Episode 234 - The “DNA Painter” Craze Explained / World War I Widow Talks About Her HusbandApr 29, 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 begin with a follow up to David’s big score… obtaining the World War II memorabilia of a Lambert cousin killed in World War II. David explains a find relating to this material he didn’t even know he had. Then, David talks about a great article on Five Family History Scams To Avoid. (It’s a good heads up!) Then hear the story of a man who discovered he really did have a horse thief back there. Who was hung. And an artist created an image of the hanging! David has the details. David also mentions an odd occurrence that recently took place at Cracker Barrel. (Yes, it includes what is on the walls and genealogy!) David’s blogger spotlight this week shines on Amberly Beck at The GenealogyGirl.blog. Amberly shares ancestral photos along with the back story of each one.
Next, Fisher visits with Jonny Perl of London via Skype about the craze he has pretty much single-handedly created with his site DNAPainter.com. DNA Painter is another amazing tool (it’s free!) that anyone can use to “paint” a representation of their chromosomes with DNA known to be from a particular ancestor or ancestral couple. And it’s ridiculously easy to do!
Then, Fisher catches up with an old neighbor from his childhood. Growing up in Cos Cob, Connecticut, he was privileged to know America’s first flying ace, World War I pilot Douglas Campbell. Lt. Campbell passed in 1990, but his widow, Ginny, is still with us. Ginny talks about the War To End All Wars, and her late husband’s important contribution to the Allied victory.
Tom Perry takes up the back end of the show answering listener questions about preservation of all things visual.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 234
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 234
Fisher: You have found us! It’s Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. My name is Fisher. I am your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. Boy, we’ve got an eclectic thing going on today. First of all, later on in the show, in about 10 minutes, we’re going to talk to a guy in London, England. His name is Jonny Perl and he’s the man behind a site David Allen Lambert and I have been talking about the last few months. It’s called DNA Painter and this is for people who are getting into their DNA research, finding matches and it actually paints where certain ancestors’ DNA comes in on your chromosomes. It’s kind of complicated. It’s maybe a little bit of a 404 thing, but if you’re just getting into DNA, and want to know about a free tool that’s absolutely awesome for helping you track your ancestors, you’re going to want to hear that segment. Then later in the show I’m going to talk to a former neighbor of mine, a woman I grew up near, and I found out she’s still with us. She’s a World War I flying ace widow. There are not a lot of World War I widows still with us, but Ginny Campbell is. And we’re going to talk about her husband, America’s first flying ace, Douglas Campbell a little bit later on in the show. 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. David, how the heck are you?
David: I’m doing great. I was doing some spring cleaning the other day and you won’t believe what I found. Same day I get in the mail a photograph of Douglas Lambert who we’ve talked about, the medal, the Purple Heart that I have. I found a letter that he wrote to his mother, a copy of it, that I got five years ago. Didn’t even think about it. And it describes the badge that’s in there, his Corps badge. Unbelievable, all on the same day!
Fisher: And it was sent to her?
David: It was sent to her. He said he mentioned that he was sending it to his mother, “I got this medal. I’m going to send it on to you.” And obviously this is how it arrived and there’s also a photograph of him and his brother. They met in Italy and it’s amazing to think I had all of this and it ties into provenance even better.
Fisher: [Laughs] That’s incredible. And this is the guy, for people who are not familiar with it, Douglas Lambert is a third cousin to David. He was killed in World War II and he recently obtained the foot locker and of this memorabilia, these femora from World War II and now you have a letter that actually ties in some of this material and one with a photograph of him. And I don’t think there are any other photos out there of him that you’ve even run into.
David: I haven’t. In fact, I have the group picture but there’s no way to identify exactly who he is. They all kind of look alike, sadly. [Laughs]
Fisher: Sure. Yeah, yeah.
Fisher: And especially when you’re dealing with a newspaper photo to try to compare it to, it’s probably just a little bit fuzzy.
