dated him back 5300 years and he is remarkably preserved. I warn you though, if you go to the link the image of this unwrapped mummy kind of knocks you back, okay? Word is that scientists have identified nineteen different men who share a specific genetic mutation wth Otzi from this area. Yes they’re related! So we’re talking about an individual that lived some 3300 B.C. They say he was 5’2 with brown eyes which really tells you just how well this man was preserved. None of the descendents know yet about their ties.  And doesn’t it make you wonder though, could millions of us be descended from him? Remember it’s pretty understood that all modern Europeans descend from all who were living in the year 1000 and have any relatives living today, for instance, Charlemagne. This iceman lived more than 4000 years before Charlemagne. So iceman’s blood may be flowing through most all of our veins no matter what Continent we come from. Find the link, read the article, [Laughs] maybe hide your eyes from the picture. It’s all on ExtremeGenes.com. And coming up next, Dr Scott Woodward our DNA Authority on the recent DNA ethnicity upgrade from Ancestry.com, why are our results changing? What do they mean and what’s still to come? We’ll have it all for you next when we return on Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com

Segment 2 Episode 15

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Dr. Scott Woodward

Fisher: Hey welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth and very excited to have back our DNA Authority Dr. Scott Woodward from Ancestry.com brought to you by TMC the MultiMedia Centers preserving your memories for over forty years. How are you Scott? Good to see you.

Scott: Thanks Scott. Good to be here again.

Fisher: A little busy this past little bit with your release over there of the new upgrades for DNA and it is absolutely unbelievable! 

Scott: Very much so. I mean, this is something that we’d anticipated for a long time but I don’t know that we’d anticipated big enough. 

Fisher: [Laughs]

Scott: As most people realized after we put our update out, version 2 of our ethnicity testing, it slowed the servers down for a few days.

Fisher: Yes. [Laughs] I noticed that. It was a little bit of a problem wasn’t it? You were going to do it a little at a time weren’t you?  One group would get it and then the next, that kind of thing, then all of a sudden it was there for everybody and I thought, “Really? Okay.” [Laughs]

Scott: And that’s what really crashed it. We did do it. We did at a stage, just a little bit, just to make sure everything was working, that it seemed you know the bugs were out.

Fisher: But that was only for about a week.

Scott: Yeah, a couple of weeks then boom, open the floodgates and wham.

Fisher: It was great. And I’ll tell you what though, it also created a lot of new questions. Now, just to give you my background, my mother was entirely Scandinavian.

Scott: In the previous analysis.

Fisher: Let’s just deal with the tree for a minute. Her dad was half Norwegian and half Swedish. Her mother was entirely Swedish and yet I just came in at 48% Scandinavian. There was a couple of percent Finnish in there. I figured okay that fills in that. But you would think because my dad’s side has so much British blood that I would see more Scandinavian coming in there and knocking that number down, but that didn’t happen.

Scott: One of the things we have to realize when we look at DNA we’re looking at a relatively deep look at your tree. Where was your DNA 8, 10, 12, maybe 20 generations ago, okay?

Fisher: Right.

Scott: And so as populations move and change, they’ve changed a lot over the last 20 years. And the mix of DNA that you have, reflect some of that mixing that’s going on.

Fisher: Sure.

Scott: People have come from Scandinavia, have gone into the British Isles, have gone back to Scandinavia, have gone to Western Europe, have gone back to the British Isles from generation to generation. There’s been a lot of movement that’s happened in the last 2 or 3 or 500 years and that’s reflected in your DNA. In previous versions, each version of our ethnicity tell us, which doesn’t require a new DNA test, but it’s just new analysis of your DNA test will include larger and larger samples from different geographical regions and information that we have about those people living in those geographical regions at different times in the past. One of the real big things that we did with this update is we took a lot of the data that came from SMGF (Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation) where we had information both about the DNA but also the genealogical information. So, the DNA was not assigned just to the place where the DNA was collected but it was assigned to the place where the DNA came from, one and two and three and four generations ago.

Fisher: Right.

