Episode 156 - "Circumstantial Evidence" and Genealogy / Tacoma Man On Adopting A CemeterySep 12, 2016
Fisher opens the show following up on last week's appearance by Susan Snyder who "planted her family flag" with a personal website devoted to her family that has attracted numerous other descendants, including Fisher himself. Both Fisher and Susan were delighted to receive an email from a Cincinnati listener who ties into three ancestral couples shared by both Fisher and Susan. David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist for the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org then talks about his experience at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference. He also shares news of the discovery of newly developed negatives of a World War I pilot killed in action in 1918. Where did the negatives come from and what do they show? David will tell you. David then jumps to the recent recognition of another aged World War II pilot who was known for more than just his military prowess. Wait until you hear what it is! Then there's word that BBC Scotland is looking for you if you had Scottish ancestors in Nova Scotia. David has all the particulars. David's Tip this week concerns a new app that allows you to snap a pic and have it go out as an old fashioned post card! He'll also have another great free guest user database from NEHGS.
Next, Fisher talks to genealogical speaker, researcher, and writer Loretta Evans about "circumstantial evidence" in genealogy. How is it defined exactly and how can it help you "nail down" the line you're researching. Loretta has some great insight and advice.
Fisher then visits with Bill Habermann of Tacoma, Washington. Bill has "adopted" over 1,600 people... all dead... in an overgrown local cemetery, and he's doing all he can to let you know who they are. What got Bill started on this and what has the response been? You'll love the story.
Then Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com returns to talk preservation. Tom answers a listener question from South Carolina about using a national digitizing firm because no one provides the service locally. As usual, Tom has some great thoughts on protecting your most important family history assets.
That's all this week on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 156
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 156
Fisher: And welcome to Extreme Genes! This is America’s Family History Show. My name is Fisher. I am the Radio Roots Sleuth, on the program where we shake your family tree, and watch the nuts fall out. Nice to have you along today. We’ve got some great guests. First of all coming up in about eight or nine minutes we’re going to talk to Loretta Evans. And Loretta talks about the use of “circumstantial evidence” when you’re trying to put together your family tree. How do you know that it’s really good enough? What can you use it for? She’s going to have that for you coming up a little bit later on. After that, we’re going to talk to Bill Habermann he is up in the Seattle, Tacoma area, and he has adopted 1,600 people. All dead. In a cemetery! And you can do the same kind of thing. He’ll tell you what he’s doing and how he’s helping people all around the country, in fact around the world, find some of their missing relatives in the Washington State area. But right now, let me get on to Boston and my good friend David Allen Lambert. He is the Chief Genealogist for the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, fresh back from the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Springfield, Illinois. How are you David?
David: I’m doing good. It’s nice to be back on the ground in Beantown.
Fisher: I’ll bet. And you had a good time there?
David: We had a great time. And I want to let people know who go to conferences, no matter where it is, don’t be ashamed of wearing a lot of ribbons on your badge.
Fisher: Really? Yours is practically like a loin cloth when you’re out there. [Laughs]
David: Well I like to say maybe a shawl. [Laughs]
David: I had thirty-two ribbons on it and when I went to the Federation of Genealogical Societies gala’s 40th anniversary dinner, they had trivia and they also had a scavenger hunt.
Fisher: Um hmm.
David: 150 points for the longest badge put us over the top!
David: Myself and Mary Tedesco from Genealogical Roadshow, one of our friends and guests, all won over a thousand dollars in memberships and conference registrations and meals, we’re very, very happy.
David: So, laughing my way to the bank for the longest name badge at the Federation of Genealogical Societies and I’d do it again.
Fisher: [Laughs] Unbelievable. I’ve got to tell you a story. Last week we had Susan Snyder on the show and she is the lady that set up a website and we talked about it, we did the whole segment about planting your family flag basically out there for people to find you and provide you with materials, and she’s had Bible pages sent to her and things relating to her direct ancestors. Things folks sold her or gave to her. She found me because we’re related. Well we had her on the show, and then the next day she gets a nice email from a guy, a listener in Cincinnati, Ohio, who said, “Hey, we’re related to!” and so now she’s exchanging information with him and I just love the way the show brings people together.
