Episode 158 - Using The “FAN Club Principal”Cluster / “Genealogy.coach” Launches

podcast episode Sep 26, 2016

Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David and Fisher open the show with news about an acknowledgement that George Washington’s family was indeed biracial. David has the details. Then, David fills us in on when the oldest library in the world reopens. He’ll tell you where it is and just how ridiculously old it is! And, if you have an ancestor who fought for Canada in World War I, David has good news for you! And, of course, he’ll have another tip of the week and NEHGS free guest-user database.

Next, Fisher visits with Christy Fillerup from LegacyTree.com in Salt Lake City, Utah. Christy talks about the “FAN Club Principal,” or “cluster searching.” If you’ve got an ancestor that seemed to drop into some place from out of the sky, the FAN Club Principal might be exactly what you need to break down your brick wall.

Janet Hovorka from FamilyChartmasters.com joins Fisher for the third segment to announce the launch of “Genealogy.coach.” (No “dot com” necessary!) If you’re a Do-It-Yourselfer, here’s an inexpensive way to access coaches from around the world!

Then, Preservation Authority Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com joins Fisher to talk preservation. Remember that photo box Tom talked about that you could build yourself? It’s now an affordable product! He’ll tell you about it, and who’s offering it. Tom also has more information on his coming Scanning Party, as well as a new, high tech family history board game!

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

Transcript of Episode 158

Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 158

Fisher: And welcome to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. This segment of our show today is brought to you by Roots Magic. And we’ve got some great guests and incredible topics to cover today. Christy Fillerup is going to be here in about eight minutes. And she’s going to talk about something called the “FAN Club Principle.” And if you’ve ever gotten stuck with someone who seems to have dropped out of the sky, you have no idea where they came from, this technique might help you break through. It’s a little tough, but she’s going to help you figure that out. Then later in the show, it’s a brand new product. There has been nothing like it in the past and you’re going to be fascinated to hear what Janet Hovorka has to tell you about a new thing called Genealogy.coach... not “.coach.com...” it’s just Genealogy.coach. It’s for do-it-yourselfers who need a little help from an expert, and she’ll tell you all about that later on in the show. But right now let’s check in with my good friend David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist for the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. How are you David?

David: Things in Beantown are wonderful. Have you heard the news about George Washington’s adopted son?

Fisher: Yes, this is really interesting. Because first of all, I had no idea that George Washington was so closely connected with Robert E. Lee, somehow that had evaded me over the years. But these ties are amazing.

David: And to think, the National Park Service in Mount Vernon, now acknowledging the truth behind these old rumors that Parke Custis, the adopted son of George Washington, actually fathered children with two of his father’s slaves.

Fisher: Wow!

David: Well, you know, I’ll tell you with DNA more and more things can be investigated these days, but it really does open up some interesting angles. And one of the ones that I find fascinating is that Robert E. Lee, who was George Washington Parke Custis’s son-in-law, was also the executor of his father-in-law’s will in which he asked to release the slaves of his late father-in-law.

Fisher: Wow!

David: It’s interesting when you think Robert E. Lee.

Fisher: Yeah, he’s defending slavery in war, and yet he’s required as the executor of his father-in-law’s will to release slaves. Interesting.

David: Interesting conflict of interest when 1861 rolls around, I’m sure.

Fisher: No question. Yeah, absolutely! What else do you have for us today David?

David: Well, I’ll tell you, you know I’ve had some late library book fines before, but if you ever had ancestors who lived in Fes, in Morocco, you can have library fines going back to the 9th century if you took out a book in Fes!

Fisher: [Laughs] Oh my goodness.

David:  And some of these are amazing, they’re on camel skins, some of these.

Fisher: So they’re still have some of the original books and things going back that far?

David: They do. I don’t think they circulate anymore.[Laughs]

Fisher: No. [Laughs]

David: But something tells me that it would be quite a wonderful experience to go in there because I love the old musty smell of books in general, but to think something from the 9th century.

Fisher: Wow!

David: Must be amazing.

Fisher: And they’re opening again next year, right because they shut for a while for renovations?

David: Correct. They were closed for renovations and they’ll be opening in 2017.

