Episode 161- CNBC Anchor Bill Griffeth On His DNA Shocker And His Book "The Stranger in My Genes"

podcast episode Oct 17, 2016

Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Fisher and David talk about the top stories of the week, including the washing ashore of Civil War cannonballs in South Carolina by Hurricane Matthew; the return of remains of a World War II vet to his hometown; the 105th birthday of the cub reporter who announced the beginning of World War II; and the ultimate age we might expect people to reach according to new science. David also shares his tip of the week, and this week's free guest user database from NEHGS.

Next, Fisher welcomes renowned CNBC anchor Bill Griffeth to the show. Bill will take you through the day when he received an email from his cousin that informed him that the only man he had ever known as his father was genetically not his father!  A short time later, Bill had to go before the cameras on national television as if nothing was different that day. Bill also talks about his love of genealogy for many years prior and how this information caused him tremendous emotional trials for a time, and what he did to overcome them.

In our second segment with Bill Griffeth, the anchor talks about other people's stories that he has learned of since going public with his very personal struggle. Bill speaks of how this has affected his relationship with his 98-year-old mother and how she feels about his public revelation.

Next, Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority, from TMCPlace.com answers a listener email about her 100-plus collection of audio cassette tapes (voice only) and how she should consider going about digitizing them. As Tom will show you, there are a lot of aspects to consider.

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

Transcript of Episode 161

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 161

Fisher: And you have found us, 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 the show is brought to you by MyHeritage.com and we’ve got a great one today. CNBC Anchor, Bill Griffeth, is going to be on the show today. He’s the author of a new book being published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, called “The Stranger in My Genes” that’s G-E-N-E-S by the way. Don’t get confused. And he talks about his discovery through a DNA test that his cousin kind of pushed on him, that resulted in Bill finding that his father was not his father, and what that experience was like, how he had been a researcher of the Griffeth family for generations and how he had to deal with that, and of course, a new family that came into his life, in the middle of his life. So we’ll be talking to Bill coming up in about seven minutes or so, and later on in the show Tom Perry also will be talking about digitizing your audio cassettes. This is an interesting thing, a little more complicated than anybody would have thought that it might be. Just a reminder, by the way, you can sign up for our free Extreme Genes newsletter, “The Weekly Genie.” Go to ExtremeGenes.com. And our shows are now searchable. You know, we’re transcribing them also. If you hear something on the show that maybe Tom Perry talks about, and you want to find it, just search “Tom Perry,” and those terms, and it should bring you right up to the Extreme Genes episode that you’re looking for. Right now, let’s head out to Boston and my good friend, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, its David Allen Lambert. Hello David.

David: Live from Beantown. How are you, my friend?

Fisher: Good bud! What do you have for our family histoire news today?

David: Well, I have some explosive news from the coast of South Carolina, where the US Air Force Explosive Team had to actually evaluate what they call the old Civil War ordnance that happened to wash ashore.

Fisher: Wow. [Laughs]

David: You know, people like to metal detect and find musket balls and buttons, but if you find any cannonballs, you may want to be a little more cautious before you toss them in a bucket and throw them in your truck.

Fisher: Yes. [Laughs]

David: They actually had to destroy these on the beach. 15 cannonballs surfaced from South Carolina coast, and they were detonated by the Air Force.

Fisher: And this all had to do with Hurricane Matthew, of course.

David: Absolutely. So who knows what might else wash up on the shores from the Civil War, maybe a boat or two!

Fisher: Yeah!

David: Well I’ll tell you, the other news is military related, and that goes out to Germany where they found the remains of a downed US fighter pilot. First Lieutenant Ben Barnes disappeared in December 1941. When he didn’t return to his base back in England, back at his hometown in Millers, South Dakota, this weekend they’ll be burying with honors this lost son who was killed overseas.

Fisher: Unbelievable, all these years later.

David: I’ll tell you, the stories from the community said that he was quite a barnstormer flying around. Local school kids used to watch him fly by. So it’s a nice to see that he’s brought home 70 odd years later.

Fisher: Yes.

