Episode 216 - Former Governor General of Mayflower Society Talks Pilgrims / Three Generation Registers In EnglandNov 26, 2017
Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. The boys open Family Histoire News talking about the remarkable news that the face of a Scottish “witch” has been recreated. Hear how it was done and little about the woman’s story. Then, David talks about a remarkable discovery in Giza, Egypt in the Great Pyramid. How did they find it? Hear what we know so far. Next, hear about a 13-year-old boy who is counseling people as a volunteer at a research center. Harvard University is digitizing and soon will be releasing a nearly 400 year old collection of New England records. David has the details. David’s blogger spotlight this week shines on Owain Couch at TheGenealogyGuide.com. Owain talks about his ideas on involving children in “the hunt.”
Then, Fisher visits with recent past Governor General of the Mayflower Society, Lea Sinclair Filson. Fisher joined the Society four years ago and talks about the experience while Lea shares some interesting insight into the Pilgrims and their impact on the world as we know it.
Then, Suzanne Earnshaw, a project manager with LegacyTree.com reveals a source for English research that even Fisher wasn’t aware of. The Dade Registers became part of the record landscape in the late 1700s and early 1800s in parts of England. They are often rich in information, including names of three generations of family members, and even occupations. Suzanne tells you where you can access these important records for free.
Then, Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority, answers another listener question about the “RAW” process and why it is important. Tom covers that and a whole lot more.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 216
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 216
Fisher: Welcome genies, you have found us! It’s America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. My name is Fisher. I am your Radio Roots Sleuth and this is 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 FamilySearch.org. First of all, we’re going to welcome our latest radio affiliate to our Extreme Genes Network KAVB Radio 98.7 FM in Hawthorne, Nevada. Thrilled to have you here. In fact, I have some family history there. My great uncle Oscar Olsen lived there for many years, died in the 1950s. So, if you run across his grave give him a little shout out from me, okay? Hey, we also want to welcome our Patron Club members. These are the people who support the show for pretty much the cost of a hamburger each month. [Laughs] We give you all kinds of benefits. We give you bonus podcasts. We give you early access to our current podcast. We even do a live “Ask Us Anything” YouTube feed, and we’d love to have you be a part of that. Just sign up on the Patrons Club link at ExtremeGenes.com or go to Patreon.com/ExtremeGenes. And some of our latest members include Anisa Hacke, Michelle Ritchie, and I love this name, Simona McAngus. So grateful you guys are coming on and supporting the show. And our guests today, we’re going to be talking to the recent past Governor General of the Society of Mayflower Descendants, Lea Sinclair Filson. And with Thanksgiving upon us, you know we often think about those Pilgrims and the changes they brought to this continent and the world. We’re going to talk about that, how to join, and the big anniversary celebration coming up in 2020. And we’re also going to talk to Suzanne Earnshaw. She is with LegacyTree.com talking about “Dade Registers.” Wait till you hear about these. It involves your English research. That’s coming up just a little bit later on in the show. And in the studio with us once again, twice in a row, it is the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org David Allen Lambert. To what do we owe the pleasure?
David: My plane got delayed.
Fisher: Well, it’s good to see you again my friend.
David: Well, it’s a pleasure to be here once again. Well, for our Family Histoire News, we’re going to start over in Scotland. I know it’s a little late and past Halloween, but of course, everyone always is excited when they find a witch in their family tree.
Fisher: Yes, yes!
David: And this time they’re actually using 3D Technology to bring back the face of a witch. Now, as you may know, witches in Europe were burned. Well, this one didn’t get burned. This was Lilias Adie of Torryburn, Scotland. She was accused of being a witch for having a relationship with the devil.
David: She was in jail. She was going to be burned the next day, but she suffered maybe a heart attack or maybe it was suicide, but found dead in her cell. And so she wouldn’t be raised up again to haunt the neighboring villages, her body was buried under a stone on the beach. And in the 19th century they dug her up. Twentieth century... her skull disappeared but not before someone photographed it. And with that photograph they brought her face back to life.
Fisher: Wow! That is so cool! Modern technology, so the witch is back to haunt us.
