Episode 180 - Photo Detective Maureen Taylor On Finding Ancestral Photos / Idaho Man’s Rescued Film Project Nets Historic PixFeb 26, 2017
Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. The guys start with a story about a Peruvian artist who dresses up for photos as his ancestors did in centuries old portraits. And it doesn’t matter if it’s male or female. And he’s very detailed! Next, Fisher and David discuss one of the more unusual heirlooms you’ll ever hear of. It’s 85 years old and edible. Well… it WAS edible! Hear what it is and why it’s still being held by the family. Fisher and David then talk about how late fees for a long overdue library book have been waived… for one long overdue historic reason. Hear what it is. Then, David investigated the issue of just which birthday George Washington celebrated… the one he was born with, or the one he got when the calendar changed? Find out what David learned. Finally, David’s Weekly Blogger Spotlight is focused on a guy who is half psychologist and half genealogist. He’s the psycho genealogist!
Next up, it’s Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective. Maureen is back to visit with Fisher about ideas not usually considered for finding your ancestral photos. It’s a long list, so sharpen your pencil!
Then, Levi Bettwieser of Boise, Idaho joins the show. His passion project is the Rescued Film Project. Levi enjoys finding old rolls of film, often decades old, to see what images he can get from them. One recent success was the recovery of dozens of images from World War II.
Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority, comes on next talking about his experience with The Property Brothers at RootsTech and reveals one their favorite story they told in their keynote address. Tom also reveals an awesome free app for fixing your pictures.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 180
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 180
Fisher: And welcome to 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. And this segment is brought to you by 23andMe.comDNA. And we have a real photo slant going on today. First of all, coming up in about eight minutes we are going to talk to Maureen Taylor. She is the Photo Detective. We are going to talk about different ways you might not have thought of to obtain photographs of your ancestors, and maybe even those not too far back. And then later in the show we're going to talk to a guy in Idaho named Levi Bettwieser. Levi has put together a passion project he calls, 'The Rescued Film Project' and he basically goes out and finds undeveloped film and develops it in the lab at his home, and you won’t believe some of the pictures he's come up with. I can’t wait to speak to Levi later in the show. But, right now it’s time to head off to Boston and my good friend and the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, David Allen Lambert. Hello David.
David: Greetings from Beantown, Fish. How are you doing?
Fisher: Doing all right. What do you have for us today?
David: Well, I have one of the most interesting stories I think I probably ever had to cross my desk, a Peruvian artist named Christian Fuchs. Well, he has a different way of honoring his ancestors. We go to the cemeteries don’t we? We write genealogies.
David: He dresses up like them and has photographs taken.
Fisher: [Laughs] You know, I’ve seen the pictures of this guy, too. He’s gone back and I guess he had some rather prominent ancestors in what was it Chile?
David: Uh hmm.
Fisher: And so a lot of them had portraits done. I mean one hundred years ago, two hundred years ago. So he dresses up as the men, exactly as they are, poses exactly as they are, even does make-up. But, he also dresses up like the women and does that too. But it’s incredible how much he looks like the portraits of his ancestors when he does this. And this is part of his work as a photographer.
David: It’s amazing. The first portrait I saw was the one of one of his female ancestors and I said, “Wow, that lady looks just like her, wait... that’s not a lady.”
David: Then he has one of his fourth great grandfather who was a military participant in the Peruvian War for Independence. And the costumes that he comes up with are just amazing!
Fisher: Yeah, incredible.
Fisher: And we have this posted at ExtremeGenes.com so you can see what he does.
David: Moving on, you know there’s nothing better than getting up in the middle of the night and get a midnight snack once in a while, but you may not want to do it with Penny Rico’s family heirloom.
David: She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona and she has a cookie from her mother’s first love from 85 years ago.
Fisher: No kidding. We’re talking what 1932.
David: Uh hmm. And apparently she said her mother was back in the day during the Depression, so people didn’t have a lot of money and her mother’s sweetheart at the time had designed a heart shaped cookie and it spells out “Bus” in the icing which was her mother’s beau’s name.
David: I just think that’s amazing. I hope that some descendant down the road doesn’t decide that they have to break into this. I’m sure dental work will probably be necessary.
Fisher: Yeah, probably true. And you know it’s kept in a jewelry box too, with little bows on and everything, but she treasures that.
