Episode 160 - Autograph Quilt Reveals Town History/Post Mortem Photos of the 19th CenturyOct 10, 2016
Fisher opens the show with "Family Histoire News" with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David is going Pinterest, and sharing old pictures there for you to see. In David's home state of Massachusetts, a World War I dog tag was found on the side of the road. Amazingly, it is back with the family of the soldier who carried it into battle. David has the details and response from the family. Next, David tells us about a new digital game that puts YOU into the First World War! Also, a new book is coming out on "The History of Smells!" How does it relate? You'll hear from David on that one. Plus David has another tip and a new NEHGS free guest user database.
Next, Fisher visits with Sarah Hermans of Dutchess County, New York. Sarah has been researching an "autograph quilt" given to her by a cousin. From it, she's been able to determine the family connection, who bought it, why, for how much, and all kinds of stories about the people named on the quilt. You'll want to hear what she has to tell you about this remarkable heirloom, and what she plans to do with the information she's learned.
Then, Photo Detective Maureen Taylor (maureentaylor.com) returns to the show just in time for Halloween, talking about post mortem photography of the 19th the century. She'll tell you why it was done, what it evolved into in the next century, and what it is today. She also talks about "ghost" photography, and the reason it was so big in the 19th century.
Tom Perry ([email protected]) then returns to answer a listener question about a treasured DVD with a bubble in it. Can it be salvaged? Tom will tell you. Tom also talks about color correcting your movies and videos and how to tell if it needs it and how to do it.
That's all this week on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show!
Transcription of Episode 160
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 160
Fisher: And welcome Genies to another spine-tingling episode of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. This segment of our program is brought to you by 23andMe.com DNA and our guests this week... very excited to talk to Sarah Hermans again. It’s been a while. She lives in Dutchess County, New York and she has what they call an autographed quilt that has been passed down through her family. She’s been researching it and it’s over a hundred years old and she wants to know about all the people that are on it. She’s learned a few things about what its purpose was and I think you’ll find it kind of interesting coming up in about eight minutes. Then later in the show, Maureen Taylor is back! She is the Photo Detective, and we’re going to talk about an interesting practice that took place in the 19th century... photographing the dead. Who did it? Why did they do it? Maybe you have some old photographs of your deceased ancestors back in the day. We’ll get to that later in the show. And right now, let’s go to Beantown... Boston, Massachusetts and my good friend the Chief Genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, David Allen Lambert. How are you my friend?
David: I’m doing great Fish. How about yourself?
Fisher: Awesome, and I had a great week. I got through eBay the 1850 receipt for the delivery of tobacco in Maine by a steamship called the T.F. Secor which was named after my great, great grand uncle Theodosius F. Secor. So it was a fun little find. Just ten bucks on eBay, you can put in your search terms and you never know what is going to come up!
David: It really is exciting. In fact, on Twitter occasionally I’ll retweet when family Bibles go up with hopes it will land in the hands of the family within those seven days for the auction [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah, there are a lot of them, too.
David: Well I’ll tell you family histoire news comes straight back to my neck of the woods in Massachusetts. Our neighboring town. Someone was walking on the side of the street and came across an aluminium World War I dog tag. They gave it to the police department and the police put it on social media. Lo and behold! This over 100 year old dog tag was then quickly reconnected with the grandson of the veteran. Joseph Hughes must have lost his dog tag up in the dirt of the side of the road somehow, but social media reconnected them, so that’s kind of nice.
Fisher: That’s very fun yeah. What a great item to have! I’m sure the grandson had to be shocked.
David: Well, that leads me to the experience of the 21st century with video games being so popular. I’m not a real gamer, as they say, but I was tempted to buy for the Xbox that I have. It’s also for Playstation, a new game called Battlefield 1. It is coming out in the next couple of weeks. It’s not a space age shoot ‘em up. It’s a World War I simulator where you are gonna fly biplanes, ride in the old World War I tanks and even ride a horse.
David: So, listen I can’t be there, might as well see what it was kind of like. Hopefully they won’t have mustard gas as part of the game!
Fisher: [Laughs] You know when I was a kid, David, I lived just down the street from the very first World War I flying ace, Douglas Campbell, who had six victories. Of course you know those guys, they never called them “kills.” They said, “No, no, we’re not shooting at the pilot, we’re shooting down the planes.” So they called them “victories.”
