Episode 240 - New World War I Centennial Presence at FamilySearch / Couple Takes On German Surname Jigsaw Puzzle

podcast episode Jun 10, 2018

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Fisher and David first talk about the impact, so far, of the new EU privacy law, best known as GDPR. At least a couple of important sites are no longer functioning as a result. Hear what they are. Next, an article is speculating that one of the major serial killer cases of the 1960s may be next up on the GEDMatch crime solving list. You will almost surely have heard of this case. David then talks about a recent discovery concerning people from southeast Asia and what DNA is saying about their migration pattern. A Purple Heart was stolen from the family of a deceased Korean War vet a few months ago. The story of the medal’s recovery and return is amazing, and ends with quite the exclamation point! Hear what it is. David then talks about a recent discovery that may suggest how long people have been learning their ABCs. David’s blogger spotlight this week shines on Jenny Hawran from like-herding-cats.com. (Honest!) There, she shares her adventures in genealogy.

Then, Ken Nelson, a World War I specialist with FamilySearch.org talks with Fisher about special material now available on the free site as we recognize the centennial of America’s entrance into the War To End All Wars, and the armistice that ended the conflict. If you had a family member in World War I, you’ll appreciate what Ken has to tell you about these great family history assets.

Fisher next visits with Rick Pettit, a passionate geni, who, along with his wife, Lori, has taken on a remarkable family project. It involves rare family surnames, lots of intermarriage, and German villages that no longer exist! Hear what they are doing and why.

Then, Tom Perry talks about the risks of shipping in hot weather months, and what you can do to assure that one-of-a-kind family memorabilia gets to where it is going safely.

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

Transcript Episode 240

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 240

Fisher: And you have found us! It’s 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. This segment of the show is brought to you by Legacy Tree Genealogists/LegacyTree.com and our guest today is going to be really fun. We have Ken Nelson on. He’s a World War I Specialist with FamilySearch.org. And now that we have gotten into the summer months and the 100th anniversary of all the things that happened with the United States and World War I, he’s going to tell you what you can find on FamilySearch relating to all this now, what’s going to be up right through to the Centennial Anniversary of the Armistice which will be on November 11th. And then later in the show, we’re going to talk to a guy named Rick Pettit. And Rick and his wife have gotten into a project that [laughs] I think has overwhelmed them a little bit, but you’re going to want to hear what they’re up to. Actually tracing down people, even mildly related from centuries ago in villages that don’t even exist anymore in Germany. I mean, it’s a crazy story what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, why they’re doing it. I think you’re going to find it pretty fascinating. Right now it is time to head out to Boston, Massachusetts and talk to my good friend the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. It is David Allen Lambert. Hi David, how are you?

David: Hey, I’m doing good. Actually, I’m not in Beantown today. I’m in Upper Canada, in Guelph, Ontario for the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference. And I’m not lecturing. I’m actually on a “busman’s holiday,” attending lectures.

Fisher: Shut up!

David: Yeah, with people like Amy Johnson Crow and Melanie McComb and others and it’s a great conference going on. And I also have friends that are at the California Jamboree who I know are listeners to Extreme Genes so a shout out to them I suppose is probably in order.

Fisher: Absolutely! Well, I’m glad you’re having a good time there, aye? [Laughs]

David: [Laughs] Well, continuing on our story from last week, GDR is still causing shaking in the boots for most genealogists who have blogs and all that. I know that nothing’s really changed from what I’ve heard other than the Y search and mitosearch going down from Family Tree DNA. Have you heard anything on your end on closures or anything?

Fisher: No, I’ve heard talk that there are some blogs that have disappeared because people are just too concerned that there are not going to be able to handle all the changes that are necessary to be compliant. And nobody wants to take the risk of owing an $11 million fine, so we are seeing some fallout with some of the big companies. I know there’s already been suits filed against Google and Facebook through his law and that actually took place the very first day it was up there so we’ll see where it goes. It is affecting the genealogy world and I don’t think we’re quite done seeing the effects of it yet.

David: Oh that’s very true. Well, I’ll tell you with DNA it’s amazing and of course with GEDmatch.com with the Golden State Killer case recently in the news, now authorities are looking at maybe reopening the Zodiac Killer case with the same type of technology.

