Episode 254 - Bent Prop Project Bringing Home World War II Casualties / Arizona Woman Finds Birth Family, Becomes “Search Angel”

podcast episode Oct 07, 2018

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org.  David starts out sharing details of his experience taking a cruise on America’s oldest active naval ship, the USS Constitution. The guys begin Family Histoire News with a note that this past week marked the 100th anniversary of the start of the Meuse Argonne Offensive in World War I. The action led to the end of the war, but cost tens of thousands of lives on both sides.  Next, a woman who was abandoned near Rochester, NY in 1978, known as “Baby Lilac,” is looking for her birth family. Hear some of the details. Then, DNA has come through again in identifying the previously unknown remains of a World War II soldier killed on a Pacific Island in World War II in 1943 at the age of 21. David’s Blogger Spotlight then shines on Jen Rickards of Union, Missouri. Her site, AuntieJensTrees.blogspot.com, features great blogs on memories of 9/11, cemetery epitaphs and many other topics.

Next, Fisher visits with Colin Colbourne of the “Bent Prop Project.” It’s an organization that has been searching for several years for remains of America’s war heroes, mostly from World War II. They have brought home several of the tens of thousands of remains still missing from the war, and the participants often do so paying expenses out of their own pocket.

Then, Tempe, Arizona resident Alyson Gunner Johnson talks with Fisher about how her DNA test led her to her birth mother, which eventually caused her to become a “search angel,” helping other adoptees to find members of their birth families. Alyson explains how you might do the same.

Fisher then catches up with “Team Green” from BYUtv’s Relative Race. The married couple talks about their first two weeks on the show, and the emotional experiences of finding family members they’ve never known.

Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com, then goes through some basics for those who may have water damaged documents and photographs as a result of Hurricane Florence. Tom will tell you how these and other family keepsakes may still be salvaged!

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

Transcript of Episode 254

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 254

Fisher: Welcome to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And this episode is brought to you by BYUtv’s Relative Race, and we’ve got some great guests for you today. The first coming up in about ten minutes is Colin Colbourn. He’s with a project called the Bent Prop Project, and they’re out often using their own money and certainly contributions finding the remains of mostly World War II era flyboys, and bringing the remains home. And you are going to hear some amazing stories coming up about that a little bit later on. And then later in the show we are going to talk to Alyson Gunner Johnson. She has found her birth mother through the DNA process and then she’s become what they call a “Search Angel.” And she’ll tell you a little bit about that and the benefits of course, in helping others to do pretty much what she has done. Then we talk to Team Green today from Relative Race talking about the first two episodes and their experience in that as we make our way through Season 4 on BYUtv. And then Tom Perry will be back, our Preservation Authority, talking about what to do if your stuff gets wet. You know, we have a lot of people on the east coast now dealing with the effects of Hurricane Florence. And it’s been a while since we touched on that, so we’ll be talking about that a little bit later on. But right now it’s time to head out to Boston, Massachusetts where my good friend David Allen Lambert is standing by. He’s the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. You’ve been a busy man lately David. 

David: Yeah, if I’m not in Beantown, I’m in somebody else’s town.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Tomorrow I leave from Louisville, Kentucky to be at the Sons of the American Revolution Leadership out there in Louisville for a few days, so off to there and a couple of weeks after that at the British Institute in Salt Lake City where I’m actually learning instead of teaching for a change which is going to be great. [Laughs]

Fisher: Very nice, and you were on the Constitution here recently, the USS Constitution.

David: Yes I was.

Fisher: Tell us about that.

David: Well, the oldest commission navy ship, commissioned back in October 1797 and still afloat, she had the opportunity for educators to go out on a turnaround cruise which only happens a few times a year and usually the wait list is long. I walked out, got on it and got to be on the deck when she fired a 21-gun salute out in the middle of the harbor at Castle Island. It was great, so much history, a chance to meet the navy sailors that are actually on board because she is still an active navy ship, and it was a lot of fun, and something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Fisher: Unbelievable. Well, let’s get to our Family Histoire News today and where do you want to start?