Scott: And in all cases as many generations back as we could go with the genealogy. And so that changed the analysis a little bit and so a lot of people who had previously not seen some of the information that they had on the traditional genealogy chart, the DNA was showing something slightly different or in some cases largely different, that has come closer and closer for most people. It hasn’t answered the question for everybody yet but we still have Version 3 coming.

Fisher: [Laughs] No, when is that?

Scott: [Laughs] I don’t know a date on that yet but it is. We’re working on it.

Fisher: Five years, six months? What are you thinking?

Scott: No, no, no, no we’re closer to the second than the first.

Fisher: All right. That’s fair. 

Scott: Yeah. We continued to update that and as we get new information in, essentially every day, from new people who are participating in genealogy using DNA that only increases the accuracy of the results that we’re able to give people.

Fisher: I guess the question would be, “What is accuracy?” Because of the fact that you’re really kind of shooting at a moving target are you not? Because if you go to a population in Italy you might tap into something that’s been there for thirteen hundred years, whereas you go to some place in Greece, you’re dealing with somebody or a population group that had been there for eight hundred years. So it’s kind of like the Hubble Telescope isn’t it? About how far, how close, and they’re not, I would assume all these populations can’t possibly all be the same in terms of the timeline. Yes?

Scott: That’s absolutely correct. I mean if you go back and try, which we did, using things like Y DNA and Mitochondrial DNA, we looked as deep as we could and we saw okay, European DNA, African DNA,  Asian DNA.

Fisher: Is it easier to follow with Y and Mitochondria? 

Scott: They’re simpler systems.

 Fisher: Right.

Scott: But I don’t know that they give you any more accurate results. The autosomal DNA really is going to give you the ultimate end results for all of your chart. But populations change over time. If you look at the United States maybe a thousand years from now, the United States will be an origin population. 

Fisher: Sure.

Scott: But today the United States is not an origin population. Every single person in the United States is an immigrant, even Native Americans, okay. 

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] That’s true.  

Scott: If you go back far enough because they’ll tie in very tightly to Asians, if you go back that deep. And so every population in the world is constantly evolving. And we take snapshots of those populations and some of those are two hundred years ago, some are five, some are eight, some may be a thousand years ago. 

Fisher: Do you have a way of knowing that?

Scott: Yes. 

Fisher: Or is it merely from the historical... you used to work the historical with the populations.

Scott: We use the historical records because that helps us match more tightly with what we know about written genealogical records.

Fisher: Do you see the day then where you’ll be able to say, okay your population, this percentage of your DNA comes from this area at this time? 

Scott: At this time.

Fisher: Yes.

Scott: Exactly. 

Fisher: Okay.

Scott: That’s exactly where we’d like to be able to go because everybody has a different point in their genealogy and their pedigree where they run into that brick wall.

Fisher: Sure, usually about 1600, maybe 1500.

Scott: I want to know where my DNA was in 1550, right?

Fisher: Right.

Scott: And so we compare it to a population of known individuals who had ancestry in known places in 1550 right, and then see where you best fit. The problem again is you have to have a large enough data set of individuals with known ancestry in 1550 to be able to do that. Now, once we get that core data set built then we can make some other inferences from other people and other things that may not have as complete records but ultimately we should be able to give you a very, very good estimate of where your genes were 100 years ago, 200 years ago, 300 years ago.

Fisher: At a certain point in time. Wow. How far away is all that?

Scott: In some cases it’s happening. I mean you can almost do it right now, but not in all cases. In fact most cases you can’t. There are a few cases where we have enough data that we could do that now. That data isn’t part really of this release it’s a more general release. We are still looking at fairly large geographical regions when we split the world up even though we have dozens and dozens of regions. They are fairly large.

Fisher: So you’re going to be getting narrower and narrower perhaps down to very villages at some point?

Scott: A good example is what’s happening in Africa.

Fisher: Okay.

Scott: You know, for a long time all that we would do is say African DNA but Africa is a very large Continent. With Version 2 release we’ve split Africa up into ten different regions including six new ones that hadn’t been released before.

Fisher: Did you find something new out of that that was unexpected?

Scott: Actually on a personal story, I found a very interesting thing. There’s always been a rumor in my wife’s family.

Fisher: Right. We talked about this last time. This is awesome!

