Episode 208 - Boston Man Learns Ties To The Dalton Gang! / What Do You Do When You Get Stuck?

podcast episode Oct 01, 2017

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors.org.  David opens with disturbing news about the New York City Department of Health, which is attempting to limit access to certain vital records. Find out what they are. Then, a World War I submarine has been found in 100 feet of water. Find out where, and what happens next. Then, a pair of twins who served in World War II have just turned 99 years old! What’s their story? David will tell you. Then, it’s a wedding day miracle. Find out what happened months after a couple’s camera, with all their wedding day, pix was swept away by a rogue wave in California. David then shines his blogger spotlight on Mags Gaulden and her GrandmasGenes.com/blog.

Then, Fisher visits with Jim Power from the NEHGS. Jim learned some time ago that his family is apparently connected to the notorious Dalton Gang! Jim’s been researching this for some time now. Hear the puzzle pieces he has picked up and you decide!

Then, Janet Hovorko from FamilyChartmasters.com and Genealogy.coach talks about what to do when you get stuck. It’s not truly a brick wall until you’ve done many of the things that Janet shares.

Then, Preservation Authority Tom Perry continues his ongoing education on how to recover photos and documents that have been damaged (especially by water) in natural disasters such as the recent string of hurricanes. Even if you have material damaged by a washing machine overflow, 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 208

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 208

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 of the show is brought to you by LegacyTree.com. Two intriguing guests on the show today. One of them is the PR guy for the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org Jim Power. Jim and I were having lunch in Boston not long ago, and he told me about the discovery of one of his ancestors that ran with the Dalton Gang and all the things he’s into researching that right now. He’s going to fill us in on his latest discoveries with it and his family connections. Can you imagine that? I mean, most of us say oh we’ve got to find somebody who’s really cool, a president or somebody who’s done something great. No, he’s got himself a Wild West outlaw so we’ll hear his story coming up. Then later in the show we’re going to talk to Janet Hovorka from my friends at familychartmasters.com and Genealogy.coach. What do you do when you get stuck? I mean, all of us reach points where we have that brick wall come up. What can we do to try to break that thing down? Janet’s got some tips for you coming up later in the show. Also this week by the way, in our Extreme Genes Patrons Club Members Only podcast we’re talking to Dr Scott Woodward about the beginnings of DNA research. He is one of the pioneers in the field. He was doing this back in the 1980s and1990s. He’ll tell you on that podcast about how it all got started and where he thinks it’s going in the not too distant future. And by the way, if you’d like to become a member of our Extreme Genes Patrons Club it’s easy to do. It actually costs you less than a nice juicy hamburger every month so check it out. Go to Patreon.com/Extreme Genes or just click on Patrons Club on the ExtremeGenes.com website. Right now, let’s head out to Boston and get David Allen Lambert on the line from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. He’s the Chief Genealogist.

Fisher: How are you David?

David: Hey, I’m back in Beantown after being up in Maine and getting a chance to meet some of our listeners of the podcast with the Maine Genealogical Society’s Annual Meeting. I was up there to be their keynote and got to meet a lot of our listeners. I didn’t know that we had so many in Maine.

Fisher: Isn’t that great? So, shout outs to Maine!

David: Exactly. Speaking of conferences, one of the conferences I love is Roots Tech. And of course Roots Tech 2018 will be February 28th to March 3rd 2018 and registration just opened this week, so some of our listeners, maybe they might want to come out and see us. I’m giving a couple of lectures. What about you? What are you doing Fish?

Fisher: Yeah, I’ve got a couple of them as well, going to be talking about doing old fashion research, doing it the old fashion way without the Internet. How do you do that and why would you want to do that?

David: [Laughs]

Fisher: And I’ll also be talking about “collecting your ancestors.” We’ve talked about that on the show quite a bit. We’ll give some “how-tos” on that, what to look for and how to set it up, set up your little “traps” on the internet to find some of these things.

