Episode 239 - Cece Moore on Solved Cold Case Using DNA / Cece Moore on Ethics of Using Genealogical DNA for Solving Crime

podcast episode Jun 03, 2018

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical  Society. The guys begin with a brief look at how the new EU privacy law, “GDPR,” is affecting the genealogy world. Next, most genealogists have found connections to royalty, which has increased interest in the recent royal wedding. As such, the guys delve into the sacrifices Meghan Markle is having to make to become a member of the Royal Family. (It suddenly doesn’t sound so glamorous!)  Then a shipwreck off the coast of Colombia is being called “The Holy Grail” of shipwrecks and may contain some $17 billion in treasure. Hear how it was found and how it got there. David then fills us in on the latest that he has learned about his distant cousin, Douglas Lambert, who died in World War II. David’s blogger spotlight this week shines on Jana Iverson Last. Go to janasgenealogyand familyhistory.blogspot.com.  Jana talks about the various cultures in her background and how they weave together.

Next, Fisher visits with “Your Genetic Genealogist” CeCe Moore about how her DNA research recently led police to an arrest in a three-decade-old cold case. It’s a first for CeCe who felt she had to consider the ethics and legality of such an action, and the feelings of the genealogy community. In the end, though, as she explains, it came down to one important factor. Hear what she had to say about it.

In a second segment, Fisher and CeCe discuss the controversy surrounding the use of GEDMatch.com in the genealogy world. She addresses some of the concerns discussed with Paul Woodbury last week. It’s a fascinating discussion you need to hear.

Then, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com answers another listener question on preserving old video from a MiniDV.

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

Transcript of Episode 239

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 239

Fisher: And welcome to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And this segment is brought to you by Legacy Tree Genealogists. Go to LegacyTree.com. Wow! What a show we’ve got for you today! Very excited to have CeCe Moore on the show a little bit later on in about 10 minutes talking about the cold case she recently solved. Over three decades old, she used DNA... again. It’s GEDmatch and if you’re not familiar with this, take a look at the Golden State Killer case that was recently solved in the same manner. There is some controversy surrounding the methodology for solving cases, using people’s genealogy DNA. And she will address that aspect of it as well in a second segment later in the show. So, the whole thing is about this cold case using our DNA, how she feels about it because there is quite a tizzy going on in the genealogical world over this whole concept right now and it really swirls around GEDmatch. So, we’ll get to that in just a little bit. It’s going to be an amazing show. And this is not the only controversy happening right now. David Allen Lambert is on the line with me right now from Boston. He is the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. And David, a whole new thing has gone into effect that’s kind of shaken everybody up because nobody knows exactly what they’ve got to do with this.

David: It’s true, and the acronym GDPR will mean a lot to you in the very short future. This went into effect on Friday May 25th. And this is basically the General Data Protection Regulation which protects the personal data of people who are on the internet. So, for instance, if they signed up for a newsletter or they’re attracted to your blog and you’re sending notifications to them or if you’re doing eCommerce. But believe it or not, it’s affecting those of us in the genealogy field as well. American Ancestors is looking into it. I can tell you that the free websites Ysearch and Mitosearch owned by FamilyTree/DNA which have always been free, have shut down as of this past week. There are people who are doing genealogical newsletters which have thousands of constituents. They’re having to send out privacy policies or emails to opt in or opt out. Judy Russell has written about this on her blog. It’s a really important thing to be aware of especially if you have involvement in that sort of field of contact with people that are in the EU.

Fisher: Exactly, and you know we deal with the Weekly Genie Newsletter here, and so we’re having to take a close look at this and figure out exactly what we’re having to do.

David: Well, I’m sure many of our listeners may have watched the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan and it’s really great to see happy news. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah, they looked pretty happy. They did, except if Meghan is losing a few privileges. Now, you think when you become a Royal, man, could it be better than that? Think of all the good things you get.

David: Um hmm.

Fisher: But Meghan Markle is losing some privileges by becoming a Royal. For instance, she can no longer take selfies. Did you know that?