Fisher: Wouldn’t that be something? I mean, that goes back to the late ‘60s and he was even taunting authorities in the early ‘70s, so we’re talking almost 50 years ago. So, if the guy’s still living and they’ve got some DNA sample that would work for that, wouldn’t that be an amazing case to break?

David: [Sighs] It’s amazing to think that with just a little bit of spit we can break a cold case open.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: And people would ask me about the DNA and, “How do you feel about GEDmatch?” My personal thing is if my second cousin murdered somebody and murdered dozens of people, you know what? Glad to help out. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah absolutely.

David: Sometimes with DNA it’s not the recent people we’re looking at, it’s the ancient people. In fact, southeast Asia has had a human population there for about 70,000 years. But now DNA has proved that the farmers that settled in southeast Asia actually came from China about 4,500 years ago, and they’ve been able to track this by DNA.

Fisher: And we are starting to see more of those migration routes throughout all parts of the world as a result of DNA, a picture that we were never able to have prior to this time.

David: It really is amazing what can be discovered. And speaking of things that have been discovered, in an abandoned trailer was recently found by a couple that actually were actually given this to live in, they were homeless, the Purple Heart of a Derral Tarrance. Derral’s belongings were stolen and they turned up and it’s being returned to the family in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was a Korean War veteran.

Fisher: Isn’t that amazing how the Purple Heart was stolen? They found it in Oregon and I love the exclamation point on this story. This couple that’s now living in this trailer, they’re expecting their first child soon. They made the effort to get the Purple Heart back to the family and they’re going to name their first child after this veteran!

David: That’s amazing.

Fisher: I know. It’s incredible.

David: Well, I think that they probably need to have the Purple Heart remade with the name of the veteran just for the significance of the baby to know where he got his name from.

Fisher: Exactly.

David: Well, you know, I tell you we all learned our ABCDs when we were little kids, but how long ago were they teaching that? In fact, recently they have found a 3,400 year old piece of inscribed limestone from ancient Egypt that scholars believe is maybe the earliest mention of the Mnemonic ABCD, at least in Egyptian. So, this may be a place that you’re going to find valuable clues as to where our alphabet may have originated.

Fisher: Unbelievable.

David: Well, every week we like to give a blogger spotlight and this one is by Jenny Hawran and Jenny has an interesting blog. It’s like-herding-cats.com.

Fisher: [Laughs] “Like herding cats.” [Laughs]

David: Yeah, in fact, looking for answers is just like herding cats.

Fisher: It is!

David: And this is her personal family history journey and as I’ve said before, tell your story. It’s probably very entertaining, informative, and Jenny’s blog is quite fun and take a peek at it.

Fisher: And GDR compliant.

David: [Laughs] Hoping it is.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Like I said, all my blogger spotlight people out there, please let me know if you shut your blog down. [Laughs] And hey, I don’t want to forget, if you’re not a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society [NEHGS], American Ancestors, you can go to our website on AmericanAncestors.org. You can join as a member and save $20 by using the checkout coupon code “Extreme.”

Fisher: All right David. Well, listen, have a great time in Canada, okay?

David: I shall. You know I’m a dual citizen so hopefully they won’t revoke me before I come back across the country line.

Fisher: [Laughs] There you go. Alright, have a good one buddy, talk to you next week. And coming up next we’re going to talk to a World War I Expert Ken Nelson about what FamilySearch is doing now that the centennial celebration has come for America’s entrance in the World War I. And it’s going to continue on through the time of the Armistice, November 11th the centennial of that as well. He’ll fill you in on what’s waiting for you on FamilySearch coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 240

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Ken Nelson

Fisher: Hey welcome back! It’s America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and it is that centennial celebration going on all this year as we recognize not only the end of World War I, but the contributions of so many American men and women in World War I. And one of the great experts on this is a friend of ours from over at FamilySearch.org, Ken Nelson is on the line, and Ken, we talked last fall about your grandfather and his time in World War I. And I know you’ve kind of spent a lot of time in 1918 this year already. 

Ken: It’s been quite a journey. I’ve really enjoyed just getting a feel for what America was like a hundred years ago and particularly for my grandfather, Harold. And since I talked to you last fall, I did learn a few additional things about his military service that I didn’t even know about.