David: Absolutely. Well, I tell you our Family Histoire News is really interesting and it let the buyer beware. I think that story on Extreme Genes about the five family history scams to avoid is amazing, so I don’t want to talk too much of it, but it’s about phony inheritance scams, your family history scam. You might remember years ago the Beatrice Bailey postcards that we’d get in the ‘70s and the ‘80s.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah, if you’re not familiar with that, in the ‘70s and ‘80s there was this woman who would send out little postcards saying, “I’ve researched your family history,” and you’d order this book for 50/60 bucks and it would come back like a phone book with everybody with your surname in it. So, imagine a phone book with all the Fishers in America in there! That’s what I would have got. I never ordered one, but I know people who did. They were not happy. [Laughs]
David: And of course the other thing genealogists with falsify credentials, and that brings to mind Gustave Anjou who was an early 20th century fraudulent genealogist who would give you the most fascinating ancestry with no context to the original writer.
Fisher: You would think that this guy could have written some novel because he was that talented.
David: Well, sometimes your ancestors have an amazing background or you might be Harvey Braden to find out that story about the horse thief. Well it’s true.
David: What’s interesting about Harvey, Fish, is that he found an engraving of his ancestor swinging from the tree.
Fisher: Yes, with another guy on the other side of the rope! They didn’t even actually tie this rope off. It’s just they put one horse thief on one side and one horse thief on the other and hung both of them off both ends of the rope off the same branch!
David: You know, I do like hanging with my friends but that gives it a different level of context I don’t want to have!
Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah!
David: Well, the other day we were taking the family out for breakfast and we went to Cracker Barrel which I’m sure many of the listeners have gone to. And as you know on the walls there are all sorts of ephemera. We sat down in front of one and my wife who is not a genealogist said, “Hey, that’s my hometown! That’s a diploma! Who is that?”
David: So, of course we take out our phones and we start Googling the name, and sure enough, found them in a matter of minutes and I put this on Twitter on DLGenealogist. So many people liked it and so many people were guilty as charged. I do the same thing.
Fisher: So you go to Cracker Barrel and you start researching the stuff that’s on the walls?
David: Um hmm.
David: I think Cracker Bell needs to team up with one of the genealogical search companies and have little cards on it, you know, “Guess who this is?”
David: Well, you know my blogger spotlight for this week is Amberly Beck who has a blog TheGenealogyGirl.blog and on it she puts a lot of 20th century photographs through her family, but what she does is she brings some to life giving stories and perspectives, allowing a photograph that may just have a name to have an identity. So, my hat’s off to Amberly Beck and take a peek at her blog. Of course, we know in a year we’ll be celebrating the 400th of the Mayflower and I know many of our listeners may have Mayflower connections. And NEHGS has just published our first international guide to things going on in 2020 and it’s called the American Ancestors Magazine Special Edition: Your guide to the Mayflower 400th Anniversary. And you don’t have to be a NEHGS member to get it. You can purchase it right from AmericanAncestors.org for the little price of $6.95. It’s loaded with great articles, how to research your Mayflower ancestors and all sorts of exciting tips and things that are going on in the next couple of years.
Fisher: Boy, as a Mayflower descendent myself, and I know there must be a lot of Mayflower descendents listening on WRKO in Boston on Extreme Genes this is a great opportunity I’m thinking. I’m really looking forward to getting out there in 2020 for the celebration. I think that is going to be an amazing experience.
David: Well, we’ll have to hang together, but not like Harvey’s family. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] All right, thanks so much David. Great talking to you as always! And coming up next, we’re going to talk to a guy in London who created a website. It’s created quite a buzz in the genealogical world for people who are into their DNA. This guy is going to explain how he created this, why and what you can do with it. Jonny Perl talks DNAPainter.com coming up next on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 234
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Jonny Perl
Fisher: You know, it wasn’t that long ago that David Allen Lambert reached out to me and said, “Hey, you’ve got to try this new tool” he had just discovered. It’s called “DNA Painter” and it involves actually mapping out where on your various chromosomes, kind of a map of your chromosomes, where your information came from, from which particular ancestor. And you do this by matching up DNA results from different people that you match to. And then finding their chromosome map information and just simply copying it into a box and magically it paints this particular chromosome. Well, at RootsTech recently I ran into the guy who’s behind this remarkable site. His name is Jonny Perl. He is in London, England and he’s on with me via Skype. Jonny, how are you?
Jonny: Good to see you Scott. How are you today?
Fisher: I am doing great my friend. And it’s interesting because you made a lot of friends in the business pretty darn fast coming up with this site, didn’t you?
