Episode 189 - Kansas City Woman Rediscovers Her Father’s Voice / Which Of The Major Websites Best Fits Your Research?

podcast episode Apr 30, 2017

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Fisher & David talk about a unique couple of book pages, dating back to the early 20th century, passed down by Fisher’s cousin. These two pages feature a man and a woman, and a special warning based on their appearance. Hear what it is in the podcast. The guys next discuss why it is, should you visit your ancestor’s grave in Edinburgh, Scotland, he or she might not actually be below your feet! You’ll be amazed to hear this. Plus another copy of the Declaration of Independence has been located, but certainly not where you might have expected one to be found. Then David spotlights blogger Heather Rojo and her NutfieldGenealogy.blogspot.com column. Heather’s been getting a lot of attention in her hometown by sharing her grandmother’s diary from 1920, mentioning lots of local people.

Next, Fisher visits with Laurie Sue (Rudy) Meyer of Kansas City, Missouri. For decades, one of Laurie’s family’s treasured heirlooms was missing. That is, until recently when Laurie rediscovered it. You’ll want to hear about this treasure… in fact, you’ll want to HEAR it too!

Then, Sunny Morton from the Genealogy Gems podcast talks to Fisher about a lecture she gave at RootsTech that packed the house. It’s on the topic of “which of the big four websites is best for my research?” As you can imagine, there is no one answer, and Sunny will help you navigate this tricky question, the answer to which has everything to do with what you are trying to accomplish.

In Preservation Time with Tom Perry, from TMCPlace.com, learn when DPI is not DPI! If you’re scanning your family images, it’s fascinating reveal of the best way to assure you achieve your scanning goals.

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

Transcript of Episode 189

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 189

Fisher: And welcome to 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 is brought to you by 23andMe.comDNA and we’ve got some great guests again today as always, coming up for you in about eight or nine minutes or so. We are going to talk to a Kansas City woman who struck genealogical gold, something she thought she lost years ago but then found it recently. And what a piece it is. You’re going to want to hear this segment. Plus later in the show, Sunny Morton is here. Sunny is a regular on the podcast Genealogy Gems with Lisa Louise Cooke and she’s answering a question a lot of people are asking. Which of the big four genealogical websites would you use for what purpose? It’s a great question. She’s going to have some answers for you later in the show. And right now let’s head out to Boston and talk to the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historical Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Hello David Allen Lambert.

David: Hello sir. Well, I’m not in Beantown right now. I’m actually at the 14th New England Regional Genealogical Conference out in Springfield, Massachusetts, the same town that brought you Indian motorcycles and the home of Dr Seuss.

Fisher: [Laughs] Very nice!

David: By the way, I want to thank you on behalf of my daughters with the worldly advice of your relatives on men they should watch out for.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah, if you go to ExtremeGenes.com I posted some stuff. You know, many of us being the family historians of this generation inherited stuff from the family historians of the previous generation and my mother had a cousin. She sent me incredible genealogy gold and among it were a couple of pieces that she tore out of some turn of the century magazines. And one had a picture of a man, a very stylish looking early 20th century guy. And under his picture it said, “Never marry a man of this type. The woman who marries a man with a physiognomy similar to the above, the weak points and whose character are further described on page 857 is likely to have a life full of trouble and to rest in a premature grave. Mothers caution your daughters!” [Laughs]

David: My heart goes out to our listeners who look upon this picture and see their beloved spouse’s image on the screen. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Absolutely. By the way there’s one for the other side as well, the women that you don’t want your sons to be marrying to.

David: Oh, girls that you would not bring home to mother.

Fisher: Exactly, exactly. And I tell you what you might even see her ankles! You can see in the picture, so be careful there.

David: [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] All right, let us spin the Wheel of Wherever today to see where we’re going to start out with our Family Histoire News. [Wheel Spinning] All right laddie, it’s Scotland! You don’t happen to have a Scotland story on you, do you David?