David: Exactly. [Laughs] Well, our next story goes a little further southeast. This goes out to the Giza Pyramids. The great pyramids out in Giza, Egypt where they have used muons.
Fisher: What? A muon? What’s that??
David: It’s using the by-product of cosmic rays to penetrate into solid objects so they’ll be able to determine, Fish, that there’s actually a hundred foot passageway in the pyramid they never knew was there.
Fisher: Really? So, this is something that can be loaded with artifacts, perhaps dealing with one of your Egyptian ancestors David.
David: Exactly, or maybe one of your Egyptian ancestors, Fish.
Fisher: Yes. [Laughs]
David: It is the same technology that the government uses to find caves over in Afghanistan for the US military to protect our veterans over there when they’re on missions. In Illinois, our next story is about a 13-year old young man named Andrew Mann whose very interest in local history and he’s been volunteering at a local heritage center there. He wants to be a lawyer and a politician.
Fisher: Now, who would want to do that? [Laughs]
David: I don’t know. Another Illinois person had a pretty good career with that. His name was Abraham Lincoln.
Fisher: Yeah, I think so.
David: I tell you when we were kids, genealogy was the hobby I had. I never thought about being a lawyer and a politician, but I’m glad I stuck with family history.
Fisher: And this kid is good by the way.
David: He’s very, very good.
Fisher: He’s very, very good at what he does and he helps a lot of people when they come in the center. He does it after school as a volunteer and all the seniors there who volunteer love him to death. [Laughs]
David: It’s great finding kids who do embrace history and help preserve it. Next stop, Harvard University which of course has been around since the 1630s and they decided to take their 450,000 plus early colonial North American Collection and digitize it and put it online for free. They’ll be coming up with a new website shortly.
Fisher: Wow! That’s cool. Four hundred and fifty thousand, so what does this include?
David: Documents, diaries, ledgers, artwork, things that would tell the story of colonial North America, things that have been under the radar and under the rooftops of Harvard University for well over 350 years.
Fisher: Wow! What a great thing that’s going to be. Look forward to the announcement of where we can look at those.
David: We’ll update everyone very shortly. Well, this week’s blogger spotlight goes all the way out to Melbourne, Australia where Owain Couch has a blog called TheGenealogyGuide.com. And recently we’ve been talking about ways to get kids interested in genealogy. Well, he must be picking up the psychic wavelengths because he just did a blog on that last week. So, how are the kids doing in your family with all the free coins that you’re gathering for their ancestors?
Fisher: Well, kind of like you with your daughter. They’re going nuts. And I’ve got a five-year-old, a three-year-old and a two-year-old, and actually I posted pictures on our Facebook page recently about it. And what we’re doing is they’re called ancestor birth year coins.
David: It’s worth something.
Fisher: We find a coin from the country and year and ancestor was born and put it in a little book with little pockets in it that you get from a coin store. So we have a picture of the ancestor and the coin together with the year of their birth. And they’re loving it because every time they come to visit I’ve got another one, and they fight over who gets to put the coin in the pocket.
David: You know, your system, the way you put it together is almost the way I did it. Great minds think alike.
David: And remember, if you want to join American Ancestors, you can save $20 and buy some coins for your grandkids and kids and use the checkout code “Extreme” for AmericanAncestors.org to be a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Well, I think I’m going to get back to Beantown eventually if my plane works out and delighted to be in the studio with you my friend. Take care.
Fisher: All right, good to see you again David. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to the former Governor General of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. What’s going on with that organization? How can you be part of it? What’s happening with the research? Lea Sinclair Filson will tell you coming up next on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 216
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Lea Sinclair Filson
Fisher: Well it’s that time of year, Thanksgiving, and thinking about the Pilgrims, and the Mayflower, and it’s Fisher on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and I have on the line with me right now the recent past Governor General of The Society of Mayflower Descendants. She is Lea Sinclair Filson and she is from New Orleans, Louisiana. Welcome to the show, Lea. Nice to have you on.
Lea: Thank you Scott. I am thrilled to be here. I’m a big fan of your show.