Jonny: [Laughs] I guess I did yeah.
Jonny: It’s great to meet new friends. It wasn’t the reason I did it, but yeah. It’s a nice side effect isn’t it?
Fisher: Well, why did you do this? What was your interest? Have you been researching your ancestors for some time?
Jonny: I did it out of pure selfishness.
Jonny: I have been researching my ancestors for about ten years. Maybe like you and like a lot of people listening, I did so in an obsessive way. When I got into it I was up until the middle of the night.
Jonny: You know, working on different family trees, wills, documents. I was one of these people.
Fisher: You’re one of us that’s all. You’re one of us.
Jonny: When I got my DNA done I was very hungry for more than I could get. So without really knowing what I was doing, I could see these numbers which represented the relationship I had with the DNA matches. And I thought well, what do these mean? And I almost started building it before I really understood any of the signs to be honest. And as I got going I kind of learned quite a lot of stuff and yeah, very soon I was able to build something quite useful, certainly to me, and it turned out to other people as well which is great.
Fisher: Well, and it is still I guess technically a BETA site, right? But it’s free.
Jonny: Yeah. Let’s call it a BETA site.
Jonny: I mean when I launched it I was very aware that it’s just me that built it and there could be problems. There hasn’t been many problems but obviously we have a few little glitches here and there.
Jonny: It’s going for I guess six months of something now, seven months.
Fisher: Yeah. How many people have signed on for this?
Jonny: We’ve recently hit ten thousand.
Jonny: So yeah, it’s a good number.
Fisher: Yeah it’s a good number and certainly a good way for you to test the system. I think the thing that I was most impressed with was that I was very interested in doing chromosome mapping and it’s kind of a 404 level thing for a lot of people. And I was talking to various experts about how they did it because people would blog about it and I’d kind of get the feel for what was involved and it’s like you know what, I don’t have time to learn all of that. I mean it’s just [laughs] it’s just so much involved with traditional chromosome mapping. And when David brought your site to my attention and I saw all you had to do is basically copy and paste the information that you can get on sites like GEDMatch and through MyHeritage and then just drop it in there and it paints it automatically. It was like this is ridiculously easy. I mean, you’re quite the simplifier aren’t you?
Jonny: I am very pleased that you found it easy. I’m gratified to hear that.
Jonny: I mean it wasn’t as easy as it may sound to make it that way. When I first built the site, I think most of the people I showed it to, the twin hurdles to get over. One was, “What is this and why am I doing it? And the other is, “How does it work?” I certainly went through quite a few iterations in the first few weeks just to get it to where it is now and I’m sure it can still improve now obviously. I come from a background where I previously have made a living making websites for people where I did I have to make them as simple as possible. So I think maybe that helped me along the way.
Fisher: Sure. And maybe we ought to answer that question for people. Why would you want to chromosome paint? And obviously you started this because you wanted to see it and I will explain some of it from my point of view but I want to hear from you first.
Jonny: Sure. Okay. Well, I think that there’s two reasons, one of them is meaningful and the other isn’t, so.
Jonny: The non-meaningful one first, is just we’re all curious people and we get given these numbers and a table, you know, who this chromosome 1, start position, seven million, eight hundred and fifty, I think, thousand.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah.
Jonny: What does that mean? I mean, it’s a puzzle that I need to work out. That isn’t meaningful itself but I just...that kind of came from the heart. I want to sort that out. On a more meaningful level, as genealogists, what we want to do is push our family trees back.
Jonny: We wanted to try to break those brick walls and we wanted to find ancestors. Anyone who has been doing this for a while knows that you tend to find the most glorious stuff via cousins. If you can connect with a cousin, a cousin is going to potentially have information that is not in a will and not in any public record.
Jonny: They might have family photographs, they might have a Bible, they’ve got that kind of gold that you don’t get any other way. And so, to connect to a cousin, you have to identify who the cousin is.
Jonny: This gives you a way of identifying who they are so in a nutshell, if you start by painting the known matches, I’m very, very lucky my father has a half brother, my mother has a cousin I was able to get to test and both my parents were tested. So I’m incredibly lucky in the resources I have.
