Episode 219 - Chief Genealogical Officer For FamilySearch.org On What’s Next in 2018 ; Janet Hovorka On Inventorying Family History Assets

podcast episode Dec 24, 2017

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org.  David begins with word from MyHeritage.com that current New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio is related to 19th century New York Mayor Robert Anderson Van Wyck. Hear the relationship, Van Wyck’s legacy, and why DiBlasio probably isn’t too happy to hear about this.  Then, if enough documents were left, is it likely you would find Confucius and Socrates on your family tree? Apparently the answer is “yes!” David explains. Next, a village in Germany… along with its 20 residents… has been sold. For $164,000! David has the details. David then shines his blogger spotlight on RootsTech.org/blog… a great place to get caught up on what’s to come at this year’s RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Next, Fisher visits with David Rencher, the CGO (that’s Chief Genealogical Officer… honest!) of FamilySearch.org. David fills you in on what’s to come in 2018 at FamilySearch, new records that may soon be on line, and why you are required to log in now when you go to FamilySearch, even though it is and always will be a free site. David also brings us up to speed on what’s happening with the tricky merging feature.

Then, Janet Hovorka from FamilyChartMasters.com talks about why you should consider inventorying your family history “assets.” What qualifies? Why do this? Janet explains.

Then, Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority, is back for his final appearance of 2017, sharing the ins and outs of moving material from your iPhone to the cloud, and vice versa. (It’s not as tricky as you think!)

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

Transcript of Episode 219

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 219

Fisher: Hello genies, it is Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com, the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And this segment is brought to you by 23andMe.comDNA. This is our last show of the year. Next week and the week after as we go through the holidays we’re going to share some classic shows with you and we’re excited about that because they are really good ones. [Laughs] And we’re going to be talking to David Rencher here today. He’s the Chief Genealogical Officer of FamilySearch.org. And if you haven’t used Family Search, you’ve got to because first of all it’s free, and they just have so many records there, many of them that are not found on any other sites. So, you’re going to want to hear David Rencher’s view from 30,000 feet of FamilySearch, where’s it going, what are some of the issues there that you might be concerned about. I’m going to hit him up on a couple of those things. That’s coming up in about nine minutes. And then later in the show, have you ever thought about inventorying your genealogical assets? Why would you want to do that? Well, Janet Hovorka from FamilyChartMasters.com, she’s going to be here, and we are going to talk about that very subject and you’ll find there are some really good reasons for it, looking forward to getting into that. Hey, if you haven’t done so yet, make sure you sign up for our “Weekly Genie” Newsletter. It is absolutely free. I do a column there every week. There are also links to great shows from the past and new stories relating to family history you’re going to want to check out. And you can also sign up for our Patrons Club. Just go to ExtremeGenes.com. Look for the Patrons Club link there and get signed up. You can sign up for less than the cost of a really good sandwich someplace okay, once a month. [Laughs] And you get bonus podcasts. You get early podcast access, a once a month YouTube “Ask Us Anything” segment with my buddy David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. And he is on the line with me right now from Boston, Massachusetts. How are you David?

David: I am doing great and happy holidays to our listeners out there from Beantown.

Fisher: And back at you by the way buddy. And let’s get into our Family Histoire News here because there are some really interesting stories here.

David: Exactly. After we go to Boston for the first one and go to the New York City area, and that is because Mayor De Blasio is a distant family member of a former Tammany Hall Mayor Robert Anderson Van Wyck.

Fisher: Yeah, Van Wyck. There’s an expressway in the New York area called the Van Wyck Expressway. It’s a “dumpster fire” of an expressway. [Laughs] But he was kind of a dumpster fire kind of a mayor as well. I find it kind of interesting that My Heritage would find that connection. They’re like, what, 11th cousins or something like that?

David: They are, five times removed 11th cousins from an English knight from the 15th century. Who would ever have thought that his descendants would become mayors of a country that didn’t even exist in the 15th century?

Fisher: Yes, exactly.

David: So, that’s our first one. The next story I have goes back a little further, a few thousand years in fact. It’s a great story on ExtremeGenes.com, why you’re probably related to Confucius and Socrates and the basic explanation to that is “pedigree collapse,” and where you have so many ancestors from so long ago. In fact, I’ve often been told about Charlemagne. If you go back to that time you would have something like 137 billion ancestors.

