Episode 229 - Fisher and David Share RootsTech Highlights/ Woman’s RootsTech MiracleMar 25, 2018
Host Scott Fisher opens the episode with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David begins Family Histoire News with the story of an Australia woman and her discovery of a message in a bottle. But this one was highly unusual! Hear what it was. Then, the recent inclement weather in the northeast has yielded the remains of a Revolutionary War era boat. David has the details. Sticking with the water theme, a renowned battleship that was sunk in World War II has been located. Find out which one and who was behind the find. Then, it’s a fascinating article on Doggerland. Ever hear of it? Your ancestors may very well have lived there! David then spotlights blogger Debbie Parker Wayne and her recent writing on DNA at Debsdelvings.blogspot.com.
Next, Fisher and David share some of their remarkable experiences at RootsTech, the recent conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. As part of the discussion, Fisher shares his interview with Olympic skater Scott Hamilton, one of the keynote speakers. Hamilton was soon to learn the identity and history of his birth family.
Emily Stanford Schultz, an employee of FamilySearch, perhaps had one of the most incredible experiences we have ever heard of right at RootsTech! It had to do with a special app that could really work best at a family history convention. Hear what it was and how it paid off for Emily in a big way.
Then, Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority, talks with Fisher about the special recording they did at the conference with some Extreme Genes listeners. It was on a wax cylinder using a Thomas Edison recording machine! Fisher will share with you what it sounded like. Tom explains some of the uniqueness of the machine and its impact in the 19th century, while Fisher reviews some of Edison’s thoughts on what this machine was intended to help with in the 19th century.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 229
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 229
Fisher: Hey, it is great to be back! A little post RootsTech talk today on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your host on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And this segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. It is so nice to be back. Boy, what a great experience at RootsTech just a couple of weeks ago, and we’re going to be talking about that later on. David Allen Lambert of course is going to be here in a few minutes. We’re going to be talking about what’s happening in the field of genealogy as usual, our Family Histoire News. And then, we’re going to come back and we’re going to talk about some of the incredible things that happened at RootsTech that you’re going to want to hear about whether you were there or not. It kind of gives you an idea if you’re interested in family history, some of the things that can happen, that do happen, that you can make happen, so we’ll delve into that later. And then after that we’re going to talk about one of the beneficiaries of one of the most incredible things I have ever heard of, and it happened at RootsTech. Her name is Emily Stanford Schultz. She actually works for FamilySearch. I’m not even going to spoil it. You’re going to have to wait and hear what happened here. It’s coming up a little bit later on in the show. And of course, Tom Perry will be back answering some of your questions on preservation. Right now, let’s check in with David Allen Lambert. He is the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Hi David, how are things? Oh, I shouldn’t even ask. I already know. You guys are getting flooded, you’re getting snowed out. You’ve had a lot of issues, haven’t you?
David: Yeah, I’m thinking that I might have to move the satellite office of NEGHS to like Florida or Hawaii or Tahiti.
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, let’s see. You’ve had a flooded basement that happened during RootsTech which was the very end of February and the first few days here in March.
David: That’s right.
Fisher: Fortunately, you were spared the loss of your furnace which is very good. And then I saw that your front yard became a lake. Was it stocked?
David: It’s “Loch Lambert” now.
Fisher: Loch Lambert, yeah! [Laughs]
David: [Laughs] And now it’s a slush filled lake because of the nor’easter we got the other day. So, it’s very picturesque, not exactly ready for my lawnmower. [Laughs]
Fisher: Right, right it’s going to be a while with that. I’ve heard a lot of people, a lot of friends, my sister lives in Boston, who’ve just been stuck indoors for some time as they’ve gone through the nor’easter and then the big snow storm and all that. But, glad that everybody’s doing well and let’s get on with our Family Histoire News. Where do you want to start my friend?
David: Well, you know I was thinking because I have all that water in my front yard that I should put a message in a bottle and see if somebody will find it.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah, let’s see where it goes.
David: That actually is my first story. Tonya Illman out in Perth, Australia was walking along the sand dunes and came across an old bottle, not just any old bottle. It had a message in it from 132 years ago. I know that you saw the story too.
David: It’s fascinating.