David: Excellent. For all I know I’m going to try to sneak away to attend some of your lectures while I’m there. Well, I’ll tell you we always talk about the wonderful news in genealogy but sometimes you get roadblocks and sometimes it’s by government. And right now Reclaim the Records is very active on social media because the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is proposing sort of an embargo if you will on access to records. So, birth occurred within the last 125 years or death occurred within the last 75 years with the potential change to 50 years now being proposed to shut off access to records.

Fisher: Oh my gosh! This is unbelievable to me, first of all, because these are public records. They’re using the excuse that this will have to do with the ID theft and the like. But I mean, how many people live to 125? I don’t think we ever had one that I’m aware of, [Laughs] Certainly out of one specific place. I’m sure Brooke Ganz over at Reclaim the Records is going to be all over this with her attorneys and people involved in that effort.

David: Well, I can tell you genealogists are always on the lookout for this type of legislation to close out records so I tip my hat to Reclaim the Records in their efforts. Sometimes genealogy has to dig a little deep. This time it’s 100 feet in the water off the Belgian Coast. An original World War I U-boat has been located in pretty good shape. In fact, the German government believes that the 23 crew members are still in the vessel and hopefully bodies will be recovered for proper burial. It’s amazing, over 100 years ago this vessel went down.

Fisher: Wow! And they’ll certainly have the crew records for this vessel. But they could also do DNA and then try to identify who is who.

David: Exactly. And so it’s amazing. I’m sure there are family members who are finally going to get some closure after a century or more. The next story pushes ahead with a different war. This is World War II and back in 1941 Ralph Henderson heard on the radio that his draft number was read. Well, right after that his twin brother Boyd decided to enlist as well. Now, here’s the thing. They’re still alive and just celebrated their 99th birthdays.

Fisher: Wow! [Laughs] That’s awesome. Congratulations to the Henderson twins.

David: Exactly. They were born in Arimo, Idaho and then spent time in the Great Depression living in Pocatello where they graduated high school 81 years ago.

Fisher: Unbelievable.

David: Well, the next story that I have to share, there was a couple that had recently gotten married and had left his camera and other belongings on the sea wall and whoosh in the water it goes.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Oh yes, this is just instantaneously, washed 172 pictures that they had taken of the wedding. Now here’s the catch. A couple of months later Alex Noble walking along the beach finds a camera, posts pictures on the internet and voila, they are now identified and returned to the happy married couple.

Fisher: [Laughs] How cool is that. That’s Laguna Beach, California. No flood there. It’s just the ocean doing its thing.

David: Just to think the sand and salt water, but they have them

Fisher: Yeah.

David: Every week I like to give a “blogger spotlight” shout out and this week it is to Mags Gaulden who is known as “Grandma’s Genes” Grandmasgenes.com/blog. And Mags goes on and talks a lot about DNA. And it’s a nice little blog and I’ve enjoyed reading it and had a chance to meet her at Roots Tech last year and no doubt she’ll be there once again. Hey, don’t forget, if you’re not a NEHGS member, you can become a guest member for free on AmericanAncestors.org. And if you decide that you’re going to join, use that secret check out code “Extreme” and save $20 on your annual membership.

Fisher: All right, good to talk to you as always David. And coming up next we’re going to talk to David’s colleague. He’s Jim Power from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. He’s the PR guy there and he has quite the story about his ancestor who rode with the Dalton boys, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 208

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Jim Power

Fisher: You know, I think most people like to find connections to interesting people in their line. Hi, it’s Fisher, its Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. This segment is brought to you by MyHeritage.com. You know, as I’ve gone through my lines over the years I’ve run into the fact that hey, I’m related to ten presidents! And I descend from somebody from the Mayflower. It’s interesting, it doesn’t change who you are obviously but it makes for fascinating heritage to find your connections to certain historical event. And my good friend Jim Power, he’s the marketing guy with the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, Massachusetts and he and I were having lunch a couple of months ago on my visit there, and he started telling me about a remarkable story that tied a family member of his into the old Dalton Gang in the Old West. And this is something you don’t expect from somebody in the Boston area. Hi Jim, how are you?

