Episode 259 - World War II Marine Recalls HER Days In The Service / “Cousin Fishing” Pays Off For Excited GenieNov 11, 2018
Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Fisher and David begin talking about those men who, through DNA, learn their child is not their child, and the support that is available to them. Then, it’s a fascinating story about loved ones’ ashes and how many, as the urban legend says, actually do end up all over the place… at Disney resorts! Hear how the Disney folks deal with the problem, and where more remains end up at the parks than any other attraction. Next, David reveals the story of a truly ancient shipwreck that has been found at the bottom of the Black Sea. It’s fully intact, and you won’t believe how old it is! Speaking of old, a weapons cache has been found in Texas. And it predates the shipwreck by a long, long way! David has the details. David’s Blogger Spotlight, this week, shines on ifamilyhistory.blogspot.com. David says this mystery blogger shares some great insight on, well, blogging!
Next, Fisher visits with Bobbi Briggs, 95, a World War II era Marine! Bobbi describes how she wound up in the Corps and what her duties were at the time. She also shares her father’s reaction to the news of her enlistment.
Then, Fisher visits with Zoe Krainik, a passionate genie, who finds time for her pursuit after dealing with her young children. Recently, she went “cousin fishing” and brought in a big one… from Italy! Hear about her great connection and how she made it.
Then, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority, talks about old audio recordings, including wire recordings, and how you can digitize them.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 259
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 259
Fisher: Welcome genies to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. 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, coming up on day eight in the race. We’ll have more about that a little later on in the show, but I’ve got to tell you we have some great guests coming up today. We’re going to talk to a 95-year-old World War II Marine. Yeah, there are not many of these around, and even fewer in the category of a female US Marine from World War II. I’m very honored to be talking to Bobbi Briggs, coming up in about ten minutes, chatting about her experience back during the war and her parents’ reaction to her signing up for the Marines. It will be fascinating stuff. And then, my favorite thing, ordinary people with extraordinary finds. Zoe Krainik is going to be on the line talking about an amazing breakthrough she made by setting a little “cousin bait” and you’re going to hear what that was all about coming up a little later on in the show. Hey, by the way, if you haven’t signed up for our “Weekly Genie Newsletter” yet, you’re missing a lot. We’ve got links to previous shows. We’ve got links to current stories and of course a blog from me every week as well absolutely free. We’d love to have you as part of that. But right now, let us head out to the land of champions, the land where the Red Sox reign once again as champions of baseball for the fourth time in fourteen years to the great pride of David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Hello David.
David: I am just on cloud nine to be able to see my Red Sox win four in my lifetime.
Fisher: I know!
David: And my dad lived 74 years and never saw them win once.
Fisher: Never once, I know.
David: Yeah, yeah.
Fisher: Amazing. You’re going to have a lot to tell him when you get to the other side.
David: I know!
David: He’s going to say, “I should have just stuck around a little longer.” [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah, I know. It’s a great time for Boston sports, no doubt about it. Well, let’s get on with our Family Histoire News today and we’ve got a lot to cover. Where do you want to start?
David: Well, let’s start with when DNA tests reveal your child is not your biological child. This has led to quite a few divorces. So, take a DNA test, you’re going to check out your roots and all of a sudden your kid doesn’t match you on a test?
Fisher: It has happened before, and this article is on our home page at ExtremeGenes.com. You can read about the trouble that that causes, and not only for the husband who’s been raising somebody else’s child, but for the soon to be ex-wife, and for the child him or herself. There’s all kind of information there, and it doesn’t happen a lot, but it happens enough and you ought to read about that. That’s a great one.
David: Yeah, it’s a really good read and it really does make you think and make people apprehensive about testing. My next story has to do with the opposite end of life. When someone has died, you may have the ashes for them to deal with. Now, people, as we’ve heard on our show, have found ashes that have been lost for years and had them spread, some people have even spread them on their meal as we heard from that person in England. And that still gets me every time.
David: But how about if you go to Disney World or Disneyland with your family and you see what looks like powder on the ground. Well, it may not be powdered sugar, it could be powdered grandma!