Fisher: Ha!

Ken: So the research and the quest and the new information you always find, continues.

Fisher: Isn’t that fun? It never stops, and I keep thinking on some of my people, “There isn’t another thing. There is nothing more I could possibly learn about this person.” And boom, up pops something new, and that is always such an exciting moment. Well, part of this whole thing though has to do with the fact that you, over at FamilySearch, are commemorating this centennial and it began on Memorial Day weekend. Tell us about what’s going on there.

Ken: Well, yes. We’ve got some things happening over here to remind family historians, genealogists and users that come to our site about this centennial observance of what America got into the war, not only 1917 but when the troops started arriving in 1918, which is the centennial this year.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Ken: So, when you go to our website you’ll be noticing maybe a blog or two on the war in some of the activities, and you should look for a landing page that will help you access a lot of the records that we’ve already initially published on our site. It will also be a window into some of the new indexing projects that will be put up to help researchers get some additional information so we’ll have some indexing projects come up. And just some other sources like that, that will get you engaged in this because we want this is an opportunity for us to honor and remember those who served or impacted by World War I. Because conflicts like World War I greatly impact our family.

Fisher: Well, and when you consider too that World War I was really World War part A and led to World War part B because of the Armistice.

Ken: Absolutely. And when you look at the numbers of the millions that were engaged and the casualties and how it impacted our family history, these kinds of stories are the ones in many cases that are passed down to the generations of our ancestors that fought in these conflicts.

Fisher: That’s right.

Ken: These adoring stories just seem to always popup around the family dinner table at key points in our nation’s history.

Fisher: You know, I think back to when I was a kid and the Civil War was a hundred years earlier, right, and I knew many people who had known Civil War soldiers. And now, I’m the guy, the older guy, in my family who knew some people who fought in World War I. And it keeps progressing like this and so to have actually known some of these people and actually look at some of their records, and to remember some of those interactions, is an amazing thing to me. So, how has this affected you, Ken? I mean you’ve spent all this time in 1918 researching a lot of these things and your granddad, have you found any new stories out that have really touched your heart when you’ve gotten into this exploration? 

Ken: Well, one of the unique things about this conflict is how it ended, with the signing of the Armistice, which means the soldiers on both sides of the trench knew precisely when the war was to end or when the shooting would stop. And that was 11am. And yet the Armistice was signed a few hours earlier that morning through the command to the soldiers in the trenches. But yet the war continued right up until the very end to the very minute.

Fisher: Why?

Ken: That I guess we’ll leave for historians to debate why the soldiers in charge continued to fight the war right up on to the very end. But I was reading the story of perhaps the last, certainly American, soldier but maybe one of the last soldiers to die in the war. His name was Henry Gunther. And he was from I think the Baltimore, Maryland area. I think he was in the 313th infantry. And I don’t have the particulars of the story but his time of death is recorded at 10:59am.

Fisher: Ugh.

Ken: One minute before the Armistice took effect. Sergeant Henry Gunther lost his life on virtually the last, not only the last day of the war but virtually the last minute of the war.

Fisher: That is so tragic. And you would think... any of these guys, why are they fighting? Because they know that it’s going to come back both ways, you know? You could lose your life in the last moment. You would just think that common sense would say, “Hey, let’s just run out the last five, six hours whatever it is.” Right?

Ken: Just hold your positions. But the war continued up to the very last minute. And even Harold talked about how the battlefield just sort of went instantly quiet.

Fisher: Hmm.

Ken: It left that kind of indelible impression with the soldiers. They were so used to the sound of the field artillery and the gunfire and the machine gunfire, and then the battlefield just went quiet.

Fisher: Was there any talk of him going out, your grandfather, going out and actually mingling with the former enemy at that point?

Ken: He never really talked about that other than, and I don’t remember if I mentioned this last fall, but he did recount a story where he was out on the battlefield, he didn’t really say when, with a buddy of his and his tank battalion and they were just walking the battlefield. He excused himself and went back to his tank to work on I think his machine gun or whatever and his buddy stayed out on the battlefield. And he mentioned that his buddy kicked this blanket and it was mined and exploded.

Fisher: Oh!

