Episode 26 – Finding Treasures in HeirloomsJan 27, 2014
On this week’s edition of Extreme Genes, Fisher shares important news for adoptees from Ohio. The governor there has signed a new law that will have an affect on people looking for their birth families. The “Grave Whisperer” is making news in Washington DC. What does he do and how does he do it? Find out!
Transcript of Episode 26
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Todd Godfrey
Segment 1 Episode 26
Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher your Radio Roots Sleuth! Loaded show this week! Guests, experts, stories, big news, lots of stuff happening. But first, I’m excited to let you know that yours truly will be an official blogger for the upcoming Roots Tech Convention in Salt Lake City, February 6th through 8th. It is the largest in North America and I’m honoured to have been asked. As we found out last week from Paul Nauta and Bruce Brand from FamilySearch.org, there are many parts of Roots Tech you’ll be able to follow online through streaming video if you are unable to attend in person. To find out what’s going on, go to RootsTech.org. Lots of very interesting things happening there, and I’ll do my best to be your eyes the things I think will be of greatest interest to you and you can follow up on it. All right coming up on the show, we’re going to be talking to a woman from Pekin, Illinois who has owned a very special quilt pretty much her entire life. And recently that quilt took her on a ride unlike any other you may have ever heard about. That will be in less than ten minutes. You will love her story. Research Authority Stan Lindaas is back with a great tip on where to find hidden family history treasure and some of the crazy things that can happen to you when you follow his advice. And of course, Preservation Authority Tom Perry is here. He will answer a listener question about repairing a poor video recording of his mother and father in our final segment. Got a question or comment or story you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. You can email me at [email protected] or you can call our “Find Line” toll free 1-234-56Genes. That’s 1-234-56Genes, G-E-N-E-S.
And now form the pages of ExtremeGenes.com here’s this week’s Family Histoire News. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Ohio Governor John Kasich has signed into law a Bill that gives adoptees born between 1964 and 1996 access to their original birth certificates beginning in March of next year. Now the Bill could potentially affect as many as 400 000 people. Laws already cover people born before 1964 and after 1996 so this new Bill fills in that gap. The wait till next year to enact it is to allow time for birth parents to have the opportunity to redact their names from the certificate. If they don’t wish to be contacted they still will be required to provide at minimum a detailed medical history. Interestingly, when similar laws have passed in other States, very few birth parents have decided to remove their names. If you live in Ohio and were adopted this may be a very interesting development for you if you’re seeking to find your birth parents and possible half siblings. The Washington Post has done a great story on a man they call the “Grave Whisperer.” He’s Bob Perry from Boston who’s using GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) to map out Washington DC’s famous Congressional Cemetery. We’ve talked about GPR in the past and if you listen to Episode 4’s podcast you’ll hear more about that. The cemetery is tucked in the Southeast corner of Washington and is the final resting place of John Phillip Souza, Civil War photographer Matthew Brady, several early politicians and countless servicemen. Bob patiently wanders from row to row of each section and so far has identified unmarked graves of some 2 750 people. Since the records of the cemetery are quite good it’s likely that a large percentage of these graves will be identifiable. Numerous old cemeteries are resorting to GPR to get their house back in order. And over time many of us will be the beneficiaries of all this effort as we try to find the final resting places of our ancestors. Read the complete article at ExtremeGenes.com. Use keywords GPR to take you there. If you’re listening to our podcast then you’ll see the article in our featured section. Next, it was a huge announcement from Ancestry.com about tons of records are coming their way and ours from the vault of FamilySearch.org. Todd Godfrey, Ancestry’s Senior Director of U.S Content Acquisition is on our “Find Line.” Fill us in Todd.
Todd: We mentioned in an announcement back in September an opportunity with our partner Family Search to invest $60 million in digitizing about a billion new International records. These are the ones that haven’t been online before. This announcement we sent out yesterday is kind of Part 2 of the next phase of that collaboration together. This is another billion records.
Fisher: [Laughs] Oh my gosh!
Todd: Yeah, these are ready to go right now. These have actually been digitized by the good people of Family Search and they are making those available to Ancestry subscribers for us to include on our site as well.
Fisher: Wow! So you’ve already had what 12 billion global records? Now you’re up to 13 like almost instantly because you’re letting these out right away, right?
Todd: That’s right. In fact, we rolled about 900 million of them last night. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, obviously the little elves over at Ancestry.com have been very busy.
Todd: They have been. Our digitization group have been very busy getting these published, so we’re very excited and appreciative of Family Search sharing it with us. They come from all over the place. The group last night we released was about 170 collections. We have about 400 that are going to be on the way, all told when we’re done. And they come from all over the place you know, places of disparatives, Mexico to Hungary to the Philippines, just about 67 different countries that these collections come from and should really make a lot more discoveries for our users.
Fisher: Boy, and when you start adding in the DNA mix to these records it really starts to coalesce, doesn’t it?
Todd: Yeah it does. Really powerful search abilities especially when you combine all the records, all the great trees people are bringing online and then add a little technology with DNA.
Fisher: Boy, terrific stuff. Thanks so much Todd.
Todd: You bet! Thanks for the time.
Fisher: Ancestry.com users are already seeing a lot of new shaky leaves when they log in, all tied in to this week’s announcement and roll out! It’s great to see the two “Big Dogs” of documents making this so much easier for all of us. Well, I had a great conversation this week with Jim Powell from the New England Historical and Genealogical Society and he brought up an interesting question. “What’s more exciting, the search for your ancestor itself, the journey or the final discoveries that ends certain parts of the overall journey?” We’ve posted that as our poll question this week at ExtremeGenes.com. Be sure to cast your vote next time you visit our website. All right, coming up next, we’ll be talking to Jan Frazier from Pekin, Illinois whose heirloom quilt has taken her on an astounding journey in space and time. Do I sound like Rod Serling when I say that? I’m not exactly sure it’s Twilight Zone stuff, but the serendipity of family history research was definitely in play here. Hear Jan in three minutes on Extreme Genes Family History Radio ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 2 Episode 26
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Jan Frazier
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes Family History Radio ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here with my guest from Pekin, Illinois, Jan Frazier. Hi Jan, welcome to the show!