Jim: We’re fine Scott.

Fisher: And so, how was it that you ran across this story? Because this isn’t something you grew up with.

Jim: Not directly Scott. As you may well know, I’ve been researching my own personal family history for many years now, in my work, working with a good college friend from St. Louis, Missouri, learned by an email that my family, Power, was related to the infamous bandit in the Dalton Gang by the name of Bill Power.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Jim: And I decided in my own work to pursue that information as best I could. And on various occasions I’ve run into evidence that leads me to believe that it could very well be true.

Fisher: Now, you actually wound up finding a letter that somebody had written, it appears, back in the ‘70s, it was undated as I recall, but it went through a branch of your family and you obtained this through a second cousin. And what did that letter say?

Jim: The letter documented oral history related to the entire Power family. This second cousin with whom I am in contact pretty frequently here, sent me a letter that his father had left him and it documents a number of facts, and one of them being the sad news that Bill Power, brother of our great grandfather was indeed a member of the Dalton Gang and was killed in a gunfight in the State of Oklahoma, as he wrote it, but in fact we know it was the state of Kansas. So here is some evidence that tells us that there could be a tie to the situations but there are obviously some facts within that are incorrect.

Fisher: Sure.

Jim: And I think that we all have an issue with oral histories and obviously documenting of them.

Fisher: Yeah, material that’s passed down the line. It’s kind of like a little game of telephone... things start getting twisted, “Oh he died in Oklahoma.” No, it was in Kansas. “Oh, he was this, he was that,” but as you got into this you started to find that there were some more clues. I love it because the case is not entirely solved and obviously since this person died young he was not married, he had no known children, DNA isn’t going to be a way for you to prove this connection to the family, so you really have to kind of build one of those cases with circumstantial evidence. And so let’s go into some of that circumstantial evidence as you find out about your family member who was part of the Old West.

Jim: Well now, first I didn’t believe it and then I never accepted it as being true enough to even pursue, but when I received that letter from my second cousin, the facts his own father had documented coming from his father, I began to take it more seriously and dived into some research that I was able to do myself and what we know. And I received pictures from a Power family Bible that was in the hands of another branch of the family in Dallas, Texas. And within that Bible were several old tin types dating back to the late 1800s. One of those tin types emerged as almost a spitting image, a very similar post to the photographic records that accompanied many narratives of the Dalton Gang. The fact that the Dalton Gang were gunned down in Coffeyville too in 1892 and the resemblance was just uncanny. So that again opened my eyes to the fact that this could be a very creditable story. I pursued more research and by doing so I found a history of Dickens County, Texas that informed me that the Power family farm in that county in the late 1800s was very close in proximity to a ranch owned by the Dalton family. So again, there’s evidence that there may have been the possibility of acquaintance and in fact a connection.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Jim: And then further evidence after that showed that another sibling by the name of Richard Power later moved and settled in the Coffeyville, Kansas area, opened two businesses. So, many, many clues that suggested the story could have credibility to follow through and find the truth.  

Fisher: Let’s talk a little bit about how Bill Power and the Dalton Gang met their end there in Coffeyville, Kansas and the photographs that were taken. What were the circumstances that day in 1892?

Jim: My understanding from a reading on several occasions, the gang was in competition with Jesse James and it was an objective of theirs to rob more banks and obtain more money in a single day than Jesse James ever had. So the plan was to rob two banks right across the street from each in the small town of Coffeyville, Kansas. They attempted to do so. In the midst of the attack they were met by defenders, local citizens, who opened fire on the five individuals that composed the gang at that happening and three of whom died immediately, the fourth one died later. There was one survivor which was Emmett Dalton, one of the three brothers involved that day. So it was a gang raid that got national attention, coverage on front pages of newspapers around the US and in fact the world, celebrating the fact that three of the Dalton brothers were no more and of course acknowledging the fact that two others, one of whom was my great uncle, were all dead and soon buried in a cemetery in unmarked graves right in Coffeyville.