Jonny: With those people tested, it means when I have a new match come in, I’ve been working on mapping my chromosomes for so long that I can narrow down the line that that person is from really, really quickly. And so, I don’t have to search across my entire family tree to figure out where to place them. I can figure out really down to a few lines. I’m not saying I can always solve the puzzles any more of, I can’t.
Jonny: But I’m getting there. I feel like I’m getting there.
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, obviously most of the people that do the DNA test, they’re looking for ethnicity results and they don’t post a tree. I mean over 90% of them and it’s so frustrating because as genealogists hey, we want to see where do we tie in? And like you say, more often than not you can’t figure that out. But when you see a shared chromosome and you know that you have lots of shared matches, you know that this wasn’t a random match. This was a match by descent.
Fisher: And what I like about the site is that you can project that match over what you already have to kind of get an idea potentially which ancestor this person matches you through. And that’s a great help. So, as a result of that, have you ever actually been able to reach out to some of these people and get some information from them that helped you break down a brick wall?
Jonny: Yes and no. I have reached out and got some great information. To date I’ve personally have never broken through a brick wall. I’ve broken some sideways. I’ve found out about siblings I didn’t know about, and I have an attentive new ancestor name. But in general what’s been great for me is to connect to the cousins. The very first guy I ever connected with he’s out in the US, I think his in Oregon, he was the highest DNA match I had who I didn’t know about.
Jonny: And he had a tree. He was very friendly and we had such an unusual name we were able to connect. We connected in a tree immediately somewhere in Germany in the 1840s. And he had a bunch of photos and he also had some family history in German, exactly the kind of gold that I was talking about.
Fisher: Oh yeah.
Jonny: That then led me to find more stuff. So yeah, from the start I think that’s what got me hooked and carried on building this and making it better. Because if I could make more connections like that, then all the better.
Fisher: Yeah. The website by the way once again is DNAPainter.com and you just go in and set up an account and then you can start matching people. You find the matches obviously through the usual places as we mentioned, and then you share that information back to DNA Painter and it begins to mark which side the father’s or the mother’s side comes in on which chromosome, and so it’s really quite fun as you put it together because the process is so easy. I guess the bottom line is though, Jonny, is that we get all of our DNA from our father’s side from our father and all from our mother, so really you have to go back aways for it to really start having any meaning, would you agree?
Jonny: Yeah. If you are painting a match there’s no point in painting a parent for example.
Jonny: Because if you painted a parent it would just fill out the chromosomes already filled out for you. And equal even some other close relative like a sibling obviously. You are each going to have inherited all of each one of your chromosomes from one parent but you’ll have inherited different segments. But that won’t show. You’ll just have these big lines to say yeah, you match and all that.
Jonny: Because you’ve both got your DNA from the same place obviously.
Fisher: But with a half sibling you could probably say well this had to come then from my paternal grandparents, right?
Jonny: That’s right. So you can use a sibling for a process called inferred matching, which is great. So, say you had a second cousin that you match with you might have eight or nine segments. And if you then find that your sibling matches some and you don’t, then you know where that person came from. Then yeah, you can infer okay, this must have come from the other grandparent, which is great.
Fisher: And do you actually take material for instance, we get matches from a brother or a sister that we ourselves may not get, right?
Jonny: That’s right.
Fisher: And they might even get segments from somebody we do match but we don’t get those same segments. So, you can then paint that, recognizing that that data, that information still was passed down from that particular couple even though the match came from a sibling. Would you agree?
Jonny: You can do that Scott, but what I provided here is really kind of a blank canvas to try things out. So, there are many ways of using this. It’s extremely flexible, which is both a good thing and a bad thing.
Jonny: It’s a good thing in the sense that if you wanted to you can start trying to map the descendants of a particular ancestor, for example. And instead of your ancestors on the right there, you might have descendants, which would be really interesting.
Jonny: If you’ve got cousin you’ve matched, I would say the classic take on how to use DNA Painter is that when you start your own profile, it represents you. It represents your DNA kit. And if you then have your brother or your sister test you probably would want to have another profile for them and you would use some of the information to help you inform yours. But like I say, there’s not too much of a script in this here. You can actually do what you like. But the classic way of using it you wouldn’t ever map anyone else’s shared matches on to your own profile. It would always be how you compare to someone else. And the reason for that is just because you’re attempting to build up a faithful map of exactly where you got the specific ones of your chromosomes from. So if you put your brother’s matches on to yours potentially you’re not being true to that but there is still advantages to do that.