David: It’s amazing. Just last week I got a person who has an oil painting of my third great grandfather’s sister born in 1772, and he was not really sure if his family will want it. So I told him I would give her a good home.
Fisher: Yeah [Laughs] great! Wow. Hopefully you get that and when you do, send us the picture. We’d all love to see it.
David: Hopefully it will be in my home some day. But I don’t want to wish him to meet his maker any time soon of course. [Laughs]
Fisher: Of course. Hey what do you have for us today in our Family Histoire news, David?
David: Well, the exciting story that I want to start off with is actually about photographs taken a hundred years ago by Captain William Chambers of the 49th Squadron in Kent, England. He was a recognisance photographer in World War I and was shot down in 1918 at the ripe old age of twenty-one. His camera and negatives eventually were passed on to his nephew who recent had them developed. It’s amazing! There are pictures of airplanes and pilots and people that have long since passed. But it gives us another fresh view on history from World War I a century later.
Fisher: That’s incredible. What a great story.
David: It really is. And I want to propose a toast to the subject of this next story. Second Lieutenant Donald Stinson now aged 93, received four Bronze Stars for his service in World War II, involving bringing guns and men and flying them to the front lines in Japan during the war. But one of the things he did, which is a light hearted note, he is responsible for bringing beer.
Fisher: What? [Laughs]
David: Twenty thousand cases of beer to thirsty soldiers in multiple “packiruns” if you will, to Australia and New Guinea. And I think that anyone who is a veteran could probably drink to that.
Fisher: Wow, that’s great! Congratulations to him. That’s like the second week in a row we’ve had a story of a World War II vet in their 90s just getting their medals now. What is going on?
David: It’s about time. It really is. Well I’ll tell you, going back a little ways to the days of immigration and to the east coast, Nova Scotia, which means New Scotland was settled by many people from the Highlands. In 1773 a vessel called “The Hector” brought 189 highlanders that disembarked and were changed in Nova Scotia forever. Now, BBC in Scotland is looking for the descendants. So if your ancestor came to Nova Scotia from Scotland perhaps on the Hector in 1773, there are passenger lists that exist, contact BBC in Scotland. Just check Extreme Genes.com. Our Facebook page will have more details for you.
Fisher: That’s very cool. So the people from old Scotland are looking for the descendants of the people in New Scotland, Nova Scotia, to call back home.
David: To old Scotland.
David: New Scotland, old Scotland, it gets confusing. But BBC Scotland is obviously doing a little piece on it, so put your kilt on and go and contact them.
David: One of the things that I really enjoy is a good tip from a listener, and one of our listeners and someone who’s been on the show is the Photo Detective Maureen Taylor.
David: While I was in Springfield, she told me about a new type of app that she uses from the app store. There’s a variety of choices to choose from but it basically allows you to send a postcard. Take a picture with your smart phone, this company, for very cheap money, will print and mail mailable postcards for you for your relatives. So the old photo postcards you might have in your family archives, you can create new ones.
Fisher: How cool is that!
David: It really is. So that brings me to the NEHGS guest user database of the week which harkens back to Scotland again. We now have Scotland marriages 1561 to 1910 and Scotland births and baptisms from 1564 to 1950, in conjunction with our partnership with FamilySearch.org. Well that’s all I have for this week back here in Beantown. Talk to you soon my friend!
Fisher: All right, great to talk to you again as always David. We’ll talk to you again next week. This segment of our show has been brought to you from MyHeritage.com. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to a woman named Loretta Evans. And Loretta is an instructor, she’s a researcher, and she’s got some thoughts on “circumstantial evidence.” Now, we hear people talk about it in the courtroom... does circumstantial evidence really prove a case? Well, in genealogy it actually can. And she’ll give you some examples of that and give you some other thoughts coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 156
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Loretta Evans
Fisher: One of my favorite shows growing up was Perry Mason. And, Perry would get into heated battle in the courtroom with the prosecutor, Hamilton Burger. “Ham Burger” was what he was called. And they’d say, “Well, Mr Mason, that’s just circumstantial evidence!” And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. When it comes to developing your family history and your family tree, how does circumstantial evidence work in there and does it really matter? Is circumstantial evidence really evidence? It is Fisher. This is Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. And my guest today is Loretta Evans, and Loretta specializes in researching the midwestern United States, and she speaks all over the place, and she’s written articles for all the big family history magazines. And Loretta’s in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Nice to have you on the show, Loretta!