David: This is the problem that people are bringing ashes to Disney World and spreading them. However, there are codes that are read. There’s code V for well, vomit, and other things that happen, but when somebody has purposely left a grandma on the ride, [Laughs] there is probably a good chance that they’re going to be vacuumed up.
Fisher: Yeah, yeah it’s Code grandma at Disneyland and Disney World for this. And they’re saying the number one place for distributing the ashes of your loved ones the “Haunted Mansion,” but of course.
David: That only seems fitting, especially in the ballroom with all those ghosts dancing around.
Fisher: Yes, yes!
David: Well, my next story has to do with some people that were dancing around on board a ship, probably 2,400 years ago. In the Black Sea at 75 feet in depth, they recently found a ship wreck. This one dates from 400 B.C. perhaps of Greek origin. But Fish, it’s still intact.
Fisher: Yeah, it’s a trading vessel and it’s got all the parts, right?
David: Um hmm. It does. The rudder, the rowing benches are all there. The mast is still upright.
David: It’s like it just sank maybe ten years ago. Because the water in the Black Sea has lack of oxygen, at that depth it preserves wood.
Fisher: Isn’t that crazy? When they get that thing out it’s going to be a real problem because it will hit air and start to disintegrate immediately. So the preservationists have their work cut out for them with this one.
David: I‘d love to see that and I think tank to how they try to figure that one out. Next up, let’s go 40 miles northwest of Austin, Texas. These 15,500-year old arrowheads have been found at a site that predates the Clovis period which has been thought to be one of the earliest eras of Paleo Indians. So, just when we thought that things got a little old with that boat, how about something that’s six times that amount? It’s amazing.
Fisher: Wow! Isn’t that amazing? Yeah, well over 15,000 years old and weapons down in…well, of course they’ve always had weapons in Texas, haven’t they? [Laughs]
David: They really have. These ones you don’t have to declare when you’re walking into a bar.
Fisher: Right, right, right.
David: Well, I’d like to wish a happy 100th birthday to a baseball player. This one isn’t on the Red Sox, but with the Philadelphia Athletics, now the Oakland A’s, Fred Caligiuri has just turned 100 years old. He played baseball pre-World War II, and he’s now the 20th former Major League to reach the milestone 100-year-mark.
Fisher: Wow! That’s impressive, and he would have played then under Connie Mack, right?
David: Right. That would have been his manager.
David: And Connie Mack of course was born in 1862.
David: So there’s pretty good history right there.
David: He was born during the Civil War.
Fisher: Right, right.
David: Managing somebody who’s playing during World War II. It’s amazing.
Fisher: It’s crazy.
David: My blogger spotlight this week shines on ifamilyhistory.blogspot.com. Now on iFamily History you can learn about the different tactical aspects of doing your family history and how to share it, which is kind of a blogger’s blog support. [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah, right. [Laughs]
David: The real mystery of the iFamily History is, I don’t know who it is. So, if you know who I is, not me, but them, please let me know. [Laughs]
Fisher: Wow! It’s really confusing me, ifamilyhistory.blogspot.com, but we don’t know who the person is.
David: There we go. Don’t forget, if you’re not a member of AmericanAncestors.org, you can become one by joining and saving $20 on your membership with the checkout code “Extreme.”
Fisher: All right, very good David, thanks so much. And coming up next, I’m going to talk to 95-year old US Marine from World War II, Bobbi Briggs. She has a lot to tell you, on the way in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 259
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Bobbi Briggs
Fisher: Hey, welcome back. It is America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and I’m just delighted to be having a conversation right now with Bobbi Briggs. She served as a Marine in World War II. She is 95-years-old, living in Illinois. Bobbi welcome to the show!
Bobbi: Well, thank you.
Fisher: Boy, you have quite the story. How did you wind up in the Marines in World War II?
Bobbi: Well, after I got out of high school and a year of business school, I went to Rockford, Illinois to live. I was raised near Fort Dodge, Iowa, Webster County. And I had a girlfriend that wanted to go to California. So, I quit my job and got back to Iowa and she started talking about the Marine Corpss. And come Christmas time, she got a diamond from her boyfriend then she didn’t want to go to California.
