Episode 159 - Author Nathan Dylan Goodwin On His New Genie Crime Novel & British Records

podcast episode Oct 03, 2016

Fisher opens the show with the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, David Allen Lambert. David tells us about a baby recently born in Mexico that has three genetic parents! Hear why the new procedure was considered necessary. Speaking of DNA, the boys will fill you in on a new deal from 23andMe on autosomal tests for genealogy. Who knew that there would still be new finds to made concerning "Otsi," the Ice Man found 25 years ago? Listen to hear what is now known about this fascinating ancient man. Next, David tells us about a park ranger at Ellis Island and a recent find that is impacting her job. Troops from Tennessee may soon be coming home from the Mexican-American War, which took place some 170 years ago. David will have some details and an idea on a great way to honor your military ancestors. Plus, listen up for another free guest user database from NEHGS!

Fisher next visits with British author Nathan Dylan Goodwin about his latest genealogical crime novel, "The Spyglass File," which is set in Britain during World War II and the present day. As usual, Nathan has done a brilliant job. Nathan then stays on to share with listeners ideas on British databases and sources you might not be familiar with.

Then it's Preservation Time with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Tom answers a listener question about restoring a saucer with a photo on it. He then shares some ideas on displaying photos on other interesting items, including a backsplash!

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

Transcript of Episode 159

Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 159

Fisher: You have found us, America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. My name is Fisher, the Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And this segment of our show is brought to you today by MyHeritage.com. We have one guest today for two huge segments and I'm very excited about it. Nathan Dylan Goodwin is back on the show. He's the British author who does those genealogical crime thrillers. We had him on, I think it was earlier this year, late last year, somewhere in there, but he's got a new one out, it’s called "The Spyglass File." And you're going to like it and you're going to want to hear what Nathan has to say about it, how he wrote it and how he went about the research on that. And then after that, we're going to keep Nathan on, and he's going to tell us about things we don't know about British research, maybe some free websites that we might benefit from. So stick around for that. But right now, let's head off to Beantown for my good friend, David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist for the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. How are you, David?

David: I am doing wonderful here in Beantown. And I want to let you know that I am happy to announce, I am now the proud parent of a twenty one year old! [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Yes!

David: My daughter, Brenda's birthday was this week and we celebrated. So now I have one adult through the gauntlet of life. And now I've got another child to bring up.

Fisher: No, this just means you're very old, David! I'm sorry.

David: Thanks.

Fisher: [Laughs] You're welcome.

David: [Laughs]

Fisher: I found a great item this past week and picked it up for ten dollars. It was a receipt from 1850 for a shipment of tobacco up to Maine, on a steamship. And the steamship was named, The T.F. Secor. It was built by the company that was owned by T.F. Secor in New York. And he was my great, great grandfather's brother. He's my great, great grand uncle. So I have a receipt from the steamship named after my great, great grand uncle.

David: That's amazing! Extreme Gene’s listeners, if you have anything by that steamship name, contact Mr. Fisher, he wants to know.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: How about that news about two daddies and one mom in the news? It’s quite fascinating!

Fisher: Yes! And we're talking DNA here.

David: We are! And it’s amazing because I can't conceive how the genealogy chart is going to work.

Fisher: Right!

David: Three parents, six grandparents, twelve great grandparents, twenty four greats.

Fisher: That's right.

David: I mean, it’s going to be interesting. But this is probably the first of many Jordanian parents who went to Mexico. American doctors helped in essentially replacing part of the DNA that was causing a genetic mutation that caused four miscarriages with the family.

Fisher: Wow!

David: So this is amazing! Well, congratulations to the family, two dads and a mom.

Fisher: Yes. And then the other dad basically replaced the mom's flawed DNA. So the question is, are we going to be starting to use a third party's DNA to replace bad DNA that would come within the family? Unbelievable!

David: Ah! It really is this amazing science! Heading onto my side of the world here, we have an Ellis Island park ranger of twenty years, Danelle Simonelli. She has actually discovered where she's works is where her grandparents came in from Italy. And so she's got a closer connection which is allowing her to use her interpretation of Ellis Island on a personal level. So congratulations! And keep on digging!

Fisher: That's great.