Ken: And he never really said what happened to him after that but he never saw him again. And I just read that story and I thought, a chance encounter with maybe a landmine or something like that really could have altered my family history.

Fisher: Yes, absolutely right. [Laughs]

Ken: And that’s a story I just sort of uncovered last fall. It just sort of really hit me of how precious life is and how it can change in an instant, particularly for a soldier on a battlefield.

Fisher: Yeah, absolutely, and they have no idea what time their time may come. How many Americans were involved in World War I?

Ken: Well, we raised an army of about four million, four and a half, but about 2.8 million actually went overseas.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Ken: We sent about 42 divisions and about 29 of them saw active combat in France. We lost about a hundred thousand men in really hard active campaigning in just over maybe a hundred days. We weren’t in very long.

Fisher: No.

Ken: But when we got into it in the summer, particularly in the fall, we lost a lot of men really, really quickly.

Fisher: Well, didn’t they ship like in June, isn’t that when they went? When they made the crossing?

Ken: Well, we had a few in 1917 but starting I’d say probably in the spring of 1918 as we went into the summer and fall then the numbers really started climbing, and eventually we had about 2.8 million soldiers on the ground in France.

Fisher: Um hmm. There were a lot of Americans though who went over who fought on behalf of Great Britain and France in like the Air Corps, right?

Ken: Right. We had a few individuals that enlisted in the British and the French army before the United States got involved. The Lafayette Escadrille, the French Air Force, we had some Americans in there, and you can find some Americans in the British army and French enlistments as well. So we did have a few individuals before we actually got in as a country.

Fisher: So, with all that’s going on concerning World War I on FamilySearch right now, and I assume it’s going on through at least November 11th of this year, right?

Ken: That’s when the combination all sort of comes together when the war finally ends with the Armistice.

Fisher: Sure.

Ken: So, with our landing page that we’ve got and the new indexing projects, and the blog articles that we’ll have to just make it an opportunity for us to like say remember and honor those members of our family that served. So, hopefully with the photos and the stories that we find, we’ll get them uploaded and we’ll be able to share them. One additional thing we’re doing is really putting a lot of content into our Wiki so there’ll be a lot of sources there that you can look at as well. Identifying county histories that were written on a particular communities’ contribution to the war, war county histories, a lot of them are being digitized, and unit histories are being digitized, and this is where you will get the kind of pictures and stories that really help you understand what it was like a hundred years ago. So our landing page will be sort of your entry point to a lot of exciting resources, and you can certainly help with the indexing effort of more service records and other war related records so we can help each other in our research and discover how this war impacted our family history. So there’ll be a lot of exciting things happening on FamilySearch in relation to the Great War.

Fisher: Yeah, right on through the summer and into the fall. What about photographs? Can we upload family photographs in a special place just concerning World War I?

Ken: I don’t think it’s just a special area, but you can upload pictures and stories on Family Search and the memories that you have on there. I uploaded my grandfather’s picture that he always had hanging in the hall. And it’s just a constant reminder as I look at this young 22/23 year old doughboy who I think perhaps really sort of introduced me to family history, and this is perhaps the first event that I really sort of became aware, and it’s just been an exciting journey to see what he went through.

Fisher: Yeah. I can only imagine. Did he have Civil War ancestors as well? People he might have interacted with previously.

Ken: He didn’t have any Civil War ancestors, but my mother did. So I had an Irishman who fought in the Union Army from the state of Maine who died in 1864 and is buried in Louisiana.

Fisher: Well like they say, freedom isn’t free, right?

Ken: That is so true. And we just want to remember their courage and their sacrifice through the pictures and the stories so that their memory will never be forgotten.

Fisher: He’s Ken Nelson. He’s a World War I expert over at FamilySearch.org and they’ve got some great things happening there right now all the way through the summer into the fall and culminating of course on November 11th the Centennial of the Armistice, the end of the war to end all wars. And as we well know, unfortunately it wasn’t even close, was it.

Ken: [Laughs] Yep. With World War II it just sort of continued in the 20th century.

Fisher: Ken thanks so much for your time, and great work, and congratulations on some of the materials you’re finding. It sounds absolutely fascinating and I look forward to really examining what’s going on right now with the World War I records at FamilySearch.