David: You know, another World War II story… we have very few people that say that they reported on the news but an actual cub reporter from England, a 105 year young Clare Hollingworth, was a reporter for Britain’s Telegraph back in 1939 when she broke the news that World War II had begun.

Fisher: Wow. The one who broke the story is 105, still with us!

David: Happy Birthday, Clare. Speaking of longevity, I always say that I need another lifetime to complete all the genealogy work I’m doing. I’m sure you feel about the same.

Fisher: Oh yeah.

David: So, we’re in luck. Because researchers are now saying that we can potentially all live to maybe about 120.

Fisher: Really?

David: Yes. So you know, you’re putting off all of these projects, don’t worry. You might live long enough to actually do them all.

Fisher: [Laughs] I think they’re saying the furthest end we can live is 125, although nobody’s ever actually done it. We had… what was her name?

David:  Jeanne Calment.

Fisher: Yes, Jeanne Calment back in the 1990s. She died at the age of 122 as the oldest documented person. And I think there’s another one currently living that may have even exceeded that.

David: Well you know, I’m very excited about your guest Bill Griffeth. He’s a long-time friend and obviously the author of “The Stranger in My Genes” which has been very popular. And for those listeners that are out in Massachusetts, you can meet Bill on October 22nd when we have DNA Day. He’s one of our speakers in Worcester, Massachusetts. You know, I’m always trying to think of interesting things for tips to give, and this one I actually came up with while sitting on the train coming home from Boston. And I did a pedigree chart that showed the age of each one of the ancestor’s when they died, just write the number.

Fisher: Sure.

David: And kind of compare it. Here’s another idea: Why don’t you put down between the husband and the wife, how many children they had and see what the numbers look like?

Fisher: Interesting.

David: Take a peek at Extreme Genes on Twitter, and @DLGenealogist. I’ll put an example up just in time for the show’s launch for you to take a peek and give it a try. American Ancestors always has a free guest user database. This week is no exception. And we go south of the border, way down to Argentina, where we are now hosting on our website, free to guest users, the Argentine Baptisms from 1645 to 1930, so we’re very happy to have the partnership with FamilySearch.org. That’s about all I have for you this week, talk to you soon.

Fisher: All right. Thanks so much, David. By the way, I found an incredible lithograph online. It showed a place of business of my ancestors in New York City in 1848, and this is the coolest thing and I think this applies to everybody, and maybe you’ve run across a few places like this, I haven’t. But the New York Public Library, if you have ancestry there (in New York), you’re going to find that they’re actually hosting a place where you can download, at various DPI, all these different lithographs from the 19th century. They’re all copyright-free. So I took this one that I had found and did the highest possible DPI. Took it to a photo shop, and they have made a 33 by 20 inch print of this thing for me, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. I’m waiting for the framers to finish up with it right now. But it’s incredible that you can do that, and I’m hopeful that there’re other public libraries, maybe in the south, in the west, in the Midwest, out in Hawaii, that can provide that kind of service for us for out of copyright lithographs from your area.

David: It’s amazing. In fact, in Boston, we’re very lucky that the Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library has a great atlas and map collection, and for free, exactly. You can download these high DPI images in color and print them off. Great holiday gifts, for free.

Fisher: Yeah, really good stuff. Thanks so much, David. Good to talk to you. Talk to you again next week.

David: Talk to you soon, my friend.

Fisher: All right. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to the CNBC Anchor, Bill Griffeth, about “The Stranger in My Genes.” How he discovered that his father wasn’t his father through a random DNA test. His story… coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!

Segment 2 Episode 161

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Bill Griffeth

Fisher: Welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and it wasn’t long ago that my good friends at the New England Historic Genealogical Society sent me a book that they have published. I will tell you right now it is a great read! A fast read and an intriguing one and one that just scared me to death. [Laughs] It’s called, “The Stranger in My Genes.” It’s written by Bill Griffeth and you may very well know Bill from all his years on television with the Financial News Network, with CNBC, he sat next to the lovely Maria Bartiromo in the afternoons. And Bill is on the line with me right now, Bill, welcome to Extreme Genes. It’s just a pleasure to have you on the show.