David: Well, heading up towards the islands we do. In lovely Edinburgh, but this is not for the faint of heart, because in 19th century Scotland, if you were put in the ground by your loved ones, you didn’t always stay there. Because of the days of the schools of anatomy, grave robbers would often haunt cemeteries. In fact, some even went so far as to kill people to say that that had stolen bodies. So Scotland came up with a neat idea... cage the dead. Put locked cages over the burials of their loved ones so no one would dig them up.

Fisher: You’re kidding! That’s crazy, so this was going on because medical schools needed bodies, so they’d go dig people up?

David: Exactly. It harkens back to the days of Frankenstein with the body stealing that was going on. It was the same thing they would need bodies for anatomy classes. So originally it would be the incarcerated. They were executed, but then they would start going to the fresh graves of people at night and by lantern dig up the body and deliver it straight to the medical schools where they would pay for these ancestors of ours. So when you go visit an ancestor, if they didn’t have a cage over the grave, who knows if there’s anyone down there!

Fisher: [Laughs] That’s terrible. And the ground would be soft of course.

David: Exactly. Well, my next story is also over in the UK. The copy of the Declaration of Independence, did you see that story?

Fisher: Yes I did, this is incredible. I didn’t realize that there was only one copy of the Declaration and that that’s the one that’s on display in Washington DC. But these history hunters got a little clue that something might be across the pond and that’s where they found it.

David: Right, in Chichester, England they found a hand written copy of the Declaration of Independence. Almost like if someone said, “Make a copy and send it over here.” And it doesn’t have the signatures of the signers but it has their names written out. But it’s quite a large vellum document and could be second to our copy in Washington DC, the most valuable copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Fisher: And they’re saying it dates back to about the 1780s but they really don’t know who’s behind it and why.

David: Who knows, maybe there was a copy that was sent to George the III for his reading pleasure.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Every week we like to give a blogger spotlight, and I’d like to give a shout out to my friend and colleague and fellow genealogist Heather Rojo, who does a blog called NutfieldGenealogy.blogspot.com. Now, Heather’s grandmother back in 1920, when she was 15 years old, kept a diary, and this has been one of the more popular blog posts that Heather has done. She’s had about twenty instalments. Can you imagine being a teenager 97 years ago and what you wrote about, the people you went to school with, your neighbors? So the community is chiming in to find out what she wrote about their family members.

Fisher: Wow that’s fun! So she takes a quote from each day of the diary, right?

David: Exactly. And then she puts a physical image of the diary, associated images etc. But you know the nice thing about this, even though it’s Sudbury, Massachusetts, it’s also applicable to anybody out there. Any of our listeners who have the diaries of their own ancestors could do this and start a blog.

Fisher: Yeah, imagine if somebody, say in the south, had a diary from the Civil War to post that on a blog would be incredible.

David: Absolutely, and the wonderful thing about that it would allow other people that they’re associated in that diary that may have never even known a clue about their ancestors. So good or bad it’s a wonderful way of sharing family history, and in Boston we’d like to introduce the idea that maybe we could help you with your family history. We would like you to become a free guest member of NEHGS at AmericanAncestors.org. And if you decide you’d like to join, why don’t you use the coupon code “Extreme” and you’ll save $20, will talk to you soon when I’m back in Beantown again.

Fisher: All right, thanks so much. And coming up next, a Kansas City woman and a discovery of an old recording that she thought she’d lost years ago. You’ll hear her and the recording in three minutes! 

Segment 2 Episode 189

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Laurie Sue Rudy Meyer

Fisher: And we are back, it is Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment by the way is brought to you by MyHeritage.com. And I ran into this story not too long ago and did a little tracking down to find my next guest. She is Laurie Sue Rudy Meyer. First of all, welcome to Extreme Genes, Laurie. Where do you live?

Laurie: Kansas City, Missouri.

Fisher: It wasn’t long ago you were doing a little scavenging around the house and you ran across something that you were aware of from when you were a child but thought perhaps it was lost. Tell us about the experience.

Laurie: It was a record, a 45 record and the title on it was “Love and Kisses.” I started digging through trunks and I found it again and I looked at it and it was like a drop of white paint on it and I thought oh, it’s no good anymore.