Loretta: Thank you. I’m glad to be here.
Fisher: You know, I’m excited about this idea of helping people understand that circumstantial evidence really is evidence, and in some cases is very, very strong evidence. So let’s just start with some simple examples of what circumstantial evidence is that we may typically use all the time, right?
Loretta: Right. For example, if you have a census record, and you have someone’s age, it isn’t proof of the year they were born. It gives you an approximate year they were born.
Fisher: That’s right.
Loretta: But it’s sort of depends on who gave the information out. If it was the mother, and this is the child, they’re pretty sure about the age of their children. But if it was a neighbor or a grandparent, they may be a few years off. Or if somebody had a reason to lie, a lot of women lied about their age in censuses, so you can’t.
Fisher: I am so glad you said that! Because it’s not something that I can easily say, Loretta! [Laughs] But it is true. For some reason, more with women than anybody else, I’m just sorry, it’s just the way it is. They get younger as they get older! Have you picked up on that?
Loretta: I have. In fact, somebody told me, but it may or may not be true, that someone had done a study of British censuses and they found that the average British woman aged about seven years between the ten year census records!
Loretta: And you know, in a sense if you want someone’s more accurate age, find them when they’re very young or very old.
Fisher: Yeah, that’s right.
Loretta: And they’re more likely to be honest about it.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] Absolutely! Well that’s a great example of circumstantial evidence. Give us some examples though, of course, of direct evidence. Just for the sake of comparison.
Loretta: Okay. For direct evidence, on a death certificate, usually the person’s name, their gender, the date they died, the place they died, those are all directly given by the doctor in charge or the person who is giving the information. You can be very comfortable about those pieces of information.
Fisher: Right, as long as the people really knew what they were talking about.
Loretta: Correct. But for example, the birth date on a death certificate is a little bit suspect.
Loretta: If it’s a baby that dies and the mother gives the information, yeah, I’d be very comfortable with that. But I had a great grandfather who died in Cleveland, Ohio in about 1900, and I’m thinking he was living in a boarding house because they got his name wrong, they got his birth place wrong, they got his age wrong. It took us a long time to convince the city of Cleveland that he really was the same person.
Loretta: And that we could put a headstone on his grave.
Fisher: And so what you’re saying is, for a death, a death certificate is direct evidence. But a death certificate is circumstantial as far as their birth is concerned?
Loretta: That’s true. Or their parents names or their parents’ birth places, they’re wonderful clues.
Loretta: And so, if you are a researcher, you take those clues and then you try to find other documents that can prove or disprove that piece of information. And then you can be more comfortable whether it’s accurate or not. I think any evidence in genealogy is accurate until the next piece of information comes along that might prove or disprove it.
Loretta: Somebody said it was like washing dishes. You’re all done, and then somebody walks in with another dirty glass.
Fisher: [Laughs] Wow. That’s not very attractive at all.
Loretta: [Laughs] I’m sorry. That image is, you know, you think you’re done, and then somebody gives you additional information that might even call into question what you think is accurate.
Loretta: I had two brothers. One born in 1944 and one born in 1950, and they both died at birth. And they were both born on July 12th. And in our family that was this kind of a “tender mercy.” “Oh, they had the same birth date.” And when the cemetery records came online, my older brother Ralph was listed as having been born on July 11th.
Fisher: Oh boy.
Loretta: And it was in the family Bible. There were no birth or death certificates because they were stillborn. They’re on the headstone. They carved it on the stone.
Fisher: [Laughs] Right.
Loretta: They forgot it being July 12th. And my mother didn’t really care, and my brother didn’t care, but it drove me crazy. And, I finally got my mother’s hospital records because some mortuary records didn’t exist anymore, and she was in her 90s and she just sighed and signed the permission slip. “Yes, you can release my hospital records from 1944.”
