Episode 150 - Genealogy & The Harry Potter Back Stories/ CEO Bruce Buzbee on the Roots of Roots Magic!

podcast episode Aug 01, 2016

Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, talking about the benefits of Pokemon Go in introducing younger people to historic sites, and David’s horror over a Pokemon “Gym” at a site near him! Listen to David to find out what it is. David then shares an exciting announcement from FindMyPast, based in England. Exciting, that is, if you have English ancestors on the “other side” of the law. David also welcomes Extreme Genes listeners to visit him at the upcoming FGS Conference. He also shares another Tip of the Week and NEHGS free user database.

In the second segment, Fisher visits with Bruce Buzbee, founder and CEO of Roots Magic, an ancestral database program that has unique funneling abilities with numerous partners you know well. How does it “funnel” and from (and to) whom? Bruce will explain, as well as give you a glimpse into the not so distant future of Roots Magic.

Next, Fisher visits with Lindsay Fulton, Director of Research Services, at NEHGS. Lindsay, a self-proclaimed “nerd,” explains how J.K. Rowling uses genealogical research and real (deceased) people, to create the back stories for her characters in Harry Potter as well as the upcoming film, “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.” Lindsay will explain how you can use these same techniques to write your own family story, either as completely factual or as “historic fiction.”

Finally, Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority, visits with Fisher about an aspect of preservation you may never have considered before… shipping! What are the best days of the week to ship film or video for digitizing? And why should you double box, AND address, your package? Tom will make sense of all of this for you. And what he has to say could save you from massive heart ache!

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

Transcript of Episode 150

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 150

Fisher: And welcome, to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. My name is Fisher. I am your Radio Roots Sleuth, and this is the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And this segment of the show is brought to you by LegacyTree.com. And as usual great guests today! You know, a while back we talked about how you have to find a place to plant your family tree, because there’s so many places you might want to put it. Where do you choose to do it? Well, one of those places is RootsMagic. We’re going to talk to the founder and CEO of that great database, and talk about how that actually works now in interaction with other websites. And it’s really good stuff and its coming up in about eight minutes, so get ready for that. Then, later in the show we’re going to talk to Lindsay Fulton from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. She has discovered how J.K. Rowling when she worked on Harry Potter and of course this new series that’s coming out in November, has gone about doing back stories on the characters using real genealogy, and real people. She’ll tell you all about that coming up later on in the show. But right now let’s head out to Boston and talk to my good friend the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David Allen Lambert, how are you sir?

David: I’m doing great. But it’s just a little hot here in Beantown.

Fisher: [Laughs] I think it’s really hot everywhere. I’m excited David, because new subscribers by the way, to our free newsletter “The Weekly Genie” can now receive your ten tips to get you started. And this great for those who are just getting under way, because it’s going to keep it really simple and keep it really focused for you.

David: Well, I’m delighted to be part of this because you know everybody starts at one point in their research that may just need that little extra tip to go further. So I’m honored to be part of the newsletter.

Fisher: You can sign up by the way, on our Facebook page and at ExtremeGenes.com and we get it to you on Mondays.

David: Hey, I’ve got a question for you. Do you have an app on your phone that catches little animals called Pokémon?

Fisher: [Laughs] No I haven’t done it. I’ve got one son who’s been into it and lots of friends. I think there are about three or four Pokémon stops, right in my neighborhood. Is this affecting you in Boston?

David: Well, I can tell you that we have people standing in front of our building on Newbury Street, fighting Pokémon, because apparently someone has slapped down a Pokémon gym right at 99101 Newbury Street!

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: It’s interesting. I think as a historian I think it’s wonderful that people are going out and seeing monuments and statues, but there’s some downside to it, kind of strange in a way because I’m a trustee of a local cemetery and my friend calls me up and says, “My kids wanted to go to the cemetery the other day.” I said, “That’s great.” I said “Why?” “There’s a Pokémon gym and the Southworth gravestone at the cemetery!”

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: I’m like, “What?” And sure enough, I looked at the app and that’s where it is. So, I’m not sure if it’s sending the right message. But it sure is giving people exercise. Families are working together. My kids use it. So I don’t really see any harm in it.