Scott: Right, that her father, great, great grandfather was Mulatto or half or part black. But he was born and grew up in Missouri. It was something that was just not spoken of very much, but it was always there. It was always in the background. And so when we look at his DNA and then in turn my wife’s DNA, his daughter’s DNA it comes out extremely clear with almost exactly the right percentages that the rumors, the stories that we’ve heard are most likely correct.

Fisher: But this release, does it narrow it now to where he was from?

Scott: Yeah, and not only does it say Africa, but we know what part of Nigeria he came from or his family came from. And it’s a pretty tight result.

Fisher: Unbelievable. And so now you’re narrowing it within there. Do you see the day when you can narrow it even further within Nigeria, or is this about as tight as you can get?

Scott: No, it’s going to get better. 

Fisher: It will?

Scott: It’s really a function of sample size. The more samples we get of known origin the better the data will be returned.

Fisher: All right, now we’ve done twenty six regions as I recall, around the world is what you’ve kind of narrowed it down to. You’ve even done trace regions. We want to talk about that when we come back as we continue our conversation with Dr Scott Woodward our DNA Authority on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 3 Episode 15

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Dr. Scott Woodward

Fisher: It’s Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here with our guest Dr Scott Woodward, he’s our DNA Authority from Ancestry.com. They’ve just released their latest upgrade on DNA and everybody’s going nuts because everything has changed. Brought to you by TMC t he MultiMedia Centers preserving your memories for over forty years. You know, I’m supposed to be like 37% British. I came in at 8. I got 8% Irish. From where does 1/12th ½ of me come from Ireland? So there’s a lot of going back and forth, but as we talked in the last segment Scott it’s I guess, a mixture of time periods that we see these populations through so it can become a little confusing.

Scott: It can. And as you noticed on your profile and on my profile there are some major contributors to your ancestry 12/15/20% or greater, but then there are also some trace regions that you can click on and pull down and you can see four, five, six or seven other regions in the world where you also have origination of genes.

Fisher: Yeah, I saw Greece, Italy now, what is it, the Iberian Peninsula?

Scott: Right.

Fisher: And I came in at less than 1% on that, places I’ve never heard of before in terms of you know my tree. 

Scott: It’s interesting especially in Europe and in the British Isles and Scandinavia that there aren’t really hard, vast borders between these countries.

Fisher: Yes. [Laughs] 

Scott: I mean there aren’t you know 100ft fences that say okay all of you have to stay in here, all of you have to stay in there.

Fisher: We tend to think of the political subdivisions, do we not? And those change constantly.

Scott: All the time. 

Fisher: Sure.

Scott: Ever since WWII. I mean those boundaries have changed Prussia. Who’s from Prussia?

Fisher: Right. [Laughs]

Scott: Exactly, right? And so how do you define that? And so people have been very mobile from the very beginnings of people. We move. We go over the mountain. We come round the mountain. We go across the Channel. We come back. So groups of people have exchanged genes forever. And so what we do in trying to identify some of these populations is try and find a core set of markers that seem to be more frequent in one group of individuals than they are in another group of individuals. And then we compare your profile with that and then see what happens. Now you are just a snapshot of all of the genes in the world really.

Fisher: Sure.

Scott: And so the question is where is the highest frequency of that set of genes at the particular time that these sub sets have been built? So that will give you slightly different results and with each version of the ethnicity test that comes up, those will change a little bit, as you saw from version 1 and version 2.

Fisher: I thought they were substantial changes.

Scott: And we hope that that’s moving in the correct direction. For most people, most of the comments that we’ve received back have been, “Oh Wow, it really fits my genealogy now, very few them, “No I’m not.” [Laughs]

Fisher: My friend David, his grandfather was Italian so he’s fully one quarter Italian. He just was over there and went through the cemeteries and they go back 400 years but his numbers came in very low on that.

Scott: Yeah, and so the question is, is that Italian grandfather 100% Italian or is there some Swiss or German or Greek or something else that’s also in that family line okay? And so that’s what the DNA is actually resolving. There are some of those other ancestral lines that come in to make that grandfather Italian.

Fisher: Can you give me a number that you would say is an average for how many years back these samples go? I know they must bury and you do 40 tests against each one of them according to the explanation I read so that you kind of get an average, just an estimate, but what would you say would be the time frame for most of these?

