Episode 220 - The New Year In the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society / The Legal Genealogist Anticipates 2018 In DNA and RecordsJan 14, 2018
Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Genealogical and Biographical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Fisher starts by talking about new discoveries concerning his pirate ancestor, William Downs. Then David shares his first project of the new year… a New Years challenge that has gone viral… #AncestorChallege2018. Hear what it’s all about. David then has the latest on the world’s oldest person. He’ll tell you how old she is and where she’s from. In Family Histoire News, David has the story of two lifelong buddies who had a jaw dropping find through DNA. Then, a century old submarine, that sunk during World War I, has been found. Hear about the efforts to identify the crewmembers and return their remains to their descendants using DNA. Then, it’s a date for a World War II vet who finally got a “yes” from his high school sweetheart. Catch the details!
Next, Fisher visits with D. Joshua Taylor, President of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society. With New York City and State being the home and crossroads for so many ancestors in so many eras, you’ll want to hear what’s ahead for this great organization in the year ahead.
Our look ahead at 2018 continues with the Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell. Fisher picks Judy’s very fertile mind for trends she sees in DNA and records in the coming year.
Then, Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority, is back from Mexico, and has some great insight and hopes for preservation of records there. Then, he’s got some marching orders for all of us for 2018 concerning how to get our genealogical house in order digitally.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 220
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 220
Fisher: Hey, and Happy New Year genies! It is nice to have you along. It’s Extreme Genes, America’s Family History show 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. And our first guest of the new year is going to give us a little insight into what they think is coming in New York City for example because so many people have ties to the Big Apple as far as their ancestry is concerned. I‘m going to be talking to Joshua Taylor. He’s the President of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. And then later in the show, my good friend, the Legal Genealogist Judy Russell is going to come on and she’ll give you some insight into some things that she’s excited about in terms of what might be coming up in 2018 in genealogy. Hey, just a reminder by the way, you could support the show by signing up for our Patrons Club. Just go to ExtremeGenes.com, click on the Patron Club button and it’s right there, or go to Patreon.com/ExtremeGenes. And my good friend David Allen Lambert, he’s been on the road a lot here, and of course we took a little time off. How were your holidays David?
David: Oh, they were great! And how about yourself?
Fisher: You know, it could not have been better. We had nineteen people in the house over the Christmas holidays from all over the country. [Laughs]
Fisher: We actually had to book a couple of hotel rooms for some people just to give everyone a little breathing room. And then when I would escape from them a little bit just to say okay, I needed a little air here, I did a little research and I discovered a little more about my pirate William Downs. And this was a great find for me because I didn’t realize this guy was a swashbuckler. He was on the famous pirate ship “The Fancy” with the pirate Henry Avery. And so I am looking into that right now and it’s pretty interesting, unique stuff and one of my sons already is saying “argh” an awful lot and it’s beginning to bother me.
David: I have to buy him an eye patch.
David: But what you could do is my New Year’s resolution was actually to do a little challenge for people, and actually it’s done pretty well. The hashtag #AncestorChallenge2018 has got already 11,000 plus impressions in two days. [Laughs]
David: And basically, it is to tell a story briefly on social media, maybe Twitter, Facebook or on your blog about an ancestor, one a week and if you can do it, you can. I mean, there’s no guilt if you miss a week but I think your pirate would make a great story Fish.
Fisher: It would certainly be a good start, wouldn’t it? Yeah.
David: It definitely would.
David: Well, with the New Year we’re all going to get a year older in this point in time, but the one who’s going to get older than all of us is the oldest living person in the world, and that is Giuseppina Projetto. She’s 115.
Fisher: Do you notice how many Italian women lived to ages like this? It’s crazy and Asian women too.
David: Yea, I don’t know what it is, but I’ll tell you if there’s a secret in the spaghetti sauce I’m going to start eating it on a more regular basis.
Fisher: I have no desire to live to be 115. [Laughs]
David: To think what episode number we would be on by then!