Fisher: No. you know when you consider how many millions of people are out there, they’re socializing, they’re outdoors, they’re moving, people are losing weight, they’re going to historical site. There’s a lot of upside to it, we’re just hear kind of the funny stories which you’re always going to get with a mass movement, like this you know?

David:  Exactly. Well that leads me to my first story for the week, which is the exciting 2.5 million historic criminal records that are being put online by FindMyPast these are all from the public archives in England, and these are amazing! They cover from 1779 to 1936.

Fisher: Wow!

David: And this is going to be amazing to find your black sheep in your family.

Fisher: Yes. This is going to be huge. I mean we’re talking, I want to say what, 6,7, maybe 8 or 9 generations in some cases?

David:  Easily.

Fisher: Yes there’s a great possibility that you’re going to find somebody in there. I don’t know how many that averages per year. I would imagine it would increase over time as the population did. But this could be a breakthrough thing for people who have a brick wall in their English lines.

David: Oh absolutely. And you might find a notable or un-notable candidate in your family tree. Maybe someone like Amelia Dyer who was a baby farmer, who had murdered four hundred babies between 1880 and 1896.

Fisher: Oh!

David: Serial killer George Joseph Smith who killed his three wives by drowning them in the bath before he was convicted in 1950. So, you know if you can’t find Uncle George on the family tree maybe it’s because he was at the Old Bailey and hung from a rope.

Fisher: Ooh!

David: So, since my grandfather is from England, I’m hot to find any new relatives to report next week.

Fisher: Right. And that is out right now?

David: It is. And it’s an exciting database for those who use FindMyPast. I think you’ll find this is just another one of the great British databases that they’ve put forth. Speaking of things going forth, I’m going to be going forth to Springfield Illinois, on August 31st to September 3rd.

Fisher: Yes.

David: And I’m hoping to meet all of our Extreme Genes listeners that are going to be at FGS between August 31st and September 3rd. I’m giving a couple of lectures and a luncheon talk, tales from the reference desk, basically funny stories that have happened to me in the twenty plus years I’m working at NEHGS. So come by, find me, take a picture put it on Twitter or send it to Fish for our Extreme Genes Facebook page. I’d love to meet all of you, just come the New England Historic Genealogical Society booth at FGS. Speaking of NEHGS, I always like to tell people not to reinvent the wheel. So after 4th of July many of you might be having that patriotic fervor and wanting to find an ancestor who fought in the Revolution, don’t recreate the wheel. The Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution websites both have a way that you can search for ancestors and patriots that are tied into their database already. They have a way for you to search for ancestors who were either soldiers or patriots, in their databases. So you don’t need to recreate the wheel and you might find a match, that somebody has already done the work for you.

Fisher: Boy that is a great tip of the week.

David: Well, NEHGS tonight we’re having a wonderful dinner with Mary Tedesco from Genealogy Roadshow. She’s been a guest on our show, Fish, I know you know Mary very well and it’s going to be at the, and it’s going to be at the Harding Club, looking forward to that, so I’ll report back from there. And I just want you to know our free database is continued 18th to 19th century databases for Townshend, Vermont. Our guest user database is available for anyone. Just go to AmericanAncestors.org. Well, that’s all I have from Beantown. I have to go out and find an air conditioner now!

Fisher: [Laughs] Nicely done! All right, David, thanks so much. We’ll talk to you again next week! And coming up next, we’re going to talk to the CEO and founder of RootsMagic. Yes it is a database that many, many people are using around the world to keep track of their ancestors. But now you can kind of use it as a funnel for all the major sites and bringing it all into one place, and go back the other way. You’re going to want to hear what Bruce Buzbee has to say, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 150

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Bruce Buzbee

Fisher: Hey welcome back! It’s America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and I’m very excited to talk to my next guest Bruce Buzbee. He is the CEO of RootsMagic. And RootsMagic, if you not familiar with it, is your very own file for your ancestors. And it does so much more than that. And Bruce first of all, welcome to the show. We’ve never had you on before so this is long overdue.

Bruce: Yeah. Thanks for having me.

Fisher: I was looking back – I mean your history, you’ve been doing this, creating files, personal databases for people for decades now. What got you started in it, and what got you going into RootsMagic?