Fisher: Wow! And their photographs, there’s actually more than one photograph online that I’ve seen of that. And you’re right, having seen the picture you shared with me, there’s huge similarity between this guy that they call Bill Power, and your great, great uncle.

Jim: Extreme similarity and that’s what opened my eyes to the fact that this could in fact be a story that has some substance. The Power family “look” amongst the brothers is very similar in terms of facial structure. Of course it’s hard to get through the moustache and the beard on occasion.

Fisher: Right. [Laughs]

Jim: But these two and other photos, they’re just a very, very close resemblance. So it’s just uncanny in that regard.

Fisher: Now, there are other Power families that are trying to claim kinship to this guy [laughs] which I found interesting.

Jim: There are.

Fisher: But the Power family, it’s a big family in that county, right?

Jim: In the county of the origin of my family, it is rather small. What occurred is that this branch, father and mother, Richard and Loretta, moved with all of their children to a county in the western part of Texas, Dickens County, and at one time they comprised about 30% of the total population, and that is around 1880 when the census was done. So it’s from there that I imagine the acquaintance was established between the Dalton family in close proximity, and from there perhaps Bill Power, after making the acquaintance of a cowboy with another cowboy, got into these other gangs, shall we say.

Fisher: So at this point basically your family was the only family in proximity to the Daltons, none of these other branches that are claiming a relationship.

Jim: No. The other families that claim a relationship to Bill Power or Bill Powers, claim that first of all his middle name is Todd, T-O-D-D so that would differ from the information within our family. And number two, they have a claim of origin mostly in Missouri or in Oklahoma. So these are records and research records that I have found online associated with much of the history of the Daltons Gang, etc. I have attempted through various sources to contact historians within those families and I have been unsuccessful in doing so. But it’s certainly something I would like to pursue.

Fisher: Sure.

Jim: I have even contacted the historians within the town of Coffeyville, Kansas. I’ve spoken with the director of the museum there. The Dalton Defenders Museum, and in fact the director of tourism about trying to get more information as to the background of Bill Powers alias Tim Evans, and to try to pursue and connect further with those historians to see exactly who can claim relationships here. That sort of credibility, interesting to have, but the journey of researching and proving, is as much fun as the ultimate outcome. 

Fisher: Absolutely. There’s no question about it. I wish you luck on your journey here Jim. How long have you been working on this now?

Jim: Six/seven years in bits and pieces. But since your discussion together with me at lunch, I’m more motivated than ever.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Jim: So I shall continue and I’ll give you updates as I have them.

Fisher: Yeah, we’d like to know about that. It’s a wild story. It’s crazy and it really does sound like you’ve gotten the pieces of the puzzle for a great circumstantial case, which is really what most genealogy is if you don’t have vital records or church records or something like that, or something that was noted, “Was killed in Coffeyville with the Dalton Gang.” Well, that doesn’t exist out there. But you’re finding the pieces of the puzzle that really shows this is the guy that had the opportunity to know the Daltons, to ride with them, he was at the right age, the right name, the right place, it’s a great story and I wish you the best of luck in your pursuit.

Jim: Thanks so much. It’s an exciting adventure. That’s what family history and genealogy is all about.

Fisher: Exactly. Jim Power from NEHGS take care buddy. Thanks so much.

Jim: Thank you.

Fisher: And coming up next, when you pursue your research and you get stuck, what do you do? Janet Hovorka our next guest has some ideas for you, coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. 

Segment 3 Episode 208

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Janet Hovorka

Fisher: Welcome back to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth, this segment is brought to you by 23andMe.comDNA. And you know, it happens to everybody, if you’re a beginning researcher you might not have experienced it yet or you might have no idea what to do. And I’m talking about when you get stuck. And in the business it’s called typically “hitting your brick wall.” What do you do when you hit that place? Well, I’ve got my friend Janet Hovorka on the line right now, she’s from FamilyChartmasters.com. She is the person behind Genealogy.coach. She gives great lectures out there, and getting stuck is never fun Janet.

