Episode 244 - Meet The Driveway Sisters- And They Didn’t Even Know It! / Property Records May Hold Keys To Breakthroughs

podcast episode Jul 15, 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 Family Histoire News with the story of a remarkable new find… a type of xray that can reveal the image beneath the damage on a daguerreotype photo.  (See ExtremeGenes.com.)  Then, the guys tell the story of a DNA match that led a 79-year-old adoptee to her 100-year-old mother!  Next, David tells about an 8,000-year-old iron age village that has been found, including dozens of intact homes. Get the details. And lastly, footage of a walking FDR has been found. Hear how it was obtained and who shot the footage which dates back to 1935! David’s Blogger Spotlight this week shines on Amanda Knapper’s sillymummyfamilytree.blogspot.com. Amanda’s British ancestry is a constant source of blogging goodness!

Fisher then visits with two Wisconsin women who have come to call themselves “The Driveway Sisters.” One moved in just last year and shares a driveway with the other. What they didn’t know is that they are sisters! Hear the odd way they learned the truth about their close relationship. And it didn’t involve DNA!

Next up, Fisher visits with Bob Call from Legacy Tree Genealogists. Bob shares some great tips about using land records for connecting ancestors. For pre-1850, it’s essential!

Finally, Fisher visits with Tom Perry about those ridiculous 1970s-era photo albums. They called them “magnetic,” but they were nothing short of sticky and destructive. Hear what you can do to save your four-decade-old material from these nightmare photo albums.

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

Transcript of Episode 244

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 244

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 coming up in about 10 minutes we’re going to talk to a couple of Wisconsin ladies who live right next door to each other. In fact, they share a driveway. And recently they found out they share a whole lot more than that, and you won’t believe how they discovered it. Wait till you hear their stories coming up in about 10 minutes. Then later in the show we’re going to another great researcher from Legacy Tree Genealogists, Bob Call, talking about land and property records and what they can do for you as you’re seeking your ancestors, especially those from before 1850. And just a reminder by the way, don’t forget to sign up for our “Weekly Genie Newsletter.” It is absolutely free. You can do it through our website ExtremeGenes.com or through our Facebook page. And thanks also to all those new members of our Patron Club supporters of Extreme Genes who are also getting all kinds of great benefits like early access to the podcast, bonus podcast every month and acknowledgement on our Extreme Genes website. Right now, let’s head out to Boston and talk to my good friend David Allen Lambert. He’s the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Boy, you’re traveling a lot this summer David. What are you up to next?

David: One of our listeners, Michael Lusine has invited me to be their speaker at the 43rd bomb group at the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on July 28th and 29th.

Fisher: Wow!

David: I’m very much looking forward to that. And the great part of that is I’m actually going to actually go out and fire a Thompson machine gun with World War II veterans.

Fisher: You’re kidding me.

David: Nope.

Fisher: That is the coolest thing ever.

David: It really is. But the week before that I’ll be at the Abrams Seminar in Lansing, Michigan at the Michigan State Archives and the week before that I’ll be at the SAR Congress in Houston, Texas. So busy, busy July for me.

Fisher: [Laughs]  Yes you’re everywhere, and of course at FGS coming up in August I’m going to be the keynote speaker for the opening session on Wednesday the 22nd. That’s in Fort Wayne, Indiana. So, if you’re in the Midwest come on out and join us and find out all kinds of new things, some great tools in your journey to discover your family history.

David: Yeah, I’ll be your sidekick out there as well. [Laughs] I’ll be at that conference too.

Fisher: That’s right. It’s going to be fun. Alright, what’s going on this week with our Family Histoire News, David?

David: Well, I’ll tell you the great story and I’d like to compare this to ancestral scratch tickets, because you know that scratch tickets you just kind of scrape away and, “Hmm, it’s not a winner.” How about old daguerreotypes? Daguerreotypes, the earliest form of photography, sometimes will tarnish and fade away, while with the new high energy x-ray, the National Gallery in Canada has determined that they can now see the images below the tarnish and there’s a great example on Extreme Genes on the Facebook page with the link right to it that shows you this girl that sort of comes right out of the mist.

