Episode 194 - Buying Your Childhood Or Ancestral Homes, The Ups & Downs; Maureen Taylor on Spring Cleaning Your Photo Collection

podcast episode Jun 04, 2017

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. David begins “Family Histoire News” with a story from Germany that should serve as a warning to anybody who buys military related memorabilia at a flea market. Then, it’s the story of a group of guys who posed for a picture in 1966, only to recreate it five decades later. Hear all about it. Then, it’s been a remarkable journey for an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor who has belatedly (for obvious reasons) completed an important life milestone.  David next talks about a unique Connecticut cemetery… one that was made for slaves, with many of the tombstones created by slaves.  David then puts the blogger spotlight on John Grenham’s Irish Roots, johngrenham.com.blog, a great place to interact regularly on Irish history and genealogy.

Next, Fisher catches up with writer Audrey Brasich who recently published a great article in Realtor.com on adult children buying or moving into their childhood homes or ancestral homes. Audrey’s got some great stories and advice if you’re considering such a move.

Then, Photo Detective Maureen Taylor rejoins the show with advice on spring cleaning your photo collection. Looking to “declutter?” Maureen will tell you what you should and shouldn’t eliminate, and how to maximize the family value of your ancestral photographs.

Tom Perry from TMCPlace, the Preservation Authority, drops in to talk about the latest equipment and software that has him “geeked” up! If you’re thinking “Do It Yourself” or even about starting your own preservation business, you’ll want to hear what Tom has to say.

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

Transcript of Episode 194

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 194

Fisher: And you have found us, 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. And this segment is brought to you by MyHeritage.com. And I’m delighted to have today another great guest, in fact, a couple of them. Audrey Brashich, she is a writer with Realtor.com and recently did a great story about people buying back their childhood homes, and ancestral homes and some of the downside to that that you might not expect. So we’re going to talk to Audrey about that, coming up in about eight minutes or so. And then later in the show, the Photo Detective Maureen Taylor is back. And since it’s spring she’s got spring cleaning of your photographs and your collection on her mind. She’s got some great tips for you, so that’s coming up later in the show. And also of course, we talk to Tom Perry about preservation. We’re going to get into some acronyms about a new program that’s out there that can really help you when it comes to do-it-yourselfing with your home movies and your home videos. But right now let’s check in with David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. How are things in Boston, sir?

David: Oh, It’s June. It’s warm. It’s okay to go outside without a snow shovel.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: It’s great!

Fisher: Very nice. Well, let’s start out with a spin of the Wheel of Wherever as we get into our Family Histoire News today. [Wheel spinning] And we start with Germany! Do you have a story from Germany for us today David?

David: Oh, this is an explosive story and it actually has to do with the past, in a way. You know the way you can go to a yard sale or a flea market and buy remnants from the wars? People collected souvenirs, you know badges or hand grenades.

Fisher: [Laughs] What?

David: Well, I don’t know about you but I haven’t purchased any old hand grenades. But in Hennef, Germany a fellow had gone out and bought some WW II era hand grenades and other weapons he bought at a flea market and decided to store them in his garage. Well as we know, summer’s approaching and the warm weather is already hitting in Hennef, Germany where these things started exploding on a regular basis.

Fisher: Ooh. [Laughs]

David: Yes so just a word to the wise, if you’re going to buy a hand grenade make sure you can see an empty hole drilled into the bottom of it and there’s nothing in it.

Fisher: Well, good point.

David: I had a hand grenade that I used to leave on my desk at my old job and I had a tag on that said “Complaint Department.”

Fisher: Yes. [Laughs]

David: Speaking of warm weather, one of the things that I like to do is go visit places I went when I was a kid with my parents, may it be camping in Maine, or the beach. Three guys in Cape Coral, Florida, decided to reunite and do a photo shoot from a casual picture they took in the late 1960s. So fifty years later they got together. This picture originally was taken in Cape Cod.

Fisher: Would you want to recreate a picture with your shirt off now Dave? I mean, really? What are these guys thinking?

David: Well, let’s see.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: In the summer of 1969, I was a wee, about a month or two old.

Fisher: Hmm.

David: So I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad. I probably still have the baby chub that I had back then.