Janet: It isn’t. I’ve got a few places where I’m stuck as well and sometimes you’ve got to just try some new things. 

Fisher: Yeah. You know, I’ve been stuck on a couple of lines for 35 years, so I’m looking forward to hearing what you’ve got to say, what advice you’ve got for people. I think most people though when they get started, they get stuck fairly recently I would say, like within the last 200 years, wouldn’t you say?

Janet: Um, sometimes. It depends on your family and the geographical location and the records that are there. Over the last six months I surveyed hundreds of genealogists and asked them what they did when they got stuck, and some of them had really effective ways to deal with it and some of them didn’t. Some of the things that you’ve probably done and I’ve done too, is to put it on the back burner or just move to another line.

Fisher: Yeah.

Janet: And pray for more documents to come online or become available.

Fisher: [Laughs] Of course.

Janet: Or to ask Facebook even, that’s sometimes more running around then help. But some of the more effective things they talked about was going back and reworking the problem, getting more education, consulting with a professional or more hiring a professional. Sometimes when you’re a beginner those answers that I was getting from people was to try Ancestry, or to go to an archive, or to reach out to cousins, or to go to the Family History Library, or try other record types. And those are kind of beginning things too.

Fisher: Sure, of course.

Janet: When you’re a beginner, you’re just still kind of reaching out for other resources and more advanced genealogists does a more advanced search and doesn’t really feel like they have a brick wall yet till they’ve tried some of those resources. So, the better you get at it the more the more you’ve tried those resources and the more you really are stuck.

Fisher: You know, I think one of the more fun things to do though when you’re in that situation, the first time I ran into it as a beginning genealogist I went back to my second greats I got stuck, it was eight years. I tried and looked for every document, but when I started pulling the line forward and finding other descendants and this was really long before the internet became a major factor in genealogy. I started finding people with family Bibles and notes left by great aunts and all of a sudden the brick wall went away because somebody had the answer sitting on a little sheet of paper in a drawer at their house.

Janet: Absolutely. Yeah, finding more cousins, working it forward, sometimes you can look for the people around that person, other family members. That’s how we’ve broken through a few of my brick walls by looking at the family members and even the neighbors and people around them and kind of researching them out finding out if they’re from the same area. Things like that, that can kind of help you break through some of that and sometimes as a matter of analyzing the sources you already have.

Fisher: Right.

Janet: To better understanding what’s original and what’s primary information and what’s secondary information, what’s derivative. Those things can help you determine if you’ve mistakenly made some conclusions that are creating a brick wall.

Fisher: And you know we need to also separate out the fact that many beginners copy names from other people’s lines in places like Ancestry or My Heritage and they don’t do their own research. That isn’t real research, that’s just copying names. You have to really separate.

Janet: Absolutely.

Fisher: I think it’s great to get that information that other people have out there but you’ve got to verify it for yourself.

Janet: Yeah, you’ve got to go back to the primary sources and the original sources and making sure you taking into consideration the person who created it, their purpose and their reliability. Make sure you go to those sources to verify what’s really true, that’s the mark of a good genealogist, absolutely.

Fisher: Well, and I think it’s the next step up from people who are going, “Hey, I got my ethnicity results.” To, “Hey I want to find out about my family.” To “Wait, do I trust what I’m finding from others?” I mean that’s just the next level up.

Janet: Yep. You know, you can Google something called the “genealogical maturity model.” It was written by the Ancestry Insider. And he talks about how people progress through genealogy. He has kind of a scale and that’s a really informative model for things that you could be doing better, getting back to original sources, going to an archive not just looking online, things like that.

Fisher: Right.

