Episode 223 - Thomas MacEntee & The DNA Do Over / Newspaper Runaway Ads And What They Tell Us

podcast episode Feb 04, 2018

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. The guys open Family Histoire News with the horrifying story of a mix up at a funeral home. Listen to hear what happened. Then, it’s an interesting list of misconceptions about the 1918 flu pandemic. David, who lost a relative in this world wide event, shares a few items on the list. Then, it appears that the last ship to bring slaves to America (1860) may have been located near Mobile, Alabama. Find out about the discovery. David then features GenealogyGirl.com, Melissa Dickerson, whose recent blog on World War I vets caught David’s eye.

Then, Fisher visits with Abundant Genealogy’s Thomas MacEntee. Thomas made the Genealogy Do Over famous and is now touting something new for 2018… the DNA Do Over. Hear what he has to say about making sure you’re using your pricey tests in the right way.

David Allen Lambert then returns to talk to Fisher about “Runaway Ads.” Fisher recently found one concerning a 3rd great grandfather who left his family in 1818. These amazing ads, many of which are now digitized, often have great detail about various family members. Hear some examples of what you might want to look for.

Next, Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com, returns to answer two more listener questions. Email your questions to [email protected], or post it to his Twitter page at @askTomP.

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

Transcript of Episode 223

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 223

Fisher: And welcome to America’s History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. This segment of the show is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. Hey, it’s great to have you along! We’ve got some great guests today. First we are going to start with Thomas MacEntee. He is with Abundant Genealogy and he’s the guy who kind of made famous the Genealogy Do-Over. Well, we’re talking now about the DNA do-over. And since 2018 is shaping up to be the year of DNA, you’re going to want to hear what Thomas has to say, coming up in about nine minutes or so. Then later in the show, David Allen Lambert is going to rejoin us after doing this segment with us here in just a few moments talking about what’s happening in your Family Histoire News. And we’re going to talk about these amazing “runaway ads” and I recently found one concerning a third great grandfather who abandoned his family. And you are going to want hear where you can find some of these things and the amazing detail. You can learn about your ancestor through these digitized newspaper ads that go way back. That’s going to be a lot of fun. By the way David, David Allen Lambert the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, I finally got my pirate coin the other day that I picked up on eBay.

David: Ooh.

Fisher: Yeah, a 1695 cob coin, a Spanish cob coin, otherwise known as a Doubloon or a Piece of Eight, dated 1695 and I picked it up from Spain for 15 bucks. And that was the year my pirate ancestor was part of the big raid on the Indian ship in the Red Sea. So, my granddaughter went pretty nuts holding the pirate coin related to her ancestor.

David: Well, that’s great! Now, you’re going to have to let me know next time you see one of those because I want to buy one too.

Fisher: Oh yeah, they are out there!

David: [Laughs]

Fisher: What I can’t get over is how expensive they generally are, but this was 15 bucks because it wasn’t in great shape, but because of the fact that I could clearly read the date, that was enough for me, and I could put it in our ancestral coin book with the kids and they really enjoy having it. Anyway, nice to have you here! We’ve got a lot of Family Histoire News, so let’s get it started.

David: Okay. Well, the first story is kind of a horror story, Fish. It takes place up in Berwick, Nova Scotia, where the Bennett family hoping to see their dearly departed’s body before the funeral, discovered that the lady in the casket was not her.

Fisher: Ooh. So, what did they do?

David: So was the second lady in the casket they brought out, thinking that was her.

Fisher: [Laughs] Oh no.

David: Turns out this poor lady, Sandra Bennett, was cremated, which was not the family’s wishes.

Fisher: Oh.

David: And it caused them to be quite upset as you can imagine.

Fisher: Yes.

David: To think that three bodies, all misidentified, and then one of them was actually cremated. That’s quite a mess up there in Nova Scotia.

Fisher: Yeah, I would say and how upsetting for the family ultimately. Where is she now? That kind of thing. Oh my goodness!

David: Hopefully she won’t turn up as cremated remains in some courthouse for 18 years like the one we talked about before.

Fisher: It’s true. [Laughs]

David: Well, the next story is kind of a horror story because in recent news we’ve heard all the things about the influenza problems in California and throughout the country. And it brings us back to something that happened a century ago and I love the story that I saw on ExtremeGenes.com where you talked about the ten myths about the 1918 flu pandemic.