David: Well, I think appropriately with the Family Histoire News we should start with what happened 100 years ago this week. The anniversary of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive was one of the bloodiest parts of the Great War World War I, but it actually helped bring an end to the war. And this was probably a battle that many of our listeners that had family that were on. I mean, many people were gassed in the Argonne forest during this time frame and suffered the effects when they were into their 90s, if not longer.

Fisher: That’s right.

David: It’s been a number of years since Frank Buckles died. He had been our last World War I veteran, but again we are now at the century mark and there are plenty of children of World War I veterans and recently you had a World War I widow that you grew up nearby, on line didn’t you?

Fisher: Yeah, she was on the show, that’s right. Mrs. Douglas Campbell and she is the widow of America’s first flying ace who lived in Connecticut near me.

David: That’s amazing. Well, our next story goes about 60 years later. This is Baby Lilac who was an abandoned baby found by a lilac tree in 1978 in Rochester, New York. Well, now she wants to find out who her real birth mother is. Here’s a clincher. You would think the quick answer would be, use DNA. So far she has found no relatives on Ancestry or 23andMe. I would say MyHeritage might be another option and other DNA testing companies that are out there and spread the autosomal around as they say.

Fisher: Well, I’m hoping that she’ll get it over to GEDMatch as well where a lot of people come to me, right?

David: That really is true. GEDMatch and DNA Painter, can even go further with analysis which is a great thing to do. DNA has done it again. Now the remains of a World War II US marine who died during the Battle of Tarawa in November of 1943, buried originally in Hawaii, has been identified due to DNA results and they have matched with a family. Well, Leonard Tyma has now been identified and his remains have been brought back to the Chicago area where he now has been buried with military honors.

Fisher: That is so awesome. You know, it’s amazing the things that come out of DNA, and so many of the stories are somewhat similar as we talk about, but there’s always a twist to every one of them. And here’s a guy, they had the remains, they brought him back from an island, they buried him in Hawaii, and now here it is, three quarters of a century later and he’s been brought back with his family because of DNA. Incredible.

David: Um hmm. It really is. Well, this week my blogger spotlight shines on Jen Rickards of Union, Missouri. She has a blog called Auntie Jens family and the blog can be found at AuntieJensTrees.blogspot.com. She brought up an interesting point and I think that’s something we all have to think about from time to time is, “Where were we on September 11th?” And she blogged, “Where were you when the world stopped turning?” She also blogs about epitaphs on gravestones and a variety of other interesting topics. She’s a new blogger to the scene, so give her some blogger spotlight love and go and visit AuntieJensTrees.blogspot.com.

Fisher: And isn’t that interesting? You think about that. Where were you on 9/11? Some of us remember when JFK was shot. Some of us remember when Pearl Harbor was attacked. I mean, those are the moments where you just capture that history and you have your own experience with it.

David: If it’s something that if you don’t keep a journal or if you want to do a journal about your life, that’s one of those key dates that you can keep left where you were and write it down. I was here at NEHGS during a consultation and that changed the entire world for us, didn’t it?

Fisher: It sure did.

David: Well, that’s about all I have from NEHGS this week in Boston, but I want to remind you that if you’re not a member of NEHGS/American Ancestors, you can become a member online at AmericanAncestors.org and use a coupon code “Extreme” and save $20. That’s all I have from Beantown. Off to Louisville, Kentucky then I’ll stop into the Louisville Slugger Museum which is around the corner from where our meeting is, take a little look at the baseball history because I know I love that as much as genealogy. I know you do too.

Fisher: [Laughs] I do. I do. All right David, thanks so much. Have a great trip and we’ll catch up with you again next week. 

David: Sounds great.

Fisher: All right and coming up next, I’m going to talk to a guy with a program called the Bent Prop Project. And these are people out looking for remains mostly of World War II military men who were lost in action often in planes, under the ocean and we’ll hear more about this coming up next with Colin Colbourn when we return in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 254

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Colin Colbourn

Fisher: And we are back. It’s America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by Legacy Tree Genealogist. Go to LegacyTree.com and there’s a remarkable project that’s out there right now that’s doing an amazing amount of good in finding the remains of Missing in Action service members for many wars, including back to World War II maybe even sooner. It’s called the Bent Prop Project, easy for me to say. And one of the people who is involved with that is on the line with me right now from Leesburg, Virginia. He’s Colin Colbourn. And Colin, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you. I’m just really excited to hear about the BentProp Project.