Fisher: Right.

David: Well, there weren’t that many people on the earth. [Laughs] 

Fisher: No, no. And so that duplication basically means that there’s a collapse in your pedigree where we all start descending from the same people. And you go far enough back we would all descend from Confucius and you get a Confucius, and you get a Confucius...

David: And a Socrates for you!

Fisher: And a Socrates for you! [Laughs] Yeah, it’s like the Oprah show!

David: [Laughs] Well, if you can’t find an ancestor you want in your family tree you may be able to buy your ancestral village. In fact, in Alwein, Germany which is our next story, they have a new owner. The town which had a population of only twenty was put up for auction. And I think we did a story earlier about an American town that went up for auction.

Fisher: Yeah.

David: This one is $164,000 for this small little community and the residents were mostly retirees. So, do you buy the residents, too? [Laughs]

Fisher: I don’t know how that works. It’s kind of strange but I think it would be very cool if you had ancestors from there to buy the village that your ancestor was from. How cool is that? I mean, that’s cheaper than a lot of houses, $164 000.

David: I’m wondering what the asking price on Donald Trump’s ancestral birthplace is. I think we talked about that when he got elected.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: I’m surprised that isn’t a new Trump Tower. Well, you know each week I like to do a blogger spotlight. Here’s one that you’ve probably heard of before, Roots Tech. Of course Roots Tech is an annual conference lots of genealogists will go to in Salt Lake City. In fact, you and I will both be speaking there.

Fisher: Yep.

David: I’m looking forward to that in February of 2018. But the blog is RootsTech.org/blog. In the anchored one which is really good to read by our friend Tyler Stahle is Eight Reasons To Attend Roots Tech 2018 and that include things like why Roots Tech is a community that a lot of genealogists will gather at. You can sharpen your skills at Roots Tech and you can see what’s new on the family history horizon. And if you need more reasons well, they get to meet us, right?

Fisher: There you go.

David: [Laughs]

Fisher: Exactly right.

David: And to all the great blogs on there as well continuing their genealogy education at home and one on strengthening your family bonds through virtual reunions which is great and actually gave a plug to a lecture I gave about creating family reunions via Facebook.

Fisher: Awesome!

David: Yeah.

Fisher: Boy, what a great idea.

David: So yeah, check that out and again happy holidays to you and yours Fish and to our listeners. Beantown has already had a little bit of snow. I don’t know what it’s going to be like for the rest of the month but hopefully I won’t have to dig myself out.

Fisher: All right David, thanks for checking in and we’ll talk to you again next year.

David: Take care.

Fisher: All right and we are coming up to it, the holidays and your last chance to get a genealogical gift especially for your kids and your grandkids. I am working on an ancestral coin book for each of my grandkids. They’re really quite little. The oldest is six and the youngest she’s just a little girl, not even a year old. But the idea is you collect coins from the birth years of the ancestors. You simply do it by obtaining a plastic sheet at a coin store. It’s clear with little pockets that are one and a half by one and a half. You could put little photo copy pictures of the person, their parents, grandparents and great grandparents in there, and then with a “coin flip,” that’s what they call them, ask about them at the coin store, you could put a coin of any size and slip the back of it in behind the picture. And the coin hangs over the front so they can lift it up, see who the ancestor is, examine the coin and we’ve been having a lot of fun with that. David Rencher, Chief Genealogical Officer of FamilySearch.org is coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.                            

Segment 2 Episode 219

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Rencher

Fisher: Welcome back. It’s America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. And strangely enough, I happen to have the CGO, the Chief Genealogical Officer of Family Search in the studio with me today, David Rencher is here. David, it’s been a long time. Why has it taken us four and a half years to get you on the show?

David: I don’t know, Scott. Maybe it’s my travel schedule and yours. But here we are.

Fisher: Good to see you. “Chief Genealogical Officer.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard that term in any company anywhere ever.

David: You know, it was a first for Family Search and we were trying to identify what the role was. I previously served as director of the Family History Library and director of the Records and Information Division. And when we put together this new role, it was actually our CEO that came up with the title.  So it wasn’t a self appointed title. It was given to me by the CEO.

