Episode 231 - David’s Big Scores / DNA Specialist Paul Woodbury With Tips On Corresponding With DNA Matches

podcast episode Apr 08, 2018

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. David shares the stories behind two recent historic and family historic “gets” he made. They cover two world wars, and each is remarkable in its own right. David then begins Family Histoire News with a remarkable story from England that began with the attempted murder of a baby, and ended with that baby, now in her 80s, learning the identity of her birth family from an old postage stamp! Wait until you hear this one! Then, Irish Viking descent is now being identified in DNA. If you have Irish descent, you’ll find this recent discovery significant. David’s blogger spotlight this week shines on Katherine Schober of sktranslations.com. She blogs about how to decipher old German writing in your genealogical pursuit.

Next, it’s time to talk DNA again with DNA specialist Paul Woodbury of Legacy Tree Genealogists. Paul has many tips for corresponding with people you match with through DNA. Since very few people respond to such attempts at contact, Paul’s ideas will help you increase your response rate. Paul also shares his thoughts on identifying where certain matches tie in. There are ways!

Then, Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com, answers a pair of great listener questions. The first has to do with the challenges of duplicating copyrighted materials… what you need to know as far as the law is concerned. Then, an old camera still has film in it. Where does a listener go to develop it? Tom has the answer.

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

Transcript of Episode 231

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 231

Fisher: Hello genies, and welcome back to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And this week I’m very excited to get Paul Woodbury back on the show. He is the DNA specialist from LegacyTree.com and we’re going to be talking about those people that you wind up matching when you do your DNA tests on the various sites, and how do you communicate with them because a lot of them don’t post trees. A lot of them generally don’t answer but there are techniques that can improve your opportunity to communicate with them and maybe find out what they know, maybe capture photographs that they have, or records that they know about or have in their family. So, Paul is going to be coming up here in about nine minutes and we’ll be doing a couple of segments on that. So, get ready for some DNA fun later in the show. And if you haven’t done it yet by the way, don’t forget to sign up for our Weekly Genie Newsletter. It is absolutely free. I do a blog in there every week. We link you to current and past shows and of course links to stories that any genie would want to know about. Right now, let’s head out to Boston and talk to the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David Allen Lambert is on the line. How are you David?

David: I’m doing great. How about yourself, Fish?

Fisher: You know, not as great as you are. I’m still battling this little lung thing here but we’re getting there. We’re making progress. But you! You, my friend have had a week like I haven’t heard in a long time. As we often talk about people becoming the destination location for people with stuff, you have become that person in the last week or so.

David: Yeah, my love for military and lecturing on it occasionally has had people give me copies of photos and things like that. But my sister Donna who was very kind to send me something I don’t have for my military collection, a German Iron Cross and the diploma that was given to the soldier back in 1917. Now, I needed to have it translated so I turned to our friends at FamilySearch and another one of our listeners Timo Kracke over in Germany and they were able to solve what I couldn’t read which changed the value. See, August Saverman who got this iron cross in 1917 wasn’t a soldier from what I can tell. He was probably a pilot.

Fisher: Really?

David: It says on the diploma that it was received on December 11th 1917 by the Kaiser order via the group leader of Vlieger 16.

Fisher: Ah! That’s flying.

David: Yes.

Fisher: To fly is vlieger. Yeah, Flying Group 16.

David: So the Iron Cross for a pilot from what I understand from the collectors is worth about ten to twenty times more than what my sister gave for it. So thank you Donna!

Fisher: [Laughs] Well, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and happy Father’s Day, all in one.

David: Yeah, exactly.

Fisher: Now that for most for most us would be enough for an entire year.

David: And she listens so she’s going to agree with you there. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah, and that should be enough, but no, there is more. You get an email from a relative, kind of a distant relative that more stuff is on your way. So, what’s that about? 

David: Well, jumping from World War I to World War II my great grandfather’s first cousin’s grandson was Douglas A. Lambert who was a private with the 339 Infantry Regiment out of New York. March 11th 1945-  he’s killed in Italy, just shy at the end of the war. His foot locker, his photograph of the whole regiment, the 339th, the letter that they sent to the family from President Franklin Roosevelt and his Purple Heart are on UPS ground on their way to my house right now from Florida.  

Fisher: [Laughs] Now this would be like your dad’s third cousin, right?

David: Yeah, yes.

Fisher: Wow!

