Episode 246 - Fisher & Woodbury Talk How To Manage Your DNA Data & Accounts

podcast episode Aug 05, 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 open the show with a story about the longest ongoing family reunion in the world. It started in the 1850s and has gone on every year since. Hear the wheres and whos. David then tells the story about the recent discovery of the remains of the Governor of Virginia at Jamestown who died in 1627. At least, that’s who they THINK he is! Then it is great news concerning a huge collection of tapes recorded in the 1960s. It was a Navajo oral history project and it is now going to be digitized for all to hear! Next, David shares the story of an African-American geni who learned of her ties to a European who died trying to free his slaves long before the Emancipation. Finally, a Russian ship has been found that was sunk during the Russian-Japanese War around 1905. It may have BILLIONS in gold on it. Maybe.  David then starts getting us ready for RootsTech 2019, pointing us to their great blog site, FamilySearch.org/blog.

Next, Paul Woodbury, the DNA specialist from Legacy Tree Genealogists, talks about how he handles the challenges of handling his DNA matches, various kit numbers and passwords, etc., so he can more quickly make the most of his test results. There are ideas here you’re going to want to take advantage of.

Finally, it’s Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. Tom explains the benefits of using PDF files to more easily share photos and documents, and how easy they are to create.

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

Transcript of Episode 246

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 246

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. And this week we’ve got a great guest. It’s Paul Woodbury. He works for one of our sponsors, Legacy Tree Genealogists. He’s the DNA Specialist there, and he’s going to tell us how he goes about organizing all of his DNA matches and the ethnicity and the kit numbers. If you’ve ever tried it, it’s kind of complicated, but he’s got a system that’s going to make it a whole lot better for you, and a lot easier for you to actually discover some things through your DNA. So that’s coming up for you in about nine minutes or so. Just a reminder by the way, if you haven’t done it yet, you’ve got to sign up for our Patrons Club. Go to Patreon.com/ExtremeGenes. You just go through the ExtremeGenes.com website, get signed up, It’s just a dollar or $3 or $5 or eight bucks, I mean, less than the cost of one fast food meal. And you get bonus podcast and you get a little love on the website, and of course you support the show, so we appreciate that and look forward to having you join us right there. Right now it is time to head out to Boston and the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. It is David Allen Lambert. Hello David.

David: Hey Fish, it was very nice to see you the other night even though I wasn’t in your house.

Fisher: [Laughs] Where were you seeing me?

David: I was on the NextGen Network.

Fisher: Ah.

David: And YouTube Channel with Melanie McComb the Shamrock Genealogist interviewing you for a change. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yes, that’s right. It was kind of strange to be on the other side of that whole thing, but she did a great job.

David: Yeah.

Fisher: I told her she should be in radio.

David: She can be my fill-in when I’m not here.

Fisher: There you go.

David: [Laughs]

Fisher: She would be a good fill-in sometime.

David: Absolutely.

Fisher: So, I just got back from a nice trip. I went to Mount Rushmore. We did a big western swing, Wild Bill Hickok’s gravesite, went to Deadwood, South Dakota.

David: Oh yes.

Fisher: And went to Little Bighorn and saw where Custer made his last stand. That was pretty amazing. In all, I drove two thousand one hundred and thirty seven miles in five days with my wife. [Laughs]

David: Wow! Well, I flew about an equal distance. I was out in Houston, Texas at the SAR Congress lecturing out there, and then I was at the Michigan State Archives where I gave two lectures for the Abrams Family History Seminar series which was great. Now I’m off to Pennsylvania tomorrow to lecture at the US Army War College in Carlisle.

Fisher: That is going to be so much fun, and that is where you get to shoot the Gatling gun, right?

David: The Thompson submachine gun, but yes.

Fisher: Much bigger and faster, all right. [Laughs]

David: Exactly, with World War II Veterans, mind you.

Fisher: [Laughs] I know. Unbelievable. All right, let’s get going with our Family Histoire News. Where do we begin my friend?