David: Ah ha! Well you know, speaking of mustard gas and smells, this leads me to my next story which takes us across the pond to a doctoral candidate University College in London Cecelia Banbury. She is actually attempting to preserve history a strange way, the history of smells.
David: In fact, in one of them, the Knole House which is an English Estate, it has been inhabited by the same family since the 15th century. So maybe a father and mother and a great, great, great, great grandparent all smelled the same.
Fisher: Isn’t it interesting too, you think about it. Every family does have smells associated with it. Maybe somebody worked in the mines and there’s a certain smell there. Or, I remember the musty smell that I would experience when I’d go to visit my grandfather’s old house that was dated back to the 1860s.
David: It really is. So my hat’s off to her. Hopefully this will become a new fad in genealogy, we’re recording the smells and sounds and sights of their ancestral homes.
David: Social media really has grasped a lot of my free time, and I have to thank Jenna Mills. I think “thanking” her is correct. I am now on Pinterest! DLGenealogist. And am now pinning photographs and all sorts of things and it’s really useful for genealogy. In fact, your guest later on in the show, our good friend Maureen Taylor, has mentioned before, you know, it’s good for documenting local history, creating boards for you ancestral families you’re working on, sources of your research.
David: So it’s a great thing and it’s a new community and by the way Fisher you’re already on there I found the photograph of you with your magnifying glass on the blogs and social media... Extreme Genes.
David: So I now have an Extreme Genes pinterest category and I am gonna be putting in photographs and screen shots from things that we do, so stay tuned for another way to connect with Extreme Genes.
Fisher: All right.
David: Well, my tip this week is kind of a two parter. I’ve always regretted the fact that the old candy dish my aunt was gonna leave me never made it to me. It went to a churchyard sale. They couldn’t identify it and it was sold for fifty cents.
Fisher: [Laughs] No.
David: Put labels in these things!
David: Give it to your family members ahead of time. But if you want to document your own family heirlooms and connected stories, I was listening to the episode a while back that Tom did, talking about Shotbox. I reached out to them and mentioned that I wanted to talk about how wonderful this would be to document your family heirlooms on a personal level. For free they sent me one to test drive, so thank you Shotbox! I’ve already set it up. It’s very easy to use. It has portable lighting. There’s Photo Studio. It’s allowing me to use my Smartphone, and now I’ve already photographed all the China in the China cabinet and put in associated stories.
Fisher: [Laughs] That is a great way to go because a lot of millennials especially these days, they’re minimalist. They don’t want stuff. And the things that we think of as having great value they don’t necessarily want.
David: Well I think that’s absolutely true, and I would definitely entertain any of our listeners to check out Shotbox.me and see this wonderful item which can be had for under $200, so thanks again Shotbox. American Ancestors is always giving a free guest user database and this week is no exception. We actually now have West Virginia Naturalization Records 1814 to 1991, in Norfolk, England Parish Registers from the 16th century right down to 1997. This is in collaboration with our work we do with FamilySearch.org. So that’s all I have to report for you from Beantown my friend.
David: Catch you soon.
Fisher: All right. Thanks so much David. And coming up next we’re gonna go to Dutchess County, New York for a conversation with Sarah Hermans. She’s got what they call an autograph quilt. What has it told her about its significance? She’ll tell you all about it and what she plans to do with that coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 160
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Sarah Hermans
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, and it’s always fun to circle around and get caught up with some old friends we’ve had on the show before. Sarah Hermans who’s from Upstate New York, she’s a former Chapter Regent with the Daughters of the American Revolution and one of our earliest guests. Sarah nice to have you back on the show.
Sarah: Thanks Fisher, great to be here.
Fisher: And I’m very excited about this because you’ve got a new project going and I think one of the things we like to do here at Extreme Genes is to share with people different ideas, things they can do, projects they can get involved in that could help them bond with people from their past whether in their family, or help other people with their families as well. And this project you’ve got going right now Sarah is incredible. Tell us about it.