David: Wow!

Fisher: It’s protocol. It’s protocol. She may no longer sign autographs.

David: Oh come on now.

Fisher: [Laughs] I know you’re a big fan of her.

David: I should have wrote to her last month.

Fisher: There you go. She cannot go to sleep before the Queen. So, if she’s exhausted and she is in the presence of the Queen then she can’t say, “Well, (yawn) sorry mom, going to sleep.” You know, it doesn’t work that way. No, she has to wait til the Queen retires first. No bare legs.

David: Wow.

Fisher: I know.

David: Is that for the Queen or for Meghan?

Fisher: [Laughs] Just for Meghan as far as I know.

David: Okay, okay.

Fisher: Maybe the Queen can do pretty much whatever she wants, but she doesn’t.

David: [Laughs]

Fisher: She cannot shop alone.

David: That makes sense for security for sure.

Fisher: Hmm, and no personal social media accounts anymore. And for a former actress that’s got to be killer.

David: It really is because I mean, that’s where you get your constituents. But now that she has the British Commonwealth for constituency I don’t think she ever has to worry about getting likes on Twitter.

Fisher: Right, right. Oh and the other aspect is she can’t act anymore. No more acting.

David: That’s true because she did have a TV husband who actually attended the wedding.

Fisher: That’s right. That’s right.

David: Well, our next story actually has to do with a robot, a very lucky robot from the Oceanographic Institute here in Massachusetts and the team associated with it have located a 310-year old shipwreck. And this shipwreck may have up to $17 billion in treasure.

Fisher:  Ooh!

David: Yes, this wreck is off the coast of Cartegena, Columbia, and now the problem is that both Columbia and Spain say it belong to them. And so, something that should have been settled in the courts a long time ago from 1708 is now being looked at again.

Fisher: Oh my gosh, that’s incredible.

David: With me genealogy is treasure and you know Douglas Lambert, the person I got the Purple Heart from, the trunk, I got a new spin on it since I’ve been in Albany, New York.

Fisher: Well, then let’s explain too that this was your distant cousin and he was killed in World War II and some relatives reached out to you because you’re the last person with the same last name and have gifted you these incredible genealogical treasures. So, you’re finding more about his story now?

David: Right and I knew that he had died in World War II, but I didn’t know how he died. Now, I found out that the chaplain, this was from a newspaper article, the chaplain in the regiment reached out to say that he was killed by mortar fire in his foxhole and this is in Italy in March of ’45, just shortly before the war ended in Europe. And the thing about his story is I didn’t know a lot. And I thought the Purple Heart that I received was posthumous. It wasn’t. He was injured in ’44 so he actually had this, probably sent it home to Mom. So, I’m learning more about him every day, which brings the story back to life.

Fisher: What a fun project for you this year.

David: Well, our blogger spotlight shines this week upon Jana Iverson Last. Jana has a blog that deals with her Swedish, Norwegian, Portuguese and Mexican ancestors.

Fisher: Wow!

David: It gives a great example of how your different mix of family nationalities can give you a lot of topics to write about. And her blog can be reached at JanasGenealogyandFamilyHistory.blogspot.com. Well, that’s all I have from Beantown for you this week Fish. And as always, if you’re not a member of American Ancestors, you can join by going to AmericanAncestors.org and save $20 by using the checkout code “Extreme” for Extreme Genes.

Fisher: All right David. Well, thank you so much and we’ll talk to you again next week.

David: Sounds great. Until then.

Fisher: All right, and coming up next we’re going to talk “Your Genetic Genealogist,” CeCe Moore. Recently she led authorities to a cold case murder suspect using DNA on GEDmatch. It’s a controversial thing. She’ll take us through the case and then she’s going to take us through her feelings about using genetic genealogy in solving cold cases. That’s all coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 239

Host: Scott Fisher with guest CeCe Moore

Fisher: And we are back. It is America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and for the last few weeks the real talk in the genealogy world has been about the Golden State Killer case and how GEDmatch was used and maybe some of your DNA and maybe some of mine to help narrow down a search and they finally identified this person who committed multiple murders. And there’s been some controversy over that, and one of the leaders, if not the leader in the DNA world these days, CeCe Moore, my good friend, she’s on the phone right now having just completed another cold case using the same techniques. And CeCe, it’s great to have you back on. I know there’s some controversy going on with this right now and I do want to address that with you, but let’s get to that a little bit later maybe in a second segment, and first talk about this new case that you were involved in. It goes back to 1987.