Fisher: Wow. Now this goes back to what era are we talking? Because 45s were around in the ‘50s and the ‘60s, what era does this one go back to?

Laurie: Right during the beginning of World War 2.

Fisher: So this was one of those recordings that a service person would do stepping into a booth right? And then send it back home to the girlfriend or mom and dad.

Laurie: Yes. The American Red Cross supplied that to soldiers going away.

Fisher: So this was a break in the action for your dad. Was he home on leave or on his way out?

Laurie: I believe he was in the initial phase of leaving the country and he landed in Chicago where everything was supplied to these young men before they went overseas. He was in awe because it was a big city.

Fisher: And where did he grow up?

Laurie: Cleveland, Ohio.

Fisher: Okay and Cleveland is a big city. Was he in the outskirts or in a rural area?

Laurie: A rural area.

Fisher: Okay. And so he left his girlfriend behind, oh, it just happens to be your mother so I guess we know how that all turned out. [Laughs] Tell us about this relationship, how far along it was at that point would you say?

Laurie: Well, my mother was in nursing school there in Cleveland and apparently she fell in love with my dad. He came from a very poor rural farm with a lot of children. All he had was dickies he used to put it under his sweaters. He didn’t really own any nice clothes or anything but he kept rotating the dickies to look like he had different shirts on underneath the sweaters.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Laurie: And my mother came from Shaker Heights which was known as a very upper class neighborhood but they fell in love in college. And when the war was calling my dad left, but, in college nurses were not allowed to be married in nursing school.

Fisher: Ha!

Laurie: But somehow or another, my parents cheated the system and they had gotten married.

Fisher: Oh! So were they married at the time they made this recording?

Laurie: Yes.

Fisher: Were they secretly married or were they openly married

Laurie: They were secretly married.

Fisher: Secretly married, okay. Because I know listening to it I don’t hear any reference to them being married, more like hey, hey you’re my girl kind of thing. [Laughs]

Laurie: Yes.

Fisher: Being very, very sneaky. So when did you first become acquainted with this record, Laurie?

Laurie: When I was in grade school, probably in the ‘60s. And I wanted to keep it so I put it inside I think like the family Bible. So when I moved from Florida back to Kansas City I knew it was well kept. But it was so well kept it was kept from me. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] So how many years has it been missing then?

Laurie: Oh, I hadn’t heard my dad’s voice probably in forty years, I believe.

Fisher: And so after the war was over what did he do for a living? 

Laurie: He then went on the GI bill and he went to Ohio State University and also down in Louisiana and he received a degree of civil engineering at the time.

Fisher: Okay. So he really kind of broke out of the rural lifestyle.

Laurie: Oh yes.

Fisher: And so when you found this record, which wasn’t that long ago, how did you discover it?

Laurie: I really don’t know how I did but I was really excited when I saw it because it’s very odd to be able to hear your father’s voice when they’d been in the grave you know, for twenty five years or so.

Fisher: Twenty five years ago, early ‘90s huh?

Laurie: Yes. It was delightful and I went to the video store and they’d been copying tin pictures and other pictures for me and I brought in that and Chad said there shouldn’t be any problem, and within a couple of days he called me and he says, “I have it done.”

Fisher: Digitized.

Laurie: Yes. And I was so excited but he didn’t want me to hear it until the TV crew came.

Fisher: Oh! [Laughs] You got a little coverage for that, yes?

Laurie: Yes. So for the first time in years and when I heard his young voice I was just like, “No, he sounded like he was old forever when I was growing up!” [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Of course!

Laurie: And then I could hear his accent being from up in the Lake area, the Greater Lakes area. And he used to tell me about sailing on the Great Lakes and being caught over the border of Canada and picked up. But his ancestry is from Austria and also from France. So when he went overseas he was very excited about going to France and all the European front over there. He was in the army and the airborne division.

Fisher: Oh boy.

Laurie: And he became a master sergeant.

Fisher: So let’s give a listen to your dad’s voice now from this recording that has been digitized back in your home place in Kansas City.