Fisher: Yes! It’s fascinating stuff.

David: You know, I don’t want to read through all of them, but I just want to say for instance the pandemic originated in Spain because they called it the Spanish flu.

Fisher: Right.

David: Well, the truth of that is no one believes the so called Spanish flu came from Spain. And then there were nine other things. Even in my own family, Fish, my great grandmother died in 1920 and our family said that they believed that the flu came over with the dead bodies in Europe. They were brought over after the war.

Fisher: Lots of folks believed that.

David: Yeah, you have these urban legends that start, then here I am four generations later thinking these ten myths will debunk my family’s story and I’ll tell it correctly from now on.

Fisher: [Laughs] And I’ll tell you when we posted this on our Facebook page we got more stories from people explaining how they lost their loved ones to the flu pandemic in 1918. Here it is exactly 100 years later and everybody still knows the story of how their loved one died a horrible death from that disease back in the day.

David: It just goes to show that we really do never forget our family members even if it was a hundred years ago.

Fisher: No.

David: Well, Henry Louis Gates recently had talked about some of the last slave ships in America. And this one is from 160 years ago. This is a Gulf Coast wreck called the Clotilda, and this was found in the Mobile, Alabama area, embedded in the side of a riverbank. And they believe this vessel may be that of the last known vessel that had brought slaves from Africa to the United States.

Fisher: Isn’t that amazing? In 1860, who knew that it was happening that late because I know Jefferson passed a law back around 1812 that ended bringing new slaves over and yet some people still manage to do it and this was one of those ships.

David: Wow. It’s sad but maybe part of this can be excavated out of the mud and put on display.

Fisher: Yeah.

David: Well, my next story goes over to the Emerald Isle, to Dublin where you can actually go to the hotel Shelbourne and get a Genealogy Butler.

Fisher: Yeah, isn’t this cool? You know, the Irish have really embraced genealogy as a great way to bring people over to see the motherland basically for Irish Americans because there are more Irish people here than there are over there. And so, not only has the government embraced it, but now so are the hotels and other people connected with tourism.

David: It’s great, and I think that this is something that could take off in America as well. All right, every week I like to give a blogger spotlight shout out and this week it is to Melissa Dickerson who is the Genealogy Girl Talks blogger on genealogygirltalks.com. And Melissa talks about a variety of adventures and genealogy, but one that struck me is her blogpost  recently on how to find pictures of my World War I ancestors, so I thought that was engaging. It kind of ties in to what I’m doing tonight. I am going to be giving a lecture at the Boston Public Library on that very same topic, finding your World War I veteran ancestor. And if you can’t come to Boston tonight to see me, well guess what? I’ll be at Roots Tech giving that same talk and because I’m half Canadian. The other half of the lecture is how to find your Canadian World War I veterans.

Fisher: Sweet.

David: NEHGS would love to have our listeners become members of NEHGS and come here to Boston. You can join NEHGS and if you want to save $20 use the checkout code “Extreme” on AmericaAncestors.org. Hey Fish, before I run off to give my lecture, let’s talk about some of these runaway ads.

Fisher: All right, we’ll get to that coming up a little bit later in the show David, so thanks so much. Talk to you in a few. And coming up next, he’s the man behind the Genealogy Do-Over and now he’s promoting the DNA Do-Over. Thomas MacEntee’s on from Abundant Genealogy. You’re going to want to hear what he’s got to say, coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 223

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Thomas MacEntee

Fisher: Hey, as we heard from Judy Russell on our very first show of 2018, the theme is always DNA this year because of the growth and the changes and the matches, what do you do with this stuff? Well, its Fisher here. Its Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and this segment is brought to you by MyHeritage.com and I’ve got my friend from Chicago, Thomas MacEntee on the line. He is with AbundantGenealogy.com. Thomas is the guy who got us going with the Genealogy Do-Over some time back and we talked about that, and now he is on to the DNA Do-Over. Thomas, fill us in, what’s this about?

Thomas: Hey Fisher. Happy New Year! Yeah, I’m really excited about the DNA Do-Over. You know what I saw over the past year at the Genealogy Do-Over is people are saying, “I’ve taken the test, I’ve done a DNA test with My Heritage DNA, or another company,” and then they’re saying, “But I haven’t done anything with it.” So I created the DNA Do-Over, similar to the Genealogy Do-Over, so that we could put our results to work. You know, we spend good money on these tests.