Fisher: Out of the mist is right. It’s unbelievable, and you know a few years ago, remember we talked about an experiment that I did with Ron Fox on a couple of my daguerreotypes and one of them we completely rescued. It was phenomenal. So, we went on to a second one and it really started to damage, and I had to rescue it from the “rescue” because it got a lot worse, and I’m really kind of disappointed the way that came out. If we’d had this we wouldn’t have taken a chance like that with electrolysis as a means to rescue a daguerreotype.

David: That’s true. Well, I’ll tell you sometimes a rescue can be many years later. In this case it’s 79 years later where a daughter got to meet her mother and not graveside. Her 100-year old mother is alive and well and both of them thought that in 1938 the other had died. Joanne Loewenstern aged 79 found out at the age of 16 that she was actually adopted, but her mother had died shortly after she was born in a hospital in the Bronx in New York. And the same is true for Lillian Ciminieri who at 100 was thinking that her daughter had died after she was born, an emotional reunion. The video is heart wrenching. Amazing to think DNA can bring people together. Who would have thought a 79-year old would still have their mother still alive?

Fisher: That’s incredible. And then both of them tested David?

David: I believe so. It was all via DNA.

Fisher: Wow. [Laughs]

David: They had to via Ancestry.com.

Fisher: Wow!

David: Our next discovery is a little further east. It is Al Maryah Island at United Arab Emirates. In the Arabian Gulf they found this island that has a settlement that dates back 8,000 years ago, and it’s been perfectly preserved under the sand dunes for all these years.

Fisher: That’s incredible!

David: Iron Age. So, if you have ancestors from your DNA that point from the Iron Age in Arabia, who knows what DNA they may be digging up for you now?

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: So, you know it’s funny when people dig up and every time I go look up in the old home movies and what not. But sometimes you might have a home movie that might have some startling historical relevance, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt as many know suffered from polio earlier on and was wheelchair bound. They actually have an Easter video from 1935 that a gentleman from New York, named Fred Hill, filmed. And it shows FDR actually walking with a cane.

Fisher: It’s unbelievable footage and it’s on ExtremeGenes.com. You know, the press photographers were not allowed to record him walking because they didn’t want to see the hobble that he had. They didn’t want to display that to the American public. But this guy, he didn’t know. It was just his home movie camera, and he got some amazing footage with it.

David: It’s quite amazing, and then like I say if you’ve never seen this I would definitely go to ExtremeGenes.com which I suggest people do all the time because you get the Family Histoire News “live” as we post it.

Fisher: That’s right, as we find it. Exactly.

David: My blogger spotlight this week shines on Amanda Knapper’s blog SillyMummyFamilyTree.blogspot.com where she talks about her British ancestry and gives a great little snippet of this and that on her ancestors as she found which is another reason why you should become a blogger everyone, and tell us about your family so we can get great content to possibly have you on Extreme Genes.

Fisher: There you go. And you know the fun part about this is too we really learn from each other about records and record sets that might be out there to help us in our own journey.

David: It really is true. And I know that there’s some exciting things coming down the road with Reclaim The Records and hopefully we’ll get an insight into that soon too. Well, that’s all I have from Beantown. Just remember, if you’re not a member of American Ancestors, you can save $20 by using the checkout code “Extreme” and save $20 on your membership which is roughly $89.95. Have a great summer. I hope to see some of you at FGS or elsewhere on your travels.

Fisher: All right, thanks so much David. And coming up next, two Wisconsin women who share who share a driveway. Yeah, they’re right next door to each other, but they share something even more, and they didn’t learn about it until only recently. Wait till you hear this story coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 244

                  Host: Scott Fisher with guests Hillary and Dawn  

Fisher: Hey welcome back, its America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. This segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. And as we mentioned before the break you know there are things that happen in family history research that are just unexplainable.  And the story of my next two guests really falls into that category. They’re in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Meet Hillary and Dawn. How are you ladies?

Dawn: We’re wonderful.

Hillary: Hi, we’re good.

Fisher: You guys, I mean, you’re next door neighbors. You share a driveway, right?

Dawn: Yes.

Hillary: Correct.

Fisher: All right. Now Hillary, you’re the younger of the two ladies here. You’re what, about thirty one years old?

Hillary: I am thirty one.

Fisher: Thirty one, and as I understand it, you’re an adoptee. And like a lot of adoptees, you want that hole in your life kind of filled. You want to figure out where you came from. And your family situation was that you came from an open adoption. In other words, the records weren’t hidden too much for you. So you were able to get access pretty easily, yes?

