Episode 200 - America’s First “Mug Shots” Can Now Be Seen / How Court Records Can Answer A Lot Of Very Old QuestionsJul 23, 2017
It’s Extreme Genes’ fourth anniversary month, and this week’s episode is number 200! Host Scott Fisher opens this landmark show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Fisher first shares a touching story of how a group of Florida women recently made a bet concerning their DNA tests, and how she won the pool. (Hint: The bigger prize was finding her birth family… Fisher’s cousins!) David then shares recent research which indicates second children are more likely to be trouble in school and maybe even more likely to go to prison! Hear why. Then, the mystery of the “barber pole” is revealed. Why is it red, white, and blue? It’s far from what you think! David will have the answer. Then, America’s oldest living World War II vet, Richard Overton, age 111, is back in the news. And, it’s good news! Hear about a service being performed for him by an area organization. David then spotlights LifeInThePastLane.org and a recent blog about the complications of having Southern ancestry.
Next, Fisher visits with Shayne Davidson, a Michigan resident and St. Louis native. Not long ago, her research led to her what is called St. Louis’ “Rogues Gallery,” a group of 1850s and 1860s era photos, that we would today call “mug shots.” It’s the earliest surviving known collection. Shayne has researched those that had enough information on them and shares some of their stories, and how she has come to create an ebook on the subject.
Then, Fisher visits with genealogist Lisa Lisson about court records, and the fascinating story about what they taught her about her ancestor. The details were juicy, and she shares how you can use these records to answer questions you may have had about an ancestor for a very long time.
Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority, then answers a listener question about a large, old Quaker group photo she located in a safe deposit box. How can she properly digitize it? Tom has the answer with a great suggestion of how she can digitally note who each participant is. Hear what Tom has to say.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes- America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 200
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 200
Fisher: And welcome to America’s Family History Show! It is Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tee and watch the nuts fall out. And this segment is brought to you by Legacytree.com. Our guest today, a couple of really interesting people, Shayne Davidson, she is in Michigan. She is a St. Louis native and she stumbled upon what they call the Rogues Gallery in St. Louis. Yeah, we call them mug shots today. And she’s put together an eBook on it and we’re going to hear some of the stories she found related to these people and the photographs and how she found them. Interesting stuff coming up in about nine minutes, and then later in the show we’re going to talk to genealogist Lisa Lisson about court records and some of the “scoundrels” from her own lines that she found as a result of those, and how you can do the same, where to find them, some great techniques. That’s later on in the show. Hey, just a reminder by the way, sign up for our Weekly Genie Newsletter. It is our 4th Anniversary month and for this month we’re going to be giving people the opportunity to score a one hour free consultation with David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org but you must be a Weekly Genie subscriber by the end of July. You can do that by signing up at ExtremeGenes.com or our Facebook page and it’s absolutely free by the way. And David is on the line with me right now from Boston, Massachusetts.
Fisher: How are you David?
David: I’m doing great in Beantown and by the way, I understand double congratulations are in order to you this week.
Fisher: Double? Oh yeah first of all, it’s our 200th Episode this week which is very fun and our 4th Anniversary of course. And you’ve been part of it, gosh since what, two and a half years now, something like that?
David: Pretty much. I was on the first year you were on, as a guest. And you know I’m just like a bad penny. I keep on showing up.
Fisher: [Laughs] Absolutely. What’s the other thing you’re thinking about?
David: Oh well that little conversation we had about your “not so newborn cousin” that you discovered.
Fisher: Yeah this is very cool. So she is in with a group of ladies in Florida and they all decided they were going to do a DNA test to find out their ethnicity, not really aware that you’d find matches and that type of thing. Anyway, they all put together some money into a pool of $100 and said all right the first person to get a response back as a result of the DNA test will win the pool. So this lady won the pool because she heard from my second cousin who discovered that she was the long lost daughter who had been given up by his sister when she got pregnant back 50 years ago. And that sister has since passed. They’ve been looking for her for decades.
David: Oh that’s wonderful!
Fisher: So welcome to the family Ann! And she’s got a couple of half sisters that are just all over this. They’re going to have a big reunion coming up some time next month at Disney World with the family. And this girl was raised as an only child with a single mom and so this is just going to rock her world a little bit I think.