Bill: Scott, I love your show and your whole website, the whole “genie” concept and it’s a great pleasure to be with you today. Thanks for having me on.

Fisher: I’ll tell you what, I read your book and it scared me to death. I started thinking about my own DNA results and I thought, “Do I have matches that confirm that my dad was my dad?” And then I thought, “Oh yeah, yeah that’s right, there’s some from his mother’s side.”

Bill: You wouldn’t be the first to feel that way.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Bill: I mean that’s one response I’ve been getting and I’m glad for that one. When people read the book, they internalize. They look to their own story and wonder what the possibilities are and that’s been a great response.

Fisher: Well and I kind of ached for you as I read this because you started in genealogy what, about twelve, thirteen years ago?

Bill: Exactly.

Fisher: And you wrote books, and you travelled the world, and you did the things that all good genies do to find the stories of their ancestors. I don’t know if you published those books or just made them available for your own family, but nonetheless obviously you were very engaged with your ancestors. You knew who they were and their effect on your life, and then all of a sudden things changed.

Bill: Indeed. In fact I did publish one of the books because as soon as I started tracing my family’s history I realized that my family and its history faithfully traced the evolution of American Protestantism, so I published a book called “By Faith Alone” that was about my ancestors. It was sort of in the history of American Protestantism but through the eyes of my ancestors as they migrated from England to the colonies back in the 16 and 1700s. So that book came out in 2005 or 2006, now it sits in the library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and after I got my DNA test result back I went to the CEO of the Society and I said, “Do me a favor, would you move that book from the non-fiction section to the fiction section.” It makes a terrific novel now.

Fisher: [Laughs] Oh dear!

Bill: Those were not my ancestors really.

Fisher: Wow! You got into this, you found a cousin who said, “Hey, you’ve got to do the DNA test, you’ve got to spit in the cup.”

Bill: It’s a first cousin of mine, my cousin Doug. His father and my father were brothers, and he got into genealogy about the same time I did. We’ve worked together, we’ve gone on a few ancestor hunts together in different parts of the country, but his journey took him more into DNA testing. He’s more scientifically oriented than I am and I didn’t know the first thing about any of that, but he encouraged me to take a DNA test so that he could compare any differences that may exist in our genes, to help him understand our family’s history a little better. I mean this is what he told me and I took his word for it. Now finally in August 2012, I took a DNA test and I sent it in and I said, “You handle it from here. I don’t know what it’s about.”

Fisher: [Laughs]

Bill: Eventually he said, “They’ve got a weird result back.” So he asked them to retest it. And then in October 2012 he sent me an email that informed me that my father wasn’t my father. It was a day I will never forget that is for sure.

 Fisher: Well, it just has to be a blow to the gut especially because I’m sure you were very close to your father as many of us are, and Dad is gone and yet the strange thing about it is, your life’s the same. You’re married to the same person, you have your children, you have your career, you have your identity, but your world is just shaken to the core because of the fact that suddenly your chemistry doesn’t match that of your father. Isn’t that remarkable?

Bill: It is. I have another cousin, a woman who lives in Florida now. She’s retired and she said just the same thing as you just said, because I poured my heart out to her and she said, “But look, nothing has changed.” Yes and no.

Fisher: Yeah.

Bill: Yes I still have all the same things, but a fundamental truth we carry with us whether we realize it or not is, you can take away your career, you can take away your possessions, and you’ll still be the same person. The fundamental truth that we carry with us is our family, and who our relatives are, that cannot be taken away. But shockingly that was taken away from me as I view it. My father was not my father. The man that I believed to be my father was not my father. So that really shook the foundations of my view of myself and I really had to revaluate everything all over again.

Fisher: Well, I think we need to emphasize to people who are may be just getting started in genealogy is that DNA is not the only place where you can get surprises! [Laughs]

Bill: That’s for sure. I mean, there are a lot of surprises lurking in records all over the place. I said in the book, that family histories rarely give up their secrets willingly. You have to really hunt them down to find them.

Fisher: That’s right.