Hillary: Yes.

Fisher: So where did you go to find out about your background?

Hillary: I was adopted from Catholic Charities. I thought it would have been much more challenging but all I did was go online to their website and filled out some information and within a day, actually the very next day I got a call from the lady there that said my adoption was an open adoption and that they had all my records.

Fisher: Come and get it, huh?

Hillary: Yes, yes!

Fisher: Wow!

Hillary: They ended up sending a packet in the mail in the next couple of days I just kept waiting for my whole life.

Fisher: Well, now tell me about that. I mean, you were how old when you decided to look and how long had you been wanting to look?

Hillary: Well, it was in 2012 when I was starting this actual search.

Fisher: Okay.

Hillary: That’s when I became pregnant with my daughter Stella.

Fisher: Okay, so you were about 25, you’re starting your own family and you want to know.

Hillary: Yes, for health reasons and I just wanted to know mostly for Stella’s sake and for my sake and I knew I had to find the time to get some answers.

Fisher: Sure.

Hillary: And I have wanted to my whole life, ever since I can recall. I knew I was adopted. My parents had told me so. I mean, forever. I couldn’t wait till I was old enough and could find out more information.

Fisher: Could do that. So you finally got around to it. So you went to work and you found some interesting information in there.

Hillary: Yes. In the pamphlet, in the very first page I was able to see what my birth mother’s name was where she lived and then in the next paragraph they said who my birth father was, but unfortunately he passed away in 2010. His obituary was in my packet.

Fisher: Which kind of led you now to next of kin?

Hillary: Yes, in the packet I was able to see that I had two half-sisters that I know had the same father and I had two half-brothers from a different mother.

Fisher: Okay, different mom. Were you able to find these people?

Hillary: Yes, I was able to find my two half-brothers on Facebook actually, pretty much that day I think I went on.

Fisher: Wow!

Hillary: And I was able to find them because their last name is not very common. And I knew I could tell immediately that they looked like me, and resembled me, and I had their address. I knew where they were from so I knew that that was them.

Fisher: Okay.

Hillary: And they accepted my request without even knowing who I was.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Hillary: I was fortunate enough for that. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah.

Hillary: And I kind of kept it a secret for a while from them. I didn’t confront them even until 2015 actually. I kind of just held it all in because I was as nervous about telling them and asking them.

Fisher: Sure.

Hillary: I didn’t know if they knew I existed. I didn’t know if anyone had told them. I didn’t want to ruin anything.

Fisher: It’s a touchy thing, isn’t it?

Hillary: Yes. And then I was not able to locate my sister. Her name was Dawn Johnson.

Fisher: Okay.

Hillary: From my father’s obituary and other stuff in the packet, I mean I would go on Facebook and type Dawn Johnson and I would get a billion Dawn Johnsons.

Fisher: Um hmm. This whole family was around your area there in Wisconsin, right?

Hillary: Yeah, pretty close. You know, coming to find out that my birth mother lived an hour and a half away from me my whole life, and my two half brothers and then Dawn lived two hours away from me.

Fisher: Right. Now, let’s talk to your neighbor Dawn here. Now Dawn, you moved in only last year, right?

Dawn: That is correct. We purchased the house in June of 2017.

Fisher: Okay. And you shared this driveway with Hillary. And Hillary has got a little girl, four years old who I understood took quite a shine to you.

Dawn: Yes. I found out her name was Stella. And she was so intrigued. She always wanted to come over and find out what I was doing. And I was mostly by myself during the day as my significant other, Kurt, worked nights so he slept during the day at our other house in Greenwood. And she would constantly come over and it was wonderful to have a little girl around who was so intrigued in everything that I was doing.

Fisher: How did you feel about that Hillary? Were you okay with that?

Hillary: Not exactly, no.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Hillary: I had not met the neighbors yet and I’d constantly tell Stella, “Stella stop going over there.” We don’t even know them. “No mom, they’re really nice. They really like me.” I would constantly tell her to not go there because I’m like I wasn’t sure. But she insisted. I couldn’t stop her. She would literally just show us she was in the driveway so she wasn’t far away but she would constantly be over there. 

Fisher: So she introduced you basically to the new neighbors?

Hillary: Yeah. She made me want to get to know them maybe, a little bit.

Fisher: Yeah. And you found out their names were Kurt and Dawn?