Fisher: I like it, the CGO. You probably have to explain that periodically.

David: Occasionally I do, yeah.

Fisher: [Laughs] So, let’s talk about some of the things that are happening in Family Search right now. One of them is, there’s a login going on now that’s required and we haven’t seen that before and people are asking me, “Hey, what’s going on with that?”

David: Yeah, brand new. We have a requirement that you have to login in to use Family Search. That login process, it will step you through it, if you don’t have an account, if you haven’t logged in before, remember that Family Search is free and always will be. So this is not about revenue, this is about contractual obligations that we have with our guys throughout the world. We’re now in an electronic format rather than a microfilm format.

Fisher: Right.

David: They’re requiring us to be able to identify users of their records.

Fisher: So the rules have changed?

David: The rules have changed, the landscape changed, and with that we have to have this required login. We’re not soliciting for anything. We just simply have to be able to identify who’s using our site.

Fisher: Explain that to me. That’s kind of interesting. Why do they care whose using the site?

David: So, there’s a lot of entities like in Europe and elsewhere where they have very suspect ideas about what the data might be used for, or how it could be misused, that type of thing, so if we ever have to go back we have to identify who the users were of those particular records. I can’t fathom or conceive of an idea where that might actually come back, but some of the contractual agreements require us to do that. On the very positive side, is that those now logged-in registered users, it will open up a number of records that they haven’t previously been able to get to. It doesn’t unlock all of the restricted records that you have to be in a Family History Center for, but it will unlock some record sets that you haven’t been able to view before, so that’s really good news.

Fisher: That’s exciting. This sounds like basically it’s an old government issue. The government watching people, that type of thing.

David: Right. Yeah. So it’s a logistic thing we just have to take care of.

Fisher: So it’s one more click but we get more records. That’s the good news. What countries are opening up now more as a result of this?

David: So, primarily European countries. We deal a lot with records in Germany, in Poland, and elsewhere, so these are records that we have to be able to identify.

Fisher: So one of the questions that I often ask people associated with Family Search is something that I’ve noticed has taken a very long time to deal with, and I would imagine as the CGO, that you have to deal with what is often referred to as “individuals of unusual size” this is kind of a “Princess Bride” reference. And for those who aren’t familiar with it, if you go to Family Search, if you’re a genie and you go to Family Search and you get back, I just want to say generally from 1700 and earlier you will often run into families or an individual on the family tree and you want to try to merge that person because there are multiple entries, and it’s impossible to do that because maybe there have been a 100 different versions of that person on there, it can’t be done and so we’ve talked in the past with others about where this is going. I’d like to get an update from you David as to where we are with that because obviously there’s an accuracy issue, there’s a frustration issue certainly, that a lot of old and bad information that keeps getting perpetuated largely through this problem of not being able to merge. What’s happening with that?

David: So that’s actually a metric that I follow. Because I am responsible for looking at quality in our products and services and this speaks directly to quality in the family tree. So this issue deals specifically with the family tree and being able to merge those individuals. So as those records are merged, the quality in the tree goes up. Much of this occurred because of data that was submitted in the past that we used to upload to pre-populate the family tree when it first began.

Fisher: Right. Well, you had a whole bunch of different databases that go way back.

David: Yes. We had a lot of databases. We had the International Genealogical Index, we had Ancestral File, we had Pedigree Resource File, all of that data was coming together. It speaks to a very specific issue even today. A question that users often ask is, “Why can I not just upload my Gedcom file into the family tree?”

Fisher: Right.

David: And this is exactly the reason because as you upload that Gedcom file, you introduce all of these duplicates of entries that are already in the tree. As with Pedigree Resource File, people they’ll upload like twice a year their entire file. That means that all of those duplicates go into the Pedigree Resource File. Well, imagine now if they were doing that in Family Tree. They would just continue to add duplicates to that and these individual sizes would grow and then those of us trying to clean it up are continually having to merge those duplicates and do that. So that’s why you cannot just upload your Gedcom file into Family Tree because we don’t want to deal with all of that.

Fisher: Sure.

David: So it’s an impediment model, specifically designed that way so that people work individually on each family and upload the data that is new for that person, deal with the duplicates, and reduce the merges and improve the overall quality in the tree.