Loretta: Anyway, I got it from a place in California that had taken all of the records and they were sold there. Anyway, the hospital actually was in Utah. But he was born on July 11th. The headstone is wrong, our family Bible is wrong. Although they were born close to the same day it wasn’t exactly the same day.
Fisher: Yeah. I’ve seen this before. We have a family Bible that gives the death date of my great, great grandfather, and even the obituary said December 26th 1875. But the death record said December 27th. And it appears that what happened was that he died at home, late in the evening on the 26th, but the doctor probably didn’t show up till after midnight, because the death time was put down as 12:30 in the morning. Or, they just didn’t recognize that it was a new day, at the point that he’d passed.
Loretta: You know, that kind of thing happens. My uncle was born near midnight at home, and nobody looked at the clock until after he was born, but he could have been born before midnight. Nobody ever really knows. They chose one of the days and put it on the birth certificate.
Fisher: Here’s another sample of a circumstantial situation that came up. I tracked down a third great grandmother, and I was very fortunate that somebody had actually been able to come up with a family Bible that put her in the family. And, it was from this very same area, so I was pretty confident. But still, how could I know for sure that she was the only person of that name from that area? And so, circumstantial evidence often involves eliminating other possibilities. I think you’d agree.
Loretta: Oh, very definitely. You not only have to try to find evidence proving what you have, but you’ve got to look for are there any other possibilities that this could be, and can you prove or disprove those other possibilities.
Fisher: And one of the things that’s really helpful now with circumstantial evidence, and when you have a case like this... DNA. And I was very fortunate that suddenly I found a person matching me in DNA who descended from the brother of the person I thought it to be, from a grandfather of the person I thought it to be, and a great grandfather of the person I thought it to be. Which I felt was very good confirming evidence of this otherwise circumstantial case.
Loretta: That is excellent. Yeah.
Fisher: So you put these things all together and then you get the confirmation, several times hopefully, from DNA. And then you can put together your case and you know, “Hey, wait a minute, I’ve got something here I can be confident in.” And that’s maybe at the point where you can publish it or put it online and share it with other people. I don’t know how you feel about it, Loretta. I like to put things together first of all on my own, keep it to myself, until I’m really, really confident in what I’ve got before I really share it. Because, as we know, once something goes public, if you’re wrong, it will take on a life of its own and live for years and years and years. And it’s really difficult ever to get rid of it.
Loretta: Oh, that is definitely true. There are two major places where people put pedigrees. FamilySearch.org, another is Ancestry. The difference is that Ancestry keeps each person’s pedigree separate.
Loretta: Where FamilySearch combines everything. And your cousin could come along and change things in a while. So yes, you do want to be pretty comfortable with what you’re putting out there before you submit it. Because you could take two people who live in the same area, who have similar names and make them into one person, and make it very, very difficult in years to come for somebody to separate those two individuals.
Fisher: Yeah, that’s the problem. So, that’s why it’s really important to work the negative side. Try to disprove that it’s the person as well as trying to prove it. And maybe get a little DNA help as well. And at the end, your circumstantial evidence can really prove your case.
Loretta: One example we had about somebody walking in with another dirty glass...
Loretta: ...where we had a photograph that was of this woman who had died in Winter Quarters, Iowa. And, my husband and I visited a distant cousin one evening and she had another copy of the photograph. But it was a larger copy and somebody had copied the name of the photography studio as well as the image, and this picture was taken by Ottinger’s in Salt Lake City, Utah. Well, the woman couldn’t have died in Winter Quarters and had her picture taken in Ottinger’s in Salt Lake City because he wasn’t in business at that time.
Loretta: And he was half a continent away.
Loretta: And so, we concluded that it was the step grandmother rather than the grandmother that was in the picture.
Fisher: Interesting. Well, there you go. Always making a few adjustments along the way, right?
Loretta: Oh, absolutely. And, any genealogist who is afraid that somebody is going to disprove all the things they’ve worked so hard for isn’t really open enough to be a really good genealogist.
Fisher: The experts are often wrong. And the best ones will go back and correct their own errors. Clean up their own mess and wash their own glasses, right? [Laughs]
Loretta: [Laughs] There you go.