Ken: This will be exciting because there’s always another record to search and there’s always another story to uncover.

Fisher: Absolutely. Thanks so much.

Ken: Okay. Thank you, Scott.

Fisher: And coming up next, we’re going to talk to a man who, along with his wife, has been engaged in a project that is completely unique, and also has something to do with Germany. You’re going to want to hear what they’re doing, coming up next in 5 minutes on Extreme Genes.                

Segment 3 Episode 240

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Rick Pettit

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 I’ve got to tell you about a strange experience I had a while back, it was last year sometime. I dropped in on a neighbor and his wife and we were in their kitchen and they had just papers strewn all over their counter top in there and they were family history thing. He’s really into that, so is she and I was asking him about this and he told me the details of this crazy project that they were both into and having a great time with. As time has gone on I thought, I really need to share this with you the listener exactly what they’re doing and I have my neighbor Rick Pettit on the line right now. How are you Rick?

Rick: Hey, I’m doing fine.

Fisher: Tell me about this crazy thing. I mean, I know this is your wife’s side but this involves not just your wife’s family and extended family, it takes in entire communities. So how did this thing start and explain and what this was that I was seeing.

Rick: So, there was some family history work that had been done on my wife’s side by her grandmother. She actually hired a professional genealogist back some years ago to get some beginnings of family history. Her grandmother was from a little area near Spremberg, Germany which is kind of on the Polish boarder sort of East Germany.

Fisher: Ooh. That’s kind of challenging isn’t it because a lot of the boarders have changed over the years and the jurisdictions have changed and wars of course have lost a lot of records, that’s a tricky area.

Rick: It is. Some work was there but there was a Kubic line in particular that had been kind of troublesome in figuring it all out. So, we wanted to go explore this mine and as we started studying the area and you’re right, it has changed hands through wars and through history but what we found was really interesting. This region actually is a different culture than the rest of Germany, different language. The cultural language, historic language of this region is being lost like it is in a lot of places to some degree.

Fisher: Right.

Rick: They tend to call themselves Sorbish currently. And so, we realized that chances are this little enclave was fairly insular. I mean, they spoke their own langue and had their own culture.

Fisher: Yeah.

Rick: And so we realized okay, so we find Kupic, we find a few other family names. Even if we don’t know how to tie these people in, if they have that surname which by the way Kupic is not found widely across Germany.

Fisher: Okay.

Rick: They’re all cousins. They’re all related.

Fisher: Yes. That’s all family.

Rick: So, we decided we go into FamilySearch and we pulled out pretty much every Kupic we could find in this little town. The little town by Spremberg called Justin and then we come to find out that this place was stripped mined out of existence. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Doesn’t exist anymore. There’s no there, there. 

Rick: I saw it on a site that “God created this beautiful place but the devil put coal underneath it!” [Laughs]

Fisher: Oh. [Laughs]

Rick: This is not the anthracite black coal that we have you know like in Pennsylvania. This is brown coal. This is lignite and it’s 100 feet underground or something. They basically just took the whole land apart and this started back mid 1800s maybe and then it was big in the Nazi-era and then continued on through the years and they basically annihilated this place it’s basically a big hole in the ground.

Fisher: There’s nothing there. There are no buildings and no people, right. No churches?

Rick: Yeah, the churches that these records were attached to they were destroyed and the cities were gone. The people had to go elsewhere and it became a big hole in the ground. Right now, where Justin approximately would have stood it was one of the earlier sites. So it’s already becoming forested again and maybe they’re even beginning to populate it again to some aspects.

Fisher: Crazy. Yeah.

Rick: But it’s certainly not the same place it was. It’s a big hole in the ground that’s maybe been filled in or whatever. It’s not even a ghost town.

Fisher: [Laughs] But you have the names of these people so you’re putting the population back to this town or these towns that don’t exist anymore. How many names have you come up with relating to this Kupic family?

Rick: Well I would say, of course when you start with Kupics you know it spread. [Laughs]

Fisher: Right.

Rick: I would say just a few hundred. I don’t think we’re above a thousand. Just a few hundred names but it’s been a fascinating journey to see what’s going on here.