David: I hope it lasts another 85 years for future generations to see.
David: We’ve all had the time in our life, maybe in school or in a public library where we’ve had a late overdue library book. There’s sometimes late, and then there’s sometimes really late. Robert Lachman Junior had recently found a book in the basement of his Shavertown, Pennsylvania home, and discovered that his father had checked it out when he was nine years old back in 1941.
David: But apparently the late fee for the book has been waived due to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
David: Otherwise it would have been a $554 fee.
Fisher: And you like the way they responded. They said, “Look, it was due on December 2nd of ’41. He was only five days late when the Pearl Harbor attack came, and they had more important things to do,” so they’re waiving the fee. But, they’re also displaying the book with the open due date on it which I think is very cool.
David: My public library in Stoughton, Massachusetts where I sit on the board, we have an overdue book that was over 30 years old that we have on display that was found. That’s probably one they won’t check out again.
David: One of the things I like to do is obviously wish you and our listeners a belated wishes on holidays that may have occurred when they taped or when they’ve listened to the show. And so happy belated Presidents Day, but more importantly, happy belated George Washington’s birthday!
Fisher: Right, the 22nd.
David: Well, maybe. See back in 1752 the changeover from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar made his birthday February 22nd in 1732 but that wasn’t what it originally was.
David: His original birthday was February 11,th 1731/2 for the double dating of the year. And I was really intrigued by this, so I thought I’d do a little genealogical detective work. So of course, on his birthday at the busiest time of year, I called the librarian in Mount Vernon, Fisher, and she told me that they have always pondered this question. And he never liked a lot of pomp and circumstances, a very simple man in that respect. But in 1790 there was a birthday party for him in New York and at that point they celebrated on February 22nd. But that being said, on February 11th that same month and year, Philadelphia celebrated his other birthday. Father of our nation, owner of two birthdays, but it makes you think, if your ancestor was born in January to March in that timeframe and was alive in 1752, did he or she changed their birth date?
David: And it makes me think of the old style / new style and maybe as genealogists we should include both when we’re looking for diary entries and things like that.
Fisher: Wow, good point.
David: Well, our Bloggers Spotlight for this week has an interesting title, if you go to www.psycogenealogists.com, no, Anthony Perkins doesn’t have a genealogical website from the grave. This is an actual psychologist, Steven Hanley, who is interested in genealogy. I thought he has a very interesting blog and may entertain our listeners and as we highlight the popular blogs in genealogy culture, we also like to talk about the not so common ones that you might want to give a little genealogical love to. So check out www.psycogenealogists.com and tell them that you heard them here on Extreme Genes.
Fisher: All right.
David: Well, that’s about all I have for this week and again, if you are in Boston, swing by NEHGS and we’d love to have you come in and see our library and talk to you more about genealogy. We’ve been doing it since 1845.
Fisher: Wow! [Laughs] You’ve been working a long time, David! Thanks for coming on.
David: Always a pleasure my friend. Talk to you next week.
Fisher: All right, take care and coming up next, the Photo Detective Maureen Taylor. We’re going to talk about various places you might want to look for ancestral photographs that you haven’t thought of before. That’s coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 180
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Maureen Taylor
Fisher: And welcome back, it’s Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by LegacyTree.com. And we’re talking photographs today and I’m excited to have my good friend Maureen Taylor back on the line. She is what the Wall Street Journal calls “The Nation’s foremost Historical Photo Detective” And Maureen welcome back. It was great to see you at Roots Tech a few weeks ago.
Maureen: Oh, it was great to see you too Scott. What an event that Roots Tech is.
Fisher: It’s incredible! The number of people that can see it in person and those who can see it online and in fact, a lot of the folks can visit a lot of the classes and the events online to this very day and will be able to watch it on demand. So that’s a great thing. Maureen, I was thinking about this a little bit as we talk so much about photographs today, there are so many different ways people can find pictures of their ancestors that I don’t think they generally think about. We usually think, “Well if I don’t have them, how do I get them?” Let’s talk about some unique ways you know about.
Maureen: Oh, ho, there’s a lot of ways to find photographs. I mean, there’s the standard ways of Googling your ancestor’s name or, you know, Flickr has this relationship now with the internet archive which is very cool, so that you can search just in the pictures. And I have to tell you a funny story. I was doing a webinar you know, and I was doing some live searching on the internet archive and I just found this picture of this guy, and the next thing I know… you know when you do a webinar you have this whole little screen here on the right where you get messages from people that are watching.