David: That’s great. Well, we had a little addition to my family too. My daughter’s now having a brand new baby cousin. He was born just these past few days ago and so there’s now 22 years difference between the first cousin and the youngest cousin!
Fisher: [Laughs] So it works sometimes. All right let’s get on with our Family Histoire News today David. What do you have?
David: Well, you know I’m the second born based on my mother’s children and the third born based on my dad’s kids.
David: And I’m getting a little nervous because a new study by MIT in Massachusetts has determined that the second born kids are more likely to become criminals.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yes I saw this. I mean by a lot too. And the story behind it is the first born usually has the parents as their model and the second born usually has the older child, a childish person, as their model. And it doesn’t always work out so well in school or in life afterwards so you’ve got to keep an eye and make sure that you give that second kid as much attention as you do the first one.
David: Have you ever gone to the barbershop and wondered why it’s red, white and blue?
Fisher: You’re talking about the barber pole?
David: The barber pole, correct. The blue they believe stood for bloodletting because back in the day, Pope Alexander III, this is back in the day in 1163, prohibited clergymen from carrying out the procedure of bloodletting, so barbers were allowed to. Hence, barbers-surgeons came up.
Fisher: [Laughs] Oh my goodness.
David: So they could pull teeth, set bones and treat wounds. So if I have a band aid need, need my tooth pulled, my hair cut and fix a broken bone I just got to go to my barber now, cut out the middle man completely.
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, it might be much cheaper healthcare I suppose. So the blue is for the veins. The red was for the blood. And what was the white?
David: The white is for the bandages.
Fisher: The bandages? So it wasn’t American patriotism. It’s bloodletting for barbers. That’s crazy.
David: Well something new for people to know.
David: So when you go to your barber, say you know you have a toothache and they don’t answer you go get a different barber. [Laughs]
Fisher: Yes, exactly. Wow!
David: Well let’s see, as we give a blogger spotlight I’d like to turn attention to Beth Wiley’s blog which is Lifeinthepastlane.org.
Fisher: Very nice.
David: And she has a really interesting post about Southern heritage and it’s called “Southern Heritage. It’s Complicated.” She talks about her Southern heritage but alludes to the problems of the past in the South and how she regrets some of the things that have come up and what’s been in the news lately and about Confederate statues etc. So it’s a very interesting blog post to read being a descendant of those from long ago from down South. The other thing I want to mention is the free database that NEHGS has and I alluded to it last week with our affiliation with the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. So we are very pleased to offer through our collaboration with the general society of Mayflower descendants the first part of the “Silver Book, Fifth Generation.” So if you’re a Mayflower descendant of the Chilton, Eaton, Fuller, Howland, Priest or Winslow family, all the Fifth Generations are available for you on AmericanAncestors.org/silverbooks.
Fisher: Very cool. I am a Howland descendant. I’ll have to look at that.
David: And now, one more shout-out is to the FGS Conference that will be in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from August 30th to September 2nd 2017. I’ll be giving three lectures down there. Hope to see some of our listeners and I shall be glad to pose for selfies for our Extreme Genes pages.
Fisher: [Laughs] All right, very nice David. Thanks for coming on. We’ll see you again next week!
David: Talk to you soon my friend.
Fisher: All right buddy. And coming up next Shayne Davidson, she’s a Michigan woman who found some interesting photos in St. Louis that’s turned into something more than anyone anticipated. Wait until you hear about the Rogues’ Gallery and her new eBook. It’s coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 200
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Shayne Davidson
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It’s our 200th Episode! And our 4th Anniversary and so excited to have on the line with me right now from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Shayne Davidson. And Shayne is one of those passionate amateur genies that we would all like to be, especially when you find things like she has found in St. Louis. Shayne welcome to Extreme Genes.
Shayne: Thank you. It’s nice to be with you Scott.
Fisher: You know, you have been a medical illustrator for how many years now?
Shayne: Oh, thirty.
Fisher: Thirty? Thirty years! And during that time you’ve also been working as a genealogist for your own pleasure, which is what most of us like to do. And this whole thing led you to an interesting discovery lately. So let’s talk about what you were looking for and then what you actually found.