Bobbi: So, I started thinking about the Marine Corpss and decided it was a good idea since then one of my classmates were in the Marines and others were in service, and I got to thinking if I could help anybody by serving here, you know, if I could make it any better for them then that’s what I wanted to do.
Fisher: Wow! So, you went to a Marine recruiting office, is that how it worked?
Bobbi: I went to Des Moines, Iowa to the recruiting office, and came home feeling pretty smug that they accepted me right away.
Bobbi: And after a series of tests, a lady came out and said, “I shouldn’t tell you this, but you have the highest mechanical aptitude that I’ve had come through here.” And having lived on a farm, if my dad sent me for a monkey wrench I’d better come back with a monkey wrench and not a hammer, you know?
Fisher: Right. Sure. [Laughs] It makes sense.
Bobbi: So, that’s my story. I went to boot camp in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. I was sent to Aviation Machinist's Mates School at a Navy base in Norman, Oklahoma, and wound up at El Toro Marine Air base in Santa Ana, California.
Fisher: Wow. So, what year was this that you signed up and then when did you serve from?
Bobbi: Well, I graduated from high school in ‘41 and it was ‘44 before I actually got into the Marine Corps.
Bobbi: Between getting married in ‘46 and the war being over, I got kicked out in ‘46.
Fisher: Got kicked out. [Laughs]
Bobbi: Well, you know, they let you go.
Fisher: They let you go. That’s right. Well... Bobbi. That’s an amazing story. So, you served state side though that time?
Bobbi: As women, we were not allowed to go overseas except people who did office work. They could get to Hawaii.
Fisher: Okay. That’s about as far as they could go. Did you find this work during the war, interesting?
Bobbi: Oh yes. In the meantime I was having a good time. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, now you weren’t just surrounded by women I’m assuming at that time?
Bobbi: Oh no. When you’re in boot camp you were not allowed to talk to a man.
Bobbi: Except your drill instructor. And then you had to ask permission to speak to him and then your question had to be about drilling.
Fisher: Okay. And was the drilling any different than it was for the guys?
Bobbi: No, no not at all.
Fisher: So what was that like?
Bobbi: Well, [Laughs] you learned to stay in step and there were all kinds of different procedures you had to do, but they were easy as long as you listened to what they told you.
Bobbi: I have to tell you an incident. The first Sunday we were in boot camp we were marched to chapel. We came out of chapel, and I was the first one out for some reason, standing on the curb waiting for the platoon to assemble. Across the street were two sailors yelling, “Bobbi! Bobbi! Bobbi!”
Bobbi: One of them was one of my classmates. There were only seven boys in my high school class and it was one of them, a thousand miles from home.
Fisher: Oh wow.
Bobbi: Can you imagine?
Fisher: No! That’s just incredible. What were the odds?
Bobbi: He was in the Navy as a medic.
Bobbi: But people don’t realize that the Marine Corps did not have medics. They were taken care of by the Navy medics.
Fisher: And so you weren’t married at this point? You were what, 19 or 20 somewhere in there?
Bobbi: Um, I guess so. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] What did your parents think about you being a Marine?
Bobbi: Oh, my dad was all in favor of it.
Bobbi: Oh yeah, he was an adventurer. He was tied to the farm but he would have been off doing some crazy thing if he had had the chance.
Fisher: Was he a World War I vet himself?
Bobbi: No. He was excused because he was a farmer and he had a year-old son.
Fisher: I see. Yeah that was the case for a lot of those people back then that’s right, if they had a family.
Bobbi: Yeah. I was the youngest of three. I had an older brother and an older sister.
Fisher: And were they both in the war as well?
Bobbi: No. My brother tried to enlist two or three times, but they told him he had a heart murmur and they wouldn’t take him.
Fisher: Did that bother him that you got accepted and he didn’t?
Bobbi: I don’t think so.
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, how did that whole experience affect your life moving forward from the ‘40s?
Bobbi: Well, I met and married my husband in the Marine Corps. He was a native of Lake Forest, Illinois. And after being married for a few months, we finally got an apartment to live in on a third floor of the two busiest streets in Lake Forest. Had three little boys, and you can imagine, this farm girl was trapped. [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah. Yeah I bet. [Laughs] Now, did your husband serve in combat overseas?