Bruce: Well, we started our company back in ‘86. And we were doing spreadsheets software, but it became obvious that that wasn’t a market we were going to be able to easily break into because all the largest companies in the world were making spreadsheets. So we wrote a genealogy program called “Family Origins” and we licensed that to a company called Parsons Technology out in Iowa. And at the time back in the late ‘80s they were one of the bigger small companies that were out there. And so we went through ten versions, we went through ten versions on Family Origins. And at that time it was basically just me. And when I say me, it was the “royal” we back then.

Fisher: Right. [Laughs]

Bruce: I did programming. I wrote the program and then I licensed it to these guys and they did everything else. And all I had to worry about was having the new version you know, once a year at that time.

Fisher: Now that lasted quite a long time, didn’t it, Family Origins?

Bruce: Yeah, we went ten years. We went up to version ten. It was kind of rocky the last four or so years of that because the company we licensed it to ended up being bought by our competitor.

Fisher: Ah! [Laughs]

Bruce: [Laughs] And so I basically bought a new computer and set my old computer with all of the source code off to the side and started writing a new program.

Fisher: A whole new thing. And that was the birth of RootsMagic.

Bruce: Right, and that’s what became RootsMagic. That was the RootsMagic and spent about three years writing this new program from scratch. And then we released that, and then the Family Origins kind of disappeared, so to speak.

Fisher: Um Hmm.

Bruce: But we do actually have a lot of users that still use Family Origins.

Fisher: Wow after all this time! [Laughs]

Bruce: Yeah, they find a program they like and they don’t change.

Fisher: Sure. Now let’s talk a little about what you do, because I think you have a very important space in the family history world right now. Sometime back we had Janet Hovorka come on the show, of course she’s with Family Chart Masters, and we were talking about this concept of where do you want to plant your tree? In other words, do you want to be maintaining trees on this website and that website and this program, I mean it can get really inefficient. And you’ve really made quite the effort to make it much more efficient with RootsMagic. Talk about that transition, because in essence RootsMagic was a higher version of Personal Ancestral File... at one point. I think that would be a fair comparison, wouldn’t you? 

Bruce: Yeah.

Fisher: And then it’s grown from there to the point where you actually are now sharing materials with MyHeritage and Ancestry and other sources. Talk about that growth a little bit and how it really works for people who want to plant their tree with RootsMagic.

Bruce: We started working with FamilySearch years and years ago. And then when they came out with their NewFamilySearch and now FamilySearch/Family Tree, they created what’s called an API. Which stands for Application Program Interface, which is just nerd talk for the part of the website that lets the desktop program talk to them.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Bruce: And so they released this API. Well, other companies that do data as well have also started coming out with APIs. So we started working with – besides FamilySearch- we also work with MyHeritage. We work with FindMyPast. We’ve got two or three others that we’re in contact with, working with them. Some of them are further along with their API. Some have APIs that are done and it’s just up to us to wire it in. But what we’ve decided is we want to work with all these companies. We have the advantage that we are not a data company. So we’re not like FamilySearch or Ancestry where we’ve got data that we’re trying to get people subscribed to.

Fisher: Right. This is just where people park their material.

Bruce: Right. And so that means that we’re not really competitors with these different data sites, so they willing to work with us. The big news is, back in December we announced that we are going to be working with Ancestry as well, so we’ll be the only product out there that’s working with both Ancestry and FamilySearch and MyHeritage and FindMyPast, basically all the big data sites. We’ll be the only ones that are able to work with all of them.

Fisher: Now when you talk about working with them, what does that mean specifically to somebody who might be new to this whole concept, Bruce?

Bruce: There’s really two parts to working with, and the level that we work with different partners is a little bit different depending on that partner. The first thing “working with” would be what we call “Web Hints.” And what a web hint is, RootsMagic goes out with your data and asks these various sites, “Hey, do you have any information on this person?” And if they do, they come back and we display a little light bulb. And when you click on the light bulb, it will come up and say, “Oh, FamilySearch has this many hints for this person, and MyHeritage has this many, and FindMyPast has this many.” That type of thing. And you can click and actually go see the hints or the records that those sites have available for your person.