Fisher: Well, it is. It goes back to 1886 and a German ship that was trying to basically see which way the waters flowed in the oceans and this is, they say, the oldest message ever found in a bottle. And I guess the last one that was found was something like 1934 which is insane, but what an experience for them. I guess it didn’t go that far, right? I think that bottle was dropped not too far from the Australian coast.
David: Right. It was in the Indian Ocean that they believe it was dropped according to the script on the piece of paper which still survived after all those years. You just never know what you’re going to find on the beach.
Fisher: That’s right.
David: Well, our next one kind of has to do with the water again. In York, Maine one of the local police officers was doing his duty and came across a boat probably from the Revolutionary War that was seen at low tide for the first time in probably about 30/40 years. It keeps on showing up and it’s a type of boat that our listeners may have never heard of before. It’s called a pink. It’s a flat bottomed boat typically used during the revolution to haul supplies. It could be a merchant ship. It’s still there.
Fisher: Isn’t that something? Every now and again, every several decades this thing is unveiled in some storm when the tide pulls way back and it’s just amazing to me. I guess they can’t really salvage it because it would just fall apart, so it just sits there and periodically gets photographed and that’s about it.
David: Yeah, it’s exactly it. Of course all the cargo and things are probably long since gone. I’m sure metal detectors got right out to it as soon as it got exposed recently as well.
David: Well, one boat that no one’s even going to have a metal detector on is for practical purposes because it’s 9,800 feet under the ocean is a boat found by the co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen, a billionaire who has now located the USS Lexington, lost since May 8,th 1942 when she sank during the Battle of the Coral Sea.
Fisher: Isn’t that incredible?
David: It is.
Fisher: And a lot of folks survived that attack too which was amazing.
David: They did. And I know that last year we talked about the USS Indianapolis which of course the fate of those men in the shark-filled waters was just a tragedy. But this one had a bit of a different spin. It was an orderly evacuation. In fact, some of the sailors broke into the stores of ice cream and were eating ice cream while they were waiting to get off the boat.
David: And actually the boat wasn’t sunk completely by the Japanese. We torpedoed it to make it sink so it wouldn’t be salvaged and obviously raided by the Japanese for our technology.
David: Something a little bit older than our typical story is a story about Doggerland where your ancestors may have lived. Unfortunately, you can’t visit now unless you have a submarine. It’s on the eastern shores of England. In thousands of years ago it connected the land masses in England to Europe.
David: And many ancestors were there and now it’s known as Dogger Bank. It’s a large sand bank. Dogger in Dutch means “fishing boat” and it’s fascinating. I found a great article and this article you’ll be able to find on ExtremeGenes.com. Well, this really has turned into the aquatic of Extreme Genes Family Histoire News. My next story is from the southern Spanish city of Cardiff where in the wink of a recent storm called Emma a first century Roman aqueduct has showed up.
Fisher: Wow! We’ve got a lot of water on the show today.
David: We really do.
David: And our next guest will be Aquaman! [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]
David: Well, the next thing I want to do is obviously mention our blogger spotlight this week. And this one is Debbie Parker Wayne who has a blog on DNA and it’s called Debsdelvings.blogspot.com. And she mentions something that you may have not considered. You’ve done autosomal, you’ve done Y-DNA, you’ve done your mitochondria DNA, but if you look at your X-DNA, go take a peek at her blog and see what you can find out. Well, that’s about all I have from NEHGS for this week, but I just want to let you know, if you’re not a member, you can use a checkout code “Extreme” and save $20 on membership. Hope to see you in Beantown sometime.