Hillary: I did, yeah.

Fisher: Did you find that kind of intriguing?

Hillary: I did find that intriguing. My husband was talking to Dawn when they had met and she told him that she was from the Greenwood area, that her name was Dawn. And he came inside and told me and he’s like, “I met the new neighbors. Her name is Dawn, she’s from Greenwood.” And it hit me right away. From my father’s obituary it said Dawn Johnson from the Greenwood area.

Fisher: Yeah.

Hillary: So it hit me like a ton of bricks. And I told Lance, my husband, I was like, “Do you get it? Like Dawn, Greenwood” and he was like, “What?” so I brought out my pack of stuff and showed him and he was like, “Oh, yeah.” We were like, no, there’s no way.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Hillary: That? No. No. We kind of giggled and we’re like, could be...but no, you know, we didn’t know her last name and we were just getting ahead of ourselves. So we kind of dropped it for a little bit there.

Fisher: Really. So, I understand from one account you actually were staring at her quite a lot. Did that make you uncomfortable, Dawn?

Hillary: [Laughs]

Dawn: Well, yeah. It started pouring when me and Kurt were ripping off the shingles on our garage so we had to obviously come off of the roof and go into the garage. This was in the first part of August. So, we were standing in the garage waiting for the weather to pass and Lance, Hillary, and Stella came over into the garage and we were all standing there, and a strange feeling, like she was like staring at me from moving around all angles of me.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Dawn: Now mind you, I hadn’t really talked at all. It was basically a wave, a smile, and that was about it. Stella was the one I had more association with so it was a little strange having this person stare at me. And as we were leaving, pulling out of the driveway because we were not staying overnight here yet, the house wasn’t ready to sleep there.

Fisher: Right.

Dawn: So as we were leaving, Kurt and I were out of the driveway, and Kurt said, “What was up with Hillary? She wouldn’t even let me an inch in between you and her.”

Hillary: [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

Dawn: I said, I have no have idea. So we just left it at that and went home to Greenwood, and took a shower and that’s the same night that all these strange text messages just started coming through because we gave our phone number to Lance in case something happened while we weren’t here because we weren’t here all the time working on the house.

Fisher: Okay. Sure.

Dawn: And just out of the blue I’m getting text messages from the neighbors.

Fisher: Now Hillary, you had seen something though that kind of clued you in that this might really be your half sister. And what was that?

Hillary: Yes. Early August there was a very large truck that pulled in our driveway, our shared driveway. A pack of shingles and on the shingles there was like a huge red banner, I mean twenty feet long, and it said Johnson plastered across the side of the shingles. And I was all alone. I lost it. I thought, oh my gosh, it’s Dawn Johnson, like oh my gosh she’s from Greenwood. It’s like how many Dawn Johnsons live in Greenwood? It’s a small town, right? I’m going crazy.

Fisher: Yeah.

Hillary: I call my husband. I’m like, “I found out her name is Johnson.” He’s like, “Oh my gosh, yeah, you’ve got to ask her.” I’m like, “I’m not going to ask her, like who her dad is or whatever.”

Fisher: [Laughs]

Hillary: I’m like I’m not going to just go ask her. I’m like how’s this happening? I didn’t even know for sure still until I started asking her those random questions.

Fisher: Sure. And this is where the crazy texting thing began, right?

 Hillary: Yes.

Fisher: Okay. And then finally you just came out with it?

Hillary: Finally I asked her a series of questions of stuff I knew. I started off by asking if she was the Miss Loyal Corn Fest Queen because I had known from my father’s obituary that Dawn Johnson was Miss Loyal Corn Fest Queen. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

Hillary: And she said, “Yes. Why?” And then I pretty much just blurted out after that. I just said, “Whose you birth dad? Who’s your dad?” And she said, “Wayne Close” our father’s name. Unfortunately he passed away in 2010. And my husband was sitting there and I was screaming. It was nine thirty at night. I was screaming and crying, joyful, scared because I still haven’t told her who I am. So then I texted her and I said, “We have a lot to talk about. Can I call you?” And she said, “Sure.”

Fisher: Dawn what was your feeling when you heard this? Did you know that Hillary existed?