Fisher: So for the existing problems with the “individuals of unusual size,” is there progress being made technologically to try to figure out a way to solve it? Or is it going to be a committee of people it goes through? Because I’m thinking, and correct me if I’m wrong, David, a lot of these individuals and families tie back to early New England in the United States?

David: A lot of them are early New England and medieval families and that type of thing.

Fisher: Right.

David: So obviously the algorithms can only go so far and yes, we continue to refine and hone the algorithms, continue to run those against these, and the good news is as I track it they are merging. So the number is going down.

Fisher: That’s great.

David: The trend is down.

 Fisher: So the accuracy is going up.

David: The accuracy goes up. And as we continue to do that, at some point we’re probably going to have to have some kind of manual process. So, there are a number of different opportunities out there. We’ve been using some interns.

Fisher: Well, there’s got to be a finite number, ultimately, right?

David: Correct.

Fisher: And are you able to determine what that is?

David: Yeah. We have the record counts on that and how many of them we’re dealing with. We know which ones have the most duplicates in the file.

Fisher: What’s the highest number of duplicates that you’re aware of?

David: The highest one that I’m aware of is somewhere over six hundred.

Fisher: Wow!

David: So we just have to deal with them.

Fisher: And is that a New England family?

David: I honestly don’t remember.

Fisher: And of course the reason for that would be, at least in the United States, the further back you go and the earliest parts are New England and Virginia I would assume.

David: Correct.

Fisher: That you have more descendants and the more descendants who put it in, the more duplicates you have. And that’s why it’s generally before 1700.

David: Yeah. It’s problematic with many of what we call the “gateway ancestors,” those who first landed.

Fisher: Right.

David: And those gateway ancestors tend to have the most duplication because they have the most descendants.

Fisher: Sure. It’s pretty simple. So, let’s talk about some of the other things you do. You’re involved with quality control for your products, and you’re working with other societies, genealogical and historical societies, how are they working in with Family Search? What’s the tie there?

David: So we reach out to a number of genealogical societies and we have a number of different ways in working with them. Right now we are prototyping some ways where genealogical societies can image their data. We actually send out some camera setups and they image their materials and get those back to us. People I think often underestimate what genealogical societies can do for them. I had a great experience. I was traveling with a colleague, we had a little extra time, we were at the Kentucky Historical Society and my colleague had Kentucky ancestry, and so I said, “Well, we may as well look at a couple of things while we’re here.”

Fisher: Sure.

David: So I pulled some things off the shelf, he pulled some things off the shelf, and finally he looked over at what I was doing and he just couldn’t stand it anymore and he said, “Dave, you know, we have those 1860 census records online now. You don’t have to look at the printed publication from the Society.” And I just smiled and I turned it around to him and showed him the entry for his ancestry in the 1860 transcription of the census from the Genealogical Society. And there in the column of observations and notes, the Society members had annotated and added all of the maiden names for the wives of all of the individuals in the census, and annotated where they had come from into Kentucky.

Fisher: Oh!

David: And so he learned from this genealogical abstract created by the Genealogical Society that his ancestors had come from South Carolina into Kentucky.

Fisher: And he didn’t know that?

David: He didn’t know that. And he would not have pulled that book off the shelf because it said 1860 census and in his mind, it’s online.

Fisher: Waste of time.

David: Waste of time. “I don’t need to look at that.”

Fisher: Yeah.

David: “I’m only here for a limited amount of time, why would I look at that?”

Fisher: [Laughs] Why would I look at that? Well, because time is your currency.

David: Time is your currency. True.

Fisher: How many genealogical societies are you now starting to partner with?

David: You know, I don’t keep track of the number. We have over twenty two hundred genealogical societies in North America alone, and we deal with a number more internationally. So we are partnering with a number of the large ones. We actually have some book scanning operations going on with some of the public libraries we’re affiliated with, some societies, so it’s a constant effort to just try and glean the best data from those societies. Many of them have done projects where they gather family Bible information and other things that you can’t get online.

Fisher: Right.

David: Never underestimate the power of it. A lot of people say well, does it work like a lawyer? You know, if I call them am I on the clock? Do I have to send them a check for the fifteen minutes I want to talk to them? The answer is “no.”

Fisher: Right.