Fisher: Hey, Loretta, delight to talk to you today. Loretta Evans, she’s in Idaho Falls, Idaho, talking about circumstantial evidence. Is it real? Is it good? Can you use it? The answer is yes! Thanks so much for coming on.
Loretta: I’ve enjoyed it very much. Thank you.
Fisher: And this segment has been brought to you by 23andMe.com DNA. And coming up next, we’ll talk to a Washington State man who has adopted 1,600 people. They’re all dead! They’re in a cemetery! He’s getting the word out about who they are, and you’re going to want to hear his story in five minutes.
Segment 3 Episode 156
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Bill Habermann
Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, and part of my sleuthing has to do with tracking down people with interesting stories that I know might interest you. And this is a guy who I think is inspiring a lot of people around the country since his story broke recently in the Tacoma News Tribune. His name is Bill Habermann. And Bill, you work for a funeral company, yes?
Bill: I do. Piper, Marley, Malinger and Oakwood are all tied together as one funeral home.
Fisher: And yet, this all spills over into your hobby, as it turns out. You found a cemetery out in the middle of nowhere. I guess it's been grown over, and you've kind of adopted it. Tell us about this.
Bill: Well, back in the 1880s when the Northern Pacific Railroad came out west and put a terminus here in Tacoma, they gave about 56 acres to the city for a cemetery. And back in those days, folks didn't want the cemeteries near the town, and so it ended up being out in the sticks, kind of. Well, then that cemetery became Old Tacoma Cemetery and was divided up into three parcels. One stayed as Old Tacoma Cemetery, or Tacoma Cemetery, somehow, and I haven't been able to find out how a portion of about eight acres became Oakwood Cemetery, and then off to the side of the two cemeteries. There are two acres that became the county's pauper cemetery.
Fisher: And that kind of got overgrown and forgotten, apparently.
Bill: Well, yes. And I gave tours of Oakwood several times, and people would ask me during the tour, "Well, what is that on the other side of the fence? I see a few headstones there, but it's pretty much just grass." And then I said, "Well, that's the county's cemetery which was closed in 1927, and there really aren't a lot of records around for it."
Fisher: Now why is that?
Bill: Well, I think back in the early days people just were not so record conscious as they are now. And either that or they wrote on a slip of paper and thought, "Well, I'll put it in the book sometime." And it didn't happen. Or the county said, "Well, it's up to the funeral homes to take care of the records because they're putting the bodies into the cemetery." They were each paid $4.50 per burial. So some of the cemetery records probably are just lost totally with the county, but I was fortunate enough to have the records for Piper Funeral Home which started here in 1908, and Malinger which started here in 1883.
Fisher: They merged at one point.
Bill: Well, they merged at one point, yeah. And then what I did, I just got curious and I looked up the folks who had some headstones and found some of them in our records and started putting that down. Somebody said, "Why don't you put this on FindAGrave because people might want to look up somebody." And I thought, "Oh, okay." And I started doing that and then going through all the ledgers here, I just came up with 1,600 folks that are...
Fisher: Wow! 1600?
Bill: Yeah. And that was at the time Karen did the article. Now I'm up to 1,626.
Fisher: [Laughs] Of course. There's always progress. Now, would you find the names in the ledgers first? Or would you find the tombstones first and then try to track them down in the ledgers?
Bill: Well, the initial 15 headstones or so, I looked for them in the ledgers, but then I just started with page one of the Piper book and looked through every page, a page at a time, and if I saw $4.50, that was a first give away that it was somebody that went into the pauper's cemetery.
Fisher: Interesting. So it didn't mention the cemetery, it was the price that gave it away?
Bill: Yeah, it's the price that always gets me to the page, right.
Fisher: Oh, that's fascinating. So when did you start this project, and what has kept you going, and how often do you go there?
Bill: Well, I started doing in on FindAGrave about six years ago. The people who own or are in control of the cemetery really don't want folks walking around in there, because several of the graves are sunk in pretty badly, because folks were put into wooden boxes and into concrete grave liners. So they tend to like to leave it looking a little rough, as it said in the newspaper article, so that everybody isn't cramming around in there looking for things. The headstones even are in such disarray sort of that I have not been able to figure out even the rows or the blocks or the plot numbers, like we have in our cemetery, to locate a specific person. And some of those folks might not even be anywhere near the headstone that's standing there.