David: Exciting news for genetic genealogists out there. 23andMe is now offering again their ninety nine dollar genetic test. This is the one that will just search the Ancestry portion of your autosomal and give you the health results, but that's ninety nine dollars. And that leads me to thanking Blaine Bettinger for sending me both his books. I'm going to be reviewing and talking about them in the upcoming episode of Extreme Genes. Blaine is a great accomplished genetic genealogist. And his books are probably something all should read. Getting to older news, let's talk about the iceman again.

Fisher: Ah, Otsi!

David: Yes! Well, they're finding out now that the axe that was made out of copper that he had may not have had an alpine origin. It may actually be from central Italy.

Fisher: What?!

David: And so now they're looking at who murdered him, you know, is it the Mafia? I mean, let's think about this. I mean, central Italy, murdered man found in the Alps. Was this the earliest history of organized crime?

Fisher: Of a hit, yeah.

David: Exactly! So that's a fun story, obviously their 25th anniversary of finding Otsi and how much he's actually told us. Digging further into history, a little bit more recent, 170 years ago was the Mexican War. And they have found in recent years remains that may belong to Tennessee soldiers killed during the war. These Tennessee soldiers are being returned back to the United States for burial.

Fisher: Wow!

David: And it’s exciting, because FGS as you know is doing the project where they're looking to put a database up like the national parks. It’s for the Civil War, but [this now] is for the Mexican War. I actually volunteered to do the sole unit for Massachusetts. We had one regiment from Massachusetts. I went this week, copied all the muster rolls and now I'm typing them. They're coming like old friends to me.

Fisher: Isn't that fun!

David: It really is. And I find that as I adopt these military stories, this leads me to my tip for the week. Muster up your fellow veterans and organize them. Maybe you know where your ancestor is from, a particular war, and you know what regiment he's in. Why don't you search for the soldiers he served with, other people that were on the crew on the ship he was on, and find them on, say for instance, FindAGrave. Create a virtual cemetery and muster them all together. It'll help you with your research.

Fisher: So you'd have a virtual muster roll.

David: Exactly!

Fisher: I love that!

David: Yeah, it’s kind of fun. I mean, the technology has helped us gather up so much more than just the index cards we used years ago, hasn't it, Fish?

Fisher: Right. Yeah, absolutely right! [Laughs]

David: Okay, well NEHGS every week has a guest user database on AmericanAncestors.org. And this week we're announcing that we have the births and christenings for California, from the 1800s right down to 1995. So check that out on AmericanAncestors.org. That's all I have to report this week, but I'll be checking back with you next week, so stay tuned.

Fisher: All right. Thanks so much, David. Talk to you next week.

David: Very good. Talk to you soon.

Fisher: And just a reminder, if you haven't done it yet, go to ExtremeGenes.com and get yourself signed up for our Extreme Genes newsletter that comes out FREE every Monday. It’s called, The Weekly Genie. And you can find all kinds of articles there, links to great interviews from the entire archive of Extreme Genes and links to great stories that are going on as well. So go to ExtremeGenes.com, you can get signed up there or on Facebook. And coming up for you next, we're going to talk to the British author, Nathan Dylan Goodwin. We've had him on the show before. He's a great author of the genealogical crime thriller series. And his latest one is called, The Spyglass File. It’s about Morton Farrier, the genealogical researcher, a guy who's always getting into trouble for one thing or another for something that happened centuries ago. Then Nathan will talk to us about British genealogy and what you might not know about it. It all starts in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 159

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Nathan Dylan Goodwin

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and I can’t believe it’s been probably almost a year since we last talked to my next guest Nathan Dylan Goodwin. He is a British Author of a series of genealogical crime mysteries about his forensic genealogist Morton Ferrier. He’s come out with his fourth book it’s called “The Spyglass File” and as is typical, I devoured it in like a day. And it’s great to have you back on the show Nathan. How are you?

Nathan: Thank you, yes. Good to be back on the show, yes. I’m very well, thank you very much.

Fisher: You know, you’re going to have a problem at some point trying to explain to people how this Morton Ferrier could have so many things happen to him for things that happened long ago!