Davis: They have genealogical memberships obviously, and subscriptions, but the people who work in these societies are passionate about family history, and they’re passionate about the people in the area that they know and cover, so a lot them know a lot about these families. Pick your county. I don’t care what your county is in the United States, but pick your county if there’s a genealogical society there you really should reach out to them.

Fisher: He’s David Rencher. He’s the Chief Genealogical Officer at Family Search. David it’s been great getting caught up with you, and thanks for coming on the show. We’ll see you again soon.

David: Thank you very much.

Fisher: And all this stuff we were just talking about, including Family Search itself, is free. And we’re going to talk about inventorying and what you’ve got in terms of your heirlooms and family history material with Janet Hovorka next in five minutes.  

Segment 3 Episode 219

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Janet Hovorka

Fisher: And we are back, it is America’s Family History Show. I am Fisher, the Radio Roots Sleuth on Extreme Genes. This segment is brought to you by MyHeritage.com. And on the line with me right now is my good friend Janet Hovorka. She is the person behind the incredible Family Chart Masters, and if you haven’t gone to FamilyChartmasters.com, you’re missing out on all kinds of great stuff you can do with your photographs. And that kind of brings us to what we want to talk about a little bit here, Janet, because you are always full of so many great ideas. This idea of actually inventorying your family history assets so that you know what you have and what the tools are for sharing that heritage with your kids and grandkids.

Janet: Yeah, I don’t know about you, Scott, but for me... family history... the whole point is to make sure it gets passed down and to make sure that my family cares about it and is inspired by those heroes and the scoundrels and understands their past. I really believe that going forward into the future I want my family to understand their past so they can go forward with more emotional strength and more stability. So, I’ve developed the materials to help people kind of inventory what is in their family history that’s exciting that would work with their family members to help them get interested and help them get involved in family history.

Fisher: Yeah, and I’ve been doing a little of this myself lately as I’ve been starting to go through and say, “Okay, what are the heirlooms? What are they, and what do they mean, and what are the stories?” And just with using Word, creating a little photo album of each item, who they belong to, what’s the era, what’s the significance, and what’s the story. And just doing that with these heirlooms has been really a fun exercise for me but I’m thinking it’s going to save things from being thrown out or sold at auction because nobody knows what they are or why they’re significant.

Janet: Absolutely. You know, when my mother-in-law died unexpectedly really young, I had just interviewed her just about a year previously about her life history and I am so glad I had because we have that interview now. She died before any of my children were old enough to remember her. She talked about heirlooms that she had and when we all went back to Wisconsin to help settle her estate, one of the biggest things that I was worried about is that she had heirlooms from three, four generations back and I wanted to make sure that we knew what those heirlooms were because she was an antique collector and all sorts of things.

Fisher: Oh boy.

Janet: You could have messed up her heirlooms with just the junk that she’d bought at a garage sale, you know?

Fisher: [Laughs] Right.

Janet: So one of the big things I was concerned about was making sure we had those heirlooms to pass down in our family. Thank heavens we talked to her about that before she passed and we were able to preserve those things. So yeah, that’s super important. But besides that, I think there’s a lot of assets you have that you may not even think of, not even just the physical things but just the stories, the culture, the language, the different parts of your family history that could tweak some interest in a child. I think the first thing you do is kind of evaluate the youth in your family and what their interests are and then apply those back to your family history. I think one of the best ways to get the penny to drop in teaching your family about their family history is to tweak their interests by looking at what they’re interested in and then getting that out of your family history. So for example, my daughter loves decorating the house, loves making sure her room is perfect and all sorts of things like that, and so, we put together a lot of decorative things for our house. She has a Christmas tree in her room during the holidays that we decorated with family history things, you know, we’ve done 4th of July decorations and things like that, that help teach her about her family history. My son who is all biology, totally into science and things like that. We’ve done a DNA test and he’s really into that. My son who is all a techie. One of the places he was so excited was an heirloom, like you said, I and my family, we have an old Amberola machine and one of my great grandfathers has all of those cylinders that he passed down to my dad, and I asked my son to help record those recordings and put them up on a website, and he started pulling those cylinders out and found out that his great grandfather had ordered these straight from the Edison factory, and that his great grandfather was a tech geek too, and that’s where they start to really connect.