CeCe: Like all of these cases, this is a very sad case, and it’s something that we can’t lose sight of when we are using our techniques to help resolve them. And it was certainly something that was on my mind the entire time I was working on the case. It was a double murder of a very young couple. They were a Canadian couple that had come down to the Seattle area to run an errand and unfortunately never returned home.

Fisher: Yeah they never returned. The bodies were found, in fact, quite a ways apart. And they were violently attacked and the woman was assaulted. So this goes back over thirty years. Nobody has ever been able to solve the case. Well, let’s go through the process because I found it was very similar to the Golden State Killer case, and I think it’s best explained by you.

CeCe: It is very similar. The difference is, the law enforcement department had already worked with a company named Parabon NanoLabs to create what’s called a snapshot and that is where they take the DNA of the suspect from the crime scene and they predict what that person might look like, hair color, eye color, skin color, shape of face, that type of thing. So, we had a bit of a jump ahead because that snapshot technology just so happens to use an illumine genotyping chip which is what the commercial genealogy companies use as well. So it’s not the exact same chip, but similar enough because there’s a high compatibility with GEDMatch. So, once they got approval to work on that case, in genetic genealogy, they uploaded that to GEDMatch and then turned the results over to me. And as soon as I looked at that match list, I knew that we were in pretty good shape because we had two strong hits in about the second cousin category.  

Fisher: Wow!

CeCe: And with the unknown parentage work I have been doing for many years, I’ve known from that that this was going to be a relatively straight forward case as long as there were no misattributed paternities or parentages of any type.

Fisher: Sure. So, let me ask you about that then. You find that you’ve got pretty close matches, second cousin maybe once removed, something in there, did these particular matches have trees up or did you have to actually reach out to them to ask for them?

CeCe: Actually neither. So, they didn’t have trees on GEDMatch but they both had public family trees on Ancestry.com. And so when I started researching those people, you know I usually build tree myself, I rarely reach out to matches. I’ve been doing that for many years as well. It’s just usually quicker and more efficient. If someone doesn’t have a tree right there for me then I just will work on putting that together.

Fisher: Sure.

CeCe: So when I started building that tree, I ran into their public family tree.

Fisher: Okay.

CeCe: So that certainly helped. And I was able then to look at those trees to guide me but I also used documentary sources to confirm that that tree was correct.

Fisher: Yeah you don’t want to make a mistake on that one, do you?

CeCe: No. So I’m definitely not just using public trees as is, but I can use them as a guide.  And in both cases the trees were correct but I had to extend and sew in all of the branches in order to do what I needed to do.

Fisher: Sure. Now, as I’ve looked at the article, it appears that you had a match from the father’s side of the suspect AND the mother’s side.

CeCe: Right. And that’s why it was so straight forward. It was very fortunate in that the two second cousin level matches converged at the suspect’s parents. So you can hardly ask for a case that’s more straight forward than that.

Fisher: [Laughs] Right. Yeah.

CeCe: Particularly because he was the only male child. So there was really only one person that it’s pointing right at that would carry that mix of DNA to fit with the profile that we had. Of course, I always put the caveat in, you know, there could be a full brother that was placed for adoption. That would be the only other possibility.

Fisher: Sure, of course. But just for the sake of everybody who’s gasping about how easy you’ve made this, explain how quickly you were able to solve this.

CeCe: [Laughs] Well, you know, I’ll just say it was over a weekend. I think I got it on a Friday night very late and by Monday morning the detectives had a name and a birth date.

