Episode 20 – Heroic Story of Surviving a Plane Crash During WWII

podcast episode Dec 09, 2013

Fisher shares latest family history news from ExtremeGenes.com.  Two stories will not make scientists happy.  One is about a three year old boy who died 24,000 years ago in Siberia.  His DNA shows a connection to two groups who were not supposed to be connected!  Find out what theory is being turned upside down. John Tippets joins the show to talk about his story about the remarkable survival of his father following a plane crash in World War II. 

Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show

Host: Scott Fisher with guest

Segment 1 Episode 20

Fisher: And welcome back genies! It is Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher your Radio Roots Sleuth and it is good to be here. Actually [Laughs] there’s like four more pounds of me back than there was last time we met because of Thanksgiving, but that’s the price you pay for a good time with the family. Since last time some big news for the show! We can now be heard on iHeart Radio’s brand new Talk Channel [Applause]. Yes! The worldwide takeover of Extreme Genes has begun. If you’re not for us, you’re against us. So please be sure to get your [Laughs] family and friends to our website ExtremeGenes.com and this show of course from wherever you are, and however you’re listening. You can now pretty much listen on your i-Anything! For first timers the toll free number to call the show is 1-234-56-Genes. That’s toll free 1-234-56- Genes. And you can record your stories, comments and questions there anytime, even when we’re not on the air. And we’ll be happy to get back to you, and maybe get you on the show! We love your families of family tree discoveries so let us know about your finds. I am very excited about our guest today. A man named John Tippets. John is going to be here in about nine minutes. He’s like any other genie, a curious guy who just wanted to know more so he started looking. In this case he was looking for information on his father who died when John was young. Now, his dad had survived in the Alaskan Wilderness for some time following an airplane crash during WWII. I mean, this is unbelievable. John wanted to know everything about it. He got a lot more than he bargained for. And we’re excited to have John share the story of his dad’s greatest life challenge coming up.  

And in keeping with John’s father’s harrowing adventure our poll this week on ExtremeGenes.com is about crashes, pretty much any type of vehicle crash except road vehicle crashes. Now, were you or any of your family members ever in a train or plane crash? Now my first thought was and maybe yours is, “Well how many people could say yes to that?” But I was a passenger in a fatal train crash just outside of New York City in 1973 leaving Manhattan. Now the Engineer missed a signal, came into the Mount Vernon train station during rush hour and slammed into a train already stopped there. One died, 47 were hospitalized, and 104 were injured. I was fortunate not to be one of them. And my father was a co-pilot on a corporate plane that had its landing gear jammed forcing a landing on a foamed runway in Boston in 1965. Everyone got out without injury. So I figure if there were two incidences in just my family [Laughs] maybe there are others. So answer the poll either way. But if you have a story in your family history of plane or train crash survival or non survival let us know about it. Email me at [email protected]. And by the way put the E in front of Extreme or otherwise if you go to the website you’re going to wind up going to the website of a horse breeding farm. [Laughs] It’s true.  

Here is this week’s Family Histoire News from the pages of ExtremeGenes.com. Okay, I know Thanksgiving is over but there was an outstanding story in the New York Times that I found on what it takes to join the Society of Mayflower descendants. [Sound of bells] It’s a really well written piece that explains the challenges of getting through the preliminary application where the local chapter finds out if you really have half a clue as to what you’re talking about as far as your line of Plymouth goes.  For the full fledged application where every link is examined, for the final approval on the presentation of the much coveted certificate that says basically not only are you the honest to goodness descendant of a Mayflower passenger, but you are also relentless in your pursuit of that certification. By the way I just got one of those last month and I’ve got to tell you, artistically speaking, not so great, needs work. But I like that it certifies the connection to these very interesting ancestors that every kid learns about in elementary school related or not. The entire story is well done and it’s definitely worth a read. Find the link at ExtremeGenes.com