Fisher: Got it, okay.

David: Speaking of 2017, well that will be the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into World War I. Our Canadian neighbors up north have already started digitizing their records. Their records go from 1914 to 1918, and they’ve digitized three hundred thousand plus files which is almost half the alphabet for all the World War I veterans from Canada.

Fisher: That’s awesome! Now what can any descendant of a Canadian World War I vet expect to find if they got a hold of one of those files?

David: Well, I’ll tell you it’s pretty amazing, because my great grandfather was in World War I and his last name starts with an “L” so his file is there. I’ve never seen the whole file in color before and the 44 pages are right there on my PDF for free.

Fisher: 44 pages! What was in this?

David: I’ve only just started to read them. I was looking at them for about 20 minutes before we went on the air! [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Well give me an idea of some of the things you’ve already seen. You must have kind of glanced through it.

David: I did. There are medical related records, there are records on his enlistment, there are records that talk about his family and where he was born in England, and so it’s amazing, and including my own grandfather who would enlist at 15 only to be yanked out of the service before getting on the troop boat by his mother. So I can’t wait to see my grandfather’s file as well.

Fisher: Wow! That will be there, yes.

David: And I’ll provide the link so it can be on ExtremeGenes.com as well as on Twitter. NEHGS is always looking for things for me to do in my free time and for me it was to celebrate the 100th wedding anniversary of my grandmother’s first marriage. On September 18th, 1916 my grandmother was married. Unfortunately two children were born to her and her husband, he dies at the age of 24.

Fisher: Oh!

David: As my grandmother was so young and having two small children, a grave marker was never inscribed for him. So I decided to reach out through social media and Facebook and the family group that I created, over 100 of us, and I said, “Listen, it’s the 100 years from the time they were married. He has been dead for 95 years. He still doesn’t have an inscription.” I put in a little seed money and I said, “Anybody else that’s interested to help out.” Just yesterday one of my cousins, my grandmother’s sister’s grandson, gave half the money to have the inscription done.

Fisher: Ah! That’s incredible. What a great idea, what a great tip to go help mark unmarked graves within your family.

David: And social media and Facebook are great ways to kind of group the efforts together. So I mean, I have plenty of ancestors that don’t have gravestones. So with this generosity coming forward I might try for other ones. One of the things that we have available each week for our guest users on AmericanAncestors.org are databases that you can use for free, and this includes the vital records from Norfolk, England, West Virginia naturalization records from the 19th or the 20th century, and some vital records for Hampton, New Hampshire. That’s just a small offering of what we have online. Well, that’s all I have for you this week. After I read my great grandfather’s file I’ll get back on all the juicy details!

Fisher: It sounds fun, good stuff! All right, David, thanks for coming on. Oh and by the way, this week when you subscribe to the Weekly Genie newsletter, I’m going to give you four free sites for digitized newspapers, and they’re all really darn good. So make sure you sign up for the Weekly Genie online at ExtremeGenes.com. It’s free, it comes out Mondays and we’d love to have you along. All right, coming up next we’re going to talk to Christy Fillerup. She is a researcher with LegacyTree.com in Salt Lake City, Utah. And Christy’s going to fill us in on something called the “FAN Club Principle” which is another term for a cluster search. And if you’re not familiar with this, if you have a brick wall involving an ancestor who seems to have just dropped out of the sky, this could help you break through. So get ready for an interesting concept coming up next on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Episode 158 Segment 2

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Christy Fillerup

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and when there is a really tough case that goes to my friends at LegacyTree.com in Salt Lake City, Utah, that case will often go to my next guest, Christy Fillerup. She’s the one that will analyze all the bits of information and puts it all together, makes a circumstantial case... am I describing that correctly Christy?

Christy: Yeah, I think you are on the right track, absolutely.

Fisher: [Laughs] And you’ve come up with a concept that I think a lot of us would really like to know more about. It’s something I haven’t really talked much about with anybody in the past. It’s called the “FAN Club Principle,” and this involves all kinds of different communities and how you get involved with them. But I’ll let you take it from here and explain what is the FAN Club Principle is.