Fisher: Oh stop it, stop it. [Laughs]
David: [Laughs] Well, you know sometimes you and I like to say a brother from another mother, but we compared our DNA. Haven’t found a match but two friends for over 60 years actually found out they’re biological brothers. Did you see that story from Hawaii?
Fisher: Yeah, out of Hawaii, and they’ve known each other since 6th grade, and I guess they’re about 72 years old, somewhere in there?
David: Um hmm. It’s amazing. I mean, it just goes to show you that DNA is going to give you surprises. It’s not just finding long lost descendants of your great grandparents. It’s long lost descendants of your parents.
Fisher: That’s right. And in this case by the way, their mother was the common one.
David: More and more of these stories pop up every day and it’s just heart-warming to think that they had a connection and well, it just tightens the bond now for sure.
Fisher: Yeah, absolutely.
David: We are digging deep into history. World War I of course is a century ago, and they’re still finding things. They like talked about some of the U-boats that were found but this one is the first World War I submarine casualty. It was the first Australian submarine that sank over 103 years ago. They just found it.
Fisher: Isn’t that something?
David: And now what they’re doing is they’re looking for descendants of the HMAS AE 1 that sank on September 14th 1914, so they can identify who the remains are by using the DNA of the descendants.
Fisher: Isn’t that amazing? You know, that’s funny because we’ve seen now that we have, I don’t know how many million DNA samples have been taken so far, but it’s got to be closing in on 8 or 10 million when you consider all the companies, right?
Fisher: And many of the stories of discoveries are somewhat similar, yet there are unique stories that are just unbelievable that happen almost every week now.
David: It really is. I mean, as far as like with casualties and things like that with the ships, I think it was one of the Confederate or Union Civil War submarines.
Fisher: Yes, the Hunley.
David: The Hunley, you’re right, that they use that to identify who the victims of that sinking were. It’s amazing stuff.
David: The next story pulls back into the next world war, World War II where a 90-year old World War II Veteran finally gets a date with his high school sweetheart, 70 plus years later.
David: And my best wishes to Paul and Loris who have finally gone out on their date. They’re up from California. Loris is 89 and was still a teenager when she met Paul back in high school over 70 years ago. And finally, she broke down and had him take her on a date.
Fisher: Isn’t that crazy? Of course both of them were married for many, many years and he tracked her down.
David: It just goes to show you that you know that love can be interrupted for any amount of time. [Laughs]
Fisher: That’s right.
David: Well, our great pleasure from NEHGS to ring in the New Year is to offer for all those who go to American Ancestors between January 3rd and January10th free access. In fact, if you go to Ancestor Experts, the Twitter page for NEHGS and retweet our news about it, you can be entered in for a $25 gift certificate for our new storeroom. Our new catalogue just went up online on AmercanAncestors.org this past week.
Fisher: Very nice.
David: Well, that’s what I have to ring in the New Year with you, my friend and I’ll be talking to you next week. And it was nice to know we’ve got our good friend Joshua who did work with us at NEHGS here a number of years ago.
David: He’s doing very well for himself in New York and wish him a happy new year as well. Take care, my friend.
Fisher: All right David, good to chat with you. He is the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. And yes, coming up next we’ve got D. Joshua Taylor. He is the President of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. A lot of things are happening in the Big Apple. It’s kind of getting a little resurrection here at this organization and they’re doing some great things. And if you have any ties with your ancestors to New York City, you’re going to want to hear what he’s got to say. It’s coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 220
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Joshua Taylor
Fisher: Welcome back and Happy New Year! It is Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by MyHeritage.com and you know, I think for much of America, if not most of America, New York City is a gateway for so many of our ancestors, whether you have people who are actually in New York City or came through it, or just a couple of generations and moved west, whatever the case may be, it’s an important place for people researching their family. And I have on the line with me right now my friend Joshua Taylor, he is the President of the New York Genealogical Biographical Society, one of my favorite resources when I research my New York ancestry. Josh welcome back to Extreme Genes. How are you? Happy New Year!
