Episode 165 - MyHeritage With Free New DNA Matching Opportunity / Finding Photos of Your Veterans

podcast episode Nov 14, 2016

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. The guys first talk about being related to presidents… Fisher knows of ties to ten, David even more… and how most Americans have presidential ties. David then talks about a project in Virginia that has netted over 33,000 letters, documents, and photos tied to the Civil War. The content of one particular letter was stunning. Speaking of stunning… the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office made a major gaffe recently. Wait til you hear what happened. And in keeping with the Canadian’s version of Veteran’s Day (Remembrance Day) one unemployed Alberta man is more than doing his part. You’ll be touched to hear how he spends his days. David will share another genealogical tip for you and another NEHGS free guest member database.

Next, Fisher keeps David on for a visit with Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage.com, one of the show’s sponsors. David recently took advantage of MyHeritage’s limited time offer to share DNA results from other companies to find possible matches with MyHeritage’s members for free. Daniel shares some match information with David and talks about the development of MyHeritage’s DNA strategy.

Fisher then visits with photo expert Ron Fox about how to locate your veteran’s photographs in several archives you may never have heard of. It’s a fitting topic for Veteran’s Day weekend as we salute those men and women who have risked all for our country.

Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, the Preservation Authority, joins the show next. It seems several listeners are wanting to know what they should expect to pay to have their materials digitized at locations around the country. As usual, Tom has the answers. He also talks about digitizing your VHS and VHS-C tapes.

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

Transcript of Episode 165 

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 165

Fisher: Hey, glad you found us! It’s America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes 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 show is brought to you by FamilySearch.org and today’s guests I mean we’re going all over the place with them. We’re going to start with Daniel Horowitz coming up in about eight minutes or so. He is with MyHeritage.com and he’s going to go with us through David Allen Lambert’s DNA matches, because My Heritage is now giving you the opportunity to freely provide them your DNA results from whatever companies you’ve got them through and potentially match up cousins with you through MyHeritage.com. We’ll get more into that a little bit later on. Plus later in the show we’re going to talk to photo expert Ron Fox who’s going to be back because it is Veteran’s Day weekend. We are going to talk about how you can find photographs of your veterans, your sailors, your soldiers, your marines, whatever units and he’s got some lesser known archives where you can research and perhaps find pictures of your loved ones, your family members, your ancestors back in the day during their time of service, so I’m looking forward to that. Hey, just a reminder if you haven’t signed up yet for our Extreme Genes Newsletter the Weekly Genie, you can do so at ExtremeGenes.com. Very easy, just fill out the form right there at the top right of the homepage, and also follow us along on Facebook because all through the week we’ve got a great community of genies who are sharing all kinds of great stuff. Right now, let’s head off to Beantown and talk to my good friend David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncstors.org. Hello David!

David: Hello Sir! How are you today?

Fisher: I am well. You know what a week it has been! We had the election and an incredible turnout and an incredible result and it got me to thinking about all the different presidents that I’m related to. I think a lot of people probably have no idea that they could be related to so many presidents because their roots go back so far. How many presidents do you think you’re related to?

David: Oh I think there’s probably about twelve to fifteen and sometimes there’s more than one time through various branches.

Fisher: Really?

David: But I tell you that the president elected, I probably have no common ancestors but he may with my wife, because she has Scottish ancestors.

Fisher: That’s right. He’s fairly recent right, I mean his family?

David: Yes, and that’s one of the things that limits possible common kinship. In fact, Andrew Jackson had the same problem His parents came over in the 18th century from Ireland. You know how early Irish records are. Trying to find a common ancestor might be tough.

Fisher: Yeah absolutely. I’ve ten of them and it’s fascinating when you get back and you come to realize, “Oh I’m related to this Democrat, I’m related to this Republican and some of the history involved in that. If you think about what would happen if an ancestor was eliminated from your tree, how you would be different, how history would be different because some of these people were also among his descendants or her descendants.

David: Maybe we wouldn’t even realize that they were presidents.

Fisher: Right?

David: Jerry Ford and I were related to someone who was alive in the Revolutionary War.