Christy: Sure, I’ll be happy to explain a little bit. I do want to make sure that your listeners know that this was not something that I created. It was something that I have learned from a really fabulous genealogist named Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Fisher: Okay.

Christy: She coined the term. She had put it all together and codified it in a way that made it a lot more accessible to genealogists. And what it goes back to is the fact that our ancestors didn’t move from place to place alone.

Fisher: Right.

Christy: Despite the fact that sometimes we feel like they dropped out of the sky. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

Christy: They usually came to a place, unless you’re descended from the random adventurer, because they had family that had already moved there. They had associates that had written back home about what abundance of land was available in you know, Texas or Nebraska or wherever.

Fisher: Or whatever the opportunity might have been wherever.

Christy: Exactly. And you would find as you go through these chain migrations where one adventurous soul, or perhaps somebody who got a military bounty land, would move to a new area, write home to their friends, to their family. And while their family may not move out, their family may talk about it to their friends, so you can eventually track them back to their origins.

Fisher: I like the concept of this. So let’s go through a sample of exactly how this would work.

Christy: Well, let’s start by giving it a timeframe and say that you’ve got an ancestor who shows up in the midwest in the 1850s or the 1840s. So you’re hitting right about that time when your census is getting a little less... well a lot less explicate. You’re getting tick marks instead of names.

Fisher: Right.

Christy: One of your key record sets is going to be land records, which can be a little bit intimidating for researchers.

Fisher: Sure.

Christy: But by digging in to those land records and finding out, okay, when did they first arrive in the county? Who purchased land about the same time? Who were their neighbors? Who witnessed their land? All of those individuals are going to inform your picture of your ancestor.

Fisher: Okay.

Christy: So, you may go through every record that you can find that references your ancestor, their land records, their probate records, their court records, and not find a single mention of where they came from prior to that first land purchase. However, at that point where some of us may give up in despair and say well I don’t know where else to look, by identifying kind of in an outward target... so you are going to start with anybody with the same surname that’s living close by. Research them. See if you can find a connection there. If you don’t find a connection there, move on to people who were neighbors and arrived at the same time, people who again, witnessing each other’s land, administering an estate, could be a very key thing to notice.

Fisher: Umm hmm. So it wouldn’t necessarily be that these people are related, but they have some kind of association with them in a previous location.

Christy: That’s exactly right. It could be one of either. You know I worked a case recently where a man showed up in 1840. We couldn’t find him on the 1830 census because the first land purchase did say that he had shown up in 1828, which gave us more of a pinpoint down into when he had arrived.

Fisher: Right.

Christy: We went to his probate records and none of his probate records identified any family beyond his children. His wife was deceased. Nothing mentioned her maiden name. What we did find is that another gentleman was named as having an interest in this gentleman’s land, in the deceased’s land.

Fisher: Okay.

Christy: Now we first went, “Oh, he’s interested in the land, it must be that land.” [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

Christy: Not so much.

Fisher: No.

Christy: Well I mean it may have been good land. But by researching this man we were able to determine how he had gained an interest in the land.

Fisher: Right. And when we’re talking interests, we should explain that, that means he had a financial involvement in this land.

Christy: Right.

Fisher: He owned a piece of it.

Christy: That’s right. So anyway, we researched him backward and, long story short, determined that he had gained an interest in the land because a portion of it was inherited by the deceased’s wife, and he was her brother.

Fisher: Ah!

Christy: Now prior to that point we did not know her maiden name. So we gained her maiden name by identifying her brother. We gained her father, and then we gained where they had lived previously so that we could continue researching the ancestor.

Fisher: Well that had to be a kick for your client. How long had they been looking?

Christy: You know, most of the brick wall clients that come to us have been looking anywhere from five to twenty years on some of these cases.

Fisher: Wow!

Christy: It’s always very exciting to make that kind of a breakthrough.

Fisher: It sure is, isn’t it? This is not like a job where you’re working at a fast food place and here’s your milk shake. I mean you come up with an answer like that and somebody’s been looking for five to twenty years, you’re as excited as the client, yes?

Christy: Oh absolutely, absolutely! There’s nothing like being able to share in a client’s excitement over finding a new ancestor, extending their line backward. It’s something that’s so integral to our own identities in that.