Fisher: Right. [Laughs]

David: My next story has to do with a high school graduate. Esther Begam graduated from high school in Wayzata High School in Minnesota. Now you might think of her as hundreds of thousands of people graduating in this time of year. However, she’s 88 years old, Fish.

Fisher: Wow! How cool is that!

David: Well, the story even gets touching because besides the person who had to leave school early on, because it was in the height of World War II, she and her family were in Auschwitz in other concentration camps. And it’s just terrible to think. But she did meet somebody and at seventeen she got married and moved to Minnesota to start a new life. So, here she is seventy odd years later finally getting her high school diploma. So hats off to Esther and all the other graduates this year.

Fisher: Isn’t that great? And you know she went and actually spoke to some of the high school kids. And one of the teachers was so touched by the fact that she considered it one of the great disappointments in her life that she hadn’t gotten her diploma, so she made this happen. It’s an honorary high school diploma. And she certainly has the life experience to have earned that, yes?

David: She really does. I think that she has life lessons she can teach a lot of people. Well, in Connecticut I found a very interesting article which we have up on Extreme Genes and read through it because I do love cemeteries. But a lot of people will take for granted that there’s a grave stone for their ancestors. African Americans who searched for their ancestors when you’re going back to the time of slavery generally don’t find grave stones.

Fisher: Yes it’s very difficult.

David: In this article it kind of talks about the surviving gravestones throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island, and other parts of New England where there actually are the occasional grave stone. I can even recall going to Old Granary Cemetery in Boston and seeing the grave stone for “Frank,” the slave of John Hancock, and thinking how unique that was and how I’ve only probably seen in Massachusetts less than twenty five slave grave stones from the era when Massachusetts had slavery, which was abolished in 1783. So think of the countless hundreds of thousands of slaves that just don’t have stones to find.

Fisher: Right. And this is such a unique cemetery because a lot of these grave stones were actually made by slaves for slaves.

David: And because of websites like BillionGraves and Findagrave.com you’re finding more and more people getting out and finding these and putting them on the internet so people can search on them. Maybe there needs to be a tab that says “Slave” and we can search on slave grave stones, that way making it a little bit easier because most of them don’t have a last name.

Fisher: Right.

David: They have a first name or the name of the master. Our blogger spotlight this week goes all the way over to Ireland to the website for John Grenham’s Irish Roots at JohnGrenham.com/blog. John Grenham is a noted authority on Irish research and has written many articles and books in regard to the subject. But his blog is a way to interact on a daily basis on humor, history and genealogy where he talks about cemeteries, his individual mapping of the 1901 Census of Ireland and different reviews of Irish websites, including RootsIreland.ie. AmericanAncestors welcomes you to become a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society as a guest member for free. Or if you decide to join you can use the checkout code “Extreme” to save $20. That’s all I have from Beantown this week for you Fish. Talk to you soon.

Fisher: All right buddy. You live by the way in your childhood home, do you not?

David: I do… since the day I was born.

Fisher: Since the day you were born. So we’re going to talk to Audrey Brashich, coming up next. She’s written a great article about people who buy their childhood homes back, expecting to have a certain experience. We’ll hear what she has to say about that, how it turns out in reality, in three minutes on Extreme Genes America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 194

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Audrey Brashich

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 23andMe.comDNA. And if you’re like me, many of you perhaps have looked back at the home you grew up with and thought, “Wow! Wouldn’t it be great to go and live in that home again?” Maybe raise the kids there or have the grandkids come and visit it? And certainly live in those memories of your childhood. I’ve certainly thought about that for many years but there’ve been many practical reasons where I’ve just said you know, that’s not going to happen. And it’s nice just to visit. Maybe we’d knock on the door and see if the current owners would let you walk through it once in a while. But there is a trend right now with the growth and interest in genealogy, and all the records that are available. People are buying back their childhood homes, people are buying back ancestral homes, and it isn’t always what we think it’s going to be. And Audrey Brashich of Vancouver, British Columbia has written an amazing article about this in a lifestyle section of Realtor.com. And Audrey is on the phone with me right now. Hi Audrey, welcome to Extreme Genes.

Audrey: Hi! It’s great to be here.

Fisher: This is an interesting thing that you would stumble on this topic. What made you think of this? Were you considering this?