Fisher: Yeah.

Janet: Connect with these ancestors and get excited about things. So one of the first things I think you’ve got to inventory is what interests the modern people in your family that might relate back to your family history.

Fisher: Boy that is a great way to think of it. Now, you’ve got older kids now, and so, their interests are already somewhat developed. I’m thinking, though, you can also help develop interest in the younger ones, you know, the preschool kids, the elementary school kids, by exposing them to new things and of course, on Extreme Genes we’ve talked a lot recently about our Ancestral Birth Coin Project, where we have pictures of all the ancestors, the year they were born, the country they were from, and then coins we were able to obtain from that year and country, and sharing that.

Janet: How cool.

Fisher: Yeah, and putting those right in there with the pictures and they can actually lift the coin up, see the picture of the person, the year and the country, and study both sides of the coin using coin flips, and it’s really been a lot of fun, and so my five year old granddaughter in particular is just all about this, because every time she comes over, I may have a new coin, and I say, “hey, you want to put this in the coin book?” “Oh yes!” And find out all about the ancestor and the country, and what happened that year, and what kind of metal is it, and who’s the picture on the coin. I mean, there’s so much that they can do with that.

Janet: Yeah, awesome. Well, and you know, it doesn’t even need to be as complicated as all this stuff that we’re talking about too. I think the younger children, just bedtime stories, and pictures, and just talking about the culture, and maybe you’ve got naming patterns in your family, telling them, you know, where they’re name come from, finding a picture, and, there’s no child that will turn down an opportunity to look at a picture of someone who looks like them.

Fisher: Right.

Janet: Or someone who is their same age. So if you’ve got pictures of an ancestor that’s five years old, the same as your grandchild, that would be perfect.

Fisher: How about recipes?

Janet: Yeah, of course, recipes, definitely. Recipes. I think there’s a lot you can do with the culture, too. And like you said, the history around that ancestor, you know, if you know somebody’s who’s German, making a schultüte, like one of the containers they make with candy for the first day of school, or something like that. It doesn’t even have to be something particular to your ancestor. Sometimes it can just be cultural forces that were at work in their lives at the time, really anything besides the family history, languages, art. So, I think it can be a much broader picture. The family that I grew up in, it was in our water, it was in our air. Like, it was up on our walls. Our family history, I just grew up knowing about my grandparents, great grandparents, great great grandparents, because it was in the culture around me, and I really think that’s the best way to transmit it to a child, because when it’s just in those little traditions, my great grandmother used to lick her thumb and put it in the palm of our other hand and make a wish anytime she saw a white horse, you know. Just little things like that.

Fisher: [Laughs] I love that.

Janet: That make you feel a part of the bigger whole, right? They make you feel a part of the family.

Fisher: I think many of us, as family historians, we love the hunt, we love solving the mysteries. I know I do. And sometimes we kind of ignore the fact that hey, wait a minute, we’ve got to find a way to transmit this back down the lines so that it lives on beyond us, and I think these are all great ideas. How would you inventory your stuff? Would you start with a list of your descendants and note their interests and then put things beside them that might resonate with them? How would you do it?

Janet: Yeah, I’m a paper person, so I scribble all over paper.

Fisher: Sure.

Janet: And I would just start taking notes and just really keep it out in front of yourself for a couple of days and just be thinking about it and start making notes. I’d take a pedigree chart and start doing the same with your ancestors, and start talking about, you know, what was their culture, what were their talents? Maybe somebody embroidered or played the harmonica. What skills or what work do they do? Was somebody an auto-mechanic or something else? The music that they would have listened to. My grandparents loved their big band music, and so, you know, anytime you hear big band music, you go, oh, grandma and grandpa, they loved that, you know? Are there traditions in your family, are there celebrations that you have, any kind of history, just all of that stuff, get it down on paper and start seeing where those intersections are between your ancestors.

Fisher: She’s Janet Hovorka with Family Chart Masters. Good to talk with you as always, Janet, and have a happy New Year!

Janet: Thank you, you too!

Fisher: And coming up next, I know you’re discovering some of these heirlooms as you get ready for the holidays, Tom Perry will tell you a little bit about preservation, on the way in three minutes, on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 4 Episode 219

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Each week Tom comes on and talks about preservation, so you can preserve your audio, your video, your old home movies, maybe even photographs. And Tom, good to see you again!