Bobbi: Yes he did. He was in the Quartermaster Corps, but he was in a lot of the islands over in the South Pacific.
Fisher: Yeah, the Pacific Theater. It just had to be a brutal thing. But you had that in common. I mean, the Marines had to really bring you together because you shared the same military culture, right?
Fisher: So, I can only imagine you’re probably the last left of your platoon, are you not?
Bobbi: I don’t have any idea. I mean, they’d have to be as old as I am. The two or three that I kept in track of are long gone.
Fisher: Have long passed away. Wow.
Fisher: And so, what do you do now Bobbi? Because you’re obviously very active still and out living your life and enjoying things.
Bobbi: Well, basically, I spend my time doing family genealogy.
Fisher: That’s awesome! How long have you be doing that? You’re probably the oldest genie I’ve actually had on the show.
Bobbi: Well, I don’t remember dates accordingly, but it’s probably 30-35 years that I’ve been doing rummaging through the records. My husband’s parents were the immigrants and I got hooked on working on their lines, and I am back to about 1500 on one of them.
Fisher: Very nice.
Fisher: Now, have you embraced DNA yet?
Bobbi: Yes and no. I’ve had my own DNA done and I’ve had my brother’s, my sons and my cousin on my mother’s side. And I am computer illiterate and I get all these messages saying that they found a match for me and a match for me, and I have never figured out how to open those messages. I did at the very beginning but then they improved it and I haven’t been able to do it.
Fisher: It’s been a little bit of a challenge. Well, I’m sure there are some folks locally there who can help you with that if you choose to go in that direction. But have you been amazed by the progress? You’ve seen in your life some incredible things. Let’s see, if I’ve done my math right you go back to 1923.
Fisher: So you’ve lived through The Depression. You must have vivid memories of that. What was that experience like for your family growing up?
Bobbi: Well, we lived on a farm so we had plenty of food. My mother had a huge garden and she canned and everything like that. We butchered a steer and a hog every year, and so we had our own meat supply. She sold eggs and cream to get the basics, you know the coffee, the flour, the sugar and so forth to the local grocery store.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Bobbi: And I remember quite a bit because you’re at an impressionable age at five to ten years old. And it was a big deal for us if my mother would spend a penny to buy two lollipops for my sister and me.
Fisher: Oh wow.
Bobbi: She did not do it every week.
Fisher: No. [Laughs] No, I don’t suppose she did. You know, it’s funny you mentioned that. My mother who was born in 1924 shared with me a story about meeting her grandfather on a trip and he didn’t speak English because he was from Sweden. And so, they got ice cream for the kids, which was very rare during the Depression. And she offered a bite to her grandfather who didn’t understand and he goes, “Oh yeah, yeah.” And he took and ate the whole thing and broke her heart. And she just sat there and goes, “Oh no. No.” [Laughs]
Bobbi: [Laughs] Yeah well, once in a while we’d got a…oh I can’t think of the name of it, it was chocolate ice cream on a stick and you know that was a treat. And another treat was later on when things started to improve, she’d give us fifteen cents, ten cents to get in to the movie and a nickel for a bag of popcorn, and that was her babysitter while she did the shopping.
Fisher: Boy, that’s got to make it tough to pay two bucks for a bag of popcorn and a movie now, right?
Bobbi: I don’t go to movies. [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] I don’t blame you. So, how many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren?
Bobbi: I had three children, three boys. I have four grandchildren, two and two, and one great granddaughter.
Fisher: That’s awesome.
Fisher: Well, she’s Bobbi Briggs. She served in World War II as a Marine. Her husband was a Marine. She’s a seasoned genealogist. And Bobbi, we so appreciate you coming on the show and sharing some of your history. That is absolutely remarkable.
Bobbi: One other comment, my maiden name was Black.
Bobbi: And of course that’s how I went into the Marine Corps, as Black rather than as Briggs.
Fisher: I would imagine that would be true. Well, thank you so much for your time Bobbi, and God bless, and good luck, and get a hold of somebody locally there. They should be able to help you sort out your DNA.