Fisher: All right, thanks so much David and you’re going to stick around because we’re going to talk RootsTech coming up next here. Some amazing things did happen there. Amazing discoveries that took place and that will cover a big chunk of the show so stick around. That’s coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 229
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: Hey, welcome back. It’s Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. And this segment is brought to you by MyHeritage.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. David Allen Lambert is back, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and AmericanAncestors.org. And, it’s time to report back on RootsTech. Now, I know that probably the overwhelming majority of people who listen to this show were not there, right? It’s a long way to go, it’s an expensive thing, takes a lot of time. Many of you were and it was great to meet so many of you. To me, David, that was one of the highlights, meeting so many of our listeners. And later on in the show, in fact, we’re going to have a segment with Tom Perry where we’re going to actually playback a wax cylinder that we recorded on an Edison recording device that he has, with some of our Extreme Genes listeners, and so you’ll get to hear it. We actually had it digitized, can you believe that? So it’s going to be very fun, and we’ll share that with you coming up a little bit later on in the show. So for those who are not familiar with RootsTech, it is the world’s largest family history conference. It takes place every year in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Salt Palace Convention Center, and it’s got a massive expo hall filled with booths, filled with experts, filled with people selling incredible products to help you with your family history research, finding the stories, finding the people themselves. There are classes going on for four days, there are massive presentations on the big stages. In fact, I got to mc one of those events which was the Innovation Showcase this year, a great honor to do three mini-panels, basically on DNA, and preservation, and records. And you can see the video, by the way, on the RootsTech.org website, from that particular event. What was the highlight for you at this year’s event, David?
David: Well, I mean I always love being able to lecture on a national level, and with 14,000 people and, you know, lines to get into my lecture, it really kind of blew my mind away.
David: So many people this time. I would say that meeting Scott Hamilton for the first time, that was a highlight. I know Dr. Henry Louis Gates over the past 25 years, and to have a chance to chat with him, and the thing for me was sitting in the opening sessions and seeing my face come up on the screen multiple times, thinking to myself, “Oh, I’m getting old.”
Fisher: Yeah, that happens. [Laughs] I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that RootsTech is becoming something of a family reunion itself, because there are so many people who come back every year and we get to see lots of friends, and lots of people come from all over the world and make friends and we see them again. There was one guy I met a few years ago from Germany, and I’m still in touch with him, and we only interacted a little bit over a couple of days, but you know, we all share that passion for family history research and that’s a lot of fun. You mentioned Scott Hamilton. He is of course the Olympic ice-skating gold medalist. He was one of the keynote speakers there, and I got to ask him a question about the fact that in a few hours after I spoke to him, he was going to learn about his birth family, he being adopted, and I was wondering exactly how he was going to react to that.
Fisher: Scott, you’re anticipating learning about your birth family today?
Scott: Yeah, that’s going to be weird because you know, my mom, when she was suffering from cancer, you know, she basically, I just mentioned it in passing at the worst time, like I was an adolescent kid, you know.
Scott: We tend to, things come out and then we think about it. It’s like, shoot, ready, aim, you know? [Laughs]
Scott: Or shoot, aim, ready. You know, so, she said no, your parents are who are there for you every day. Your parents are the ones that teach you, right? Your parents are the ones that are there for you under any circumstance. It’s not a biological transaction, it’s a lifelong investment. You know what I mean?
Fisher: So how are you anticipating this?
Scott: I think I’ll be fascinated by it, I think it’ll be enlightening. I don’t anticipate it changing anything, you know? It’s almost like, you know, in that way it’s really great information, to have a richer, deeper understanding of my mom and dad, the ones that raised me. That holds more weight to me than DNA. You know what I mean?
Scott: So, you know, I think it’ll be interesting. I have a million questions about how they do that and you know, just the whole process of where did you find that, how did you get that, this whole RootsTech experience, it’s like, I mean, it’s like almost being a forensic detective, right? It’s like where do you find these things and these stories, you know. And I’m just hearing about my great-grandfather almost drowning and the fact that he just kept swimming in frigid water, it’s like yeah, okay, I get that.
(END OF TAPE)
Fisher: That was a pretty straightforward answer. He wasn’t too worried about what his DNA was going to show. He was more interested in the ancestry of his adoptive family, because as he sees it, that’s his family, and it’s interesting to me, David, because I know so many adoptees and I’ve worked with many adoptees as I know you have, and everybody is a little bit different about how they deal with those things, right?
David: Right. And there are some that find out the results and don’t do anything other than have their living mother and living father that they know is out there, so it’s a different experience for each person. And as you know, I have a sister Donna who found me not by DNA but by her birth records being opened, and nobody in my family was alive to know that my mother put a child up for adoption in 1958, and well, now we have her as part of our family and it’s like we don’t even skip a beat. I’m glad I now have a sister, and I also have a 20 year old nephew I’m very proud of who’s in college right now.