Fisher: Right. Now I would assume, in order to access those specifically though, you’d need a subscription to each one of them, yes?

Bruce: Right. You would need a subscription to actually see the full content.

Fisher: Um Hmm.

Bruce: We can show you without having a subscription, we can show you the basics. Now FamilySearch is different. You do have to have an account on FamilySearch, but it’s free.

Fisher: Right.

Bruce: So you don’t have to pay for subscription there. But the others, if you want to see for example the actual image of the document from those sites, you would need to have a subscription with those sites.  But we can show you the basic information. Now if you wanted to see all the full indexed information and copy the image of the document, then you would need to have a subscription with them.

Fisher: Right. And of course some of these, they have different levels of subscription so it might not be particularly costly.

Bruce: Right, right. Yeah, they all work totally different in the way they do their subscriptions.

Fisher: Sure.

Bruce: Apparently, they don’t talk to each other and say this is the way to do things.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Bruce: They all do their own thing, whatever works for them.

Fisher: Exactly. But I love the concept because essentially, you’re the only database that works like a funnel from all the big places.

Bruce: Right. So you can go independently to FamilySearch, you can go to FindMyPast, you can go to MyHeritage, you can go to Ancestry, you can go to each one of these and type information in for your person one at a time and see what results you get, or in RootsMagic, it can do that for you in the background.

Fisher: Wow.

Bruce: Now the one thing that’s nice is, people say, “Why are you trying to make buy a MyHeritage or a FindMyPast or an Ancestry subscription?” The answer is “We’re not.” We are not putting these in to make you get subscriptions. We’re putting these in so if you have a subscription, you can actually have that data right inside of RootsMagic. So you can actually go into our options and turn that on or off for each individual one.

Fisher: Oh!

Bruce: If you were to say “Oh, I don’t use this particular one,” you can go in and just uncheck that one and those hints won’t be going out looking for hints from that particular site. So you can customize. Pick and choose which sites you want to get hints from.

Fisher: So what they’re really saying is that by posting these hints, you’re actually taunting people that they can’t get it! That’s what they’re saying! [Laughs]

Bruce: [Laughs] Yeah, you’re basically saying “Hey, look what we’ve got!”

Fisher: [Laughs]

Bruce: And it’s good for our users because we can show them that there is possible stuff out there for you.

Fisher: Sure. Of course!

Bruce: It’s good for these companies that we’re working with. That’s why they actually allow us to do this, it’s good for them because it’s kind of a way that they can dangle a carrot and say, “Hey, we’ve got these records.”

Fisher: Right.

Bruce: If you get a subscription, you can actually get a downloaded copy of this image of this birth certificate or whatever.

Fisher: Well, and if you run into something that’s absolutely critical to breaking through a brick wall or something in your line and you see it there, I mean you will go on. You’ll at least get the fourteen day free trial right, to get a hold of that material? Right? [Laughs]

Bruce: Yeah. And so those web hints, like I’m saying, that’s the first part. That’s kind of Phase One. When I’m talking about working with them. And the second one, which is actually more detailed, and that is the syncing side of things. And that’s more complicated. And right now our syncing is with FamilySearch, but by the end of the year we’ll also have our syncing with Ancestry. And what syncing is, it’s rather than going out and just saying, “Here’s information about your person,” it lets you transfer people, events, records, things like that, back and forth between your file and RootsMagic and those websites.

Fisher: Oh that’s huge!

Bruce: You’ll be able to go out there and say, “Oh look, out on FamilySearch, they have this line, or this person, that I don’t have. Bring him over into RootsMagic.” And we’ll just pull him right in to RootsMagic with all of his information or vice versa. You can say, “I don’t have that person up on FamilySearch but I do have it in RootsMagic, why don’t I add my person to FamilySearch.” Now of course this is totally up to you. This is not something where we’re automatically just throwing everything of yours up on websites, but this is where you specifically say, “Yes, I want this person or these people to be posted from my file up on to FamilySearch or like I say coming soon, Ancestry. If you have an Ancestry tree, you’ll be able to sync that Ancestry tree with your RootsMagic file.