Bill: They’re out there. They’re out there. That’s part of the fun of genealogy by the way. I asked Tim Sullivan the CEO of Ancestry.com when we were talking about all of this, I said, “I cannot articulate for you in a single sentence why I love genealogy as much as I do.” What was his version of any of this? “It’s just the process of discovery. The discovery is a strong emotion for all of us, and when we discover things about our own families, about our own history, our personal history that can evoke a very strong emotion.” And I agree with him on that.

Fisher: Well I talked to a gentleman the other day who said to me, “You know, I discovered as I got in to this, that this wasn’t about them, these dead people that are back there, this is about me.”

Bill: Exactly.

Fisher: And once he came to that realization then it took on an entirely new meaning and I think that’s the case for many people.

Bill: I really came to know my ancestors, my Griffeth ancestors as if they were still alive today. I mean, my wife and I visited those parts of the country where they lived back in the 17 and 1800s and I came to know them as well as I know my own relatives today. And you know, initially when the DNA test came out, I just felt like they had been ripped away from me. I’m in a different place now. I should pour it out you know. I’ve gone through all of the different emotions of grief as it’s been identified.

Fisher: Sure.

Bill: I went through denial, I went through a depression, I went through anger, but I’m truly at the acceptance part right now. This was four years ago when this happened and I really accepted, and I’m at a point where I can still view my Griffeth family history as my own. Because that’s what I grew up with, I’m still a Griffeth. That’s not going to change.

Fisher: Question, did you need to go through some counselling for that?

Bill: No. I did visit my physician because I knew I needed some help. And he said to me you know, I’ve got two choices for you, he could help me find a psychologist who could help me work through it, or he could give me some medication to help me. I said you know, I really need the medication. I need help now. I don’t need the long term thing. And so I went the medical route with medicine for a little while. But no, I never did the counselling, I worked through it on my own.

Fisher: Well, at the time, of course, you had to work! [Laughs] You had to be on the air every day.

Bill: [Laughs] That rather demanding day job too that I had to fulfil.

Fisher: And let’s talk about the day that you got this results. Just walk us through it. You’re on the job at the point that you got this information, it was an email from your cousin.

Bill: Yes.

Fisher: What did it say and just what did it do to you at that moment and were you confident in what he said, or did you doubt?

Bill: I was sitting in the CNBC newsroom in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. And it was just after noon. I was sitting at my desk having lunch. I was having a sandwich and I was going over the wires getting ready for that day’s show and I checked my personal email and there was one from my cousin Doug and it said “Retest results are in.” And as I mentioned, he had told me a month before that they got a weird result and he asked for them to retest it and now the retest results were in. So I opened the email and it says, “Deep breath now.” You know, he’s preparing me.

Fisher: Yeah.

Bill: Our Y-chromosomes, the haplogroup if you know...

Fisher: Sure.

Bill: My haplogroup was not the same as his and our haplogroup should have been identical since we were first cousins. So my haplogroup was not what was expected and he closed it by simply saying, “Your father was not your father.” Well, how do you respond to that? As I say in the book, my body responded before my mind could. I mean, I just felt this out of body experience, as if I was floating suddenly. I couldn’t feel the phone in my hand that had the email. I couldn’t feel the chair I was sitting in. I was still in the newsroom but I might as well have been a thousand miles away because I just really had this surreal experience when I got that. Then when my mind kicked in, it was absolutely denial right away. I said, “There has to be something wrong here.” So I wrote back to Doug and said, “You’ll understand if I’m sceptical of these results. I plan to take another test just to get a second opinion on all this, and will learn what the real truth is.” It was total denial at that point absolutely. It would be for anybody I guess.

Fisher: So how long after you got that email did you have to go on national television?

Bill: Well that was at twelve thirty in the afternoon and I was on the air at three o clock, so a couple of hours. [Laughs] We went back and looked at the tape from that day and I guess I looked normal but I have to tell you that I was in a fog the rest of that day. I really don’t remember that day. In fact that evening I was MC-ing a big dinner in New York City. We were honoring some alumni from the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania and I don’t remember that night either. The rest of the day is a total fog. I don’t know how I got through it but I did somehow.