Janet: The other things we talked about too is more education. There’s podcasts like yours of course that are awesome. There’s college courses you can take. There’s webinars, online tutorials. There’s conferences of course and networking. And other things you can do is consult with a professional or hire a professional. And there’s kind of two ways you can deal with professionals there too. One is that you can consult with them and get some ideas for you to go work the problem more. There’s a couple of places you can actually get real professionals who knows what they’re doing to go through your problem with you and give you some ideas, and give you kind of a research plan. I find that that’s really useful.

Fisher: Yes.

Janet: When I want to do it myself and it can be less expensive than hiring someone to go do it for me. One of the places that do that of course is Genealogy.coach, but there’s a couple of other places that will do that for you as well. Gives you an idea of where you can go next and I find that saves me a ton of time and money.

Fisher: Well your time is valuable. Let’s face it, right?

Janet: Exactly, exactly.

Fisher: And I’ve actually hired professionals before. I mean for the real deal and paid them to do it because I’ve just reached the point where I said, “I need a second set of eyes on this. Somebody who knows what they’re doing, maybe they’re more familiar with the area that needs to be researched, than I am.”

Janet: Absolutely.

Fisher: And that’s been useful for me in the past. Not only in trying to open things up, but just by saying, “You know what? You’re right. There’s nothing further to find there, focus on something else.”

Janet: Yeah.

Fisher: Because sometimes, brick walls are pretty solid.

Janet: And sometimes they are more solid, but I feel more confident about saying, okay that’s a solid brick wall and I’m going to just set it aside, when I’ve asked somebody who knows more about it to look at it.

Fisher: That’s right. Yes.

Janet: You know, even the very best of the very best genealogists don’t know everything about every locality.

Fisher: Nope.

Janet: And so there’s a lot of humility I think you can do with genealogy. I think some of the misconceptions are that a professional wouldn’t know the resources as well as I do, or they’re expensive, or they don’t really know what they’re doing. But really professionals can save you so much time and money. Whether you just ask them for a consultation or whether you ask them to actually go do the research for you. There’s some great people out there with some good skills and I think it’s a good way to save your time and energy.

Fisher: Yeah.

Janet: Rather than hitting your head against that brick wall.

Fisher: [Laughs] That’s never fun. But you know, there’s no greater thrill in genealogy. I think it’s the thing frankly that keeps me coming back, is when I break through a brick wall.

Janet: Yes.

Fisher: And realize, wow I did it! And look at all that’s behind it, because behind these brick walls is a city full of ancestors and stories.

Janet: Yeah, I know. And sometimes you know, when I’ve hired help too, I don’t know what I don’t know, and sometimes the littlest hint can just break you right through and you just get so much further. It’s really fun to make those breakthroughs and get going again and find more people and more stories, and more interesting things about your past.

Fisher: Yeah, absolutely.

Janet: It’s a great fun hunt isn’t it?

Fisher: You know, it’s a lifelong thing that engulfs many of us because it’s not that you want to feel that, “Oh, look at my great ancestor.” I mean some of them are horrible people, you know? [Laughs]

Janet: Yeah, yeah. As we’ve talking about before. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yes as we’ve talked about before. But the stories are just so enriching. And as we’ve seen from the studies that have gone on that children especially get better life skills from understanding what their ancestors have overcome. So there’s a genuine, practical benefit for families for the long term when you get into this stuff.

Janet: Oh absolutely.

Fisher: And breaking down the brick wall, I mean that’s the ultimate puzzle isn’t it, especially if it takes years?

Janet: It definitely is.

Fisher: She’s Janet Hovorka. She’s with FamilyChartmasters. Boy, they do some great work. You’ve got to check out what they do.

Janet: Thank you.

Fisher: And Genealogy.coach, thank you so much Janet! Really good thoughts for people and encouragement too just to know, “You know what? Nobody is alone when it comes to brick walls in your genealogy.” You can break through. You can do it and those are some great tips. Thanks so much for coming on!

Janet: All right!

Fisher: And coming up next, Tom Perry our Preservation Authority with more talk on what you can do to restore your lost photos and documents in a disaster such that has taken place in Florida and Houston, coming up next in three minutes.  