“This comes from the Chicago Service and Center: Hello June darling. This is Jim remembering you. I thought this little record would please you. Anyway it’s different from writing. And in case you don’t like it it’s very easy to shut me up, just turn the switch. No kidding. I do hope you like it and if you only knew how I’ve lived with this fit and how my knees are shaking, you would appreciate it even if I don’t do much but stammer. Now to tell you some things if I can get my tongue untwisted and find a place to start. Let me say here that Chicago hospitality can’t be equalled anywhere on any bases. We servicemen have everything our little heart’s desire; free shows, dancing, eats, the best libraries, writing room, games, dormitories, valet service, ride street cars and buses free and so many nice things that I’m at a loss for words to describe it. Yessiree, they do have about everything and give us everything but the key to the City Hall, and you can’t blame them for holding that out on us.

How’s the sweetest and kindest girl in the world? I don’t have to tell you I miss you and I’m starving for your love and affection. Life is fine and the only great disadvantage is this transaction of love by mail. Well, it just doesn’t agree with me. When we get this mess cleaned up I am flying to Kansas as far as we are concerned. And until then dear heart, I will just have to dream that you will be there. Turn the record over when this side is played out. Honey, I just got through reading all I’ve said to you off of a couple of cards so now I’m on my own. We’re having a swell time here. There’s five of us that are running around together and I guess we just got through playing ping pong. We had supper here. We’re having a good time. I just wrote you a letter and I wrote mom a letter and I guess we’re planning to go bowling as soon as we get out of here now, then we’ll probably go around and try to see a little bit of Chicago. I sure wish you was here with me now. The guys are outside the window now making a lot of fun of me. All the fellas made records and sent them home. It sure is a swell place and have everything from soup to nuts here. We have all kinds of games rooms, and library, and stationary, and everything you wanted to eat. How’s all your studies going at school? I suppose you’ve been over to see mom lately. I wrote mom a letter telling her I was sorry that I didn’t get to write lately but we’ve had so much to do. We’ve finished all our work on the plane and we shipped the plane back to battlefield today so that’s all done. We’re all happy about that. It’s cold as the devil back in the tent. Last night we had pizzas for supper and before I had a chance to eat the pizza they froze tight in my pan. Well, I’m just about running out of words and I guess they’re running out of record too. So I’ll say goodbye honey and I’ll write you again tomorrow night.”

Fisher: How does that make you feel when you listen to that Laurie?

Laurie: Emotional. When you lose your parents it does make you an adult and I’m in the generation up next for you know, the last one standing! [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Well, like many of us are. Many of us are. But it is fun to hear that when you think that it’s just not as common from back in that era to have audio recordings. That makes this even more of a treasure. Was there anything in there that you heard that surprised you or you found unusual?

Laurie: Well, he was so excited about being in Chicago because Chicago used to be during those days a really great place to go. And he talked a lot about everything that was offered to the soldiers at the time. And I can just imagine all those young soldiers out and about probably on their own for the first time in a big city.

Fisher: So have you shared this audio with your children or your nieces or your nephews? Who all has gotten a copy of this?

Laurie: Well, I called my niece and told her, and then she posted it on Facebook to our family.

Fisher: And so it will live forever.

Laurie: Yes! Yes, and so will his jacket and his pipes and his fishing lures, and everything that I have left of his to cherish.

Fisher: Well, she’s Laurie Sue Rudy Meyer. She’s in Kansas City, Missouri. Thank you so much for coming on Laurie and congratulations on finding this incredible treasure of your dad.

Laurie: Well, thank you so much for taking the time to honor him. It’s the greatest tribute that I can give him while he’s dead.

Fisher: Well, it’s the greatest generation, too, Laurie and he was part of that.

Laurie: Yes he was. I was very proud of his accomplishments in life.

Fisher: I think you should be. Thanks so much for coming on.

Laurie: Well, thank you for having me.

Fisher: What a great thing to have preserved over seventy some odd years old. Incredible! Hey, coming up next we’re going to talk to Sunny Morton. She’s a regular contributor to the Genealogy Gems podcast with Lisa Louise Cooke and she’s going to talk about a question that many of us get all the time about the big four genealogy sites. What are the strengths of each of them? Which ones should you use for specific projects? We’ll find out more from Sunny in five minutes on Extreme Genes. 