Nathan: I know, it’s a tricky one. But in the beginning I kind of was kind of a bit stuck and thinking, “But why?” you know? And it kind of kept coming back down to someone was born illegitimately and he wants to cover it up. And I thought no, I’ve got to think of some bigger ideas then that. And actually it’s been okay. I’ve come up with a few good ones and “The Spyglass File” is quite a good reason. And I’ve got ideas for future books so I’m okay for a while, yeah.

Fisher: [Laughs] Well, first of all, let’s tell people where they can get it before we go any further.

Nathan: So it’s available in paperback and on Kindle. Amazon is the most obvious one but I think you can also get it from your Barnes & Noble stores and some of your other book retailers, but Amazon will be the most obvious one to go to.

Fisher: And of course you can get it electronically and you can get it physically as well and it’s a lovely cover. So the way that Nathan works is basically this, he’s got all these genealogical circumstances back there, historical things. Many of them I would assume, Nathan, well most of them, you can actually find on record, correct?

Nathan: Yes. I mean, in this book and in all the other books the records that Morton uses to help him solve the crime or the researches his conducting to the past. They’re all real records so they do have fictitious content and occasionally he gets access to them a bit quicker than regular genealogists might, but yeah, they’re all real documents but with fictional content.

Fisher: Well, that’s not different than any other detective show is it? They solve murders in like two, three days!

Nathan: Yes, exactly!

Fisher: Now in this case, he is a professional genealogist. He gets hired by people. He goes out to try to solve their problem and winds up in the middle of a modern day crime. He’s done this now four times with this one, “The Spyglass File.” So what I really like about this, Nathan, is I’m a fanatic about World War II and the various stories that come out of that, and the novels as well. But I don’t think I’ve ever had a novel that really puts you in the middle of World War II and a lifestyle of how people had to live. Young people who were involved in trying to crack German codes and dealing with the regular loss of pilots who were making their sorties into Europe at the time, as this book does. It’s incredible that way. Did you have some kind of family connection to World War II yourself?

Nathan: Well, funny enough I did. This book kind of came about very loosely based on a real story. Basically last July I discovered that my dad had an illegitimate sister born during the Second World War and it was at the time when my grandfather was prisoner of war in Thailand, and so he wasn’t the baby’s father so my grandmother was forced to give this baby up for adoption. And as far as anybody in the family was concerned, including the baby that was born, there was no connection ever made. The baby was never told until about 2006. She discovered that she was adopted. Nobody in her family knew. I could really have kicked myself actually because if I’d just run a basic search in the birth index, I would have found that my dad had an older sister. But you don’t think, do you?

Fisher: No.

Nathan: I didn’t think to question it. It’s just I always knew that there was my dad and he had two younger sisters, but I didn’t ever think to run a search. But if I had it done then I would have found this other child. So yes, it’s based loosely on a real story in my family tree. And the rest of it just took an awful lot of research visiting museums, and aerodromes, and libraries, and a lot of reading and research in to the period.

Fisher: Well I can’t even imagine. I mean not only the period but the places as well. By the White Cliffs of Dover that so many of us are familiar with, the airbase that was there and a little house that was used for code breaking. And you obviously had to visit those places and get the stories behind them.

Nathan: Yes. Yes. I visited all the places. And they’re all real places. So the main character in the past part called Elsie Finch, she’s working for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in their wire service department which was listening in. She was bilingual so she could speak English and German so she’d be listening in this little house up in Hawkins near the aerodromes listening to the German pilots coming over. And they would record the conversations that they were hearing which were first of all they were obviously in German but they were also in code. So they would have to write down the exact German that they were hearing, they would then have to write down the English translation, and then have to write down what the actual meaning was. So they would say things like in German they would say, “I’m thirsty” which would mean that they were low on fuel. And so they would have to be doing this very, very quickly and hearing whole conversations. And it’s really important parts of the war effort actually, because they would then have to make operation decisions based on that. So they would be phoning immediately to the aerodromes and they would be getting the British planes up in to the air to then try to fight against the Luftwaffe pilots. And then the information would be passed to Bletchley Park, lots of people have heard of.

Fisher: Yes.

Nathan: For deeper analysis and further analysis. The real places that are still around today and so I visited them and I mean some of them are private residence so I haven’t done any more than visit them from the outside.

Fisher: You guys don’t have a habit of getting rid of old houses like we do, right?

Nathan: [Laughs] No not all!