Sarah: Sure. Well, a number of years ago I was handed down a quilt that is referred to as a “Signature Quilt” with lots of names, not only from my family, but local names of people in the Northern Dutchess area. And I was fascinated by what this thing was, and I just spent some time not only finding out what kind of an item I had in my hands, and what it meant to the people of the time etc, etc. And of course my genealogy desire to flush out everybody’s family!
Fisher: Right. [Laughs]
Sarah: So I’ve been working on researching the people on this quilt and then I’m going to be writing a book about it.
Fisher: All right. So tell us about this now, a signature quilt is a quilt that’s made with autographs on it I assume, of various people. And there’s something that must bond them together. Why would all these people sign this quilt?
Sarah: Yeah. There’s a bunch of different kinds of signature quilts, so you can see the varieties from the year from about the 19th century going forward to about the 30s or 40s in the 20th century when it kind of dropped off in popularity. People still make them like they did back then. Sometimes, women would make them for their families members like if somebody’s moving west, they’d have all the family’s names written on it because they’d never see these people ever again.
Sarah: Or organizations would come forward and use them as a fund raiser, so they’d say, “Hey, would you like to put your name on this quilt? Give me 25 cents, and we’ll raise some money for this cause.” And every square would be filled up with as many as possible instead of just like one name per square. On the next kind of variety that I have, and some of them are quilts in proper terms like with batting and backing and all that stuff, and some of them are still referred to as quilts even though they are just muslin squares stitched together.
Fisher: Got it. You mentioned to me off air that this goes back to right around the turn of the century. What’s the exact date?
Sarah: Mine is 1903.
Fisher: And what’s your family connection to it?
Sarah: My second great grandfather actually won it at a church auction. They had a fund raiser. The Ladies Aid Society got together and made a signature quilt to raise funds for the minister’s salary probably of the Elizaville or Jack Nichols Methodist Church. And I don’t know how much exactly the signatures went for, but I know my grandfather won it for four whole dollars!
Sarah: And I think overall they raised about forty bucks, which was a lot of money but not in comparison to some of these other quilts I’ve seen in the newspaper, they could be in the hundreds of dollars, could have been a good number of signatures on them too.
Fisher: So tell me then, how did you get the story of this? Did that actually come written up with it as it’s been passed down? It’s been what, three, four generations now?
Sarah: Well it came down from my second great grandfather through his daughter in law, then to her daughter, to her daughter, and then to me. They kind of skipped around because my cousin gave it to me because I’m the family historian and I’m the one who cared. My cousin, when I asked her I said, “Wow this is an amazing thing! Where did it come from?” She goes, “I don’t know. Mom had it.” [Laughs] I said well maybe it was made for this reason or that reason. It was in a newspaper announcement that I actually found on one of these newspaper archive websites. And there it was, just laid out right there, every piece of information I could hope in one little article.
Fisher: That’s fantastic! So it named your great, great grandfather, it mentioned the quilt, and you’re holding it right in your hand, I mean, talk about a time machine right?
Sarah: Yeah, oh there were tears. Tears came down my face.
Fisher: Incredible! So you know now that it was to raise money for the minister, and you know that your great, great grandfather got it for four bucks, and people probably paid a quarter a signature. Now the signatures on this are they just signatures or are they stitched on?
Sarah: They are stitched on and it seems that probably the handwriting is the woman who collected this signatures, that the person who was doing the fund raising for that square, so they’re not actually autographs or signatures per say, some of them would have been earlier on if they were done in ink and they were special to the family. You could kind of tell if the handwriting is all different as a signature, but they just used the word. “Hey, that’s their name.” They didn’t call it a naming quilt. Some of the squares are all in one hand and then like about five or six of them are in another, and then another few are in another hand, so you can tell they were all done by one person, relatively speaking.
Fisher: And they’re all from one community in the area of Dutchess County, New York, north of New York City. What community was that?
Sarah: Well, particularly my family was from a place called Jackson Corners, which is in a town called Milan, it looks like Milan, but it’s pronounced Milan. And a lot of people in the area were either from Pine Plains, or Rhinebeck, Red Hook, even up into Columbia County a little bit, Gelaton.