Maureen: And this woman goes, “[Gasp] Wait! That’s my great grandfather!”
Fisher: [Laughs] And did she have a picture of him?
Fisher: Wow. So she just knew from the name and all that. Okay.
Maureen: Yes. So it was absolutely fantastic.
Fisher: [Laughs] You talk about serendipity, right? I mean what are the odds?
Maureen: The odds are pretty small.
Maureen: But it happened. So, there’s the Library of Congress, there’s the National Archives, all of these places have photo archives that you can search, there’s online archives, there’s the brick mortar archives.
Maureen: And then they have places online where you can search. But one of those things that people overlook are their local historical society for instance. And who donates to those and who collects those pictures. I’m always looking for interesting images and so I look in antique shops and I go to photo shows where other photo dealers set up, and I look at all the pictures and I see so many unidentified ones, but then I see so many with names on the back.
Maureen: And you want to take them all home because you know and I know we can figure out who those people are.
Fisher: That’s right.
Maureen: And reconnect them with someone.
Fisher: Yeah, I’ve done that. I’ve actually seen pictures up on eBay before and they’ll show the front and back and they may identify who the person is, and then I’ll go to MyHeritage or I’ll go to FamilySearch.org and find somebody who is connected to that person and drop them an email and say, “Hey, just in case you want to know, there’s a picture available of your person right there.” But you know it’s strange, rarely do I hear back from them.
Maureen: Exactly. I rarely hear back from them as well.
Fisher: I don’t know why that is. I thought they’d be more excited about it then they are. You know, an interesting thing that I’ve had experience with first of all this past week, I found a picture that we’ve been looking for, for thirty five years. My wife’s third great grandfather had died young and before the photographic era. But he had a brother that was kind of the head of the whole family. He was a doctor. He was a minister in Crawfordsville, Indiana named Caleb Wyatt Witt. And we’d read so much about this guy over the years but nobody had ever come up with a photograph of him. And when we first started researching him in the late 80s, somebody said, “Well, there was a picture of him.” But nobody was able to find who had it at that time. Well, now that all the digitized newspapers are out I found a couple of stories that were written about him in the local newspaper of that area from back in the ‘40s and the ‘50s. And in each instance, they showed a photograph of him that they obtained from somebody back at that time. Now unfortunately, of course, it’s a newsprint photograph but with a little photo shopping I’ve been able to make it look pretty good, and I was really tickled to find it.
Maureen: Yeah. Newspapers are often overlooked. There are pictures in the paper as far as the 20th century goes for that and engravings before that, but there’s so many ways to look for family photos. You know, my story with the orphan photos is that I buy them and try to reconnect them the same as you and so do a lot of other people, and I’m actually going to be talking about that in one of my Facebook live events that I’m running. If you’re on my Facebook page which is, Maureen Photo Detective, you’ll find out when I’m going to have it and you can join into the discussion. But one of the things that happened this past year was, I was in an antique shop and there was a picture of two guys standing in front of a store, and someone had written on it “Franklin, New Hampshire” and I thought, okay, so who are they? When was it taken? You know that sort of stuff that I do.
Maureen: And I wrote a couple of blogs posts about it from my personal blog and then I thought, you know, I can’t keep this even though it’s a lovely photo. I want this to go back to Franklin, New Hampshire. And they are so over the moon to have it back in their collection, a piece of their missing town history.
Maureen: It’s just sitting in an antique shop and it cost me five dollars.
Fisher: Yeah [Laughs] Exactly. It’s a great service to do that.
Maureen: It is.
Fisher: And you don’t know when the pay day is going to come. It could come after we’re gone, you know?
Maureen: Right. And also there’s that whole pay it forward kind of thing. You’re always hoping that somebody is going to find a picture of your ancestor that you haven’t seen before.
Fisher: Right. I looked for a great grandfather from New York City for thirty years and when digitized papers came out I read a story that he had sent a photo of himself to Salt Lake City, Utah. So I learned that he had been a volunteer fireman and that there was a volunteer fireman display up at a place called “This is the Place Heritage Park” and so I went up there and found this picture of the veteran fireman of New York City who had come through Salt Lake in 1887.