Fisher: He’s Bill Griffeth from CNBC. He’s the author of “The Stranger in My Genes” published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Bill hang on. Let’s talk to you for another segment. I want to find out where this went and how it developed as you found your new family, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. This segment has been brought to you by Roots Magic.

Segment 3 Episode 161

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Bill Griffeth

Fisher: And we are back, Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, and I'm talking to Bill Griffeth, the CNBC Anchor, author of "The Stranger in My Genes" about his experience of getting a DNA test back through a cousin that said "Hey, Bill, guess what? Your dad's not your dad and you're on the air in just a few hours, good luck with that."

Bill: [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] What a day!

Bill: That's how it happened.

Fisher: [Laughs] And you went on, Bill, to actually reach out to try to find your, I guess you'd say birth family, of course. And of course you had to confront your mother, too, who was still living at that time, and you had that choice of "How am I going to shake her world? And if I don't, what does that do to me if I don't get that answer, if I don't find out before she's gone?"

Bill: You know, I'm very lucky, Scott, that my mom is still around. She's 98 years old now, and she was 94 at the time. And I have to say, you really haven't lived until you've heard your mother have to confess to a fling of some sort. You know, I really, really wrestled with whether I was going to present this information to her or not. I just, I don't want this to define her final days, but I had no choice if I was going to get answers. I spoke with my brother about this at length. It was a time when I said "I don't want to pursue this any further. I don't want to trouble mom with it." But as my brother said, you know, "What if you want answers eventually and she's gone? What are you going to do, and what about your children? They're going to need answers down the road." I was asking her not just from on my own behalf, but of future generations as well, we really needed to know the truth. So I presented her with DNA evidence, and, you know, she took it like a champ, she admitted that she had made a mistake when she was younger, and that was that. I will say, we don't talk about it anymore, she and I, we've made peace over it. She knows that I need to tell my own story, but she doesn't want to talk about it anymore, and I respect that. She's of a different generation, a different time, and while we're willing to talk about all this today, she comes from a time when they were not. I've insulated her from all of this, and while she knows about the book and she's fine with it, she just doesn't want to talk about it anymore. So I learned from her some of the basic details of how it all came about, and then, God bless my wife, Cindy, she's the one who really took the ball and ran with it. Because I was for months, I was in denial and I really was in a fetal position. I didn't want to deal with this. So Cindy ran with it and she found as much information as she could about my biological family, so I thank her so much for helping me get through all of that.

Fisher: You said something though here a moment ago that made me think, your mom said, "I made a mistake."

Bill: Yes.

Fisher: Now, in your frame of mind, when you heard that, what did that do for you?

Bill: Yeah, I did a lot of ruminating about that in the book. I heard her say "I made a mistake," but what I didn't hear her say was, "I'm glad I made the mistake," because I'm the result of that mistake. I think that like a lot of people who may make this same discovery, there's a lot of soul searching that goes on, and I was angry at the world, and I was angry at her, I was angry at my biological father, but really, when you think about it, as shocked as I was to learn about my, you know, the circumstances that led to my birth, I'm also eternally grateful, because let's face it, if those two people hadn't made that mistake, I would not be here today. So it's a classic dilemma that I face. The only take away I have from this is to be grateful about it. I mean, I'm here, I'm alive, and so I'm thankful.

Fisher: And you're making contributions, and you've got children, and they're going on, and it just continues from there, absolutely.

Bill: Exactly.

Fisher: So you've run into a lot of people who have had similar experiences, no doubt, as a result of this book. Tell us about some of the stories you're hearing.

Bill: That has been the big eye opener for me, Scott. Almost immediately after the book came out in September, I heard from people who knew of other people who had similar experiences, or they had their own experiences in their family. I'll tell you a couple of examples. One man received a DNA testing kit for Christmas, and he took the DNA test, and long story short, he discovered a daughter that he didn't know he had. You know, Merry Christmas!

Fisher: Right?!