Sarah: You can kind of feel the geography. If you know the area you go, “Oh I see where that mountain would cut off people to the east of that, and all the relations to the west. They’re not all Methodist on the quilt though. And that’s the cool thing about researching the genealogy part of it, is saying, “Oh, how did these people know each other? Which community did that person who raised that money, live in? And oh, there’s their neighbors, I see.” And some of them when you research the names, the connections between the people start to come to the surface, and that was the most joyous part of doing this research really.
Fisher: Now you’re working on a book about this which I assume you’re going to publish at some point. When do you think you’ll have it out?
Sarah: Oh boy, I’m hoping in another couple of years.
Sarah: I’m thinking - unfortunately I do work for a living.
Sarah: All the time perfecting their research, so doing my best as I go along.
Fisher: Now how many signatures are on this or names?
Sarah: Like I said, I think it’s between 60 and 75. I’m sorry I didn’t get to count for you before I got on here, but it’s a lot. And then on top of it, like let’s say one square has Mr. and Mrs. John Smith on it, and then I go, “Oh!” I found out that Mrs. John Smith is really Julie Davis, and Julie Davis’s parents were Mr. and Mrs. Davis. And then so I’ve actually added more names to it by affiliation to each of these people. So there is going to be an index of the people who are actually on it, and then another index of related people to it. So if you’re a researcher and you’re looking for somebody, you can maybe find more about them.
Fisher: That’s amazing. So you’re trying to actually do genealogy on all the people on this thing, but it’s extending out a little bit. Tell us some of the most amazing stories you’ve found out about people on this quilt.
Sarah: Oh gosh, there’s a couple of really good ones and I’m going to have to put a disclaimer in the book with an apology to the family members. Some of the stuff may be a little hanky, but it’s in the newspaper so I think I’m okay.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yes.
Sarah: That’s where I got it. It’s public. It’s okay. One of the best panels I have the most amount of people on it, has two women on it and one is Rose Shamps and the other is Mrs. John Cotting. And Mrs. John Cotting turned out to be Ina Ostrum. And Ina and Rose are about twenty years apart, but they are in the same exact community called Rock City which is also kind of in the town of Milan. And in 1903 Miss Rose Champ is just a miss, she’s like a teenager and Mrs. Cotting who has been married for a number of years has not had any children yet, and in the paper of 1906 or so it says, “Mr. John Cotting has been arrested for bigamy” because he ran off with Rose Shamps! [Laughs]
Fisher: Oh my goodness! Okay!
Sarah: Yeah, and so he was cleared of the charges because apparently he had also run off and gotten a divorce, but it wasn’t brutally apparent I guess for them.
Sarah: Some people believe Mr. Ostrum, I assume, took him to court. And the interesting is that he got the full divorce from Ina, he married Rose, and then came back to Rock City and lived there, right down the road from them. [Laughs]
Sarah: Boggles the mind, like if you got married in another state, why not stay in another state? No he came back. He was a violet grower so he hung out back here after he did all these things.
Fisher: Wow! That’s a good one. What else have you found?
Sarah: One of the panels is really very hard to research, they’re such tiny names that I just couldn’t place. And some of the Plymouth article, the one name that I did find was Mrs. S. Sauls. And I pinpointed that she’s probably Sylvester Sauls’ wife, and I don’t remember her first name it slipped out of my head. But Mrs. Sauls took summer boarders. Which means people from the city would come up to stay with like farmers in their farmhouses. People also stayed in hotels and stuff like that but it was also very promising that if people did, they’d stay in these farmhouses. And Mrs. Sauls took a lot of them every year, and the names on the quilt correspond with people who might be coming up to the city in 1903 like Zimmerman and very not local names.
Sarah: These are Jewish sounding names and we didn’t have a Jewish community up here in Northern Dutchess at the time. So now I get to do a panel entirely about summer boarders because I can’t find genealogical information on these people at all.
Fisher: Interesting. So what they were doing when they’re in town?
Sarah: Yeah. It’s great to see what little articles about like oh you know, “Mr. Smith took the summer boarders down to the dance last night,” or “The women in the community is looking at the young gentleman summer boarders this year,” or something. And it’s so cute, just so fascinating to see.
Fisher: And I’ve got to think that FultonHistory.com has got to be an important part of your research.
Sarah: Oh, gosh yes, a blessing. I donate to that or else I would never finish it. Thank you, thank you, thank you! [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] Yes.