Dawn: No. I actually did not meet my birth father until I was eighteen. So we never had a really close father-daughter relationship. It was quite a shock because I put together the text messages, you know, those three questions that she asked me, and I knew they were my father’s obituary and I knew Hillary is adopted from her husband Lance. I picked up the phone and she said, “You know how I told you I was adopted?” And I said, Yeah. “Well I know who my birth father is.” And at that instant with all those questions and her saying that, she said, “You and me have the same dad, don’t we?” [Laughs] I said oh my God!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Dawn: You know, there’s not enough words to describe the feeling.

Fisher: No.

Dawn: I was like in shock, and I’m like, I wasn’t upset, I was very grateful. I was like, oh my God I’ve got another sister out there, how wonderful. And that means Stella is my niece! [Laughs]

Fisher: That’s right, little Stella.

Dawn: You know what, and that’s so weird because we looked at twenty plus houses in the city and they go extreme fast and we found this house, and the only thing we did not like about it was the shared driveway. [Laughs]

Fisher: The shared driveway. [Laughs] That is an incredible story, ladies. And I’m so happy for both of you. This is an amazing thing.

Dawn: Thank you.

Fisher: And your family circle has expanded. And I can tell, I’m sure you’ve told this story already a hundred times to one outlet or another, but it still impacts you just as you repeat it, right?

Dawn: It does.

Hillary: It still impacts. I’m not kidding I get goosebumps every time almost. We both cry sometimes. It never gets old I’ll tell you that.

Fisher: It never gets old. Well, Hillary and Dawn, thank you so much for coming on Extreme Genes and sharing your story. That’s what it’s all about in family history research, isn’t it?

Hillary: Yes.

Dawn: Yes it is definitely.

Fisher: All right. You guys have a great day. Thanks so much.

Dawn: Thank you.

Hillary: Thank you so much. You too!

Fisher: And coming up next, we’re going to talk to Bob Call. He’s going to share some information about how to use land records and property records to identify your ancestors especially from pre-1850, coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.    

Segment 3 Episode 244

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Bob Call

Fisher: Welcome back, it’s America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and we’re talking property records today. You might think, wait a minute, what’s that got to do with anything? It has to do with everything if you’re struggling with various like pre-1850 records, and Bob Call is on the line with me today. He is a researcher with my friends at LegacyTree.com/Genealogists. Bob, how you’re doing?

Bob: I’m good. How are you doing?

Fisher: Awesome. You know, I’ve run into a lot of people lately who are kind of new to the game and property records is really a great way to go and I think a lot of people don’t understand how much information is buried in some of these things. How long have you been researching property records?

Bob: I’ve used property records, probably seven to ten years.

Fisher: Seven to ten years. And there’s always some interesting nugget in there because it’s not just the legal descriptions of property that you can find. You can get a lot of clues that you just can’t get prior to 1850, of course when the census records started including every member of the household, that changed everything but before that, this is a great way to discover your ancestors’ past and even after 1850.

Bob: Definitely.

Fisher: So, what have you found in there that’s kind of unique?

Bob: I like property records a lot because they give you clues about family members that can’t be found elsewhere in that pre-1850 time period. Especially if a person has died and his or her estate needs to be divided up among the heirs, you’ll find second marriages of widows, or marriages of daughters, or new residences of children who moved away, it really keeps together those people you think my be related but you just don’t have the proof for them yet.

Fisher: Yeah, right and also even the witnesses sometimes are related. There’s some kind of association there that might even tell you where the deceased came from before that time they were in that particular area.

Bob: Yeah, that’s very helpful. That can give you a breakthrough that you can’t get elsewhere.

Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. It’s really kind of fun to go through and say, okay, give me all the names here. What is their association not only the named relatives where it’s plainly stated, but sometimes the witnesses, sometimes the people who were asked to be the executors of the will.

Bob: I had one interesting case. We’re researching a man named John Anderson who was in Indiana, and there were about eight or nine men with that same name in the county.

Fisher: Oh boy. [Laughs]

Bob: Yeah, exactly. [Laughs] Right? We knew he came from Pennsylvania. Of course several of those men also came from Pennsylvania, but we didn’t know where in Pennsylvania and it was the property records that gave us some really good clues. We were able to look at all the John Anderson deeds from that county. We had to read each one carefully and we came up with a cluster of three or four different groups of sons and grandsons named John Anderson. They just liked to name the sons and grandsons after each other.

Fisher: Which makes things just joyous. It’s a good thing they weren’t Smith, you know?