Fisher: And it had a key at the bottom with numbers and names, and I looked up and on each little figure in this group there was a number written in white on their shoulders and I found my great grandfather. And as a result of that identification, I was able to find him in two other photographs. So now I have three.
Fisher: I call it my moose head, by the way. [Laughs] I have the big picture. It’s like a hunter, you know, always looking to bag the big one. That’s my “moose head!”
Maureen: There you go. So you know, the number one place that people need to look for photos first is with family and that’s extended family as well.
Maureen: So what just recently happened to me was my father’s sister lived in California, and I thought my dad had all the pictures. One of her sons just recently died and his sister was going through all of his belongings and she knows that I do the genealogy stuff so she said hey, I have all this stuff and I’m going to mail it to you. And in the stuff that she mailed me, I sat down with my mom and we opened it and we looked through the package and there were all these pictures of my father at different points in his life that we had never seen before.
Maureen: There he is as a teenager, a couple more pictures of him in the army, you know I have pictures of my father obviously but I didn’t have these. Now I can do a whole timeline of his life just in pictures.
Fisher: Isn’t that incredible? And you were telling me off air about somebody who is actually starting to collect pictures or collect a certain town, share that with us.
Maureen: Right. There are people who collect very specifically. So you know I have lots of wedding photos that I’ve picked up over the years or whatever, but there’s this one guy that I’m friends with on Facebook and he collects very specifically one particular city on New Hampshire.
Maureen: He lived there.
Maureen: And he’s incredibly interested in Concord, Massachusetts. So I’ll often run into him at these local photo shows that we go to and I walk out with a bag of stuff and he has one or two, because he’s very focused in what he’s doing and he’s recreating the sort of photo history of the town, one picture at a time. Like one time there’s this snapshot of when the circus was in town in the 1960s. Sometimes he’ll write to me and he’ll say, “So I have a picture of this person at one point in their life, but I found this portrait of them which I think is the same person later in life.” So he goes to the shows and he collects Concord, New Hampshire. So you’d got a cabinet card and it says Concord, New Hampshire, he’s buying that picture.
Fisher: He’s all over that, yeah. And you know anybody can do this for say, their own home town. My dad was from Bogota, New Jersey, my mom was from Albany, Oregon, I grew up in Cos Cob, Connecticut, and you know you figure if you put search terms on eBay all kinds of stuff comes up and you never know what you’re going to find.
Maureen: No, you never do. And actually, David is his name, he has inspired me to go back to my roots and collect things on Providence, Rhode Island, which is where I live.
Maureen: So now I’m looking for images of this city that I might not have seen before, or interesting postcards or whatever, and then I will eventually donate those to an organization. But there are lots of people who collect very, very specifically and those are the people that you want to find and follow. Now I’m really into Instagram these days and there’s a lot of people on Instagram who are sharing photographs, random snapshots. There’s one called, I think it’s “Lost Photos of Chicago” There’s another one of photos of just Vienna.
Maureen: If you search on these sites for the location where your ancestor lived and of course the smaller the town the better, you can maybe find some more family photos that you didn’t know existed.
Fisher: Absolutely. There are so many.
Maureen: It happens all the time.
Fisher: Yeah, all the time now. And it’s so fun because you can really kind of create your own strategy and find out how other people are doing it.
Maureen: But I actually have a story for you about David Lambert.
Maureen: This will be a surprise for him. So we were at a photo show together because we don’t live that far apart and he collects photos and I collect photos, and so we were at this photo show and he’s going through the bin, you know, da, da, da, da, da, and he’s flipping through the pictures and all of a sudden he looks at me and he goes, “Oh look! It’s the minister who married my great grandparents!”
Fisher: [Laughs] Yes!
Maureen: And there he goes. It’s like “Okay, my day is made!”
Maureen: And so it’s that kind of thing that can happen.
Maureen: It happens all the time.
Fisher: She’s Maureen Taylor. She’s the Photo Detective. Go to MaureenTaylor.com. As always Maureen, we’ve run out of time way too fast so we’ve got to get you on soon, alright?
Maureen: That sounds great, Scott.