Fisher: Yeah.

Thomas: And time on these tests. And there’s no way you can just let those results sit there. The whole area, the genetic genealogy thing is growing at a rapid pace. There are new third party tools, there are new ways of looking at the data that you will need to understand a certain protocol or things like how to download your data for safe keeping, where to upload it to. So that’s really what the DNA Do-Over is about. It’s about putting those results to work.

Fisher: Right. And there are so many people who go on and they get a kit maybe for Christmas and they’re excited to learn their ethnicity, and then that’s it. There’s no tree. They get scared because of people reaching out to them for matches, and they don’t know what to do with that. Is this where you’re taking it? Basically moving them to the next step?

Thomas: Yeah we do. And the thing is, if you look at it from an industry standpoint, right now DNA, it’s almost treated as if it’s a parlor game. Like it’s a magic 8-ball or a Ouija board, you know?

Fisher: [Laughs] Yes.

Thomas: And it’s a fun game and then we’re going to put it away and I’m done, or people have even said, “Well, I’ve done my family history. I did a DNA test. I know my ethnicity.”

Fisher: Yeah.

Thomas: And that’s not the right answer.

Fisher: Right.

Thomas: The thing is also, from the industry standpoint, if we don’t want a revolving door, we’ve brought them into genealogy and family history through DNA. It’s a great welcome mat. It’s a great hook, but we’ve got to keep them there. We’ve got to keep them busy in the sandbox. So one thing to do is to say, hey, did you know you can do this with your results? And in a minute I want to talk about the big growth that are on health and DNA, but that’s what it is. This is what it is going on the continuum. We can’t just have it stop at six million people, their ancestry have results. We need to actually get them involved.

Fisher: So where do you tell them to start? They’ve done the test, they haven’t posted a tree, they don’t know anything other than, “Hey, I’ve got my ethnicity,” and of course as we know, those can vary widely depending on the algorithms of the company. What do you say to them? Where do you get them started?

Thomas: Well, first thing is, they want them to download it because it is their asset. It’s something they paid for. It is portable. And the thing is, the companies don’t make it easy for you to download it. They don’t tell you, you can download your data. Of course they want you to stay but the thing is, you own that data. So you should download it to the zip file, back it up, and then you should go and work within the testing company platform where you tested and see what they offer for matches, and read everything. And Fisher, I’m a big stickler on reading the terms and conditions entirely. Understand privacy issues, are they going to get your email or is it an email relay system? Understand how matching works, because that’s what I’ve always said to clients, if we do DNA testing, you might find some matches that are going to be unsettling. You might find a non-parental event and things like that.

Fisher: Yeah.

Thomas: But I do strongly encourage, not only matching within the testing company, but taking your data and then importing it. My Heritage has free import so a lot of people don’t know that.

Fisher: Yes.

Thomas: Because some companies charge for that. So you should be importing it into My Heritage and then wait the two or three days and you will get amazing different matches, new matches, because people use different platforms.

Fisher: And when you consider it, My Heritage is really the place where you might find some European matches.

Thomas: That’s what happened with me. We’re German. I mean my German Hannerbergs, I was not getting the matches I wanted on Ancestry and other platforms and boom! As soon as I uploaded to My Heritage I’m getting contacts from cousins in Denmark and Germany.

Fisher: Yeah. And I think this is one of the stories of 2018 now. Because when MyHeritage started they were kind of late to the game, and in the process however, of bringing in all these people who were transferring copies of their material over to them, people are starting to find matches overseas and this is a big deal.

Thomas: Right, exactly. And the thing is, My Heritage has a great community in Europe, in Germany especially, in Poland and that, and the people that I’ve worked with through messaging and connecting, they’ve been great. So friendly and it’s helped me understand some of the local record sets, some of the local geography.

Fisher: All right. So you’ve shared your DNA with other companies, you’ve transferred across. I would assume there are some third party places you have recommendations for?

Thomas: There are. One is GedMatch.com, it’s one of the bigger ones.

Fisher: Yup.

Thomas: And the other one, new one, that is health related, Promethease.com. Now they charge a $5 fee, which is relatively nothing.

Fisher: Right.