Colin: Thanks very much Scott. I appreciate it. I’m very happy to be on as well.

Fisher: So, when did this thing start?

Colin: Well so, the BENT Project is actually one partner of a larger partnership called Project Recover. And Project Recover was formalized in 2016 though it was originally founded in 2012 and it’s actually a partnership between the BentProp Project which is a non-profit that has been searching for MIAs for about twenty-five years.

Fisher: Okay.

Colin: And at the University of California, San Diego Scripts Institution of Oceanography, and the University of Delaware College verses ocean and environment. And the three groups together form the partnership which is called Project Recover.

Fisher: Wow. And you guys go all over the world. You do this on your own time. You do this often with your own money, right?

Colin: We have charitable donations that help us operate around the world and has helped us go global. Bent Prop originally started with Dr. Patrick Scannon searching for MIAs in Palau. And a group of volunteers often paid their way. And to be honest, the successes that they’ve had, especially now with the other two partners has allowed us to go global.

Fisher: Wow.

Colin: And so where we started in Palau, we’ve got active operations all over the world, Europe. You can find us on our website. We’ve just got back from Kiska the Aleutian Islands, and we have been of course all over the Pacific trying to find aircrafts as well.

Fisher: Now Palau, for people who aren’t familiar with it was a Japanese held series of islands. And a lot of our guys were shot down there. And I know you made the recovery from one wreck site of like eight sets of remains that were brought back to Arlington, which is just incredible to me.

Colin: Yeah, yeah, yeah B24 crew that was discovered. And that was just the beginning. Just this year in fact, we’ve had three funerals I believe, yeah, in 2018 of other aircrafts that were discovered off Palau as well.

Fisher: Wow, from World War II?

Colin: Yes sir, yes sir, all World War II.   

Fisher: And does most of your work involve World War II? Or do you do some as well with Korea and Vietnam?

Colin: We do focus mostly on World War II, and of course part and parcel of the fact the numbers of the missing. I like to tell people you know, there are roughly two to three thousand still missing from Vietnam, there are roughly eight thousand still missing from Korea, and the number we still use today is there are still seventy-two thousand missing from World War II.

Fisher: Oh my gosh.

Colin: So, just by way of these numbers and especially because most of the Pacific is still relatively undisturbed, especially underwater sites, that really leads us towards cases in World War II. But we do not exclusively just work on World War II cases.

Fisher: Sure. So, do governments cooperate with you on this? I mean you mentioned that you’re working over in Europe as well as in the Pacific. Are the governments of those countries that are involved are they cooperative?

Colin: Absolutely. We make sure when we go to any country that we work with the governments and the local institutions that govern those, the areas that we’re searching, whether it’s in Papua New Guinea, we worked with the National Museum. That was very important. We worked with universities in Europe and third-party groups in Europe that also work with the government, and we of course work with the U.S.’s Defence DOWMIA Accounting Agency BPAA who also, through our partnership helps us work around the world.

Fisher: So over all these years, you mentioned that Bent Prop actually goes back like twenty-five years. How many sets of remains have you recovered?

Colin: I would say it’s probably been almost twenty sets of remains that have come home to their families.

Fisher: Twenty sets. Wow. Tell us some of the stories of some of these people.

Colin: Well, I joined in 2016 and so I’m a lot more familiar with some of the more recent groups and funerals and discoveries. The biggest one recently was the Heaven Can Wait B24, which was a B24 that went down off of Papua New Guinea off of Hansa Bay. That B24 went down in relatively deep water, roughly 213, 215 feet of water.

Fisher: Wow!

Colin: We were able to find it and that’s at the top range of what we look for because as Project Recover our job is to find the airplanes. We use 21st century technology, five scan sonar, ROVs, AUVs to find airplanes in relatively shallow water that have never been discovered before. And the reason why we focus on that is because the Defence Department, they’re generally limited by the depths that divers can go in order to retrieve the remains.