Fisher: [Laughs]

CeCe: Of course needed to research, but a name that I thought was of high confidence.

Fisher: And was it a name that they’d actually had on a suspect list at one time or another?

CeCe: No, and that’s what’s really interesting about it. They stated multiple times in the press conference that they never had him on a suspect list, that they didn’t think this would ever have been solved without genetic genealogy because he just wasn’t even on their radar.

Fisher: So, the people who matched him and put their information on GEDMatch, do you know if they are aware that it was their DNA that helped crack this case? 

CeCe: I don’t know if they are, because I never did have to reach out to them as I mentioned.

Fisher: Um hmm.

CeCe: If I can do this without reaching out to people then that’s preferable.

Fisher: Yes.

CeCe: Because normally we wouldn’t want to have to bother them. But in this case because the matches were relatively close, I think that they will likely figure it out.

Fisher: [Laughs]

CeCe: The police department published a family tree and they left out all the names, but you can see the structure of the tree. On one side it ended up being a second cousin match and on the other side it was a half first cousin once removed.

Fisher: Yeah. And we’ve got this posted by the way on ExtremeGenes.com so you can see the article and people can actually look at that graft. It’s absolutely incredible.

CeCe: Oh, perfect.

Fisher: And I’m looking at it and go “Yeah, that’s pretty straight forward and pretty easy.” And it is exciting to me that genealogists can actually assist trained law enforcement officials in putting together a case because they are not trained for things like this.

CeCe: No. I mean, they were pretty much blown away when I explained how it led to Mr Calvitz. It’s not something that they’re used to at all. And like they said, in this case it worked so straight forward that it was pretty clear and I could explain it to them very distinctly, which helped a lot, you know. It’s not always going to be that way but because of that they got the full power of this very, very quickly.

Fisher: Sure.

CeCe: I just want to go back to that second cousin and a half first cousin once removed, for people who are looking at that tree, and mention that a half first cousin once removed is genetically equivalent to a second cousin. So, we would expect both relationships to share about 3 percent on average of the DNA. So when you look at it, you go, “Okay, that’s probably a second cousin category” but you have to keep in mind that there’s multiple possibilities. It could be a first cousin twice removed. It could be what we found, a half first cousin once removed. There’s a variety of options it could be. So it’s not always quite as straight forward as just getting two second cousins, but the end results are very similar in that it’s just really helping us to zero in on one side of each of this tree.

Fisher: Sure. Well, of course we all get that different 50% from each generation so it gets very  complex to just try to nail down a relationship based on a percentage. You can’t go there, but that’s really where the whole thing with the tree comes in.

CeCe: Right.

Fisher: What was that moment like for you CeCe, the moment you realized, “I got him!?”

CeCe: You know it was really different. I’ve worked so many adoption cases and unknown parentage cases and it always feels great when the pieces come into place. But this is so profound because you know that the family is finally going to get the answer that they’ve been looking for, for thirty years. Like I said, they were at the forefront of my mind the entire time. So, when I realized that we’re very likely looking at the name of the suspect, it’s very heavy. With unknown parentage you usually can expect it’s going to be a positive outcome, and most people will be happy about it and so it’s a lot of joy, and this was really mixed. It’s very bittersweet. I spent a lot of time researching his family as well and I felt for them also.

Fisher: Sure. Of course.

CeCe: They were about to find out something pretty horrible about their close relative.

Fisher: Now, he’s a living individual, so did you need to use other sources to identify him as being a child of the parents, or was there an obituary that named him?

CeCe: There was an obituary that was very key but I had also found him through other methods. I used complete research databases and social media, that type of thing.

Fisher: Um hmm.

CeCe: Now he had a very small footprint as they said in a press conference I believe. It was not easy to find much information on him but I had, in part of his family tree pretty quickly.

Fisher: Well, this is pretty exciting and one question for you is, is there any concern? Because when you use a public database there are concerns about, say chain of custody, the DNA, the accuracy of it. Do they actually use your research in prosecuting the case or do they simply use the DNA that they had from the crime scene and matching it to the individual and basically ignoring what you’ve done that led them there?