Audrey: You know I haven’t considered it. However, I was noticing just amongst my own friends that I’d heard lots of people say that they’d moved back to their homes and they were raising their own young families in their homes. And so once I had heard a few people mention it, I did do some research and was kind of surprised to find out that it is a trend. There have been some other articles in the Realtor written about it so I decided to dig a little bit deeper to find out what was motivating people to make this kind of change.

Fisher: And what were you hearing?

Audrey: Well, like a lot of things. There are some fun reasons and I guess there is some practical reasons, you know. As you described, some people I really think want to just have their young families and their kids kind of relive the same sort of experience they had. So it’s really you know, driven by nostalgia.

Fisher: And tradition I would assume.

Audrey: Yeah. There’s a lot of that that came up when I was interviewing different sources. But you know, some people just like a lot of different homeowners or home renovators, people who flip houses, they’re a lot less emotionally involved. Some people were just like, “Oh you know, my parents wanted to downsize. They were ready to get out of the big house. They were going to sell it to us cheap so we took it.”

Fisher: Sure.

Audrey: And there seems to be less emotion involved. 

Fisher: Right, and that’s a different thing. And then there are those who are actually buying their great grandparents homes and even earlier. Talk about that a little bit.

Audrey: Well, one of the neat things that I heard people say when they were telling me about that was, for a lot of people owning a home has gotten harder and harder and it’s just gotten more expensive and they weren’t really thinking that they were going to be able to do the same for their young families to sort of replicate the experience that they’d had growing up. And then an opportunity came up to buy a parents home or a grandparents home and all of a sudden they were looking at this chance to live in a house with sort of old architectural features whether it was archways or different mouldings, or just sort of different room plans and space layouts that aren’t really being done as much these days. And it seemed like such an exciting thing for some families to be able to live in a place with that kind of history.

Fisher: Right. And where their own people lived. But there are problems with this apparently, and as you got into your article you talked about some of the challenges people faced when they got in, it wasn’t exactly the experience that they were expecting.

Audrey: No. And maybe it never is. But I think that balancing that sort of nostalgia and history, if someone is considering doing this for themselves and moving back into this kind of older home or maybe a home that hasn’t been updated, you know, they kind of really need to think about whether or not their own lifestyle will fit into that home. And what I mean by that is, today I think about it with my own family, kids, sports equipment, all sorts of stuff that needs place for storage etc. older homes might not have been built for that kind storage.

Fisher: Right.

Audrey: So then you’re going to be looking at whether or not you’re going to be okay with renovating a home that you’re moving into because it has all this history and nostalgia.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Audrey: So there are some factors like that that definitely come up.

Fisher: I got a kick out of the one story you mentioned in there about a woman who basically sold her home to the kids, but then was really upset with the kids because they wanted to modernize the home.

Audrey: Yeah. And I mean I think that that’s something that we don’t really realize might affect if you’re buying your parents’ house or grandparents’ house. You know they’re ready to downsize. In this one story that you’re mentioning, this source that I spoke with told me how insulted her own older mother was when my source moved in with her young family. They wanted to renovate the kitchen and the mom kept saying, “But the new kitchen is great.”

Fisher: [Laughs]

Audrey: And I put “new” in quotation marks because the new kitchen had been done in the early ‘80s!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Audrey: And it wasn’t really new anymore. Styles had changed.

Fisher: Right.

Audrey: And I also think that the gadgets and things that we use that make our lives convenient and easy, has also changed. And those updates are the things people want in homes. So you kind of have to walk on eggshells a little bit I imagine if you’re trying to make it okay with the family member that’s selling you the home, but also sort of putting your own stamp on it.

Fisher: Well, and if you’re going back because you think you’re going to feel like you did when you were a kid again in that place, that might not be the case either because of what’s going on around the house.

Audrey: Yeah. There are a number of people that I spoke to that were sort of all excited, moved back into their childhood home only to realize that the neighborhood had really sort of completely transformed around them. One example was particularly in Los Angeles where a quiet street that one of my sources had grown up on was now almost entirely surrounded by sort of the apartment towers near Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. And just what a different feeling that gave the neighborhood then what she had remembered and what she was hoping to give her family.

Fisher: What are some of the other downfalls you ran across for people who bought their ancestral or childhood homes?