Scientists cannot be happy this week. You know they up rate on theories that they go about trying to prove, and they spend a lot of money working these ideas. Well, then something comes along and, “Uh oh, the theory is blown to smithereens.” [Explosive sound] And we got two stories like that this week. The first is a story of a 24 000 year old boy of about three from Siberia. I mean, he’s from back that far. He was found by the Soviets back in the late 50s. Danish Researchers came along and decided to do some DNA test on the remains. A first test was worthless because of the contamination by scientists back when DNA testing hadn’t been thought of yet. And so they did another one. The essence of what they learned was this Siberian boy had ties to Western Europe and American Indians. Conclusion, Europeans were driven farther east during the last Ice Age than anyone had previously thought. The second thing they concluded was Native Americans weren’t just Siberian East Asian. They’re a mix of East Asian with those Europeans who got to Siberia. It’s also from the New York Times link is at ExtremeGenes.com. The second story messing with scientists [Laughs] and how they make their living is this one. Scientists in Spain have been able to obtain and analyze DNA from a thighbone found in a cave. It’s from a place they call “The Pit of the Bones.” [Music] The DNA’s coming up is being 400 000 years old. That’s way older than what has been presumed to have been the time of the earliest known human by some 100 000 years. Anyway, this story involves Homo heidelbergensis. Couldn’t tell you what that means and Neanderthals which I recall as a very cliquish group at my high school years ago, wrestling team I think. Anyway, scientists are having to put together this new theory on the movements of early man and just when was someone called a man? The article explains it all much better than I do. And what it really means is that scientists’ cheese has been moved again as they say. And finally, a copy of the earliest book ever published in what became the United States has been sold. It was published by Puritans in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1640 on a press that was brought over on a ship from London. It was their book of psalm! The old South Church in Boston owned five copies if it. They shared three with a library of Congress, Yale and Brown University. They’re keeping one and they sold this one to Sotheby’s for $14.2 million, a record price. They want the money to help their causes. Who bought it and what are they going to do with it? Find out at ExtremeGenes.com, and coming up next, Researcher John Tippets on his wild wide adventure researching his father’s Alaskan plane crash survival during WWII on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 2 Episode 20

Host: Scott Fisher with guest John Tippets

Fisher: Hey, welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth and in the studio with me today is John Tippets. And John is a guy after my own heart in a certain way. He had kind of a similar circumstance losing his dad young when dad was in his 50s. And he kind of did what I did and that is started to research his life because later on I came to realize how little I had known about him. I lost my dad at seventeen. John how old were you when you lost yours?

John: I was 27 when my dad passed away.

Fisher: And I think this is kind of a universal thing for a lot of people who may have lost somebody they loved young. And you know they work on getting over it and a new life without that person but then later on you get your own family and you start to talk to younger siblings or cousins and you start to realize, my gosh, there’s a lot we don’t know about this person. In your case you were the oldest sibling.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

John: Yes I was and I realized, a) how little my siblings knew. 

Fisher: Yes!

John: They were younger. And, b) certainly our grandchildren, their grandchildren, our children and their great grandchildren who were coming into this world didn’t know anything.

Fisher: Nothing, nothing at all. And so you went about what I did which was to write some books. Now I just wrote my books for my family because I figured, “You know what? Dad’s got a great life story, very interesting, but nonetheless, it’s something I want to spread around to them. And I wouldn’t have ever thought to actually go out and publish it. You kind of started that. Well, let’s go through the process you went through. Now you started this later in life? 

John: I did about 12/15 years ago. I wrote an early chapter about the circumstances of my Dad’s funeral which was kind of a special occasion for our family. I wrote that. I wrote about Dad’s days in the Navy in the 30s. I wrote about his years growing up, mother’s years growing up. So I wrote several different chapters just like you did for family purposes, put a lot of the family pictures in with text and the subtitles so people would know the circumstances of the pictures.

Fisher: Did you still have Mom around as a resource for some of this?

John: No, Mother passed away just a couple of years after Dad. And she had been ill for a long time so her story wasn’t really recorded either. So I had it worked from third party sources, family albums, the newspaper articles where I could find them. I interviewed people who knew them.

Fisher: Right.

John: A lot of third party sourcing because there was no diary, no journal per say to start with. 

Fisher: Have you wound up using a lot of digitized newspapers?

John: Yes, yes and of course when I started this some years ago it was microfiche.

Fisher: It was there! [Laughs]

John: And it was terrible stuff to read. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

John: Yes, very difficult.

Fisher: And so I would imagine your family kind of embraced this pretty quickly. They were excited about what you were finding, what you were doing?