Fisher: Sure.

Colin: So our focus is just to find the aircraft. And then we relay all our information to the U.S. government to retrieve the remains at their discretion because of course each case is different.

Fisher: Right.

Colin: So we search generally in shallower waters and we found, late last year in 2017, we found a B24 off of Hansa Bay that was in 213 feet of water. And the reason why I think this is especially a special case perhaps to your listeners is that the reason we were able to get as far as we have with that was because the family actually contacted us. We got an email early on from a family member that had been researching their family that had gone down with the aircraft. And once we had decided to go to that area, because we knew there were several aircrafts that had crashed there. One of the ways that we prioritize where we look is if there are multiple aircrafts so that we have a much higher chance of finding aircrafts. And this often happens around large targets especially in the Pacific, Japanese targets, or runways, places where a lot of airplanes would have crashed. And this plane while it was on our list, we didn’t have a whole lot of information. And it turned out that when the family contacted us that they had already been doing five years of research on their family members on that aircraft.

Fisher: Wow! Was their research pretty accurate when it came to where the plane was found?

Colin: It was very accurate. I mean to be quite honest, it was very accurate. They had done a very good job and I credit the family, Professor of political science at the University of Illinois, Scott Althaus was the family member that was working with us specifically, but his entire family they had gone to universities and other archives in order to find information on this stuff.

Fisher: Wow.

Colin: And I’m the lead historian with Project Recover and so it’s my job to gather intel on all the aircrafts and help put us on the right place. But because we have so many cases all over the world it is a huge help to have an independent family do all of the research ahead of time and basically just deliver it to us and say, “Hey, we’ve done all this research. We believe the airplane is here based on these factors.” And it was a very high quality of research.

Fisher: And how many remains did you find there?

Colin: Well, there were ten crew missing from that aircraft.

Fisher: Okay. And were you able to recover some of them?

Colin: Although we believe... well, that is up to the discretion of the Defence Department and we are hoping that they are going to go and conduct a recovery at that site.

Fisher: Okay. So that hasn’t happened yet?

Colin: The full recovery has not happened yet. But I can tell you that from the family’s perspective, just finding the site was such a huge relief for them.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Colin: And there’s something that having a missing family member does to traumatize a family for many generations. It doesn’t just stop with the people who directly knew the person. And I think even most families may not even realize that that trauma is there. And certainly with this particular case it was a huge deal for them that we found this aircraft, and we were so, so happy to have found it.

Fisher: Have they actually gone to the site now themselves?

Colin: No they have not gone. It is in a very remote location in Papua New Guinea. Not that that would ever stop them. But what they are doing is they’re working with BPAA to help prioritize their aircraft and get recovery efforts out there to bring those guys home.

Fisher: Boy, what a great thing. It’s the Bent Prop Project. And Colin Colbourn is part of this out of Leesburg, Virginia. Tell me about the story of one of the people’s remains you were able to recover that touched your heart.

Colin: Well, we recently found an aircraft that was a Hellcat aircraft in Palau, and the pilot’s name was First Lieutenant William Parnell. He was a Navy Reserve lieutenant. And this was a F6F-3 Hellcat and they were on a strafing mission in Palau. And his aircraft took some pretty bad anti aircraft fire and seemed to take a direct hit. He crashed roughly 300 feet from the seaplane base and sank there. For a long time that Prop had been trying to locate that aircraft and it was with the help of these advance sonar AUVs that we were able to find the aircraft. And while we had had a number of funerals for other aircrafts that we had located, this one was the first funeral I got to go to at Arlington Cemetery.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Colin: And as I’m sure you know, when you go to Arlington Cemetery it’s a big deal.

Fisher: Yes.

Colin: And to be able to speak with the family members there and to have been a very small part of their loved one coming home, it had a real impact on me.

Fisher: I bet that’s true. How often do you have these funerals at Arlington?