Fisher: Now is there a difference between this FAN Club Principle that you’ve been describing, and what’s called a “cluster search?”

Christy: There’s very little between the two. It’s really...the FAN Club Principle as I’ve said is something that’s taught quite widely in genealogy and originally by Elizabeth, and is a way of codifying down that principle to who we’re looking for. We’re looking for family, but beyond family we’re looking for friends, we’re looking for associates. And people can be associated in quite a number of ways. It’s not just proximity. They may be associated through a church affiliation.

Fisher: Umm hmm

Christy: Or through a Masonic lodge association. There are many different ways that people can be associates and be in each other’s lives that way.

Fisher: So, what makes it difficult for an individual who’s doing it on their own as opposed to using someone who’s got a lot of experience at this concept, such as yourself, what do the individuals run into that maybe causes a problem for them?

Christy: Two things come to mind. The first is patience, because you might research seven or eight associates who have no bearing whatsoever on where they came from. So you have to be willing to really dig into each individual and really be patient with the fact that you might get several nil results before you find somebody. The second is being able to identify who might be important.

Fisher: Yeah.

Christy: For instance, in court records, in land records, you might see somebody who has witnessed three or four land deeds, but if you take the time to flip through that deed book, you might find, “Oh, that person was a clerk of the court and they happen to be there quite frequently, and they’re not just witnessing for my ancestor, they’re witnessing those land records.”

Fisher: Yeah, for everybody.

Christy: Right. And so that you cannot necessarily completely disregard, but you can put him to the bottom of the list, you know? I’ll come back to him if nobody else can.

Fisher: Right. So to some extent, this is something you do when you really start running out of answers, right? I mean you get down, you say, “Okay, I can’t find any direct records of my people anymore, let’s start doing this.” Obviously it can be very time consuming because now you have to go sometimes to microfilms and local archives and start digging these things up and going through them, making notes of who the individuals are. Then you have to start a little research on who they are. Is it fair to say that this is something you finally do kind of as a last ditch effort?

Christy: I would call it an “advanced research methodology!”

Fisher: Yeah, okay! [Laughs]

Christy: I do recommend to most new researchers and especially as they’re getting in to harder back lines, you know, just make note as you’re going through. You don’t even need to necessarily fully research them out but if you’re reading through a probate package, just kind of notice, “Oh, there’s a name I’m not familiar with. I’m going to toss that at the back of my mind. If they come up again I’ll be able to make that connection.”

Fisher: Yeah that makes absolute sense, terrific.

Christy: Here’s kind of an interesting case study that falls in to that principle but was a little different. I was researching a man in New York who was a steam boat captain and was said to have had a first wife, had had a daughter by her. We could not find this first wife anywhere. We had the daughter and the assumption was that she had been born illegitimately.

Fisher: Okay.

Christy: We had his parents, we had everybody, but we didn’t have the mother of this daughter. So we started, because he was a steam boat captain, in New York. He was going up and down the Hudson. He was leaving newspaper records all along that path. Every time he stopped at a new port that was reported in the newspaper. We started to create a timeline and to track him up and down and began researching for women. We did have a first name of this wife. She was supposed to be named Violetta. So we started searching for any Violettas we could find in any of these towns up and down the Hudson where he had been stopping, and particularly during the time period when the daughter would have been conceived.

Fisher: Right.

Christy: And we did find her. We found she had died in childbirth. They had only been married for a year. And we found her burial in the town where her parents had lived and where she was born, and had died there, with very little record to indicate that she had been associated with the ancestor at all.

Fisher: So the clue was the newspaper accounts of where he stopped and when, and then you researched that particular town.

Christy: That’s right.

Fisher: Unbelievable. She’s Christy Fillerup. She’s a researcher with LegacyTree.com in Salt Lake City, Utah. Thanks so much Christy. The FAN Club Principle. An interesting concept! One you might want to try yourself.

Christy: Well, thank you for having me.

Fisher: And this segment has been brought to you by MyHeritage.com. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to Janet Hovorka. Now you may have heard her on the show before, she’s from FamilyChartmasters.com. We’ve talked about charts but she’s come up with a new product that nobody’s ever done before. We all know how Lucy’s advice stand worked, right? In Peanuts? Well this is so much better! And it’s for genealogists and you’re going to hear about it in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. 