Fisher: [Laughs] You keep things for a long, long time. And what I like about this too is it really gets into the human side of it. You know, the fact that you don’t know if you’re going to have a tomorrow. And people are falling in love and obviously they behave often in a way they wouldn’t during regular peace time. And these are probably things you drew from with the story of this new aunt that you recently discovered, right?

Nathan: Yes exactly. She’s lovely. We love her. I wish I had met her a long time ago. My dad unfortunately died in 2006, the very year that she discovered, that was the year in fact she didn’t discover she was adopted in 2006, that was when she went to look for her birth certificate and couldn’t find it. So then she then started to do some research in to herself and then found a year later her name in the adoption register. But yeah, she kind of said, and we as a family think, that probably my grandmother just was acting in a way that she would not necessary have done otherwise just because of the war situation. I mean she was told that her husband was missing, presumed dead in 1942. She didn’t hear a single word more until a whole year later, ten days before my aunt, my new aunt was born. So she didn’t know if he was dead or if he was alive or what happened to him. I think for everybody, civilians, people working in the military, for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force pilots, they just didn’t know what tomorrow was going to bring for them and I think people did behave differently. 

Fisher: Absolutely. Have you ever thought yourself ,“What would I have done in this situation?”

Nathan: Yeah, it’s a funny thing isn’t it? Yeah I do and I think you kind of look in hindsight don’t you, back on history and you think what would I have done? Which services would I have joined up? Or what would I have done? You really can’t know, can you?

Fisher: No. Great Britain was in much greater peril then the United States, so I think the way you would think about that might be entirely different then the way we might think about that. I will tell you that as I read the book, I started thinking, “Now, my DNA test, do I find matches that show my dad was my dad?” [Laughs] You know things like this!

Nathan: [Laughs]

Fisher: And I had to actually think through and “Oh yeah, yeah, that’s right we’ve got some his mother’s side and obviously, so yes, we’re good!”

Nathan: [Laughs]

Fisher: And I was thinking who might have to be tested to assure those things. So it’s kind of funny. It does leave you a little edgy sometimes going, “Hmm, how is this going to work out?”

Nathan: It does, yes.

Fisher: So what has your aunt thought of this book? Obviously you had her mind as you did it. Has she read it?

Nathan: I did, and I was completely honest with her. Right in the beginning I said I’d really like to base a book on this. And she’d read some of the other ones and she was really kind and agreed to it and she let me look through all of her adoption papers. There’s a huge amount of paperwork and documentation.

Fisher: Sure.

Nathan: And letters from my grandmother’s father who was kind of intervening a bit and kind of saying we need to hurry this up, etc. But all these documents, because they’re related to adoption, they’re totally not open documents. Only the person it concerns can access them. And even then it’s through lots of letters and emails and counselling. It’s very complicated, so she was very kind to let me see these types of documents. So it’s available there. Then I got set about writing the book and she was basically the first proof reader of the book.

Fisher: Sure.

Nathan: She needs to make sure she’s happy with everything going on, because it is based loosely on my grandmother’s story. But also I tried to not make it her story, if you know what I mean. So it was set for a fictional person but with a loose basis in real life. And she proof read it and she really enjoyed it and she’s been very supportive since. Like I’ve written a blog about my grandmother’s story in the process and again I’ve made sure she approved it all because it’s about her.

Fisher: It’s personal.

Nathan: It’s personal, yeah. 

Fisher: Sure. You know it’s hard enough to write a story like this fictionally. Have you ever been tempted to actually do a true to life version of the story?

Nathan: Yeah, I have been, but I kind of think really that perhaps my Aunt Pauline should do that. I was encouraging her at the beginning of her doing it herself but if she doesn’t, then it’s certainly something that I would consider. I have done non-fiction books before, so yes, it’s something that I would consider. But at the moment Morton is taking up all my writing time. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] The book is “The Spyglass File,” A genealogical crime mystery with Morton Ferrier, the forensic genealogist. It’s a great book. Once again a great read, an easy read. I got it done, devoured it in one Saturday afternoon, Nathan. So I appreciate that because it’s hard to find time to read books sometimes and I look forward to your next one. Once again, people can get it at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, and where else?