Bob: [Laughs] Yeah, it was almost as bad as Smith, but not quite.

Fisher: But you know, you really bring up an interesting point here and as people get into this and if you’re new to it, the reality is that the name isn’t always the key thing, I mean, for instance, there’s the John Smith who was married to Mary or Audrey, or somebody else. Who also was a blacksmith, who also had a son named Micajah. You know, all these different things kind of come together. The identification isn’t made just from the name and this is a great way to get some of those little details that help you separate them. I’ve had my great grandfather Andrew Jackson Fisher. He was a fire fighter in New York City in the tenth ward but there was another one by the exact same name. And I had to figure out how to separate which one was which because they were both in the papers for various things, politics and business and I was finally able to sort them out because you can associate, oh, this one had this wife and that has that wife and that type of thing.

Bob: Um hmm. Those are the type of clues we’re looking for and where they lived too you know?

Fisher: Yeah, that’s right.

Bob: That Anderson family, I put them in different corners of the county and was able to say okay, there’s different groups here let’s focus in on the right family, so we don’t make wrong connections.

Fisher: And were you able to figure out where back in Pennsylvania they were from as a result of this?

Bob: Unfortunately no. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

Bob: That’s the downside. But the good side was one of the deeds followed was that John Anderson did stay in Pennsylvania, so that helped us make sure that we didn’t follow the wrong family line and get the wrong ancestors.

Fisher: Sure. Yeah, right.

Bob: I’d like to talk a little bit about the different clues in the indexes and then maybe some clues in the deeds themselves.

Fisher: Sure.

Bob: I’m doing research. Well, we had to prioritize our work. They may open up the deed book and they’re seeing fifty deeds you might want to look at. I say, okay which ones do I go to first?

Fisher: Yeah, that drives me nuts. You’re absolutely right. [Laughs] There’s too many of them. I don’t have a lot of time and the meter is running on my car out on the street.

Bob: Exactly. Yeah, so if we can find little clues in the indexes that prioritize which deeds we pull first, that will be most effective for our research.

Fisher: Okay. And what do you look for?

Bob: The general principles, any sort of notation that doesn’t look standard. So, in the indexes you’ll have those with the list of the grantor which is the seller.

Fisher: Right.

Bob: And then you’ll have the grantee, the person they’re selling the property to. Then you just have the volume and page number of the deed.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Bob: And anything in addition to those names can be helpful. So, often times you’ll see, Et Al, or et Ux, which means and others, and a wife.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Bob: So there can be more names in here, probably more family members and certainly who the wife is, right.

Fisher: Sure.

Bob: Also, if you see clues that the person selling the land may have been dead, which is administrator, executor, the state, heirs, anything along those clues are a goldmine. I go for those deeds first.

Fisher: Sure.

Bob: The others are just basically transactions that go on throughout a course of a person’s life.

Bob: Yeah. And those are good and can be helpful and can give you other types of clues. But once someone had died and they’re diving up the property, there can be all sorts of family relationships.

Fisher: What was the biggest goldmine you ever found in one deed?

Bob: In one single deed?

Fisher: Yeah.

Bob: Essentially, we had a man who died in Vermont in the 1780s and we didn’t know what happened to his widow or a few of his daughters. But we found the heirs selling property in the 1790s up until the 1800s and in those deeds that mentioned that the widow was about to marry a new man and then another later deed listed her as the wife. So, even though we could never find her marriage record, we had proof of her marriage to a second man it’s all in the approximated time period. We were able to determine an approximate time when a daughter died and she died without any heirs herself. We knew a daughter existed but we did not know who she married, again it was not in the marriage records. We also figured out that there was likely a granddaughter that no one knows about as well.

Fisher: Wow!

Bob: It was two or three deeds I have to admit.

Fisher: Okay.

Bob: But they were all right there together in the same deed book and all typed together.

Fisher: Sure. Boy that tells you a lot doesn’t it. And I think that really explains why property records are so important to refer to when you’re struck. Pre-1850 especially, Vermont is a terrible area by the way, for a lot of research into marriages and vital records from that time period. I’ve looked at it before and it’s like, okay, where did they go? What happened to them?

Bob: Yep. All these towns in Vermont that do keep vital records from 1760 onwards, they certainly weren’t complete.