David: So, I mean it is someone my family didn’t even know. In fact, it was this side of the Lambert family that left Nova Scotia because this person’s relative was a member of John Philip Sousa’s band

Fisher: Ha!

David: So, Douglas was related to that side that had come down from Spring Hill, Nova Scotia in Cumberland County. I’ve never met any of them, but I still have the last name. The name has died off in their family and is practically died off in mine. So, being a military historian and of course the keeper of, well, the same last name as Douglas had, his foot locker will now reside in our guest room and I’ll proudly display the Purple Heart that was obviously posthumously awarded to his family. And yeah, I’m mustering up all sorts of things for my military lectures.

Fisher: That is incredible.

David: Yeah, it’s lots of fun.

Fisher: So, how does your wife feel about a new addition to the house?

David: Well, I always say that the TV show “Hoarders” was started by the genealogists!

Fisher: Absolutely!

David: You’ve got to collect stuff to do this type of research.

Fisher: Yeah. All right David, what else have you got today in our Family Histoire News?

David: Well, going across the pond over to England and back in 1937 a baby was found under a blackberry bush and her hands were tied so she wouldn’t crawl away, but the identity of who she is has only been revealed recently by Living DNA.

Fisher: Yeah, and the story behind this is just amazing. This is not your ordinary DNA story because she wasn’t really able to match with anybody. And it turns out her birth actually licked a stamp years ago, or a descendant of that person was able to give that to Living DNA and they were able to match the saliva from a packet of stamps to this 80-year-old woman. It’s incredible!

David: It is amazing and it just goes to show when you get a letter don’t throw away the envelope.

Fisher: Yeah, because you never know, right?

David: You never know. [Laughs]

Fisher: And who sends letters anymore, anyway? Unless we start licking our computers and our emails!

David: Yes. [Laughs] Well, every week I like to give a blogger spotlight shout out and this week it’s to Katherine Schober. Katherine has a website called SK Translations and what she does is translate German which in recent days has been very useful to me with my German Iron Cross.

Fisher: Yes. [Laughs]

David: She wrote a book called Tips and Tricks of Deciphering German Handwriting and she has a blog on her website sktranslations.com. And by the way if you’re not a member of NEHGS and American Ancestors you can save $20 as a member and check out with the code “Extreme” for Extreme Genes. Well, that’s all I’ve got this week and I’ll talk to you real soon Fish.

Fisher: All right, thanks so much David. And speaking of DNA, our friend from Legacy Tree Genealogists, Paul Woodbury, is coming up next and he’s going to help us to figure out how we communicate with people we match with so we can make the most out of that connection. That’s coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 231

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Paul Woodbury

Fisher: Welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. This segment of the show is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. And as always, I’m excited to have on the show the DNA expert from my friends at LegacyTree.com talking about DNA today and he was doing a lot of talking about that at RootsTech. Paul Woodbury is on the line right now. Hi Paul! How are you?

Paul: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me back, Scott.

Fisher: Boy, you were packing the house again at RootsTech, and this was a great topic and I think it’s something that’s really important for people who are starting to get into the DNA thing. And if you’re a listener and you haven’t gotten into DNA yet, this might be something that you’re curious about a little bit but we’ll try to explain along the way what we’re talking about here. And that is tips for effective collaboration with your DNA matches. Now, a lot of people when they get their DNA they’re doing it strictly for the ethnicity report, we get that, but if you’re really more into the genealogical research by triangulating in on common ancestors that type of thing, Paul can explain exactly how you’ll go about collaborating with people that you match with, that you share some DNA with, and crafting the message. Paul, this is kind of a problem because there are a lot of people who never respond to anything.

Paul: Um hmm. It’s true. And I think that part of the key to getting people to respond are some of these principles that affect this communication.

Fisher: Yep.

Paul: But first I just want to highlight that collaboration is a huge part of genetic genealogy research because we’re depending on other people and the fact that they’ve tested that they are in the databases in order to make genealogical discoveries. And even if you know how you’re related to somebody, you’ve been able to identify, “Oh, there’s our common ancestor” collaboration can be a huge value to you as you reach out to those individuals because just like they’ve inherited different DNA, they’ve also inherited different family stories, they inherited different documents, they’ve inherited different information regarding your common ancestors.

Fisher: Photographs.