Shayne: Well, I was really looking for some sort of a photographic evidence or record of what my St. Louis German ancestors might have looked like in the 1850s and 1860s because I didn’t have any photos of them. And I didn’t think I was going to find any because they were rather poor. So, I discovered this photograph of a woman named Elizabeth Wallman who was photographed for the St. Louis Rogues’ Gallery in 1861. And when I came across it I had no idea what a Rogues’ Gallery was. It was a new term for me. So, I did what I think most people would do nowadays. I Googled it and I discovered that it was a whole collection of photographs that the St. Louis Police had made starting at some point in 1850 and that it still existed and was in the collection of the Missouri History Museum and it was in their archives and library in St. Louis. And I was so intrigued by the photo of Elizabeth that I wanted to see the whole collection. So, I went and looked at the collection. It’s 191 photographs.
Fisher: Wow! And we would call them today “mug shots.”
Shayne: We would call them today mug shots. That’s correct. But they would not have called them that in the 19th century. They would have called them Rogues’ Gallery photographs.
Fisher: That’s unbelievable. I’ve never heard of any though this early. Have you heard of any earlier than this?
Shayne: Well, apparently there were some made in Europe that were earlier than this. But I think to some extent conjecture at this point because I don’t think those exist any longer and I’d never seen one.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Shayne: The earliest photo in this collection is from October of 1857 and I have never seen one earlier than that. The Rogues’ Gallery in New York City which is often credited as being the oldest Rogues’ Gallery in America was started in November of 1858. So, we know that the St. Louis Gallery was begun slightly earlier than the New York City Gallery.
Fisher: Until New York actually finds one from ’56 right? [Laughs] There’s always that competition.
Shayne: Right, right. But I don’t think they will because there were lots of news articles written about the New York City Rogues’ Gallery and it was very well established that that was begun in November of 1858.
Fisher: That was it. Wow.
Shayne: And those photos apparently do not exist any longer. I’ve talked to all sorts of photo archivists and photo collecting friends and they do not appear to exist any longer.
Fisher: Ugh. That’s sad because I had so many criminals in New York City… I’d love to see that! [Laughs]
Shayne: [Laughs] Exactly.
Fisher: So tell me about Elizabeth now. She was the first rogue you found. How old was she, what was her background, and what was her crime?
Shayne: Elizabeth was a thirty-one-year-old German immigrant. She lived in Bellville, Illinois which is across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. She was a thirty-one-year-old woman when she was arrested in 1861, November of 1861 for grand larceny. She had been in the country for about two years. She and her husband who was Austrian, and she was German from northern Germany. They had immigrated in 1859 to the United States bringing with them one son, one small boy, and another son had died in Germany. So, they were fairly new to America and they settled in Bellville apparently because Elizabeth had two sisters who lived in Bellville who had come a bit earlier than she had.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Shayne: She and her two sisters and the husband of one of the sisters apparently went to St. Louis in November of 1861 and planned to rob a number of upscale stores in downtown St. Louis.
Shayne: They got through a number of these stores until they finally got to a store called Jacquards. The clerk there became suspicious of what they were doing and he thought that they were hiding. He was bringing out beautiful watches and lockets and things to show them and he thought that some of those items were disappearing into their shawls and their baskets and he confronted them with that and then he called the police. And they left the store before the police got there but the police arrived shortly and they tried to arrest the group of these four people and a couple of children. The group did not want to be arrested and apparently they started, which is not surprising, they started dropping things in the street. Finally, one of the policemen pulled out his gun and said, “No,” you know, “we’re taking you to the station.” And they [laughs] one of the things I thought was really interesting was they pleaded with the policeman to be able to stop for a glass of wine along the way to the station.
Shayne: [Laughs] The policeman said no. And so they were taken to the station and they were searched. I assume that they were you know, furiously searched, made to take off all their clothes and they were searched. And I guess they found some of these items and so they were all put under arrest. For whatever reason, the two sisters of Elizabeth were tried separately from Elizabeth.
Shayne: And they were tried a couple of times and they took their case to the Supreme Court on appeal in Missouri, the Supreme Court. And they were finally given a third trial and they were found not guilty at their trial because so many people had died or couldn’t remember what had happened. It had been a couple of years. So Elizabeth was convicted of grand larceny and she was sent to the Missouri State Penitentiary.