Joshua: Hey, Happy New Year! It’s great to be back.
Fisher: It is, and I’m excited about this. You’ve been the president now for like a year and a half and with your achievements in kind of getting this thing off of life support. You’ve accomplished so much in getting this thing back to viability. It feels like you have been at this for five years now. Let’s talk about some of the things that are coming up in the New Year, and some of the things that have just passed in 2017 that might be of interest to people researching their New York ancestry.
Joshua: Yeah, absolutely. So, the first thing actually coming up in 2018 is, we’ve designated the second week of January, it’s all about, we call it NYG&B week and it is a week of free educational webinars and other programs that are available. So there are topics on Scottish research, and German and Irish research, and Jewish research, and African American families, and all sorts of things. That’s coming up right away and those webinars are free for the public. Something we do to sort of kick-off the year. And then later on in the year, we’re having a new program that we’re calling “Discovering the Empire State” or “Empire State Exploration” and the idea is that, you come to New York and you’re guided by the NYG&B and we’ll research out of our facility and the New York Public Library, and give you some sort of one-on-one help with tracing your New York roots. And then we have a New York State Family History conference coming up in September, which will be in Terrytown, so this is a not to be missed event. We have speakers from all over the country and exhibitors and it plans to be a very, very fund filled week of family history. But that’s not all. [Laughs]
Fisher: Oh, no.
Joshua: There’s a lot going on. Last year we launched a project to index and digitize more records from across the state of New York. And so we’ll vamp up those efforts in 2018 Working specifically, the target records that are perhaps lesser known and even lesser accessed from some of these repositories across the state but are very, very valuable.
Joshua: So things like card indexes and religious records and cemetery records that cover a county or a town but get missed by some of the bigger players in the field that digitize records but that we think need preservation and absolutely need to be shared and accessible to members alike.
Fisher: I think that there are a lot of dead ends that await people who have genealogy in upstate New York or western New York in the early 19th century. Just for that very reason there’s just so many smaller records that are not accessible generally.
Joshua: There are. And New York, I always think of New York as the example of the state with a lot of immigration and a lot of migration. So a family that might stay here for five years or ten years or just one generation on someone’s tree, they don’t leave behind a lot of the same records that you would think. There’s not sort of massive multi generational cemeteries and that for a lot of these families.
Joshua: They leave these responsive records as they move across the state and then into the west.
Fisher: Yeah. When I started researching New York, my dad was born in the Bronx and then all of his people before that were all born in New York City. In fact, the earliest ancestor I had was like the Reverend Everardus Bogardus, the second minister among the Dutch back there. So I’ve had a lot of time researching at the old fashion way, digging through archives and repositories. And so much of it now has come online but I used to think of it as, “New York is too big.” There were too many records to try to sort through and figure out where they might be. And some of the records that might be valuable are just kind of buried because there’s so much to sort through and you can’t quite get to them. And also there’s kind of an overlapping of jurisdictions. There’s the city, there’s the county, there’s the New York Historical Society, there’s the New York Public Library, oh wait a minute, the archives has these, oh and they were transferred over to this new location in the ‘50s. To try to track some of that stuff is really tough and I think that’s where NYG&B is a real asset in helping people navigates all of that mess.
Joshua: You know you’re absolutely right. It’s something that we work really hard at is to help you find what all of these very unique records that have been taken. We just finished the revised edition to the New York Family History Research guide and we’ve sort of taken the volume and put it in two parts now so it’s a two volume set. But one of the highlights of that work, as long as it tells you what types of records are available, but every county across the state of New York and including areas within the city, have their own guides to identify specific repositories giving you an overview of what collections they have and then some tips and general advice for how to access. We refer to it as the “Big Book” around the office and we are in the “Big Book” at least once or twice a day if not more, because there’s so many resources there.
Fisher: Isn’t that great to know that it’s getting a little bit easier. Is that online? Is it going to be online?