Bill: There's a gift that keeps on giving. Another man took the DNA test and he was an only child. He discovered that he had been adopted. And he had been an avid genealogist for many years. And while I've been able to accept it, this man did not. And he spent 15 years doing exactly what I did with my wife, travelling the country, doing all the family history research, and when he discovered that he had been adopted, he felt deceived by it all, and he took all of that research and he donated it away. He just gave it away, he gave up on genealogy altogether. It's been really heart breaking for me to know about that. One more story, a woman reached out to me through Twitter. She wrote to me that she'd finished the book and she was relieved to know that she was not alone in this world. She learned 18 months ago that her father was not her father. She has not been able to tell a single soul. She said I am the first person she's been able to tell. She has a husband, she has children, they don't know, and they still don't know to this day. She and I are still corresponding, and I've encouraged her to journal. I've encouraged her to tell somebody, anybody. You cannot do this alone.

Fisher: Right.

Bill: You've got to unload this burden that you suddenly have, if you're going to get through this. So she's still harboring this great secret and keeping it from those who are closest to her. But I think eventually she'll get around to telling somebody. So these are the kinds of stories I'm hearing right now, and it's amazing. I just think that there are so many people out there we don't know about who have a similar circumstance. I'm just the one who was dumb enough to write a book about it!

Fisher: [Laughs] I don't think so! Well that had to be, you know, kind of Balm of Iliad, as they say, for you.

Bill: Yeah.

Fisher: To write the book and get it all down, right?

Bill: It was very cathartic. I mean, I tend to journal. I don't keep a daily diary, but I tend to journal when important things happen in my life… when my father passed away, when my children were born, and so forth. So I was journaling like mad after I got that DNA test. And really, the book "The Stranger in My Genes" is an evolved version of that journal. And, you know, between my wife and the journal, those are the two things that really helped me get through this, because she was so supportive and helpful in finding information about my biological family, and the journal helped me just kind of relieve the angst that I was feeling.

Fisher: Sure.

Bill: So I encourage anybody, if you're going through this, reach out, it will be a difficult first step, but you've got to be able to tell somebody and get your feelings on paper. Just pour it out, get it out of your system, because it's so healthy to do that.

Fisher: I wanted to ask you. I'm thinking, as we look forward, I think we're going to see a lot more of this with DNA, and I'm sure you would agree, especially as we look back to the “Sexual Revolution” of the ‘60s and ‘70s, right?

Bill: Yes, absolutely. I just think that DNA testing is going to have a profound impact, not only on biotechnology and medicine, it's already having an impact there. But I think it's going to have a profound impact on our social culture. I'll tell you a quick funny story. When I did the Today Show in late September after the book came out, Al Roker… I've known Al for many years… and he spotted me in the hallway at NBC there in New York City. And he came running over and saw my book, and he yelled "The The Stranger in My Jeans” are what we’ve all did in the 1970s!"

Fisher: [Laughs]

Bill: You know, that sort of encapsulates in a funny way the story. You know, we will... The secrets will come out. Back then, who knew that DNA testing would become a reality, but it has. And I think it's going to bring up a lot of secrets that had been buried for a long time.

Fisher: Well, it's "The Stranger in My Genes" G E N E S! [Laughs]

Bill: [Laughs] Yes.

Fisher: The author is Bill Griffeth, the CNBC Anchor. Bill, it has been a joy to talk to you, and thank you so much for coming onto the show. We wish you the best of luck with the book. And of this ongoing story and its development, we look forward to hearing more resolution with that, and hopefully finding out about some of the biological relatives you may meet down the line.

Bill: Yes. I think someday I'll be able to reach out to that. Scott, it's been a great pleasure. I'm a big fan of yours, as I said, the whole genie organization you formed there, so thank you so much for having me on today!

Fisher: Thanks so much, Bill. And this segment has been brought to you by FamilySearch.org. And coming up next, we talk preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 4 Episode 161

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And welcome back to America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and its Preservation Time, talking to Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Tom, you're doing a little happy dance coming into the studio today. You found new software, didn't you?

Tom: Yeah, I get excited over new software!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Just like the kids on Christmas day.

Fisher: Yes. And what does this do?

Tom: Well, it’s called Toast Titanium 16. It does some amazing things. What you want to do, as soon as you load it and you're kind of looking through and checking things out, you'll see a little button that says "Advanced.”

Fisher: Yeah.