Fisher: Right. So the tombstone itself is the giveaway of who's in there, but you just don't know where the grave itself might be?
Bill: Yes, right.
Bill: And some of them face east and west, and some of them face north and south, and some of them look like they could be in a row, but others have been marked just set kind of whacky. There are two Japanese headstones there that face no particular direction, you know, they're kind of out in the middle of nowhere. Those two fascinated me because periodically when I'd look over the fence I would see fresh flowers put on those two graves, and they're back from the early 1900s, and sometimes there would be small food offerings there also at those two graves. I haven't seen anything there for the last two years, but somebody was coming in there and still honoring their deceased family members.
Fisher: That's amazing. Now, what have you learned about the people that are buried in there? Have you found some unusual or interesting stories about them?
Bill: Yeah. There is one fellow that still kind of plagues me. His name is Taggart, and his story is sort of interesting in that he was a well known supposedly wealthy person here to Tacoma back in the early 1900s. And sad to say, his wife became insane and went to the hospital for the insane. While he, in the mean time, lost all his money, regained some money, lost it again, ended up living at the poor farm, and apparently he decided to try to commit suicide by cutting his throat with a straight razor. Well, the hospital saved him, but then ultimately shortly after, he died of pneumonia, which got a lot of people back in those days.
Bill: His headstone looks like a military headstone. I checked in the Civil War records and there are so many Patrick Taggards that I kind of lost track of did he really deserve a military headstone. But it's not carved in the way of any military headstones that I've ever found online. So he's kind of a curiosity for me. I really would like to get him a new headstone if he is military, but again, I almost run into a brick wall.
Fisher: Sure. And that's the problem with common names, of course. So what about families? Have other families reached out to you from near and far to say, "Hey, you found my person I've been looking for!"
Bill: Yes. I've gotten some thank you letters from folks, and on FindAGrave, they can correspond back and forth with me, and so they have thanked me and some folks have sent me information to add into my book. There's an infant that died I think age about three weeks, and the family didn't know whether the child was buried. They were so happy to find where the child was, and they sent me a copy of the baptism certificate for this infant. Although that's the only existing document there is, other than the fact that the child is somewhere in those two acres.
Fisher: So, what about restoration of the cemetery? You're allowed in there and you're saying others are not, is there any interest in that on behalf of the owners or on the part of the owners to do this?
Bill: I don't think so because it probably would be very costly, first of all, to mould the place and keep the grass looking nice, because here in summer everything turns yellow and dries up. The cemetery that they do own, Old Tacoma, is watered all the time with underground sprinklers, and they have their own wells, but I'm sure that they are not interested in spending probably thousands and thousands of dollars to make the cemetery look presentable.
Fisher: You would think that people would have to adopt it, I guess, the descendants of those who are in there, if that was ever going to happen, right?
Bill: Yeah. And because it's privately owned by Tacoma Cemetery, I don't think that they could even work that. It kind of would be a real conundrum.
Fisher: Sure. He's Bill Habermann. He's a funeral director in Tacoma, Washington, and he has adopted his own cemetery up there and is getting the information he's finding up on FindAGrave. Bill, thank you so much for doing this! And I'm sure you're inspiring others who might want to take on the same kind of project wherever they are.
Bill: I hope so. And thanks for the call!
Fisher: Hey, this segment of our show has been brought to you by LegacyTree.com. And coming up next, we'll talk preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. It's time to be getting ready for the holidays. He's got more great advice, coming up for you in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 156
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It Is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with my good friend Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. He is our Preservation Authority. And Tom, good to have you back.
Tom: Good to be here.