Segment 3 Episode 158

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Janet Hovorka

Fisher: And we’re back, America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And you know, over the last three years since we started this show, it is unbelievable some of the developments, some of the new technology that’s come along to help us with our research. And, one of those things has come along real recently from my friend Janet Hovorka over at FamilyChartMasters, and Janet, I am so stoked with what you’ve created here. It’s called Genealogy.coach. Tell us what you’ve done.

Janet: So, what we realized this summer is, we were playing around with some of the issues that we deal with with charts, and also the issues just in genealogy in general, is that there’s kind of a gap between working online and doing things in your slippers. You know, the way we do, which is so often now. And getting the help you need when you get stuck. A lot of people now are coming in with DNA, and of course there’s the excitement about genealogy, and being able to do so much online now. And, they kind of do their census records and they get going and they’re really excited about it, and then they come to a place where they get stuck.

Fisher: Yep.

Janet: And your options right now are to hire professional who then takes your information and goes and does it on their own and brings you back the results. Or, to quit, and by all means we don’t want that.

Fisher: No!

Janet: What we’ve come up with is an idea where you can online go in and book a session with a professional genealogist, just for 15 minutes, half an hour, an hour, and then pay for it online. Set it up so it meets your schedule. And then when the time comes, you get a link to your email, that when you click on it, it will open up a meeting. Super easy, no software installed.

Fisher: Video, right?

Janet: Video. You can share screens, you can see them, you can hear them. And, you know, they can help you with your family history. So, you can show them your online things that you’re doing, you can show them the software that you need help with, you can show them the documents that you need help translating or pictures that you need identification for, or whatever you need. You just book a coach and set up a time to meet with them. And then you meet with them online and they help you with that one little problem that you’re stuck on.

Fisher: Now, you showed me this a few weeks ago when we were together, and the quality of the site, it’s very pleasing, it’s very user-friendly. I was really impressed with it.

Janet: Thanks. We’ve got 47 different subject areas that you can go and take a look. We have 26 coaches, with an average experience of about 25 years each.

Fisher: Wow!

Janet: So, they are really highly qualified. These are the rock stars in genealogy. These are the people who write the books, and give the lectures, and a lot of them don’t take clients. But they’re willing to do this because this is super easy for them. They’re at home in their pajamas and they get to help people, and it’s super fun for them to be able to just go in and help you with that one little problem. And so we have some amazing, amazing genealogists. We’ve had people booking sessions that every one of them are just so excited about what they found. I booked one myself so I had to create a video, and I hired a British specialist, one of our British specialists, Lindsey Bellis, and I said I’m going to pay you. I want you to actually look at my stuff for real and I’m going to create a video. And I just got a library science degree, and I know what I’m doing. I’ve even been to the archives over there in England, and in 15 minutes... and I probably lost a bit of that trying to create the video... but in 15 minutes she rocked my world, like, it was so exciting!

Fisher: Really?

Janet: One of the things she said that was just fall off a chair easy, but I would never have thought about it, is when you’re looking for a place, there’s a place I’m looking for that I haven’t been able to find. I’ve looked for months. And she said that when you’re looking for a place, type it in to Google.co.uk rather than Google.com. And I went, “Oh my goodness, I never would have thought of that!”

Fisher: No.

Janet: She works in this so much more than I do that she just knows those little tweaks that help so much.

Fisher: And so what do you find when you go to Google.co.uk?

Janet: It’s just going to pull up the British places so much better. I’ve been looking for this manor that my ancestors are associated with, and it turns out it wasn’t Tugswell, T-U-G-S-W-E-L-L, it was Tuxwell, T-U-X-W-E-L-L.

Fisher: Ah!

Janet: She found it for me in 15 minutes. She had it.

Fisher: Isn’t that amazing.

Janet: She just knew the maps that you can use, she knew the places to go to find the right information, and boom, she had it for me. So, even I...

Fisher: Yes.