Joshua: So there is a digital version of the revised edition that’s available to those who purchase the print copy. So you can’t just buy that original copy but you can absolutely get the digital version if you purchase that print copy. Though the website also has guides for each of New York’s counties that include a lot of materials that are in the book, not everything but some of the material and we’re able to keep those web links more active than they are in the printed version
Fisher: Boy, you think about how much stuff is out there to be digitized. [Laughs] I mean you guys could be digitizing for the next century at least. There’s so much material that has not become public and this might be an eye opener to a lot of people who think that everything that’s out there is digital and online right now somewhere. There’s a lot still to be had.
Joshua: Absolutely. I mean, I was raised in the generation of microfilm and then quickly became a 21st century researcher where I was getting a lot of things online. But everywhere I travel in the state, even in the city, I find collections that the idea of digitizing those collections is still years and years away in some cases. And you’re right we could be busy for a long time.
Fisher: Well, and part of the problem in New York is, having spoken to a lot of different librarians and archivists, is that they often don’t know what they have because they have so much. In fact, I was told by the Firefighters Museum that if I wanted to find records about New York FireFighters I might do better finding them outside of the city and the state because it’s such a big heap of stuff divided among so many archives and libraries.
Joshua: Yes, it’s very true. The sheer magnitude of the size of some of these collections makes it almost impossible for some repositories to know on a detail basis at least what they have in their collections. It’s something we hear all the time.
Fisher: Yeah. When I was at the Archives a couple of years ago, I had found a book from the 1950s that listed what they were supposed to have. And it was quite a trial for them to try to locate where these things were that we knew they had. There was no denying it. And I will say this, when we showed up, we had made an appointment for a specific day to come in and they knew we were coming in from out of town. It was so impressive to me. They had a rolling tray, a rolling shelf loaded with all the books that I was looking for so that when we showed up it was total efficiency. We were able to maximize our time because as you know on any trip like this, I mean time is your real currency and they did such a great job. In fact I gave a real thumbs-up. I went to the supervisor of this person to make sure they had gotten the record of what a great job they did and so for people who think when you get to New York you’re not going to be treated right, not necessarily so.
Joshua: [Laughs] That’s right. That’s a great, great story because one of the resources available to members of the NYG&B are digitized versions of old record surveys from across the state of New York. And we have people all the time that come in with a list and say, “You have this record” [Laughs] Its 70 years ago.
Joshua: At least knowing the record existed at that point is one step in finding it and accessing it today. So that’s a great way to prepare for a trip to New York.
Fisher: Yeah that’s right, if you really know where you’re going first of all. Because otherwise if you’re just setting it up once you get there, you’re going to bounce all around town. You’re going to be talking to people who are going to look at you cross-eyed because they don’t know what you’re talking about sweetheart, right?
Joshua: [Laughs] That’s right.
Fisher: And it’s kind of a mess. How’s it going with Reclaim the Records? I know you must have done some projects with them because New York is one of those infamous places where some public records are very difficult to access.
Joshua: We of course remain very, very good friends with Reclaim the Records. In October when the department of Mental Health proposed sort of shutting down access to vital records, we sort of called up efforts in our community and Reclaim the Records was there at the hearing and we sort of banned together as genealogists that want to access to public records, and so we are certainly grateful for their efforts, that they can do things that we can’t, we can do things that they can’t, and it’s an example where working together in the community really helps more access to some of these records. So it’s an important partnership.
Fisher: Yeah, very much so. Do you guys cover a lot of the Tri-State area, New Jersey, Connecticut? I mean outside of New York itself?
Joshua: We do, by the nature of migration sort of movement of people. So our computation and sort of research services, it’s very rare when someone will come in and only have one question. Usually they’re asking about, did this person live in New York City? A branch on the family was in Connecticut and some in New Jersey. So we absolutely cover that Tri-State area. We have to, to do a true act of service for New York.
Fisher: Do you see the day where you’re going to be digitizing a lot of materials from say, Northern New Jersey, Connecticut as well, or are you doing that?