Fisher: And we do have an email here from Richard Halter, and I believe it’s pronounced Sharon, South Carolina. And he said, “Fisher and Tom, I saw this ad on Facebook and my mind immediately jumped to all I’ve learned from your shows.” Now, he sent us a link to another digitizing firm that’s national. And he said, “My first thought was that they’re not going to do everything that Tom says to look for when getting your products digitized. And the same time though, I live in an area where there isn’t anything available other than big box stores which I don’t even like. Would you recommend something like this store as an option for someone who just wants to get the media digitized? I can do pictures and I’ve played with audio as well as slides and negatives and I’m getting better. I can also take video and convert it from DVD, CD and all this, as long as I can get it to the PC to work on. I’m not a professional to say the least, but I do the best I can and I’m getting better as I go. I’m a very big proponent of getting all of these memories digitized and I’d like to give people some options for things I cannot complete yet. Your loyal listener, Richard.”
Tom: That’s a great email that you’ve sent us. You know, there’s a lot of things in here that are really great. I love how you want to get all your stuff digitized. You’re trying to do as much as you can which we really advocate, and then some of the things of course you can’t do. Now this place that you mentioned, I can’t really say whether they’re good or bad because I’ve asked listeners in the past, if you have good experiences with places whether they’re local or national let us know. If you have bad experiences locally or national, let us know also so that we can warn people or encourage people to go to these places. This is one that I’ve never received any information on. I’ve checked out the website, it seems legit and everything looks nice, beautiful website. They’re about the middle to high end which sometimes is good, sometimes it’s bad. Because most of the time when you see these real cheap things, you’re getting what you pay for, and it’s not very good. So they have a fair price, the price is a little higher than what we charge on our online store. But if it’s closer to you and you feel more comfortable doing it, what I would do is, always start with the smallest package kind of as a test drive and see if you’re happy with what they do. And then of course send in all your other stuff and if you’re happy let us know.
Fisher: Sure. Right. And testing is a key thing. And I would imagine, aren’t there ratings involved with this somewhere online that he could check out?
Tom: You know, there really should be, and I’ve thought about this before getting out there and doing some experiments with some of these different places and actually go in and give them multi-star ratings. So that’s something we’re looking at maybe in 2017, we might actually come out with a rating system. But we really need our listeners to let us know where they’ve had good experiences and bad experiences. And let us know places that they’ve used so that we can maybe start doing a rating system. I really encourage you use local places as much as you want. Use national places if you find out they’re good. You can go to shop.TMCPlace.com and get our prices. And usually if people are close to what our prices are they’re probably legit because they’re doing the right thing. If they’re way below, I say stay away. It’s not worth it. I’ve run into so much product places like that.
Fisher: That’s the thing. This is not the kind of thing you really want to price shop on so much. I mean, if it’s too cheap to be true, it’s probably too cheap to be true, Tom.
Tom: That is so true! [Laughs]
Tom: Yeah, you need to be careful. One thing that I really advocate that I think is really, really important which we have never gone into because I don’t like it. A lot of transfer places, they use high speed. So instead of like a VHS tape taking two hours to transfer, they can transfer it in 15 to 20 minutes because they’re doing it high speed which reduces your fidelity.
Fisher: Of course.
Tom: You know if it didn’t do that everybody would be doing it. We would do it. We could drop our prices way down. However, we wouldn’t be giving our clients the quality that they want. You know, if you’re in a situation where money is really, really tight and it’s that or nothing. It’s still scary, because I have people who come in to me and say, “Hey, we sent it to this place online that’s really cheap. We didn’t get our stuff back. Or it came back really bad. They told us our tape is bad.” And then we had to go and “undo” what the other people did.
Fisher: All right. Well, what do we have coming up in the next segment here, Tom?
Tom: We’re going to talk about some scanning parties we’re planning.
Fisher: All right, we’ll get to that in about three minutes. This segment has been brought to you by Forever.com. And if you have a question for Tom Perry you can always write to him at [email protected] and you might get to hear your question answered on the air. From Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode156
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, Preservation Time with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Tom, you were just talking about a scanning party you've got coming up. And let's just explain to people first of all what a scanning party is.
Tom: Okay. It’s a lot of fun. It’s not a MRI or CRT or anything like that.
Fisher: [Laughs] Right.
Tom: What we do is, we scan your photographs. So this is where anybody can bring in one of those sterilight 16 quart shoeboxes with the lid on.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]
Tom: And you can pack it with your 3x3 up to 8x10 non-damaged, non-mounted, loose photos, and we can scan the whole box for you for twenty five bucks.