Colin: It depends. Families are allowed to choose whether they want their loved ones to come home to a local cemetery or to go to Arlington. And in the past few years there has been I believe two Arlington funerals and I think we may be having another one coming up soon. And there have been a number of local funerals as well and you know each has their own wonderful feel to it. The Arlington funerals have this great military pomp and circumstance, and you’re in where all the legends of the American military are, and you’re there and it has this great feeling. But local funerals have this wonderful feeling that the whole town comes out and you have the police, and sirens, and fire trucks, and parades, and both are so equally astonishing to experience and we are just very happy to be a small part of that.

Fisher: He’s Colin Colbourn from Leesburg, Virginia part of the Bent Prop Project. Colin, where can they find out more about the project?

Colin: Yeah absolutely. You can find more at ProjectRecover.org and the BentProp.org.

Fisher: Colin, it’s been a delight visiting with you. I wish we had more time but you’re doing great work and so grateful for people like yourself who are involved in bringing these boys home.

Colin: Thanks so much Scott. I really appreciate you speaking with me today.        

Segment 3 Episode 254

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Alyson Gunner Johnson 

Fisher: Hey, back at it on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. And you know we have quite a community with Extreme Genes, we’re on Facebook. We’re on Twitter. People follow us on our Extreme Genes website. And one name that I’ve seen come up for some time now is Alyson Gunner Johnson. I guess we actually met at what? At RootsTech a couple of years ago, right Alyson?

Alyson: That’s right, RootsTech 2017 where this kind of started for me.

Fisher: Yeah and I’ve been seeing you everywhere. Your story has been incredible to me because here you were a long time geni of what, a couple of decades?

Alyson: Um hmm.

Fisher: And then about a year and a half ago you decided to take the plunge into your biological family because you were adopted. Let’s talk about all this stuff. Why did you avoid the bio-family for so long?

Alyson: You know growing up, I grew up in a wonderful family and I just never really even thought about looking for my biological family. You know every once in a while I think, “Hmm I wouldn’t mind seeing them in a grocery store to just maybe see what they look like but not meet them.” That thought came and went rarely. So, the reason I actually went to RootsTech in 2017 was I had a good friend invite me so we went together and she was very into DNA testing. She had tested all her children and her husband, and now with testing the spouses of her children.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Alyson: And the whole RootsTech she was going to these DNA classes and I really didn’t know much about it, but Ancestry had this great sale on their DNA kits at RootsTech so I went ahead and bought three of them, one for me, one for my sister who is also adopted and one for my husband, so that’s kind of how it started.

Fisher: And obviously you knew that the possibility was there that you were going to have that chance to run into your bio-family and see what they look like in the grocery store, as a result of this. Did that frighten you?

Alyson: Well truthfully, going into it I thought I’m just really doing this to find out about my ethnicity. [Laughs]

Fisher: Ah ha! Yeah, yeah.

Alyson: And then you know when those results come in and you’re seeing the names of people who are related to you on your match list. It’s kind of compelling. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah, yeah right.

Alyson: What now? Look at this I’m so close. Now granted when I first got my results back the closest I had was third cousins and I just thought, oh I don’t want to do that much work to figure it out.

Fisher: Right.

Alyson: I just kind of waited but in the meantime I did do a couple of things. I’ve joined a couple of Facebook groups, DNA Detectives by CeCe Moore.

Fisher: Yeah.

Alyson: And Genealogy Tips and Techniques by Blaine Bettinger and I also got updated birth background information from the county I was born in. As a child I had been given half a page of information and so I wrote and a couple of months later I got back four pages of birth background information, it was fantastic.

Fisher: Wow.

Alyson: So, thank goodness I had kind of been on DNA Detectives and Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques and I learned about updating my raw data from Ancestry into FamilyTree/DNA, MyHeritage, and GEDMatch.

Fisher: Yes.

Alyson: And so occasionally I would check each of those sites and see if I had anything closer. A year ago, July one morning checked FamilyTree/DNA and lo and behold on there I had a very close match that was either a half sibling, uncle, nephew, grandparent, grandchild.

Fisher: Wow.

Alyson: So I knew I was close and that it wouldn’t take much effort you know to figure this out.

Fisher: Sure. Yeah.