Scott: That’s actually an excellent question, and it’s very difficult to answer.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Scott: It’s because we try and select our populations that represent an area to be as uniform as possible so we may go back to the grandparent level or the great grandparent level and say all of these great grandparents were in this region at this time which may put us back to 1820 or 1800, something like that or 1850 and package them all together as a population.

Fisher: Sure.

Scott: In some regions of the world we have information that goes back into the 1700s, maybe the 1600s, others the early 1900s is you know as good as we can get for some of those populations, so each one of those regions of the world are going to vary in the depths of time.

Fisher: But that’s as far as charts and the research go. But as far as the DNA goes you talked about earlier using historical records to place them in places. Can you put a time average on that?

Scott: No. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

Scott: We all have the DNA that we share with Neanderthals.

Fisher: Okay.

Scott: Okay, so some of us have about 2, 3 or 4%.

Fisher: A little more than others, football players. [Laughs]

Scott: [Laughs] I think we can get in trouble with that.

Fisher: [Laughs] 

Scott: Really, if you think about the current populations... a little off the track here, that have the highest percentage of Neanderthal are probably Western Europeans just because that is sort of  the homeland of the Neanderthal and that is where a lot of the interbreeding probably took place, you know, 100 000/700 000 years ago. So DNA can go back really, really, really deep. But we are trying to focus it and look at sets of markers that traveled together for short periods of time and are specific to one geographical region over another. And so all of the time depths right now are spread across maybe 3 or 500 years and so as we get more data, more information those will become tighter and tighter and tighter. I would love to be able to say we could split this up by decades.

Fisher: Wow! Is that potentially possible, really?

Scott: In my dreams.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Scott: But in some cases in the world it will be possible.

Fisher: And history has mixed up a lot of populations over time.

Scott: That’s exactly right.

Fisher: So will you at some point then say all right, yes, you have this match of population, this DNA, but it’s from this time period. And over here you’ve got your Irish and this is from this time period. Because like you say, the vein is so deep and it’s going to change because people take over. The European population took over from the Native American population.

Scott: Right.

Fisher: The Native Americans came here from Asia according to your research. 

Scott: Right.

Fisher: And so other people took over where they were previously so it’s rich.

Scott: It’s very dynamic.

Fisher: Yeah, very changing.

Scott: It’s a very dynamic situation. Human populations are not static.

Fisher: So will you be able to give us dates then and say this is where we feel your DNA went, your DNA was at this place?

Scott: Yes. That’s what we’re looking at.

Fisher: And that’s coming?

Scott: That’s coming.

Fisher: Is that going to be in the next release?

Scott: That will not be in the next release. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] I tried to nail him down. I tried. 

Scott: That’s a difficult problem and it’s still a little theoretical and maybe it’s not as practical as I would like it to be. But given enough data which is always the scientist’s response for, “Give me more data, more data, more data.” 

Fisher: Yes, yes, yes.

Scott: We will be able to become much more precise on both location and timing of sets of genes in a particular population.

Fisher: Now has this latest release from Ancestry.com increased your ability to match people from their DNA test? I saw the place where you can actually click on and you can compare places now on a map which I had not seen before. Maybe I’d missed it. But I thought that was a terrific feature.

Scott: So there are really two mostly related, but actually much different results that we can get from DNA. One is the ethnicity results that we’ve just been talking about.

Fisher: Right.

Scott: The other one are personal relationship results. Who am I most closely related to individual to individual? So the first ones we’ve been talking about are ethnicity groups.

Fisher: Right, yes.

Scott: Now we can also ask questions. Who out there is my most closely related relative in all of the people that have taken the test from Ancestry? And the answer to that and the increase in numbers of those is wholly dependent on the number of people who have taken the test.

Fisher: Now you were saying when we were off a little bit ago that the old Sorenson test that you did amounted to over 100 000.

Scott: Correct.

Fisher: And you’ve added with Ancestry another couple 100 000.

Scott: Another 200 000.

Fisher: Wow!

Scott: So there’s about 300 000 people out there in this system that are potentials for matching with one another.