Nathan: If you just go to my website which is NathanDylanGoodwin.com wherever you are living there are links there to buy it in Canada, America, Germany, and England, so that’s a good starting point. There’s more information on there. There’s also links to a Pinterest page where I’ve put photos of the buildings and places and some of the research used, and the blog that I mentioned. So that’s probably a good starting point, otherwise Amazon would be the next one.

Fisher: All right. And this segment has been brought to you by FamilySearch.org. And Nathan, can you stick around a bit? We want to get a little advice from you about British genealogy because I think you have a pretty good background in that.

Nathan: Yes I’d be happy to offer my advice. [Laughs]

Fisher: Coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 3 Episode 159

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Nathan Dylan Goodwin

Fisher: And we are back, Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here. I am your Radio Roots Sleuth. And we're continuing our conversation with Nathan Dylan Goodwin, the English author. He's the author of The Spyglass File, a genealogical crime mystery, featuring once again the forensic genealogist Morton Ferrier… a World War II thing. And a great read, I went through it very quickly. And since we had you on the line, Nathan, and you are kind of “the man” behind Morton Ferrier, I thought we'd pick your brain about some things about English research that maybe we here in America don't know too much about. Now, we know the Irish have just released a treasure trove of records, we just announced that a couple of weeks ago and everybody's excited about that. What are we missing that we should be getting from your government?

Nathan: Yes, that's a very good question. Yeah, the Irish records are an amazing release of documents. I mean, really, we should have the English version of that. At the moment you don't have the civil records available at all. All you have online, if you go through Ancestry, all you've got is the indexes to births, marriages and deaths since 1837.

Fisher: Right.

Nathan: And so you can sometimes… you can work out. “Yes, that's my ancestor's birth records,” if they've got a peculiar name, or something. But the content of it, all it simply is, is their name and confirmation they were born.

Fisher: Right, and the quarter, right? I mean it doesn't even give you the month.

Nathan: Yeah. It's not even the month, no. And it's kind of the borough it's not even the town. So, you might sometimes overlook something because it looks like it's the wrong place, but actually it's the borough. Now, it's under consultation at the moment, and there's a hope that the English records will go the same way, particularly historic ones, kind of ones that are 100 years old or older. Because they really should be available online for free. At the moment it's £9.25 per certificate, and so I've got thousands of pounds worth of certificates sitting in my office! I hope it will happen at some point, I think it needs to go on. It's under consultation, so, let's hope. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah, right. Well, I think the Irish government, their motivation was simply this… they wanted more tourists. So I can't imagine the English government is looking at this going “Oh, we don't need any more tourists. We don't need these people coming here!”

Nathan: [Laughs]

Fisher: Right? I mean, we come, we leave money and we leave! What's wrong with that?

Nathan: [Laughs] It could be, as well. It probably is also a very good money maker for... If they're making money, you know, £9.25 per certificate, they're probably thinking  “No, we don't want it online for free,” but, I don't know, it would also take the pressure off of record offices as well a little bit.

Fisher: Sure.

Nathan: Because it's much more accessible, obviously, for overseas researchers, you know? You simply can't go to a record office to get that record for free, you've got to order it online and pay that money, so, we shall see.

Fisher: Well, you know, I was just thinking about something that came to mind as you mentioned this idea that the indexes we see don't necessarily tell us where we should look. There have got to be a lot of parishes within these boroughs, right?

Nathan: There are, yeah, it varies. Sometimes it's just a handful, but other times, particularly in the area I'm in, in Kent and Sussex, down in the south of England, you get, you know, lots and lots of villages, some really, really tiny with just, you know, a small population, and they're then fed into the local borough. You can't know things from the index. You know, you need to have that certificate, and so you have to pay for it, really. So it's a shame.

Fisher: Yeah. That's the issue. So we don't know what we don't know, right, Nathan? Tell us what we don't know that we should know.