Bobbi: Well, I hope so.
Fisher: [Laughs] You have a great day.
Bobbi: Yeah. If you have any more questions you know where to find me.
Fisher: There you go. [Laughs] Thank you Bobbi.
Bobbi: You’re welcome.
Fisher: And coming up next, it’s another edition of “Ordinary People With Extraordinary Finds.” She’s a young mom with links back to Italy in the last century. You got to hear how she made the connections and how you might be able to do the same. That’s coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 259
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Zoe Krainik
Fisher: Hey, we’re back it. It is 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 Legacy Tree Genealogists, LegacyTree.com. And you know, we like to do a thing now and again we call, “Ordinary People With Extraordinary Finds.” We get their stories, we find out how they did it and I’m always so appreciative when somebody reaches out to me to share their story with me because they know I’m going to share their excitement. And one of those people is Zoe Krainik. She’s out in Burke, Virginia and she’s on the line with me right now. How are you Zoe?
Zoe: I’m great, thank you.
Fisher: How long have you been a genie?
Zoe: Well, pretty much all my life. I mean, I was a little kid who would ask my mom for family stories. I knew all my grandparents’ brothers and sisters’ names. I always thought it was really fascinating. But, I guess I really ramped up my research maybe a couple of years ago when my daughter was born.
Fisher: Oh, that changes everything, doesn’t it? You know when your family comes along and you realize, oh I’ve got things I’ve got to pass down to this child.
Zoe: Yes, exactly that’s how I feel.
Fisher: So, give us the background here. You had a great grandfather who came over from Italy in 1920 but he left behind a lot of folks.
Zoe: He did. One of his brothers came here with him but we found out from an obituary (his obituary) that he actually had four sisters who survived him, who remained in Italy. This side of my family I’ve always been really close to I’d never heard of these sisters and immediately I wanted to know who they were and who their families were. I wanted to know my second cousins and all those people in Italy. Unfortunately, my great grandparents and my grandfather and his generation had all passed away at this point. And none of the following generations, my mom’s or mine had any information about this.
Fisher: They didn’t know anything about the aunts left behind? They never even heard of this?
Zoe: No. I mean, all we knew were four sisters who remained in Italy, that’s all anybody knew.
Fisher: That was it?
Zoe: Um hmm.
Fisher: Wow. Because I was thinking somebody had to know it to put it in the obituary.
Zoe: That’s true yes. I think it was probably grandfather’s generation because it was in my great grandfather’s obituary.
Zoe: Some of them had gone to visit family in Italy but only really a handful of my mom’s generation had even been there.
Zoe: So, what they might have known was kind of gone at that point.
Fisher: That’s lost. Happens a lot. So, what did you do?
Zoe: So, I had done some research on an Italian record site and I was hunting for the surname though it’s a little uncommon. So, I pretty much assumed any records with this surname were some way probably related to who these people were. I found one woman whose birth date was similar to my great grandfather’s and I assumed she was one of his siblings but I couldn’t prove it. So, trying to get that information was tricky because I felt like I was so close and I couldn’t get there. But around this time I decided that I wanted to write a genealogy book for this side of my family because we didn’t have one and we were very close and about half of them were on Facebook. So, I thought what better way to get information quickly rather than writing letters would be just to tag them all in one Facebook post and talk together about this.
Zoe: I figured early on in the process when I realized I wanted to write a book. I really wanted to not just write dates, birth dates, death dates, and that kind of thing. I wanted to write the stories. I wanted to record the stories that were passed down in my family. It wouldn’t be the typical genealogy book but that’s what I wanted.
Fisher: Oh absolutely. The stories are the key. That’s what makes them live.
Zoe: Yes exactly and I’m interested in what they looked like, what they acted like, what their traits were. That was really important to me. So, I figured I would do a series of posts and just ask people, beg them for their stories about my grandfather and his siblings, and if they had any of the great grandparents greats. My grandfather was one of seven children. So, what I did was every few days I would release a new post with one of the sibling’s names and ask for stories and photos from my family members. I tagged them all in and made it private.
Fisher: Great idea.