David: Well, it’s summer and it’s a great time for family reunions, but most of us have had them for a number of decades. How about 165th anniversary for the Siler family Macon County, North Carolina who have been meeting since 1853?

Fisher: Isn’t that nuts? They’ve been meeting every year right out through the Civil War and up to this very day.

David: Um hmm. They have about 250 living descendents of the family that still meet which is great. I wonder if they’ve used social media to do such things.

Fisher: Yeah, yeah. Wow.

David: It must be helpful a great deal. My next story goes back a little further north. Sir George Yeardley was the Governor of Jamestown Colony in 1616. He was later knighted by James the First, returned to the colony where he died in 1627. This week they believe they have found his skeleton. The burial had his hands by his sides which is indicative of a burial of a person of note, and the thing about it is his skull wasn’t there.

Fisher: Oh, who would take his head? Who would do that?

David: I don’t know. Maybe they brought it back to England, perhaps?

Fisher: I don’t know.

David: No! This is going to be interesting, so Y-DNA obviously is going to come into play, and hopefully they’ll find out if it is in fact the Governor of Jamestown. You always love when you find things in the attic. I just recently developed a roll of film that I had kicking around in the drawer from fourteen years ago. So my daughter who is fifteen, this is her first Christmas. So that was a surprise. [Laughs]

Fisher: Wow!

David: But how about if you had four hundred and fifty (450) interviews? At the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona, they have over seventeen hundred (1,700) reel to reel magnetic tapes done in the 1960s and ‘70s of all this oral history of the Navajo nation that were done back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Probably has interviews of people born in the 19th century talking about their ancestors. What a genealogical treasure that would be to have them all digitized, which what they are starting to do right now.

Fisher: Isn’t that great? And save them and make sure they’re available for everybody online to take advantage of. That is incredible.

David: Well, you know sometimes in our research DNA has opened up a lot of avenues that we may have never thought we’d find. And researcher Adrienne Aberdone has found out that she has potentially related to a man who was one of the first to free a slave before the Civil War.

Fisher: Now, she is an African American geni, and she was actually looking to find out where her African American roots came from in Africa when she did her DNA test you know, to get the ethnicity thing, but made this discovery, and it’s quite a story about this European relative.

David: Right. His name is William Fletcher and he died in 1827 after transporting his slaves back to Haiti where hopefully they lived out their lives non-slaving. And unfortunately he died on part of the voyage. We don’t know to or from.

Fisher: Yeah, because if he died to then you can assume that the slaves died with him. So hopefully it happened after he dropped them off.

David: Exactly. Well, I tell you, you never know what you’re going to find in the ocean and during the Russo-Japanese war which took place in the early 1900s there was a battleship called the Dmitrii Donskoi which was scuttled so that the Japanese wouldn’t get it, but it has been recently located. On board would be about a billion dollars in gold, so they’re searching in the wreckage now for the gold.

Fisher: Wow!

David: So do the Russians get it?

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Do the Koreans get it?

Fisher: [Laughs] We have another international incident well underway here, right?

David: Well, our blogger spotlight this week goes out to our friends at Roots Tech, whichever blog at RootsTech.org/blog. If you’re going to Roots Tech, you have a chance to meet myself, Fisher and a lot of wonderful genealogists and speakers and you’re going to have a wonderful time if you go.

Fisher: Yeah.

David: So, RootsTech.org/blog. If you’re not a member of NEHGS we can offer you $20 off by using the checkout code “extreme” for of course, Extreme Genes and AmericanAncestors.org.

Fisher: All right David, thank you so much. As always, carry on and we’ll talk to you soon.

David: Talk to you soon my friend.