Joshua: You know, I’m not sure on that. Certainly our focus right now is New York State and especially the city, but areas outside the city west of New York and those regions which we haven’t sort of historically spent a lot of effort in digitizing records, and we’re really working to vamp that up. But I certainly look at us to be forming partnerships with existing organizations in Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and Connecticut as we work together to put more records online.
Fisher: All right. Real quick Josh, what’s the most exciting new record that you guys have gotten online or discovered recently that people should know about?
Joshua: We just loaded a whole series of images from the Vosburgh religious records collection, and some of these are records that the originals don’t exist anymore because these were transcriptions done in the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s by the NYG&B for churches all over the State of New York and they cover events that we haven’t seen online before. So I would definitely say it’s the Vosburgh collection.
Fisher: He’s Joshua Taylor. He is the President of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Sounds like a big year up ahead, Josh, and thanks so much for coming on Extreme Genes.
Joshua: Thanks for having me!
Fisher: And coming up next, the 2018 genealogical forecast from the Legal Genealogist, in five minutes.
Segment 3 Episode 220
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Judy Russell
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. This segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and I’m so excited to have as one of our first guests of 2018, my good friend the Legal Genealogist Judy Russell from New Jersey. How are things in Jersey there, Judy?
Judy: It is cold here today Scott! It’s not as cold as it is in some parts of the country, but clearly we have winter.
Fisher: Cold enough! I understand. Well, what’s on your mind as we go into the New Year? It’s kind of fun to check in with the various experts and see what you’re thinking about. I got to think that most of us are thinking DNA at this point is one thing, right?
Judy: It clearly is continuing to be the hot topic for genealogy. It’s a tool that because of the growth and the size of the databases, the sheer number of people who are testing is going to be more, and more, and more important to all of us as we do our research. You look at the numbers that Ancestry was reporting for their Christmas season sale.
Judy: And they broke all kinds of records. And every company is seeing the same sort of thing, FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage, LivingDNA out of the UK. There’s an enormous interest in seeing how this tool can be used.
Fisher: It’s interesting to see that there are other places like MyHeritage now that are actually making some inroads into becoming a place where people can expect to find matches, in Europe especially.
Judy: That’s so important to me because I’m a first generation American on my father’s side.
Judy: My father was actually born in Bremen, Germany. So the cousins and kin, and whatever that I may ever have on that side are still in the old country. And MyHeritage, it’s a new player in the DNA field. It’s still the only place where in their tree matching I’ve ever matched a German cousin.
Fisher: How about that? Wow.
Judy: So it’s an important place.
Fisher: And it is interesting to see that there are places now in Europe that are starting to open up a little more about people hawking DNA products in these countries. Now, what’s happening with Germany in that department?
Judy: They still do not allow what’s called “straight paternity testing.”
Judy: Which is fine, and science doesn’t allow that. I don’t have a problem with those kinds of limitations. I’d like to see a more accepting attitude towards DNA testing. The one thing that I think the German genealogical community doesn’t understand as fully as I wish they did because their attitude is, “Well, we’ve got civil registration records and we’ve got church records, what do we need DNA for?”
Fisher: [Laughs] They miss the point, don’t they?
Judy: And my answer is, “us!” The diaspora over here, you know, who would like to get linked back to our kin who are still in the old country. So I think that’s moving in the right direction. What kind of gets lost sometimes in the whole analysis is it’s not a magic bullet. Nobody, absolutely nobody can prove a relationship with DNA alone.
Fisher: No, that’s right. I hear from more people about the fact that there are very few people that respond to, “Hey, I’m matched to you, where do we fit?” Very few people who are even putting up trees with it, just more and more people wanting to see the ethnicity thing, which is kind of the gateway drug for DNA, I get that but you’d wish they would get more involved so we could figure out where we fit in because that’s the big win.
Judy: Right. But the reality is that if there were 1.7 million new DNA kits that were sold in the fourth quarter of 2017!
Fisher: [Laughs] Wow!