Paul: Photographs. And so by reaching out to those individuals you’re not only going to be able to determine relationships, you’re also going to be able flush out the details of your common heritage. And I think that’s really important and it merits making collaboration part of any genetic genealogy effort.

Fisher: Boy, I couldn’t agree with you more. And obviously there are a lot of people who can match just from the paper trail and you can see various indicators on the different sites that you’re tied to one person or another, and you can do some of those very same things. But with DNA the beauty of it is it’s you can validate your lines, your paper research that you’ve done over time, and know that, “Oh look, I tie back to a second great grandfather, and I tie to a first great over here.” Whatever it is, you know that your line back to that person, generally speaking, other that endogamous situations where you know you have multiple shared ancestors, that kind of validates your line right there.

Paul: Absolutely. I think the real value in collaboration is being able to get those pieces of information that you wouldn’t otherwise have. And I like to think of genetic genealogy match lists as social media for genealogists.

Fisher: Yeah.

Paul: And a way for you to connect with all of these cousins that you may not have even known about through other efforts. So, I think that the principles of communication and effective communication can really make those experiences and those relationships more meaningful so that you can benefit from their knowledge of your family history as well.

Fisher: Boy that’s true. You know, one of the things that I find real beneficial in this kind of work is when you find out who you share matches with. Because I’m saying, maybe you have a better number on this Paul, but maybe 90% or more of the people that I match with, they don’t have trees. They don’t have anything or they keep them private. So, it makes it very difficult sometimes to know exactly where they tie in except when you look at shared matches and you get some hints about what line they come through. And so, not long ago I had this situation come up because I have recently had a significant DNA match that we’re using to break through one of my wife’s ancestral lines and we were thinking that this person might be a descendant of that branch. Now, I knew that because of the people that she shared with me as matches. So I dropped a note to that person and said, “Hey, I see you don’t have a tree up but could I ask, do you know if you descend from a Burk family? B-U-R-K” Because we share a lot of matches that tie into that and I think just because of the fact that I had a hint of who her lines were coming through she responded to me very excited to hear from me and knowing that we had that match and we might be able to share some information.

Paul: And I think that highlight is a really important element of effective communication. You have to do your homework.

Fisher: Yes. [Laughs]

Paul: You have to know your audience. It’s not sufficient to mass email all of your matches and say, “Hey, it looks like we’re cousins. Write back if you have any ideas about how we might be related.” You need to go through some effort on your part to figure out how they might be related, present ideas of what lines they might be related through. If they have a family tree, say, “Hey, you know I’ve extended this line and it looks like me we might be related through this family. Do you have any additional information on that?” And I think that that increases your chances of getting a response from that person.

Fisher: Yeah absolutely.

Paul: Rather than a generic email or a generic message that you send to all of your matches.

Fisher: And I think some of the companies actually provide you with some generic message, but in the reality of things, who’s going to respond to something that just looks like some kind of advertising email, right? [Laughs]

Paul: Yeah absolutely. And so, along with that I think that it’s important that you communicate a strong purpose to your message. Rather than just saying, “Hey, I’m here if you want to make a connection.” Maybe ask them specific questions about their family tree. Ask them for specific information. And there are lots of things that you can ask your matches which could be helpful for your research. One of my favorites is, “Would you please share with me the names of your grandparents or your great grandparents.” You want to avoid saying, you know, “Who are you?” or, “What are the names of your parents?” because that could give you information about their Social Security and their bank accounts.

Fisher: Sure.

Paul: You want to ask about something that’s far enough removed that they’re comfortable providing that information. You could propose an ancestor and say, “I think this might be our common ancestor. Does it sound familiar to you?” Request access to a private family tree. Another thing that I commonly do is, I’ll say, “I noticed that we have these shared matches in common. How much DNA do you share with our shared match?”

Fisher: Um hmm.

Paul: “Do you know who these individuals are?” Particularly for some of those individuals that may not respond immediately. I think one of my favorites also is, “Do you have any close matches in your match list that are known relatives to you?” The idea here is that, if I don’t match their father, who has also tested, then I know that I am related through the mother.

Fisher: Yeah, that’s a good point.

Paul: If I don’t match their first cousin, then I know I’m related through the other side of their family tree. And so, knowing about their close matches can help me narrow down which lines I’m probably related through.