Janet: I’m telling you, it worked for me as well. So it was really exciting. And everyone who ever uses a system like that, they’ve just been so amazed at the expertise that these people have and how much they can help in just a short amount of time. It’s so simple. You know, you just get stuck on some little area, you book a session and then you’re good to go.

Fisher: Well, there’s no question about it that we all have dead end lines that are difficult. And no matter how good you are at this, there is always somebody who knows something about an area you don’t know about, and I think a lot of people frankly hold back on getting coached or hiring professionals or whatever, because of a little bit of pride, maybe? Because of “Well if I can’t find it, it’s just not out there to be found!”

Janet: Yes, absolutely! And I have that totally! I’ve got a Masters in Library Science. I think I can do it, but I don’t know what I don’t know. And you know, every athlete needs a coach.

Fisher: Right.

Janet: Michael Phelps needs a coach. Celine Dion needs a vocal coach.

Fisher: Yep.

Janet: You know, coaches can really help you get that much further in the thing that you’re trying to do, so.

Fisher: Absolutely the truth. Now give us an idea of the price ranges on this. How does this work?

Janet: The price ranges start at about $15 for 15 minutes and goes up from there. You can book them like I said, in 15 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour session. And so, you know, $15 to maybe $60 dollars or so, depending on the expertise and how busy that coach is. But very, very affordable, you know.

Fisher: Yeah.

Janet: You can have them take a look really quickly and easily. And we have a new thing as well where you can book a 15 minute session just to check your tech. If you go into the website, on the menu there it has a system capability check, and in there you can actually book a free 15 minute session, just to make sure that your speakers are working and your web browser and your internet and everything are working.

Fisher: And that makes a lot of sense. It’s Genealogy.coach. That actually is a URL. You don’t put “.com” after that or anything. It’s Genealogy.coach. And by the way, we were just talking the other day about it’s time now to start lining up your family history holiday gifts, and this would be a great thing to do for somebody.

Janet: Yes, we will in the next month or so. We’ll have gift certificates out there and you’ll be able to go to Genealogy.coach and buy a gift certificate for a friend who’s a genealogist that they then can redeem when they get a session with a coach as well.

Fisher: So what’s the best story that you’ve heard so far that’s come out of this, because you’ve only been doing this for what, a month or so?

Janet: Yeah, it’s only been about a month since we launched. And, we’ve had everything from a coach helping somebody, you know, just putting portions into their software,  and how do you do that exactly, to one professional hiring another professional because they needed help in a certain area for a client that they were working for. They’ve been breaking down plenty of walls in just little sessions. It’s been really exciting. And really gratifying for me personally, to watch, as you know, we’ve facilitated you being able to get access to these amazing specialists that have done DNA and have done amazing things. But now you can, you know, buy a piece of their time and they can just do some amazing things with you. So, we’re really, I’m really excited to be able to give people access to these people that normally you wouldn’t even be able to hire.

Fisher: Now does this cover overseas as well?

Janet: Yes. Like I said, there’s 47 subjects so far. There are 26 coaches so far but we are bringing more on. And anybody who wants to be a coach can certainly put in an application there on the website. We’ll be bringing them on as the demands increases and we’ll have lots of different experts for different fields. But we’ve got most nationalities and most areas covered at this point, with at least one or two specialists, definitely.

Fisher: Excellent, the south as well, here?

Janet: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Fisher: It’s Genealogy.coach. She’s Janet Hovorka from Family Chart Masters. It’s a brand new thing and it’s very fun, very exciting. Congratulations on this, Janet. I think this can really help an awful lot of people who maybe can’t afford a full blown session with professional researchers, but they can do a few minutes online with Genealogy.coach.

Janet: Yep. We’re helping out.

Fisher: All right. Thanks so much for coming on. Talk to you soon.

Janet: All right. Thank you!

Fisher: And this segment was brought to you by LegacyTree.com. And coming up next we’ll talk preservation with Tom Perry who’s got some more holiday gift ideas for you and an update on a product we told you about maybe a year or so ago. On Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 4 Episode 158

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And welcome back to America's Family History Show. It’s Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, and this segment is being brought to you by Forever.com. We are talking preservation with my friend Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Hi Tom, how are you?