Judy: And two percent of them become genealogists because they got excited about changing their lederhosen for a kilt, that’s a net win.
Fisher: [Laughs] That is a net win, there is no question.
Judy: I’m not happy about it. I wish they would all put up trees and I wish every one of those trees would be validated.
Judy: Rather than just fiction.
Fisher: Yes, copied.
Judy: But I’ll take whatever I can get.
Fisher: Hmm. All right, what else is on your mind at this time of year, Judy?
Judy: You know, going right from that to the question of the records. And the records that we need in order to establish relationships and proofs and stuff like that. Right here as we begin 2018 is an interesting development in Missouri, and that is a change in the law there in that state to allow adoptees to access their original birth certificates.
Judy: The ones that say what their birth name was, and in most cases who the parents were.
Fisher: Wow! That is a win.
Judy: In 1941 Missouri changed the law and they closed all of those records and sealed them so that the only way that anybody has been able to access them since 1941 has been with a special court order, and that’s a break in almost reality for people.
Fisher: Oh yeah. Are you saying that an adoptee then born before 1941 can now get that record, is that it?
Judy: Well the difference is, because of this statute which was passed in 2016, adoptees born before 1941 could get their original birth certificates when that law took effect.
Judy: This section of the law delayed that access for people born in 1941or after.
Judy: You’ve got to be 18, so you can’t have been born in 2005.
Fisher: Right. Okay. So this is really going to open things up for a lot of people, and this is going to be a lot of good stuff and a lot of scary stuff, I would imagine, for people who gave up children and moved on in their lives.
Judy: Yes, but there is protection built into the statute. Any parent who gave up a child in that period from 1941 where they were promised that they would not be disclosed, up until today, could file a statement with this state saying don’t give up my identity.
Fisher: Wow, so they gave them time. So that was what the two years was, right?
Judy: Yeah, basically yeah. They gave them a year and a half. There was a very vigorous effort to let people know. As the law took effect in the New Year’s weekend of 2017 to 2018, there was a special event run by the Missouri adoption movement. The adoption rights people. They had birth parents who came forward and did workshops and talked about their experience and how they wanted the chance to be able to find their children, to find how the children had done and had they been treated well, and one birth parent stood there and told the group that she was so shamed at having given up her child. She never married. She never had another child.
Fisher: How sad. How heart breaking.
Judy: One of the centerpieces on the table was a box of tissues.
Fisher: Yeah, yeah.
Judy: Because everybody was in tears. That’s how powerful the paper trail is.
Judy: And why we can’t ever give up the emphasis that we put as genealogists on putting together that paper trail. Clearly in some cases the paper trail isn’t going to be there.
Judy: Parents lied when they gave up their children, or they didn’t identify the right father, so DNA is going to play a role all the way through.
Fisher: But the combination is just unparalleled.
Judy: That is what is so amazingly powerful.
Judy: When you can put the two of them together and show that this is the parent or this is the third great grandparent.
Judy: Or fourth great grandparent.
Fisher: [Laughs] Right.
Judy: That’s when it gets really funny.
Fisher: Sure. She’s the Legal Genealogist. She’s Judy Russell. Judy, where can people check out your columns?
Judy: It’s simply LegalGenealogist.com, and we try to run something close everyday on genealogy and the law and so much more.
Fisher: She’s awesome. Thanks so much for coming on, Judy. It sounds like really interesting change in Missouri and in records there, and hopefully that just keeps rolling forth.
Judy: We can hope so.
Fisher: Talk to you again soon. Happy New Year!
Judy: Thank you, Scott. Happy New Year to you and to everybody out there!
Fisher: And coming up next, it is time to talk preservation with our Preservation Authority, Tom Perry, for the first time in 2018, on the way in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 220
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: Hey welcome back and Happy New Year! It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Tom Perry is here from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority, talking about how to preserve your heirlooms and your precious documents and photographs and home movies and videos and audio. It’s a long list of stuff that's in that little head of yours, Tom.
Tom: Oh yeah, banging around making all kinds of noise, keeping the neighbors awake.