Fisher: Did you accept that you know that that information came from that particular couple so to a certain extent we’re actually mapping the ancestors as well, right?
Jonny: Sure, yeah. And you could totally do it ancestor ways around as well.
Jonny: There are many ways to do it and hopefully many ways to learn things.
Jonny: It’s worth mentioning that what the site is doing is allowing you to kind of store and make notes on the information and visualize it. It isn’t really doing anything magic for you. It’s not saying hey, I figured out this match is your fourth cousin.
Jonny: It’s more about using the information that you have to help you find out more than you know. Did that make sense?
Fisher: It does. He’s Jonny Perl. He’s the creator of DNAPainter.com. It’s free. You know, what you need to do is go on, check out the site. It’s such an easy thing to do. Then go back and listen to this segment and a lot of this will make sense to you [Laughs] and it’s a lot of fun. Jonny, thanks for your contribution and thanks for coming on Extreme Genes absolutely amazing stuff.
Jonny: My pleasure.
Fisher: And coming up next, she’s a World War I widow of America’s first flying ace. I’ll talk to Ginny Campbell coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 234
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Virginia Campbell
Fisher: Hey, welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. This segment is brought to you by LegacyTree.com. Well, many years ago, growing up in Cos Cob, Connecticut, a little community in the back woods of Fairfield County, we had a neighbor and I remember my dad talking about these neighbors. They were actually about maybe a half mile up the road and he was a World War I Flying Ace. His name was Douglas Campbell, and you know back in those times I wasn’t too into history and I wish I had been because I would have loved to have talked to him about his experiences. But in recent conversations with the Connecticut State Library and with the centennial now, the end of World War I, I reached out and discovered that Doug’s wife, Virginia, (Ginny) is still with us and she was kind enough to accept an invitation to come on the show. A World War I widow! Ginny Campbell. How are you Ginny? It’s great to talk to you after all these years.
Ginny: This is a wonderful surprise. It’s great to talk to you.
Fisher: You know, I was looking through some of the statistics here about war widows and the cost of war and it’s really quite fascinating because there’s a story here about a daughter of an American Civil War soldier who died in 1938. She still gets a pension of $73 a month and veterans benefits. And there are still at a least a year or so ago, sixteen widows and children of soldiers who fought in the Spanish / American War of 1898.
Fisher: And the last Civil War vet died at 109 years old in 1956 and the last Civil War widow died at 93 years old 2008. But when it comes to World War I, the closest I could find, Ginny, was a Wall Street Journal report from May of 2014 and it said there were two thousand living World War I widows in the United States. Now that’s four years ago. So you’re doing very well! [Laughs]
Ginny: [Laughs] I’m grateful, that’s for sure!
Fisher: Well, I remember your husband, Doug, and he was America’s first flying ace in World War I and obviously your marriage was one of, what did they call it, the “winter- spring type marriage,” right? He was quite a bit older than you.
Fisher: And how did you two meet?
Ginny: Oh, at a wedding in New York.
Fisher: In New York, and you just kind of hit it off and there you go.
Ginny: Absolutely, yeah.
Fisher: Tell us how did his stature as a World War I flying ace change his life? I mean, for the years following the war. He obvious had associations with Eddie Rickenbacker the famous flying ace. And Rickenbacker was the number one ace as I recall from World War I.
Ginny: Absolutely, yeah.
Fisher: And you must have known him some as well.
Ginny: Yes, he knew him all his life because they were both in the airline business in New York and so they had lunch together from time to time and never lost touch with each other. Also, he kept in touch with some of his best buddies of World War I. When he retired then he had time, you know, that we could go visit them, in South Carolina. During his working life he was so busy that his World War I part of his life wasn’t a part of my life very much until he retired.
Fisher: Of course.
Ginny: Then that was about the time of the 50th anniversary and so all his fans were getting the World War I people together to talk and so that was when he had time to put his letters together and be interviewed and review the events of the time and more fully acquaint me with it because when he was working and we were raising three kids we were not talking about World War I you know. [Laughs]
Fisher: Sure, right. Of course. Life had long moved on.