Fisher: Yeah. I’m working to identify my wife’s fourth great grandfather and mother at this time. And we’re working with people through various branches of the family and we’re going through and saying, “Okay, we found matches from our side that match here.” Now we’re sharing with people from the siblings’ branches saying, “Do you find any matches to these people?” And so we start that comparison process because obviously the more matches you can determine are in there, the more confident you can be in your conclusion tied to this particular relationship, right?

Paul: Yeah. And I think that as people recognize that, they can feel more comfortable about sharing that information and say, “Oh, I’m not your unknown half sibling. We’re related a little bit further back, and this is how we’re related.” It helps them to feel invested in that communication. I think another important element in effective communication is that you make specific offers and you use your leverage of what you have to offer and say, “I know that we’re probably related through this family line, I’d be happy to share the ten years of research that I’ve done on this family, saving you a whole lot of time, if you’re willing to help and collaborate on this project.”

Fisher: Yeah. And I’ve done that many times over the years and that is very effective. And here’s the thing too Paul, I mean, if you make enough contacts over the years with various people and you get a handful of photographs from one cousin, and then you get some documents from another, and a family Bible record from another, I mean you’re gathering all these things and you’re kind of becoming the center of the research effort in your family. When you find somebody else who comes along and you can say, “Look, I can give you the Bible records and the photographs and the documents, happy to do that, what do you bring to the table?” “Well, I just have one photo.” To me often that one photo could be a tremendous discovery depending on the rarity of it or how many photos of a particular ancestor are out there. And so you know, they’ll often say, “Oh, well I’m just giving you this one thing. And yet you’re giving me all of this.” Hey, it’s a sweet deal to me! I love it. I have no problem with that at all. I think a lot of people would feel the same way.

Paul: I agree. And I think that the same applies for DNA. Even as we have access to test results from multiple genetic cousins, adding more genetic cousins to that research group helps strengthen the validity of our conclusion and helps us really make progress towards those things.

Fisher: You see, this is why we bring Paul back all the time because he’s a really smart guy and he was sharing this at RootsTech, and if you missed RootsTech you’re getting kind of a free course here out of the whole thing. All right, when we come back we’re going to talk a little bit about those non responders. There are a lot of people who just will not respond for various reasons, maybe they just got in for the ethnicity results, maybe they don’t want to talk because they’re afraid of identity theft, whatever the reason is, it’s a huge percentage that don’t respond. But you can still figure out exactly how they tie into your lines and there are some ways are there not, Paul? Let’s talk about that coming up in just a few minutes.

Paul: All right sounds good.

Fisher: All right we’ll take a break. We’ll be back in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.             

Segment 3 Episode 231

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Paul Woodbury

Fisher: Hey, let’s talk some more about DNA on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. Paul Woodbury is on the line with us right now, the DNA Specialist from LegacyTree.com. And we’ve been talking about this idea of collaboration with people that you find that you match with in your DNA results, and how you put the message together, and how you get a little more specific to give yourself the best chance of getting a response. The bottom line though still is, Paul, you’re going to get a lot of non-responses, correct?

Paul: Yeah. I would say, even though I have maybe a higher success rate than others in this area, I still get a lot of non-responses and this is unfortunate.

Fisher: What percent would you say?

Paul: I don’t know exactly what percent, but it is unfortunate because a lot of the time those people that don’t respond are those that are perhaps the closest genetic cousins.

Fisher: Yeah.

Paul: Or the one that is exactly what we need in order to solve the case.

Fisher: And you know what I’m hearing you say Paul, is that as they are often the closest cousin back to the ancestor you’re looking into, they’re older.

Paul: Yeah.

Fisher: And perhaps are not necessarily comfortable with communicating with strangers through the social media of DNA.

Paul: Yeah, and then again they may not even recognize that they have a message.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Paul: I have had cases you know where some people would write me back three years after I sent them the message and they finally say, “Oh I finally found this message thing on Ancestry. I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner but here’s the information you were seeking.” And I would say, Ah, if only I had that information three years ago.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Paul: But it’s interesting to note that a large percentage of those that we contact will never respond or will respond well after we’ve solved the case.

Fisher: Yes. And I would say three quarters in my experience, at least three quarters of them never respond. If we could get a one quarter response rate, I think that would be pretty good actually.