Fisher: All right, and coming up next, Paul Woodbury the DNA Specialist with Legacy Tree Genealogists talking about how to organize all these matches and all your data, and all your accounts. He’s got some good ideas coming up for you next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.                                                 

Segment 2 Episode 246

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Paul Woodbury

Fisher: Hey we are back. It’s America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by Legacy Tree Genealogist and it just so happens I have the DA Specialist on the phone with me right now, Paul Woodbury our old friend. And Paul, it’s good to have you back.

Paul: Thanks for having me, Fish.

Fisher: You know, it’s fun because we’re always seeing more and more people getting into the DNA side of things and it really helps to start charting stuff out. And I will say by the way, that seems to be really one of the harder things to do when you get into DNA, organizing your test results and your matches so they make sense. And I thought maybe we’d talk a little about that today. Where do you start, Paul? How do you do it?

Paul: Yeah, so I think this is a really important topic because we have some unique challenges with DNA test results. With your traditional research you find records, you can organize them into your file system and you can build off of that. But with DNA, it’s kind of like hitting a moving target. It’s constantly changing.

Fisher: Yep.

Paul: If you organize your test results once, it’s going to be outdated by tomorrow.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Paul: Now the other challenge of this is the massive amounts of data that you have to sift through in order to get to what you’re looking for. And how do you make sense of all of this data and cut through to the most pertinent data for your research.

Fisher: You’re stressing me right now just thinking about this.

Paul: Right?

Fisher: Yeah, because you get to beyond fourth cousins as matches and the lists are huge, obviously.

Paul: Yeah.

Fisher: And many of them actually overlap. You have many from the same areas. You might come through many different common ancestors. And so, how do you categorize those, or do you even bother because it’s kind of tainted by the fact that there’s a certain amount of shared ancestry through several different people.

Paul: Yeah. And so what I typically do is I try to frame my organizational efforts within the context of my research questions. Rather than trying to treat my DNA test results as a collection that I have to curate and have to go through and categorize everything, I treat it as a tool for achieving my goals.

Fisher: Okay. So give us an example.

Paul: So for example, let’s go to stamp collecting. [Laughs]

Fisher: Okay.

Paul: When I was a young man I loved stamp collecting and my mom would always get after me because I would have the stamp collection and I would organize it all and get it all set up into my binders, and then I’d buy new stamps then I’d have to reorganize everything and there would be an explosion all over the living room floor.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Paul: And so that’s kind of how we treat collections, right?

Fisher: Yeah.

Paul: You have new items that you have to put into your collections. With DNA test results, I’m frequently dealing with test results for clients, and I can’t afford to every time go through that entire process of organizing everything because that would take up all the research time that I have.

Fisher: Sure. And for what they’re paying for sometimes, right?

Paul: Yeah. Yeah. And so in order to cut through some of that background information, you want to certainly identify those close relatives, some of those individuals that are really close genetic matches and this mostly applies to autosomal DNA test results.

Fisher: Yes.

Paul: So it’s a little bit easier to organize Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA matches. They’re not so numerous.

Fisher: Right.

Paul: But with autosomal you want to focus on those closes matches, see how you can categorize those individuals into relationship categories. How close are they related, are they sharing the amount of data that we expect, and what part of the family are they coming from. I tend to focus on organizing my matches based on the known relationships to those individuals.

Fisher: Yes. And that’s kind of how I do it. I have a half sister, which is very useful because I do most of my research on my dad’s side. And then I have a full brother and myself and we’ve all tested. And so I put our names at the top of the list, and then I put common ancestral couples down the side, back to about second or third greats, maybe sometimes fourth greats, and then I list the matches under my name, under my brother’s name, and my half sister’s name to see how many of them are similar and maybe which ones we have uniquely.

Paul: Yeah. And I think that it’s going to be different for every person, but coming up with a system like that to clearly categorize these matches and particularly do it quickly so that you can get to the real meat of what you want to be doing, which is actually solving research problems.      

Fisher: Yep.

Paul: But better that you can organize a system that helps you accomplish that the better.

Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. So, there are tools, there are tips, and you’ve got a few tricks too I know for keeping track. What are some of those things?