Audrey: There was another neat story that I came across where a woman had moved her young family into her husband’s childhood home. And when she moved in she wanted to make some changes because she felt that just the placement of things in the kitchen where she likes to have her things when she cooks, she moved them around and every day her husband for several years once they’d moved back into the house, would come in and like go to the wrong drawer thinking that it was the knife drawer.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Audrey: And the wife finally said, “Look, that knife drawer made no sense. I moved the knife drawer over here where it makes perfect sense for me and I love your mother, but I don’t want my knife drawer in a different place.” And I think that those sort of little things might end actually causing a bit of tension, You know?

Fisher: Sure.

Audrey: I’m sure the husband has very fond memories of his time as a child and where that knife drawer was or whatever have you.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Audrey: So those types of things too. I think what I learned from researching these pieces is that it sounds like if a couple is going to do this, you very much need to check with, whoever’s home it was, what’s sacred and what’s not. What they’re okay with being like, “Of course we should update that.” Or what they has to be like, “No, I want to preserve that. It’s a great memory. It’s important to me.”

Fisher: But if you’re buying a house for hundreds of thousands of dollars, wouldn’t you think you wouldn’t need to check with anybody if you wanted to make a change, unless it’s your partner, right?

Audrey: That’s what I mean. Like I think you really need to check in with your partner whoever has the history with the house, that’s the person that you need to figure out whether or not they’re okay with the change you might make moving something around or whether or not it’s something that needs to be preserved because it’s such an important memory or tradition for them. For the person who didn’t grow up in the house, the spouse that didn’t grow up in the house, I think it’s an important thing to remember like your spouse’s house and your spouse’s memories are there.

Fisher: Yep.

Audrey: And they weren’t yours. So you might not know sort of what you really need to be careful about. Maybe you’ve heard all the stories about the amazing times they had there, but you didn’t live them and you didn’t live them in that house. So yeah, there’s a lot to sort of just be aware of I think if that’s what you’re going to do.

Fisher: You know, one other thing about houses that you grew up in, if your parents built a house and you were the first ones in it and you lived there for twenty years or whatever, like was the case with my family, that house was built for you. I mean I think it’s even more powerful than being like the fifth or sixth owner. You bought it when it was a hundred years old. Because that house becomes kind of a standing memorial to your parents or whoever it is that built it for your family. And you’re right, if you don’t have any equity in that memory, you’re going to have to tread very carefully when you go to make changes with the one who does have the equity in that place.

Audrey: Oh I agree. And I think the way you put it there is that, the house is part of a family’s identity especially if they built it. It reflects what their tastes are and what they find important and what they value whether that was a lot of time and space for family or a lot of time and space books and libraries full of things they like to preserve and keep with them. So you’re right, like you really need to tread carefully and be aware it’s an extension of the person. It’s an extension of the family.

Fisher: What I would imagine though would be really fun if you were to do something like this, to try to incorporate some of the history of the family in the past. Old photographs from the day, and maybe some modern ones from today and kind of try to tie them all together and make it a great experience for everybody, even those who don’t have memories there.

Audrey: Yeah. I think that that is the way that seems like the best way forward. And the experts that I spoke with who sort of look at this psychology that the person might have who grew up in the house and then the new family that’s coming there, they’ve looked at all of this and I think that they really realize like, if you’re going to come back to a home that one family member has history with, you sort of need to come back to the home with a fresh perspective before you really sit down and purchase it and get ready to move in. There needs to be that conversation of, “I get it, I grew up there. These are the things that are going to be important and the rest we can put our own new stamp on it with our new family.” So that you’re not just living in the past but also make it a way to move forward and have your new family and your new experiences and memories made there.

Fisher: Well, and as you mentioned earlier Audrey, there are so many things that actually change around you, I came to realize long ago that maybe the thing I’m thinking about is if I were to move back into my childhood home it wouldn’t be the same because really what I’m missing are the times, not necessarily the place as much.

Audrey: You know, I think that that’s probably something that we all get tripped up on isn’t it? That the experience would be the same and of course whether it’s just the speed of life has changed and you know, the technology that we all have in our homes has changed, you know? Just the way we live in them. Yeah, I think it would probably be a very different experience.

Fisher: She’s Audrey Brashich. She’s a writer for the lifestyle section for Realtor.com who recently wrote an article about some of the downfalls of buying an ancestral home or a childhood home. And Audrey thanks for sharing them with us, enjoyed the visit.

Audrey: Thanks so much.