Thomas: But you get some of the same results that you would pay at 23andMe for their $199 test. And so the thing is, everyone has got their own proprietary but you will get some indicators. I would say if 2018 is DNA, 2019 watch out for the health focus. That’s where the industry is going. What you may not know is, Ancestry owns AncestryHealth.com. They’ve been sitting on that domain and data, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they release a product similar to 23andMe.

Fisher: Hmm.

Thomas: So what will happen, Fisher, is if you’ve already tested with Ancestry DNA you’ll find these add-ons much like Helix.com is doing it. Helix.com. They have a base test and then it’s cafeteria style. You just say okay, I want this health report, this health report, and this health report. My feeling and my research shows that this is where Ancestry is going to go with its product.

Fisher: Well, it certainly sounds that way, and we’re hearing Congress now is looking into what are people telling us about DNA, what are they hiding from us.

Thomas: Right.

Fisher: Do you see some problems coming up with that?

Thomas: Yeah. Privacy has always been one of these things. It’s a feel good thing for politicians. They feel like they’re doing something for their constituents.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Thomas: Seriously.

Fisher: I know.

Thomas: When they clamp down on like access to public records and things like that, and we try and tell them, you know, you really can’t steal the identity of a dead person, etc. So the thing is that’s why as genealogists and thankfully groups like the Association of Professional Genealogists and National Genealogical Society they lobby on our behalf as genealogists and they try and set the record straight, that we want you to really research this. Not just as a need to reaction to privacy. I mean think of it, when you go to the doctor now, Fisher, when I have blood drawn, I know that it’s in a database. I know the results are there. My doctor’s research is in a database. It’s not much different really right now.

Fisher: Right.

Thomas: So what we don’t want to see long term is, we don’t want to see life insurance companies using it to red lining people because of certain conditions, etc. I can see where there’s a concern there. But right now, I feel pretty comfortable with some of the protections but we always have to stay on top of it.

Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. I’m talking to Thomas MacEntee with AbundantGenealogy.com. He is the man behind the DNA Do-Over and you can check that out at DNADoOver.com which will get you over to a Facebook page and you can become part of that group. So, what’s another facet to this Do-Over, Thomas?

Thomas: This is the one thing that I’m seeing on the Do-Over is people don’t know how to share these results with family and friends in a non genealogy way. I don’t know about you Fisher, but when I would pull out the family tree with my family, they’d scatter like cockroaches. They would.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Thomas: But the thing is, if I could tell a story or I had a photo book, it will right there. So what we’re seeing is like through Family Chart Masters, they do now a DNA print where you can take your ancestry results for as low as $20, you can do a print that shows the map, the ethnicity, your image in the corner, and it’s a real neat gift idea, or something to put in with your display. So I think we’re going to see more of these products where we can take our results, we’re the keeper of genealogy maybe for running a project for the whole family, but we want to share it with the in a way that they can understand.

Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. Let me ask you about this, Thomas, what if you had an ancestor, perhaps it’s a parent or a grandparent that tested, okay, and it’s under their own account, you’re not the administrator for it, and they pass away. Is there some way to obtain administration of that account with the various companies?

Thomas: There is, and this is what I would do. I would approach a company. This is something that we’re seeing long-term right now with baby boomers and our digital footprint, Fisher. I mean, what are you doing in terms of successorship for data?

Fisher: Yeah.

Thomas: And the thing is, Yahoo is very strict. If you want to take over someone’s Yahoo email account, you have to give them a certified death certificate, proof that you’re the executer, etc. So I wouldn’t be surprised if more companies like Ancestry and MyHeritage start adding the successor or Legacy type person. What I would do first is contact the customer service or the DNA testing platform and explain the situation. And you’re going to have to have backup data. You going to have to have at least the account name and you’re probably going to need to prove death info. Because anyone can go in and say, “Oh yes, so and so died.” And it’s a way of hacking interior information.

Fisher: Right.

Thomas: But you may have to be the executer, or you may have to have the executer do it. You may need to send them a copy of a certified death certificate. But that is the way that I would approach it.

Fisher: Boy, it sounds like a complicated thing, but I’m hearing about this from other people all the time going, wait a minute, what do I do with this? What do I do now? Or maybe grandma is now in a nursing home and incapable of doing anything and you want to be able to access things and you don’t have that.