Fisher: He’s Bruce Buzbee. He’s the CEO and founder of RootsMagic, one of our sponsors. And we appreciate that, Bruce. Bruce keep going and we’re looking forward to hearing some of the advances you’re making and can’t imagine where you’re going to be in a year or two from now.

Bruce: Yeah, hopefully. Hopefully we’re just going to work with new partners and continue to make the ones we’re working with even easier to work with!

Fisher: Thanks for coming on the show!

Bruce: Thank you for having me.

Fisher: And this segment of our show has been brought to you by FamilySearch.org. And coming up for you next in five minutes, we’re going to talk to Lindsay Fulton with the New England Historic Genealogical Society about J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and genealogy? How’s it all tie in? You’ll find out.

Segment 3 Episode 150

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Lindsay Fulton

Fisher: And welcome back to America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And on the line with me right now from Boston, Massachusetts, the Director of Research Services from the New England Historic Genealogical Society, she's my friend, Lindsay Fulton. And Lindsay, welcome to the show. It's good to have you on again. It's been a while.

Lindsay: Yes, it has been a while. Thank you very much. Delighted to be here!

Fisher: You know, I was just looking at [Laughs] what you've been blogging about recently, about J.K. Rowling or Rou-ling, depending on how you want to say it, and the fact that she's something of a genealogist, as she has put together her stories. So let's get a little bit nerdy here and talk about Harry Potter and her new movie that's coming out in November, ”Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” about witches and wizards coming to the United States.

Lindsay: Yeah. So, J.K. Rowling and the wizarding world have always been very interesting to me. I kind of grew up while all of the books were being released, so I've always been a huge fan. And now that I am in the world of genealogy, I've noticed that she spends a great deal of time on the back story of all of her characters, really flushing out the genealogies of all of these families.

Fisher: Okay.

Lindsay: Even when you think about the character themselves. You can discover a lot about that particular character if you look back at their genealogy. You know, why they have certain tendencies, what religion or family tradition they subscribe to, all of that can really be told if you start looking at genealogy.

Fisher: That's really kind of a key to the entire series of Harry Potter, right? I mean a lot of flashbacks, a lot of previous generation material that emerges over time, so we begin to understand the characters.

Lindsay: Yeah. And it's not just Harry and it's not just Draco, it's also with Voldemort himself. His genealogy plays a huge role in his decision making and in his belief.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yes, and probably in his small nose, too. I mean, that had to be inherited, don't you think?

Lindsay: [Laughs] Well, that's the snake feature. [Laughs] So she spent a lot of time on this in the Harry Potter books. So in the books, as you know, what everyone knows as the Harry Potter books. Now she's got a new movie coming out, the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” It's really a story about American wizards and witches. And to help us all out with this new idea, she's been writing some back story on the history of witches and wizards in North America. And her newest story was about the American Hogwarts.

Fisher: Interesting!

Lindsay: I know I'm becoming incredibly nerdy here.

Fisher: Yeah.

Lindsay: So, American Hogwarts is called “Ilvermorny”.

Fisher: Okay.

Lindsay: And it's in Massachusetts. It's up on Mount Greylock. And the characters the she's attributing to the creation of this school. One of them, her real name was Isolt Sayre, but she rearranged those letters and is claiming that it was actually Elias Story.

Fisher: Oh!

Lindsay: Who we know from the historic record came over on the Mayflower.

Fisher: Right. Now, nobody ever accused Elias Story, though, of being warlock or a wizard, right?

Lindsay: No, no, no, in fact, he died the first winter according to the historic records. So it’s a nice little way for her to attribute almost his disappearance, which we know that he died.

Fisher: Sure.

Lindsay: But she escaped into the woods in Massachusetts. And she created this school for witches and wizards in North America.

Fisher: Right off the Mayflower. Fantastic! [Laughs]

Lindsay: Right off the Mayflower. Exactly!

Fisher: Leave it to J.K.

Lindsay: Yes. The interesting part is she didn't stop there. So she actually has Isolt Sayre, she marries someone that Robert Charles Anderson identifies in The Great Migration series, his name is James Steward.

Fisher: Okay.

Lindsay: And he came over on the Fortune in 1621. The thing that we know about him in term of historic record is that he was recorded in a land deed, and that was the end of it.