Fisher: And coming up next, we’re to talk to the Photo Detective Maureen Taylor about spring cleaning… for your photo collection? What’s involved with that? You’ll find out in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 3 Episode 194

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Maureen Taylor

Fisher: Don’t we love our photographs in family history? Hi, it’s Fisher. It’s Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. This segment is being brought to you by LegacyTree.com. And of course when we talk photos, we’ve got to talk to the Photo Detective, my good friend, Maureen Taylor. She’s on the line with us right now. How are you, Maureen?

Maureen: I’m great, Scott. How are you?

Fisher: Awesome! And spring is here, we often talk about identifying photographs, but you’re talking these days about spring cleaning for your photos.

Maureen: [Laughs] Exactly. You have to spring clean everything right?

Fisher: Right.

Maureen: Closets and kitchen draws, and photo collections are not different. Now Scott, you know me, I’m not about advocating, throwing out all of your photographs ever. [Laughs]

Fisher: Ever.

Maureen: But I have met many people lately who are very much doing that. They’re just tossing them and saying, “Well, I’m not who’s in them, they’re not a family member. So what’s the harm in throwing them out?”

Fisher: Right.

Maureen: To me, that’s an opportunity. Because if you have a photograph of someone in your collection and it’s not a family member, you have to ask yourself the important question, how did it get there?

Fisher: Yeah, what’s the connection? They’ve got to be tied to your family somehow back there for some reason. Otherwise, why did somebody keep it?

Maureen: Exactly. You’re not going to have pictures of random strangers necessarily in your family collection. So when you spring clean, there’s a couple of things to keep in mind. One, suppose you have thousands and thousands of files, you can weed those collections. Maybe you don’t need every single picture.

Fisher: Sure.

Maureen: … of landscapes from a vacation that your parents or grandparents took in 1955.

Fisher: [Laughs] Exactly.

Maureen: Keep the ones where there are people in them. And if you have too many, ask other members of the family if they would like to have some of them.

Fisher: Sure, that’s a good start.

Maureen: It’s a good start. If you have photographs that are really out of focus and you can’t really tell who’s in them, it’s not going to do anyone any good really.

Fisher: Exactly.

Maureen: So those you can toss. You can clean your collection. Plus, if you find a photograph in your collection that is not a family member and you have no idea what the connection is. You know all these big databases now like Ancestry.com, MyHeritage and Family Search. You have a way of searching for people and then reconnecting that image with the family that might not have a picture of that person.

Fisher: That’s right, if you know who it is.

Maureen: If you know who it is. If you don’t know who it is, we’ve got another problem. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Maureen: But if you do know who it is, if it has a name on the back, generally here’s my theory. If someone knew someone really well, they didn’t have to put the name on the back of the picture because they knew who it was.

Fisher: They knew who it was, exactly.

Maureen: But if it were a distant relative, or a friend in the family, they tended to write the name on the back, didn’t want to forget who they were.

Fisher: That’s right.

Maureen: So we’re going to make an assumption here, that there is a name on the back and that you can search that person on one of these databases and try to reconnect them with a missing piece of their past.

Fisher: And you know this doesn’t just apply to photographs too?

Maureen: No.

Fisher: I recently had a situation where my grandmother who was born in 1886 kept a scrapbook. And in that scrapbook there is somewhere around thirty wedding invitations in there. Engraved and not related to my family. So I have been digitizing them and adding them to FamilySearch with the couples they apply to and then trying to reach out to people who have been posting things on that page. Just recently somebody emailed me and said, “Hey, thanks for posting that! That was great to see.” And I wrote them back and said, “Hey, you want the original?” And they were thrilled. So I just dropped it in the mail day before yesterday and I’m happy to be rid of it because I know my kids down the line or grandkids will throw it out because it’s of no concern to them.

Maureen: No. But if someone approached me and said they had my grandparents’ wedding invitation, I mean I’d be over the moon.

Fisher: Yeah.

Maureen: Because I don’t have it, because they mailed them all out.

 Fisher: [Laughs] Right, exactly. That’s right and what’s funny is that the anniversary is this coming month. So it was just one hundred years exactly.

Maureen: Timely. Speaking of scrapbooks and albums, I just want to talk for a minute or two Scott, about photo albums and their importance in your family history. The first impulse is really, people want to take them apart. They want to see what’s on the back, is there something written. They’re just completely obsessed with the back of the photo.