John: Yes. My brothers and sisters particularly, they’re very grateful. And then the grandchildren of my parents gradually have understood more about people that they didn’t know at all. So it’s been a great family experience and then a certain portion of the story was an unusual story in 1943 when Dad was lost in an airplane crash in Alaska. That portion actually grew into a form that I really would decide that I had to put into a book.  

Fisher: Now he was lost but not killed?

John: No. No he was one of four survivors of an airplane crash in Southeast Alaska January of 1943 and survived 29 days in the wilderness.

Fisher: Wow!

John: He made his way out finally and was rescued. But, yes that story I turned into a book.

Fisher: And that was when you were a young child.

John: I was two, living in Anchorage. I had been born in Anchorage and I was two years old at the time.

Fisher: So you had no recollection of that. It was just obviously a family story that everybody knew about and, “Wow, look what Dad did.”

John: Yes, but it’s funny. Everybody knew pieces, but putting the whole thing back in a form for a family history for our family. 

Fisher: Right.

John: We all discovered things. I certainly discovered a lot that none of us even knew about, the elements of the story we’d never heard. 

Fisher: Now what were some of the sources for those things?

John: Lots of fun sources, people who had first hand experiences. One fellow described going to visit my mother when Dad had been lost for a long time saying, “You know, you’ve got to move. Alaska’s no place for a widow and she’s describing, “Joe’s coming home and I’m staying here until he comes.” That kind of first person account was one source, lot of newspaper articles, National Archives in Washington DC. I actually read the ship log of the little boat that actually rescued Dad after 29 days.

Fisher: Wow! Who would know that that was even out there? You know this is the thing because in writing these stories, developing the sources is the adventure, if you will.

John: Oh it is.

Fisher: There’s the obvious stuff for any kind of research you know, your census stuff and county histories and all that, but boy when you get into the obscure, the hard to get, boy you really value and treasure those things that when the mail comes maybe if it’s done as a snail mail piece, it’s exciting. 

John: I went to a museum in Alaska. Somebody said there’s a box of old pictures in here, you might want to go through these pictures to see if you find any of interest. I found a picture of a rock quarry which is very significant to the fifth day of dad’s loss. I have not found other pictures of any rock quarries ever and I’m finding the one that really matters to me.

Fisher: [Laughs] Oh the serendipity coming in to play.

John: Oh wonderful. And I did another one where I was in the back of another museum and somebody said there’s a box of old Civil Aeronautics Administration. That was the government agency that dad worked for. Then there’s menu graphed newsletters you may want to go through these from the 40s, so I went through them and found a wonderful account from dad after he’s rescued from the accident and it’s in his first hand voice, something I had never seen before. Another one of those wonderful experiences, and you’d relate to this. There was a young lady on the airplane who ended up dying on the second day, and so when I had the book done in a relatively final form my wife said, “We still don’t have enough in here about Susan Batzer. We don’t know enough about Susan.” So she says, “Let me get on the phone.” So she gets on the phone the next day or two. She calls this little town in Morris Town, South Dakota and she gets a hold of the town clerk and she says, “Well, how about the school library? Oh, we long ago closed our high school.” Then my wife says, “Well, what about the Year Book from the year that Susan might have been there?” She goes, “Oh we never had year books. We were too poor for year books.”

Fisher: [Laughs]

John: Anyway, they go on through all of Bonnie’s lists and they’re not getting anything.

Fisher: No, no, no, no.

John: And this little town clerk says, “But I have a ninety year old father in law still living here in town and maybe he knows something.” I get home that night, my wife talks to me about the story. I said, “Ninety? That’s how old Susan would be, give or take a year. She’s the same age as this guy.” So she talks to the guy the next day. The sequence continues. We find family members of Susan because the guy knew the family members. We find a letter that my dad had written to the Batzer family after he’s rescued explaining the circumstances of Susan’s death. She was the one death as an immediate result of the accident. Anyway, we find wonderful things as a sequence of events in the research process. The kind of small miracles you described. [Laughs]

Fisher: Well, and you know that’s the exciting part about it. This is the thing that gets in your main line you know. [Laughs]

John: Oh yes it does. 

Fisher: Once you start.