Fisher: No. [Laughs]

Bob: These families all lived in these towns, some of their vital records were recorded but these marriages and the granddaughter they were not in the vital records for whatever reason. The deeds were just the source for that.

Fisher: Yeah, the deeds are incredible. So where do people find them?

Bob: The deeds in American research are usually at the county level.

Fisher: Okay.

Bob: So, they’re going to be held at the county courthouse. Many have been microfilmed by Family Search, Family History Library, with a warning on that though, even though it may look like the Family History Library has all of the deeds for each county, they sometimes don’t. So it can be worth calling the county courthouse recorder and asking them what property records they have.

Fisher: If there’s something more there and keep in mind too Family Search is digitizing everything so a lot of this stuff could be available online. How cool is that?

Bob: Oh yes, I love it.

Fisher: All right, he’s Bob Call. He’s a researcher with Legacy Tree Genealogists. We appreciate your time Bob, good stuff!

Bob: Thank you Scott. That was a lot of fun.

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

Segment 4 Episode 244

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Well, you probably have them in drawers and cabinets throughout your house, those 1970s era, what they called magnetic photo albums and there was nothing magnetic about them! Hey, its Fisher here. Welcome back, it’s Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com talking preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. And Tom, these old "magnetic" photo albums, they are a real pain because they're just constantly destroying these photos!

Tom: Oh, they are. I have several of them. And back in the day we thought they were the coolest thing since sliced bread, and we found out they were nothing but green, moldy bread.

Fisher: Green, moldy bread, exactly. In fact, I noticed a lot of the pictures that I have in those, and I don't dare take them out because it will rip a lot of the pictures. But a lot of those photos we have are actually fading, perhaps more than the ones we had back in the 1960s, and I'm wondering if that's just because of the fact that the back of the photo is stuck to this goop and it’s actually affecting the image itself.

Tom: Yeah, you really had a double whammy with these kinds of things, because if you had like the thinner paper prints that some of the cheaper developers used, the actual gooey stuff which I call precursor to the posted actually would leech into the picture. And sometimes, if you were in like high heat and high humidity areas, it would go all the way through the picture and actually affect the top part of it too, so they could be really, really nasty. And the plastic they used was far from preservation plastic, so just the plastic itself would yellow, would transfer the yellow and you know, a little artifact from that would get on the photo. There's just so many bad things that happened with old, like you say "magnetic" magic photo album.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah. So, the question would be, and I hear this from people periodically, they ask me and I'm sure you hear it as well, "Should you take pictures out of these magnetic photo albums? Would it save them or are they already pretty much damaged by the chemistry? Or should you leave them in and just scan them as such? And if you want to take them out, how would you do it?"

Tom: Yes, absolutely correct. True to all the above! [Laughs]

Fisher: Right.

Tom: It’s kind of crazy. It depends where you lived, how they were stored, which ones you got, which chemicals are actually in them, because there were different manufacturers that made them. One of the biggest problems that you have with those is, anytime you run into a situation like this where you think your pictures have been, you know, somehow affected, the first thing you want to do is scan them before you do anything else. And if you're just so bad you can't get them into a scanner without ruining your scanner, that's when you want to get a ShotBox and put them in your ShotBox and shoot them with your Nikon or even with your iPhone or your iPad.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: Before you mess with them, you've got some kind of a picture in case something goes really awry when you're actually removing them.

Fisher: Yeah, that's a good point. I remember trying to do this many years ago. I had a great picture. It was me with Mickey Mantle. Can you imagine a better picture than that? And it was in a magnetic photo album. And to remove this picture, it would start to bend the picture and crease it. And you know, that to me would be the most difficult thing. Is there anything you could actually put onto the photo or into the album itself that might cause the photos to release more easily?

Tom: Yeah, there's a couple of different things you can try. And you always want to do things one at a time to find out what are your circumstances, learn the best way to remove them. One thing that’s really, really simple a lot of people never think about, you can go to your local piano store and get some really super thin piano wire. And sometimes you can run those between the photo and the sticky stuff very, very carefully. And it’s sharp enough that it’s not going to cut the paper in the photo, but it’s sharp enough that it will release the photo itself. That's a good way to try.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: Another thing you can do is, if you get a little bit of warmth, not too much, you don't want to like set them in the sun, because that's going to fade your photo. But, if you get a  hairdryer and put it on the lowest setting and kind of go over it a little bit, very slowly so it don't get too hot, sometimes these wax based magnetic photo albums will actually release the picture and then you can get them out. But, always make sure before you start any of these kinds of things, you're thinking of what the next step is. Don't just start taking these out and stacking them on top of each other if you just really messed yourself up really bad.