Paul: Yeah I think that would be pretty good. And unfortunately, the quarter that do respond are those really, really distant matches so they feel safe to reach out to you.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] Because they feel very safe, there you go. So, let’s talk about those people. You want to identify the people you match with who don’t respond to an email or a message through the various DNA sites. What are some ideas that you have for figuring out where they fit in and what you can do with that information?

Paul: So, I think the most important part of this is taking all of the information that you do have on them and taking that to its furthest extent. The username, typically usernames will have some type of identifying information and whether that be initials, you might be lucky and the username is their actual name.

Fisher: Right.

Paul: And then you can then use that to search for them on public record databases or people finder databases like White Pages, Intelius, PeopleFinder.

Fisher: FamilyTreeNow.com.

Paul: FamilyTreeNow, a lot of these websites that can help you locate contact information for living people. The advantage of those websites is that they also will identify, as part of those profiles, other relatives.

Fisher: Right.

Paul: So you can use that to identify, “Oh, here’s the likely father, here’s the likely mother.” Then that can launch you into your search into obituaries, newspapers, and really extending that person’s family tree.

Fisher: Sure. Absolutely, and one of the things about that too, is that just having those relatives there helps you know that you have the right person, because obviously lots of folks have the same name, or live in the same areas, and especially if it’s a common name it’s great to have those ties and go, yep, this is who I’m looking for.

Paul: Absolutely. And, I’m trying to think with usernames you also will sometimes have numbers in those and those frequently refer to important dates in that person’s life. So you can look for their birth year, or for their marriage year, or the year they graduated high school, and see how that ties into their usernames as well.

Fisher: I don’t think I’ve done much of that. That’s an interesting way to look at it but you’re right, of course it does.

Paul: Yeah, I think you mentioned another strategy for identifying non-responsive matches earlier, and that was looking at your shared relatives.

Fisher: Yeah.

Paul:  And who are they matching in common with you. And with that information you can likely assign them to a portion of your family tree. It may be necessary to do some descent research on some of your more distant ancestors until you come down to a surname that you recognize, or a surname that ties you in there, but I think you can definitely use that shared relatives list to help you identify those individuals.

Fisher: Paul, do you take some of these matches and mark them out on spreadsheets? How do you manage that material?

Paul: So, I like to organize my matches based off of their relationships to each other. I use DNA GED Com Client. It’s a software that allows you to scan your match list and then view that information in spreadsheet form. The other thing that I like to do is utilize a program called NodeXL to visualize the relationships between genetic cousins, and then I can assign groups of genetic cousins to specific ancestral lines and kind of interpret that way. Although, that’s a topic for a whole other session.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] And it sounds extremely advanced, and I would assume there’re subscriptions involved and people would need to have a little extra time to educate themselves on how to properly use that material, which is why we usually just go to Paul.

Paul: [Laughs] In the end, I do eventually get to a point where I’m evaluating each genetic cousin and saying, this person is likely related through this ancestral line. Here’s my reasoning for that. And I typically do that in a spreadsheet form.

Fisher: Okay.

Paul: So the other things that can help you identify your genetic cousins, if you have a family tree attached to those test results, or even if it’s attached to their member profile, it may not be directly tied into their test results but it may be attached to their member profile.

Fisher: Sure.

Paul: You can use that information to determine how they’re likely related, and even if it’s a really short, small, stubby tree, you want to extend that as far as you can in order to find the potential connection.

Fisher: And you know what you’re saying here Paul, is, how important it is for us to pull down descent from second greats, third greats, whatever it is, and have a tree that is just dedicated to descendants, and I started doing this decades ago, having no idea that in the future of course this was going to be really useful in figuring out how people match me through my DNA. And, it’s so much easier to do now than it was when I started doing it, because so much of this information is online. And then you can get to the point, like you say, you look at a username and you go, “Oh, I recognize that name. That’s from this particular branch. Let’s take a look at that.” Maybe look at your own database, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve actually found one of these matches on the database whose name I had no recollection of whatsoever, but they were in there, because I’d tracked them down long ago.

Paul: Absolutely. And the same applies for the family trees of your genetic cousins, although in a slightly different way. Sometimes we may not get a family tree, but we get a list of the surnames in that person’s family tree, particularly if they’ve tested at FamilyTreeDNA, or if they’ve tested at 23AndMe. We get lists of surnames. So, what you can do with those is search for combinations of those surnames to identify here I signed, H.U.K marrying A. LeBron. So I know that those two names are connected. I find one of their children marrying a Lucason, and I’m able to flesh out the family tree just from a list of surnames, and then narrow down researching the descendants of these ancestral couples to identify a likely identity of my genetic cousin.