Fisher: You know, you’ve told me this, and I’m tickled to death that you would be, and we’re thrilled to finally get you on. You’ve just left office after three years in September, which gives you a little bit of time, a little more time to maybe spend with us and talk about the Mayflower Society for a lot of people who don’t know about it. And I should mention by the way, I am a member. I am a John Howland descendent, John Tilley descendant, and we just recently had our fall, what would you call it, “The Gathering?” [Laughs] Something like that. I haven’t been in it that long.
Lea: Yes, your Compact Day, an event that we do each November.
Fisher: Yes! And it was great to be with everybody. And for anybody who’s not been at one of these meetings, they get together, we have a great big dinner, and we meet all these other descendants of the Mayflower. And they do what’s called a “Roll Call” where they go through and say “All right, all descendants of John Alden please rise. All descendants of John Howland please rise. And they actually take a count of how many people. We actually had somebody in there, by the way, Lea, who was a descendant of Miles Standish, which isn’t really very common, right?
Lea: No it’s not. That isn’t very common, and that’s wonderful that you had a Standish descendant there.
Fisher: It’s interesting because if you read about Miles Standish, the story was that he had a very large head.
Lea: Yeah. [Laughs]
Fisher: And the guy that was at the meeting had a very large head.
Fisher: But he wasn’t red headed and he certainly didn’t seem very aggressive, as his forefather was.
Lea: You know, Standish also had red hair and he also was very short and they called him “Captain Shrimp” was this guy very short with red hair?
Fisher: [Laughs] He was not short. He just had the big head. And I was looking and studying, “Ha, he does look like he could be....”
Lea: Well and as you know, you never know which of those genes you’re going to get so he must have gotten that “big head” genes. [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah, could very well be. There was also a John Billington descendant there, and of course, he is usually called America’s first murderer, right?
Lea: Yes. And the Billington descendant actually admitted it, huh?
Fisher: Yes. Yes, he rose and everybody just kind of glared at him.
Lea: [Laughs] You know, it’s funny you should mention that because at Congress this year the Billington descendants stood up and gave a very impassioned speech saying they are tired of being called murderers, and they’re tired of being disparaged in that way, that none of us really knows that really was the case. And they created the very first Billington Family Society this past September.
Fisher: Wow! All right.
Fisher: Well you know, at the end of the day I think we all know that we all have things to be ashamed of in our past, collectively, maybe even individually, among our ancestors. And we have things to celebrate as well. And certainly we recognize that the Pilgrims’ arrival in America is something that many people celebrate, but there are others who look at it in a very negative light, such as many of the Native Americans.
Lea: That’s true. The Native Americans call Thanksgiving Day the National Day of Mourning. That makes me very sad for a number of reasons but primarily because the truth is, the Pilgrims, the Mayflower Pilgrims, and the Wampanoag tribe, that is the only example in America where a peace treaty was signed and it was honored for fifty four years by both parties.
Lea: They helped each other, they defended each other. It makes me kind of sad that’s the event chosen to represent all of the reprehensible things that happened later.
Fisher: You’re absolutely right. And I don’t think a lot of people understand because they have a general knowledge of the Pilgrims story that things weren’t always love and kisses and especially when we got to 1676 where we had the King Philip’s War. And they’re saying that the King Philip’s War wiped out so many people on both sides, the Native Americans, the Puritan settlers, the Pilgrim descendants, but at the end of the day it took like a century for the economy to recover from that, and at that point we’re at the Revolutionary War.