Fisher: Now, you found all this material I assume through digitized newspaper records and court records and police records?
Shayne: Correct. Yes that’s right.
Fisher: Because Elizabeth and the sisters both appealed their convictions to the state Supreme Court. There are a lot of records and Missouri has put them online. So it was great.
Fisher: Fantastic. So you could sit up late at night and just go and find this material you eventually put together. Now how many Rogues’ Gallery photos did you come across and did you research them all?
Shayne: No I didn’t research them all because I couldn’t. I could only research the photos for which there was some kind of information about who the person was in the photo.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Shayne: No I didn’t research them all because I couldn’t. I could only research the photos for which there was some kind of information about who the person was I the photo. And there were 191 total photos in the collection. There are only 37 that I identified.
Fisher: Well that s plenty though. That’s good stuff. What were the other crimes that you ran across that you were able to track down?
Shayne: Well, I think one of the more interesting ones that I tracked down was a young man named Richard Shannon who was actually not a resident of St. Louis. He was a resident of some small town in Illinois, Galena I think. Anyway, he was charged with grand larceny again because he and another man, and I don’t know what their relationship was, but they had stolen some boots out of a wagon that was waiting to be transported. The gentleman who was transporting the stuff in the wagon had spent the night with a friend that he was going to move off the next day. Well, he discovered that some of the boots in the wagon had been stolen and then he got some other gentlemen together and they started looking and they found Richard Shannon who was a raftsman. He took logs up and down the Mississippi river.
Fisher: Wow. [Laughs]
Shayne: He was quite a young man, so he was kind of a Mark Twain type character. Huck Finn.
Shayne: Anyway, the men, the posse of men, looking for the people who had stolen the boots went out and they discovered Richard and his older male colleague with the boots on their feet.
Fisher: Oh boy. [Laughs]
Shayne: Yeah. So they were arrested. The other guy got away ultimately so only Richard was ever tried and he was convicted.
Fisher: These are great stories because like you say. I mean, it really reveals the lifestyle and the times you know when you talk about somebody calling the police. Well they didn’t pick up a phone. They ran out and summoned somebody. [Laughs]
Shayne: That’s right. That’s right yeah, exactly.
Fisher: So, as a result of this now, you’ve put this eBook together with all these folks in it and all these images and most of them are in really good shape. Talk about your book.
Shayne: Um hmm. Well, it’s an eBook. It’s published by the Missouri History Museum Trust and it’s their first interactive eBook. So the images are all high resolution images and you can zoom in. You know you can pinch and squeeze and you can make them bigger and you can really see a lot of details in the images that way with high res images. And I wanted to include all 191 photos from the gallery in the book.
Shayne: And that was part of the reason that the decision was made to do the eBook. And I also wanted them to be in color because even though these images are black and white, some of them are hand painted and they’re all hard images, which means they’re not paper. They are not printed on paper.
Shayne: They’re printed on either glass or metal.
Fisher: So were they daguerreotypes? Ambrotypes?
Shayne: They’re ambrotypes and tintypes.
Shayne: They’re in these mats and preservers so they’ve got these elaborate some highly decorated mats around the images. It’s very interesting to see them that way with that in full color. And so that was part of the reason that we wanted to do it as an eBook. So that people can really appreciate the whole collection and see what it really looks like, see it in color.
Fisher: Shayne what is the name of the book and where can people get it and how much?
Shayne: The name of the book is “Captured and Exposed: The First Police Rogues’ Gallery in America.” People can get the Kindle edition on Amazon.com it’s $9.99 or people can get it as an iBook through Apple iTunes it’s also $9.99 same price. So those are the two places that you can get it and you just download it.
Fisher: That’s great. How exciting. What fun. And the pictures are terrific and people can get a little sample of what you’ve discovered at ExtremeGenes.com. We’ve linked to an article about that. Thanks so much for coming on and telling us about it, and congratulations on your discoveries.
Shayne: Oh thank you. I really enjoyed talking to you.