Fisher: Sure.

Maureen: Ninety nine percent of the time there isn’t anything on the back of those photographs in the black paper albums. So let’s just talk about the black paper ones for a moment. All the damage that’s ever going to happen to those albums has already happened.

Fisher: Right.

Maureen: They’re so old. They’re a hundred years old or more.

Fisher: Yes.

Maureen: So all you really have to do with those is scan all the pictures, and then instead of removing the photographs, just wrap them in a piece of muslin fabric and put them in a box, a nice accident free box. Why don’t you want to take your photo albums apart? Because they tell a story. So when someone comes to me with a 19th century photo album and they say, “Here’s all the photos that were in the album.” My first question is, “What was in the number one spot in the album? When you opened the album who was there?”

Fisher: Right.

Maureen: Because that person is the most important person to the family member that put it together.

Fisher: Sure.

Maureen: And that ties all the other pictures together, at least in the first half of the album.

Fisher: So that’s the theme basically of the album, right?

Maureen: Exactly! And so it might be a child, it could be a young man like a husband, it could be parents. Occasionally Scott, I will say it’s the person who put the album together.

Fisher: Of course. There are egos out there. Absolutely, it’s the “album of me!”

Maureen: It’s the album of me. Then you look and see who’s in the number two spot, three spot, four spot, five spot. And generally, when people buy the album they have a plan for how they’re going to put their photos in. It’s only the leader, once they’ve put all their photographs in the album that they start shoving them in the back. Put them in a random fashion.

Fisher: Well you run out of space, don’t you sometimes? You run out of pages or you don’t have time to do them properly so you shove them in. I mean, I’ve got a pile of photographs from the time where physical photos suddenly weren’t useful anymore and everything went digital, and we haven’t gone through and put them in the albums. And they’re from like fifteen years ago.

Maureen: Exactly. You run out of time.

Fisher: Yeah, no different.

Maureen: Or what happens is a young woman has put the album together and then she gets married and starts having children and she no longer has the time to keep going with the album but it’s important enough, so she puts all the pictures in the back.

Fisher: Isn’t that why there’s always more pictures of the first kid than anybody else in the family?

Maureen: [Laughs] As a first kid I can attest to that.

Fisher: Yes! So Maureen, there are risks though to taking these photo albums apart, are there not?

Maureen: Oh yeah, there’s great risk Scott, because you’ve lost the context of the photo story. Now, sometimes these albums have pictures that have already been removed and another picture put in. So for instance, that young mother creates the album and she had a baby picture and then she has a picture of the baby a little bit older or she has a picture of another sibling or something like that. And then ten years later she has more pictures taken of that first baby and she says, “Oh, wouldn’t it be great if I put that of the baby at ten next to the baby picture?” And sure enough they start shuffling the pictures in the album.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Maureen: You can’t always trust the captions underneath those photographs in the album.

Fisher: All right, now one last thing here because I know you’ve got a way to do this. What about those unmarked pictures? We don’t know who they are. Maybe they’re 19th century photographs. You look at it and go, “Well, I don’t want to confuse my family that this is somebody important that we know or maybe it’s not.” What do you suggest people do with those?

Maureen: Well, I would take them out of your collection and put them in a separate box.

Fisher: Yes.

Maureen: And then try to date them based on clothing and photography methods and the photographer and all of the things in the background and anything that’s going on. So at least you have a timeframe for that photograph. And then there’s lots of places where you can post them online. There’s two favorites. AncientFaces.com and DeadFred.com, where you can post a photo and write a little story and say, “This was in my grandmother’s Smith collection. I estimate it was taken in such and such a year and here’s where it was taken.” And you put it up there and people actually find their family members that way.

Fisher: That’s incredible. Dead Fred, huh?! [Laughs]

Maureen: Dead Fred, thousands, and thousands and thousands of people go on his site every week.

Fisher: Unbelievable. She’s Maureen Taylor. She’s the Photo Detective. You can reach her at MaureenTaylor.com. Hey, always a joy to have you on, Maureen. Thanks for filling us in on how to do our spring cleaning.

Maureen: Thank you Scott.

Fisher: And up next, we talk preservation with our Preservation Authority Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. He’s got another acronym for you, but it’s going to help as you preserve your films and movies, coming up next in three minutes.