Fisher: And then he disappears.

Lindsay: So again she's picking someone who we know from historic record was here in North America or here in Massachusetts and just kind of disappears at some point. So, according to her, Isolt Sayre and James Steward marry and then they found the school.

Fisher: And of course, everybody goes crazy for the back story for anything that J.K. Rowling does, right?

Lindsay: Exactly.

Fisher: There's an application certainly in there for any of us who are putting together histories.

Lindsay: And that's always you know, how this comes full circle. So, I always used to say this when I was on the desk here at the Society, you want to think about the best way to accurately tell your family story. So how do we do that? We learn about when and where everyone was born, who they were named after, if they're veterans, what's the nationality, ethnicity, religion, family tradition, we need to think about all of these things in order to tell that complete story of your family.

Fisher: Sure.

Lindsay: So, whether its fiction or nonfiction, that's the most important detail when coming up either characters or telling a story about your own genealogy.

Fisher: So, as J.K. has done this, is this something that's just kind of emerging now with her about you know, her techniques for putting together her various characters and story lines or is this something that goes way back to the beginning that we're just starting to understand?

Lindsay: This is something that she's been doing from the get go. There is a story that was told actually when they were filming The Order of The Phoenix. When they were filming that movie, they came up with an idea, you know, they wanted to create this tapestry family tree of the Black family. And the director called J.K. Rowling and said, "Can you give me a little bit more information about the Black family?" And she just started rattling off all of these siblings, you know, half cousins, cousins, you know, all of the people that would be in the family tree, and none of these people were in any of the books. I mean, this is something that she just has in her head, again, because that's what creates the richness of a story. If you know about this entire world, and we're just talking about that small facet of the world, then the story becomes more genuine.

Fisher: Um hmm, uh hmm.

Lindsay: I think that she's been doing that since the beginning of time. So, it's for me incredibly inspiring that she would have taken the time to look for actual people in the historic record that were showing up that we as genealogists know about, and then she's just kind of giving this fun spin to what happened to them when they fell out of the historic records.

Fisher: Well, you've got to wonder how Elias Story would feel about that, you know, coming over as a Pilgrim, and now being turned into this character, an opposite sex character who is a wizard or a witch.

Lindsay: Yep.

Fisher: Right.

Lindsay: Yeah, yeah. Exactly!

Fisher: Do you have any ideas in your mind about how somebody could actually go about writing a historical novel about their family using this technique?

Lindsay: Well, I think yeah, the most important detail would be, you know, gathering every little bit of information that you can about a family member, to more specifically identify you know, why someone would have been involved in a particular activity. It would really be up to you what peaks your interest. So if you want to write a historic novel about the Women's Movement you know, then you'd want to know more about the women and actually the men that were members of that family and how they may have contributed to that cause.

Fisher: Sure.

Lindsay: The ideal thing to find would be like a journal or a diary or something that you could get to know that person and their voice, more than just in the record, but sometimes, just records can give you an idea about a particular, you know, a person's characteristics and their personality. And whether or not they're funny or you know. You can find that out just by the historic record itself.

Fisher: That's true and I think it's important that people do timelines, not only for individuals, but then put that on a parallel list with what's going on immediately around them within the family, then within their local community then within the region, and then say within the country, and then the world at large. And when you do that, then you get all kinds of perspectives that you can write around, don't you think?

Lindsay: Exactly! That's a wonderful idea. I would highly recommend that.

Fisher: Well, it's been great chatting with you, Lindsay, and I've enjoyed our nine or ten minutes of “NerdFest” here, talking Harry Potter. [Laughs]

Lindsay: Well, Comic Con just got done, so.

Fisher: That's true! Did you get your costume off yet?

Lindsay: Yes, I did, I did. I'm not much for dressing up actually.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Lindsay: I'm a quite nerd.

Fisher: She's the Director of Research Services at NEHGS, Lindsay Fulton. Thanks for joining us, enjoyed it!

Lindsay: Thanks for having me.

Fisher: And this segment has been brought to you by MyHeritage.com. And coming up for you next, we'll talk to Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority about shipping. How does that apply to preservation? You're going to find out. It's more important than you think. In three minutes on Extreme Genes.