Fisher: I’ll bet. Are they like puzzle pieces for you Rick? Where you’re just like, “Okay I’ve got this name here. Oh wait a minute this fits in with this one over here.” And you’re starting to assemble the lines to see how they’re all related?

Rick: Well, yeah. Well the process you described you know when you introduced this topic was, we write down every birth we find on a little slip of paper. Write down the marriages and of course you’re looking for the birth parents matching the marriages and then you just start to assemble families just on these little pieces of paper. They’re all just tiny little pieces of paper and you’re like clipping them together and stuff like this and going “Oh, here’s another grandparent. Oh this child got married,” all down the line.

Fisher: [Laughs] How do you keep track of all of this stuff?  I mean that’s crazy.

Rick: Well, what we do is basically get it all assembled in a bunch of paper clippings. A bunch of little notes kind of stacked together and then we go into FamilySearch and we actually start to enter the information and you can actually connect the records directly to the individuals, the families something like that.

Fisher: To the individuals.

Rick: So then you construct it out there and then of course it starts to give you hints about other people and sometimes you find these islands of family history, a few generations linked together, several generations perhaps and children and so forth. But then we don’t have them necessarily attached to anybody else you know so it’s like this little island floating around out there. 

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Rick: And then sometimes you now will find links between those islands. So this is our hope that as we continue this work that these islands will become continents. [Laughs]

Fisher: Right.

Rick: So we can link them together and of course in certain places we’ve found connections to Lori’s family history directly and others we have not yet found any link. Though, we believe that they’re cousins.

Fisher: Sure.

Rick: There are certain windows of time and pace for the records of good quality and others were they’re not so good.

Fisher: Not so good. So, have you done a lot of research into the history of this town and are there neighboring towns too that are involved in this?

Rick: Yeah. When we’re looking in these areas we’re kind of making the assumption that people there were relatively close geographically are likely to be the ones getting married, and using that as an assumption to guide our searchers.

Fisher: Sure. How far out do you go? How many miles?

Rick: Um, The further out we go the more sceptical we get.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Rick: Is it the right bride, the right groom?

Fisher: Right. Yeah.

Rick: So, I would say that we’re pretty comfortable within twenty kilometers.

Fisher: Sure.

Rick: We’re relatively comfortable within forty kilometers. Starts getting further than that then maybe we start getting a little doubtful but people do move around some. And of course as you get to a later time moving around became more the thing and eventually Lori’s grandma left this area and went over to Osterode the very center of Germany and married her grandpa. And there were groups of Wendish who left for Australia and even Texas interestingly enough. A little town in Texas called Cerberus.

Fisher: What about travel plans? Are you going to go over and see these places or what’s left of them?

Rick: [Laughs] You know, I would like to. We’ve talked about it. We haven’t ever done it. I would like to go out and visit the museum and maybe even interact with them. It’s a fascinating topic.

Fisher: sure.

Rick: These cities that are no longer.

Fisher: Right. And here’s one final question for you.

Rick: Sure.

Fisher: Are you hearing from any distant cousins, people who descend from this Kupic family because of the work?

Rick: We have had a very small amount of interaction there and I wonder if the reason why we’ve had less is because this diaspora happened.

Fisher: Yeah.

Rick: It’s not like you have a history. People who all grew up in the same town and they’re still there, you know? They became disconnected I think. And so often you find places, there has been a lot of work done. You always run across lines that are already joined in and all this kind of stuff. There’s not a lot of work going on in these towns. We do not run across very many other people that work in these areas. So we actually have been a little surprised at how little but we have had some small amount of interaction.

Fisher: Unbelievable. Great project, Rick. And of course he’s been doing it for years. How do you use for your kitchen now since that is now your headquarters? [Laughs]

Rick: Oh. [Laughs] Well, we don’t have it out all the time but we get it out periodically and try to move forward with it. And we’ve had several surnames that we’ve got into that are in Lori’s lines and some of them have some broad exposure over Germany but a lot of them are very regional names.

Fisher: He’s Rick Pettit. He and his wife Lori have been going to town collecting the names of her relatives in these towns in Germany from the 19th century that no longer exist and try to put together how they were all related. What a great project. Thanks for coming on Rick!

Rick: Good talking to you.