Tom: Good to be here.

Fisher: And you've got an email here from who?

Tom: Jim Schubert in Tallahassee, Florida.

Fisher: All right, and what does he say?

Tom: "I've got some stuff from my phone, some family things I've done that I want to be able to put on a DVD so I can send it to my grandparents and aunts and uncles that don't have smartphones.”

Fisher: Wow what a good idea! I wouldn't have even thought of that.

Tom: You know, it’s actually not that hard. Most phones, I'm an iPhone user, I'm not an Android guy, so I can't tell you a lot about Androids, but I'm sure the architecture's very similar. With an iPhone, when you plug it in your computer, it asks you if you want to back it up.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: Or what you want to do with it, or you can have it open so it automatically with things like Dropbox, it automatically puts your photos, your videos, all that kinds of stuff to Dropbox automatically, which if you have a small account, they're free and if you have a big account, they're very inexpensive.

Fisher: Right. Not much.

Tom: So either one of those. If you have Dropbox it’s automatically in there. You can send us a link to your Dropbox, which is secure. We can only go to the folder that you give us permission to go into and then we can download that, put it on a DVD, make it into MP4s, anything you want, or if you're computer savvy yourself, you can download to your computer and with Wondershare which we talk about all the time, you can convert anything to anything. I mean, you can make a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: You can turn hair into gold. It’s just amazing what you can do with Wondershare.

Fisher: Yeah. There are a lot of options with Wondershare. So you get it on your computer, basically you turn it into the kind of file you like.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: And then just share it with Dropbox. You could put it in Google Drive, something like that.

Tom: Oh absolutely. And for you that are very inhibited when it comes to electronics and this is all over your head, all you need to do is, take your phone, plug it in your computer, it will ask you if you want to put the photos in iPhoto or whatever program, just say yes. Let it do that. And then once it tells you where it is, let us know and we'll tell you how you can just burn that to what they call a data disk, which you're still not going to be able to give to your friends, but at least when you send us or bring that data disk in to us, we can turn it into a video and we would use the same thing, we’d use Wondershare. So if you want it done, we can do it for you. We can teach you how to do it however, to make it wonderful. But that happens a lot of times. People shoot stuff with their Smartphone and they don't have any smarts, so to speak.

Fisher: Right. [Laughs]

Tom: They say they don't understand this stuff their kid gave it to them. But they know how to use photo button, they know how to use video button. And once it’s in there, they have no clue what you do now.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: So we are there to hold your hand and make it possible for you to put it on a DVD, so you can share it with your aunts and uncles and brothers and sister that may be in your same situation that don't even have a BluRay player yet. So we can make it work. And if you have ones that are really backwards in VHS, we can actually put it on a VHS for you, too.

Fisher: And we should mention that when you do this, when you plug the phone into the computer, your phone will ask for permission to give the computer access.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: And that's where you say yes, at that point. And of course of you need to reach out to Tom, you can do that by emailing him at [email protected].

Tom: Exactly. Or you can call us, whatever. And also, you can tweet us. In fact, we get a lot of questions on our Twitter feed, which is, @AskTomP. And so, either way we can take care of you.

Fisher: Now this is kind of interesting, because you have a second email here that we're going to really get into in depth in just a couple of moments that ask kind of the reverse thing of this. Now I wouldn't think there are a lot of people who would want to take a video they got from somewhere else and actually put it onto their iPhone.

Tom: Oh you have no idea. That's happens a lot.

Fisher: [Laughs] Really?

Tom: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Fisher: Because I'm thinking, I don't think I'd want to use all my storage for videos on the phone. I want to keep them somewhere a little more, because I think of the phone as being a little less permanent.

Tom: Right. And it’s a lot of time, its salesmen who want to put up a kind of a sales brief on their phone for them. They might want to have something, they're going to a Christmas party and they want to be able to show people this real funny cat video they found on YouTube something. So there are possibilities to do and it’s really not that hard. Anybody can do that.