Fisher: What great advice! All right, we're going to continue this conversation about those nasty 1970s era magnetic photo albums and what you can do with them, coming up when we return in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 244

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: We're back! It is our final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show for this week. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority and we're talking about those ridiculous "magic" "magnetic" photo albums from the 1970s era that were just nightmares, especially today, because its destroying our pictures. And we were talking about how to remove them from the photo albums if you chose to do that, and then what happens after that, because as Tom mentioned, if you pile them up you're going to create a whole new problem.

Tom: Exactly. So what you need to do, you need to make sure you get, I recommend black paper, because most scanners are blind to black paper.

Fisher: Ha!

Tom: In fact, you see the good quality scanner, the top of them are usually black, because then it just edits out that part out, especially the good Kodak scanners. So what I recommend you do is, go to like a stationery store that sells like wedding announcements, because then you can get a little bit heavier paper that they would make a wedding announcement on, you know that they put the gold print on a black paper?

Fisher: Right.

Tom: Because that black is really a strong black. So as you take them out of your album, you set them on these as square as you can, it will make your scanning process a whole lot better. But if you're in a situation where there's still a lot of sticky stuff on the back that you really want to remove, there's a couple of ways to do this. Some people are using archival tape, but you have to be very, very careful, because if it’s a high tack tape, it’s going to stick to your picture or it’s going to ruin your picture on the back and make things even worse. I use this white stuff that you remember back in grade school that’s called TAK, just this white kind of gooey stuff that's almost like putty that you use to put paper on the wall, so when you take them down, you can rub the putty off and it doesn't leave any marks, any oil marks or anything. If you get this, then roll it into a ball about the size of a BB and just very carefully touch the wax stuff on the back, a lot of this will come right off. And another thing you can do which we talked about before is piano wire that you use to release them. Get that piano wire and do the same thing. Get your picture down nice and flat and very carefully hold the piano wire along the picture and it will take most of that waxy substance right off. Because the good part about the bad part is that waxy stuff never goes hard. If you've got the kind that has gotten really, really hard, you're pretty much stuck with how it is. But if you want to do something and you can't use the piano wire or you don't want to mess with the TAK, another thing you can do is, you can get archival tape and actually tape it to the back of the picture covering the bad part and then that will keep it from sticking to your scanner, so when you scan them, your picture will be fine.

And it’s not that much of a thickness that it’s going to mess things up. But you always want to make sure when you do anything like that, you're going to want to get some black cardboard, the thin paper cardboard and put it on the top of it just to make sure that nothing transfers to the top part of your scanner, because when you close it, if it transfers to that, then it’s going to transfer to the next photos, it’s going to get on your glass, it’s going to cause all kinds of problems. We even have people that go and get what is called museum glass which is a really super high grade of glass, put that on the top of your pictures and it won't affect any of your scanner resolutions. And if you have some stuff that's transferred to the front that you can't get that off or don't want to try destroying it, make sure you get the museum glass and put it on the glass scanner before you set your pictures down, because when you're done, you can take the glass out and wash it. And if something happens to it, if it gets scratched, no big deal. But if you scratch the glass that came with your scanner, you're going to really have a big problem on your hands.

Fisher: Ugh! Boy you have said that all so well! I know there are people taking notes on this right now, because we all have these things from back in the day, and if we didn't make them ourselves, our parents did and left them with us, and you don't want to lose these pictures. Great advice Tom, thanks so much, and we'll talk to you again next week.

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: Hey, that's it for this week. Thanks so much for joining us. And I hope you're having a great summer and taking advantage of some of this great time to be together with family, to get stories and photographs and share photographs and scan photographs. I mean there's so much work to be done. And if you want to find out more, you want to stay in tune, don't forget to sign up for our “Weekly Genie Newsletter” at ExtremeGenes.com or on our Facebook page. And also sign up to be a patron of the show to support the show. You can do that through Patreon.com/ExtremeGenes or find the link on our website, ExtremeGenes.com. Talk to you again next week. Thanks so much for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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