David: It’s grown my family tree. You know, sometimes with genealogy, I get really amazed when the DNA companies that are out there have price wars. RootsTech was amazing.
David: There’s Living DNA which is now on the forefront doing Y-DNA, mitochondrial and autosomal, a $49 test, that was amazing. That was a no-brainer. I know I bought the test. Ancestry always has a good price. It was $59.99. MyHeritage was $49.99. I know that there was a special that went on with 23AndMe as well as FamilyTreeDNA, so it was really a consumer banner day, if you were buying DNA kits.
Fisher: Yeah, I think so. Some of the lines were out the doors.
David: I waited till people were in sessions and wandered over for my booth session.
David: I’m very excited about Living DNA, though, because nothing against the other companies, I have a British grandfather, and I never get any matches with the American based companies, and I thought that was kind of strange since they’re based in the UK, I’m hoping that I’ll have some autosomal matches for my grandfather who was born in England, now that they’re going to be doing matching.
Fisher: Right. Now as I recall, David, you had an experience actually dealing with a discovery relating to one of your ancestors right at RootsTech.
David: [Laughs] I did, actually. So, many people in RootsTech were given a pin that had a country. They gave out 30 different copies of that pin, 150 countries, and you had to find your match. Coming back from lunch, a woman ran up to me and said, “Hey, we need to go now. Follow me.”
David: I was like, “What is that all about?”
Fisher: “Who are you?” [Laughs]
David: “Was there some consultation that I don’t know about?” She had the East Midlands pen that I did. Well, she won a coffee mug and I won a subscription of Fold3. Checked that it worked and I never spent a lot of time digging into it.
Fisher: And for people who are not familiar with Fold3, it’s the site dealing with military records. Largely, I mean there are still census records and things there and it’s owned by Ancestry, and there’s all kinds of material there relating to Revolutionary, Civil War soldiers, and other military involvements.
David: Well, what was amazing for me is I plugged in my grandfather who came to the states, figured I’d find something World War I related. I found my grandfather, not in America, but in Canada. Turns out my great grandfather, while living in Halifax, was part of the first Halifax volunteer artillery company that marched 17th 1866 to July 31st. The reason is because the Fineans in America, after the Civil War, Irish Americans, wanted to go up and capture British Canada, and there was an attempted raid on Halifax, so they had this volunteer artillery company. I’m delighted to know that I have his military records on the way. Hopefully I’ll get it next couple of weeks, but I was also enlightened that because my great grandfather in 1913 never received his medal from 1866 service, I might be getting it.
David: That would be amazing.
Fisher: The Canadian government’s?
David: Canadian Government medals department. They approved that he never received it, and I’m one of his only great grandsons, so I’m delighted to be the recipient if they’re interested in having it presented.
Fisher: Wow. Wouldn’t that be something? But we’d have to get video of that one. [Laughs] 150 some odd years after the fact.
David: You know, there’s a lot of big companies at RootsTech, but there’s also the smaller ones that catch my eye, and one called MyHeritageCards.com. This young lady has a company out there that produce like playing cards, but you can have your ancestor’s picture on one side, their genealogical information on the other, with a little bit of a chart, and it’s a great way to have your family history to sit around the table. Instead of playing a game of cards, play a game of MyHeritage.
Fisher: What fun, I like that. And the highlight for me, one of the big highlights was just running into a woman who said, “You know, I was just in the meeting and we were discussing things, and a woman was there from southern Australia named Mary, and she said the reason she got into genealogy about five years ago was because of Extreme Genes.” and so she had come from all the way across the world to this conference in Salt Lake City because of the things she’s learned on this show, not just from me but from people like you and all the experts we’ve had on, and it just made me feel like yeah, maybe we’re accomplishing some of the things we hoped to do, and encouraging people to have that experience. And she later reached out to me with an email, saying she’s driving all over the country in the south where her ancestors are from, and meeting cousins there and gathering all kinds of information, so it was pretty fun. In fact, I’m hoping to have her on the show sometime soon and talk about that experience, because she really extended her stay here in the states to do some of her own research.