Fisher: Which was fairly recent really when you think about it.

David: It is yeah.

Fisher: Yeah, unbelievable. All right get going with our family histoire news for this week. Where do we start David?

David: Well last year ended up being the end of the Sesquicentennial Celebration for the Civil War in Virginia, and the library in Virginia worked and gathered up over 33 thousand items from Virginia homes and attics in shoe boxes, are things left over from the Civil War. It’s mind blowing to think of all the things that have been in private hands for over a 150 years.

Fisher: Isn’t that incredible? And don’t you wish every State would do that because these people were expecting maybe to find a few hundred items and they wound up with 33 thousand including a phenomenal letter of a Confederate POW who was dying of his wounds and he wrote a note to his mom as he was fading away.

David: Well you know, it’s things like that that are these private archives of fire, flood or just negligence, things that have been lost in the past 150 years.

Fisher: True.

David: So think about just things in the past 100 years. We have the Centennial of WWI coming up next spring. If people have photos and letters, how much private archives in home collections may make the difference for future genealogists?

Fisher: Right, filling in the gaps in history.

David: Exactly, kind of a sad day for a coroner in Los Angeles, California. There are two men by the name of George Fernandez that were in the office of the coroner that week. Sadly, they cremated the wrong one. 

Fisher: Ooh.

David: Yeah so the family is looking to have a lawsuit. Unfortunately the young man who was 26, his body was not supposed to be cremated and the older man was and they got it mixed up. So you know sometimes when you wonder when you can’t find your ancestors, well here’s a possibility of future genealogists being very confused.

Fisher: Yeah you’ve got to check the numbers as well as the names when you’ve got bodies in your place, I suspect.

David: My next story echoes that Veterans Day, but in Canada they refer to it as Remembrance Day, the ending of WWI and there’s a fellow by the name of Eric Doll up in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada who’s been cleaning by hand the moss covered headstones that have been neglected for years, because in his thoughts it is November 11th every day.

Fisher: Isn’t that great? And the thing about this guy is, he’s been out of work since March so he’ll go in some days and he’ll do 10 or 15. Some days he says, “I only have time to do one or two.” But he still can’t find a job. Maybe the PR from this thing will make people realize, “Hey, this is a guy who obviously is passionate about whatever he does, hopefully he’ll get some work here soon, you know.”

David: Well you know my tip kind of is bout yard clean up and genealogy. When you’re out there with the kids and the grandkids and you’re at that great oak tree, maple tree that’s been growing in your yard for years, save one of the leaves. Put together a family tree of family trees. Maybe you reach back to your home in Connecticut Fish and get a leaf off the front lawn from a tree that you had a swing on when you were a kid. You know, like I say, maybe you don’t have to save the leaf for so long but you take a photograph of it because we know in genealogy we all have a lot of stuff

Fisher: Yes we do. [Laughs]

David: And speaking of stuff, AmericanAncestors.org invites you to become a free guest member this week with the idea of Veterans Day. We are releasing for free our database of Revolutionary War pension receipts from 1827, 1836 and these are actually the pay stubs from many, many checks that were handed out for Veterans during the Revolutionary War when they got their check

Fisher: Wow, I like that.

David: Yeah, so well that’s all I have from Beantown this week, and I look forward to talking with Daniel later in this episode about what he found in my genealogical matches on My Heritage.

Fisher: We’re not giving you a long break here David. Well we are going to get to that in about 3 minutes. My Heritage and Daniel Horowitz coming up next to talk DNA with David and me on Extreme Genes America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 165

Host: Scott Fisher with guests Daniel Horowitz and David Allen Lambert

Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, its Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. Now, we’re kind of doing an international Skype thing today. We’ve got our good friend David Allen Lambert on the line from Boston, and we’ve got Daniel Horowitz our friend from My Heritage in Israel, the home base of MyHeritage.com which of course is especially huge and strong with European records. And Daniel, welcome to the show first of all, and I’m very excited about some of the moves My Heritage is doing right now that can give people another place to go with their DNA results. Tell us about this.