Fisher: [Laughs] All right. Well, Happy New Year to you first of all.
Tom: Thank you.
Fisher: Tom, you've been on the road!
Tom: Oh yeah, and it has been awesome, nice and warm. I've been in Mexico the last couple of weeks doing preservation down there. And it’s really amazing how family history, there are no boarders.
Tom: You know, we're down in Mexico and I'm talking to people and they're saying, "Oh, we wish we had a place where we could transfer VHSs to DVDs." And I'm going, "Excuse me??" I'm thinking, "Hmm, warm in the winter!"
Tom: "Nice humidity. This might not be a bad place to spend the winters."
Tom: Open up a TMC/Mexico.
Fisher: Yes! Absolutely!
Tom: You know, and the thing is, they have so much heritage. In fact, my son's birth father is actually from Mexico. It was really great to introduce him to the culture down there. We have some friends that live down there that we stayed with and we did a lot of cultural things, really fun trying the different kinds of foods. But these people, they have so many pictures on their mantles and on their walls and things like this.
Tom: And we ask them, "Oh, you know, how do you have these things preserved?" and they just have the blank stare and like, "Well, what do you mean?" "Well hey, when your kids go, how can they take these with them?" "Well, they can't." And I go, "Well, yes they can." So I whip out my Kodak scanner and we start scanning their photos and it just turns into a big fiesta as they would say.
Tom: And we have all kinds of fun. They're on the same standard as Canada and the USA.
Tom: So they have the same videotapes. Their DVDs are a different region, but their DVD players are mostly multi region or they play them on their computers, which will play any region. So we were able to go down there, scan all the photos, take pictures of a lot of their history that hasn't been preserved. A lot of the old churches have these old Bibles or records of marriages, births, deaths, all these kinds of things that have never, ever been scanned. And it’s just like almost scary.
Fisher: Ohh boy!
Tom: Like you said, when somebody dies, it’s like a library burning.
Fisher: Right, because all the memories go with them.
Fisher: All the stories, everything, yeah.
Tom: Oh absolutely. So a lot of these churches, I want to definitely go back, probably in the winter, maybe next Christmas and go and visit some of these Catholic churches down there, cathedrals. Go in and spend some time with them and scan the stuff for them and then hand them the disk when we're done so they know it’s all their stuff to do with whatever they want. They can upload it to their website. So it’s amazing how international there really are no boarders. It was really awesome.
Fisher: Absolutely. Well, this is exciting. And you look very tanned by the way.
Fisher: You don't look quite as pasty as I'm used to seeing you.
Tom: Exactly. My legs haven't seen sun since high school I think it was.
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, that's interesting though, I wouldn't have thought much about folks in certain circumstances worrying too much about digitizing materials, but there are a lot of electronics there, there are a lot of people with a lot of old photographs. It would be great, especially as we have so many people of Hispanic background in the United States now, getting some of that material here.
Tom: Oh it’s absolutely wonderful! There are a lot of people in the states as you mentioned that have ties to Mexico. You call it a brick wall. There's a brick wall between the US and Mexico where they're not bringing in, taking care of all this old stuff. We have all these new devices which some of them are actually made in Mexico, but you can't buy them in Mexico. So we want to go there and help break down this brick wall and get these things available, so these people that have come to America and become naturalized and all, that they can still go back generations and generations and get these things from the different parishes, from the different synagogues, from their parents or grandparents, all these photos that they can actually have them put on their Facebook page and tell stories with them, it’s just incredible.
Fisher: All right, Tom, what are we going to talk about in the next break?
Tom: We'll talk a little bit more preservation techniques after Christmas stuff.
Fisher: All right, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 220
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: All right, we're back, its Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Final segment, talking preservation with my good friend Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Very rested, little bit tan, sounding good, back from a couple of weeks in Mexico and helping with a little preservation down there.