Lea: Yes. There’s so much that can be debated on both sides with all varying opinions, but I like to take it back to families. And the fact of the matter is, it makes me very sad that the Pilgrim Winslow and Chief Massasoit, the tribal leader of the Wampanoag tribe, were able to forge such a peace and to continue it for fifty four years. What makes me sad is that it was their grandsons and great grandsons that eventually went to war later. It’s a shame that they were able to continue that level of peace. It might have changed the history of the way the Native Americans and the Americans were able to get along later. But you have to remember, that by that time there were a lot of other players on the scene. The Winthrop fleet had come across and all of the people in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were not quite as charitable towards the Indians and not quite as willing to write peace treaties. They really wanted to come to claim land and to build lives and weren’t nearly as cautious or careful about that. And then you have tribes working against tribes. So there were so many other things that represented and that were brought into what happened fifty four years later. And it’s kind of a shame because the one thing that the Mayflower Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe will always have is that they set such a great example of how parties should help each other. I’m sure that it was not a warm and fuzzy peace, although, you have to admit it must have not been too terribly bad because there was three days of harvesting and three days of a harvest festival in which the Wampanoag tribe joined the Mayflower Pilgrims and that’s where Thanksgiving came from. But still, you know I’m sure that they really were wary about each other but yet they maintained that peace.
Fisher: Well and it was a very tentative peace, because trust took a while, but what a fascinating history. And for those who know that they descend from anybody on the Mayflower, it’s really worth your while to look into joining the Society of Mayflower Descendants. It’s an interesting group of people who love to share that common heritage. Almost like a family, isn’t it Lea?
Lea: It is Scott. And believe it or not, for those of you listening, your chances of being a Mayflower Pilgrim are better that you are, than you’re not. And the reason for that is that in America today, over ten million of us are descendants from the Mayflower. All you have to do is just find the lines. And if you don’t find it from your parents, it may be from the four grandparents or the eight great grandparents. We know that if you go back, probably around thirty two grandparents, your chances are better than not that you’re going to find that line. So truly, that’s why we tell everybody over and over, the Mayflower Pilgrims truly are “America’s family.”
Fisher: Absolutely true. And you know, I look at this and I think first of all, you guys have made it so easy for people to link in comparatively. And that is because over the years you put together the Silver Books, which covers the first five generations of Mayflower descendants. So really all you have to do is connect back into somewhere I’d say about what, the early 1700s or mid 1700s, somewhere in there.
Fisher: And the rest is all documented. And you know, I appreciate the fact that the Society has very strict standards in terms of making sure that each generation is proven, so that people know first of all, that they themselves are truly accepted as being descendants and also that the descendants of us know that it’s a fact. And in fact, that was one of the main reasons I joined the Society was I wanted my children and grandchildren to be confident in that line, that it wasn’t just a family story.
Lea: That is all correct. But to lead this into what you do so well for all of us in talking about Extreme Genes and talking about the things that you discuss on your show to make sure that we remain the gold standard of lineage research. We not only now rely on our Silver Books, and of course always rely on that lineal documentation, but we now have a very, very, robust DNA program. We were the first genealogy society to accept DNA as a secondary proof in order to prove that you did have Mayflower Pilgrim genes. But the way that this is moving, it’s totally exciting the way that it’s moving as we dive into the DNA area.
Fisher: Do we see the day when perhaps we’re going to be able to recognize a place on a chromosome that indicates, oh, this is a descendent of Samuel Fuller, or, this is a descendant of...
Lea: Well actually, that day is here. Now, first let me clarify this by saying, never ever, ever will you be able to take a DNA test and say yes I am a Pilgrim, and join. You must have the lineal descent documentation along with it because without that documentation, DNA is nothing. I mean, you can see something that looks like a connection, but then you have to figure out where it came from.
Lea: But truly, we have a partnership with FamilyTree DNA, and right now we have just finished identifying and finding direct lines from all of the male Pilgrims. We’re now working on the females.
Fisher: Wow! That’s incredible. [Laughs]
Lea: It is. It’s a big deal. I mean, not a lot of people really understand what a big deal it is. But we are so very excited about it and if you test through FTDNA (Family Tree DNA) through Ancestry, through 23andMe, any place you test if it looks as though the match is there, you can load it into the FTDNA Mayflower project. That’s mostly members in the project now but FTDNA helped us actively go out to their billions of tests and locate and identify direct descents and then talk to those people, of course getting permission. Most of them have now joined the Society and those who haven’t yet got the direct lines are in the process.
Fisher: Now, when you talk direct lines, are you saying male to male to male, female to female, to female, or everybody in between?
Lea: I’m talking Standish to Standish to Standish to Standish.