CeCe: It’s the latter, fortunately.

Fisher: Yes.

CeCe: Because genetic genealogy itself has not been used as evidence in court and that would be a whole another story.

Fisher: Yeah.

CeCe: So this is just used to point them in the right direction and then they have to check that DNA through legal methods and compare it to the profile that they have for CODIS. So, that’s exactly what happened. They’re not using my research to arrest them. They only use my research to give them a lead that they then follow up on. They’ve got a discarded DNA sample, as they discussed, and ran that in their traditional law enforcement way and compared it to their law enforcement profile that they’ve had on him for, you know, decades with no matches. You know, that was another moment when I got the call that it was a match. That feels really good. I’ve never misidentified a birth parent in my work so far, but I definitely would not want to misidentify a suspect and accuse an innocent person.

Fisher: No question. Wow! She’s CeCe Moore. She’s “Your Genetic Genealogist” and we’re talking about a recent case she helped solve using GEDMatch DNA. It’s kind of a controversial method these days because of the Golden State Killer case. Let’s talk about some of that controversy coming up next CeCe in five minutes.

CeCe: Yes, sounds good to me.

Fisher: All right, it’s Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 3 Episode 239

Host: Scott Fisher with guest CeCe Moore

Fisher: All right, we’ve been talking about the plus side of using genetic genealogy sites to crack cold cases. CeCe Moore is my guest and she’s “Your Genetic Genealogist.” And CeCe, I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of controversy brewing in this that’s kind of dividing a lot of people in the genealogy world these days. The plus side is what you just accomplished in solving another cold case, a double murder going back over 30 years. And now we have the other side of it. Last week we had Paul Woodbury on the show from Legacy Tree Genealogists, talking about some of his concerns about the use of GEDMatch to solve cold cases. So, I thought maybe it would be appropriate to kind of address some of these things with you as well. He talked about a couple of points. First of all, he said, how would you like to know that your DNA is being used say accuse your unborn great, great grandchild of a crime a hundred years from now? Or somebody in Saudi Arabia because these sites are worldwide, uses DNA to accuse somebody in a case of adultery, or people in Great Britain are having their DNA used to deal with a case in a country that they’re not associated with. And so, his solution was since he’s an administrator for people who didn’t necessarily provide him the DNA to be used for anything other than genetic genealogy, was to simply the category of their particular DNA results and put it under “research” or “private” as opposed to “public.” What say you to all these things?

CeCe: Well, an awful lot. So, I appreciate the opportunity to talk about this. I was quoted widely with concerns during the GSK (Golden State Killer) media as well and I was misconstrued a bit. It was taken out of context when I talked to the journalists. I always expressed my support for law enforcement and how I personally was for this usage but I was also trying to speak as a community leader and express the concerns of the subset of the community. But what ended up being printed was just the concerns that I was stressing on behalf of the community.

Fisher: Right.

CeCe: And it made it sound like I was opposed to this. So, when it was announced that I was going to work with Parabon, I got some really confused messages, emails, and enquiries even from journalists saying, “Wait a minute, I thought you were against this.” So I want to make it clear, I was never against it. But I wanted to proceed in a very cautious, legal, ethical manner and not betray my own community. And so I have been approached dozens and dozens of times by law enforcement to help on cases and I have declined to do so and it was very difficult for me. I was quoted in the New York Times saying I had many sleepless nights knowing this was coming. That’s not exactly right. I had many sleepless nights being concerned over this. I knew that my skills that are genetic genealogy techniques could be used to bring closure to families and also to get bad guys off the streets.

Fisher: Yes.

CeCe: And potentially save someone’s life. I mean what if we can save lives with genetic genealogy.  How incredible is that? And so, I was tossing and turning because I wanted to do it but I didn’t want to make anyone in our community feel like I had betrayed them. You know I’ve really worked in an ethical manner. It’s been the most important thing in all of my work I think historically and I know I have a reputation of trust in this community. So I didn’t want to do anything that would be seen as sneaky.