Segment 4 Episode 150

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Hey, welcome back to America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, preservation time with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority. How are you, Tom?

Tom: Super!

Fisher: Alright. And this segment is brought to you by Forever.com. And Tom, with the extreme heat that's going on in most of the country right now, maybe it's time we talk about shipping stuff in these extreme temperatures.

Tom: Oh yeah, that's something that's really, really important, because lot of people listen to the show and they store the things how we tell them to, not in the attic, not above heaters, and then to go and put them in a box and ship them in this extreme heat, and so all this good that they've been doing for years and years and years is just whoop! Went out the window!

Fisher: [Laughs] You know, I've thought about that actually as I was bringing you some of our things to digitize not long ago, having it in the trunk of a hot car.

Tom: Oh, exactly.

Fisher: What do you do? You know, you've got to get it there.

Tom: Yep. The thing you need to do and I tell people this is if you bring the stuff into one of our locations, make sure you come straight here and drop it off, and then go do your errands. And then when you pick it up, go straight back home. Don't leave it in your car, because just like your dog or your child, you know how that's so dangerous, it's the same thing on your vinyl records, your audio cassettes, all this kind of stuff you can really, really ruin them. And so what you want to do ship them properly, and one thing you want to remember, is never ever, ever, ever, EVER ship on a Friday.

Fisher: Really?

Tom: Because it's going to sit for two days in a cold truck or a hot truck or whatever, it's not going to go anywhere unless you're overnighting it and that's the only way you can do it. Thursday same thing, don't ship it on a Thursday unless you're overnighting it. The best days to ship are Monday and Tuesday. Where ever you're shipping it to it will get to that spot by the end of the week. Unless you're going like maybe from Florida to Washington State, then you're kind of in a tighter area, and what I would do is I would splurge a little bit and either send a priority mail on that Monday, or send a UPS 3 day, or a Federal Express 3 day, something like that. So you're not going to have that weekend where it's sitting. The cold isn't as bad, but the heat can absolutely ruin stuff. So you need to remember, you know, the flash point of different kind of media is different also.

Fisher: Really?

Tom: The worst thing to ship when it's really, really hot is film, because film has a lot lower flash point than like video tape. I've had video tapes brought in to us that some two year old put in the oven, mom not knowing it was in there, turned on the oven to preheat it and presto, melted it. However, we were able to cut off the case and still recover the tape. I put it in a new case. Film wouldn't have gone through something like that.

Fisher: No.

Tom: Film would've been in the oven, it would've been melted. If you have film that starts to smell like vinegar, then you have film that needs to be transferred ASAP, because it is disintegrating. It's going bye-bye.

Fisher: It's on the way out at that point.

Tom: It is.

Fisher: What causes that smell?

Tom: It's just the way that the film breaks down. The components of the different chemicals that are in film tend to have that vinegary smell when it starts breaking down. So if it smells like that don't think all is lost. I tell people get the very end of it and kind of fold it over, and if it snaps, you really need to get that lubricated, cleaned, everything. So, you know, send it to one of our locations or bring it in or whatever and let us get it done ASAP. Back to the shipping part itself, the way you want to do things is we always tell you always double package everything. So if you have an audio cassette or a CD or a DVD that you need to send in, have duplicated or whatever, or if you're sending it to another family member, I always recommend instead of the bubble envelopes, the envelopes that are made out of recycled paper padding inside, if it pops open it just almost looks like insulation in there. That's the same stuff they use in insulating attics, so it's going to be insulated. So if you're sending a DVD or an audio cassette to a family member, put it in one of those envelops, address it, do everything like you would normally do, then put it inside of a box. And inside of the box same thing, it's better to have styrofoam, because styrofoam is going to absorb more heat as it's being shipped so it won’t get to your product. And you can go extreme if you really paranoid about these kind of things like I am. I go to Home Depot, I buy a sheet of Styrofoam, I cut it for the size of the box, and then you really, really protect it. Because once again, what do they use? They use styrofoam in houses for insulation. After the break we'll go into a little bit more details of other ways you can package your boxes too.