Sarah: I don’t know if all your listeners in the world are familiar with it, but yeah, FultonHistory.com is like the best.
Fisher: Especially for New York, yes that’s right. So it’s a signature quilt, it’s an autograph quilt; it could be called a name quilt or an album quilt, but you’re researching all the names on it, you’re putting the stories together and making a book over time, what a great project Sarah!
Sarah: Thanks. And if anybody wants to find out a little bit more about it they can go to my website which is 44parkave.com/holdernewt
Fisher: Are you actually trying to reach out to other descendants?
Sarah: Oh yeah, especially through Ancestry.com that’s a big one. I’ve found a bunch of people who are connected to it and got some great photographs of their ancestors to use for the book, so very, very helpful. The internet is beyond helpful in this project.
Fisher: Well she’s amazing. She’s Sarah Hermans from Dutchess County New York. Thanks for coming on and telling us about this Sarah!
Sarah: Thanks so much Fisher!
Fisher: And this segment has been brought to you by RootsMagic.com. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to the Photo Detective Maureen Taylor about photographs of the dead in the 19th century. It was an interesting practice. You’re going to hear all about it coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 160
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Maureen Taylor
Fisher: America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth. And as a Halloween baby... as I get closer to my birthday I see lots of things changing around the neighborhood. There are applications of Halloween things to family history as well, other than just birthdays. And my good friend Maureen Taylor is on the line, she is the Photo Detective. And we thought today we'd talk a little about post mortem photography in the 19th century. How are you, Maureen? Great to have you back!
Maureen: I'm good, Scott. Nice to be back!
Fisher: Yeah, this is a fun time of year, and we often look into the more bizarre aspects of family history, and this is certainly one of them. I think anybody who's ever gone online and put into a Google search “Post Mortem 19th Century Photographs” has been kind of shocked at what comes up, don't you think?
Maureen: [Laughs] Well, you never know what's going to come up, because there's a lot of those post mortems that are online. Those people were alive when they were photographed. They just don't look so great in the picture. [Laughs] And so it's assumed that they must be deceased. Yeah, you never know what you're going to find.
Fisher: Well, many of them, though, were legitimate. Some of them were actually taken in coffins, right? You've seen those pictures.
Maureen: Oh. Definitely! I mean, the classic is the mother and the baby. There's lots of that. And they're very sad to look at because you see these mothers, they look so sad of course because they've lost their child, and then the child is draped across their lap. It is very, very sad. But those are classic post mortem photographs.
Fisher: Oh yeah. And then you got the family pictures. You've got everybody in the picture, and the child who's gone dressed up and with their head kind of up, it's a very strange thing, isn't it? Because a person who is deceased really doesn't look the same as when they're alive, you can't make them look alive just by how you set them up, don't you think?
Maureen: No, I don't think you can. I mean, there's a lot of people who'd say "Oh, but there were photographers who specialized in photographing the dead." But it was to make you look better, not necessarily alive.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yes.
Maureen: And, yes, I've seen those pictures where the whole family is gathered around with the deceased infant or child, and that's a memorial picture of a special sort because if you didn't have a chance to get a picture of that child or baby when they were still alive, and many people didn't, then you wanted something to remember them by, and so everybody would gather together and have a picture.
Fisher: Yeah, that's right, because today we'll use the iPhone 7 and go out and snap pictures of every moment of every day of our children's lives. But back then it was a unique thing, often an expensive thing, often a cost prohibitive thing to go out and get pictures done, and they would often die young. And so really the only memorial you would have is a photograph of that deceased child. How sad!
Maureen: That's right. And you know that the history of post mortem photography is kind of interesting. So, in the beginning they're very simple. It’s a deceased person laying in the bed, or coffin, or child on mom's lap, or, you know, things like that. And then in the 1920s and 30s, you start to see more of the... you know, the wake in the living room kind of thing.
Maureen: And they show the coffin with the person in the casket. And then there's sometimes a little picture of their face over the top of the coffin to make it look like it's... It's a different kind of memorial picture.
Maureen: So you see them deceased and you see them alive.
Fisher: Well, most of these things we see from the 19th century, this obviously spilled into the 20th century to some extent. Are we seeing much of this now?
Maureen: Oh yes. Yes.