Fisher: And this segment has been brought to you by 23andMe.comDNA. And coming up next, Lisa Lisson, the genealogist talks about court records and some of the scoundrels you can find there. That’s in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 200
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Lisa Lisson
Fisher: You know, I’ve always maintained that the people who are in the court records, those ancestors who have been troublemakers are pretty much the most interesting folks you’ll ever run into. Hi, it’s Fisher. It’s Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. And I’ve got Lisa Lisson on the phone from Lisson Genealogy. And Lisa, we were just talking about your scoundrel that you found back there using court records. I guess everybody gets kind of afraid of those when they start digging into them, right?
Lisa: I think people are kind of afraid of going into the court records because there are multiple levels of them. The languages are very formal and it’s just kind of confusing sometimes how to actually find the records.
Fisher: And it’s tough to become an expert in them because every place is so different in terms of what the courts were, which were the right jurisdictions, which court houses burned, right? Like during the Civil War. All these things come into play.
Lisa: Absolutely, absolutely. I don’t think there is anybody that is an expert on all of them. I think it’s very important to do a little research on the court system before you get into looking for your ancestors.
Lisa: That way you know how that state or that county set the court system up and where you’re most likely to find the most information on your ancestor. And you’re right, with the burned counties and the burned court houses it definitely gets a little tricky sometimes. Always check and see what’s available because you don’t want to spend time looking for records that simply just don’t exist.
Fisher: Now, I’m hearing a little southern in your voice, so I know you do a little southern research.
Lisa: Oh yes. I’m from North Carolina, and I would take this as a North Carolina accent, or at least one of them.
Fisher: [Laughs] There you go. And you found an interesting tale about one of your people in the court records. Go into that.
Lisa: I was researching into my fourth great grandmother. Her name was Sarah Blanks out of Halifax County, Virginia. And I was really stuck on her. She’d been a brick wall for me for a number of years. I never really could figure out who she was. And we also knew her supposed husband who was Langley Tolbert. The Tolbert family out of Halifax County, Virginia, as well as Campbell County. A very well known family and we actually knew quite a bit about him. So I actually shifted my focus, I stopped looking for Sarah and started looking more at Langley. And some earlier research into him had kind of shown that he had a gambling problem. The family had a lot of money and so when someone passed away there were usually a bit of squabbling over the estate and the money and who got what share.
Fisher: How unusual is that?! [Laughs]
Lisa: I know. I know. This is not an original concept for today!
Lisa: And so I started realizing that I really probably wanted to look at the court records because he was probably going to fall, have some close encounters with the law. And I really wasn’t sure which side of the law he was going to be on. So I got into the Chancery records out of Halifax County Virginia. Virginia is doing a wonderful job digitizing many of their records. And this has recently in the last couple of months come up online. So I sat down and clicked it open and it’s about 80 pages just on my family.
Fisher: Wow! 80 pages, that’s incredible.
Lisa: 80 pages and that’s just one case.
Fisher: Yeah and this is in your home too, in the middle of the night. It’s fantastic.
Lisa: I’m sitting on my couch just reading away. Dinner was definitely late that day I will tell you that. [Laughs] But this is okay. And essentially what I found as I had been researching for Langley, I found Sarah Blanks. I found the answers that I needed for her.
Lisa: So she had actually died around 1871 and at her death her son, her children were suing their father. They were suing Langley, over a piece of land that they felt should have been their inheritance at the time of her death. Now it’s kind of interesting because she’s listed as Sarah Blanks in that document.
Lisa: Why would she have separate land from her husband because she predeceased him? So right away bells started going off, something’s odd about this.
Lisa: This was an unusual thing. [Laughs] This should not be happening. So as I read the layout of the case, essentially the story that happened was, back in the 1820s she was widowed. She became a young widow, she had one child. Her first husband’s name was Thomas Blanks. There’s where we got our name Sarah Blanks from.
Lisa: Fast forward, in the 1840s she is still living on the land she had received from her husband when he passed away. She decided she wants to sell that land and move. So she sells the land and she sells the slave that she had also received from her husband at his death. Then she gives the money to Langley Tolbert. Now at this point she and Langley had basically been in a common law marriage since about 1823.
Lisa: And she gives him the money for him to go and make the actual transaction for the land. So he does. He takes the money and he goes off and he buys that land. And he put it in his name.