John: It’s just wonderful. I just found some things that I just never imagined existed, some wonderful firsthand accounts. Several people besides the one I mentioned who had been with mother at different points over the time dad was lost, and they’re telling the story of their interactions with mother. Those were great adventures. 

Fisher: We’re talking to John Tippets, author of a book called “Hearts of Courage” which is a family history about his who he lost young, and the process that he went through in doing this. And you know John, I was thinking about some of the things you’re saying and I think I relate to it to some extent because I started mine in the 90s and then of course I had it finished and the kids had all their copies even as they were young and still living at home. And then you start finding more things like, “Oh, I’ve got to do a new version.” Because first of all, the technology makes for better looking books and for more sources and more news and more pictures and so now I’ve revised that thing twice and the book is 500 pages long and there’s three volumes. At what point did you say with this story because obviously you keep finding all kinds of minutia through people like you just described. At what point do say, “That’s it, the book is finished.” Or are you going to have to do an addendum or are you going to have to revise it?

John: Well, you have to have a deadline. 

Fisher: Yes.

John: That’s the one thing you did learn. I did set a deadline. I wanted to finish it before I retired. I had had a 42 year career with American. I was planning to retire in 2008. I’d been doing this off and on for eight or ten years to that point. I just decided I wanted to finish it before I retired and have it done. I got it done in 2008. There’s been some wonderful miracles since that didn’t get into the book. 

Fisher: Sure.

John: I’ll tell you about that another time perhaps. But yeah, I found a professional publisher who would help me do it as a published document.

Fisher: You’re going to try to sell basically the story to the public. Let them hear your dad’s story because it was an amazing thing. 

John: Well yes. Well, it got to a point where so many people who asked if they could have a copy when I got done that it had to be in a form that you could put it into a book form.

Fisher: [Laughs] Right.

John: The publisher helped me do it, helped me lay it out. It was technically self published but I’ve had several thousand copies out now in the market place, I tell the story to different audiences as I travel around the country people will want me to sign a copy of the book. It has had a great ride since, and as I say there’s been many discoveries since I wrote the story. So it’s a continuing adventure. It’s a continuing adventure.

Fisher: Maybe you’ve had the same experience I have and that is I feel right now I know my father better now than I did when he was living because I know his past. I found things that I had never realized, not just stories that were told me by other folks who knew him, but finding things on Youtube from the 30s with him in it. Finding digitized newspaper stories. And suddenly there’s a connection that you didn’t have when he was living. 

John: You know, I had one of those experiences in 1999. I’m flying on an airplane. The airplane is full. I had authority to fly in a cockpit. This was before 2001. I got a seat up there with the pilot. We’re flying over a little town down in Southern Utah called Price. I’m saying my dad went to his senior year high school there, the pilot says so did his dad. It turns out when we started putting stories together I found out more about my dad’s senior year. His father’s older brother had been in the class with my dad. They had been in plays together. They had spent times together. Dad would spend nights at their house, and when he did, one of the kids slept on the floor and he remembered very vividly my dad.

Fisher: [Laughs]

John: So, you know.

Fisher: The people you would just run into.

John: Yeah. Because the plane was over full I’m flying in the cockpit behind the pilot. 

Fisher: Just sitting there?

John: Yes.

Fisher: Isn’t that unbelievable?

John: Wonderful experience.

Fisher: Well, and the process is such a joy and what you’re describing is terrific. I want to hear though more about what happened after you finished the book. The book’s been out for how long now?

John: Since 2008.

Fisher: I want to hear about what happened after the book came out, some of the things you found, how you are dealing with that, when we return with John Tippets coming up next on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.             

Segment 3 Episode 20

Host: Scott Fisher with guest John Tippets

Fisher: You found us Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth. We’re talking to John Tippets. He’s written a book called Hearts of Courage. It’s about his dad but I think what we’re most interested in has been the process by which he went to discover his dad’s life, an amazing adventure. He was lost in the wilderness in Alaska and he died when you  were still a young man and your siblings were quite a bit younger and you all realized what I did when I lost my dad young, “Gee, we just don’t know that much.”

John: I’ve had some experiences with my parents as adults but most of my siblings hadn’t. And even what we had we remembered differently and we remembered inaccurately or very minimally. 