Tom: Absolutely. It was absolutely wonderful. I loved it so much. Now that we have a new year, everybody gets into the resolution things. This is a time you really want to make some resolutions and actually do it. You need to get your piles of videotapes, audiotapes, slides, photos, stuff on your camera phone, stuff on your tablet, all this stuff, get it organized, because if something happens to you, nobody's going to have any idea what you have, how to get into it, what to do with it. So you need to make a stand right now. And don't look at this big, huge mountain and think, “It’s insurmountable. I can’t do it.” Start with something small. And as I have always recommended on this show, you want to do things that are optical first. If you have old 8mm film, super8 film, 16m film, slides, photos, any of these kinds of things, the dyes are going to fade a lot faster than your videotapes and your audiotapes or going to degenerate. So do these things first. Start with one and just go through it.
Tom: If it’s a big financial burden, you can't do it all at once, then do it in pieces. But try to get your whole family together and say, "Hey, let's get all this together."
Fisher: And share the costs!
Fisher: Share the cost.
Tom: Call EZ Photo Scan and rent a machine for a week to do your stuff. They have the Kodak scanners, which are some of the best ones you can get. They've got the slide scanners which are really incredible and you can do them really, really fast. And you can rent these things for an entire week and it’s amazing how much stuff you can do. Whether its family, whether its friends, whether its neighborhood, whether it’s your church groups, your synagogue, whatever, get together and share the costs, or if it’s going to take you longer than a week or two weeks, then go buy the stuff on Amazon, buy it used, or on eBay. And then once you're done with it, resell it again.
Tom: Even if you take a 25% hit on it, it’s going to cost you a fraction of hiring us or somebody else to do it. You know, I don't want to chase business away, but I want you to be happy. And I'd rather have you do it yourself than not get it done. You need to get the stuff done now!
Fisher: Right. So that is a really good first resolution for 2018 if you're looking for something to do in family history preservation. Like you say these things deteriorate very quickly and those dyes change and obviously there's some adjusting and there's some things you can do when you get film for instance that's changed color, right?
Tom: Oh yeah. We can do all kinds of things. Usually, most of the film that you see that's old that's gone bad, generally, it’s kind of a pink color.
Tom: And so, what's happened is, the blue dye is basically dissolved, it’s not there anymore. So we can go in there and restore it or if you're into a computer like you are, you can get Photoshop or different programs like this, Digital Darkroom and you can go in and do it yourself. So it’s not that hard to do.
Fisher: Even Wondershare has some adjustments.
Tom: Yeah, Wondershare is more of a thing to convert it from one format to another, but you can get stuff like Da Vinci, which is perfect for doing color correction.
Tom: And the basic program if free. So you can buy it, do all kinds of cool stuff with that. And the thing is if you say, "Hey, that's over my head. I can't do that," okay, that's fine. It doesn’t matter. Preserve it! Because once it’s in that digital format, if you have it backed up on a disk, you have it on your hard drive, you have it in the cloud, your grandkids can go and take it and it will be in the exact same mode it was you had it scanned. And they can do the color correction or they'll have their robot do it for them, because that's coming around the corner next.
Fisher: [Laughs] Artificial intelligence and family history. Are we really going there?
Tom: Oh it is. It’s just crazy!
Tom: I mean, you'll be able to get Rosie the robot to do all your color correction for you.
Fisher: I love it. Tom, it’s good to have you back and glad you're safe and had a good time.
Tom: It’s been wonderful and it’s my pleasure to be here every week.
Fisher: Hey that's a wrap for this week. This segment's been brought to you 23andMe.com DNA. Thanks so much for joining us, genies. Here we go, a whole new year, a whole new set of adventures. Hope you're writing down your goals, because you know if you don't write it down, it’s not really a goal. Hey, don't forget also to sign up for our Patron Club. Support the show at Patreon.com/ExtremeGenes or just click on the patron club button at ExtremeGenes.com. And you can sign up for our Weekly Genie newsletter. That is absolutely free. We've got all kinds of great columns there, links to great stories and shows. You're going to love that. Thanks for joining us. Talk to you next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!