David: One of the fun things for me was actually the after party. MyHeritage had a great 1920s party and you and I were decked out like gangsters.
David: And we got to see a lot of our Extreme Genes listeners like Dave Robison, who’s a member of the Patron’s Club, Melanie McComb who’s been contributing to Next Gen, Randy Seaver and a ton of other people, all dressed like the 1920s.
Fisher: Yeah, it was a good time. It is the party and the people should plan to be there next year. The dates are already up at RootsTech.org. So Dave, it’s been great reminiscing with you about this year’s incredible experience at the conference, and thanks for the extra time and we’ll talk to you again next week.
David: All right, my friend. Talk to you soon.
Fisher: And coming up next, we’re going to talk to Emily Stanford Schultz, because we’re not done talking about RootsTech. She had a miraculous experience at RootsTech. You’re going to hear how it happened, why it happened, what she got from it. It’s all coming up next on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show, in five minutes.
Segment 3 Episode 229
Host Fisher with guest Emily Stanford Schultz
Fisher: You know, we hear about serendipity in genealogy all the time. People finding things and connecting with people in just the most miraculous ways, and I suppose you wouldn’t call this a miracle because it involved modern technology but nonetheless, you’ve got to look at this as one of the most bizarre things I have ever heard of. It is Fisher here, it’s Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and this segment is brought to you by LegacyTree.com/genealogist. And, I’ve got on the line with me right now Emily Stanford Schultz, she works for FamilySearch.org. Emily, great to have you on the show and it was nice to meet you at RootsTech.
Emily: Oh yes, thank you so much! I am delighted. It was a wonderful show.
Fisher: I think it was a Thursday afternoon at the show and I was just of hanging around checking something near where you were actually manning a FamilySearch booth and we started a conversation and you lit up and shared with me one of the most incredible stories that I have ever heard.
Fisher: And it’s because of this unique app that FamilySearch came up with just for RootsTech really because I don’t know that it will work so well anywhere else.
Emily: Unless you had a gathering of a lot of people.
Fisher: A lot of people who are also interested in their family history who would open up this app because everybody kind of had to have it open at the same time, right?
Emily: Right. That’s correct.
Fisher: So the way it worked was very simply, if you were registered for RootsTech then you would open this app and everybody was encouraged to do it at the various sessions.
Fisher: And then anybody else within a hundred feet I want to say, right, a hundred feet?
Emily: It was actually throughout the entire complex, the Salt Palace.
Fisher: Really? So maybe it was like a hundred yards or something, I don’t know.
Emily: Yeah, it was an electronic fence that they created around the block.
Fisher: So basically it connected you with all those people and then this app would compare everybody’s family tree from the kind of Wiki family tree that FamilySearch has and finds who your cousins are. And it can typically go back as we see with our DNA results that they’re far more further back then there are closer. You can get fifth cousins, sixth, seventh, all the way back to tenth, or beyond and you can actually reach out and talk to these people as you find them. So this was an amazing thing.
Fisher: And we saw lots of people connecting at this. Did you expect anything to come of it, Emily?
Emily: You know, I expected to have a lot of cousins in the app because my roots are here in Utah, and in fact I expected a lot of other people here in Utah who had a FamilySearch tree because that’s the other thing in order to participate in this you needed to have a tree uploaded to FamilySearch which of course is what we try to encourage.
Emily: So, I expected to see a lot of cousins and even ones that I haven’t met but I really expect what happened to me on Thursday.
Fisher: No. [Laughs]
Emily: I’d rather tell you about that. So, can I back up a minute and say that I was very excited to participate in RootsTech this year when I understood that they were going to make this functionality available because I actually carry my FamilySearch app around with me and for example, a few months ago I was at a business luncheon and I brought up my app and I asked everybody to sign in at the table and we found that of the eight of us at the table that we all had some kind of connection.
Emily: I know! So it can be done in these kinds of settings and it’s a really wonderful way to connect with people and like Steve Rockwood has said, when you know you’re related you treat someone differently. There’s just a delight in knowing how you’re connected with someone. So, I was already very excited going into the conference. And what they did specifically for the conference is they added a messaging feature which is not in the normal app.