Fisher: Paul, I wish we had more time to talk about this. And, talk about the idea of what do we do when some match comes along where the tree doesn’t match anywhere. Because I’m thinking of non-paternal events, adoptions involved, or they just got the links wrong somewhere along the line, and how do you figure that out. That is for another day, and I look forward to that conversation as well.

Paul: Thanks for having me.

Fisher: And coming up next, Tom Perry talks preservation on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show, in three minutes.

Segment 4 Episode 231

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Hey, it’s is time to talk preservation on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by LegacyTree.com. Tom Perry is here from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. How're doing, Tom?

Tom: Super! I'm loving the sun down here in the southeast. It is absolutely beautiful.

Fisher: All right. We'll we have an email here from Peter Vanderhooft. And Peter asked about VHS tapes. He says he has a number of them and he's worried about losing them due to the lifespan of magnetic media, and he's very wise to be thinking that way. "Are you barred due to copyright from making backup copies?" All right, Tom, what say you to this?

Tom: Well, if you're doing this totally on your own, backups are totally fine, there's nothing wrong with that. The main thing you have to remember is, according to the Fair Use Act, if you do something like that like as a convenience, if you're just backing up VHS to VHS, you're fine. If you're going VHS to DVD, you just need to remember that if for some reason you want to loan that to somebody, like you have some kind of a movie, you need to include the original media too. So if you make a DVD backup of VHS tape you have that's copywritten, that's alright as long as you keep them together. And if you loan it to your brother, he keeps both together. They have to have both of them together. You can't say, "Oh, I have a DVD now. I'm going to sell my VHS." Uh uh, you can't do that. That's major violation of copyrights. So to backup things, just like computer software, it’s fine to do as long as you're not distributing it, you're not selling it, you're not loaning it. A lot of people get into trouble saying, "Well, I'm not selling it, so it’s okay. I'm just giving it out to friends." Well, no, that is major copyright violation. You can only do it as a convenience to use ensure the owner of the particular tape for the license he has of a particular tape, so you put it on a DVD, that's fine, but you must keep them together at all times, so that if you loan it to a friend or family member, you need to keep both together. In fact, if we do transfers for people of old tapes, it’s printed right on the disk "This must be kept with the original media. All copyright rights are still the rights of the copyright owner. You can't do this, you can't do that." So just be very, very careful. Don't get into any trouble, because there are people out there that will go and make you an example and they could cost you a lot of money.

Fisher: You know, that's really true, but I will say this, and I don't want this to be misunderstood for me endorsing copyright violation, but the practicality of that law seems totally unenforceable to me. Where are the “copyright police” running around saying, "Oh you loaned this to your neighbor without the original thing there." But you know, it’s the right advice, that is what the law is and we need to respect that. But it makes me wonder, who thought up the idea that keeping those together was going to put an end to this stuff, you know what I mean?

Tom: Yeah, well the reason they write these laws is so, if anybody really goes against it, there's a law to bad stuff. They have the right to say, "Hey, no, here's what the law is. We are taking you to court and we are going to, you know, strip you of everything you own." Which has happened in the audio world. But they used to make the real stringent laws, so if somebody pushes it too far, they can go and say, "Uh uh uh!" because if they make them too liberal, then people push them a little bit farther. So it’s just basically a way that they can go in and say, "Hey, you have really violated this, so we are going after you." The bad people are going to do bad things regardless. So this is just saying, "Hey people, we know you're honest. Here are the laws. Please don't infringe on us. This is how we make a living. We need to take care of our families, too." So just a way to kind of be fair to everybody.

Fisher: Absolutely. The other aspect is, you as a business person also have to follow those laws, and it’s important for people to understand that they cannot expect you to do something that is against the law.

Tom: Absolutely. It’s not worth it.

Fisher: No. And I bet you've had people ask you to, many times.

Tom: Oh yeah! We've had people come in that want us to make compilation CDs that they want to hand out at their wedding, then it’s like, "No, that's major, major, major copyright violation! We won't do that." Then they get mad at us. So we don't do it and we say, "Contact the Harry Fox Agency, HarryFox.com and say, "Hey, I want to do this at my wedding. What do I need to do?" Buy the licensing right. Sometimes they're really, really cheap and then you're totally free to do the proper way. But just check with the Harry Fox Agency and then you'll know what you can do and what you can't do.