Fisher: Are you able to reuse the old test from Sorenson, I mean back to the blood draw days?

Scott: Reuse the DNA?

Fisher: Yes.

Scott: The actual DNA tests that we performed on those are not necessarily compatible with the DNA test that we’re doing today.

Fisher: Right. 

Scott: We’ve really moved light years. 

Fisher: Autosomal, autosomal done right?

Scott: Autosomal is light years in difference to what we did back in the past is a little like brain surgery with stone tools compared to what we’re doing right now.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] 

Scott: And it’s pretty amazing, but the DNAs are still there. The DNAs can be accessed and rerun with the new tests.

Fisher: That’s awesome. How many people do you have around the world going to these populations and seeking out their samples?

Scott: Back in the past, a year or two ago when SMGF was around we had about a dozen people that were going around. We ultimately collected samples from 170 different countries in the world. Today all the collections are done through customers coming into Ancestry.com

Fisher: So you don’t even have to send people out to seek it

Scott: Right.

Fisher: People are just getting into it now.

Scott: Correct.

Fisher: Are there some areas though that just aren’t participating yet?

Scott: Yes, there are. In fact, Ancestry really is a US based company and the DNA results that we’re getting are in the United States, but think about it, “Who lives in the United States?”

Fisher: Sure, yeah. [Laughs]

Scott: People from all over the world.

Fisher: Everywhere, that’s right.  But you need their lines with them, do they not?

Scott: You do, yeah. And you’ll notice on Ancestry that we’re very big on building family trees and have built tremendous trees. User supplied trees. 

Fisher: Sure, although I’ve noticed that a lot of people who are doing the test either privatize their trees or haven’t done hardly anything. They’re like two or three generations, it’s not of much use, some of these. 

Scott: That’s correct, for now. 

Fisher: For now. 

Scott: We’ve got to go back to those people and say, “Hey, you know, you could really be helpful.”

Fisher: Get to work.

Scott: And I’ve had that in one of my searchers when I’ve looked at people that are coming up with matches, DNA matches to me and I go and I look and the tree is not public or it’s not very large and I’ve dropped a couple of notes to them and said, “Hey, how about it? How about sharing?” 

Fisher: [Laughs]

Scott: And I’ve done that four times with people who have had locked trees.

Fisher: Sure.

Scott: Three of the four have responded back and given me the data. The fourth one I’m still waiting on. 

Fisher: Do they unlock it? 

Scott: They unlock it for me so that I can find and look, and discover more information through their tree and it’s been very enlightening to me. You know, I had four or five thousand people on my tree already. But just through DNA results I’ve probably been able to add a few hundred individuals on new collateral branches that I had no idea existed. 

Fisher: No idea, isn’t that great? Dr. Scott Woodward our DNA Authority from Ancestry.com, we could talk all day. [Laughs] So good to have you back and hope you’ll join us again soon. 

Scott: Let’s do it. 

Fisher: And coming up next, it’s our preservation Authority Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, and he’s got an interesting announcement you’re going to want to hear, coming up next on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com

Segment 4 Episode 15

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, brought to you by TMC, the MultiMedia Centers, preserving your memories for over forty years. And this segment is brought to you by Heritage Consulting Genealogy Services, your family history resource, Call 877 537 2000. Our Preservation Authority, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Welcome back Tom.

Tom: It’s good to be back.

Fisher: And you have some exciting news today and I'm very excited to hear about it. You just shared a little bit, but let's dig in! What have you got?

Tom: Oh this is pretty amazing! I mean, technology has made things so easy for us to do, whether you live in Dothan, Alabama or you know, South Africa. We have ways that you can preserve your memories and stuff. We've put a new part of our website up that has support, all kinds of reference information. So if you've got all this big box of photos and slides and film and video and you don't even know where to begin and you're just so overwhelmed, you can go to our website and we have a lot of information where you can put in how many feet you have, what you're looking for, all this kind of stuff and it can give you estimates whether you choose to go through us or somebody else. And will at least give you the knowledge you need when you're looking around, finding somebody to help you with your transfers so you're not so overwhelmed. Just start with a little piece and just work a little bit, work a little bit, work a little bit.

Fisher: Now, how does that work here, talking about measuring the number of feet you have, say on an old home movie reel?