Segment 3 Episode 189

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Sunny Morton

Fisher: And welcome back, it’s 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 RootsMagic.com. I first became acquainted with my next guest a couple of years ago at a lecture she gave at a conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. And more recently, she gave a lecture at RootsTech that has everybody buzzing. Everybody wants to know about it. It’s the genealogy giants... comparing the four major websites, and Sunny Morton who is an associate with Genealogy Gems, Lisa Louise Cooke’s tremendous podcast. Welcome to Extreme Genes, it’s great to have you on the show!

Sunny: Thank you Scott, it’s great to be here.

Fisher: So, you were just packing the halls at RootsTech, talking about the comparison of the four genealogical giants in the industry and some of the pluses and minuses for each of them, because there really is a role for each site depending on what it is that you’re doing. So go ahead and explain exactly how you laid this whole thing out.

Sunny: Well, certainly this is a really hot topic. It’s a question on everybody’s mind, whether you’re a beginner or whether you’ve been at this for a little while. You really are asking yourself sometimes, which website do I really want to use? As the industry gets bigger there’s more out there and it’s so hard to keep up with all of them.

Fisher: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. Now, the other aspect is, where do you plant your flag, right?

Sunny: Exactly.

Fisher: Because you don’t want to be entering things on each site by hand, and it’s kind of difficult on some to transfer material over to it.

Sunny: Totally agree. So the big sites that I really wanted to pinpoint in this lecture that seem to really have the most international audience are going to be, Ancestry, FamilySearch, FindMyPast, and MyHeritage. So when you see the four big websites, those are the four I really targeted. And often a lot of us know one or maybe two of those sites really, really well. And when it comes to the others we’re kind of scratching our heads a little and saying, “You know, I really haven’t gotten over there, or I heard something about it. I just haven’t tried it.” So that’s really what my talk is all about. It’s to help people really get inside the mind and the structure of a website and what they have to offer before they’ve, you know, shelled out the money to subscribe or hours to try to learn it themselves.

Fisher: Well let’s talk about some of those advantages. I think we have the issues of dealing with American records, like favor one site over another, and then if we’re looking into say European records, or African records, we might find another site is more beneficial or advantageous to us. How do you separate them out?

Sunny: You know, it’s trickier than it sounds. You think you could just go in and count the number of records of each country on each site, and you can’t really do that because each site might count their historical records a little bit differently. For example, is a birth record one record because it’s one certificate, or it is three records because mom, dad and baby are all mentioned in there for its three names?

Fisher: Right.

Sunny: It depends on the site, Scott. It really does.

Fisher: Well, it sounds like it. So, as you go through these, how do they count them?

Sunny: I wish that I could just give you a magical formula, and then we could do a conversion and then have an algorithm that would make it really easy, but it depends on the record types. The census records that they have tend to even out. They’re really one-to-one in terms of the numbers, tend to look very even across the spectrum, but again, once you get back to a record like a birth certificate, that’s where you’re going to see the different numbers showing up for even the same databases.

Fisher: Sure.

Sunny: And there’s another trick there, Scott, is that once you start comparing the records of each site, some of them have the very same content, the very same databases, sometimes because they’ve all gotten some record content from FamilySearch, which has partner relationships with each of the commercial sites, Ancestry, FindMyPast, and MyHeritage. So, they’ve been distributing some records, but also sometimes because some of those records are easy for each of those sites to source themselves.

Fisher: Right.