Fisher: All right. And coming up next, we have a question from Vera about a couple of old Kodak Instamatic camera she's got and what she's going to do to get the film out of them. Coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 231

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: We're back at it for our final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show for this week. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, talking preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority. And Tom, we have an email from Vera Usselman and she said she's found two old Kodak Instamatic cameras, a 154 and 304, and the 154 has a roll of film in it with two pictures taken and a brand new package of film and would love to use them, but needs to know where would she get this developed and the cost. And she says it is Kodak 126 film from the '60s. What are your thoughts on this one?

Tom: Okay, so what you need to do is, go to FilmRescue.com or go into Google and type in the word "Film Rescue" and they do all kinds of film developing, because Kodak has stopped making most chemicals now. So what you have to do is, make your own chemicals, what they will do for you. And if you write to them and say, "Hey, I've got this type of film. What do I need to do?" then they will say, "Hey, we're going to be making chemicals for that on this day. Send it in to us so we can develop it." And then once they develop it, prints and scanning and all that kind of stuff is really easy to do. The first step of course is getting it developed and they do a great job.

Fisher: So my question to you is, how good is film that's undeveloped from fifty years ago?

Tom: It depends how it’s been kept. If it’s been kept inside in a semi cool place, you should be fine, except, back in the days when I was cutting my teeth on photography, we always kept all of our film in the refrigerator, because that kept it the most pure and the best longevity to it. So if it’s been in a cool place, it should be fine. I had film come in from the early, early 1900s, old regular 8 film that we developed through Film Rescue that came out beautiful. Some of it has to be done.

Fisher: Really?

Tom: Oh yeah, oh yeah! We've have some beautiful film come through. Now one thing you have to remember, if it’s really, really old film, which the Instamatic shouldn't be this, it can only be developed in monochrome, just because the chemicals aren't available and you can’t make the right kind of dyes. So if it’s real, real old, it might only come back as monochrome, which is, you know, better than nothing.

Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. What about color pictures? Does that change things if it was in color?

Tom: Well, it’s just that much more problems you're going to have with it. In the old days, of course the black and white film was mostly was like silver nitrate and the silver is actually silver like you go mining in a mine, and so that lasts basically forever. When they started getting into the color, they started getting into what they called dyes. And the dyes are the basic weak link of all old film, because dye is opaque. However, if it hasn't been processed, the fading process shouldn't have started yet, because when they introduce it to the chemicals, it’s the chemicals actually bring the dyes out and make them into brilliant colors. So they might actually kind of be blessed if it’s been stored in a proper place that's been cool. If it’s been out in a barn or something through heat and stuff, you won't know until you get it done. But if it’s been in a cool hall away from vents and stuff, you should be fine with it.

Fisher: And what's the cost like on something like this, Tom, any idea?

Tom: Well, last time we had something done, we had quite a lot done, it was about fifty dollars. But if that's the freshest picture of Aunt Martha that you don't have any place else, you know, fifty dollars is a small amount to pay. But once you contact Film Rescue, they'll be able to give you the prices, the turnaround times, all the different options and then you can go forward from that.

Fisher: Boy that is fascinating! And to think that you were able to actually develop something from the early part of the 20th century and bring it out. That had to be a treasure for somebody.

Tom: Oh, yeah, and even though it was monochrome, it was wonderful for them to see, like their great grandfather at a picnic. They were just thrilled to be able to get any images off that old film.

Fisher: And then you could take that print and then of course go and do all the magic with PhotoShop, too and make something really crisp and clean from it. I mean, it’s done all the time. So that is a great question, Vera. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. And just a reminder, if you'd like to ask Tom a question, you just send an email to [email protected] or you can put it on his Twitter page or you can tweet him @AskTomP. And Tom thanks so much. I think a couple of great questions there, we appreciate it. And enjoy the sunshine, my friend.

Tom: My pleasure. I'm loving it.

Fisher: Well, hopefully you've gotten a few new ideas from this week's show. Glad you could join us. If you missed any of it, of course catch the podcast at iTunes, iHeart Radio or TuneIn Radio and we'll talk to you again next week. Signup for our Weekly Genie newsletter for free at ExtremeGenes.com. Talk to you next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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