Daniel: Thank you very, very much Scott. Yes indeed, My Heritage and myself are very excited. First, because we have more than ten years already on the field and we’re very strong as you said with records and family trees in Europe and worldwide, forty two languages, eighty five million users, and we understand all those new answers and we’re able to match trees and records no matter the language.

Fisher: Yeah I love that. Love that.

Daniel: So we’re really very strong on that.

Fisher: I love that feature with My Heritage that you can actually translate what one name means in one language and translate it in to my language no matter what my language is. What is it, forty some odd that you have right now? 

Daniel: Right now, forty two languages.

Fisher: Forty two languages. Now you’ve given people the opportunity to take their DNA results that they’ve maybe already had from the big three, and share them for free with your people over in My Heritage, and tell us what this is going to mean to people.

Daniel: Well, the important thing here is that there are companies out there already doing DNA tests for many years and we understand that a lot of people already have done their DNA test. So we’re allowing to take those raw data from any company that you have tested, and upload it to My Heritage. We will apply our own technology to match it with other people that also upload their DNA test, and compare that also with the family trees that they have. The huge advantage is that whenever you test in any company, you will get obviously matches with people within that company.

 Fisher: Right.

Daniel: But as My Heritage is a repository for every company’s DNA, you will get matches between different companies.

Fisher: That’s why we have David on the line because he has actually done this and gone and sent his raw data in to My Heritage, and David, I’m thinking Daniel’s got some results for you. Some interesting stuff to find out.

David: Well it’s always nice to get new cousins and by the way, thanks for all the help.

Daniel: And you actually were a very nice test case I should say, because you tested with the three main companies out there, and you actually uploaded your three raw data files. And let me just give one piece of advice and educate a little bit our audience because each company will test different parts of the DNA, different snippets from the DNA. So, how My Heritage can find matches, well because although each one tests different parts, there are some common parts that all test the same. So we are focusing on those to be able to match between different companies and of course if you have tested with a particular company, then your matches are going to be a hundred percent accurate with matches from those same companies.

David: Once I had it on there, really it was very simplistic. It allowed me to upload the data, and then it was a matter of waiting a little while, while it was processing it. And I have to admit that there must be a refinement that’s recent because now I have more matches that I can see geographically that fit in. When it first went live with the matches, I had people on there that I know in the genealogy field that said, “How can we be related?”

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Then I looked at their tree and I looked at my tree and I scratched my head and I said, “Do I have a paternity event that I don’t know about?”

Fisher: [Laughs]  

Daniel: [Laughs] If you are in My Heritage website right now, under the DNA tab on the main menu, you have a couple of options, and the one where you’re looking right now is the DNA matches. You had a huge amount of matches until November 3rd. And what happened on November 3rd is that we improved hugely the process of the matching technology and we went out of our beta stage and now we are in our regular stage. You have twenty three actual matches and we improve them. And we haven’t stopped that and we’re going to keep improving those matches in order to avoid those false positive that you receive in the beginning. I remember you had one with some Ukrainian guy.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: [Laughs] The Y-DNA I have is actually from Bosnia thirty five thousand years ago, and I thought, “Well, maybe it could be distantly from that.” But I must say, quality is far better than quantity.

Daniel: [Laughs]

David: So I’m more than happy to deal individually with these twenty three new cousins and figure out how we actually come to be related.

Fisher: And the good news with all this is it’s free. So as My Heritage develops this stuff, you don’t have to worry about what’s the result that I’m getting for my money. Well right now it’s just coming out of the beta stage and so you can provide this information, and then as they continue to improve it, you’re going to find the potential of many more matches especially if you have a fairly recent European heritage. Isn’t that right Daniel?

Daniel: That’s totally right, and it’s not only free now. But if you upload now your raw data, you will get matches free for life. So more people are going to keep uploading their information or going to use different companies or the My Heritage recently released a DNA test, and we’re going to talk about it in a second. But you’re going to get those matches, those new matches for free forever not only to see the matches as I would like to show David, but also to be able to contact the other person which is also very important.

Fisher: Sure.