Maureen: Yes. In fact, yes, I've had that reported to me, that there's still post mortem photography happening. It sort of falls under the realm of documenting every point in a person's life.
Fisher: Oh, but not the same way. They don't sit them up with family members?
Maureen: No, the modern ones are much simpler. Actually, I haven't seen any modern ones. But historical ones, obviously many people will see them if you just search them online. And look at my blog... just spurred on by this conversation. I think I'm going to post a couple.
Maureen: And in the mid 19th century there were photographs that looked... They were actually double exposure, which is where you expose it twice. Where you have a living person and then a ghostly figure in the background or beside them to make it look like you're being visited by spirits of the past.
Maureen: And this was part of the spiritualism and it was very, very popular in the mid 19th century, people thought it was real.
Fisher: Well, they didn't understand the concept of double exposure at that time, I'm sure.
Maureen: They were making a lot of money, and that's why it became so important. Somebody... I forget, there was a famous photographer I can't come up with a name off the top of my head, but who specialized in that scam of having somebody come into their studio and then photograph the live person and then later adding in the sort of ghostly figure.
Fisher: So you mentioned memorial pictures, Maureen, what's the difference between that and the old mourning pictures?
Maureen: So, a memorial picture is similar, but you know, the post mortems are the people where you actually have the deceased in the picture. But then there are mourning pictures where there is a famous one of a little girl and she has what we think are black ribbons, one on either shoulder, and then the saddest expression on her face, and she's holding a picture of a Civil War soldier.
Fisher: So it's the person in mourning, but you're not actually seeing the deceased, you're seeing an image of the deceased when they were living?
Maureen: Exactly. Or you're seeing a woman posed by the gravesite for instance, I have one of those. Or a picture of someone dressed in something that a lot of people think is mourning outfits. There was a type of fabric called “dead black” believe it or not!
Maureen: Because it had no shine, and so it can be difficult to spot in a picture.
Fisher: That's crazy. I've seen pictures too where you see a photograph of an individual and there's a black kind of scroll around them, that kind of suggests that that's a mourning card, right?
Fisher: Are there people who collect just these kinds of things?
Maureen: I've met the people who collect post mortems. It's a pretty pricey entry point to be a collector of post mortems, yes.
Fisher: So if you have post mortem pictures they're valuable?
Maureen: They could be, yes. Depends on when they were taken and who's in them and the quality of the image, but it's possible, sure.
Fisher: Amazing. All right, so what about Halloween? Are there Halloween photos in the 19th century?
Maureen: There are. And I'm working on a project that is an eBook, a history of Halloween costumes and family photographs.
Maureen: How fun is that?
Fisher: That's really fun. So how far back, what's the earliest Halloween picture you've ever seen?
Maureen: Well, it's not Halloween as much as it is dressing up in costume.
Maureen: There's a lot of credit given to this little 4 year old in 1900 who decided to ask her mother to hold a Halloween party for her friends dressed in character costumes.
Maureen: Before that, there were costume parties to support things like charities and you would dress up, mostly for adults, and women would dress up in costumes depicting other places they may have lived in the world, you know, foreign costumes. We have a picture of my husband's great grandmother she's dressed as a tulip!
Maureen: And when I saw that in the box of pictures, I laughed out loud and I said "I know exactly what that is!" And it was really fun. But Halloween is really a 20th century...
Maureen: Invention, right! I mean, there were parties that you have on Halloween where you would, you know, there were superstitions like a young woman would look into a mirror with a candle and a knife and an apple and she'd be able to supposedly see her future husband in the mirror.
Maureen: There were parties like that. And you'd eat doughnuts and have parties and things like that. So in the 1880s the Scottish immigrant groups, the Caledonian Clubs held Halloween gatherings with singing and bagpipes and things. But as of about 1900, 1909 to 1920, is really when it sort of takes off. And you can date a Halloween costume by what the person is depicting. So for instance, they dressed up in the 1930s during the Depression as hobos, military figures, and you know, the usual policeman, goddess of liberty, Indians, cowboys, that kind of thing. So you can date the photographs by the characters. And you made them yourself, by the way.
Maureen: You didn't buy them.
Fisher: No. [Laughs]
Maureen: You had to have mom help you make them.