Alyson: And then you know FamilyTree/DNA they have the email address of the person. I was a little confused because the test taker said the gender was male but the name on the test was a female’s name. So, I shot off an email right away and said, “Hey, I’m so excited you know, we’re related and I’m adopted. I would love to find out more about you and how we’re connected but I’m a little confused because of this male/ female thing.” And you know, looking back I realize that was not the way to do it.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Alyson: But what I did while I waited for an answer that never came, [Laughs] was create a tree based on the female’s name of that test.

Fisher: Right.

Alyson: So I built it back a couple of generations and then came back forward looking for all the descendants. As soon as I did that, using my birth background information that told me my birth mother was a certain age and had an older sister this age, and a younger brother this age.

Fisher: Yep.

Alyson: I came right back to that name that was on the test and she was my birth mother.

Fisher: Oh my goodness!

Alyson: Yeah pretty amazing.

Fisher: Wow! Now, how is it that she came up as not an immediate family member?

Alyson: I found that later after I met her that the test was actually her brother’s test.

Fisher: I see.

Alyson: So it was my birth uncle. She was just managing it and put her name on it.

Fisher: Wow how interesting is that?

Alyson: Yeah.

Fisher: Well, the thing that I really appreciate about your story Alyson because a lot of people are able to do some of the things you’re doing, although, I think you really highly educated yourself in this area to make it work. You’re using CeCe’s techniques. You’re using Blaine’s charts. I mean you’re using all the tools that are out there but then you went on to start helping others. You became one of those genealogical angels.

Alyson: You know, my youngest left for school last September and this was right about the time that I had reached out to my birth family and was waiting to see if they were going to respond. And with him gone I kind of thought, “Okay, now what’s my purpose in life? What’s my mission?”

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah. 

Alyson: I thought about it and thought, okay what are you good at? You seem to be pretty good at this DNA stuff, because I also had figured out who my sister’s birth parents were. And you really love genealogy and family history and I think I want to be a search angel. And fortunately, just a few weeks later I met gal at our local DNA Special Interest group who mentioned she was a Search Angel and I asked her if she would be my mentor. We met together and exchanged ideas and strategies, and it’s just kind of gone from there.

Fisher: Wow. Now, how many people have you helped? Give us some of the stories from those experiences.

Alyson: So, as I mentioned I did help my younger sister find her birth family.

Fisher: Yep.

Alyson: Through DNA testing on Ancestry we found a first cousin of hers. Funny enough, that first cousin grew up across the street from the woman that my brother ended up marrying. The girl that lived across from this first cousin and their families were friends. So it’s amazing what a small world it is.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah.

Alyson: But through DNA testing we also found my sister a half brother that she did not know about and she has plans to meet him soon. So, I have found so far about 12 birth mothers and 10 birth fathers, and in the thirties, siblings and half siblings.

Fisher: Sure. And when you say you found them, they’re not all living I’m assuming. Many of them are not.

Alyson: No. Correct. I discovered who they were as far as the relationship to the person I was helping.

Fisher: Yeah. You know it’s a fascinating thing to do because some of these relationships don’t come out the way you would hope. I think most of them do. I think most of them come out very positive.

Alyson: You know the ones I’ve helped who have reached out so far has all been positive experiences.

Fisher: Yeah.

Alyson: And in my case, it turned out that my birth parents ended up marrying many years later.

Fisher: Oh, wow.

Alyson: They stayed together from my birth on but they married many years later and I actually have a full brother who is 13 years younger than me.

Fisher: Ha!

Alyson: So, I got to meet my birth mother last October and then this last August 5th on my 53rd birthday I got to meet my birth father and my brother.

Fisher: Wow, what a great story.

Alyson: What a birthday present.

Fisher: If somebody wants to become a Search Angel, where should they go?

Alyson: Oh, you know it’s a tricky thing because there’s not as far as I know a course. For me, it was those two Facebook websites and learning all that I could and then people have just come by referrals.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Alyson: You know, I’ve been helping somebody solve a case and then they recommend me to one of their friends and then I start helping somebody else, or somebody has connected into the DNA matches and has said, “Hey, I’m adopted. Can you help me?”