Fisher: Uh oh.
Lisa: That land was deeded to Langley Tolbert.
Fisher: Uh oh.
Lisa: So legally he owned the land and Sarah did not.
Fisher: Ah ha.
Lisa: He essentially stole the land out from under her. She was ticked and she let him know about it. This is all in the court records.
Fisher: So you’ve got depositions then?
Lisa: Absolutely. So what they did to move this case forward after her death, they took depositions from her sons, depositions from neighbors, the local physicians, and so essentially what we found out through those depositions is, Langley and Sarah never married. And this was very common knowledge in the family obviously.
Lisa: But it was common knowledge in the community.
Lisa: They listed up the heirs. They asked who all should be heirs to this land.
Lisa: And I’ve got three more children that that couple I never knew about.
Lisa: And that they had left the area. That’s another avenue of research to follow up on at some point. The neighbors knew that Sarah legally was supposed to have that land and not Langley. And the neighbors were also deposed and told that Langley had no money. They knew of no means that he had money coming in.
Lisa: He could not support himself and yet this is a man that had inherited money in his early days.
Fisher: Unbelievable. And all this is in the court records?
Lisa: All this and more. There’s more. [Laughs] His neighbors and his physicians also testified that Langley was insane. He was a lunatic and the county physician actually documented that as well. He was not a danger to anybody. He wasn’t really considered a danger to himself. He just went around believing that people were trying to poison him.
Fisher: Ah! [Laughs] So what was the ultimate resolution? Did the kids win?
Lisa: The kids won. They got the land so it was sold and the money was divided. And the kids won, and within five years, Langley passed away about five years after all that took place. And at the time of his death in 1880 after the resolution, he was actually living with his son but he was on the indigent list of the county.
Fisher: Got it, got it.
Lisa: He died a pauper.
Fisher: Well, let’s talk about this a little. Those were Chancery records from Halifax, Virginia. Do you work in other court rooms and what advice would you give to people as they go to look in the court records?
Lisa: I think the biggest piece of advice certainly is to know the setup before you start getting in and looking for your ancestor. But, what I like to tell people is that when you start to read those stories or you start to read records that appear in the courts that your ancestors are in, know the name and know the relationship to your ancestor that every single person mentioned.
Lisa: In other words, know exactly how they’re related because for instance, with all those depositions that were in the court records that I was reading, I needed to know the identity of every person that was deposed, because they were not just some stranger off the street.
Lisa: You can find clues to neighbors. You can find clues to friends and if they’re appearing in your ancestors records, guess what? Your ancestors are probably appearing in their court records as well.
Fisher: Boy, that’s a really good piece of advice. Absolutely true, and not just the Chancery records, you can find these in any kind of court records but you need to know which type you’re looking for. And most states and cities have some kind of guide that can tell you what you can expect from each type of court record.
Lisa: Absolutely. And most times what I do is, I go directly to the state archives website and will ask, or I’ll go to a specific county. If I have a contact in the county then I might go directly to the county and ask them.
Fisher: And we should mention by the way, most court records are not online yet. I mean the overwhelming majority are not, that’s still to come, but a lot of them are coming online. So if you don’t see anything online, you might have to go to the court house or make a trip somewhere.
Lisa: Right. Don’t ever assume, because we are so fortunate with what is coming online but that is still the tip of the iceberg.
Lisa: Grab your telephone and call and just ask.
Fisher: She’s Lisa Lisson. She is a blogger. She is a genealogist. She’s got a lot of info for you on courts and you can find out more at Lisa Lisson, that’s LisaLisson.com and you can email her at [email protected]. Thanks so much Lis for coming on!
Lisa: No, thanks so much for having me.
Fisher: And coming up next, we’ll talk to the guy who’s also been on all 200 episodes of Extreme Genes as we celebrate our 200th today, during our 4th anniversary month here in July. Tom Perry our Preservation Authority is coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes.
Segment 4 Episode 200
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: You know, I cannot believe it’s been four years and 200 episodes! And, Tom Perry, you've been on every single one of them.
Tom: Isn't that crazy!