Segment 4 Episode 194

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And welcome back to America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And it is time to talk preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. And he is our Preservation Authority. Hello, Mr. Tom.

Tom: Hello!

Fisher: Hey, last week we touched on something that I think a lot of people are going to be kind of excited about it’s called the Digital Video Archives. And you were getting into the alphabet soup with the DVA.

Tom: [Laughs]

Fisher: I don't know why people do that. As if we're supposed to know what that means.

Tom: [Laughs]

Fisher: But it’s the Digital Video Archives. And the sound of this is pretty exciting for anybody who wants to deal with preserving their own stuff and doing it themselves.

Tom: Exactly. This thing is amazing. We just got our first one in. I know of about fifty seven places across the country right now that have them. You can go to our website and see the list of where you can go to be able to have this done, or…  I mean they're really inexpensive. You can buy the whole box for under three grand.

Fisher: Wow! That's for a video studio here we're talking about.

Tom: Oh, it is.

Fisher: I mean, it’s your own thing you can do at home in your office. [Laughs]

Tom: Oh, Exactly. In fact, I call it a studio in a box, because that's basically what it is. You can put any kind of video format hooked up to it. If you have an old 8mm camcorder, a high8, if you have a little film transfer machine that you use, if you have anything, you can hook it up to this thing. And this thing is really cool, because it’s especially designed and engineered, MP4 file format. And it contains unique customizable metadata.

Fisher: Metadata!

Tom: And we talk about metadata on this show all the time.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: It is so cool. It puts information into the file, so people can find things easily. The neat thing about metadata, on this system, on the DVA or Digital Video Archive is, it puts title information, it puts chapter marks, thumbnail images. And the neat thing about the thumbnails is, so many times people bring tapes into us or they're doing it themselves and there's all this garbage on the tape that like, "Why was Johnny shooting that tree or that worm or whatever?"

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: With this system, when you transfer your videos into it, it automatically puts it right up into the cloud immediately. And you can also do MP4s and burn a DVD disk at the same time. So you've got your cloud, you've got your disks, you've got your MP4, so you're all taken care of. You've got everything preserved in different formats, which is awesome. And back to Johnny shooting the worms, you actually see a thumbnail of every scene change, so you can go and say, "Oh, don't need that. Don’t need that. Don't need that."

Fisher: Right.

Tom: And go and delete those.

Fisher: Sure, because there's so much junk on those old home movies and videos.

Tom: Oh, absolutely. We've had people bring in one, Terry's riding a skateboard. You see him "swoosh" for two seconds.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: He just set up the camera on the brick wall and he's just skateboarding and doing tricks in front of it. But the neat thing is, with this system, you can go online and you can edit out the parts that you don't want. So you just have him doing his little tricks on there and cut out all the swooshing or where he disappears or just totally drop a whole piece of it.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: And the neat thing is, once you're all done editing it or even before that, if you're doing like a family history and you've like interviewed grandma and grandpa and your family's scatters all through the country, what you can do is, you can put that up there so any member of your family that you send an invite to can go and watch it. And you can send them a deeper invite, which will allow them to actually download it and edit it so you can collaborate on it.

Fisher: That's a great idea. Now this covers film as well. I mean, we're talking video, but I'm trying to picture how a do it yourselfer would manage film.

Tom: Any kind of a source that you can hook up to, you can. So if you have like one these little Wolf systems that you do your own film transfers and for low, high def, so to speak, you know, they're great little units to play around with. Some people still use the old conventional where they just project it on a wall and shoot it with a camcorder. If that's your only way to get your stuff transferred, you can take the out cable from your camera, and while you're shooting it plug into the DVA and it will automatically up to two hours take that, burn it to a disk if you want, burn it to an MP4, but most importantly, put a DVA in the cloud, so you've got it right there. And the neat thing about the DVAs, they can be read by any computer, any Smartphone, any tablet, any Smart TV, anything that uses that kind of format. So you can put it right on your iPhone and go and show it to people at your office or at a reunion.

Fisher: And the important thing about this for you to know is, this is a real beginner level system.

Tom: Oh, it is. You have to have no video experience whatsoever to go into this. And so, after the break, we'll go into a little bit more detail of what you can do with it.