Fisher: Alright, we'll get to that in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 150

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Hey, we are back, final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Root Sleuth, and we're talking preservation of course, as always, with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority. And with all this extreme heat we're talking about some of the things you need to be concerned about if you're shipping videos, or home movies, or photographs, to various people that either digitize or to family members. And Tom, we were getting into boxes within the boxes when we left the last segment.

Tom: Exactly. And like as you said off the air, you know, people might think this is extreme, but what measures would you go through to save your stuff? You need to be very, very careful. And it's not just the heat situation. You know, you can go to these surplus places and buy all kinds of weird stuff that fell off the UPS trucks, so to speak. So if you've got a box with a label and it gets torn off, the box gets opened and they see an envelope or another box inside with all the same information, they know who it goes to, it's not lost. So it's just good protection to fight the heat or the extreme cold. And it's also a good protection in case somehow it gets damaged.

Fisher: Right. Good point, and to have that extra address on there.

Tom: Absolutely. Because, you know, you want to take care of your stuff. You have made the decision "Hey, I need to get my stuff digitized before I go south." Make sure you pack your stuff properly. Or, you've already had it done now you're sending out copies to other people in the family. You want to make sure it gets to them safe so that they'll be able to enjoy it as much as you enjoy it.

Fisher: Well, and the most important thing as we've talked about over the years is that we’ve got to make sure we have duplicate copies in different places, different climates. Imagine if you had your only copy in New Orleans, a few years ago.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: When the hurricane came through. Or in another place where there was an earthquake and a building collapsed, and that was it. But if you have them spread all over the place, you can withstand the loss of something in a disaster in one place because it exists again elsewhere. And of course, it can exist in many places online.

Tom: Exactly. That is so true. Regional is really important. We told a story a few years ago. This family had wedding photos in New Orleans when Katrina came through, but they thought they'd be okay because they had a copy, they gave their parents a copy, and the photographer had a copy. Unfortunately Katrina was so devastating, all three of them got totally flooded out, so they lost everything!

Fisher: Wow.

Tom: So I tell you, if you're an earthquake country, send stuff to the midwest where they have tornadoes.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: If you have, you know, other places send them to the deep south that has hurricanes. And so we're not... If we have earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes at the same time, you know it's the last days and who cares.

Fisher: [Laughs] I suspect that's true. We're not gonna need the pictures.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: We'll see all these deceased folks soon enough ourselves.

Tom: Exactly. So that's why you want to spread it out. And like you say, you know, there are plenty of places to do it online. Like I recommend you want to have things on disks, you want to have them on a hard drive, you want to have them in hopefully two clouds that are unrelated, and then if something happens you've always got the backups. Send them to friends. Even if you don't have family, you've got to have some friends in another part of the country. Even if they're Facebook friends and say "Hey," you know, "I’ve got these CDs, I'm really worried about them, can I send you a copy just to keep in your closets in case something happens?" And most people are more than happy to do that.

Fisher: So tell me briefly before we run out of time, what about extreme cold? Because that's going to be coming here soon enough.

Tom: Exactly. And the biggest thing again, film is always going to be the problem. Because film, when it gets really, really cold, it can crack. So when you package it, that's why you want to have tons of padding around your film to keep it as insulated as possible. Don't ever assume anything. These are memories you've had forever, take care of them when you're sending them off to us or friends and family.

Fisher: All right. This may sound like its extreme, but this is something you might want to think about as you go about preserving your memories. Thanks so much, Tom.

Tom: Good to be here.

Fisher: And this segment of Extreme Genes has been brought to you by RootsMagic.com, and 23AndMe.com DNA. Well that wraps up our show for this week. Thanks for joining us. Don’t forget to sign up this week on our Extreme Genes Facebook page, or on ExtremeGenes.com for our brand new newsletter “The Weekly Genie.” It's free, and when you sign up, you get a list of David Allen Lambert's Top Ten Tips For Beginners. So if you're just getting started it's something you will not want to miss. Thanks once again to our guests. And if you missed any part of the show today, of course you can catch the podcast on iTunes, iHeart Radio's Talk Channel, and at ExtremeGenes.com. Take care. We'll talk to you again next week, and remember as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family! 



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