Paul: So, it depends on the type of data, and there are a few types of data that we organize as genetic genealogists and you’ve got your raw data downloads. Those are pretty easy. You can out those into file system folders.

Fisher: Yeah.

Paul: Get a good file system setup to organize those. You’ve got kit logins. I typically keep those in a single place on an Excel spreadsheet single reference. It’s where I know all of the logins for my kits are. I don’t have to searching in what email had that login information, you know?

Fisher: Right. [Laughs]

Paul: Did I accidentally delete that. So those are some of the easier ones to get into an organized state.

Fisher: And this is if you’re like administering for other family members, which many of us who are really into this do, right? I mean you must obviously keep track of your clients but you must have a lot of family members you administer for?

Paul: Yes, I do. And so having all of those kit numbers and all of that login information in a single place really helps me to streamline my research process.

Fisher: Yeah, yeah. Good point. And how far back do you keep track then of people who you share matches with, to the fourth cousin level or do you get into the fifth, the eighth cousin level?

Paul: It depends. So what I typically do is, I rely on some of the tools that are provided by the companies for organizing and interpreting data. And particularly I like to keep notes in the company provided tools. Each of the companies offers a platform where you can enter notes on a genetic match.

Fisher: Right.

Paul: And you can enter that information that genetic match is not going to see the notes you write about them. It’s just for your reference. The challenge is that none of the companies have a great way to search those notes. They don’t have a great way to organize those. So what I do is, in those notes I include tags. Either hash tags, I sometimes use ahnentafel numbers, and say these people are related through numbers 30 and 31, which would be my maternal great, great grandparents. And then I can use that to organize those individuals. What I do next is, I use some add-ons like MedBetterDNA which allows you to search notes, usernames, it allows you to search hash tags that you add to those notes.

Fisher: Okay.

Paul: And I also use the DNA GEDCOM client. And with DNA GEDCOM client you can perform automated scans on your test results that will give you Excel output for the Ancestry, 23andMe, and Family DNA data.

Fisher: Wow! That sounds like such a great way to make it simple because you’re right, this is like your stamp collection if you don’t do things like this, right?

Paul: Yeah. And what’s nice about these Excel outputs from DNA GEDCOM client is it will also scan all the notes that you’ve attached to your genetic cousins.

Fisher: Nice! Yeah, really helpful.

Paul: So you have an Excel spreadsheet that is text searchable. And I can search for any hashtag that I put on any matches. I can search for any ahnentafel numbers that I associated with particular matches. I can search for dates, places, names, that I put in those notes for my genetic cousins.

Fisher: Well, and this is big too because one of the things I’ve always been disappointed in is the fact for instance with Ancestry DNA, you can fill in a little yellow star and you can keep track these particular people, but it doesn’t tell you necessarily which branch of your family you tie into. And so to be able to put notes in there and to be able to keep track of them in this way is certainly a much better way than just saying, well, here is my list of starred cousins, right?

Paul: Yeah. One disadvantage at least for Family Tree DNA with this approach is, the DNA GEDCOM client scans currently as far as unaware. They will only indicate if there is a note. It won’t give you the text of that note.

Fisher: Ah!

Paul: But from the stand for Ancestry and 23andMe, it will give you the text of those notes and you will be able to see what you wrote about those matches. And I think that leads to another important point. When we’re organizing our analysis on genetic genealogy test results, it’s the same ways that we organize our traditional research. We use tables, we use written reports. We use observations about those matches, those sources that we’re using. So, some of the same tools that we use for traditional research are excellent tools for organizing your thoughts, your thought processes for genetic genealogy research. Tables, writing up a report, kind of going through what you’re thinking in relation to these matches, keeping a research log, keeping a correspondence log in the matches that you’ve contacted, when, who’s responded.

Fisher: Yes.