Fisher: And coming up next we’re going to talk to Levi Bettwieser. He is a passion project guy who started a thing called “The Rescued Film Project” and you’ve got to hear about some of the film he’s rescued, coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 180
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Levi Bettwieser
Fisher: And we are back, America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by Roots Magic.com. And on the line with me right now is a very interesting guy, and I kind of stumbled upon him doing some of my regular stuff on the internet, trying to find material for you. His name is Levi Bettwieser. He lives in Boise, Idaho and he is the guy behind the thing called “The Rescued Film Project” and Levi, welcome to Extreme Genes, nice to have you.
Levi: Hey, thanks for having me.
Fisher: You are kind of a passion project guy, and how long have you been doing this?
Levi: Yeah, passion project for sure, rescued some projects, got started about three years ago.
Fisher: Okay. And you go and find film that has not been developed typically for decades. And what I saw was a video of you actually developing film from World War II and actually displaying these pictures that have never been seen before by anybody until you developed them. What an incredible thing!
Levi: Yeah, like I said it’s an extreme passion for me, it’s kind of an obsession at this point. But yeah I mean, I look for and some is sent to me that has been shot but never processed. It doesn’t matter the age or type of film, we take it.
Fisher: Wow. So how did this thing start for you?
Levi: Well, a film photographer can do a lot of film shoots. I do fashion shoots like that and I process all my own film. And about three years ago I was walking around thrift stores looking at old cameras and I noticed that a lot of them still had rolls of film inside of them, and since I can process my own film, I decided to just start buying them and when I got enough rolls of film to justify the chemicals and the time, I processed it. There was about 30-40 rolls. I was just shocked how many still had images on them and the project just kind of took off from there.
Fisher: And you’ve involved some friends in that because obviously you’ve got social media going on it, you’ve got great videos that people have put together with you, displaying your techniques for this. Tell us about some of the rolls of film that you’ve developed that really stand out.
Levi: Yeah, well it’s so hard to picture a few because at this point I’ve rescued over twenty thousand images, processing numbers and numbers of rolls. The unique ones that I really love are the ones you mentioned, World War II images and it’s just amazing to see these soldiers in these snapshots. The exact moments they would be on the train station, and they’re on these ships going over the ocean and in the military bases. And then I’ve got some other ones, I’ve got images of President Eisenhower in Copenhagen, during some kind of press conference. The unique and ones I particularly enjoy are the ones that people would shoot of their television screens. I’ve got a number of photos of people actually taking pictures of their television screens of historical moments. I’ve got several images of the moon landings and things like that. So those are all really fun to see.
Fisher: Boy that is fun. And you know, I remember that too, watching it but we never took pictures of it, of back at that time. Do people send you stuff now, or do you still just go look for it?
Levi: Well, it’s both. So the majority of the film that I get is actually something I’ve actually gone out, asked around and I purchased. I have a lot of relationships now with camera dealers and antique stores, they’ll hold onto some of that for me and I’ll purchase them directly off of them. I still kind of go around and physically go and hunt for some rolls once on a while but that doesn’t get me nearly as many rolls. But yeah, to date I think we’ve received around 350 donations of film from around the world and some of those donations are upwards of 150 rolls just in one donation. So there’s something at my house nearly every day.
Fisher: Yeah, I was looking at your website RescuedFilm.com. And just saw this stack of stuff. Tell us now about some of this, you’re saying that you’re buying it from antique dealers and people around the country they hold it for you. Do they put a value on this? You can probably get this stuff I would imagine pretty cheap because nobody really wants to claim it but you, right?
Levi: Yeah, I mean it can get expensive it all depends on the source from which I’m getting it. I think there is, since I started the project there’s been kind of an interest in this medium you know, exposing what’s never been processed. When I first started the project there was a lot more film and it was lot cheaper. Now, the film is becoming less frequent and I think people have started talking and want to do this for themselves. So when you get into a situation where you have an auction or something it can get a little more expensive. But yeah, I mean overall it’s not too bad.
Fisher: Once you’ve developed these pictures, and they’re incredible pictures based on the video that I’ve seen, what do you do with them?
Levi: I scan in all the images digitally so that I can share them and put them out on the web, because I feel like that is the best way to do it. You want to research the images but also try and track down the people they belong to. So my goal right now is to create an online archive that holds all the images for people to go to and view and research. Problem is our website isn’t very good right now, so we put as many as we possibly can on the web but then we’re storing everything in our digital archive, on our HL servers and then we’ve got obviously the negatives which is just in our headquarters.