Nathan: Well, I mean, my starting point for research over here would be the obvious websites that you would have access to. Beyond that I would be then looking at things like the British newspaper archive, that's online. It's quite an inexpensive subscription service, or there's a one off fee. Basically you can go onto their website which is BritishNewspaperArchive.co.uk. And that's another really good resource if your ancestors made the news, because it's not just the big national newspapers, it's also more and more of the local regional newspapers are going online as well. So if your ancestors came from a small town, sometimes their marriage or their death and obituary might be mentioned. So that's one good starting point. Another one I use quite often, particularly at Ancestry, the death, birth and marriage index, as they stop around 2007. So if I'm looking for someone who was born, married or died since then, you kind of run out of places to look. So I go to the government wills database, which is at Gov.uk/search-wheel-probate. And basically you can put into there a search criteria for a person you're looking for, and that will come up with if they've left a will, admittedly, then that will come up on there, and so that can help you identify that the relative has died. And if you want to pay the £10 fee, you can then order their will. They could then give you wealth information of addresses and children and all sorts of information, so that's another one I would be looking at.

Fisher: Now let me ask you this… London research… I mean, there are obviously millions of people in London, and still are, many who came here, and they would've been, I would say, from the lower classes. And do we have newspapers from London that talk about the obituaries and the marriages of the lower classes, the more common people?

Nathan: Not really. My relatives came from London and they were lower class. And, no, I have to say I've looked and looked and looked, and I've been to the actual archives as well, and looked in the local papers, I'm not just looking at it online and thinking “Perhaps there are gaps there or they haven't been digitized.” The lower classes, they just weren't... Simply because they, you know, couldn't afford it. It's the same here, lots of my relatives were buried in paupers graves which is, you know, I've visited the Church yard or the cemetery and there's nothing there. It's just a field, and you think “Well, where are they?” And they're buried three, four, five people deep, and you just don't know where they are. And even if you could identify them, it's not their own grave. It's like I say, they're sharing it with other people. And so the same thing, their families couldn't afford very often to pay the obituary newspaper fees, or to put the marriage information in there. So unfortunately, if you're talking about the lower classes, that probably isn't a good resource, really. Then you're going to have to go down the route of looking at things like poor rates and things like that. You're going to have to contact the local record offices which... They quite often, if you email them with a specific inquiry, they quite often would do that for you for free. Because I mean, even me being based in England, if I've got a relative who died, or I'm looking for information, for example, further up north or even in London, I contact a record office with this specific inquiry, and they search their archives, usually if it's specific enough, they'll do it for free and then send you the information.

Fisher: Yes.

Nathan: I had somebody who died in the war. He was working for the local council and clearing a bombed house, and the house fell on him and he died, and his obituary was in the newspaper. And I wrote Croydon Library and they looked at the newspaper for the date and they sent me a copy of the obituary.

Fisher: And we do that commonly here as well. And a lot of county libraries are terrific at responding free to these inquiries, especially if you give them a little bit of time, you know. Be nice, right? [Laughs]

Nathan: Yeah. [Laughs] That’s right.

Fisher: All right. What else don’t we know that we should know?

Nathan: So, I think again, it would be to join... if you know lots of your ancestors came from one particular parish then it would be to join... I don’t know if you have the same thing in America, but there are very often family history societies for that particular county.

Fisher: Oh, yes.

Nathan: I’ve got relatives that come from Norfolk, for example. So I’ve joined the Norfolk Family History Society. And obviously you get the journal sent to you through the post with information and things. And there are lots of other counties doing the same thing. They’re digitizing more and more of their records online. I don’t have to go to Norfolk, I can just sit at home on my computer with my login details and they’ve digitized lots of their baptisms, marriages, and burials. So that’s another really good resource. So if you know your ancestors come from a particular zone, I would definitely go to that family history society and see what they’ve got, because that’s where lots of the information is within the family history societies for that county.

Fisher: Well, I wish we could spend a lot more time, Nathan. It has been a blast chatting with you again. He’s the author of, “The Spyglass File,” a genealogical crime mystery about Morton Ferrier the forensic genealogist. It’s the fourth in a series and you can get it on Amazon, you can get it at Barnes and Noble, and all the other places Nathan mentioned earlier. Good luck with the book Nathan, and thanks for the information!

Nathan: Thank you! You’re welcome.

Fisher: And this segment’s been brought to you by LegacyTree.com. And coming up next we’ll talk to Tom Perry about preservation. He’ll be answering a listener email about a fading photograph on a dish! [Laughs] How can she save it? Tom will have some advice coming up for her next in three minutes on Extreme Genes.

Segment 4 Episode 159

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And it is preservation time at Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Root Sleuth, with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com.