Paul: All of those things that we use for traditional genealogy apply for genetic genealogy. Because DNA evidence is just one type of evidence and we can use it just like we would any other type of genealogical source. If you do it diligently as you treat each piece of evidence like any other type of genealogical evidence, and record what you’ve done with that evidence, either in the notes field or in a research log, or in a correspondence log, that sets you up for success. And if you haven’t done that in the past, it’s okay. You can start now and reap the benefits of beginning to organize that information.

Fisher: Yes, absolutely. And when I finally started organizing things, I was finding, “Oh look at this, I’ve got four descendants from a fourth great grandfather that came out of England that helps to prove the line back to him. What a great thing.” And hopefully someday we’ll find somebody who comes in from behind him because he’s a dead end line at this point. Hey I’m talking to Paul Woodbury. He’s the DNA Specialist with Legacy Tree Genealogists. And coming up next Paul, let’s talk about triangulation in DNA and how to zero in on some of those difficult to find ancestors, when we return in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.            

Segment 3 Episode 246

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Paul Woodbury

Fisher: Hey, we’re back at it. It’s Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, having a fantastic conversation with Paul Woodbury he is the DNA Specialist from Legacy Tree Genealogists. Paul, you didn’t answer my question last segment. How far back do you go? How much attention do you pay to matching cousins in your DNA test results? Do you cut it off at fourth cousins or do you go beyond that into the big hole of fifth to eighth?

Paul: So, I typically limit myself to fourth cousins and closer.

Fisher: Yep.

Paul: And that being said, I will start at the top of the list and I’ll keep going until I get to the answer that I’m searching for. And usually, by the time I’m getting to the end of the fourth cousins if I haven’t found really strong clues then return to other research avenues and strategies like targeted testing or we look at some of the traditional evidence that we may have overlooked and we kind of consider some of these other things that might be a little bit more effective than wading into the weeds of those fifth to eighth cousins.

Fisher: Right. That is tough isn’t it? I mean you think about that, the reason I mentioned earlier that I focus mostly on my father’s side is my mom’s is really well established and we have tons of DNA matches from her side. There’s not really anything I’m expecting, any kind of surprise there. It’s nice to be able to put together a tree of descendants from certain people and that’s useful but as far as trying to break through that’s the harder thing to do and most of that comes on my father’s side. So, like you, I mostly stick to fourth cousins because that means we share third greats and sometimes it’s kind of interesting because when I compare my matches to my brother and my half sister, sometimes one of them will not share that match with me or they’ll come in as a fifth to eighth cousin to my brother or half sister where they’ll come in a fourth cousin to me and then it gets a little complicated.

Paul: Yes. So, once you get a little bit further down you’ll see that variation in the amount of shared DNA and the proposed relationships. They’re far enough out but they could be related through that common ancestral couple that you’ve identified or they could be related through another common ancestral couple but you haven’t yet identified.

Fisher: What do you do with somebody for instance you have a shared ancestor from the early 1600s but you have another one from the late 1700s. Do you do you categorize that as a match to the later one?

Paul: At that point, I begin looking at Y-DNA and Mitochondrial DNA because it’s just so far back for both of those levels of relationship that we don’t want to rely just on the autosomal DNA evidence alone.

Fisher: Got it. All right, let’s talk about triangulation now. This is something I’m thinking people are going, what, triangulation? What is he talking about? This is basically the idea of determining where somebody is related, who is the common ancestor and how is this done. It’s really pretty common thing to do and pretty much anybody can do it but nobody can explain it quite as well as Pauls, so we’ll let him do that. [Laughs]

Paul: All right, sounds good. Well, when we hear about triangulation in genetic genealogy, a lot of the times that is talked about in relation to the activity of chromosome mapping. We’re taking the segments of DNA that I share with genetic cousins and assigning them to particular ancestors.

Fisher: Yep.