Fisher: So you wrote your book. You made it for the family first then you got it published.

John: Yes in 2008.

Fisher: And you do lectures on it and you enjoy that. You’ve got that rebonding going on. But then you ran into the same kind of thing that I did when I wrote my book. Now I didn’t publish it for the public. I just made them for the family. They’re big, full beautiful books. I’m very pleased with them. But you reach a point afterwards. The spigot doesn’t turn off. The information still continues to flow because there are new sourcing coming out all the time. And now it’s like, “Oh, do I revise? Do I reprint? You know, what do I do with that? So I’m going to ask you how have you managed that because I know you haven’t quit looking.

John: Oh, you don’t have to look. They come to you.

Fisher: Yes. [Laughs]

John: You know, one of the early ones I get a phone call from a lady who had discovered the book and read Hearts of Courage. She said, “You know, my uncle was involved in that story. He was in the Coastguard Reserve.

Fisher: How many people were in the plane crash? How many survived?

John: It was a total of six on the plane. A young lady died on the second day after the crash, Susan Batzer which I mentioned to you in the other segment, the pilot on day five after hearing explosion from that rock quarry that I mentioned previously.

Fisher: Right.

John: He heads out thinking he’s close to that rock quarry. It turns out in the cold it’s some 30 miles away. Anyway, he dies of exposure. They ultimately found his body about a month later, but four others do survive. Dad and three others survived.

Fisher: Wow, what a miracle.

John: Oh it’s a great story of survival.

Fisher: Not just that four survived, that anybody survived at so many levels.

John: Oh very much so.

Fisher: How cold did it get?

John: Well, probably down in the 20s to 40 below to zero and cold in the night in the top of the mountain. But generally in south eastern Alaska it more hovers around freezing.

Fisher: Okay.

John: You get snow and ice you know at the top of the mountains.

Fisher: No igloos?

John: Some days it will turn into rain. So the misery was variable. How’s that?

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] Were they able to make igloos though to stay warm and safe?

John: No. For most of the time they were lost. The first almost two and a half/three weeks they were on the mountainside and they made kind of a snow cave underneath the left wing of the airplane. So they brought sleeping bags and mattresses, not mattresses, seat cushions and clothing out of the airplane and sort of made this snow cave underneath the wing of the airplane. And that’s where they stayed for almost three weeks. 

Fisher: Food? [Laughs]

John: Every little meal was an adventure. Some slight provisions on the plane that they spread out as long as they could. At one point they shot some grouse and had some grouse. At another point they’d shoot some crows and have crow. At another point they’d shoot a squirrel and have squirrel soup and then they’d have some mussels off a beach. But almost every meal is one that you can recollect, identify with. But Dad has one unusual experience. He goes back into the airplane one day before they go down off the mountain. And he goes through the airplane picking up crumbs of bread and little pieces of apple and grapes that they had had for the lunch before the plane had crashed. And so he remembers savoring those teeny morsels of food that had been left over. So, yes there’s this sequence of little bits of food for thirty days.  

Fisher: So talk about again what’s some of the other things that happened. You ran into somebody’s uncle who had been part of the rescue team as a result of the book.

John: Yes that was one. Another one nephew, he’s telling my story in a Sunday school class and somebody raises his hand. Their grandfather had been there with my mother when she had learned of the story. What a sequence. So I get this guy’s personal journal who was with my mother when she learned that Dad was lost.

Fisher: Uh.

John: And he’s describing her anguish and distraught. So she was very, very upset. So the resolve that she had three/four weeks later when she knew was going to survive was a contrast to how distraught she was when she first heard that he was lost. And this guy describes how he had decided he was never coming back and he couldn’t persuade Alta that he was never coming back. So that was a nice piece to find. Another one, another call from somebody who had found the book and read it and said his dad was involved. He was in the Coastguard as well. He was involved on the rescue of the last two survivors when Dad and Cutting went back to get the two that they had left behind. So I went to interview this guy. I went to the Island, Seattle area. And I’m interviewing him and he says, “I was probably going back to find two dead men and then I find out your dad and Mr. Cutting are going to go with me and I’m probably going to have four dead men. I was angry. And he’s still at 88 years old. 