Tom: Make sure you click on that, whether you're an advanced player or not, you want to look at that. And what it does is, it opens up a whole bunch of other really cool things that you can do with this. You can do DVDs, you can do BluRay, you can do all kinds of just absolutely incredible things. But one of the funnest about it is those that have been listeners with us for a long time, remember when we used to talk about Cinematize, how it’s great for taking playable DVDs and editing them? This is Cinematize on steroids!

Fisher: Oh really? [Laughs]

Tom: It is so, so cool! Like you know…

Fisher: Now wait a minute! What happened to Wondershare? I mean, this was the latest, greatest thing a month ago. What's going on?

Tom: Okay, you're getting a little ahead of me, Hillary!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: We need to backup a little bit. They work together, and I'll get to that in just a second. But let's stick with Toast Titanium. So what you can do is, whether you have had us transfer your videos, your home movies, whatever to DVD, or one of your local places or whoever has done it, you have a video that's called a "TS" file.

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: And this really confuses people. They think...

Fisher: But they're all TS files, right? All videos, right?

Tom: Correct. If you buy like a Disney DVD, any kind of a thing that's turned into what we call a playable DVD that is called a TS file. And all you need to do if you want to check this out is, take any of those DVDs, pop it into your computer and then double click on it, not to play it, but just to look what's in the folder. And you'll see TS audio and a TS video.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: Now that reason for this is, back when DVDs first came out, everybody was scared that everybody was going to copy everybody's stuff and sell it on the black market.

Fisher: Well, they were probably right.

Tom: Yeah! [Laughs] They probably were!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: They probably were, because they could see what happened to the music industry, how that got hurt.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: So they were scared, they thought, "Let's do this, so then people can't copy DVDs and then people won’t be doing it."

Fisher: Aha!

Tom: Well, the bad guys always figure a way to do it. So the bad guys, they copy, they sell them. You know, I've been in some South American countries, and I mean, you walk into some of these malls and they have movies that were just released. And it’s just crazy, they've already got them!

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: Basically who it hurts is Ma and Pa. You know, the honest people that you know, would like to do some neat things. So now with this new Toast Titanium, you can take this DVD that somebody's made for you, and you can go in and add chapters where you want. Like for instance, when we usually transfer a disk, we put a chapter every five to ten minutes so if people want to skip ahead.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: Which you know, it’s not going to be in a specific place, you know, right maybe where a scene ended. Where now with Toast Titanium, you can go in and at a certain spot, put, "Here's Grandma's birthday" or "Aunt Mary's christening" or whatever different things are going on, you can go and put these different titles. So then when you give this to your family, and say, they don't care about, you know, certain things, but, "Oh, this is really important to them." They can jump right to that title and watch it. Just like on a movie DVD, that say, you've watched a movie over and over and over again, like Back to The Future, but there's a couple of scenes you just love to watch over again, you don't need to watch the whole movie.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: And so, you can go right to these titles and say, "Hey, you know, I want to watch where, you know, Marty's doing this." or whatever. And it gives you the option of making a DVD that's not going to sit on a shelf that people are actually going to use it.

Fisher: Wow! So let's get to Wondershare now. Where does this leave Wondershare?

Tom: Wondershare goes in and does all different kinds of things. The neatest thing about Wondershare, it’s more like if you have stuff that you want to convert to MP4s or convert from MP4s, convert to MP3s. They do so many different things it'll boggle your mind!  There's even some stuff I've looked at and go, "Oh! What the heck is this??" And the neat thing that I love about Wondershare is, they are constantly giving you free updates. And after the break, we'll go in and talk a little bit more about some new things you can do in Wondershare since the last time we talked about it.

Fisher: We'll get to that in three minutes. This segment has been brought to you by LegacyTree.com.

Segment 5 Episode 161

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And we are back for our final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. This goes WAY too fast, Tom! [Laughs]

Tom: Wow, it does! It really does.

Fisher: And its Preservation Time. Tom Perry's here from TMCPlace.com. We were just talking about very wowy new software. It’s called Toast Titanium 16?

Tom: Correct.