Emily: So for RootsTech you could click on the little icon and send a message to that cousin and say, Hey cousin, let’s meet up somewhere. It was really easy for me. I just said come to the FamilySearch booth because I was there the whole time.
Emily: I connected with several cousins and it was delightful but this cousin Catherine, she sent a message in the app and asked, “Are you Sudley’s granddaughter? Sudley Stanford?” who was indeed my grandfather. And I told her yes and that I could meet her at the booth and she came to the booth.
Fisher: Now, how close a relation, Emily? How closely was she related to you?
Emily: She’s my third cousin.
Fisher: Okay. Have you met her before?
Emily: I had never met her before and she expressed to me that she’s not known how to contact her Stanford cousins because she has a Stanford connection but it’s several generations back and she’s been focused I guess on more her other family history, but she said she was delighted to meet me because her grandfather and my grandfather were first cousins, that’s how we’re related.
Fisher: Okay, yes.
Emily: And they had corresponded about family history and she had in her possession some photographs that she thought she would like to return to me because she would like them to go to the Stanfords.
Fisher: So, this is something that your grandfather fired over to her grandfather, his first cousin?
Emily: Sure. Well, actually that’s what I thought at first. She didn’t give me a lot of details so she told me she’d come back with the pictures because she lives in Salt Lake City and she said she would come back with the pictures.
Emily: So she did. She came back to the booth with a packet of pictures and this is where my jaw hit the floor and my spirit soared and I just over the moon.
Emily: Because these were not just some photocopies or prints from the 1960s or ‘70s like I thought they might be my grandfather’s existing pictures. These were twenty original photo prints from the late 1800s, early 1900s.
Emily: With dates on them like 1900s wedding photos, approximately 1900 and 1910. They are just beautiful, beautiful photos of my Stanford relatives and direct ancestors in many cases.
Fisher: And the early ones.
Fisher: So what’s your most prized one? You’ve got twenty in there. I’m sure they’re like your children how can you pick a favorite.
Emily: They are.
Fisher: But I’m going to make you pick one. [Laughs]
Emily: I’m looking at them now, my great grandmother. Yes, my great grandmother Elna Louise Fippin Stanford. I had a picture of her but this picture, some experts have told me that this is one of those that’s created from the negative, I forgot now in the moment what that’s called but it’s just so crisp.
Fisher: A glass negative?
Emily: Yes! So while the picture itself is just a print, it was created in around the 1910 era. It’s just so crisp and clear it’s like my grandmother is here looking out, I just can’t express how this brings me close to my grandmother.
Emily: To see this picture in person and realize it was printed in her lifetime, and just see her kind, gentle, and wise face.
Fisher: Yes, incredible.
Emily: I have also here a wedding picture dated 1900 of Thomas Stanford and Ida, it’s their wedding. It’s a beautiful picture and I happen to know their family story, that it was this great aunt Ida that introduced my grandfather and my grandmother. And I would not be here without this wonderful couple that I’m looking at in this beautiful 1900s photo.
Fisher: [Laughs] And you haven’t had any of these pictures before, never even seen them?
Emily: No. A couple of them I have seen prints, smaller ones but they were tiny and blurry.
Emily: Or you know, not as crisp. These are the originals. They’re beautiful and it’s such a gift from my cousins. My cousin Catherine, she said, I have already scanned these photos and put them on FamilySearch but I wanted these originals to go to a Stanford family member. I also have another bonus. So this is the one that just really warms my heart. She also brought a photo copy of a letter from my grandfather. It was actually to her grandmother. So he was corresponding with his cousin’s wife about family history.
Emily: And it’s type written, two full pages of my grandfather. My grandfather was awesome and I was searching when he died and I knew him. He had a very unique and wonderful personality but this letter just brings him to life. And I had never seen this letter. No one in my family has seen this letter. It’s dated 15 February, 1957. It’s like a little message from my grandfather and I’m just so excited and delighted to share this with my family. it’s an absolute treasure.
Fisher: Isn’t this incredible? And all because of an app. Now I know that you’re a business development manager there at FamilySearch.
Fisher: Was this app part of your department?