Fisher: Great stuff. She’s Alyson Gunner Johnson from Arizona. Alyson thanks so much for your time and for all the things you’re doing. It sounds like you’re doing great work.

Alyson: Thank you. I love it.

Fisher: You can sure tell. And coming up next, we’ll talk to Team Green from Relative Race about their first two weeks on the show, in three minutes on Extreme Genes.

Segment 4 Episode 254

Host: Scott Fisher with guests Preshious and Paris Anderson

Fisher: Hey, welcome back to Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. And as you know, by now Relative Race is underway for another season, Season 4 on BYUtv, and it’s on every Sunday night at 9 o'clock eastern and 6 o’clock Pacific time. And I'm excited, I've got the members of Team Green on the line with me right now, its Preshious and Paris Anderson, they're from Ohio. How're you guys doing?

Preshious: We are good.

Paris: We're doing good.

Preshious: Hi everyone!

Fisher: You sound good. What an experience for you. Have you ever done television before?

Preshious: No. This was our very first time doing television.

Fisher: So fill us in now, what made you think you wanted to be on this show?

Preshious: I have been searching for a while for relatives of mine. So I came up on dead end and dead end, and when we heard about this from a friend and we watched some of the seasons, we were like, "We definitely have to give this a try!"

Fisher: Oh, that's so fun. And I'm glad you did. Now you were actually racing from where to begin with?

Preshious: We started off in North Carolina, Wake Seals, right?

Paris: Wake Forest.

Preshious: Wake Forest.

Fisher: Wake Forest, okay. And did you get to pick the color of your car, Paris?

Paris: No, we didn't pick it, you know. It was actually, it was given to us.

Preshious: [Laughs]

Fisher: It was assigned. Paris is the green guy!

Paris: Yeah. I thought the green would have been darker. The car is kind of a lime green.

Fisher: Lime green, yeah, like that carpet back in the '70s, I get it. So what was a highlight for you? We've seen the first two episodes, and Preshious, it seems to me that you had quite an experience there.

Preshious: Oh yes! From just day one, starting out with our challenges and the relative Paris met and then for me being able to meet an aunt for the first time was just amazing!

Fisher: Wow!

Preshious: Definitely a great experience.

Fisher: Now she's your aunt. Now this was your mom's sister or your father's?

Preshious: This is my mom's sister.

Fisher: So you were an adoptee?

Preshious: Yes. I was adopted around the age of seven. So from then, I just only really had names to really go off of, no other visits or no other family members I really stayed in contact with.

Fisher: So meeting this aunt had to be a particularly special moment for you. What did feel when you opened that door and she told you what her role was in your life?

Preshious: I was just really just blown away by actually being able to actually meet her and see someone that looks similar to me, and then just to hear that she was my aunt was just overwhelming to finally have some type of connection right then and there. It was just a heartfelt moment, emotional, the sigh of relief to finally have something.

Fisher: Yes, for the first time. How long had you been looking?

Preshious: It’s been over ten years once I actually got to an age to really understand everything. I've been searching for quite some time. Even in college before me and my husband got married, it’s always just been questions, and I've been online and emailing.

Fisher: Wow!

Preshious: And even calling, I would call to try to see if I could find something.

Fisher: How did you feel about that moment for Preshious, Paris?

Paris: It was definitely a highlight, because to be honest, me coming on the show, it was more so from a supportive standpoint. So, me meeting who I met the first time, you know, it was fine, you know, we enjoyed it, but I just wanted to see what they had in store for Preshious, you know, because at the end of the day, that was the biggest reason why we did it. So to finally get that first step, it was a highlight and it was priceless. It was the first step for the closure that we were looking for. So it was definitely, you know, a big moment for both of us.

Fisher: Now are you still in touch with her, Preshious?

Preshious: Yes. We still talk on a daily basis.

Fisher: Wow!

Preshious: So we definitely stay in contact.

Fisher: Well, this is Team Green, its Preshious and Paris Anderson from Ohio. And of course you can watch Relative Race on BYUtv Sunday nights at 9 o'clock eastern time and 6 o'clock Pacific. Another episode coming right up this weekend. Thanks so much you guys.