Lea: What FTDNA is doing right now is, eventually when you test or you upload your information to FTDNA, if it looks as though there’s a possible Mayflower line, you’ll get a little icon that tells you that so that you can then start to research it, contact the Mayflower Society and figure out how to start doing the documentation.
Fisher: Isn’t that incredible? Thank you so much Lea.
Lea: Pretty cool huh?
Fisher: That is incredible. She is Lea Sinclair Filson. She is the recent past Governor General of the Society of Mayflower descendents. Have a great Thanksgiving, Lea, and thanks so much for coming on the show.
Lea: You too Scott. Thank you so much.
Fisher: And this segment has been brought to you by LegacyTree.com. And speaking of which, we’re going to talk to one of the project managers for LegacyTree.com. Suzanne Earnshaw coming up next, talking about Dade registers, if you’re in English research wait till you hear about these.
Segment 3 Episode 216
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Suzanne Earnshaw
Fisher: And welcome back, it’s America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and this segment of our show is brought to you by 23andMe.comDNA. And as we talk about researching your Mayflower ancestors, obviously we’ve got to get back to England, and there are lot of tricks to dealing with that place, because, let’s face it, it’s not all that easy, not only in England but in the related countries there in the United Kingdom. One person who came up with a fascinating source that I wasn’t aware of and I should have been because some of my people are from the place and time it involves. Suzanne Earnshaw is on the line. She’s a Project Manager for LegacyTree.com. Great to have you on the show Suzanne! How are you?
Suzanne: I’m well thanks. Thanks for inviting me.
Fisher: Tell me about the Dade Register.
Suzanne: Well, the Dade Register is from England as you mentioned. It goes back to the point in time where the Church of England ruled everything. And once a year the bishop of each diocese was required to copy all parish records within the diocese and then send that copy to the records office. The church then stored the copies of the parish records. Well, if the bishop sent the transcripts only if the Church of England wanted them then it was just simply a copy of these six vital statistics, and they really wouldn’t have a lot more added value. But, a Yorkshire clergyman named William Dade who was born about 1740, he had the idea that he didn’t want to just capture the information that the church wanted. He actually wanted to record more information, and some parishes also got on board and decided they would do the same thing. So, around 1770 to about the early 1800s, several parishes made a register and then sent it off to the church diocese and these became known as the Dade registers since William Dade was the one who originally started the process.
Fisher: So he wanted extra information. This guy is stepping up. He was obviously envisioning us one day, right? [Laughs]
Suzanne: [Laughs] I think that must be absolutely true.
Suzanne: He knew that sometime we were going to start digging through these records trying to figure out who our ancestors were and he decided, “Hey, I’m not just going to give you a little bit of information, I’m going to give you a lot more.” So he went on to write down things like the birth order of the children, the profession of the dad, where the family resided. He wrote down the grandparents as well which is just amazing.
Suzanne: Especially maternal grandparents, that’s a really hard find in English records.
Fisher: Yes. Often we only see the name of the groom and sometimes only the wife’s first name even on the marriage records.
Suzanne: Exactly. So to have this wealth of information where you actually have written records of the mother’s maiden name and her parents, and often that grandmother is also given a maiden name. Just so much information that’s available compared to the standard indexes that we often see.
Fisher: Sure. Now, think about this, we’re talking 1770 and it goes up to what, about 1812, right?
Suzanne: Yes, yeah it does.
Fisher: So it’s 42 years. I mean it’s the better part of half a century and then leading up of course to when the census records get on board in the 1840s and ‘50s. This is just gold stuff. The problem we have though is it is somewhat limited. It’s not throughout all of England.
Suzanne: That’s true. It is really exclusive in time and place. So there are quite a few shires that did it, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire, Nottinghamshire, and Surrey. And it’s from about the mid-1770s to as you say 1812. So it does really help you if you are looking in that time and place.
Fisher: And I am. I’m looking in Nottinghamshire in 1802. The Fisher name actually comes from Yorkshire in the 1700s. So this could be useful. Except for the fact that I noticed my particular parish was not included. Now, it is rather limited. It’s not universal within the counties, is it?