Tom: Exactly. We have, there's like a half a dozen options it could be. So you pull out a ruler, measure the size of it, go and enter in how many of those you have, go to the next size add in how many you have.

Fisher: So is it based on the reel more than, is it a full reel or a half reel or things like that and then it helps you estimate?

Tom: Yeah, exactly. So if you have, say a four inch reel but there's only two inches on it, then you can count that as two inches. And you go in and fill out.

Fisher: Oh, so you measure it, then that calculates the feet ultimately?

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: So you go in and click on each one of these and put how many reels this size you have, how many reels this size you have, this size, this size and then it calculates it for you. It says, "Okay, this is super 8, you've got so many hours. This is regular 8, you have so many hours. This is 16mm, you have so many hours." So then you know what you're looking at. And then it shows you, "Okay, if you've got this amount, you're going to need a DVD." or two DVDs whatever you're going to need.

Fisher: Wow! So this is really a step forward for a lot of people who look at all this stuff and think, "Where do I begin?" And that's the problem.

Tom: Exactly. They're just so overwhelmed.

Fisher: And there's also the trust factor when you take it maybe to a store that does things as you do, you know, they could be taken advantage of very easily if they don't know what they have.

Tom: That is so true. We've heard a lot of horror stories that people have called in and written in on [email protected]. We've had people tell us that they’ve talked to people that says, "Yeah, bring in your film." and they says, "Well, do we get our film back?" and they say, "Well, no, it’s actually destroyed in the process."

Fisher: Oho! How?

Tom: I guess if you don't know what you're doing, maybe you might destroy their film.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Which is crazy, because anybody that's legitimate should be able to return your film to you in better condition than when you took it in, it shouldn't be the same. It should be better. Because we and most people that know what they're doing, we go through and clean it, louver it, fix any broken splices, so your film in essence when it comes back, it’s in better condition. That's what you need to ask for.

Fisher: Well, and you want to keep the original, because over time, the technology changes and you may have a need at some point to go back and work with that again.

Tom: Oh exactly! A great, for instance is the film that you did. You did it years ago and it was just a DVD.

Fisher: That's right.

Tom: And it looked good and everything, but then when you went to the high def.

Fisher: Oh, the high def changed everything, and the fact that we were able to actually make jpegs out of each frame from that and to have that film. I'm really glad we were able to keep that. And you know, I hate having a box of something just sitting there, because I don't like things taking up space. I'm trying to do my best not to, you know, be a hoarder. But those are things you want to hoard.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: Because they're rare and they're important and they're going to make such a difference to your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren and your great, great grandchildren.

Tom: Exactly. And I tell people as a rule, you know, I'm kind of a hoarder too. I keep stuff I probably really don't need to. But if anything is optical, which is like film, slides, things like that, don't ever throw it away.

Fisher: Videos, yeah.

Tom: Yeah, videos are magnetic, so videos aren't that big of a deal. Once they get transferred to another electronic format, they're still electronic format, so there's no real reason to keep those as long as you've gone through your DVD and your hard drive and make sure everything’s right, nothing's missing. But film, slides that are optical where something's actually physically scanning it, as resolution gets better and better and better, your transfer's going to get better and better and better. A videotape that we do, we transfer today versus what we were doing three of four years ago, it’s still the same quality because you're not going to really enhance it unless you start getting into color correction and stuff like that. So you're going from a magnetic format to a digital format, so there's really not anything that's going to be lost when more technology comes out. If you have a tape that's damaged or something's wrong with it, then that's worth keeping. Just like we have people bring in vinyl records. And you know, grandpa made it at an old train depot when he was in the military and its gotten cracked or things like this happened. We do everything we can and it still got skips in it. One day, I just know there's going to be available that we can do it optically with like a laser that will read that record and it will just ignore the scratches and stuff. But right now, we don’t have that technology, but that is probably coming down the pipe. So if you have damaged stuff or bad stuff, don't throw it out! Hang onto it, because something will come around hopefully in the future that you'll be able to restore it.

Fisher: Right. And that's really important. What else is going to be on this section? First of all, it’s at TMCPlace.com.

Tom: Right.