Fisher: Sure. So have you actually been able to find some of the families these rolls of film came from? Unless of course you got them directly from some of those families, but there must be some like you bought in the stores, have you been able to connect them back with the original clans?
Levi: So far we’ve only been able to connect one orphan, that’s what we call them orphan rolls of film. We’ve got a roll of film from the camera thrift shop. We posted an image from that roll on our Instagram. Some woman matched her father and then I sent her all the images from the roll and there ended up being several photos of her. That was a new roll of film probably shot in the late ‘90s, and that’s the only one so far. As you mentioned, yeah people will donate rolls of film to us that maybe belonged to their late mother that was sitting in the drawer and it turns out there are photos of that person when they were a baby or a toddler and obviously they’ve never seen them, and so it’s really interesting to see their reactions.
Fisher: Wow. I’ll bet. Now do you make any kind of business out of that, where you resell these to people or to archives?
Levi: Like I mentioned the films can be expensive and it is a personally funded project but we have started selling prints and other things to try and just kind of cover the cost of the project, the chemicals and all that. So that’s the only thing we have so far. It’s definitely not a business it’s more just a hobby.
Fisher: Talk about the World War II pictures. How many images did you come out with?
Levi: So I don’t know the exact number of images we actually ended up getting, but there were 31 rolls of film, some of them turned out blank and there were about 9 images per roll. So round about 150 images I believe we got off of those rolls and they’re incredible to look at. Now, the more I’ve been putting them out there the more research we’ve been getting back. It actually looks like they were probably shot more near the end of the war if not directly post war. They aren’t combat photos but they are images that half were actually shot over in the states over a gap in Pennsylvania and then it looks like they’re travel photos overseas to France and then there are shots from soldiers on train stations, greens, France, Normandy Beach, and they’re all just in their iconic uniforms and they’re just these stark black and white images.
Fisher: Yeah, they’re beautiful, absolutely incredible. Have you been able to identify some specific location?
Levi: Yes there are two things, a lot of the rolls actually had hand labels or hand written on the rolls, you kind of already knew what the roll, where it was shot, but then once we get the video we just get the research pouring in. and I don’t have it all in front of me but I can tell you we pretty much know where every photo was taken. There’s Boston Harbor, there’s France, there are specific Chateaus that it was shot at.
Levi: Yeah and then the white cliffs in Normandy. Those rolls were purchased in an auction in Ohio.
Fisher: Really? So you know they came from Ohio, you don’t know necessarily who shot them? Have you been able to identify perhaps the unit who was involved?
Levi: We’ve had some people speculate based on the patches on the soldiers’ shoulders and arms and things like that. In all the photos there aren’t any tight shots of anyone necessarily, there’s a lot of wide shots, you see lots of soldiers so it’s kind of hard to identify individuals.
Fisher: Yeah to some extent it’s almost like news photos, isn’t it?
Levi: Yeah, it definitely looks likes someone, I don’t know if they were in the unit or they were going along with the unit, but they were more interested in showing the wide scenes of like bigger moments, in opposed to just showing individual soldiers.
Fisher: Sure. Is there a way for anybody who has an interest in this, in helping you to research this and share the information they might know about it?
Levi: Yeah, so head to Rescuedfilm.com, you click on the “videos tab” you can see the World War II videos specifically, or if you just have any information and just want to see more, shoot us an email, we’ve got our contact info is on there, but it’s just [email protected].
Fisher: Okay Rescuedfilm.com, is the site, we’ve got a link to it on ExtremeGenes.com. You can see the video of Levi developing these incredible photographs from the World War II era. What a passion project it is, Levi. Great work and thanks so much for coming on and talking to us about it and good luck with wherever this thing goes!
Levi: Thank you, I appreciate it. I appreciate you helping spread the word.
Fisher: And coming up next in three minutes it’s our Preservation Authority, Tom Perry, still basking in the glow of hanging with the Property Brothers from HGTV at Roots Tech. He’ll have some great stories about that visit, coming up for you next on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 180
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And we are back, its America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, talking preservation with my friend, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, the Preservation Authority. Hi Tom, how are you?
Tom: I'm recovered now, finally.
Fisher: Are you? You look good. You've got a little more color in your face. And this is good, we're talking of course about Roots Tech, which is now about, what three weeks in our rearview mirrors.