Fisher: Hello Tom.

Tom: Hello!

Fisher: And this segment is brought to you by Forever.com. And I love it when we get your emails with your questions. This one is from Heather Shawnee. She said, “Tom, my husband and I honeymooned in Taiwan 45 years ago. We bought pictures of us that a photographer took and put on decorative saucers. The photos are deteriorating and becoming cracked. Is there some way the photos can be restored or preserved on the plates? Thanks for your help.” Wow, what a question!

Tom: That is! That’s an awesome question and I don’t think we’ve ever had that before but it is very timely. So, with the holidays coming up and everything, if you want to get that restored for, you know, family and friends, there are several different ways you can do it and of course there’s several different price points. The most economical way to do it would be to scan the plate, and a perfect thing to scan in this plate would be Shotbox which we talked about last week. Because if you scan it at a high dpi with either your phone, your Nikon, whatever you want to use, then you can go in and edit it. If that’s over your head, you can send it to us or any other person who does restoration and we can recreate the photo for you. And then there’s a lot of novelty places all across the country that will take photographs and put them on saucers, put them on plates, cups, mugs, all kinds of different things. And so that way you’ll be recreating it. It will be a whole new thing if that’s what’s important to you.

Fisher: And of course the color could be fixed as well, because I would imagine with it fading away, you can darken it again and fill in all the cracks. That would be fun.

Tom: Oh, absolutely. And depending how faded the picture is, if it’s like you can’t tell the colors anymore, then whether we do it or whoever you have to do it, if you can get another photo that maybe you took on your honeymoon, you’re in the same clothes so they can see what the original colors were, then they can make it look exactly like it was.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: If that’s not available, then you can just write this is a kind of lemon yellow dress, he had on a chartreuse tie, or whatever, and we can go in and totally recreate the whole thing for you. As I mentioned, that’s probably going to be the most economical way to do it if you’re really into that plate, and the heirloom and you really want to restore it the way it is. There are a lot of restoration places that can refer you to somebody that actually does hand painting and what they would do is they would go recreate it, basically, repaint your photo, and then re-fire it and then seal it again and you’d have your plate back.

Fisher: Wow! [Laughs]

Tom:  However, you are looking at a lot of money to do that.

Fisher:  I would say. [Laughs]

Tom: It’s just like having a special mural done, but you know that’s great question and you know whether it’s a plate, or anything else like that, there’s always options. And I tell people over and over again, “If you have something that’s old like that as an heirloom, don’t throw it away thinking, “Oh it looks so bad nobody will enjoy it.” There’s always ways to restore things.

Fisher: So Tom, what if I had a picture of an ancestor from the 19th century and I wanted to put their picture on a plate or a dish or something and make it look old, is that doable?

Tom: Oh absolutely! There’s a lot of ceramic dealers out there that will actually take any kind of photograph and put it on a plate like you mentioned. It could be on a mug. One thing that’s really neat if you want to personalize your kitchen if you’re redoing your backsplash you can actually get those little square tiles or even subway tiles and you can have a picture put on them. So, even if you have a picture that’s not that old, that’s new, you can make it sepia tone, or you can make it over in magenta like it’s kind of faded or just a nice family picture, and make a subway tile, and put it right there in your backsplash and it’s always there to be a conversation piece. You can actually almost have like a genealogy tree of grandma and grandpa, and then your parents and then the kids. There’s so many options you can do with this. And with the holidays coming up, you know this would be great gift for somebody, for somebody in your family. So one thing that’s really, really nice like I say and you mentioned, if you have a picture that’s not that old go in and make it look old. Put scratches in it.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: Just to give it some character and make a plate and hang it up there. They’ll say, “Why, you sure look like your great grandparent.” So you’ll say, “That’s actually me!

Fisher: [Laughs] Well there are actually filters out there that will make things look antiqued.

Tom: Oh absolutely.

Fisher: For any kind of photograph

Tom: Absolutely. Photoshop and Digital Darkroom have all kinds of filters you can really do some fun stuff with for holiday gifts.

Fisher: All right, we’re getting some great questions here from your emails. We’ve got another one coming up for you in three minutes on Extreme Genes America’s Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 159

Host: Scott with guest Tom Perry

Fisher:  We are back, final segment of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. We’re talking preservation with Tom Perry, talking about putting photographs on saucers, and on tiles and back splashes. And while we were off air there Tom, you had another idea.