Sunny: And so they all have it, but sometimes a site might only have an index to put with your collection, while another site might have the images to it, and then another site might go above and beyond what everybody else has, because they’ve gone out and gotten some exclusive right, or they’re the only ones so far that have captured particular kinds of records, and that’s where you really see leadership in the historical record content. And one thing that I’ve done ever since I gave that lecture back at RootsTech in February, is I went ahead and took the time to do a country by country comparison from more than 30 countries, saying whose got what records, whose got some content versus whose got particularly strong content, and that’s something that I’ve put in this new guide that Genealogy Gems is publishing for me. And worst of all these 30 countries saying, whose got the stronger content relatively, so I’m going into the back end of the site and really doing a deep comparison of the databases, what they have on those sites. Another thing that’s been a real “Aha!” moment for a lot of people that I’ve taught this lecture to, is a lot of people don’t realize that the structure of the family tree on FamilySearch versus the commercial partners, Ancestry, FindMyPast, and MyHeritage, the structure of those trees is actually different, and so, the experience of working with the trees, the pros and cons, the privacy level.

Fisher: Right.

Sunny: The sharing and collaboration, those are all different at Family Search versus the other three websites. So, I actually really like teaching that part, because I feel like I’ll go on and people sit and they say, “Ohh, now I understand why I’m having this experience over at FamilySearch” which has one big world community tree.

Fisher: Right.

Sunny: Versus over at Ancestry, FindMyPast and MyHeritage where each user builds their own individual tree and sets their own privacy settings.

Fisher: And there’re advantages to both. I love the Wiki model on FamilySearch, because you can find material from other people all right there, but I also like having control of my own tree on all the other places.

Sunny: Yes, that’s absolutely true, and you know, I’m asked how do you even look at these, and do you pick a favorite, and what are you going to tell me at the end of all these comparisons? Are you going to tell me which site is the best? And really, Scott, there is no one answer for that.

Fisher: Right.

Sunny: Because like you said, there are clear cut pros and cons of those tree formats, I might need records for Germany right now working on my tree and you might be working on an unknown heritage case, and you’re looking for DNA connections, and you’re looking for a fresh set of trees that you can look at for hints, so you might be looking for a different website, and so, it really does depend and I think it’s really important, if we want to make great progress in our genealogy research, to know about the strengths of each of these four websites and what our different options are for extracting them. Because there are free access options, you have to subscribe to all of them.

Fisher: That’s right.

Sunny: You have to play out the wazoo in order to access each of these sites.

Fisher: [Laughs] Right. And there’s special offers and that type of thing. Speaking of which, you have this book now, it’s available I assume online, right, through GenealogyGems.com?

Sunny: Yes, it’s GenealogyGems.com. So, what this is, is a four-page quick guide. So it will just, in those four pages, lay out for you a very clear bullet point and table format, what you need to know to make judgement calls about the main points that I’ve been talking about here. Big historical record content, for different trees, you know, how many of them are there and how do I work with them. I talk about DNA testing features that are available at the two sites that offer it, again the privacy settings, what you can do with a free guest account, what you can do with a free library access and the subscription cost, and so, we’ve got this guide and its brand new, on the GenealogyGems.com website, and it’s available for $9.95 in print format, and the digital version is available for $6.95. But I have a promo code for you and your listeners, so that it will be even less.

Fisher: Awesome.

Sunny: You want to hear it?

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] Go ahead.

Sunny: [Laughs] Okay. For ten percent off of that guide, this is the promo code, WEB10. W-E-B-10, all together, all caps. And that promo code is good until July 31st of this year, 2017. And again, that’s for ten percent off of Genealogy Giants Comparing the Four Major Websites Quick Guide that’s available in print and digital download format.

Fisher: She is Sunny Morton. She’s the Genealogy Gems editor and book club guru. Thanks so much, Sunny. Great stuff!

Sunny: Thank you so much, Scott.

Fisher: And, on the way next, it’s the Preservation Authority, Tom Perry, from TMCPlace.com. Hey, if you’re looking to scan something, what kind of dpi should you use? What does it really mean? Well, Tom gets under the hood on that for you, and other things, more questions from you, the listener. It’s coming up for you in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 4 Episode 189

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Got to tell you, I love talking preservation, especially when I'm shelling out so many things to other people. Hi, it’s Fisher and this is Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. This segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. We're talking preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Hi Tom.

Tom: Hello.