Fisher: Sure.

CeCe: And that’s why I didn’t do it until after GSK. And people are saying, well obviously you must have been doing it because you have this position so quickly with Parabon and you have a solved case. But I really was not! I never worked on any perpetrator’s DNA until after GSK and not even immediately. I really sat back and listened to the opinions of our community, of the public, I consulted with legal experts, and ethicists that I have very high regard for and a lot of respect. In some cases people I thought would be completely opposed to it, experts, they were all for it.

Fisher: Really?

CeCe: Yes! A lot of things were explained to me that were important and one of those was, you know, we feel like our DNA is especially private but we also don’t want to promote genetic exceptionalism. The DNA is somehow different. It’s something that some leaders in our community have spoken against and when I spoke to legal experts and ethicists they said, “This is no different than any other public information.” Meaning, if they can use social media, or they can use a phone book, or a city directory, or any public records, then why would they not be able to use this? Just because it’s genetic information doesn’t make it any different unless we are in agreement with genetic exceptionalism.

Fisher: Right.

CeCe: So, I said if it’s no different than any other data then there’s no legal or ethical reason it can’t be used. Now, my biggest concern was informed consent. I didn’t want to be using the DNA of the community and my friends, and colleagues for something that they didn’t know I was doing. And so, once GSK was out in public I felt much better about that because there had been so much coverage that it went a very long way in addressing the informed consent for people on GEDMatch. I mean, I don’t know how anyone could not have heard about it.

Fisher: Right. By that time, if you were on GEDMatch... those are the most passionate DNA genealogists.

CeCe: Right.

Fisher: We all know that it’s out there and we would know the story of the Golden State Killer.

CeCe: And I knew that quite a few people had privatized their DNA and that of their family. So I knew people had an opportunity to do that before I started doing this research. So, I felt that it was finally a situation where I could move forward with this. It just so happened I’d been talking to Parabon for about a year and a half trying to see if there were ways we could work together. And that happened actually because of their repatriation projects. So I totally stayed away from the idea of the murderer, rapist type cases and had not intended to do that, certainly not anytime soon.

Fisher: Well, you needed clarity. You needed clarity. Let’s face it this is a very challenging thing. As we talked about off the air it’s something you can’t make a mistake on because it will affect every other interest you have.

CeCe: Right. And I didn’t want to affect my position of trust in the community but I also have to do what I feel deep down is right. And it’s interesting when I was quoted with concern I got so much pushback. I got so many people angry at me and people in our community were criticizing me and turning against me and people from the public, because they thought I was against this usage. And it’s really something because I’m all for it but it was misconstrued.

Fisher: Well, and I will tell you too CeCe, that when we posted the story as quickly as welearned of it, the response as we shared it on Facebook was nothing but positive. There wasn’t a single negative response to it at all. And I can’t imagine there are many people out there who wouldn’t feel like, “Hey, my DNA helped get a guy like this off the streets.” Amazing!

CeCe: I mean, that’s one of the things that really pushed me to do this. I read comment, after comment, after comment, in support of this that was saying, “If you have the skills to bring closure to the family and potentially stop somebody from murdering the next person, how could you not do this?”

Fisher: That’s right.

CeCe: So I’m doing it and I am sorry to those that aren’t happy about it and I totally respect their opinions on it. No negative feelings about people expressing that but I have to do what I really deep down feel is right and I feel this is right. And I have to say, listening to the families of these victims speak at that press conference, it just reinforced it more. And I want to thank our community because this really is a citizen / scientist led field and we would never be here if it wasn’t for those genetic genealogists that have volunteered thousands and thousands of hours to build this community. So, I hope those people feel really proud about this accomplishment. Yes, I worked on this one case but I could never do this without the support of this community.

Fisher: She’s CeCe Moore. She’s Your Genetic Genealogist. It’s quite a time we’re living in CeCe, who would have ever imagined it getting to this point, huh?