Fisher: She's Maureen Taylor. She's the Photo Detective. Go to MaureenTaylor.com and find out what she's got posted for Halloween. Great talking to you, as always, Maureen! We look forward to having you back again soon.
Maureen: Thanks, Scott.
Fisher: And coming up next, we'll be talking preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com... talking about bubbles on a listener's DVD and what she can do about it, and color correction, how do you know you need it? It's coming up for you in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 160
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: It is preservation time at Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and that is Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. And Tom, we’ve got another email here from listener, and Cathy Welsh writes, “Hey Tom, I heard you on Extreme Genes and I was wondering about this. I burned a lot of pictures of my young son onto a CD 9-10 years ago.” I think she means DVD, right?
Tom: Probably. Well it could be a photo disk too.
Fisher: That’s right. And she said, “I did it when I thought my computer might be on its last legs. Later, when trying to access those pictures in another computer, the disk was damaged and now I can’t access most of the pictures on it. There’s a place on the shiny side that looks like a bubble but it’s not that large and I’m hoping there’s a way to get the files off of it. What are your recommendations or thoughts?” Ooh!
Tom: Uh... light some candles, say a prayer! Those are really tough ones to work with. You know what the problem is with DVDs, it’s not like a record where you can just set it over where the scratch is and run it and move it over the scratch and then edit the pieces together. With disks, they start reading in the center, the opposite of a record and work out. And so usually they’ll start playing because it’s got all the information it needs. But as soon as it hits that bubble it’s going to go, “Hey, what do I do now?” And instead of trying to figure out what’s after the bubble it just freezes up the system. So about the only way I know of to save something like that is there’s a company called “Disk Savers” and they work with hard drives. They are the hard drive go-to people of the stars. They do incredible work. I would give them a call and send them a photo of the disk, like you did to me. And see if there’s any way they can go sector by sector and read it. An example would be a giant magnifying glass and go bit by bit and see “001100.”
Fisher: Oh wow.
Tom: And take all these numbers create them on a new disk and where the missing information is they’ll be able to put some kind of algorithm in there, not like zeros or ones, and just click “ignore this” and it will go past the bubble area and pick up the other things. So there is a way to do it but it’s not going to be cheap. I would suggest called Disk Savers and have them do what they can. Another thing you can do is go to any true duplicator, not on your home computer, but go to a place that actually does duplications of DVDs and CDs professionally. And a lot of times they can take that DVD or CD and put it in their duplicator and do what is called a “One time copy.” The speed is one 1X instead of 8X or 14X or 16X like most are.
Tom: A lot of times it will copy enough information and jump over the bubble or rewrite it as something else and go out and out and out, until it reaches the end of your disk. And then you’ll be able to get some of your photos back off of it because it’s doing it sector by sector by sector at a really slow speed. It’s like if you’re sewing and you’re sewing fast, you’re going to have a better chance of making a mistake than if you take it nice and slow. So go to a true duplicating place and make sure they do it in half. Say, “Hey, can you try duplicating this for me at 1X speed on your best Taiyo Yuden disk?” and hopefully that will work for you. Because we’ve had people bring in bad disks that I’ve looked and thought, “Oh this is hopeless.” And I actually duplicated it at one time speed and I was absolutely shocked how good it came out. So go to a duplicator in your area and have them try duplicating your disk at one time speed.
Fisher: And if they do it the other way you were talking about how expensive do you think that could be?
Tom: You know, I don’t even want to guess. I would just call Disk Savers and ask them. I would say it would be at $100. It could be more it just depends how bad it is. And one thing you want to do, too, even if you do send it off to them. I would still do the duplicating thing and that’s going to cost you $10 or less probably. Even if it costs you $25 it’s a good insurance policy.
Fisher: Wow! I’ll tell you what, those better be important pictures!
Tom: Oh absolutely. And you know, who’s to judge what pictures are and what pictures aren’t. But that’s why we stress on this program all the time, always use Taiyo Yuden disks. If you forget how to spell it go to Transferduplication.com. And it’s right there and you can read how to spell Taiyo Yuden. And you can buy them online, just make sure you buy them from somebody reputable and you’ll never have these kinds of problems.