Daniel: Because if you don’t have a point of contact, then they’re practically useless.

Fisher: Hmm hm. So what you’re saying is, is this free upload is for a limited time?

Daniel: That’s correct.

David: Well I think it’s a wonderful thing and obviously for those who have tested like myself with other companies, it’s a good way to find more potential relations.

Fisher: Right.

David: And when you mentioned about a recent immigrant from Europe, my grandfather came from England so I have people that came to Massachusetts between 1629 and 1930s. So it will be interesting to see if any of my British cousins find me.

Daniel: Yeah. Well I don’t know if this is the case or not, but I see for example you have a match with Steve and he is, according to My Heritage, your third or fourth cousin and of course we know that in the DNA there is a grain of ambiguous here because of how it is spread on the family tree. But we will tell you also the percentage of the shared DNA and the amount of segments and this is what’s going to give you the lead, because the bigger the segment or the amount of segments tested and matched, it means that it is a closer relative to you. And the other thing that you see on the screen is that Steve has a family tree with thirteen plus thousand individuals on his family tree. So you can very easily see part of this family tree and very soon you’re also going to be able to see a list of family names that matches between your tree and his tree, so you will really know from which branch this match is coming and if it’s really relevant to you or not. And of course, a big orange button that allow you to contact Steve and say, “Hey listen, My Heritage is telling me that we are related. Let’s collaborate. Let’s valuate both trees and see if we’re really matching or we really have the information to support this DNA test.”

David: Well that’s really exciting because I mean, ironically Steve’s last name is one of my great grandmother’s surnames. So it will be interesting to see if he comes down to that line.

Daniel: That’s right. And very, very soon we’re also going to release an ethnicity report which is probably going to be the finest on the market right now. My Heritage is using their own users to do the ethnicity test. We have a founder’s population project which received DNA kits and this is what we’re going to use in order to tell you what your ethnicity is.

Fisher: That’s exciting. So really there are a lot of benefits to this. How long do you think this free period is going to last, Daniel?

Daniel: Well I’m not sure because we are like in the process of releasing different things. Right now we’re also releasing the new DNA test kit, and also for a very affordable price for a limited time only. If you really are thinking of doing a test like to start with, this will be a good one to start and to go. It will give you also the ethnicity report which is in detail is going to be reserved only for people that buy the test. But if you are just looking for more matches and more connections, upload your raw data will be sufficient right now. You really don’t need to buy another test. And I’m not sure till when the company or Gilad, the company CEO, is going to decide to leave this open for free. So you better hurry up Scott.

Fisher: [Laughs] You’re right. It’s been on my list, my to do list, Daniel, but hey thanks so much for your time. And of course full disclosure, My Heritage is a sponsor of Extreme Genes and we’re very proud to have you on. Thanks so much for the information on that. Thanks for helping out David. He needs more cousins you know. He needs a larger family, he’s so lonely.

Daniel: We will provide them.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Thank you, my holiday card list just got larger. Thank you. Twenty three more stamps to buy. [Laughs]

Fisher: Thanks you guys.

David: Thanks Daniel.

Daniel: Always a pleasure guys.

Fisher: [Laughs] I guess that is the downside, right? You got to buy more holiday cards because you’ve got more cousins because you found them through your DNA matches. Thanks guys! This segment has been brought to you by LegacyTree.com. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to Ron Fox the Photo Expert that we’ve had on the show many times before. Since it is Veteran’s Day weekend he’s going to help us figure out how to find photographs of our veterans in various archives, coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. 

Segment 3 Episode 165

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Ron Fox

Fisher: And welcome back to America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and this segment is brought to you by 23andMe.com DNA. And the Veterans History Project is going on and I bring this up right now, because of course its Veterans Day weekend. The Library of Congress is putting it on, and they want to keep soldiers stories alive. And the project is primarily an oral history program that collects and preserves interviews of America's war time vets. And it makes accessible oral and written histories and original photographs and letters and diaries and other service related documents of vets who served from WWI through the more recent conflicts which took place in the course in Iraq and Afghanistan. So they're calling on the public to record studies from veterans and submit them. And you can go to their website and ask their suggested questions to a veteran you know, then keep a copy of your audio or video recording for yourself and ship off the copy to the project. It’s going to be part of a permanent collection at the Library of Congress. So you want to get on top of that while you're thinking about it. And since we are thinking about it, that's why I brought my good friend, Ron Fox, the photo expert back onto the show, to talk about finding veterans’ photographs, old soldiers, sailors and marines from all the different eras going back to what Ron, Civil War?