Fisher: And this past week, I've been actually sending out documents, old records that I've got in big collections that came to me relating to my family, but it related to other branches that did not tie to me. So I've been tracking down descendants of those branches and trying to get those things out to people and they either want scans or they want the originals and I'm happy to do it, but it’s fun to see that people are really getting involved now in collecting those heirlooms that are so rare, and talk about real gems! But it’s really important that they know exactly what they're doing, especially when it comes to sharing.

Tom: Oh, absolutely! In fact, with the digital age that we're in the middle of right now, everything is so much easier to do, people are a lot more educated, but sometimes education can be dangerous.

Fisher: Right. Having just a little bit of knowledge is actually probably worse than none at all.

Tom: Exactly. And in any kind of thing, you're going to run into people that have different opinions, you know, that's why we have Democrats and Republicans, people have different opinions. And so, there's more and more of these genealogy mini RootsTech conferences going on across the country, different people are getting in and expressing their opinions, and then people are talking to us at RootsTech or emailing us some of the things that they're hearing or kind of a little bit…

Fisher: Off?

Tom: … off! Yeah!

Fisher: Yeah! [Laughs]

Tom: That's a nice way to say it!

Fisher: Okay, you're gently easing into this. What are we talking about specifically here?

Tom: Okay, we're talking about, people say, "I love what you've told us about slides, but then somebody else told me this. What do I need to do?" We always tell you, it depends what your end game is. If your end game is quality is number one, you don't care about price, then you want to go high dpi, you want to get the best scanners you can or go to a place that has super high technology scanners, even if you to go to a place that make billboards or something, because they scan super, super high quality because they're got to make a huge billboard out of a 3x5 print that the customer's given them.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: So you need to kind of understand the language. And this is one segment I apologize upfront, you're going to have to go and get the podcast and listen to it again.

Fisher: Or read the transcript, because every show is transcribed now, so you can kind of get the gist of it. So you're saying this is like a 404 course here?

Tom: At least.

Fisher: Oh boy.

Tom: 404 on steroids.

Fisher: Oh boy, I'm not that good. I'm going to wash out of the class already, I know that.

Tom: [Laughs] Well, what you need to understand, like we said, what you endgame is. Some people say, "No, you always need TIFFs." Some people will say, "No, jpegs then convert them into PNG." Some people say, "You need NEFs." Some people say, "You need RARs." All these different kinds of things, so what I'm going to try and do in this segment and the next segment is kind of break it down so you understand a little bit about them, so you can decide, "Hey, is this overkill or not." And if you don't totally understand it, you can always tweet me @AskTomP. In fact, we put up a chart a couple of weeks ago about basic scanning skills. Now when you're into the scanning world, people talk about dpi. That's one the biggest that everybody knows what dpi is, which is?

Fisher: Dots per inch.

Tom: Exactly. However, when is dots per inch not really dots per inch? When you get into different quality printers, they're different. For instance, if I take my laser printer, which is a great laser printer and I print out an 8x10 sheet at 250 dpi or whatever, it’s going to look XYZ. If I take that exact same file, that exact same dpi and print it out on my big Mutoh, which we make the great, big banners off of, it’s going to look a thousand times better, and people are going, "Well, how can it be the same dpi?" It’s the way the printer lays down the dots.

Fisher: Ha!

Tom: Whether they're just solid dots or kind of overlaid dots, how the color saturation is. There's a lot of different things that go into printing. So most people, most professional printers when they're talking about dpi, they're talking about the output, how they're going to print it. So the input is usually done in megapixels. For instance, let me give you an example. If somebody brings a slide in to us and says, "Okay, I want this scanned," we're going to do it at 16.2 megapixels, which is 16.2 million pixels. And so, after the break, we'll get in some more information about exactly how these work.

Fisher: All right, Tom. I'm going to have to review my notes already, try to keep up with you. I'm already thinking of things that I can use this new knowledge for. Hey, we'll dig a little deeper here, this high level college course that Mr. Perry is sharing with us, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 189

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And we're back, talking preservation with Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth on America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. All right, in our last segment, we were talking about dots per inch and why they only matter on the output that we're getting, and that's why on the input side, we have to be dealing with megapixels, is that right, Tom?