CeCe: Certainly not me! [Laughs]

Fisher: Me either. [Laughs] Hey, have a safe trip. I know you’re on the road right now, so we’ll chat when you get back, all right?

CeCe: All right. Thanks so much for having me.

Fisher: Thanks for coming on. Tom Perry is coming up next to talk preservation on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show in three minutes.

Segment 4 Episode 239

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Well, it’s time we to got the practical stuff. How are you going to save the treasures you've got around your house, the old videos, the old audio? It’s time to talk preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. How're you doing today Tom?

Tom: I am fabulous.

Fisher: All right, let's take this question. It’s from J.R. Meadows and it’s kind of a short one. He said, "I have a few MiniDV tapes and I'd like to get the content off and be able to edit it in iMovie or on my Mac. Are you able to extract the video into a digital format on a USB or something to then allow me to edit the material?" Short, sweet, to the point, thank you J.R. Meadows. What do you think, Tom?

Tom: Well, the answer is going to be a lot longer than his question.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: There's so many different ways to do this. Now one thing that a lot of people don't understand about MiniDV.  MiniDV tape is actually already digital. It’s just in a format that's on a tape which they call linear. So if you look at like a VHS tape, its analogue, but it’s linear. If you look at a MiniDV tape, its digital, but its linear. The neat thing about digital linear is, if there's a problem with your tape, it’s linear, so it’s spread over a long distance. You can physically cut out a bad part, and tape it back together. If your tape gets crumpled, you still have it. If you get a disk that has a bad enough scratch on it or something that's like a digital disk, you lose it all.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: You have no control over doing anything to fix it. That's one thing I love about MiniDVs. They're not really popular anymore because people are into SD cards, into hard drive cameras, different things like this. But as far as I'm concerned, there's nothing to beat an old MiniDV camcorder, because it’s linear and digital, so you have the best of both worlds. And places like B&H Photo, you can still get them. You can buy them online as well.

Fisher: Really?

Tom: And they're a great way to go. If somebody really wants to make sure they have a good backup that's not going to go away, some electrical storm or something is not going to fry everything in the cloud or their disks aren't going to become unreadable because the dye breaks down in them. MiniDV tapes are an excellent source of storing things. In fact, a lot of large companies back up all their data onto data disks such as MiniDV, which are linear, but yet they're digital, so it’s a great way to go. So now back to his actual question, it’s what do you want to do? Do you want something to just quick get down and dirty, "I want to get this thing done and I'm ready to rock and roll." Then I suggest you go to a DVD, because they're quick and easy to make. You can then take the DVD and put it into Wondershare, which you can turn into any kind of format you want, like MOVs. I would assume he's going to want to edit, since he has a Mac and he uses iMovie, then drop it in there, do all of his editing in iMovie and he's got everything pretty much covered. And Wondershare which we talk about all the time is the greatest program in the world since sliced bread. Everybody should have it in their quiver.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yes.

Tom: To be able to use.

Fisher: It’s really easy to use. My question is, I'm trying to think back, I know I've used MiniDVs before and I still have some at home. What was the era primarily for MiniDVs?

Tom: Well, they were really big, I would say probably around the '80s or '90s, because when they first came out, they came out as a consumer format, but yet they also came out with the professional format at the same time, which was called either DVcam by Sony or DVC Probe by Panasonic and JVC. They still use those today and we still get people bringing them in. There's still people that have those machines, because they're awesome. The only downside is of course they're bulky. They're not as small and easy to use as an SD card or a hard drive or something like that. However, the archival ability of them is unsurpassed by anything!

Fisher: Really? I mean still, and they're still made?

Tom: Oh absolutely! Yeah, we still have people every once in a while come into our store or contact us and say, "Hey, I'm looking for some MiniDV tapes. Where can I get them?" and we still sell them. And we still have people bring in MiniDV tapes, so we transfer their old home movies from, you know, twenty years ago. They say, "Hey, I'm finally getting around to editing these! I want to do some editing on my home movies," which we can do, because the MiniDVs, they last and last and last. You take any good care of them and they should last indefinitely. And so, we can go in and do the editing, do anything they want or retransfer their film nowadays with high definition, which really blows things away.