Fisher: But let’s talk about that World War I period in his life. It’s been 100 years now since the end of the war. What was the story that Doug told the most about his days as a fly boy?
Ginny: Well, when people asked him questions, he usually started his spiel. “These eagles have turned into old buzzards.” [Laughs]
Ginny: Well, everything was so unique about the training of that first group of people. You know, he and his friends from Harvard were having a hard time finding where the head of the Air Corps was in Washington. One room somewhere, part of the signal corps or something you know.
Fisher: Now, he signed up as a volunteer as I recall, right?
Ginny: Oh yeah, he couldn’t wait to sign up, which he did before he graduated from Harvard, you know, in his senior year. And everybody was dying to go somewhere in the service and Harvard goes early. Those guys, senior class men, just disappeared to volunteer.
Fisher: So, had he learned to fly prior to this or did they train him from scratch?
Ginny: No, no he had no flying training in the United States. When that first group was sent over and he had his training rather informally at Issoudan where the French had their flying field.
Fisher: And I recall seeing at one point or another because I’ve over the years I started collecting history, there was a lithograph. And the lithograph was of your husband Doug Campbell making another victory over a German plane and something about the pilot standing up and saluting him. Do you know anything about that story?
Ginny: I never heard that.
Ginny: That sounds like one of those things that journalists make up.
Fisher: [Laughs] It could be. Now, it was interesting too because as I’ve looked into the stuff the pilots didn’t call them “kills.” They called them “victories,” because I guess the idea was that they weren’t shooting the pilots, they were shooting at the planes.
Ginny: Yeah. Right.
Fisher: And so he won the Distinguished Service Cross and the Oak Leaf Cluster for bravery and combat in France. He got the Croix de Guerre from the French with the palm from the French military and then he was wounded at one point, right?
Ginny: He was at the front a very, very short time, a matter of weeks.
Ginny: He got five victories and the sixth one he was injured.
Fisher: I see.
Ginny: Which led him being sent to a hospital. He got a bullet down his spine. Fortunately it was superficial and it didn’t damage the wrong place. [Laughs]
Fisher: Right. [Laughs]
Ginny: But then, dying to get back to his squadron, he was sent by the government back to the United States for these war bond rallies that go on all over the place.
Fisher: Was he something of a celebrity here in the United States then when he was doing the war bond rallies?
Ginny: Oh yeah, there were articles in newspapers all over.
Fisher: But he did eventually wind up back with his squadron.
Ginny: He resented every minute of that.
Ginny: He was always trying to get released to go back and he was on a ship going back to France when the Armistice resigned.
Fisher: I see. So he wound up with six victories and that was it.
Ginny: Six victories and that was it, yeah.
Fisher: Yeah and then he was done. So with this 100th anniversary here, how has that affected your life Ginny? Are you hearing from more people?
Ginny: No, I don’t think so. I shouldn’t be alive you see, so no!
Fisher: [Laughs] So they don’t know that you’re there, right?
Ginny: [Laughs] Yeah.
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, could I ask your age?
Ginny: I’m 95.
Fisher: 95. I think that’s worth bragging about.
Ginny: Well, I don’t.
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, you had a great husband and he obviously did some great things for the country. And I just wish I had visited with him more when I was a kid, but you know as a kid you’re thinking about your future, you’re not thinking about anybody’s past.
Ginny: You wouldn’t know. You wouldn’t have taken time to do that. There were other things that were more important because you were a kid, you know.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah I think so. It’s funny because my whole life is centered around history and family history now.
Ginny: That’s exciting.
Fisher: It is. It’s fun. It’s interesting and talking to you is fascinating. Hey, I so appreciate you taking the time to chat and I’m glad to know you’re enjoying your life, and you’re in good health and the kids are doing well. I hope you enjoy the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.
Ginny: Well, I tell you Doug would be proud of you because he thought history was so important for everybody to know. And unfortunately your kids live through an era when history is sort of side-lined in high school and college, you know, so he’d be proud of you.
Fisher: Well, that’s very kind of you to say.
Fisher: Ginny. She’s Ginny Campbell. She is a World War I widow. She is the former wife of Douglas Campbell who was a World War I flying ace, six victories in World War I, close friend of Eddie Rickenbacker in the 94th Aero Squadron. Ginny, it’s been just a delight to talk to you and good health and have a great summer.