Suzanne: It’s not. It is really limited to certain parishes. Not everyone wanted to do it, you know. A lot of the clergymen said, “Hey, this is more work.” And they had big populations and they didn’t want to take on this lengthy recording style and so they did not participate. If you happen to be in one of these places, you really get some great information. Or, even if, let’s say your ancestors moved and your direct line ancestor wasn’t born in one of those parishes, but a sibling or a cousin or something was, that would help you as well.
Suzanne: So you could expand out, if you needed to, if there was any chance you could get some of these great records. And if not, you can also go through things like probate records which also give a three generation view. So there are ways to get good grandparents’ names if you know how to use some of the English records beyond just what’s available through the vital records and statistics.
Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. Well, you put them all together, that’s when it becomes a real strong case and you can be confident in where you’re going. What percentage of parishes would you say, for instance, within Yorkshire, actually used the Dade Registers as opposed to just the standard church registers?
Suzanne: Well, I don’t know that I have a number for you like that, because they didn’t all conform and we don’t have an exact count at this point, but I know that Yorkshire has the biggest selection of what’s available, but I just don’t know an actual percentage.
Fisher: Okay. So some people did, some people didn’t, so it’s kind of a crap-shoot, but enough did where you really need to find out if these records exist. So, where would people go to find the Dade Registers? Are they available online, are they free, are they up for pay, or is it something you actually have to hire somebody over in England to look it up for you?
Suzanne: Those are great questions. A lot of them are available for free. They have been put online. It’s called the Online Parish Clerks. It’s on their website, and so, if you type in, like for instance, my family is from Lancashire, so if I type in Lancashire Online Parish Clerks, it takes me to a website which is actually lan-opc.org.uk. And then it welcomes me to the page and lets me go ahead and begin searching for those online parish clerk records, and to do that, it gives you a register for baptisms. You have to remember that although these areas are very small, for instance, when I look for things, I’m looking for in the parish of Himley. Himley is a small area but even with just the small population of 3700, there are two churches, five independent chapels and a Roman Catholic chapel. And so you want to be aware that you need to look at several churches unless you know the church that your family went to. But when you do go on to the website, you are able to look for certain years, and you can use their surname index, and that is all for free. So you can look a lot of this up for yourself for free and see if your family is on there, which is so great to have a valuable resource from England that is right here just using the computer.
Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. So, then you’re saying that all of them are online at this point?
Suzanne: A lot of them are, yes.
Suzanne: And you can just look them up.
Fisher: What a great asset. And of course, like you mentioned, you start triangulating a little bit with probate records and you get three generations knocked out very easily with the maternal line which is a lot more difficult, typically, in England. Let me ask you this, Suzanne, what made this whole thing end in 1812?
Suzanne: Well, around that time, the Church of England decided that it didn’t want all this information. People decided that the counties were becoming too big, they just didn’t have the room to write all this down and record it and keep it going. It is a really valuable thing to get that information because it’s not till 1837 that the government finally said, “Hey, we’re going to take over recording vital records and you’re just going to do church things.” And so the two separate, and so, before 1837, everything is up to the churches and they take over this register form, and then after that we lose a lot of good information as England becomes really a country that doesn’t just use the church to record vital statistics.
Fisher: All right. She’s Suzanne Earnshaw. She’s a Project Manager with LegacyTree.com. Thanks for much for the time and the tips, Suzanne.
Suzanne: You bet. Thank you.
Fisher: And coming up next in three minutes, it’s another listener question. Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority will attempt to answer it, coming up on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 216
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And it is time to talk preservation on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. My name is Fisher. That's Tom Perry over there. He is our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. How are you Tom? Good to see you again.
Tom: I'm great!
Fisher: Boy now we're getting down to it! It’s getting close to the holidays and everybody's thinking, "Wait a minute, how do I do this?" And we have an email here from Karen Crawford and she says, "What is the RAW format that was referred to on your website, Tom? I'm more concerned about quality than anything else. These are videos of my daughter when she was first born. And we'll probably only have one chance to transfer, because I'm sure the tapes are deteriorating." And she's probably right. What do you say, Tom?