Tom: Excellent. Thank you.

Fisher: I'm kind of excited. What's it, a year, maybe two ago that we talked about building a box? And I don't know what you even called the thing, but in essence it was a way for you to take great photographs, digital photographs of your old photographs in keeping them flat, and then three dimensional objects as well. And you're talking about putting lights in the corners. I mean, to me, I'm listening going "No, I don't think I could build one of those." [Laughs] But it was going to cost, what, 60 or 70 bucks to do it after you got all the right pieces, as I recall, correct?

Tom: Exactly, yeah. We figured about $50, $60, and depending on your aptitude, maybe a day or maybe a week to build the thing.

Fisher: Maybe a month in my case!

Tom: [Laughs]

Fisher: I don't know. Yeah, but what I'm excited about is this product is now out, in a plastic form. A company's now making these things, and kind of within range of what it would cost to build it yourself.

Tom: Oh, absolutely. And it's so cool. It's called Shot Box, and basically it almost looks like a white milk carton, but it totally collapses. You can use this for just virtually anything. And the neat thing about this is everybody has an old Bible that you just can't get flat on the scanner, you don't want to break the spine of it because it's so special to you. You might have grandpa's old pocket watch. You can have frames that are so old you can't take the frame apart.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: The picture's part of the glass now. All these kinds of things, you just pop it in, and it's got holes in the top of it, so you can set your iPhone, your Android or whatever, your iPad, right on top of it and shoot a picture of it. And it has LED lights built, and it's got all kinds of cool things. The basic unit retails for about $130, but if you want to email me at [email protected], I've got some coupons that you can save about $30 off of it. And then they have a deluxe version which has backdrops that has a black backdrop, a white backdrop. For those that understand Chroma key, it's got a blue Chroma key and a green Chroma key.

Fisher: Wow.

Tom: So you can actually take pictures of a three dimensional object, and then you can go into Photoshop or Digital Dark Room, and actually put a different picture behind it.

Fisher: Wow! So it creates a background?

Tom: Oh, exactly. You can put in layers. You can do all kinds of things. And the neat thing about this is it works right out of the box. So the basic one is really, really cool. It comes with everything you need, and you just put the item in there. You set your phone on top and click away. And if you have a whole bunch of things that you're really going to be doing this for family and friends, I'd suggest getting the deluxe version which retails for about $199, and I think with a coupon it's like $170. And what you can do with this, it comes with a little adapter that screws into your earphone jack that actually lets you push a button to take the picture.

Fisher: Nice!

Tom: And there's two ways, of course, you can do this with any kind of phone that has the two cameras. You can actually have the camera facing down in, but yet you're monitor is up. So you can see exactly how you're going to center it. Then use this little digital button and push it, and it'll take the picture. And on the bottom, both of them comes with either a black or white base, so you can flip that over if you're taking pictures of, you know, things that are black, or you can flip it over if you're taking pictures of things that are white. And it's probably, I'm guessing, it's about 18 inches square, so you can get a lot of stuff in there. You can get your big Bible in there, all different kinds of cool things. And the one thing on the deluxe version too, it has a thing that's called a Side Shot, so if you want to get something that's a little bit different that you want to shoot from the front instead of from the top, it has a little dial that mounts to it that also has another light in that to give it more dimension, and then you can set your camera on that and take pictures also.

Fisher: Alright. And you can go to this website ShotBox.me, and check out exactly what Tom's talking about here, because this is a really unique thing. Especially as we're talking about getting ready for the holidays, right now. This would be a great way to go to prepare photographs to share with family and friends.

Tom: And it's a great holiday gift. If you have friends in your family that are in charge of doing all your family genealogy, this might be a nice way to say "Hey, thanks for all you've done for us" and get them a Shot Box.

Fisher: All right. What do we have coming up next?

Tom: Another holiday gift idea.

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

Segment 5 Episode 158

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And we are back for our final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show, for this week. Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth. We're talking Preservation with our Preservation Authority, Tom Perry, from TMCPlace.com. And, Tom, before we get into this other holiday gift idea that you've had, we got to talk about this event coming up that's going to be online, it's great, it's a family history conference, it's going to turn into a webinar, so no matter where you are, you can be a part of it.