Tom: Oh yeah, this one is great. You know everybody marks a special event when they put a corner stone in a building? Well there’s something that you guys can do that’s not that expensive. As long as you have a good stone cutter in your area, and any place that’s got a cemetery has got to have a stone cutter close by. Just pick out a rock, whether you like granite, sandstone, any kind of stone that you like. They’ll cut off one side of it and make it nice and smooth and then put a polyester coating on it. And then they can put a full color photo, a black and white photo, you can make it look old fashioned. You can put the year you made it and your family name engraved right into the rock.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: Put it on your front porch and it looks so cool and it’s so awesome. And if you ever do move you can take it with you.

Fisher: I love that! The thing that would be really bad though, is that if some prankster came along and took it. What are they going to do with that?

Tom: Yeah, hook up a couple of D batteries and a little bit of wire and see what’s going to happen!

Fisher: [Laughs] All right, we’ve got another email and this one is from Amanda Munez and she says, “Tom, can you update film to DSL our cameras to digital?” Wow! That’s a question. Could you take a film camera Tom and convert it into a digital camera, and why would you want to do that?

Tom: Oh, absolutely. Back in the days when digital cameras were first coming out people had, you know, thousands and thousands of dollars invested into lenses, into camera bodies and so they would go and buy 35mm CMOS chip which were very expensive at the time, so that the lenses would work properly on them and even though they did that it was very, very expensive. But now technology has actually caught up to those old cameras. So you can go buy a good quality Canon or Nikon bodies now that were made as digital cameras and still use your old lenses on them.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: There’s different ways you can do it, but that’s definitely what I would do. I would invest in a new camera and you can always call BHPhoto.com or go to their website and they can answer a lot of those questions for you. If you’re really set on, you want to put a CMOS chip or another kind of chip in your camera, they could direct you on what’s the best way to do it. And they can also tell you about the different options that are available now, to just convert your lenses over to a new camera, and that’s what I would do. It’s going to save you a lot of money. But either way I would get a hold of BHPhoto.com and they’d be more than happy to help you. They’re great guys.

Fisher: Well, it sounds like Amanda’s just in love with this old camera and doesn’t want to give it up, which make sense too.

Tom: Oh absolutely. And you have to do what works for you. We’ve talked about this so many times on the show. What’s your end product? What do you need to do? And if that’s very, very important to you, you love it, you know how it works and you feel more comfortable with it, and that’s what you need to do. You need to upgrade it and do what’s comfortable for you.

Fisher: All right. Here’s another question, this comes from Kathy Craig. She says, “Tom, what’s your opinion, do you trust Google pictures and free Amazon photo storage?”

Tom: Well, you know I don’t want to really promote or diss on any products. However, I’ll just tell you my experience. We love Google. In fact, our LightJar Cloud is actually built on Google’s backbone. I’ve never had a problem with Google, but like I tell you on very many segments, you want to always use two clouds if you can and make sure they’re not related. For instance, there’s Dropbox. Apple has their own one, and Microsoft has their own one, and just make sure they’re not related. Like don’t choose LightJar and Google because they’re both the same one. So pick different ones. Amazon Photo, I really don’t know a lot about it. I have heard rumors that it’s going to be sold to somebody else. It just hasn’t been good for them. Amazon is a great place. I buy stuff off it all the time. But since it’s a secondary type thing, I probably wouldn’t go with them. I would go with somebody that, that is their main business, that’s what they do and they’ve got a good reputation, and it’s not going to be like a step sister they sell off.

Fisher: All right. Great stuff Tom! Great emails and you can always send your emails to [email protected]. Thanks for coming on bud!

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: And this segment of the show has been brought to you by 23andMe.com DNA and by RootsMagic.com. And that wraps up our show for this week. Thanks once again to Nathan Dylan Goodwin for dropping in and sharing with us his insight on British research and of course his latest novel “The Spyglass File.”  You can get it on Amazon.com. Hey, don’t forget to go to ExtremeGenes.com and sign up for our free weekly newsletter, The Weekly Genie. Talk to you next week, and remember as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family!

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