Ginny: Oh, thank you, Scott!
Fisher: Unbelievable. Let’s talk preservation next on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 234
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And welcome back to America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. Time to talk preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority. How are you, Tommy?
Fisher: All right, we've got a great one here, a great email from Jamie Anderson. And she says, "Tom, you helped me choose a scanner at RootsTech, an Epson V550 with which to scan my 1000s of 35mm color negatives. It is great! But I have a question about the best settings to choose from to get just enough and not too much information."
Fisher: She's thinking correctly here. [Laughs]
Fisher: She said, "I plan on making a digital scrapbook that I've printed also and the photos will all remain about 4x6 actual size. The setting choices I have that confuse me are the resolution and the target size." And we see this pretty much on all kinds of scanners, right Tom?
Fisher: And she says, "I remember you said to scan in at 2400 dpi,” because you can always make it smaller, right? “but I am not sure about the target size. If I choose the original size, the negative size, the files are nice and small, but can they be enlarged to 4x6 size in the future? Thanks, Jamie."
Tom: Absolutely yes. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah.
Tom: That's the short answer.
Fisher: Yeah, well, by 2400 dpi, yeah, you can actually go much bigger than that.
Tom: Oh absolutely. And the thing is, we've talked about this on episode after episode is, you need to find out what your end use is, what your final thing is which she said she's going to make a digital file and also she wants to print them no bigger than 4x6. The digital file doesn't matter, because it can be really, really small. It’s going to look fine on a computer. But when you start getting into printing, that's when you kind of run into some problems. But like if she's going to have 4x6s, 2400 is overkill.
Tom: And it depends what are you going to do? Are you going to spend some time? Do you want to go in and clean them up and color correct them and, you know, fix them all on the face or take the tear out or a little blip in the negative that's not right.
Fisher: Well that's plastic surgery, Tom.
Tom: And that's what we call Photoshop. Some people call it plastic surgery.
Fisher: There you go.
Tom: And it’s amazing what you can do with that, but it depends what tools you're going to want. If you just want to say, "Hey, I just want to get these things scanned. I want to make to make a print of them. I want to have my book. There's nothing else I want to do with them. Nobody in my family is interested in doing them." then I wouldn't go to that huge of a scanning. 2400 is overkill. Go to @AskTomP on Twitter and I actually have a chart there that will show you, "This is what size your original is, that is what your target is going to be, this is the resolution I recommend." and then always go one higher.
Tom: And that way you should be fine. If there's any chance somebody's going to go to the other ones and need to do something more detailed, then that's fine. But go through and separate your negatives. Some of them are going to be really, really important, that is that special picture of Aunt Ethyl or, you know, grandma or whatever that you really want to keep and do special things with, so scan that one at 2400 dpi or whatever you want. But a lot of them are, "Oh, I want this picture, it’s kind of nice, but I'm never really going to do anything." It’s more like, "I want to keep it, but I'm probably never going to look at it again." Put those in a separate pile and scan those at a smaller dpi. Unless you have tons of time to do everything. There's never a mistake about overkill, like you just mentioned, because you always go smaller. It depends what your time is. If time's a problem, if money's a problem, if you don't have the ability to do all the touchups yourself that you need us or somebody like us to it for you, you know, what's your budget? Then you need to decide what's going to happen. So, what's your goal? What overall is the direction you want to go?
Fisher: Um hmm, there's an actual setting for target size on these scanners.
Tom: Absolutely. And that's why you want to be careful. Like she said, she can set it for the same size as the original. I would never do that for any kind of a photo that's under about a 3x5 and maybe even under a 5x7, because if you do the size of a negative, a 35mm negative, that's almost postage stamp size and that's really, really small and you're never going to be able to get anything decent out of that. You always want to go a target size at least 3x4 to 5x7, depending on how much memory you have and what you want to do. But target size for original, I would never go that small.
Fisher: All right. As always, get advice, Tom. And thanks so much Jamie for the email. We'll have another question coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History show.
Segment 5 Episode 234
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: We're back for our final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show, and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, that's Tom Perry over there. Wave to them, Tom.