Thomas: So what I’ve done Fisher, is actually, my list of all my logins and passwords and much as you will, they’re part of my estate planning papers.

Fisher: Yup.

Thomas: They’re in my safe. I update it about once a year and that way I’m making it easier for the executor or my family after I’m gone.

Fisher: Well, I think that’s wisdom no matter what. I think that’s ultimately a major part of what we have to do for our planning for when we’re gone, don’t you think? 

Thomas: Yes, I agree.

Thomas: All right. Once again, the site is AbundantGenealogy.com and if you want to be part of the Facebook group, you can go to DNADoOver.com. He is Thomas MacEntee out of Chicago, Illinois. Thomas, great insight! I love what you’re doing and I think it makes a lot of sense for people to do Do-Overs with their genealogy as a whole, and with DNA for people who just haven’t obtained the information that they need to do just yet.

Thomas: Exactly. Yes.

Fisher: All right my friend. Thanks for coming on. Happy New Year and I look forward to talking to you next time.

Thomas: Thanks Fisher. Bye bye.

Fisher: And coming up next, David is back as we talk about runaway ads and personal description ads from the 18th and 19th centuries. Wait till you hear some of these things and what you can learn from them, in five minutes. 

Segment 3 Episode 223

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher at this end, the Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by LegacyTree.com. And David Allen Lambert is back. You’re now my guest for this segment, David! It’s good to have you here and I’m kind of excited about this because recently I stumbled upon one of those personal ads, you know? Where people disappear or run off, and I’ve got a little collection growing on these things and I know you’ve run into some of these things as well. Talk about these “runaway ads.” How far back do they go, to your knowledge?

David: Well, I mean in Boston in 1690 we had the first issue of a paper published anywhere in the colonies. Unfortunately it was one issue. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: The Crown crushed the idea and freedom of speech was quelled until about 1704 when the Boston Newsletter was published and that was the first continuous paper published in the colonies. And then after that every other printing press popped up along the colonies. So I see them back as early as the early 1700s.

Fisher: Wow. This was my fifth great grandfather and this would be from the 1760s in New York and it says, “Whereas Abigail the wife of Daniel Secord of New Rochelle has eloped from her said husband. This is to desire all persons from trusting her on his account, for he will pay no debts of her contracting from the date hereof, Daniel Secord.” That was the first one I’d ever seen and I thought, okay that tells us a lot right there. [Laughs] The wife ran off with somebody else and he’s just not going to pay the bills which I think is kind of typical of many of these ads, right?

David: It really is. In fact, I have a similar one which was kind of the first one I found which I like to call, “Domestic bliss ending advertisements.” [Laughs] The only person in my family tree named David is a David Whitney, a Rev. War veteran, my fifth great grandfather and in the 1790 he’s on the census alone. He had been married four times, all of his wives had died and his last wife was Lydia Moore. So, Lydia in 1785 marries David, 1790 he’s alone in the census. Yeah, found an ad in the paper in 1789, “I, David Whitney, of Standish, Maine forbid all those from trusting my wife Lydia who has eloped from my bed and board.”

Fisher:  Yeah.

David: So he didn’t want to be run into ruin by his “runaway bride.”

Fisher: Yeah, exactly. So this is interesting because it doesn’t just cover runaway wives, it also can cover runaway husbands like this one I just found last week concerning my third great grandfather over in England. This was in an 1818 newspaper. In “jolly old London.” And listen by the way, how detailed this little ad is in giving us information about him. “Whereas James Stocks, a native of Scotland. By trade a shoemaker, hath deserted his wife named Catherine and five children in August last, who are becoming chargeable to the Parish of St. James Westminster. The said James Stocks at the time of deserting his wife and family lodged at number 16 Leicester Street. He lately worked for Mr. Pratt in Clipstone Street. Whoever will then provide information to the church wardens and overseers of the poor of the Parish of St. James Westminster so that he can be brought to justice, shall receive a reward of two guineas.” But that’s not all.

David: [Laughs]

Fisher: “The said James Stocks is 39 years of age. About 5’6 inches high, fair of complexion, dark haired, dark eyes, and round visage.” That would be the face. “And, had on when he went away a drab coloured grey coat, dark striped waistcoat, fustian trousers,” That’s like corduroy. “Worsted stockings, and shoes.” I mean, that is the most incredible ad that I have ever run into as far as detail goes about an ancestor.