Fisher: Okay. Well, we'll get to this coming up here in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 219

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: All right, back at it, talking Preservation on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. My name is Fisher, the Radio Roots Sleuth. He's Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. He's our Preservation Authority. And Tom, so this is the reverse of the question we were just talking about a few minutes ago. This is where somebody actually wants to take material they find online or is sent to them by somebody else and put it onto their iPhone.

Tom: Correct. Either that or a tablet, any kind of a smart device and it’s really simple. In fact, it’s so simple, a lot of you listeners are going to say, "Oh, duh! Why didn't I think of this before?"

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: This is one of the things that we tell you, you have to have in your arsenal, you have to have Wondershare, you have to have Heritage Collector, you need to have a Shotbox.

Fisher: Yep.

Tom: Because between those three things, it’s amazing. The music you can make is incredible. So all you need to do is get your Shotbox. And you get your computer, if it’s something that's on your computer that you want on your phone, you take your laptop, you put in your computer so the screen's down and your keyboard's going up.

Fisher: So you're going to video when comes on the screen.

Tom: Exactly. And the thing is, with the new LCD screens, you're not going to get the rolls, you're not going to get the pixelization.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: You're not going to get all those crazy things, so you just set your tablet or your smartphone on top of the Shotbox and then frame it so it frames it how you want it. You can make it tight, you can make it big, you can edit it later, whatever you want. But once you get it up there, you want to make sure you're in a nice, quiet place, there’s no kids running around slamming the doors and different things like that, banging pans together.

Fisher: Because you want the audio to be pure.

Tom: Exactly. And so, you don't want your phone ringing. It’s almost like when we tell people, when you want to interview grandma and grandpa, the steps you need to take.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: If you have a basement, that's the best place to go. If you don't, find some place, even at a library. They usually have rooms where they have different things set up where you can listen to audio. Say, "Hey, I want to use one of your sound rooms," and just set up a time. You can go in there for free. Set your iPad up there or your, whatever kind of tablet you happen to have and just hit record/play at the same time you hit play on your computer. I recorded, it was probably a thirty minute video and I was absolutely shocked how well it came out. It’s amazing.

Fisher: Really?

Tom: Oh yeah, absolutely! And say you have a DVD you want to do the same thing, you want a DVD on your iPhone and you don't want to go through these steps of converting it, put the DVD in your laptop and it'll play it on the screen. And if you say, "Well, I don't have a laptop. What else can I do?" You can purchase small monitors that are LCDs for like $100 now that they're only like 11x14, but that's all you need. Put that inside the Shotbox. Don't have the stand on or anything so it lays flat. Run your HDMI cable to your BluRay player or your DVD player and then do the same thing, play the video. And then people say, "Hey, I want to have stills." So, same thing, go through, hit pause on your DVD player, you have a still frame there, take a picture with your phone, take a picture with your iPad and its amazing the resolution. We used to teach people to set up their Nikon camera and shoot a plasma TV and all these kinds of things.

Fisher: Right. I think in 2013 when we started Extreme Genes, we were still talking that way.

Tom: Exactly. In fact, it’s right in some of the transcripts we have the people go and look at that teach them how to do this. This is so much easier. You know everybody's got an LCD TV around. And like I say, you can go and buy a monitor, whether it’s a computer monitor or just a regular monitor, they're very, very inexpensive. Find them on eBay, find them on Amazon that are used and you can get real good prices.

Fisher: Well, what about just a tripod on your TV screen at home on the wall?

Tom: Oh yeah, absolutely! We have people that use projection systems. And it’s all based on how hard or easy you want to make it and what quality you want. But using a Shotbox for something like this, the quality is absolutely astounding! So even if you have old videotapes, hook your VCR, tie it into your DVD player, so you have an HDMI cable or if you have one of the monitors that take the yellow, red and white cables, it’s the same thing. If you're taking photos, all you need is the yellow. And it’s just amazing how wonderful they look.

Fisher: All right, thanks so much, Tom. And of course if you want to reach out to Tom, you can do so by emailing him at [email protected] or ask him a question on his Twitter page, which is @AskTomP. Thanks so much, Tom.

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: And this segment has been brought to you by LegacyTree.com. Well Genies, that's it for our 2017 shows, unbelievable! We're going to play some great classics over the next couple of weeks as we take a little time off to be with our families, ourselves. Talk to you again next year. And thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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