Fisher: No so loud. From TMCPlace.com, he's our Preservation Authority. During the break, Tom, we were talking about Jamie's email and question about the Epson V550 and you wanted to add something to this.
Tom: Yeah. I think one thing that's really important to remember when you're scanning, especially if you want to do some enhancements to it. She asked about different settings. I would turn all your settings off. I would scan what we call a virgin scan, which you're not doing color correction, you're not doing grain reduction, you're not using Digital ICE, you're not doing any of these things, so you get as clean of a scan as you can. Then once you get that, go back to the ones that you want to work on and run those through, like Digital ICE that she mentioned, which is a great program, and it will go and do all kinds of fun things for you. But if you do that on the onset and it kind of does something a little bit different than what you wanted done, you can't undo it. Just like in the old days, when you'd get a photo back that you took at Fotomat or some place and you're looking at your house and you're thinking, "My house wasn't that shade of yellow."
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]
Tom: But they don't know. There's a person sitting there looking at your pictures, and if there's not somebody with flesh tones and they know, "Okay, this is flesh tones." or "This is this tone or this tone." they're not going to know what shade of yellow your house was. So you're going to have things come back bad. That's why I always do the virgin capture, no settings, unless you just want to do down and dirty. "I don't want to play with this. I just want to get the best I can right now." And rock and roll and go that way, you can. However, if you're batch scanning this way, you're going to have some stuff that's too bright, some stuff that's too soft, some stuff that's too grainy, some stuff that's too whatever.
Fisher: Yeah, yeah.
Tom: By doing a bad scan.
Fisher: So then you have to fix everything basically, right?
Tom: Exactly. So that's why I would never do bad scans unless you're on a virgin setting, then go back and start with your most important pictures and work on them and just get as much as you can done. Don't get overwhelmed. Just take that first step and do that first one and rock and roll from there.
Fisher: Because then you've got it all in a folder somewhere.
Fisher: How nice.
Tom: You can get it, your kids can get it, your grandkids can do it. Don't worry about getting overwhelmed. Just get them scanned now!!
Fisher: [Laughs] All right! Ow! Boy he's loud today! All right, another email here. Question from Reverend Peter Preble. He says, "Greetings. I have eight rolls of 8mm film I would like to have transferred to DVD. Can I mail it to you?"
Tom: Oh absolutely! We have people around the globe mail us stuff also, but like I've mentioned episodes before, if you've got somebody in your neighborhood that does it that's good quality, get it done locally. I mean, I love to have you send stuff, you know, I appreciate your business. However, you know, if you can get it done locally, support your local economy. And there's a group of transfer services like us that's called Home Video Studio. You can go to HomeVideoStudio.com and they have locations across the country. And check out one of those. You might have one of those within a driving distance. You might be going on vacation some place where you're close to one. And they do a wonderful job. They do a great job. I've been to their conventions, met a lot of their people. They are really great people. If you have one in your neighborhood, you know, ask the questions that we've told you in archived shows what questions to ask. Make sure they ask the right questions, because everybody isn't going to be perfect. And if you have a specific one in Dothan, Alabama and this is a place, let me know and I'll talk to some other franchises and find out if they're a good one to go to and rock and roll. But don't pick somebody just because of their name. But this gives you a good starting point to see if there's a Home Video Studio in your area. And most of them do an absolutely awesome job.
Fisher: And then if they want to ship it to you, of course we've got all the steps for doing that with the bubble wrap and the box within the box, but how do they get it to you, Tom?
Tom: Exactly. They can go to our website, go to TransferDuplication.com or TMCPlace.com, and we've got our new address there and everything where you can just send it to us. We have our phone number if you have questions. We'll take care of it anyway you need. We'll hold your hand through the whole process and make it a really pleasant experience for you.
Fisher: All right, thanks so much Tom, we'll see you again next week.
Tom: Sounds good.
Fisher: All right, and that's our show for this week. Thanks so much for joining us. We want to thank our guest and we want to thank you for being a part of the program, too. And we're glad for the questions. You can always ask Tom questions at [email protected] or you can post them on his Twitter page, you can go to @AskTomP. And don't forget by the way, sign up for our Weekly Genie newsletter, it is absolutely free at ExtremeGenes.com. Talk to you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!