David: I saw a lot of Boston ones, about a similar thing where employees, maybe an indentured servant, or when slavery was still legal in Massachusetts, they’ll mention in detail, just like you mentioned the drab colored jacket. I mean, this is the type of thing where they give all this detail, they ran away with this, that, and the other thing, like if you saw them wearing this-

Fisher: Yeah [laughs].

David: Why didn’t you catch them at the door?

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: In fact, one of them is described, you know, has a slight droop to the eye.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: You know, “a pimple on the nose.” I’m like, wow. You don’t need a photograph in the 18th century, because these people have great memories of their employees and people in servitude, unfortunately.

Fisher: And this one obviously, by giving me the age, now I have a birth year pretty close, and I’d had conflicting records from census records and death records of his children as to whether he was from England or Scotland, so this clarified that. But I already knew he was a shoemaker, his wife’s name. The number of children... I had four. This says five, so that tells me that one of them is not showing up on the christening records, and we have to find where that person went.

David: Well you know, it always opens up new adventures, but sometimes it’s about an ancestor that you don’t want to find. I have an ad for an ancestor, Henry Poor, my third great grandfather, who was passing a bad hand of note, essentially, something that wasn’t his, passing it off to get credit, and I was like, “Oh.”

Fisher: Yeah, he’s basically forged a check.

David: Um hmm. That may explain why he came to Boston, Massachusetts. So it’s not so bad that it’s on one side of the family. On the other side of the family, my great grandfather who was a carpenter in Halifax in the 1860s goes to Colchester, Nova Scotia, and I wish this website was still up because I liked the search. It was around for about a year, private little place that had been transcribing newspapers. “James Lambert of Colchester did not pay his membership in the Carpenters Union. He had been an architect and is nowhere to be seen.” Well, I know where he was. He left and went to Saint Pierre, Miquelon, which is an island off of Nova Scotia which is technically France. So there may be more newspaper articles to read on old James.

Fisher: [Laughs] Wow! That would be a fun one. And then I ran into this. This one has nothing to do with any ancestor, but I thought it was just absolutely incredible. It’s from New York City in 1767, and it says, “Whereas on the first instant of October” which was the way they referred to things back then, “Weert C. Banta, a young man of this city, carpenter, advertised his wife Elizabeth for elopement, and whereas most people from the similarity of the names, taking me to be the person as I am noted throughout the whole city, my name is Weert H. Banta, carpenter, living in Bartow Street, therefore I desire the public to take notice of the names as the one is Weert C. Banta and my name, Weert H. Banta, and my wife’s name is Hannah. I advertised this that the names may be distinguished and my character not stained.” [Laughs]

David: [Laughs] Well, that’s covering your bases, isn’t it?!

Fisher: Yeah, I think so. So, obviously you can go to Genealogy Bank to find things like this. You can go to Chronicling America, which is the Library of Congress newspaper site, and of course, NewspaperArchive. You can go to Newspapers.com, and of course, for New York City and New York State and that area, there’s Fultonhistory.com. It’s an amazing site with over 30 million pages there, so you can find these ads pretty much anywhere that digitizes newspapers.

David: And the thing though that I want to point out to people is that a lot of people get discouraged, especially people early on. They don’t find a newspaper for the town their ancestor lived in. I always say, put a push pin in a map, and a look at the surrounding towns, up to 10 miles out, I’m a newspaper salesman, and I want to sell my newspaper to you. I’m going to cover ads and news in your community. So there may not be, for instance, a Dorchester, Massachusetts paper from the time you’re looking for, but there could be one in Boston, or there could be one in Milton that was covering the news at that time, so don’t give up just because it’s not the same location your ancestor lived in.

Fisher: Hey, Atlanta, Georgia; Dothan, Alabama, I mean, you name it, it’s all over the country. This is not a new thing, and in fact, as we pointed out earlier, from out of the country as well, you can find them in England, and I would imagine, David, I’ve never seen one but they must have had these in places like France as well.

David: Oh, sure. And do you know, these legal notices we’re talking, I mean, if you look in the legal notice part of the paper today, you’ll see that John Smith is divorcing his wife Mary Smith, or vice-versa, and it still goes on. I mean, I can remember when my grandmother divorced my grandfather, and he had been out of the picture for a while. She said, to George Lambert, of “parts unknown.” I mean, I suppose I’m giving all the dirt on my family on this episode, so... !