Tom: Right. We've told people about this over the last few weeks. It's going to be actually held at the Homestead in Midway, Utah, and it's a great deal. We've had so many people write in to us to say "Oh, this sounds exciting. But, you know, I can't get to Midway, Utah, to attend this." So what they've decided to do is they're going to make it available as a Webinar. So you can go to FamilyHistoryExpos.com and sign up and say "We just want to do the Webinar." Then you can watch the webinar live, plus they'll send you, like, a DVD and some links so you can, you know, rewatch it if you want to. So that makes it really, really good. So those that wanted to go to this don't have to come now, they can do it from their computer at home, anywhere in the world.

Fisher: Excellent. And that's going to be a lot of fun. And of course, you're going to be doing your scanning party up there as well.

Tom: Yep, I'll be doing the scanning party and also giving a talk on preservation.

Fisher: All right, let's talk holiday gifts here, because you've been frankly annoying me the last few weeks with how much you've been talking about "We've got to do this now! We've got to get on it!" I mean, I just don't like to be nagged, Tom, but... darn it if you aren't right, I know that!

Tom: [Laughs]

Fisher: So, what is the other family history gift idea that you had?

Tom: This thing in really cool, it's actually a board game. It's kind of a cross between what I would call Monopoly and Clue.

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: But it's all family history oriented. People start off at different spots, like Clue, different sides of the board, and they roll the dice and they get these little cards, kind of like you see in Monopoly. And they say, “Oh, you've discovered Aunt Martha's true birthday, you know, you've got to move so many spaces ahead.”

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: It's sort of pretty, you know, generic, but it's a lot of fun. However, Marlo from Heritage Collectors...

Fisher: Oh, the mad scientist, yes! [Laughs] He's involved. This is going to be good.

Tom: Oh, absolutely. So he hooked up with them. He's going to start offering QR codes where you'll be able to personalize your game. So you'll get a QR code and you can just put audio clips, you can put video clips.

Fisher: So they would play on a cell phone, or something?

Tom: Exactly. Any kind of a smart phone is going to have a QR reader. QR readers are now free.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: So you can get really, really good ones. I like QR Reader, it's an awesome one. And it was, like, $5. But it's great. It doesn't have all the ads on it. So I use it a lot. And so you had this QR code and it'd bring up this audio file and that person has to guess, you know, who it is, or who they're related to. It just gives you so many different options of what you could do to personalize this. Plus you'll be able to have these... they'll kind of be like stick-on QR codes that you'll be able to put on different spots around the board, so if somebody lands there and doesn't draw a card, they click that then they have the option of, you know, moving ahead. It's just, you know, Marlo... he does cool things.

Fisher: Oh yeah. Well, it's amazing how you can take something that really can only be done typically and traditionally as a generic board game.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: But to be able to take this and customize it for your own family and put that together, that's phenomenal. Now, what's going to run about, do you know?

Tom: I know it's under $100.

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: And they're still working on the details of what it's going to be to get the specific QR codes, but there'll be like a coupon where you can send that in and then Marlo will send you the QR codes that you can put on the board, and then you'll be able to go and customize them, and it's real easy. Customizing the QR code isn't something that you have to have special computer skills for. It's very, very simple.

Fisher: Interesting. So that's coming up when?

Tom: You can buy it right now on the store. If you have questions, you want to get one, let me know at [email protected], and I can give you the link of where you can go and get the board right now. And then Marlo will be doing his thing probably over the next few months. But get the game right now, and then when Marlo gets everything ready you can really personalize it, make it really special.

Fisher: That's incredible. All right, great stuff, Tom. Thanks for coming on.

Tom: Great to be here.

Fisher: This show goes way too fast, I'll tell you! This segment's been brought to you by 23AndMe.com DNA, and by FamilySearch.org. Just a reminder, by the way, get on to ExtremeGenes.com and get signed up for our newsletter, the Weekly Genie. It comes out every Monday. And this week I'm going to share with you four free sites for digital newspapers, and they're good ones. You're going to enjoy it. Check it out. And we'll talk to you again next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice normal family!

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