Ron: Oh yeah. Photographs we have back just before the Civil War. In fact, there's a lot of what we call, militias or state militias that have photographs back into the 1840s.

Fisher: Wow! And there are some existing photographs of Revolutionary War soldiers, right, who lived to ripe old ages?

Ron: Yes, absolutely. There are collections within the Smithsonian and some private collections that are fabulous, of people who are aged men at the time that photographs became a thing.

Fisher: A thing. Yep.

Ron: And, yeah, they're out there. They're very rare and also very valuable.

Fisher: How many photographs of Revolutionary soldiers do you think exist, just as a wild guess?

Ron: Oh, probably two or three hundred.

Fisher: Really?

Ron: That many, yeah.

Fisher: So there's a potential that somebody's ancestor was photographed and that's out there. Are all of them scanned and available of those two or three hundred?

Ron: No.

Fisher: Or a lot that's sitting in private collections?

Ron: A lot of them are in private collections and a lot of them, because they're daguerreotypes or ambrotypes are not marked. And you know, most people will never know whether that person was in the Revolution, but certainly what it looks like in the photograph that they were old enough to be in it.

Fisher: To have been in it. But there are some who are identified, right?

Ron: Oh absolutely! Yeah, there's some great collections. There's a gentleman by the name of Joe Bowman who has one of the finest collections in the country.

Fisher: And how many does he have?

Ron: Oh, he probably has eight or ten.

Fisher: Wow!

Ron: But they're identified.

Fisher: Are they valuable because of the fact they were Revolutionary soldiers?

Ron: Very much so.

Fisher: Really? They're very collectible?

Ron: Absolutely!

Fisher: So if I'm going to find, say, a Civil War soldier's photograph, how would I go about that?

Ron: Well, there's lot of Civil War photographs out there.

Fisher: Sure.

Ron: But the Library of Congress has wonderful collection. But the thing is that I wanted to talk about that is not a very well known site is, the army's historical repository at Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Fisher: Never heard of this.

Ron: No. And it has one of the greatest collections of photographs and diaries of service people going back all the way to the Revolution as far as diaries and that, and maps and records. It is separate from the Library of Congress Horse Smithsonian, and it’s not within the veteran's affairs of all the military records that they keep, relative to more recent service activities of individuals.

Fisher: How come we haven't heard of this place?

Ron: You know, it’s one of those things where people don't talk about it. I mean, you can still go to WestPoint, where they have their records and they have photographs of some of their graduating class going back to the 1840s, you know, and see some of the great Civil War generals as young men in their cadet uniforms. You know, you go to the Naval Academy, and same thing there. And of course, the Naval Academy would also have the marines. And you know, later then, the coast guard’s been around since the 1700s, but you know, they have their own records that they keep, so.

Fisher: So his is a place to reach out to then. If you have people in the service, you can maybe start a list and go, "All right, these people lived the photographic era."

Ron: Right.

Fisher: Beginning, say, the 1850s.

Ron: Right.

Fisher: And then you can start pulling it forward. Then you would reach out to each of these individual places?

Ron: Absolutely. If you go to Washington D.C. you can go to the old Navy Yard, which is also the headquarters of Athens High, where the Marine Corps is. This is actually in the city of Washington. Lincoln used to go there to the Navy Yard and just sit around, because it was cooler by the inlet.

Fisher: Now what photographs have you located over the years that kind of excite you as you think about it?

Ron: One of the first photographs I personally got was a picture taken of my great great grandfather, Fox, who was taken on October of 1865, and it was proposal to his wife, and behind the picture is the written proposal.