Fisher: Unbelievable. All right, great stuff. Thanks for the question J.R. and we'll be back in three minutes with more from Tom Perry on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 239

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Welcome back for our final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show for this week. It is Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth talking preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority. And during the break, we were talking about Wondershare and it was something that was mentioned in the previous segment, because it is the easiest, least expensive, most flexible type of program you'll ever want to see for editing digitally, and pretty much anybody can do this. And Tom, that came at your recommendation that I got it some time back. It was a great recommendation.

Tom: When the other programs kind of went away, we were looking for something. We found Wondershare. You know, we've talked to the actual guys who write the code for it. We've given them suggestions. These people are so absolutely amazing, like we said in the first segment, this is a piece of software you want to have. Now, the magic continues. They've released an editing program that works on both Macs and PCs, Windows, Mac OS, its called Filmora and it’s the incredible, shocking price of $60 for a lifetime membership.

Fisher: Wow! And it’s called Filmora?

Tom: Yeah, F I L M O R A and just go to Wondershare.com and it'll have a place where you can click on for Filmora. I mean, this is amazing! This is something that Joe Blow off the street… (if) this is their first editing project they've ever encountered. They've got training videos on it, so anybody from startup can get on it. And they have full 4k editing support for the people way on the other end that have been editing forever and want to get something more fancy. It will absolutely blow your mind! It even does things as fancy as noise removal. So if you have some videos that you've shot that have some bad noise in the background, like you're at Disneyland or someplace like this, this has noise removal in it. If you have a clip that you want to do something funny with, you can actually reverse clips in it, so you can play them backwards.

Fisher: Yeah, I was remembering one of the first things I ever did with Wondershare, just obviously not this one, but the previous version here. And we had my kids when they were really little, getting the chance to visit with Muhammad Ali and it was in a very dark room. And so the setting for it was not good, and I thought, "Well, how do you brighten video?" but Wondershare did, and brightened the whole thing up and made it much more viewable. And it’s so easy also to clip the beginnings and ends, because I think in its most basic form, that's the most important stuff, right? Just give me the stuff that I want and trim away all the rest. And that is so easy to do and you can do stuff in often just sixty seconds or less.

Tom: And the neat thing about this, we get emails from people all the time saying, "Hey, I've got all this stuff on my Facebook page. I don't want to recreate it. What can I do?" Well, this new Filmora, you can actually take your social imports and put them right into like Facebook and other social media platforms. You can just drag and drop it and there it is. If you're shooting like a major wide shot and you don't care about everything else except for one little part, it'll let you zoom into the footage on it. If you want to add music and narration, which we really recommend when you're making slideshows or home movie videos for the family. This will allow you to do five tracks of text and ten layers of music or audio or whatever you want. If you have grandma and grandpa talking about something that's going on, play the video in the background, or one thing which I totally love is, it has picture in a picture, so you can have the big picture of a family reunion going on, then down in the corner you can actually have the interview that you shot with your video camera of grandma and grandpa describing the events and seeing the inflections on their face. So it’s not just taking the audio off and putting it with the movie, you're actually seeing them down in a corner as well.

Fisher: Unbelievable. You know, think about this, Tom, a hundred years from now, the stuff that our great great grandchildren can see about us that'll be out there. Unbelievable! Thanks so much, Tom and thanks for the questions J.R. appreciate that. And you can always email Tom at [email protected] or you can get a hold of him by posting on his Twitter page @AskTomP. Talk to you again next, week Tommy!

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: That's our show for this week. Thanks so much for joining us. Thanks once again to CeCe Moore for sharing with us how she cracked a cold case using GEDMatch and her feelings about the controversy that's kind of brewing around that whole subject right now of how we use our genetic DNA. If you missed any of the show, be sure to catch the podcast at iTunes, iHeart Radio or ExtremeGenes.com or TuneIn Radio. Talk to you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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