Fisher: It is nuts, its Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth. Man, 200, and four years has just gone so quickly! And so many questions answered from people, Tom. Here's another great question, and I really love this. It’s from Ann Johnson in northern Virginia. She said, "Tom, I saw a group photo with most of my Quaker Long Island ancestors since they intermarried, in a book which I also found on a trip to old Westbury at the historical society. The photo was taken around 1868 outside the Westbury Quaker meeting house. And after the trip, two things happened. At this house, I found a duplicate of the same photo. Ecstatic! And months later, I was plowing through a bank box of papers Margaret had been working on and I found the key to all the people in the picture. Super duper ecstatic! "She wants to make a copy of this picture, but it gets pixilated.
Tom: This is awesome. In fact, this is a perfect question for our 200th episode. This is better than finding gold.
Fisher: Yes! [Laughs]
Tom: Or, you know, an old relative left just something in their bank account. This stuff is priceless. And she sent some pictures. And for those of you that are not driving, if you look at your speaker, I'll hold it up to the microphones so you can all see it.
Fisher: [Laughs] It’s a fabulous picture, too. Big group picture outside of a Quaker meeting house.
Tom: There's a glare from her iPhone or whatever she's trying to take the picture from. There's a couple of different ways you can do this. The simplest, easiest down and dirty as we talk about is, get a Shotbox. Shotboxes are made exactly for situations like this.
Fisher: Would it take care of a picture this size? Because its, what, 12x18.
Tom: Oh yeah. Oh, absolutely. You can put that puppy in there and just rock and roll. Shoot it. It makes it really, really easy to do. So that's the easiest down and dirty thing. Check in your area, see if any of the local transfer duplication centers have Shotboxes that possibly they rent or you can take it in to them. Check around with different scanning places that can scan. And remember, one thing that a lot of people don't think about is, if there's any Jisco billboard companies or Reagan billboard companies or whatever kind of billboard companies are in your area, go and check with them, because they usually have super high end scanners, super high dpis in the thousands.
Tom: And something like this, you don't want to skip, you know.
Tom: And if it was brought to us, it, you know, cost five, ten bucks to scan stuff like this. It’s not that expensive. But something this special, if you go to a sign company and they want a hundred bucks to scan it at super high dpi, don't ask any questions.
Fisher: Right. [Laughs]
Tom: Write them a check.
Tom: Do it, and do it now.
Fisher: Well, you've got to think if you've got it up to, say, 2400 dpi for something this size, that would keep it from pixilating, right?
Tom: Oh, absolutely. In fact, something this big, you know, realistically, I wouldn't do this, but realistically, even if you did it at 300 dpi, it’s going to be amazing, because it’s so huge already.
Tom: So if you make 8x10s, 5x7s, they're going to be glorious. But you do it at 1200, 2500, you're going to be able to go in there and do all kinds of touching up pixel by pixel. And the neat thing is then when they want to enlarge it and if you have like Heritage Collector's software that they can enlarge the picture 500 times, see the photos. And as they go over everybody’s face, the name will pop up.
Fisher: And that is great software for this. This is perfect for Heritage Collectors.
Tom: This is exactly what this software was made for. And then also, if you can find out the geolocation of exactly where this picture was taken, you can add that geotag to it as well, so people can go back there. And the building still might be there. If not, they can say, "Oh, there's a KFC here now!"
Fisher: [Laughs] You can stand right where they were and enjoy some fried chicken.
Tom: But yeah, this is a wonderful find. I just absolutely love stories like this. But that's what I would do. If you're ever going to come out to Roots Tech, you can bring it with you. We're going to be back at the NEHGS conference. That would be a great thing. If you're going to be at that, come and see us. We'll be there on August 19th. And in fact, we'll tell you after the break about some other cool stuff we're going to be doing.
Fisher: All right. And if you have a question for Tom, of course you can always email him at [email protected] or ask him on Twitter @AskTomP. All right, in three minutes, we're finally going to talk about this thing you've been talking about the last couple of weeks.
Tom: And I apologize. We were going to talk about the DVA. We'll finally get it, I promise, after the break.
Fisher: And this segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org.
Segment 5 Episode 200
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And we're back for our final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth talking preservation with my good friend, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Our 4th anniversary, our 200th show and you've been on all of them.