Fisher: All right, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 194

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Hey, it’s our final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show for this week. We're talking preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. It is Fisher here, you Radio Roots Sleuth. And we were kicking around this whole thing about DVA.

Tom: [Laughs]

Fisher: The Digital Video Archives, Tom. And it’s so fun. I remember years ago, I set up a studio in my basement for just audio work. And it was about $7000 about fifteen years ago to do that. And now, you can get entire video systems that would have cost, what, hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past.

Tom: Oh absolutely. When I bought my first TriCaster, they were like $30,000 you know, ten, fifteen years ago, and now they're a quarter of that.

Fisher: Sure. And it’s only getting better.

Tom: Oh yeah!

Fisher: And now here's a system where you can actually digitize and preserve your own home movies, your own home videos and do it right in your basement or in your office or wherever for less than $3000.

Tom: Oh exactly. In fact, if you had a library or you had a family history center or something like that, get enough people together and buy one of these kinds of things or have a little charge on it, because like I say, they're so easy to operate. We can train you exactly how to run this. We have webinars every week. We do all kinds of things to teach people. There's places across the country you can get them and you can go into one on one training. But it doesn't take a lot of training. Out of the box, you sit down, you read the instructions and you can rock and roll. But with just a little bit of training, watching some videos off of YouTube or some of our webinars, grandma can do of these, a kindergartener can actually figure out a way to do these things. it’s just absolutely incredible.

Fisher: But I will tell you as somebody who's not exceptionally good with technology, I would be very comfortable being part of a group and we all kind of learn together, because somebody's going to lead out and somebody's going to be there where you can all kind of feel comfortable together learning how to make these things work.

Tom: Oh exactly. Any time you get a group of people, like you say, each person takes their personal role in it, because they're strong at certain spots, you're weak at certain spots. And so, it really works out well. So you get a family together, and as long as you have an internet connection, you can do this. If you're having a family reunion at a hotel, just plug the thing into the internet and keep doing everybody’s families, everything’s up on the cloud now. Then you can go in and assign different pieces to different people. And like I mentioned, you can either give them just viewing options, you can give them downloading options, you can go in and collaborate, do all kinds of cool things with this. You can do labeling. And the neat thing about this is, when you're doing this to the cloud at the same time, you can be burning an MP4 that you have on your flash drive, you can be burning a DVD at the same time, or you say, "Hey, well I've got DVDs. All my stuff's already on DVD." Great! Put the DVD in the tray and you can transfer it to a DVA and it automatically goes up in the cloud. The smart technology of it will actually break it up into all these little chapters and everything and make it really, really sweet. In fact, one thing I was really excited about which I told you about earlier is the home video studio. It’s not really a franchise, because you don't have twenty pages of things you have to go through and look at.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: You can actually do a turnkey business, which a lot of people are doing where you can do this for other people, and DVA is part of the package.

Fisher: Sure. Yeah.

Tom: And so, you can get in, do this, you can do other kinds of broadcasting and things. And we're having a big, huge conference down in Tucson, Arizona on July 24th through the 30th to teach people how to do everything from the very simple to actually doing editing, to using Final Cut Pro, to using Pro Tools, and it’s just absolutely incredible how you can do these. I mean, you can get into your own business, which can be home based or storefront.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: For under $60,000 now including everything, your equipment, you're rocking and rolling and, you know, making money.

Fisher: That's incredible. That is incredible. And what fun, too, to help people preserve their memories. It’s a great way to go.

Tom: Here's your opportunity to do your own business turnkey.

Fisher: All right, great stuff, Tom. Talk to you again next week.

Tom: Will be here. My pleasure!

Fisher: Hey, that is a wrap for this week. Thanks so much for joining us. Thanks to our guest, Audrey Brashich, for talking about people who are moving back into their childhood homes or buying their ancestral homes and some of the surprising downsides of that. And Maureen Taylor, the photo detective, talking about spring cleaning for your photo collection. Who would’ve ever thought of that! But Maureen’s got it all worked out. If you missed any of it, catch the podcast, go to iTunes, iHeart Radio or ExtremeGenes.com or TuneIn Radio. And don't forget to sign up for our Weekly Genie newsletter. On this month, new subscribers are eligible for a drawing for a free DNA kit, so get to it at ExtremeGenes.com. Talk to you again next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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