Tom: Right. Megapixels is a better way when you're talking about scanning slides, photos, different things like this, because it gives you more understanding of how many pixels there are, because dpi is basically as we mentioned in the first segment, the printer prints so many dots per inch, but when you're scanning things, you're actually really scanning it in megapixels. However, most things that keep them on a consumer level will use dpi as reference, which is fine.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: But megapixels is what's really important. So if somebody's scanning slides for you, you want to know how many megapixels they're doing it at. For instance, like 16.2 megapixels is how we scan slides. And so, to tie this into English, if you wanted to print out, say, like a 16x11 inch print, that's going to be printed at 300 dpi, which is going to look absolutely wonderful. I mean, it will look amazing!

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: Because you scanned this little, teeny 35mm slide at 16.2 megapixels, so when you make an 11x17 approximate print, it’s going to look absolutely beautiful, because its scanned so high, it’s actually looking at this little slide like it’s really 16 inches big.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: We did some that we did with Notre Dame over in Europe and you could actually see… across the Rhine River… seagull poop on the roof of the cathedral!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: I mean, that's how tight it was!

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: It was amazing! [Laughs]

Fisher: We all need that. [Laughs]

Tom: Exactly. So can you imagine how artwork, all the, you know, little chips in the brick, all these different things just stand out so beautiful. Now if all you're doing is scanning your items and you don't want to do all this kind of stuff, then you can do it at 1200, 300, 600 dpi, depending on what you want. If you really want to do some fancy editing or somebody has a photo that's kind of like, even maybe a little bit blurry and out of focus and some artifacts in it, you want to scan that really, really high. And if you have the equipment like Photoshop or Digital Dark Room, you can scan it in lossless form, which is usually referred to as either RAW, R A W, of NEF, which is N E F, that's like 14 bit data for editing. So you can go in pixel by pixel and remove that seagull poop from the top of the cathedral! It’s just, it’s amazing what you can do.

Fisher: And without any of it getting under your fingernails.

Tom: Exactly. So it makes it really, really nice. So you might have these old pictures, we have a lot of people bring us in photos that were torn and damaged that they want them to look brand new, and we have ones coming in, they, even though they're looking at it, they still can't believe what we were able to do with it. And it’s all digital. It’s not really hard work, its smart work and time consuming.

Fisher: Time consuming, that's right.

Tom: So that's what you have to be careful with. So any of these things, if you've got time, you enjoy doing these kinds of things, these are great opportunities to take those old photos, scan them at a high dpi or have somebody outside scan them for you at major megapixels, then you can go in and play with them, pixel by pixel, move things around. And it’s actually a lot of fun.

Fisher: Oh, it is a lot of fun. I just had a cousin send me a picture going, "Can you help with this?" and it had tears in it and chips in it and lines right through an eyeball and through the nose, and was actually able to restore her, so she looked undoubtedly pretty much as it was originally. It looks pretty good. I was pretty pleased with it.

Tom: Oh, it is. And the thing is, like I say, it’s not hard. And with YouTube out there now, you can find some kind of a video or multiple videos of how to do these things. Go in and type "Photoshop photo restoration" and you'll find a ton of YouTube videos where it will go and walk you through piece by piece and show you how to do this kind of stuff. So it’s something you can teach yourself.

Fisher: Well, and even if you know a fair amount about it, you'll probably find a point or two that will help make it even better for you.

Tom: Exactly. If you still have questions, you can always email me at [email protected] or go to my twitter account @AskTomP.

Fisher: All right, great stuff, Tom. Thanks for coming on, and we'll see you again next week.

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: Hey, that's it for this week. This segment has been brought to you by LegacyTree.com. Thanks for joining us. Hope you've got a lot out of it. By the way, if you're just starting out, don't be afraid to make mistakes. Dive in and you'll learn. By the way, we have assets for you waiting also with our Weekly Genie newsletter, you can sign up on the website, ExtremeGenes.com. It’s absolutely free and a lot of good links in there for you, inspiring stories and information. Talk to you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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