Fisher: All right thanks Rick. And coming up next we’re going to talk preservation with Tom Perry our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 4 Episode 240

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Hey, it is time to talk preservation on America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he's our Preservation Authority. Tom, we're in the summer months!

Tom: We are! Time for shipping stuff to your family and friends and getting out there and doing it and we have so many people that emails and say, "What's the best way to ship stuff?" because it is important.

Fisher: Yeah, that's true. Why is it that summer is the time for shipping? You're absolutely right. I mean, it seems to me that when I've done this in the past and shared original photographs and things with people or even copies and I send them off to them, its summer time. And I guess I'm thinking, maybe it’s because this is the time of family reunions.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: Either you've got one coming up or you've got one that just passed and you're all exchanging things for that purpose, still tied to that reunion or just family gatherings.

Tom: Oh, absolutely. School's out. There are so many things that you can be doing. And most like you said, you want to do stuff with your family, so people are going through their old stuff that are in their attic that they didn't want to go up there because it’s so cold during the winter.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: Or there was rainy season or whatever, wherever in the world you live. But it just makes it nice to be able in the summer to get everything together. However, summer's the worst time to store stuff if you're in a hot climate and it’s the worst time to ship stuff if you're in a hot climate.

Fisher: Hmm, why is that?

Tom: Well, because you've got to imagine, especially when I tell people that call us all the time, "Don't ship on a Friday," because you're guaranteed your box is going to sit two days hopefully in a warehouse, but possibly in the back of a UPS truck or a US mail truck or FedEx truck, and even though its protected and you're not worried about the elements, except for the heat. And those trucks get hot!

Fisher: Yeah.

Tom: They talk about, you know, the accidents with kids in hot cars, with animals in hot cars, your box is going to be the same thing. And you've taken very good care of your VHS tapes and your audio cassettes and all these different things and now they're sitting in a truck that at 120, 130 degrees.

Fisher: [Laughs] Oh man!

Tom: Even if you live in the north east, you think, "Oh, okay it’s nice and cool." If your truck's going to Texas, it’s going to be going through the mid west, it’s going to be going through possibly Arizona, places that can really add the heat.

Fisher: And it might even wind up in a place there over a weekend, right? Is that what you're saying?

Tom: Oh absolutely! That's why if anything that you're going to be shipping is five days or under, always ship it on a Monday. If it’s a long way, it’s going to be seven to ten days you're going to hit a weekend anyway.

Fisher: Nothing you can do about it.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: All right, so talk about packaging for this stuff.

Tom: Okay, the most important thing is, you want to protect your items. People are always asking, "Should I send it USPS? Should I send it FedEx? UPS?" whomever. And most of them do a good job. I prefer in our area UPS. We've got a great driver. He's awesome. We've never had a problem with UPS. However, it’s not just the carrier it’s how you package your box. Because you think, "You know, the chance that something happens is zero." You know, we've been doing this for over forty years. We've never had anybody ship us something that got lost or ship something that got lost.

Fisher: Right. It’s rare, it is rare.

Tom: Yeah. How often do you get in a car accident? But you have insurance. How often does your house burn down? But you have fire insurance.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: You want to package it properly. And the best way to do that is what I call the two box system. You have a box, you have your Styrofoam, your bubble wrap depending on what it is you're shipping. Now always remember, Styrofoam is going to be a better insulator than bubble pack. Bubble pack is actually better as far as shaking things around if you're sending electronics, but Styrofoam is the best thing to counter against heat and cold. And if you're really super scared, and you know, these are such things that can never be replaced, "I don't care what it costs, I want to do the best I can!" then you want to go to a home improvement centre, like Home Depot, Lowes some place like that and buy sheets of Styrofoam and cut it into the size of the inside of the first box, then put your things in there with stuffing or whatever. Paper does nothing except fill space.

Fisher: Right. So this is like shipping meat almost, right?

Tom: Right, exactly!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Exactly. And it’s a lot more important.

Fisher: Yeah.

Tom: You can replace that T-bone steak, but those, you know, mom's recording, that's it, you have it. So you make all six sides of the box Styrofoam. You just build a little house like you're in Minecraft and put everything in there, because that Styrofoam is not only a protectant from damage, it’s a protectant from the heat. So put a label inside your box. You want to put a label outside your box. And then what you do with step two, we'll get to after the break.