Zoe: Yeah, it worked out really well. I was afraid they wouldn’t respond but they responded quickly with these wonderful stories and photos, some I’d never seen before.
Zoe: I think it really brought us closer together. I mean, it was just a wonderful experience.
Fisher: Well, you got to have a reunion at some point as a result of this, right?
Zoe: I would love to. We used to do that every year but when my grandfather died, his house is where we would have them and when he died we tried to keep it up but it just kind of, you know, stopped doing it.
Zoe: In one of the posts I asked for information about the four sisters and one of my cousins had inherited a photo album from her brother who was of the only members of the family to visit back in Italy and he went in the 1970s. Unfortunately, tragically he passed away a few years after he visited but he left us this beautiful gift of his memories in this album. His sister posted a few of these photos on Facebook and the surname of a picture of an older gentleman matched the married surname of the woman who I had found previously on the Italian record site.
Fisher: Oh boy.
Zoe: So, that was kind of confirmation for me this was one of the sisters and that same surnamed showed up again on a photo of these three children. The little girl in the photo was named Anna, so again, I took to Facebook because it worked for me so far. [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah, right!
Zoe: I looked her up. [Laughs]
Fisher: This is how it’s done, exactly.
Zoe: Yes! Facebook is a wonderful tool. So, I found a woman who was the correct age and the correct name, and living in a part of Italy that I thought would be matched. So, I figured this had to be her. I knew if I was able to connect with her this would solve the mystery. I was so excited. So, in March I sent her the photograph of the three children. I messaged her and wrote something like, “Is this you? So, I think we’re related.”
Zoe: And I never heard back.
Fisher: That was it?
Zoe: Well, meanwhile I was continuing with my genealogy research and I came across a blog from one of those distant cousins who had written about a shared ancestor we had and I thought, that’s a great idea. I should have a blog. [Laughs]
Fisher: Good point.
Zoe: Yeah. So, around the end of August I started a blog. I did kind of secretly hope that like I had found this blog of my distant cousin that maybe one day some long lost relative will stumble upon it and we could connect and that would be really exciting. So, one of my first posts was about the four mystery sisters in Italy and I included the photo of the three children and I wrote about trying to connect with Anna and my disappointment in not being able to, and I concluded the post with like I hope someday she does respond. I think she might be the key to putting this puzzle together.
Zoe: And I never assumed that would be.
Fisher: Ah, but we never assume anymore, do we? [Laughs]
Zoe: Yeah, who knows? [Laughs] But, about a month later I opened up Facebook and I saw I had a message. I clicked into it and to my surprise and shock it was from Anna’s daughter and she said her mother was very sorry she didn’t respond months ago but she didn’t know who I was and she said they had found my blog the night before and she wanted to connect. And she confirmed I was correct about the woman who I suspected was one of the four sisters. In fact, she was Anna’s grandmother. And she concluded with the line, “We want to help you put the puzzle together.”
Zoe: Yeah. [Laughs]
Fisher: Did you jump up and down? Did you scream? What did you do?
Zoe: I had just come in from lunch at my job and I just walked into the building and I was just reading it before I got to my desk. So, I couldn’t really have reacted like that.
Zoe: I did laugh and cry a little but though, like privately to myself.
Fisher: I think I’d have probably gone out to the car, shut the door and screamed for a moment and then gone back to work.
Zoe: I did that internally. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] She’s Zoe Krainik from Burke, Virginia. Zoe, what a great find. You talk about ordinary people with extraordinary finds from the other side of the world. Only in this era can things like this happen. Great work Zoe, thanks so much for sharing it and we appreciate you coming on.
Zoe: Oh, thank you so much. It’s been wonderful speaking to you.
Fisher: Love it! And speaking of preservation of stories, Tom Perry our Preservation Authority is coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 259
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: Welcome back, its America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth. This segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. Talking preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. Tom, it’s been a while since we talked about audio.
Tom: Oh, it has. We've had so many things with all the floods and the hurricanes and the earthquakes, how to prepare for them, how to take care of them, and we've totally neglected audio for weeks.
Fisher: Well, you know, audio is one of those things I think a lot of folks think it’s just irretrievable when something isn't the way it used to be. For instance, cassettes, right, you must hear about that all the time.