Paul: And we do that for multiple genetic cousins and you begin to see some patterns emerge. And with triangulation in particular there’s a lot of misunderstandings surrounding this word. Sometimes, people say, oh I triangulated to this particular ancestor. Well, triangulation requires that you had three individuals that all share the same segments of DNA, that they all three inherited from a common ancestor.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Paul: Match A shares that segment with match B, who shares that same segment with match C, who also shares that segment with match A.  You’ve got three people who are all sharing that same segment.

Fisher: But, match A may not know who the common ancestor is and you’ve got match B and C and they do know who their common ancestor is.

Paul: Yes. So, you can use that as a clue to determine that, since I’m sharing DNA with these two individuals who have this common ancestor, we know that I’m also related either as a descendent of that common ancestor or through an ancestor of that ancestor.

Fisher: Right, yes, depending on how far back you’re talking about. I actually had this experience with somebody I was helping identify a birth father line. It was interesting because we took the assumption that B and C they did have this common ancestor that she must come through that common ancestral couple as well. And so we went through and figured out who her father likely was and then to prove it we wanted to try to find matches to that person’s mother’s line because the common ancestry went through the father’s line with these other two people. And we were able to find matches from his mother’s line which showed us that yes, this validates this theory perfectly and it worked out just great.

Paul: Yeah. So, what’s nice about triangulation is that you get a really strong evidence that you have all of these three people or more all descending from a particular common ancestor. The problem is that some people misunderstand that and say, “Oh, well I share DNA with this person that person shares DNA with match C so we must triangulate.” In those cases just because you share DNA with each other doesn’t mean that you triangulated necessarily because you may not be on the same segment.

Fisher: Right. You might not be on the same generational level, right?

Paul: Well, not necessarily the generational level but on the same segment of DNA that you all three inherited from your common ancestor.

Fisher: Ah!

Paul: You know, I could share DNA with match B and I could different DNA with match C and match C and match B might share different DNA with each other. But if we’re not all three sharing on the same segment of DNA then it’s not a true triangulated segment. 

Fisher: And this is where a tool like DNA painter would come in, yes?

Paul: Yes. DNA Painter can be really helpful for identifying these regions of DNA where all three of us match each other. Now that being said, as you’re mapping, you want to keep in mind who the comparison are too. If I’m only looking at myself as the subject and I’m comparing my DNA to a group of other people, even if there are two individuals who share DNA with me in the same region, I can’t necessarily assume that’s a triangulated segment because I have two sets of DNA. I have two sets of chromosomes, one from Mom and one from Dad. Even though, two matches could be sharing DNA with me in the same region, one could be paternal chromosome and one could be on the maternal chromosome.

Fisher: Yeah, that’s right.

Paul: So, in order to prove a true triangulation you have to perform a comparison between all members of the group to each other. You have to have me as a subject match B as the subject, match C as the subject to confirm that we all three are matching each other on that same segment, that is true triangulation.

Fisher: Yeah, absolutely.

Paul: Now, the other scenario that I talked about where I share DNA with B and I share DNA with C in the same region but they don’t match each other, that is what I like to call overlapping opposites. And it’s actually very useful because I can use that information. Say I’m interested in a research question on my paternal side and I can identify one of those matches as a paternal relative. The other relatives because they don’t match on that same segment to the known paternal relative, I can rule out as a maternal relative and I can kind of ignore that match. So, I can use it to filter matches and focus just on the ones that I’m interested in.

Fisher: That’s amazing stuff, overlapping opposites. I wish we had more time, Paul, you’re amazing. This is like sitting in a science class in high school. I didn’t do well, I’ll tell you right now. [Laughs]

Paul: [Laughs]

Fisher: But we’re going to keep working on it. I know a lot of people have a lot of fun with it. By the way, DNA Painter is free and it’s easy to use anybody can do it because you just copy and paste information in there. It is that simple, so check that out. Paul again thanks for your time, fascinating stuff and we’ll catch up with you again soon.

Paul: Thanks.