Tom: She is absolutely right. And about the holidays right now, its fish or cut bait. Either get your stuff in or wait for January. That's one thing that's really interesting. We've had a lot of people ask about that, because like your big box stores, the places where you throw everything in a box and mail it to some place, there's one option. Its VHS to DVD or VHS to MP4, and that's the only option they have, because you've got to realize that these people that deal in these huge volumes, they're just like General Motors.
Tom: You know, they have a certain way that they make the cars and that's the way they come. Either take it or leave it. I call it a “run and gun.” They pop the tape in, play it. And places like the big box stores they have this big warehouse of cubicles. People just sitting there doing their transfers. And they're told, "If there's nothing up in five minutes, then just mark the tape "blank" and return it." Because then they don't charge you anything, because all they did, they watched it for five minutes.
Tom: And so that way, for them to waste anymore time is not worth it for them.
Fisher: So what you're saying is, there might be something further into a videotape that they're missing, and people are maybe throwing these out?
Tom: Oh absolutely! We have people in tears coming into our store to say, "Hey, I have this VHS tape of our wedding. I took it to the big box store, they said it’s blank. I don't have a VCR to check it. I'm just devastated." And so, we take it from them and maybe five, seven minutes in, the video starts. There's a whole bunch of black for some reason at the beginning, and then the video goes and plays for an hour and a half and there's their wedding!
Fisher: You know, it kills me, as I know that there's somebody listening right now who has gone through this and they're realizing, "Oh my gosh! There probably was something on my tape and I threw it away!"
Tom: It’s almost the opposite of buyer’s remorse.
Tom: It’s like, why did I even take it in? And the same thing with tapes that are damaged, they say, "Oh, your tapes damaged. Do you want us to throw it away or do you want to come in and pick it up?" 99% of the tapes that come in to us that are damaged, we fix. There might be some blips in it, some glitches, but overall, the tape is usually salvageable. Even if you only get half of it, it’s worth it, than throwing into your garbage can.
Fisher: Sure, of course.
Tom: Like I say, 99% of the time, we can fix it and at least get something off your tape. You know, we've had ones that have oil on them, we've had mold, we've had water, we've had mud damage, just like from Houston, and they think they're totally gone. They send them to us, we dry them out in distilled water and everything runs and they're great! We have special machines just for these tapes.
Fisher: So getting back to this question then, what is RAW?
Tom: Okay, RAW is actually the second step up, the ones I talked about which were, put all your stuff in this box, send it to us and we'll send you magically back DVDs. Or if you go to the big box stores, they do what we call an “eye transfer” which is the run and gun, where all you do is, you put it in and run it. And we offer that service for the people that say, "Hey, I can't afford anything else, but I want to get something done. And I'd rather leave them with you or send them to you or one of the people that do like you do, but I'm not sending it off to Indiana, I'm not sending it off to California or Texas." Or in some cases, send the stuff over into India. And it’s pretty cheap. It’s only like about $17.95 for a two hour tape. And it’s better than nothing. Don't think, "We'll I really want the very best, so I'm going to wait forever." If that's the best you can do, get it done, do it. And if you're thinking, "Oh, I'm going to buy a big screen TV" or "I've got my eye on this new pickup truck…" what's more important really than preserving your past, making things available for your future, than having, you know, a cool truck in your driveway or a neat plasma TV on the wall.
Fisher: Well thought out there, Tom. And by the way, local people like Tom are in virtually every city in America. So look for people like Tom, instead of the big box stores. What are we going to talk about next?
Tom: We'll talk about the RAW which you mentioned, the PTS, the DVA, MP4s, the alphabet soup as you refer to it.
Tom: And what's the best way to go and the most important disk to use.
Fisher: All right, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 216
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: We're back, final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. You know, every show we wrap up with segments about preservation, because preservation is the most important thing that you can do within your home, preserving your photographs and your videos and your home movies and whatever it is you may have. And it’s got to be done right and it’s got to be done safely. And that's why Tom Perry comes in every week to talk to us about this. This segment's brought to you by MyHeritage.com. Tom, getting back to the email here, you keep avoiding the answer to the question here.