Fisher: All right. This segment has been brought to you by Forever.com. And coming up next, we’re going to talk about color correction. Do you need it? How do you know you need it? We’ll find out in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode160
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And we are back. It is our final segment, preservation time with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher here. And Tom, here's a great question for you. "Color correction, how do you know you need color correction? Is there something that's your dead giveaway that something needs to be done to make this picture better?"
Tom: Yeah. The best way you can know that you need color correction is if you've got old film or negatives and you can preview them in a little previewer. And as we've mentioned before, don't put them into a projector, because if your film is really old, they could shatter, so just get a little hand crank machine. Most transfer and duplication places will rent you the things for as little as like twenty five bucks a day. If you see ones that are what we call, cyan, if you're seeing some of your films has started to go what we call, magenta, which has kind of a pinkish hue to it, that means all the blue dye or the cyan dye has actually gone away from it. And so, that's something that's an easy thing to color correct. Anybody that's going to transfer your film that's worth their salt will be able to go in and do that for you. Some of you hands on people, you can go into Final Cuts Pro and different programs, you can actually go and put the dye back in to make it look wonderful again.
Tom: Oh yeah! Oh absolutely! Now one thing too, sometimes it might have not gone that bad yet, it’s just starting to fade, then don't think, "Oh, this must have been how when we shot it, it just didn't look good." That's not true! When film first came out, the dyes in it were very vivid. Over time, they started to fade. And you haven't really noticed it that much, because you don't remember exactly what it looked like. There are certain things that are always going to be certain color. The sky is in a normal situation is going to be blue. Grass is generally green. So what you can do is, you can look at those and say, "Wow! This grass doesn't look green. It doesn't even look like its old. It doesn't look brown. Something's wrong with this." And that's another thing. And even though the grass in green, it’s usually a cyan or magenta hue that need to be added back into it. You can have things like, "Oh, I know this house is white, but for some reason its yellow." So what's happened is, your film has started to deteriorate and break down, and so it no longer looks white. And when you go in and do your color correction, you can wipe that yellow out and restore the white. Anybody that transfers film has the option to do what they call a proc amp, where they can go in and do what they call, “crush the blacks.” So if your black areas are starting to look kind of grayish, they can go and make them black again, which improves your contrast, so everything in your film is going to look better. If you're over illuminated, which means it’s too bright, which is usually one of the problems when it starts fading, there's too much light getting through your lens, there's too much light getting through the film and it’s starting to look too bright. We can go back and restore that into more illuminated colors, like your chromas and different things like that are going to be better, so you're going to see blues and reds and greens and all these different colors again. Don't assume that they weren't ever there. They probably were. And anybody can restore those for you if they've got Final Cut Pro, different programs like that. There's so many good programs out there that have color correction. We talked about DaVinci in one of the shows. You can get one of their modules for free.
Fisher: That's right. And I've used it myself and it works well. So you're saying you can actually take a color that has gone to a completely different color and bring it back to the original?
Tom: Right. That's called a color shift. You can have like your blues have gone red or your reds have gone green and you can actually go in there. And it’s almost like a wave form, you actually, you grab the little handles and pull them back and turn them to the right and the left. And what it'll actually do is, it'll shift your colors back. And usually in a roll of film, it’s not going to age at the same time. So if there's a color shift, generally the whole roll's going to be shifted like that. It’s not hard to do, it’s just time consuming. So if you're a do it yourselfer, knock yourself out!
Fisher: Okay, really quick because we're running out of time, Tom. We're talking film here, but can there be color correction done on videos that have begun to change?
Tom: Oh absolutely! It’s a whole different thing. We usually only have four parameters when we're dealing with video, but we can do that too, when you take it in, say, “Hey, I need you to do a proc amp on my video tapes, so you can restore the colors and crush my blacks.”
Fisher: All right. And we'll get into that more in future weeks, I think, because there are an awful lot of videos out there. Thanks for coming on.
Tom: Good to be here.
Fisher: And this segment has been brought to you by LegacyTree.com and our friends at FamilySearch.org. Hey, that's our show for this week! Hey, stay in touch throughout the week on our Facebook page. You can follow us on Twitter, and of course, sign up for our free Weekly Genie newsletter. It comes out every Monday. We'd love to have you following along as we send you the links to great stories and give you some tips that you might find useful as well. 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!