Fisher: And it’s a new section on your website that's for reference. Now we talked about the home movies. What other references are there?

Tom: Well, another thing that you mentioned, like on the jpegs. That's a really, really good point and people asked me about that. Because we've talked about high def, and they say, you know, "What's high def? I've seen this is high def, this is high def." you've got to be careful. It’s almost like saying automobile. So when you say "high def" you need to find out are they projecting your pictures or your film on a wall and shooting it with a high def camera or are they actually scanning it and are they scanning it through 1080p, are they doing 16x9 or 3x4? And people are really confused.

Fisher: Yeah, what does that all mean? I mean, I'm just blanking out, starting at you here right now.

Tom: [Laughs] Okay, what you want to do, when you go to a transfer house, if they say, "Yes, we scan your film. We don't project it." even if you don't want them, say to the store you've called, say, "I want jpegs of all my frames of film." and if they go, "Well, that's not possible." they are not truly scanning your film. Because anybody that scans film, can provide you for that. There's an added expense because it’s more time, but it’s part of the process. So if they say they can't do it, they're not truly scanning your film.

Fisher: And that's good to know. And so that's on this new information.

Tom: Right, exactly. So when you call somebody, you want to ask them for those options, say, "Hey, can I do this?" If they say yes, they're truly scanning. And then the difference between 16x9 and 3x4 is, in the old days when we had the big televisions that had the big tubes in them, they were 3x4. You go to a movie, they're 16x9. So a lot of times when you'd buy movies, they wouldn't fit on your screen or they'd do what's called a letterbox.

Fisher: Right. Yes.

Tom: And so your film was the same way. When 8mm came out, it’s just 3x4. So if you scan that in standard definition, you're still going to get everything. If you go to a place that does standard scanning and you have super 8 or 16mm, your edges are going to be cut off, because its standard equipment that's set up to do 3x4, whereas the high def stuff is 16x9, which means you'll get the entire picture. Aunt Martha's not going to be cut off half way through the frame. You'll get everything.

Fisher: Wow! That's outstanding. And you know, I'll tell you right now, I mean, my eyes are glazing over listening on 16x9 and 3x4, but that's the beauty of what you've set up here on your website.

Tom: Right. We're trying to get people educated and informed. That's the main reason for this website. So like I say, whether you choose us or somebody else, that's fine. We're all about preserving people's memories. And the more information you have, the better you're going to know the people you're talking to, whether they know what they're talking about or they're doing it out of their garage or they don't really know what they're doing. They went and bought something at Costco and think they can now preserve your memories. So you want to be really, really careful. Get yourself as much information as possible. Go to these people, go to our website, type in all the formats you have, what you're looking for. You can print it out then take that with you to a dealer or whoever you choose to do your things and make sure that they're doing them the way they should be done.

Fisher: Well, knowledge is empowering. And to have that with you, you cannot get scammed or wind up with an inferior product when it’s all said and done. And I think that's the important part of this.

Tom: Oh it is. When you walk into a door like that and they see you have all this information, they know they can't behest you. They've got to be honest with you or they're going to know that they're not being truthful with you and you'll walk out and find somebody else to do it for you.

Fisher: All right. Tom Perry, he's our Preservation Authority on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio. Thanks for joining us again, Tom. And I'm looking forward to checking out what you've created here at TMCPlace.com, and once again, if people have questions for you.

Tom: Anytime, [email protected], and I'll get back to you just as soon as I can. And there's no question that's dumb. There's no dumb questions, ask us anything.

Fisher: All right, see you next week.

Tom: Thank you.

Fisher: Well, there we go! Another show in the can, and thanks so much once again to Dr. Scott Woodward from Ancestry.com for joining us again today, our DNA Authority. All kinds of great stuff there, and if you missed it by the way, look for the podcast posted on ExtremeGenes.com or on our iTunes channel coming up in just a few days. Don't forget, our survey this week is on your DNA ethnicity. Has it changed significantly since the changes at Ancestry.com. You can vote on our website right now. This segment was brought to you by Heritage Consulting Genealogy Services, your Family History Resource. Call 877 537 2000. We'll talk to you again next week on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com, a Fisher Voice Works Production!

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