Fisher: [Laughs]

John: Was still angry that he had these four dead men he was going to be responsible for. His name was Fred Hill. But he was in charge of the shore party putting the supplies and things together to go in and find the last two.

Fisher: So if you were to give advice to people and say, “Look, you want to pursue your parents, your grandparents. I guess it doesn’t really matter the generation because there’s still a lot of materials out there but especially when there’s the possibility of living people still around who might have some recollection of that, what advice would you give?

John: Do it now. Do it now. The urgency of it is several of these people that I had in either preparing before writing the book and or subsequent now are gone. The time passes quickly. In the last 12/15 years I’ve lost a number of people that I interviewed. I interviewed one little lady who grew up with my mother. She had some wonderful memories and she’s long gone now. I’ve interviewed others who have also passed away. I interviewed one man who again after I did the story, he said, and he lived in Boise, Idaho and he said, “I was supposed to be on that airplane that day. I couldn’t get my ration card for my gasoline. I got to Seattle late. I got there just after the airplane has left and the hangar was empty.” He, to this day, is grateful he missed the airplane that day. Now he passed away just a year or so ago. He was 100 years old. He had worked parallel with my dad before and after the accident so he really knew Dad. He knew the story. He knew it from having missed the airplane. So find them when you can and have those interviews, record what you can, write it down and save it.

Fisher: And you don’t have to publish it for the public, but make it for your family at least. Have an archive that you create whether it’s a digital archive or a physical one. 

John: I have a great, big container from Container Store that I’ve stuffed with stuff about my mother’s youth from third party sources that I will ultimately write nice story about her youth growing up.

Fisher: When are you going to get your grandparents John?

John: [Laughs] 

Fisher: [Laughs]

John: You know, I think of doing my mother’s youth, I will catch a lot of my grandparents on one side anyway, yes. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] You might. John Tippets thanks for joining us. 

John: My pleasure.

Fisher: And coming up next Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority talking about a little “alphabet soup” AVI, MOV. What does it mean? When do you use it? He’ll tell you next on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 4 Episode 20

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Hey, welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and in studio with us today it’s Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. Welcome back, Tom. Today we've got another question from [email protected]. “AVI or MOV?” And we're talking about saving film and videotapes. What is the difference between the two, what are these things mean? Let's just go to the most fundamental.

Tom: Okay, back in the day, which could have been three weeks ago.

Fisher: Right. [Laughs]

Tom: The same knowledge, it changes so fast.

Fisher: It does.

Tom: When people came into the store and wanted films transferred or video transferred. The first question we would ask, "PC or Mac?" and if they were PC, usually we're going with AVIs. If they were Mac, we went with MOVs. And there's actually two theories to this. A Mac will read almost anything, but a PC won't. So we do AVIs for PCs even though they were bigger files, the compression isn't as good, the quality we don't feel was as good. But they had to go with a PC. They had to go with AVIs, but not anymore.

Fisher: And so, now things are changing again.

Tom: Exactly, so in the last five minutes. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Tom: We're now MOVs. Everybody can now do MOVs because there's some new software out that they just did a test with different people, interviewed people what they used for editing and stuff. And the top ten programs for Windows now is Cyberlink, Corel, Adobe Premiere Elements, Magic, Roxio, Pinnacle, Sony, Nero, MoviePlus and the VideoPad. And the one that came out number one is an incredible program. It’s made by Cyberlink, it’s called Power Director. And the thing is its 49.95.

Fisher: Oh, you're kidding me!

Tom: Nope. So whether you go to a local store or find someplace on the internet, you can just Google and go and buy it. I mean, 49.95 for a program that will let you edit either MOVs, AVIs and even MP4s on a PC. Its revolutionary, it’s awesome!

Fisher: Now everyone can take advantage of this MOV format. And there are certain advantages here.

Tom: Oh yeah! Oh, the size is so much smaller, but the quality is, you know, incredible.

Fisher: So you can, this is easier for editing then.

Tom: Oh absolutely! 

Fisher: Right.

Tom: Absolutely.

Fisher: And you've got quality compression.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: Which you didn't have before. So are we saying goodbye to AVI then?