Fisher: All right, let's continue with this, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 240

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: All right, final segment this week for Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com and we're talking about shipping stuff in the summer. And a lot of it happens for your family history material, audio tapes, home movies, old videos, old photographs. So if you're doing this in the hot months as Tom mentioned, you've got to be aware of the heat and the process in trying to avoid letting things sit in warehouses over the course of a weekend. Tom, you set up part one of the process of packaging things in a box with layers of Styrofoam as walls around it to kind of keep the heat out. What else do they do?

Tom: That's exactly correct. Once you get that done, get like a plastic garbage bag and form that around the inside of the Styrofoam where your goods are going to be and then you wrap those in another envelope or bubble pack or something like that so they're protect. Then tie up the plastic bag, get all the air out of it and tie it up with string or one of those little tie bands. And just in case it ends up in a place where it gets rained on or humidity, whether it’s on an airport tarmac or whatever, then you've got another layer of protection. And make sure you have another card inside that plastic bag with your name, address, phone number, email address, all this kind of stuff, so if something happens, they can contact you. You close that all up, you put the last layer of Styrofoam on the top, you close up the box, you seal it, you address it just like this is going to be your final box, it is not. This is just box number one. Then you go and get a second box, which doesn't have to be much bigger than this box.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: Because all you're going to do is need to have room to put some more Styrofoam. I recommend at least an inch all the way around and then that actually is a double protection. Then again put a label inside that box. Then on the outside of the box, you want to put your final label, then your postage or whatever you're going to do. And make sure you seal up every side, not just the two seams. Seal up the sides, everything. It could go through a dust devil. You have no idea what's going to happen. And this stuff can't be replaced. It’s not like, "Oh, okay, if it does happen, I've got another one."

Fisher: So this is the best way other than having an armed escort with a Brinks truck deliver it to your relative.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: And I think this is even better than the Brinks truck, because you've got a package better than inside that hot Brinks truck.

Fisher: Yeah, yeah I suppose that's absolutely true!

Tom: But you can't over emphasize how important this stuff is, because it’s all irreplaceable. And you're talking about less than probably about five, ten dollars of materials, so it’s insignificant. And a lot of the stuff you're going to have laying around house anyway. You bought a new television, you've got Styrofoam. There's just so many ways you can make this work for you. And it is so critical that you get everything packaged. And we have people that say, "Well, should I put all my tapes together? Should I send them in separate boxes? What should I do?" Well, there's actually two ways. If you want to go ahead and send them all as separate items, that's going to cost so much more that it would be better to put them all in one box and then air them.

Fisher: Yeah.

Tom: So instead of spending ten dollars, ten dollars, ten dollars and ten dollars on each one individually, go and bite the bullet and spend the thirty dollars and have it shipped “next day air” or something like that. And again, don't do it on a weekend! You know, on a Friday where it’s going to sit in a truck for two days. Ship it on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or no later than Thursday! I recommend no later than a Wednesday in case there's a hiccup, because that way, the stuff's going to be to wherever your relatives are the next day. And make sure your relatives are going to be there.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] Boy that's a good thought, too!

Tom: Oh, it is. Some people just assume that they're always going to be there. They might go away for the weekend and that box is going to sit on their front porch for maybe the whole weekend or sit in a truck, because it can't be delivered.

Fisher: And then you've got a porch thief to worry about, oh my gosh!

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: There are so many things. This stuff's irreplaceable. You want to make sure things work. And a lot of times, if you're sending stuff to family, send it to them, send it to them properly. Make sure they're going to be there, rock and roll, and you'll be happy forever.

Fisher: Great stuff as always, Tom. See you again next week.

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: Well, as always, we have covered a lot of ground today. And thanks so much to our guest, Ken Nelson from FamilySearch.org, talking about what FamilySearch is doing now during the Centennial Celebration of America's involvement in World War I and the Armistice Anniversary, which is coming up in November, a lot to find at FamilySearch.org. Thanks also to Rick Pettit for sharing with us what he and his wife are doing in an amazing genealogical project that you might want to mimic in your own way. Hey, don't forget to sign up for our Weekly Genie Newsletter. You can do it through ExtremeGenes.com or on our Facebook page. We'll talk to you again next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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