Preshious: Thank you.

Paris: Thank you.

Fisher: And good luck! And coming up next, Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 254

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: We are back for our final segment this week of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. And Tom, you know it has been a while since we spoke about what you do with wet stuff. And with Hurricane Florence causing so much havoc on the east coast right now, I think it might be a good time for a review on how you can restore some of these things, how you might be able to salvage some things that might otherwise be lost. But I mean, think about it, you've got family Bibles, you've got documents, you've got photographs, you've got slides, you've got negatives, all of these things I would imagine require a little different treatment when wet, yes?

Tom: Oh absolutely! In fact, if you think, "Well, I don't live on the coast where they have hurricanes. I don't need to worry about it," look what's going on out west with all the fires. And with fire, there's a lot of water, and you can have damage with your house, maybe it got burned a little bit, but the water that came in through the attic, through your burned roof did more damage than the fire itself to your heirlooms. So you need to really be careful with things like that too. And preservation before the fact is important also.

Fisher: Yeah, let's talk about preservation though after the fact, considering Hurricane Florence now. So let's start with paper documents. What would you suggest is the best way to salvage those when they get wet?

Tom: Okay, the first thing you want to do is, get a hold of them as fast as you can. There's nothing more important than paper things that have gotten wet. A lot of other things can take less time to fix, like videotapes, but photos, paper documents, things like that you need to get on immediately. And what I recommend is, if it’s not water soluble type things like inkjet, you want to get distilled water so it has no chemicals or anything in it, and you want to bathe all your documents to get all the mud and different things like this off of them and then hang them up to dry or lay them on a towel. And if you're going to do different layers, make sure you put wax sheets of paper between each one of them, it’s so critical.

Fisher: Yeah, because you don't want them to stick together obviously. So really, documents, paper documents are in the same category as photographs.

Tom: Oh absolutely, completely. And the thing is, with photographs, you have the emulsion, which actually turns into a glue when it’s wet, so you need to act on these quick. And if you're in a situation where you've got a lot of these that are water damaged and you don't have time to do them right now, what you need to do is, put them in Ziploc bags. And I hate to do this, but this is about the only option you have if you can't get to them. Put them in the freezer or the refrigerator to stop the growth of mold, and then when you have the time, you can go and thaw them out, you can get them unstuck if they're stuck together. Because if you wait and let them dry together, the chances are really slim you're ever going to get them apart again.

Fisher: Boy, you make such great points here. And there's so many aspects to this. What about negatives? They tend to curl when they get wet?

Tom: Yes, they will curl up, but the good thing about negatives is, you can always get them wet again and you can hang them up with a cloth line with a weight on the bottom of them and that will stretch them out and they’re dry again. But with those, you need to be really, really careful. I hate putting negatives in the freezer, because the emulsion itself can crack and cause problems. So you probably want to stick with the refrigerator, you know, you really don't want to go in the freezer unless you have no other alternative, because you can damage your emulsion.

Fisher: And I should mention too, when you have certain paper things that get just wrinkly, that they have waves in them, there's actually a process that you can go through at your local framers where they can cause the paper to relax again and then they can mount it on foam core and its perfectly flat and perfect once again. And I've done it myself. I had some old historic newspapers and they were really pretty much destroyed in a flood we had, and they are perfect now, you'd have no idea. Tom, great stuff, and we've covered a lot of ground here. There's a lot more I'm sure. But if you have a question for Tom Perry, you can send him an email at [email protected] or you can drop him a note on Twitter @AskTomP. Thanks so much, Tom. We'll talk to you again next week.

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: Hey, that is a wrap on this week's show. I am Fisher. Thanks so much for joining us. Next week, by the way, we're going to talk to Team Black from Relative Race and get their take on the first three weeks. Don't forget, Relative Race is on Sunday nights 9 o'clock eastern, 6 o’clock Pacific and all the times in between on BYUtv. And its weekend number three coming up right now. Hey, don't forget to sign up for our Weekly Genie Newsletter that is absolutely free, and you can get it through our website, ExtremeGenes.com or on our Facebook page. 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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