Tom: Oh yeah, people come in, and in our showroom, we have some tapes that are like major melted damage, all kinds of things, and people go, "Oh, you can fix those?" Oh yeah! You know, and we show them the sample of one. You had some little girl put this on the top of a lamp and it melted and it was something very important to them, the people had passed on that had made the tape, and they go, "Is there any way you can recover that?" And I go, "Yeah, sure!" Because the thing you have to understand is, the flashpoint of the case, whether its audio or video and the tape itself are a lot different. So you can have a case totally melt on you and the tape is usually still good. Sometimes we might have to go in and repair the tape, which is no big deal, but we surgically take the cassette apart, put it in a brand new shell, and nine out of ten times, it just plays fine.
Fisher: Isn't that amazing! But sometimes I know the tape gets caught up inside either the audio or the video cassette case. That's usually a problem for the ordinary person.
Tom: Exactly. In fact, preventative maintenance on that is, if you find an old tape and you find an old tape recorder, don't put that tape in that old tape recorder, because even if it sat for two or three years, there's gunk that's going to get caught on the pinch rollers, on the heads, all kinds of things, and what will happen, as soon as the tape touches it, it’s going to start wrapping around it instead of going back through the other place.
Tom: Then you pop your cassette open and you see this tape going every place. If you've already gone too far, don't try and take the tape out and bring it to us, bring the whole cassette in to us, and that way, we can probably recover more, because we know how to take it apart. So bring the whole thing to us if that happens. But if you have a whole bunch of tapes and you want to listen to them before, you can always have them cleaned. We can clean them. There's probably places in your local area that does repairs. Talk to them and say, "Hey, I've got an old cassette machine, can you clean the heads?" Most people can do it themselves. It’s not hard. And I'm sure there's YouTube videos that show you how to do it. Just make sure that when you do it, you use a good quality isopropyl alcohol. Use ones that are at least 90%. Don't use the dollar store types that are 50%, because you're adding too much water in there. So go and clean them with some good Qtips and then you can go ahead and run it. But make sure you don't just put it in a machine you have no idea what the history is, because it could ruin your tapes. If you can't do that, look at your tapes and read and see which one is the least important and try that one first.
Fisher: Boy, that's a great idea. Are cassettes the most common bits of old audio you receive at your store for digitization?
Tom: Absolutely. We receive more of those than anything. But then second place is really kind of interesting. The second most one we get are what they call wire recordings. It looks just like fish line, but it’s made out of wire. And the neat thing about it is, the wire doesn't degrade like a tape does. And so, we have people that bring these in from the turn on the century and you'd swear the person's standing right next to you that's talking, because they last forever.
Fisher: How old is the oldest one that you've had in that you've been able to listen to?
Tom: You know, I can't actually put a date on them. I mean, I've had stuff that has been like way, way, way old and I would say, you know, pretty close to the turn of the century type stuff. And the strange thing is, we've had it on display and people have come up to us at one of our scanning parties or at a family history conference we went to, and they go, "Oh, we had some of those. We thought they were old fishing line of grandpa's and we didn't even know he fished!"
Fisher: Oh no, and they'd thrown them out.
Tom: They had thrown them out.
Fisher: What's the quality like on those?
Tom: Oh, it’s amazing!
Tom: Oh, it’s better than an audio cassette.
Fisher: Yeah, I would say it had to be, right, because it’s metal.
Tom: Exactly. And so the metal doesn't degrade like a tape would, so it lasts forever and ever and ever. These things will be around way after cassettes have just totally flaked away.
Fisher: Well, next time you come in, Tom, you're going to have to bring one of these wire recording, as I've never seen one.
Tom: Yep, they're cool. They look just like the old fish line, except they're metal.
Fisher: And we'll find out some of the other items you typically see that might be a little more unusual to our listeners and me coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 259
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: We are talking preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher here. And Tom, last segment we were talking about the most common audio that you get in for digitization at your store, and that would be cassette tapes. And then you mentioned the second most common thing were old wire recordings, which I've never seen, and how amazing they are and how far back they go. What else do you get? What's the next thing?