Segment 4 Episode 246

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Welcome back! It’s Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. Time to talk preservation with Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. And you know, lately we've been talking a lot about scanning, to try to preserve materials and to be able to share them as well. But it’s all part of preservation to figure out, "Well, how do we tell people what's in this image, what the significance is?" There's so many things you need to attach to images. And Tom has some ideas on organizing after scanning. Hi Tom, how are you?

Tom: I'm super!

Fisher: So fill us in!

Tom: Okay, what you want to do is, it’s really easy to do. People get overwhelmed by so many things that we talk about, but this is a really easy thing. Everybody's probably heard of what they call a PDF, which is a personal document file, or a portable document file.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: And they're really small. They look great. They're easy to make. Anybody can open them and use them and look at them and view them. And this is a good way to send all your photos to everybody in super small files where they can go and look at them, decide if they want some bigger ones and if they want to make prints, which most people aren't going to want, then you store all the big files up in the cloud so your computer's not overwhelmed, you're not sending these huge files to everybody. All you need to do is combine them into PDFs. And it makes it so easy to share. And it’s really important to go in and tag them so you can make sure everybody knows who they are.

Fisher: Yeah. That's the part I think that a lot of people would be a little confused over. How to you tag a PDF?

Tom: There's a lot of different ways you can do it. In fact, usually what I do is, I start with a raw file and then I make a duplicate. Like we always tell people, before you start editing, always make a duplicate of it. So once you’ve made a duplicate of your photos, you can go into Photoshop, which is what I use. There's tons of programs, there's Word programs, there's all kinds of things where you can go in and tag them and say, "Hey, this is Aunt Bessie. She was around from this date to this date. She’s related to us however." And you can also do what we call hotspots. Like with that photo that you found that had all the firemen in it and you found a card underneath it that said who everybody was. And so you could find, "Oh, number fifteen is so and so, that's my great, great granddad or whatever." And another way you can do that, you can go into like Heritage Collector and get their software and make hotspots on all the people, so as you move the mouse over them, their names pop up. And if you have audio files and different things like this, you can also tag those to it. But the neatest thing is, that way, you can go in and document all these people and then create a PDF. And for those out there that have never done a PDF, it’s so easy!

Fisher: Very easy. Even I can do it.

Tom: Oh, oh absolutely anybody!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: It doesn't matter what your pay grade is, you can make PDFs.

Fisher: Yes, that's exactly right. It’s just a save as, and it’s a real simple thing to do. You know, it’s interesting though, you mentioned the idea of making a duplicate first. And one mistake that I find I sometimes make is, I go for instance maybe to change the size of a picture for a different kind of use, and then I go to save as and I forget and I do it as a save and now I've lost the original picture I want. I think the thing that I've learned from that the most is that it’s a good idea to come up with a completely different name for it as you make the duplicate. If you're doing it by name or something, list the last name first instead of the first name or something, just to make sure you don't accidently save instead of save as.

Tom: That's a good way to do it, because a lot of people get crazy and they go doing things, they go edit, edit, edit, and then they close it and they go to open it again, and "Where's my original? What happened to my original?"

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah.

Tom: Before I even open the program, I get the file that I want, I go and hold down the command key and then click on all the photos I'm going to be using, then I tell the computer to duplicate those. Then all those are now highlighted and the duplicates are what's highlighted. You drag those into a new folder that says edited on 1 November 2018 or whatever. Then when you go in and mess with them, you've created a whole new file, so there's no way you're going to mess up. But I do the same thing, if I open up the original, sometimes I forget to do the save as, and it just causes all kinds of nightmares. So what I found, you know, being mister OCD here is, I like to make them into a new file and open the new file, then I don’t have to worry about messing up the save as thing.

Fisher: Boy what a great idea! All right, some great tips already from Tom, our Preservation Authority. We will continue this line of thought, coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 246

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: All right, we're back at it on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com, talking preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority. And we've been talking about creating PDFs and labeling them and creating hotspots on them so you can identify people, maybe even attach audio to a photograph. It’s a great way to go. And Tom, I know there's some people who just, you know, you talk about computers, they just kind of shrivel up and go, "Oh no, I can't do anything like this!"