Tom: I don't know if they'll ever say goodbye to it. People are always going to want AVIs for certain things. But as far as, you know, most of our listeners are concerned, MOV's the way to go. That's what I would do myself. I would do MOVs. I've always been an Apple guy. I love MOVs. And now that the PC people through programs like this new Power Director, they can take advantage of MOVs. And it’s a lot less hard disk space that they have to use up. As far as I'm concerned there's no down sides to MOVs. They're awesome.

Fisher: So for Apple computers, what would you recommend as far as editing goes?

Tom: They can use, usually they come with iMovie free out of the box, which is a great program. If they want to get something better, they can use Final Cut Pro, or what a lot of people are doing is, they're going back to Adobe Premiere. Adobe Premiere kind of had a falling out with Apple and kind of went away, but now it’s back and its part of the Adobe suites. And if I was going to start out and I wasn't married to any specific program, I would probably go the Adobe way just because they have so many different programs that tie into each other to be able to use stuff, I'd probably go to Adobe Premiere.

Fisher: And you've got to make sure the system requirements match these things, right?

Tom: Exactly. That's where a lot of people make mistakes. They have an old PC that they got out when or their kids went to college, and so, you know, they're going to go and use their kid's computer. And they go and find a nice program, they go and buy it, they download it and they have nothing but problems, because you need to go out and make sure your processor's the right speed, you have enough memory, and more is always better. When you go their site and it says, you need this kind of a computer, this kind of a processor, this much memory, yada, yada, yada, that's the minimum requirements. Don't think, "Oh, okay, you know, I can do with this." Always get more, especially memory. Memory is so inexpensive nowadays. Just as much as you can afford, do it and you'll be so glad you did.

Fisher: You know, I have so much memory in my computer and you are so right. I never worry about it. It’s amazing how much I put on there. And every time I look, it’s just a little percentage of what we've got and it’s such a good, secure feeling.

Tom: Oh, it is. If you don't have enough memory or you're low on memory, it will absolutely drive you crazy. Don't let your computer have Alzheimer's.

Fisher: Right. [Laughs] We're talking to Tom Perry he's our Preservation Specialist from TMCPlace.com on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio. And what else are you going to tell us about today, Tom?

Tom: Okay, one thing people have asked about is, different kinds of hard drives. Most of our listeners probably already know the difference between HDD, which is standard hard drive and the SSHDD, which are solid state hard drives. And the neat thing about solid state hard drives, they are instant. You don't wait for the thing to spin up. When you're doing editing and stuff, it is so much faster. They are awesome! They're really expensive for external ones right now. A descent external one, you know, you can spend a thousand bucks for a two terabytes.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: But you can get internal ones for a lot less money. So if you have a tower, you can get an internal one. If you're buying a new computer, I really recommend if you can afford it, go with a solid state hard drive. They are so quick, when you power on your computer, it’s like before you get your finger off the button, it’s up and ready to rock and roll, it’s that fast.

Fisher: Now I remember when you took care of my old family movies, the home movies from the '50s and '60s.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: You gave them back to me on an external hard drive.

Tom: Right.

Fisher: And the reason for that is because you converted them each into jpegs, right.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: So it’s kind of a large file. So I could go through and actually cut out individual photographs from it, some that are absolutely amazing and priceless, because, you know, they were never taken with the stills. So there are a lot of reasons for having an external hard drive.

Tom: Oh yeah! Oh, external hard drives are absolutely awesome! They're so convenient. In fact, they're getting so nice you can get a little thumb drives that go on your keychain. And I mean sixty four gigs on a keychain! I mean, if you have MP4s, that's hours and hours of content. It’s incredible.

Fisher: And that brings up another interesting question about hard drives. We'll get to that next with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 5 Episode 20

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio ExtremeGenes.com. It’s Fisher here with Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. And before the break we were talking about external hard drives. And I guess that brings up the question, "Do you need more than one hard drive?"