Fisher: And we were talking about all the things that can do and then what about Wondershare, because that was latest, greatest thing. So we were just getting into that, Tom. Fill us in on what Wondershare can do for us as compared to Toast Titanium 16.

Tom: Okay. Yeah, Wondershare’s great. It’s kind of, you know, you have a sedan and you have a pickup truck. They both are used for different things. That's how these two are. We've talked about DaVinci, because it’s such a great program you want to have. And if you get the basic model, it’s free. We've talked about, now that all your stuff is transferred, what do you do with it? You want to get Heritage Collectors which will let you do fun things with it. If you have some disks that you need to go in add the title, that's what Toast Titanium 16 is. And then Wondershare is kind of the top of the hill, so to speak, of everything. I mean, it does so many things, I get lost in it.

Fisher: Yeah.

Tom: It absolutely incredible! It’s just like, you know, opening up a box of chocolates, you know!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: You don't know what you're going to get till you bite into them, but they're so cool!

Fisher: Thank you, Tom.

Tom: Yeah, exactly! [Laughs] And the neat thing is, these people at Wondershare, I don't know of anybody that's a software developer that stays on top of it and listens to their clients like Wondershare does. And so, it’s so cool. We had some questions, we thought, "You know, it would be cool if Wondershare would do this." So one of my techs wrote them an email and said, "Hey, you know, this would be really cool if you did this." They came out with another model less than thirty days later, and it had it in it.

Fisher: Really?

Tom: I mean, these people really, really listen to you. And that's one thing we talk about on the show, if you have questions, write to me at [email protected]. If you're using software and you have ideas to make it better, don't think that you don't know anything or that the technicians know more than you do. Write them a letter and say, "Hey, you know, I would really like your software if you could do this, this, and this." and they'll listen to you. It’s a lot like Heritage Collectors. You write to Marlo and say, "Hey, Marlo, you know, can you do this? Can you do this?" and if he can work it in the next version, it’s there. So even if you've got the very highest end cameras and you want to, you know, get Aunt Martha in that interview of a family history and you want it to look like you're Steven Spielberg.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: You can take that really high end stuff and put it into Wondershare and still edit it. And the neat thing about Wondershare too, it’s like a magician that has a black box. You can put anything you want into the box and they you decide what comes out. You break an egg in there, and if you want a dove to come out, you have a dove come out!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: I mean, it’s literally, it’s like magic! You want to do MP4s, you want to either go to an MP4 or away from an MP4, you want to use AVIs, MP3s, all kinds of things, it’s so cool! In fact, with the new iPhones that just came out, they've got some very specific software, so you've got this video that you just love. You can go and take that video and put it into Wondershare and it will automatically make it into the exact kind of file type you need for your android, for your iPhone, for your iPad, whatever you need, it’s instant! It’s not like, "Oh, I've got to go from A to B to C to D.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: And so the neatest thing which I have pushed since we started this show is, I'm here to help you in any way I can. I would rather have you do as many things as you can do. And if there's some things that's, you know, over your head or you don't have the time to get involved in, we're happy to help you. There are people across the country that are happy to help you, but whatever you can do by yourself, it’s awesome! Because it’s fun doing it, and Wondershare makes it really, really easy! It’s like drag and drop.

Fisher: All right, so really quickly, what's the big difference between Wondershare and Toast Titanium 16?

Tom: Okay, the thing I like about Toast Titanium 16, it’s easy to actually make DVDs, make CDs, go in and take DVDs and edit them, where Wondershare is more of a conversion thing, like the magician's black box. You put the broken egg in and you get a dove out.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: You put different things in and format them to whatever kind of file you want them to be.

Fisher: All right. Great stuff, Tom! Thanks for coming on. We'll see you again next week.

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: And this segment has been brought to you by 23andMe.com DNA. And that wraps up our show for this week. Thanks so much to Bill Griffeth from CNBC for coming on and sharing his story about the discovery that his father wasn't his father! Yeah, DNA strikes again. His book of course is, "The Stranger in My Genes." Catch the podcast if you missed any of it. And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter, The Weekly Genie, at ExtremeGenes.com. Talk to you next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone know, we're a nice, normal family!


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