Tom: Several weeks ago.
Fisher: So, you know, we're doing okay now, but you had such a good time, because you were hanging out with the stars. I saw you with the Property Brothers.
Tom: Oh, it was so fun! I mean, I love these guys. I love their show. And when I actually met them, it was like, I felt like a dwarf, and I'm six feet tall!
Tom: They are so big, and they are the nicest guys in the world. And one of the neatest stories that we talked about is, they were doing a remodel at a place where they threw out the carpets, several layer of vinyl, the sub floors had gotten bad, so they tore those out, and lo and behold, they find this little safe, the little kind of like a lockbox that's in the floor, and they're going, "Oh wow, this is incredible! I wonder what's in it." And what they did, they got the name of the safe, they contacted the manufacturers and were able to get into it, and it had wedding rings in it, it had special photos in it, all kinds of things. Because this family had built the house, they raised all their kids in the house, then they moved on and then they finally went through retirement community, now somebody else was there. So, they got this. They were able to get a hold of the kids and return it to them. And this is like, you know, this is better than Christmas or anything.
Fisher: Oh, yes!
Tom: Oh, absolutely! Your parents' wedding rings, you have these special mementos and stuff that you didn't even know existed, and you've got these really cool things that's just so exciting, it’s just "Woo hoo!!"
Fisher: And they present it on television. I mean, does it get any better than that, right?
Tom: That's just absolutely amazing, you know. And then you look at the flip side. They were doing a house renovation at another place where they found a box of photos, found the people, went and said, "Hey, you know, we found these photos. These are so cool. You know these real old things from the turn of the century." and the people go, "Oh, we don't want them. You can throw them away."
Fisher: Yeah. There were cabinet cards in there.
Fisher: I mean, we're talking way back! Of course they're not going to do that. They're making sure it goes to a historical society from the area, so they get it!
Tom: Exactly, exactly! They know that this stuff's important, so they go and they put it in place where, you know, other people can enjoy it. It’s just so sad that it happens. I've had people come into our store and said, "Hey, once you're done scanning our negatives, throw them away." or "Hey, here's a whole bunch of negatives. Don't scan these. I don't want these. Just chuck them." I go, "No, no, no, no, no! We can put them up on the internet and maybe somebody on our Facebook page or Twitter will say, "Oh, I know who these people are."
Fisher: Sure. Well and when we get into the facial recognition thing, and that becomes a little more common, that'll become much easier to do.
Tom: Oh, and that's going to be fun. When that software really gets, you know, down in price and it’s really a lot more accurate, more like what the, you know, FBI and such has, it’s going to be so awesome to take these negatives. You don't know who this person is, and you're going to be able to find them. It’s just crazy!
Fisher: I remember talking to my cousin, and he lives in the same area, actually on a piece of the property my grandfather owned for fifty years.
Fisher: And my grandfather was a builder, and he used a lot of his kids in building some of the local houses. And somebody was actually renovating their home and they came over to my cousin and said, "Hey, you're not going to believe this. I found this in a piece of wood behind the wall." And it was my uncle's signature on it with a date from the 1930s.
Fisher: Because he had been working on the house for his dad. [Laughs]
Tom: You know, stuff like that is so cool. I've seen renovations done where, you know, the different builder wrote different things on the blocks and stuff that just kind of made it cool, but that's neat where it’s a family member could have something like this as a souvenir that's, you know, been gone for about forty years, whenever the house was originally built. And you know, another thing kind of tied in with the Property Brothers thing, clear back a few weeks ago on Valentines, Glenn Beck was on the radio talking about how he had gotten his picture for his wife as their special Valentines thing, and he said, oh, he had to have it redrawn because the photo had adhered itself to the glass, so he couldn't enlarge it. If any of you out there know Glenn, tell him to give us a call, because there is a way that can be restored.
Fisher: [Laughs] Absolutely. And it involves scanning and Tom Perry.
Fisher: He knows how to make that happen. It’s good to know those things, isn't it?
Tom: Oh it is! You need to know. If you don't know, always ask.
Fisher: All right, what have we got coming up?
Tom: Okay, right after the break, we're going to talk a little bit more about preservation and some of the cool people and stories that we heard at RootsTech.