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: But, this was in the 1940s.

Fisher: That’s right. Hey David, it’s been fun! Really interesting stuff and I appreciate that. And coming up for you next, of course, it’s Tom Perry talking preservation on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show, in three minutes.

Segment 4 Episode 223

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And welcome back! It is America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. And this is the time we talk preservation with our Preservation Authority, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth on Extreme Genes. And this segment is brought to you by 23andMe.com DNA. How are you doing, Preservation Authority?

Tom: I'm doing really, really good. On the road again this week, which I'm pretty much going to be on the road probably for the rest of my life. I just love getting out there, helping people preserve their memories. Coast to coast and around the globe!

Fisher: Well, great way to go, Tom. And we do have a question here from Reggie Wright Jukes, he is a certified fitness trainer. And he says, "Hey, do you splice 16mm film?" and this is a good question, because my first thought would be, well, why would you want to splice something? You just digitize it and you go through and you edit it digitally these days. But maybe he has something else in mind. What do you say to Reggie?

Tom: Yeah, when you have film and somehow it’s broken, its old or whatever or you did the big no no, and ran it through a projector without cleaning it first and it snapped. Yeah, we can splice that. Unless your film is really bad, we don't charge you for the splices. And the best way to do it, if you want to splice it go ahead, otherwise just bring it in to us. When we're cleaning it and we see it’s broken, we'll splice it properly. Now some people say, "Hey, I've got some film. There's a lot of bad stuff in there I don't want. I've got one of those little crank things. I want to go through and look at it first and cut out what I don't want." And you can do that. And it’s a real easy thing to do. When you go through and cut out the film, you want to leave about a inch of bad on both ends when you cut it, because then what you do, you get painter's tape.

Fisher: Painter's tape?!

Tom: Yes.

Fisher: [Laughs] No, you're making this up. Come on now.

Tom: No. I'm as serious as a heart attack.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: You get that blue painter's tape or you get that green frog tape, and what you do, you cut the tape in about one inch lengths, then you cut it narrower than that, so it’s not as wide as the film. And then just put it together like that, put it on your reel, go through, cut out another section, put it together, because then what we will do, as we're going through and cleaning it, we'll see that painter's tape and then we'll splice it properly. That's why you want to leave some bad on both ends.

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: Because when you splice it, it’s better to have a little bit of bad on than a little bit of good gone. So then we'll go through and cut it real easy. So you don't have to be fancy. Just do that. It’s real simple to do. And then we’ll make it fancy. The only time we ever charge is, we've had some film that was so bad, it was like every 2 1/2 feet, it was broken again. And that can get kind of costly, but that is very rare. I'd say, maybe I've seen that a half dozen times in all of our years. So that's the easiest way to take care of it. Just get the blue painter's tape. Buy 3M or get that green frog tape. And the most important thing is, don't cut it wider than the film! You want it inside the sprockets. So when we're going through and cleaning it, it’s running on the sprocket system. Then when we get to it, we splice it properly and then everything’s sweet and easy.

Fisher: Now is this kind of a standard thing that people like yourself who digitize around the country would do?

Tom: You know, I really don't know. I've actually never talked to anybody about it. It’s just the way I came up with that's easy for customers to go in and do it. Because a lot of places, you have to buy splicing tape which you have to find on eBay because they don't really make it anymore. Because when we get it, we get these great, big, huge rolls and we have a machine that goes and splices it, cuts it and pops holes all in it at one time. And nobody wants to buy one of those, because they're kind of pricy. So this is a way that our customers very easily can go in and cut out the stuff they don't want, put it together with the painter's tape. And then when we're going through and cleaning it and we see the painter's tape, we pull it off and we splice it properly. So it’s just something I've always done. I don't know if other people do it or not. They ought to, because it makes it easier on your customers.

Fisher: Boy, no question! So the painter's tape is actually holding the two ends, butted up one to another, there's no gap in there, otherwise you’d have a sticky point that would be exposed, right?

Tom: Right. And you always want to make sure, even though we're cutting that whole section out. You always want to put it on the non emulsion side, the side that is shiny, not the dull side. The reason that you do that is because when it’s on the reel, if you don't tape it together and you're sitting there going through and you have a small piece, it can fall of the reel and it’s like, "Oh my goodness! Where did this piece go?"