Fisher: Oh wow! And this was passed down through your family?

Ron: Yep!

Fisher: And then, how have you located any that were outside your family lines?

Ron: Well, we've been able to identify of course, unit photos, where individuals served, you know. And those records are kept at the National Archives, all of the Civil War records. And you can find out the military unit in which your ancestor served. And that would be good for the Civil War, the Indian Wars. And there are wonderful collections of military units. And your grandpa or your relative was in probably one of those unit photos.

Fisher: Now, Fold3 of course would be a great starting point I would think for most people, right?

Ron: It is a great starting point. They do a fine job of memorializing and making histories of individuals who have served in the US military.

Fisher: We're talking to Ron Fox, one of our photo experts and friends of the show for Extreme Genes. And Ron, are there some smaller places other than just government sites that we just might now be aware of that you can find military photos, as we think about our veterans on Veterans Day weekend.

Ron: Places like Fort Douglas Military Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah. Places like the Naval Academy. You can find places like the Buffalo Soldiers Museum, which I think is in Texas that covers black soldiers during the Indian Wars period.

Fisher: Do they scan?

Ron: They scan.

Fisher: They have them online?

Ron: They've got some online. They've got great unit photos. There's so many national guards that also have great collections of photos that are not normally available, and many of them have been scanned, and there's a lot more there being scanned currently. But the fact of the matter is, there are a lot of different places. If your grandfather who was an individual who was attached to the United States army, and was sent to the Fort Leavenworth or was sent to Fort Douglas or was sent to Camp Kearny or any one of these larger military bases, they each have their own military museum on post. And in there, they've collected wonderful photographs since the beginning of photography, of their units. You'll find if you contact them, they will help you find photographs of which the unit in which your progenitor was in.

Fisher: As I think about this, it crosses my mind that there's always the assumption I think that many of us have that, "Oh, if it’s not online, it doesn't exist." or even if you went to a website for any of these places, "Oh, I don't see what I'm looking for there, therefore they don't have it." That's a dangerous assumption, I think.

Ron: It’s a horrible assumption! It’s just like everything else that we do in genealogy. Every week there are large companies that are scanning millions of records and scanning many photographs. Family Search has done a wonderful job of putting photographs online, and many of the other companies have done a great job of providing that service. But even more so, there are a lot of military bases and the like that don't have the funds, because their primary duty is to protect the United States.

Fisher: Right. Sure.

Ron: But there's a lot of photos that are there. I know of universities that have collections of over 2 million photographs, with only less than 40,000 of them scanned.

Fisher: Oh wow! [Laughs]

Ron: So think about that from the standpoint of what's out there. It is just tremendous!

Fisher: Right. And they're in the Archives, not necessarily online, in fact, more likely that they're not online.

Ron: Absolutely!

Fisher: So that means you've got to do it the old fashion way go visit the place, make phone calls, send people checks.

Ron: But that's what us genealogists do!

Fisher: Yep!

Ron: That's what our whole thing is, on the hunt.

Fisher: Yep.

Ron: As one fox hunter, you have to climb those hills and you have to go find those items.

Fisher: It’s great to talk to you again, Ron. Good to have you back on the show. Veterans Day weekend, we salute all the veterans who are in our audience. And wish you well on finding the photographs of your soldiers and sailors and your ancestors, and you’ve given us some great tips as to where to look.

Ron: Thank you, Fisher!

Fisher: And this segment has been brought to you by 23andMe.com DNA, and coming up next, our Preservation Authority, Tom Perry answering an email listener question about cost per foot and digitizing as they get ready for the holidays, in three minutes on Extreme Genes.

Segment 4 Episode 165

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 with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he's our Preservation Authority. He comes on every week and talks to you about your questions about preservation. This segment is brought to you by RootsMagic.com, and Tom, good to see you again.

Tom: Good to be here.

Fisher: We've got a couple more emails here from listeners who sent them to [email protected], this one from Brent Fawers. Brent says "Tom, I'm very interested in getting my old 8mm and Super 8 movie films digitized along with my old slides. Can you tell me how much you charge per foot to scan the film into MP4 files and how much to scan the slides?" And then we have a second one about pricing as well, should we do that one at the same time?