Tom: So it's an absolute killer deal.
Fisher: And fast too, right?
Tom: Oh yeah! Oh yeah! It's really fast! It’s amazing! But that's why they can't be mounted or anything like that. They need to be all organized. If you have multiple sizes, just organize your sizes together. And bring your own thumb drive. And there's no additional charge. If you want, we have 16GB flash drives for only ten bucks.
Fisher: Now where are you going to be doing this?
Tom: The first one we are doing is November 11th and 12th in Midway, Utah. That's kind of up in the mountains, a beautiful ski resort area.
Fisher: Wow! That's going to be great. Okay, so you have a location there.
Fisher: So people who would be in the Utah area would go where in Midway?
Tom: It’s going to be at the Homestead Resort. It’s all part of the FamilyHistoryExpos.com convention that they're having, those two days which we talked about, about a month ago. So if you want to sign up for the convention, you can come in and do that. You can come in for the scanning party. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Remember, it needs to be up to 8x10 and it’s got to be in sterilight box with the lid on. No great big posters. We won't be able to do anything like that at this time.
Fisher: All right, but you can do stuff that's small, very small.
Tom: Oh yeah! We can go all the way down to 3x3 as long as they're in good condition. And if you have some pictures that are starting to fade and things like that, don't think, "Oh, I can't do these." No, this is a good time to do your faded ones, because we're going to stop them from fading anymore. We'll give you a digitized copy of all of them. And then whether you want to do it next week or next year or ten years from now, you'll have the high definition file that you can go in and do color correction. Or if you say, "Hey, this is over my head. I don't want to be involved in it." You can email it back to us and then we can do the color correction as well.
Fisher: Now what kind of dpi are we talking about?
Tom: It’s usually about 1200 dpi.
Fisher: Oh that's good!
Tom: Oh yeah! It’s a really high dpi.
Fisher: It’s solid, yeah. So I've done this recently, of course, I've gone ahead, all of my old home movies and videos digitized. So I've got like 110 of them on disk. I don't even know what's on them all, because I didn't even know what was on the videos when I gave them to you in the first place. The joy of it, though, is I can take them one at a time, maybe one a week, right, and transfer it in some way and edit it down to just each individual thing. We'll, here's a birthday on this video, that's separate from the time we got to meet Joe DiMaggio over here or something like that. I mean, you can separate them all out. And so, with photographs, it would be much the same. You can digitize them all. And then when you get around to it, you're there. And what a great opportunity this is… Midway, Utah, November 11th?
Tom: 11th and 12th, correct. Just go to FamilyHistoryExpos.com and you can sign up for the convention if you want to go to that as well. And just remember, like you just mentioned, it’s good to get this stuff done. And I've even had people tell me that they're going to go on a long trip, so they get videos, photos, all these things scanned, and then they sit in the back with the kids and put the DVD in, and they're sitting there writing notes. So when they're driving down the highway they can sit there and watch the thing, instead of watching Aladdin or something with their kids. They can say, "Oh, yeah, this is grandma." and talk to their kids. And make sure you have your iPhone or a tape recorder running, so when you're explaining all this stuff to your kids, you've got it down. And then later on you can make a slideshow with your narration for your great, great grandkids who will never know you, but they'll be able to hear your voice describing who these people are in the photos, who they are in the videos. It just makes it so nice.
Fisher: Boy! What a great idea! And you know, trapping the kids, I love that! [Laughs]
Tom: [Laughs] It’s great! We're going to be doing a whole bunch this next year in 2017 working with our Going Postal stores. So we're going to have a lot of fun in 2017.
Fisher: All right, Tom. Thanks for dropping by. See you next week.
Tom: We'll be there.
Fisher: And this segment of the show has been brought to you by FamilySearch.org and RootsMagic.com. Hey, thanks again to our guest, Loretta Evans, for coming on and talking about "circumstantial evidence." Does it really add up? And to Bill Habermann from Washington State, talking about the cemetery he adopted and how you might be able to do something of the same. Hey, and don't forget, if you're going to become your family's family history expert, you need to sign up for our free newsletter, The Weekly Genie. Do it at ExtremeGenes.com or our Facebook page. Talk to you next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!