Segment 4 Episode 208

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And welcome back, America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. This segment of the show is being brought to you by FamilySearch.org. And it’s time to talk preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he's our Preservation Authority. And Tom, it’s very bad news, very sorry to hear this that the conference in Houston that you were planning to attend and be part of and do the scanning party to help people recover their flooded items down there has been cancelled because the hotel's going to be too big of a mess!

Tom: Yeah, it’s really sad, because what happened is, they kind of did an initial assessment and thought, "Oh yeah, we can still have everything all cleaned up in time for the conference." And then when they had professionals come and look at it, they go, "No way. We're not going to be able to have this done till past the end of October." So unfortunately there's no way they could find another venue in Houston to have the conference, so they've had to just cancel till next year. And it’s really sad. We're really upset about it. So we're just trying to do everything we can remotely to help people learn what they need to do to recover documents, to recover birth certificates, photographs, negatives, slides all these different things. We're going to try and help you remotely and show you some places. You can even go on Facebook and learn some things.

Fisher: You know, I was just talking about this the other day, because I caught a video on YouTube of this family returning to their home in Houston, and it was like under five feet of water. So the lower floors were just demolished. But the thing that really got the family the most was when they talked about losing grandpa's Bible and the photo albums.

Tom: Argh!

Fisher: That was where the real emotion was. The rest they were okay with because they were all okay. They were going to be made whole again, but those things were irreplaceable. And there's so much that obviously not just with Harvey, but with Irma and the hurricanes that are coming behind that, it’s just devastating. But it’s exciting to see this on Facebook, the Harvey Photo Rescue page on Facebook, where people are exchanging ideas about how to restore things that they've lost in Houston.

Tom: Oh absolutely. There's some great links on it that will tell you how to separate your photos, how to keep them from drying out before you get them separated. There's a lot of really, really good ideas on there. And I recommend you go there, email and text all your friends with links and tell them about it too. And you know, no matter which hurricane you're going through, the basic steps are going to be the same. So you know, whichever of the three that we're dealing with right now, this will help you to restore them. Let your friends know about it, let your church groups know, because this is a great resource to learn what to do.

Fisher: And it’s interesting. I went through a flood. It wasn't as a result of anything like this, it was just a really nasty rainstorm some time back. And my house was new and there weren't homes about me so much, so the water funneled into my basement. And I lost some things, some very important things from my historical documents collection and the like. But I had some that were just damaged and I couldn't throw them out. And for years they sat wrinkled. And it’s even just tough to look at them. But then I learned about this relaxation process that this local craft store could do. It would relax the paper and then they could use acid free glue to put it on this foam core and it’s like new again. And they were like two bucks a piece! $2 each, and some of them had restored thousands of dollars in value. And there's no question that in terms of, you know, family pictures that this would be absolutely an incredible process to go through to rescue some of these things. But this process is out there. It’s highly inexpensive. It’s very common and you can no doubt find it as a craft store near you.

Tom: Oh absolutely. You know, you want to take advantage of things like this, because the most important thing which you mentioned, you need to be patient with this stuff too. This isn’t something you want to get your photos that are all wet and just rip them apart and start stacking them up. You need to take your time and do this right, because this is a one shot deal. You do it wrong and it’s gone. So you need to be really, really careful. And as we've talked about on episodes way before the hurricanes even hit, no matter what you're doing, always scan the photo first before you start taking it apart.

Fisher: All right Tom, we're going to take a break. And coming up here in three minutes, we're going to talk more about photos and preservation and restoration of damaged photos, and papers too, very important. And just a reminder by the way, at ExtremeGenes.com as you see the podcast of the show, you'll find all the links that we're talking about right there, back in three minutes on Extreme Genes.

Segment 5 Episode 208

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: We're back, talking preservation on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. My name is Fisher. This guy is Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he's our Preservation Authority. We've been talking about all the trials and tribulations for those in the paths of the hurricanes and natural disasters happening right now. There is a Facebook page called Harvey Photo Rescue, for Texas. Obviously all the same principles would apply there for Hurricane Irma.