Tom: Oh, absolutely. And the thing you need to be so careful with is, don't have all these hard drives at one place. If your house burns down, it’s probably going to burn every room. So having one in the bedroom and one in your office is not going to do you any good. The cloud's a good way to store stuff, but don't rely just on the cloud. It’s such new technology we don't know what the horror stories are going to be yet. So what I always recommend people do is, when you're editing on your computer, great, but as soon as you're done, go and take your hard drive, put it in a little fireproof safe or a gun safe or something like that just in case, you know, the bad thing happens, because, I mean, it happens. Like we had an example where we had a customer came in and brought, you know, videotapes, film, all kinds of stuff and we transferred them all to DVD. This was then several years ago before, you know, we did a lot of hard drives. And he had some copies made, luckily for him. He had to go to Seattle over the weekend and I told him as I tell all our customers, make sure you put your masters in a fireproof safe or a gun safe, so that if something happens to your duplicates, you can go back to your masters. "When I get back on Monday, I'll do that." While he was gone, his house burned to the ground.

Fisher: Ugh!

Tom: By a miracle, between his masters and his duplicates, we were able to put a full set together. Some of the masters were totally destroyed, some of the duplicates were totally destroyed, but just he must be living right or something, because we were able to totally recreate  his entire files from those, whereas if he were to make the duplicates. His tapes were totally destroyed. All of his tapes were gone.

Fisher: Ugh!

Tom: So he was able to have a full set. And if he wouldn't have done that, he would have lost the parts.

Fisher: So even the duplication within the fire salvaged what he had.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: Exactly, exactly. Some masters survived, some duplicates survived. So you need to be really, really careful. Don't ever put off tomorrow thinking, "Oh, I'll take care of this tomorrow." or you know, "I'm editing tonight. I'm going to be editing in the morning. I don't need to put it away in the safe tonight." don't ever do that. It takes you five minutes to do that at the longest. And you'll just sleep more comfortable. And if something happens, whether it’s a flood, you know, a hurricane or whatever, you know, you're going to be able to keep it. You know, we had a story that, you know, was back in New Orleans when they had the big hurricane come through. This lady thought she was safe because she had all of her pictures. She had them saved on CD at her house, she had them at her daughter's house that lived a few miles away and the photographer had them. Well, they all lived in New Orleans, all of them lost everything. She lost everything.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: No wedding pictures at all. Her daughter's home was destroyed, her home was destroyed. The photographer's home was destroyed. Everybody lost it. So when you make duplicates, you know, put them in a safety deposit box, put them in a fireproof safe, send them to relatives, you know, and say, "Hey, will you just hang onto this for me?" and hopefully you'll never need it. But people that take that extra time and make that effort to do that will be, you know greatly blessed for it.

Fisher: Well, it’s just a great example of duplication. And like you say, get it out of town, not just out of the building, but out of town.

Tom: Oh yeah, because you have a natural disaster, you never know. And don't always rely that, "Oh, a safety deposit box. I only need one copy there." Look what happened at 9/11.

Fisher: Yeah.

Tom: Those safety deposit boxes, they were like, I remember, like forty, fifty feet below ground.

Fisher: They were all destroyed.

Tom: Yeah, all of them. You know, totally destroyed.

Fisher: Yeah. Isn't that amazing? Obviously we're talking about the most extreme losses you can think of, but still, it is possible.

Tom: Right.

Fisher: And it’s good to know.

Tom: It doesn't matter how extreme of a loss it is, if it happens to you, it’s a loss.

Fisher: It’s your loss, exactly.

Tom: It doesn’t matter whether the chances are slimmer or not. Take care of your stuff, keep it around, you know, send it out of state, you know, whatever you can to make sure it’s secure. Put it on the cloud. Don't ever rely on one backup source. Spread it out as much as you can.

Fisher: All right. He's Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. If you've got a question for Tom, a topic you want us to discuss, we'd love to hear from you. Just [email protected], that's his email and he'll be happy to get back to you and we'll be happy to share it. And Tom will talk to you next week.

Tom: Sounds good. We'll see you then.

Fisher: Hey, that's it for this week. Thanks for joining us on another episode of Extreme Genes, Family History Radio. Thanks to John Tippets for coming in and sharing the story of his dad's survival in the Alaskan tundra following a plane crash during World War II. By the way, that's our poll question this week, "Do you have a relative, maybe you yourself who was ever in a place crash or train crash?" We've had both in my family. Anyway, next week a 103 year old woman interviewed on a tape from 1957, you're going to want to hear this. It’s a great story. That's next week. Take care. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

Subscribe now to find out why hundreds of thousands of family researchers listen to Extreme Genes every week!

Email me new episodes