Tom: [Laughs]

Fisher: But you know, PDFs are really easy to make and there's more than one way to do it.

Tom: Oh absolutely! In fact, one of the ways you mentioned in the first segment is, if you're in any kind of photograph or anything that's on your screen and you go Command+P or whatever your computer keys are to print, it will go in and show you the option to print it to a file. And so, if you choose print it to a file, it might give you several choices or it will default to PDF. But just choose PDF and then click on that and then tell it where you want it to go. You might want to setup a file that says "my family PDFs of my photos" something along that line. Then you've got all those in one special place. Another way you can do it is, if you're on some kind of a site that has some pictures of your family, but you're unable to download them or you haven't figured that out, make them go as big as you can, enlarge them on your screen, and then like on a Mac, you can go Command+Shft+3 and it will do a screenshot. On most Windows computers, there's usually a separate key if you have a real PC keyboard that says screenshot and you can click on that. If you have any questions, just talk to a kindergartner, they can get you totally straightened out.

Fisher: [Laughs] You know, it’s a sad thing, but that's really true in a lot of cases. My Mom used to say that we're the immigrants to this new world and our kids and our grandkids are the natives.

Tom: Oh absolutely.

Fisher: They actually have to help us with this stuff.

Tom: Yeah. I consider myself pretty techy, but sometimes, you know, I talk to my grandkids and it’s like "Wow, they taught me something I didn't know!"

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] There you go. All right, once you've got your PDF, we've talked about some of the hotspots and how to mark some of the pictures and create that duplicate so people can see who's who. What are some other tips you've got for us, Tom?

Tom: Okay, let me give you a couple of sites you can go to. Of course you can go to YouTube and look under preservation. Go to Heritage Collectors and they've got several tutorials that are free that you can go and look at that will actually show you how to scan, how to make the PDFs, how to do the rollover or the hotspots. They'll actually walk you through and show you videos. And then another thing you can do yourself is, you can go to Adobe's website and download PDF Creator or PDF Pro, and then you can go and make your own PDFs. You have all these photos, say you have 100 or even 1000 photos, you can go and turn those all into one PDF file, and then go in and tell it to reduce file size, so it’s going to be small. And you can upload it, you can email it, you can do all kinds of cool stuff with it. So there's so many ways to do it. We just can't cover them all in this segment. So go to Heritage Collector, read their stuff. Go to YouTube, go to Video Maker and just type in PDF as a search and you'll find all kinds of cool things from Adobe's website all over the web.

Fisher: And we should mention too, PDFs are not really the kind of thing you want to make prints from if you're into that. But these are more like working pictures, wouldn't you say Tom?

Tom: Exactly. It’s more like you're just looking through a book. And you're not going to cut out a picture in your book and hang it on your wall. If somebody says, "Hey, photo 643, reel 1, I want to be able to do something with that. Then you can go into your Cloud account and email or share that photo with those people, so they're not overwhelmed. They might have 1000 photos and there's only one that they're really interested in printing.

Fisher: All right, great tips as always, Tom. And you have a great week. Talk to you next week.

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: Wow we have covered a lot of ground today! And I've got to tell you, I'm going to have to go back and listen to the podcast of this show, because I want to make sure I can take in everything, especially what Paul Woodbury was talking about as far as organizing DNA and making the most of all your matches. Good stuff! Of course we a have free app that you can download for Extreme Genes. You can find it in your phone's store for both Android and iPhone and you can catch the podcast on iTunes, iHeart Radio, Stitcher and ExtremeGenes.com. Hey and don't forget to sign up for our Weekly Genie newsletter. We've got all kinds of great blogs there, links to stories that you'll be interested in and of course more great interviews. And of course through our Patron's Club, you can get bonus podcasts twice a month as well and all kinds of other benefits. 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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