Tom: Okay, number three isn't a big surprise, but its vinyl records. And when I say vinyl, I'm throwing everything into that batch, because it’s not just vinyl. We have the old steel records, the aluminum ones, we have all kinds of things. In fact, I even remember back when my oldest brother was getting ready to go to boot camp during the Vietnam era, there was a little almost like a phone booth that you go in, you drop a quarter in, you talk to it and a record pops out.
Fisher: Sweet! And then you drop it in the mail. They have a container for you.
Tom: Exactly. We have people that were over in the service wherever around the world and they would send them to their family, their family would send them to them, and thank heavens they preserved them. And so, we have a lot of people that bring those in. We even have people bring in the old cereal boxes, back in, I think it was during the '60s.
Fisher: Yes! Yes! I remember those!
Tom: They would have like little Christmas songs on the back, whatever and you can cut them out and put them on your turntable. And all they were, were you know, kind of a varnish type stuff on the back of the cardboard, so they didn't last long and they cracked easily, so they weren't the best in the world. And an interesting thing about that is, I've always told people, "Don't throw them away if they're broken or chipped, because one day they'll come out with it, because they have the technology of a record player that's a laser.” And lo and behold, about a year ago, they actually came out with one. The only problem is, it’s for really high end people, because it’s like 15 grand for the machine.
Tom: And there's no way we can justify it, so hopefully one day, just like anything that's new, in a few years, the price will come down, because I would love to have one of these, because every once in a while, we get warped records in or records that are severely scratched or broken. But I've always told people, don't throw them away, because one day the technology will be here. It is here now. We just need to wait for the price point to drop or get a winning lottery ticket.
Fisher: [Laughs] So when you come across an old record, an old piece of vinyl, obviously a personal recording, not a problem for you to copy, but when it come to commercial recording, that's a problem, back to a certain date I would assume. What date do you go by?
Tom: We don't actually go by date. There's a law that's called the Fair Use Act, and it will allow you to take one media and change it to a different form of media, which is called a convenience factor. So if you have an old album, an old Christmas album or something like that you'd like to get transferred to a CD, we can do that, but the law requires you, you cannot sell that CD, you can't give that CD away, you can't give the record away. Legally, you’re supposed to keep the record and the CD together at all times. It’s more like the law said, it’s a convenience factor. “I don't want to get out my turntable, I want to listen to a CD.” So that's fine, as long as you keep the things together. But if you try to copy it or do anything like that, then you're going to run into copyright violations.
Fisher: All right, that was number three. We're running out of time. What's number four?
Tom: Number four is really strange, it’s called wax cylinders. It’s called the Edison old wax cylinders.
Fisher: Oh wow! We're talking way back now.
Tom: Oh yeah, oh way, way, way, way back.
Fisher: Was it voice recording or commercial ones or do you get them both?
Tom: Yes. [Laughs] We get them all.
Tom: They're really interesting. The biggest reason we don't get more of those is, because since they are wax, if you don't take good care of them, they'll melt, they'll get abrased, they won't work right. But even if those are cracked, we can usually fill them in with a polymer and still transfer them. So that's always an option. And then the weirdest one I would say is, you cannot believe the number of 8 track tapes we get in.
Tom: Yeah. And we do 8 track tapes actually both directions. We have people that have like a '69 collector Mustang that want to have new music on their 8 track, so we make them an 8 track out of current music, and it blows the minds of the people at the car shows.
Fisher: [Laughs] That's great stuff. Thanks so much, Tom. We'll talk to you next week.
Tom: My pleasure.
Fisher: Hey that's a wrap for our show this week. Thanks so much for joining us. Remember, Extreme Genes Patron's Club members catch the podcast first and get bonus podcasts twice a month, as well as an Ask Me Anything Live YouTube session. Sign up for our Patron's Club at ExtremeGenes.com, just find the link there, or go to Patreon.com/ExtremeGenes. Also, signup for out Weekly Genie Newsletter, you can find that at ExtremeGenes.com. It’s absolutely free. We’ve got thousands of followers there for my article each week, and all kinds of great links to great stories. Talk to you next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!