Fisher: Right, that makes perfect sense.

Tom: Right. So that way you won't have the problem.

Fisher: All right, Tom. We're going to take a break. And coming up in three minutes, we will take another listener question for our Preservation Authority, Tom Perry, when we return on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 223

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: We are back! It is our final segment of Extreme Genes for this week, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority. Tom, you're getting all kind of emails from people asking questions. This one is from Donna Valle. And she said, "Hi, I'm trying to scan old color photos to use in making a photo book on Snapfish for my son's 40th birthday. I have an Epson Perfection V500 photo scanner that I've not ever quite figured out how to use all the functions. When I use this or another scanner in the past for a wedding video we made, the scanned photos had lots of white particles on them."

Tom: [Laughs]

Fisher: "It wasn't dust on the glass, but something happened when we did those. I don't want that to appear on the page for the photo book. What tips do you have for scanning these, like dpi and cleaning them up? Thanks so much. Donna Valle." Well, that's a great question, Tom. I've done a lot of this as well and that does come up a lot, doesn't it?

Tom: Oh, it does. It happens a lot of the times. What do you use? Being the non professional, what would work for you?

Fisher: [Laughs] Well, I use Adobe Elements to clean these things up. First of all, it’s a cheaper program and it has really all the features that I really need. I'm not a real expert on that stuff, but I think I clean up photos very well. And we could talk about the ones from the '70s that had all those little ridges in them that were awful. That's a different thing. But just normal photographs from the '80s, the '90s, the '00s, and then back before the '70s all have those white little specs in them. And I use basically a healing tool on Adobe Elements that cleans up a lot of those. And you can also use the cloning tool, which is great.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: You find the color that's just about exactly right and you fill those things in. It is amazing how many cracks, how many little bits of dust and white marks that you have on there that you can clean up and make a photo look almost new again. And then of course there are the adjustments you can make in contrast and depth of color, all those things are available and very easy to do. Sometimes I'll spend a half an hour on some of these photographs. I'll scan them at 1200 dpi, because I like it at a high dpi to do this work. And then if you want to make the size smaller, you can do that, but it's really difficult to try to make it bigger if you scanned it at too low a dpi, wouldn't you agree, Tom?

Tom: Oh absolutely. That is so important. Scan it at the highest dpi you can. But then there's so many things you can do. Elements like you say comes free with a lot of scanners, so a lot of people have Elements. If you want to go the pro version and really get into doing some fancy stuff, then buy Photoshop, because Photoshop does incredible things.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: And the thing is, you look at that picture and to our eyes, it looks like its smooth. You go and put that under a magnifying glass and you look through it, you're going to see all kinds of dimples and stuff that it’s not perfectly smooth like you would expect it to be. And the higher the dpi scan is, the more it’s going to pick up those things, which is fine. So scan it at a high dpi, then go make a copy of it. Don't ever, ever, ever, ever edit your original! Always make a duplicate of it and do your editing on that. So if you ever have to have to go back, you can. And even some things, you can go in and there's a filter in Photoshop that called, blur. You go, "Well, I don't want to make my picture blurry." Well, it’s so small, you don't really notice it. So if you scan something at like 2400 dpi and you go in and blur it, it’s still going to look better than if you scanned it at 1200 dpi. So you don't really see the blur. What it does, it kind of mergers the colors together that are really, really close because those white spots are usually very, very small. And just by using a very light blur tool, it will go in and make it look really, really good. And like you say, you can always go down, but you can never go up. So scan it as high as your machine will allow you to, then go in and blur, do some different things. And it’s just amazing what you can do with these pictures.

Fisher: And it’s great fun too, Tom. But great talking to you again, and have a great time. Be safe on the road. And we look forward to chatting with you next week.

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: And if you have a question for Tom Perry, you can email him at [email protected] or you can post your question on his Twitter page, which is @AskTomP. Hey, thanks for joining us for the show this week. Don't forget to sign up for our Weekly Genie newsletter. It is absolutely free through our website, ExtremeGenes.com. Also, signup for our Patrons Club at Patreon.com/ExtremeGenes or again, through the link at ExtremeGenes.com. Talk to you next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

Subscribe now to find out why hundreds of thousands of family researchers listen to Extreme Genes every week!

Email me new episodes