Emily: It was not. This was some awesome colleagues that created this in the mobile department, Todd Powell. I had a chance to talk to several of those team members and in fact I recorded a quick little message telling them about this story so I could tell them thank you for what they did with the app.
Emily: Because I had wanted them to understand what they had done. I will say too, as I worked at the booth I saw this over and over, nothing as dramatic as these wonderful photos but I saw cousins, third, fourth, fifth, and beyond cousins connecting and just taking selfies with each other, and just sharing memories and hey, did you know this family member story? And just having that delight in connecting with another family member.
Emily: So the app was a great success and I’m just over the moon with being able to have this rich family treasure that was given to me as a result of it.
Fisher: She’s Emily Stanford Schultz, the beneficiary of an incredible app at RootsTech. Great talking to you Emily, and enjoy the pictures. Unbelievable!
Emily: Thank you. Thank you very much.
Fisher: But wait, that’s not all. We have another interesting RootsTech experience I’m going to share with you coming up next as we talk preservation with our Preservation Authority Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 229
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: We're back! It is America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and what a great time we had at RootsTech. We've been talking about it a lot all through the show today, because there're just some amazing experiences. And Tom Perry had a booth there of course, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com and he's on the line with us right now. From what are you, in a convention center in Atlanta?
Tom: Yeah, right after RootsTech, didn't have any time to catch my breath and was off to Atlanta. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] All right, and then you're traveling I think out of the country next month, setting up your first international shop. That's going to be kind of fun.
Tom: Yeah, it will be great. I mean, it’s great. We have genies that are down in Mexico and we’re going to be helping them open some places where they can get their memories preserved. So we've got some genies working with us and we're going to open up a little place down there that will really be great for these people. They've got more years of memories than the US has even existed.
Fisher: Yeah, that's true.
Tom: That they want to chronicle and everything from metal plates till photographs and artifacts. It’s all kinds of things we're going to be able to scan and photograph and preserve them forever and ever and ever.
Fisher: That is really awesome stuff. All right Tom, well let's talk about RootsTech a little bit, because we set up a great meet and greet with so many of our Extreme Genes listeners and members of our Patron's Club. And they came to your booth. I think it was on Thursday at something like 1 O'clock during the conference.
Fisher: And this was really quite fun, because we had a chance for everybody to participate in something that not many people get to do, and that is actually record on an Edison wax cylinder, because you have one of those old Edison recording machines. And occasionally I guess you must get a wax cylinder in that you digitize for people with some ancestor's voice on it. And we got to actually see how it worked! How long have you had that machine?
Tom: Oh, good grief, we've probably had this for at least, let's say seven or eight years back. We have several of them. We have some that are recorders, some that are just players and we have another one that all it does, it’s, I guess an eraser, it actually goes and skims of the wax and clears it off to make a new one. And it’s interesting, we actually had one of our genies show up at our booth that has a wax cylinder that we now have in our possession that she wants it transferred.
Fisher: No kidding! Does she know what's on it?
Tom: No, she doesn't. In fact, we were going to listen to it. And we think it’s a commercial recording, because she has no idea, and that's usually what they are. But it’s going to be fun to find out what it is. And it’s interesting too, like Alex who is our technician that handles all of our wires for us and also all of our wax recordings, he says that there's different widths, almost like a record player. So, different kinds play on different machines, so it’s going to be kind of fun to get in this, find out what it is and see what magic we can put on it.
Fisher: Well, what's amazing is that Edison figured out some way to put a certain amount of tension on the record and playback, so it’s pretty stable. But nonetheless, you can always hear a little bit of warble in it. And I was amazed by the experience. And also how old timey it sounds no matter when you record it. I mean, it never sounded even new like we hear stuff today, right? You know, if you go in a studio today and record something. It still sounded old the moment it came off the machine.
Tom: That is so true. In fact, that's the thing that's really interesting about the market, because people think, "Oh, if its new, we're doing it today, everything's going to sound like its today's equipment." Not the case. Just like people that buy vinyl, they love the feel of vinyl, then they find out its available on CD, they buy the CD and they go, "Hey, this doesn't sound like my vinyl even though it’s taken from the same master."
Fisher: [Laughs] Right.
Tom: And then, so they go on eBay and find the vinyl so they can actually listen to the vinyl again or transfer the vinyl to a CD, which is going to sound different than master that's from the master to a CD.