Tom: You bet.

Fisher: Because everybody's going in that direction I guess, with the holidays and everything coming up. "I'd like to drop off around 10 VHS tapes, and I have about 4 to 5 of those small tapes that went into video recorders. I need them on a hard drive or something in the format that I can import into iMovie and edit easily. What is the price structure for this?"  And that's from Rachael Walsh. Thanks to both Brent and Rachael for those questions. With pricing is an interesting problem everywhere, isn't it, Tom?

Tom: You have to be careful. It's not like, you know, you're buying a Chevy Lumina and it's the same car, comes out of the same plant, different dealers have it for different prices and they're all the same. We've talked about a customer that had written into to us that used somebody in Florida that was charging like 12 cents a foot to transfer their Super 8 films, and they said they were, you know, digitizing them, that they were scanning the film. And then when they got them back they were looking at them going "Wow, these don't look much better than my old VHS copies I had done 20 years ago." That's where you have to be real careful, whether you're using us or anybody else out there, you kind of want to be careful with price because a lot of times you get what you pay for. So if somebody's going to take the time to actually buy the equipment, it's very expensive to actually digitize your film, it's going to cost you a lot. And they range usually from 17 cents to 25 cents per foot, depending what part of the country you're in. But you want to be very, very careful that they really are digitizing your film. And we've told them in the past the best way to find out if they're truly digitizing your film is even if you don't want this, ask for it, say "Oh, when you digitize my film, I want jpegs of every frame of film so I can print them." And then they'll go "Well, I can't give you jpegs, but you can do frame shots." They are not scanning your film, because if you're scanning your film, it's just as easy to make a jpeg from it as it is to make an AVI, an MP4, an MOV, any kind of thing that you want, so you want to make sure you ask the right questions.

Fisher: Wow, sounds like there are a lot of them to ask. So where would you start?

Tom: Well, the best thing to do like I say, call around, get different prices. If somebody says they're scanning and they're charging under 17 cents a foot, there's no way they can be scanning them because when you figure the price of the labour to actually do it, the price of the equipment and everything, it's not going to happen. And again, we tell you go to Google maps, do street view and look where their address is and see if it's an apartment complex or if it's really strip mall, or if it's industrial area, you know, what's going on, and ask them for references, there's nothing wrong with asking somebody for references.

Fisher: Now how high could somebody go per foot, do you think that would be still fair?

Tom: Well, I've seen people go as high as 32 cents and they're quite a bit more than us. Mostly a lot of places online that have these kits that you give them so much money and then you fill their box with certain things and then send it in and they transfer it, and I've seen them as high as 32 cents. In our particular store we usually charge 22 cents a foot to really scan it in high def. Now, some people will scan your film for less in standard def. But if you want a scanned in high def you're usually going to be right around 20 cents a foot to do, whether it's Super 8, Regular 8 or whatever it is. And then you want to figure out what kind of add-ons are you going to want color correction? Are you going to want to add music to it? Are you going to want to be able to edit like Brent asked us about being able to do? So if you're going to want to edit it, you want it to go to a hard drive,

Fisher: Right.

Tom: Or you want to go to MP4s. And if you go to hard drive, it depends what kind of a computer you have. If you have a newer PC, you can usually use AVIs or MOVs. If you have an older PC, you have to use AVIs, they won't understand an MOV. If you're using a Mac it'll understand either one, however, I always like MOVs because MOVs are smaller overall, and they're better quality.

Fisher: All right. We're going to Rachael's question about what to do with those VHSCs coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 165

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And we are back for our final segment of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. Tom Perry is here with us from TMCPlace.com, talking preservation. And all the emails we’re getting right now, Tom seem to have to do with people wanting to get stuff digitized right now because the holidays are pretty much upon us. We’re really close to the deadline aren’t we?