Tom: Oh absolutely. Another good site you can go to, you can go to GoodLifeOrganizing.net and they've got all kinds of wonderful things to teach people about. For instance, one method you need to kill right now is, don't put them in your dishwasher.

Fisher: What?!

Tom: Seriously! Do not put these in your dishwasher! Because what will happen, when all the water come in and rises up, it’s hooked to your plumbing. And even though it’s turned off, the water's going to rise through to you toilet, it’s going to run through your pipes and its going to fill your dishwasher with dirty water. So the only way this would work is, if you have one of those roll around dishwashers that aren't permanently plugged to plumbing that you actually have to hook up yourself, it would be a complete waterproof tank. However, if it’s hooked to plumbing, do not do this. Another quick thing you can do too, if you can't get hold of your documents, your birth certificates and they're damp, put them in the freezer. And people say, "What? A freezer? That could actually make it worse, because it’s going to expand. "Well, it’s the lesser of two evils, because the worst thing that's going to happen to your photos and your documents is, you're going to get mold on them and things like this.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: And especially if dirty water's gotten on them. So by freezing them, it’s stopping the molding process. And when you do freeze them, don't freeze this huge, big, hefty bag of them. Do separate Ziploc bags of them, so you can do one at a time. It might take you months, it could take you a year to get all your stuff, and you don't want to pull out this hefty and do like one inch worth of photos and you've got this whole photo album in there too. So do it small pieces like you would do if you go to Costco and buy a whole bunch of pickles, you want to put them in small, little containers and use them as you can. And that's the best.

Fisher: Oh my gosh!

Tom: Oh yeah, oh absolutely!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Do not put them in your dishwasher. And when you are drying them, you need to let them dry naturally, like we talked about a couple of weeks ago. Because like if you heat them with a hair dryer or put them in, as funny as this sounds, a toaster oven or a microwave, this is not a good thing to do. You need to let them dry slowly. But go to these different sites that we've talked to you about, text me, email me, whatever, and I'm more than happy to help you. If you're kind of in a pinch, what you need to do too. But these sites that we've given you, the Facebook page, the GoodLifeOrganizing.net, these have all kinds of good tips. They have videos that you can watch showing how to do things. And everybody has different slants on what they want to do. If you're confused, let me know what you've looked at. And I'm happy to answer you @AskTomP on my Twitter feed and I'll be more than happy to help you in any way I can, because you need to do this stuff right. It’s a one shot deal. And next time, get everybody prepared, because there are more hurricanes on the horizon.

Fisher: Boy that's true. And then we also have to deal with the idea that all this paper has to be restored, because they're legal documents for living people in many cases.

Tom: Oh absolutely. Like you have tax returns, especially for a business you have to keep for so many years. And usually they print it on both sides, so you have a whole, another network of things you need to do. You need to make sure you take care of these things when they're still wet or learn how to rewet them so you can take them apart. And this is the perfect reason to have stuff like a ShotBox, because you can get a program that actually hooks into Evernote, but it’s a free standing program called "Scannable," that's S C A N N A B L E. It will let you scan things and then automatically crop your photos for you so you're not spending all this time doing cropping. But if you can get a ShotBox or rent one, buy one, resell them on the internet, call us, we're happy to send you one. This is the best thing to get these pictures when they're damaged. Take pictures of every step, because if something happens, you can go back to the best step and piece the things back together in PhotoShop.

Fisher: All right Tom, thanks so much, we'll talk to you again next week.

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: Hey, if the show seems just too short for you, [laughs] we've got to get you signed up for our Extreme Genes Patrons Club on Patreon.com/ExtremeGenes. Become a member, and you can get our bonus podcast twice a month that covers a lot of ground. And don't forget to sign up for our Weekly Genie newsletter as well. You can do that at ExtremeGenes.com and on our Facebook page. 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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