Fisher: Yeah, you're right. And the one thing I thought about with this by the way is how people actually had to shout into the machine or at least be loud enough to be heard, because let's face it, there's not a lot of dynamics with an Edison recording machine.
Tom: Oh yeah! There's no amplitude buttons that we can turn up to increase the volume. It’s basically like shouting in a hat.
Tom: And it’s got to, you're making your own dynamics.
Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. So we had a lot of fun doing it. We got the crowd around it. We actually picked an old timey, like 1890s era song to sing and we're going to let everybody hear what we came up with, coming up here in three minutes when we return on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 229
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: Hey, we're back for our final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com for this week. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority on location in a convention center in Atlanta. And Tom, we were just talking about recording on a wax cylinder. I guess they actually called this thing a phonograph back at the time, because they didn't record on vinyl, they recorded on a cylinder, right. It’s like a toilet paper tube coated in wax.
Tom: Exactly. That's exactly what it is. They called everything a phonograph, because that's basically what it was. Just like today you say automobile and there you're talking about a Ferrari or a Yugo. You know, they're all automobiles though.
Tom: So it’s very generic when they said phonograph. But then when the record player came out, then they started actually using different names for different devices from back there.
Tom: It was a catch all.
Fisher: Yeah, exactly. All right, let's listen to this. This is a lot of fun, because we had some Patron Club members involved, we had some Extreme Genies who had come to your booth for this experiment. And listen to how we sounded on an Edison wax cylinder at RootsTech, I think it was on March 3rd. Here we go:
"Welcome to RootsTech 2018. This is Scott Fisher with the RootsTech choir on March 3rd, a Thursday, and we're all singing "I'm looking over a four leaf clover":
I'm looking over a four leaf clover
That I overlooked before
First is the sunshine, the second is rain
Third is the roses that bloom in the lane
There's no need explaining
The one remaining is somebody I adore
I'm looking over a four leaf clover
That I overlooked before
All right! Very nice!"
Fisher: Isn't that fun, Tom! I am so glad we did that. [Laughs] And I think everybody enjoyed the experience and actually having to listen back one at a time through a little hose, because there's no way to amplify it.
Tom: Exactly. And that was so fun about the whole thing, it’s like they're listening and they know it’s their own voice they’re seeing, but yet it sounds like something that they found from their grandma or grandpa's.
Fisher: So this is interesting. This machine was first released in 1887 by Thomas Edison, and then I guess he updated it again in '88, but the decade earlier in June of 1878, Edison came out with these ideas for possible future uses for a phonograph. So the first thing was, letter writing and all kinds of dictation without the aid of a stenographer. That makes sense, maybe like in the court. Phonographic books, which will speak to blind people without the effort on their part. We have that today. I mean, that's just so common. The teaching of elocution. Reproduction of music. The family record, a registry of savings and reminisces by family members in their own voices and the last words of dying persons. Boy doesn't that apply to what we're into, right.
Tom: Oh yeah.
Fisher: What a visionary! Music boxes and toys, clocks that should announce in articulate speech the time for going home, going to meals and the like.
Fisher: Wow! I mean, this is almost like Alexa.
Tom: In fact, this guy was so advanced, because the things that he created or talked about back then, we're doing them today. He was so forward thinking.
Fisher: Absolutely. Preservation of languages by exact reproduction of the manner of pronouncing, educational purposes and connection with the telephone, so as to make the telephone an auxiliary in the transmission of permanent and invaluable records instead of being the recipient of momentary and fleeting communication. And isn't it interesting that wax cylinders last longer than CDs do today!
Tom: Isn't it crazy!
Fisher: It is! It was so nuts. Hey, we're running short on time here, Tom. Thank you again so much for allowing us the opportunity to record. Make sure you thank Alex for us, because he did a great job. And coming up by the way in the next few weeks, we've got some more stories from RootsTech that are just going to be unbelievable for anybody to listen to. Thank so much, Tom! Safe travels in your journey and we will talk to you again next week.
Tom: My pleasure.
Fisher: Hey genies, we ran a little long, so thanks for joining us. Talk to you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!