Tom: In our particular we try to under-promise and say, “Hey, we’ll do our best but this is our cut off date.” And most years we get to catch up on it and it’s okay to do that but I don’t want anybody disappointed. And places in your neighborhood that’s going to do it, is probably all in the same thing. You don’t want to go to a UPS store a day before the deadline for Christmas because you’re going to be standing in a huge line. If you have this big huge thing don’t think, “Oh I’ve got ten thousand feet of film, I’ll only do a hundred feet so I can get it for Christmas.” Once we start on a project and most other facilities out there are the same way. So if you have ten VHS or one VHS, it’s not going to make a difference whether you get done or not.

Fisher: All right. Well, that’s what Rachael’s question is about, ten VHS. And she says, she’s got four or five of those small tapes that went into video recorders. And she’s looking to import them into iMovie and be able to edit them easily. So she wants to know what the price structure is for something like that.

Tom: Okay. That’s a really good question because there’s a lot of different ways you can do it. It’s usually always less expensive to go straight from video tape to DVD. But you can edit DVDs with like Wondershare. So if you have a DVD turned into an MOV or MP4, whatever. You can do that with Wondershare but it cost less and it’s faster. Now, one thing again we want to talk about is with video tape, audio tape, film, anything, you want to make sure your transfer is done in Real Time. That means if your tape’s two hours long, it’s going to take them two hours plus some to actually transfer your tape.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: If they’re transferring your tape in fifteen minutes, they’re doing it at high speed letting the computer go sort of back out which can give you time shifts where your lip sync doesn’t work. The quality is not as good either. So you want to make sure they’re doing it in Real Time. If somebody’s charging you ten bucks to transfer your two hour tape, they’re not making any money.

Fisher: Right. Then you’re not getting any good quality.

Tom: Exactly! So with the VHS C tapes there’s several ways you can do them. If they’re recorded in standard play mode which is a thirty minute mode, you can usually for sure get three of them on a DVD. If you try to cram all four onto one DVD you have two options. You either going to lose the last few minutes on your second one or they’re going to have to put the DVD in extended play mode which is going to reduce your quality as well. So, you want to be really, really careful. Different places have different price structure. We have a way we can do it for x amount if there’s one tape, if you want to do multiple tapes it’s another amount, or if you want to do it by the hour. So, if you have really, really short tapes it’s best to combine them all and then just pay an hourly rate which could be like thirty bucks an hour to do them. Or if you’re just going to do the whole thirty minute tape, they’re usually right around $15 each. So you want to be very, very careful that before you take them into the place, if you’ve got a VCR, see how long they are and write it down. So any homework you do by going through and saying, “Oh this tape’s two minutes, this tape’s six minutes, this tape’s eight minutes.” Then it’s going to save you money because then they’ll know how to give you a better quote.

Fisher: So, am I understanding this correctly then, Tom, if I’ve got a tape that say sixty minutes long, but only fifteen minutes worth of recording on it, it’s best for me to know how much is on there so I don’t get charged for the entire tape?

Tom: Exactly! That’s what’s important. To take whatever you have and see how long each one of them is, so you can either tell us or whoever you’re taking them to, “This tape’s five minutes, this one’s sixty, this one’s thirty.” If you’re going to a hard drive it’s easy. If you have a regular VHS tape that’s only got ten minutes, we use “Computer Assist” so we can see where the blank areas are and cut those out and put just the good stuff on your hard drive. But if you’re going to DVD, we usually run it all the way through because we’ve had people bring in a tape that played for fifteen minutes, was black for five, and then played for another hour.

Fisher: Wow. All right, a lot to take in. Thanks so much for the emails! You can always reach out to Tom at, [email protected]. Thanks so much bud.

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: And this segment of our show has been brought to you by MyHeritage.com. Well, that wraps up our show for this week, thanks for joining us. Hey, once again remember to sign up for our newsletter The Weekly Genie. We’ll share all kinds of links to great stories and audio segments of past shows and present shows. I’ll also have a column there. We’ll have guest column periodically as well. Sign up at ExtremeGenes.com. You’ll see it right there on the right side, at the top on the home page. Talk to you next week, and remember as far as everyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family!

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