Fisher: All right, that'll be in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 180
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And we're back for our final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Tom Perry is here from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority. And we're still basking in the glow of RootsTech. One of the things I think I really like about Roots Tech is the fact that we learn so much from listeners and people who come to our booths and share some things with us. You found out as interesting new little ditty.
Tom: You know, there's so many cool things out there, you know, and we study, we study, we study, but there's always people coming up, whether they're writing to [email protected] and asking questions, and it’s like, "Hmm, I never thought about that before." So I do a little bit of research and find these things out. At Roots Tech, you walk around, you see a new software and you think, "Hmm, if you tweak this, this little bit, you could do all these kinds of things on it as well." For instance, there's a good app out there right now that's free, it’s called Google Photo Scan. If you haven't gone so far and bought a shot box yet and you're taking pictures of pictures and you're having problems with glare, what it allows you to do is, you can take several different pictures from several different angles so the glare spots are in different spots. And then this Google Photo Scan, it goes in and knits the best parts together. And lo and behold, there's no flare anymore!
Fisher: Wow! [Laughs]
Tom: It’s stuff like that is just so cool. And you know, preservation is so important. I had people come up and say, "Hey, I can get this scanner. Its, you know, 400 dpi. I wanted it for my photos. What do you think about it?"
Fisher: 400 dpi?!
Tom: I go, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no!" You know, the best thing to do if you've got a lot of photos, get your friends, get your neighbors and say, "Hey, let's get together and have a scanning party." Because you can rent a top of the line, best scanner available for like $400, so why go buy something for $400?
Fisher: Not even. You can get it as low as $200.
Tom: Oh yeah, oh yeah! At times, they're running specials, absolutely. But what you need to do is, get a really high end one, because then everybody's defraying the cost. Everybody's going to do the stuff together. And once they're scanned, they're scanned. And another thing at RootsTech is, we announced through EasyPhotoScan that now we're going to start renting high end slide scanners.
Tom: So you'll be able to rent a slide scanner, get all your slides together. If you got a few hundred slides, go to your local place that can scan them at a good dpi, whether it’s a Replicolor type place that does billboards or advertising. If you've got thousands of them, it’s worth your time to, you know, maybe even hire one of the neighbor kids or one of the boy scouts in your neighborhood to actually go through and scan them all for you, because it’s not hard. It’s easy to do. And by doing this, you're getting a lot better value, and you're getting the best scan you can get.
Fisher: Well, and think about that whole scanning party idea here. I mean, if you can get it for $200 or even $400, right? You get ten people together, twenty to forty bucks per family, and you can get very high dpi. We recommend, what, somewhere in the range of 1200?
Tom: Yeah, I usually do 1600. Sometimes if I have somebody who wants to make a big billboard, we might go 3200 or even higher than that. But yeah, if you're doing stuff at 1200, that's really, really good. If you're looking at something that's like 200 to 350, you know, that's just not going to cut it. That's just, you know, you're wasting time. It takes just as much time to do something at 200 as it does at 1600 if you've got the right equipment. If you've got some cheap stuff and you say, "Oh, well this does 1600."
Fisher: Yeah, crank it up. [Laughs]
Tom: An hour and a half. Yeah, yeah, exactly you can do maybe a picture a day. So you want to make sure you get good, good quality. That's more important than anything. And we've had up on our website where we have, hey, if this is what your end use is, this is how big you want to scan it. If you're scanning a really small postage stamp size photos, you're going to need a high dpi.
Tom: If you've got 8x10s, most people aren't going to go much bigger than 8x10, then it’s not so important. But you need to make sure you get that detail in there. And as we've said before, if you've got damaged photos, before you try fixing them, make sure you scan them before you touch them.
Fisher: Exactly, because you might make the situation worse, but at least you've got it back to the beginning through the scan.
Tom: Exactly. And you can use programs like Digital Darkroom, Photoshop, there's so many great programs out there to use now.
Fisher: All right, great advice as usual, Tom. Talk to you again next week.
Tom: My pleasure.
Fisher: Hey, that's it for this week. This segment's been brought to you by MyHeritage.com. Thanks once again to the photo detective, Maureen Taylor for coming on and talking about different ways you can find ancestral photographs. If you missed any of it of course, catch the podcast. Don't forget to sign up for our Weekly Genie newsletter. It’s free! You can do it at ExtremeGenes.com or on our Facebook page. Talk to you next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone know, we're a nice, normal family!