Fisher: Let's just repeat this, "What is the RAW format that is referred to on your website?" This is from Karen Crawford because she's concerned about quality digitized videos of her baby when it was a new born.
Tom: Okay. The most important thing you want to ask is, what disks are they using? Because it doesn't matter if you backup all you stuff on these beautiful shiny disks and they have a three to five year shelf life. That's not good. You want to make sure you always use Taiyo Yuden disks. Make sure the person that's doing your transfers for you has Taiyo Yuden disks. And we really prefer what we call "real time transfers." As your tape is playing, it’s going directly to a disk. And that's what the RAW is. We go real time transfer from the tape to the disk. We're not going through a computer that can cause glitches. And then once we get it on the computer, then we burn the DVD. So, depending how fast your computer is, how everything’s working, it’s not made to make things from analog to digital. It’s made to process digital formats. So what you need to do is, make sure you're getting the right kind of disk, you're getting the right kind of formats, because otherwise it’s not going to do you any good. So basically what the RAW is, it’s a step up from the “eye” which is what the big box stores do. When you put everything in a box and send it to them and they send you disks back. With the RAW, if there are some basic adjustments, such as tracking and things like that, we will do it, because we're actually watching your tape for the first few minutes and getting everything setup.
Fisher: Is that what that means then?
Tom: Right. Basically a RAW transfer is like a steak, but you make sure there's no mold or anything on it.
Fisher: Right, okay.
Tom: It’s a good steak.
Fisher: So you're watching it as its transferring, as opposed to just throwing it in and zipping it off and then coming back, "Oh, it’s done. Next!"
Tom: Exactly. We look at the first few minutes, and if we can see a problem there that's going to be easily corrected, we take care of it. If it’s something major, we'll call you and say, "Hey, you've got some major errors here. We need to use a Procam, we need to use a decipher to make your color better, to make the whole thing look better." And then if that's the case, you can say, "No, that's fine. Just do the best you can. I want to pay for RAW," which usually runs about $20 to $25 for a two hour tape. Then if you get it to the next step, which we call the PTS, which is the Personal Transfer Service, we watch more of your tape, if it needs a Procam, we'll run a Procam, if it needs a decipher, we'll automatically do that for you. If there's still any problems, we'll write it down on your work order, so when you pick it up, we can go over with you and say, "Hey, you had these things. This might be some old film. Hey, do you have the original film? Bring that in, it’s going to look so much better."
Fisher: So is this kind of a typical service of transfer centers around the country who specialize in this as you do as opposed to the big box stores?
Tom: Right because most people offer the PTS. Sometimes your tape looks great, like you watched it or you can watch it in our showroom or most places you can take your tape to, they have a VHS machine where you can watch it. If it looks great, you know, save 10, 11 bucks and don't need to do that. You can just say, "Hey, transfer this to RAW process." That's the best way. But if you've got problems, like you've got copies of copies of copies and its really degraded, it’s been through water, it’s been through floods, it’s had damage to it, then you need to go to the Personal Transfer Service, where we can actually adjust more things to make it better for you. And then the next step would be the DVA, which isn't a next step, it’s just a lateral type thing. That's if you want it on the cloud, you want just MP4s or you want MP4s and DVDs, then they can go to things like the DVA. But call us, ask us questions. If you're going to use a local guy, it’s still fine to call us and ask us questions or write to us and we'll do everything we can to make sure you're asking the right questions, so you can get the best transfer possible.
Fisher: All right, Tom. Sounds like a lot of options, which is good! Talk to you next week.
Tom: Thank you. My pleasure!
Fisher: And coming up by the way this coming week for Patron Club members only, it’s another bonus podcast. We're going to talk to photo expert, Ron Fox about how he finds the rarest of photographs, including ancestral photographs and valuable historic photographs. We're going to cover all kinds of ground commercial free, so we hope you'll join us. Sign up for our Patrons Club at ExtremeGenes.com. Take care. Talk to you next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!