Fisher: I know. [Laughs] It’s been a long time.
Tom: That's why I'm so tired, I guess.
Fisher: I know. You have really aged.
Fisher: All right. Now, the last couple of weeks, you've been teasing and taunting about DVAs and we've never gotten there and I don't even know what it is. So what is it? What is a DVA and why should we care?
Tom: A DVA is a Digital Video Archive. The thing that I like so much about it, you can hook up any kind of a device. You can hook up a VCR to it, you can actually put DVDs in it, you can hook up a Video 8 camera. Anything that has a video out port on it you can hook into it. And once you hook it into it, it gives you a whole bunch of options. First off, it makes two kinds of MP4s. There's several different kinds of MP4s. What MP4 really means is a compression.
Tom: So what the DVA does, it actually gives you two MP4s. It gives you what's called a MP4W, which is a MP4 for the web and they're really small. Like a two hour MP4 web is only 750 megabytes.
Tom: I mean that's teeny.
Tom: You can have like five hours on there and you're on any cloud service for free. There's no charge, so watch something that's four hours or less. But then it also gives you what we call an MP4 Pro. A two hour video is 4 gigabytes. So it’s like four times the size of it. It’s quite a bit larger, but that's for people that want to go in and edit, they want to do stuff with the baby and make different files and folders for different people. And another neat thing about the DVA is, when you upload the MP4 web or MP4W as I call them, you can go in and edit them. And they have smart technology, so when your camcorder's hooked up to it, it can usually tell when you've turned the camera on and off because it’s a scene change. So you get separate thumbnails for every scene change.
Fisher: Wow! [Laughs]
Tom: So you can go in and say, "Oh, here's that stuff I don't want anymore." and just chuck it. And you can even collaborate. So, say, you know, you have ten people that are in your family group that do genealogy and family history, send all of them an invite and they can go and watch it. And you can put questions up there that says "Who is this with grandma at her birthday party?" and somebody else that's maybe an older brother or sister or an aunt or an uncle, "Oh, that's so and so." and write it in there so you kind of know who all these people are. And then when you're done with the collaboration, you can make a final file and either invite people to come look at it, or if somebody else in your family's an editor and wants to edit it, you can give them clearance and they can actually come in, download it and edit it as well.
Fisher: So basically, we're turning everybody into professional television producers now. [Laughs]
Tom: Not quite, but close. But it makes it so convenient, because a lot of people, they want to see the video, but they don't want the clutter.
Tom: Some people are clean freaks. They don't want this kind of stuff, they want to, oh, go look at it, "That's done. I don't want to watch it again." That's why they do Netflix, they don't keep the video. They don't want to buy the DVD. So they can go in and look at it, enjoy it. And the neatest thing is, whether you have one person or a hundred people in your family email list, you send them all an invite, they can all go look at it. And then if there's certain people that say, "Hey, I want to be able to download this." then you give permission. They can go in and actually download it to their website. And if it’s under four and a half hours, there's no charge!
Fisher: And where do people get this?
Tom: Well, they can go to TransferDuplication.com, which is our website and we have some more information on the DVA. And the neat thing about the DVA, if you're just using this for personal use, you can pick one up for about three grand. So they're not that expensive, especially if your whole family's going in on it. If you want to actually make this service available to other people, for $300 more, you can get all set up where you can actually do all the creation, send people things, do invites, and their tech service is amazing. In fact, the guy that actually invented the thing who lives, I believe, in Tucson, you can call him, and he'll go over stuff with you. And they give you training. It’s turnkey. They give you videos right in your mailbox that teach you how to use it. It is so amazing.
Fisher: All right, great stuff. We finally got it out of the way.
Tom: Woo hoo!
Fisher: That is the DVA. Thanks so much, Tom, and happy anniversary, my friend.
Tom: My pleasure.
Fisher: And that, my friends, wraps us our 200th episode. And genies, I can't thank you enough. It is unbelievable that we've been at this now for four years. This segment has been brought to you by MyHeritage.com. And don't forget by the way to sign up for our Weekly Genie newsletter. All of our subscribers by the end of July will be eligible for a drawing for a free one hour consultation with David Allen Lambert from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Take care. We'll talk to you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!