Jan: Hi Scott, thank you so much.
Fisher: Boy, what an adventure you went on with a quilt. And you know last week we had a gentleman on the show who had found a photograph of his father who passed when the man was seven months old and it took him on a trip all around the world. And people were greeting him and it was shown on the newspapers and they had events around this photograph.
Fisher: An amazing story and I find yours to be very similar in that way. You started out with a simple quilt. Tell us about that.
Jan: Well, the quilt was handed down by my grandmother, given to my mother for me. And the only information I had on the quilt was that the material came from casket lining. That’s all I knew.
Fisher: [Laughs] Now wait a minute. Where would she be getting casket lining? What is it velvet or something?
Jan: [Laughs] Yes, it’s velvet.
Jan: I didn’t know. And you know how stupid you are when you’re young you don’t ask questions about anything.
Jan: And so then years later I started you know thinking about it and I was in a quilt club and they saw it and went crazy over it and they said, “We’re going to do a story on this.”
Jan: One of the ladies was a newspaper lady here in town and so she said, “Tell me all you know.” And I go, “Well, that’s all I know.” [Laughs]
Fisher: That’s it. That it was made from coffin linings and it must be very heavy then being velvet.
Jan: Very, very, very.
Fisher: Did you ever use it Jan?
Jan: I did. I did use it. And you know foolishly you know, the dogs laid on it and everything else.
Jan: You know, I didn’t know. I didn’t know I had something great. But anyway, I started going around then to the funeral homes around here and found out that an old family friend had worked at one of the funeral homes and it’s the funeral home that our family uses. So I’m assuming she got the material from him and so then I went down to the museum in Illinois, in Springfield. They had never seen anything like it. They had never seen anything as heavy. They were enthralled with it. They wanted it. [Laughs] So anyway, the newspaper article came out in Pekin paper and I had been looking for one of these Dully cousins named Diane Ayers, but I could never reach her. And crazy enough she lives in Chicago. Her father lives in Pekin. She happened to be online that day like once in three years she said. She went online to look at what was happening in Pekin and sees the quilt, calls me and says, “Guess what? I have one just like it.”
Fisher: [Laughs] Wow!
Jan: And I’m blown away. And I go, “What do you mean?” And she goes, “Well, I know the story behind it.” She said, “Three sisters, the Dully sisters, decided one winter each one to make a quilt and give it to their first married child.” And she said there’s another quilt somewhere.
Fisher: Wow. Now wait a minute. Do we have an idea what era we’re talking about here?
Fisher: 1800s. And this is your great grandparents?
Jan: So the only other sister, there were three sisters, was the great, great grandmother of a cousin of mine in Peoria. So I called him and I said, “Do you have this quilt?” Because he had seen mine and he said, “No, I’ve never seen anything like it.” So Diane and I kind of you know let it go because it’s like well, that’s the only person we know and maybe it got lost or thrown away you know, in the fire. Who knew?
Fisher: The third quilt, sure.
Jan: So I was at Don’s house then last summer with my German cousin and we were looking at some quilts that he had but all I could see was this quilt underneath and it was the quilt! [Laughs]
Jan: So we had three quilts. It was an amazing thing the day we got them all together, the first time the three quilts had been together in a hundred years. And we had a kind of a mini reunion after that. But it was an incredible story and you know, I just don’t believe in coincidences. I really think God puts things there to happen.
Jan: And we really got it all together.
Fisher: Now, are all quilts, all three of them in the same style? Are they all velvet? Are they all from the coffin linings?
Jan: No, they’re not all. A part of Diane’s has got velvet. Don’s is not velvet, which is why you know, he thought it didn’t fit. But, oh it does fit. It’s exactly, except for the velvet. Mine has a blanket underneath the top quilting so it makes it very heavy. Diane’s backing is ruined and she really needs to replace it. And Don’s backing was ruined and he did replace it some years back. So I don’t know, and it was an incredible story.
Fisher: Have you ever had it appraised? I don’t know if there’s a market for these old things, but there must be I would think as everybody collects something.
Jan: We did have. I had mine appraised by one of the top appraisers in Illinois. She had never seen one that heavy ever, she said in all of her years. She appraised it at $750. Now I’m taking better care of it.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]
Fisher: Did you get rid of all the pets or banish them to different rooms? I understand. [Laughs]
Fisher: So now you’re kind of close. You were looking for Diane as part of I assume, some genealogical research you were doing.
Jan: I was.
Fisher: And she found you, obviously, miraculously and put this whole thing together. So have you had reunions then with members of their families and yours yet?
Jan: Yes we’ve had several reunions. My German cousin is doing a book on the Dullys and so he comes over a couple of times a year and works on all the information that people have here that’s not on computers. And we have had one Dully reunion in Germany a few years ago. We’re having another one in May.
Jan: And we’ve had several here in Pekin where Werner our cousin from Germany is always here for that. A family that we, not even Werner knew existed. We’ve just all come together. It’s been fabulous.
Fisher: How many descendents do you think there are from this Dully family that came to your area, what 1860s? Is that what I read?
Jan: Yes. Well, we know of my great grandparents, came and had at least seven children and they are scattered. We know there’s still more here we haven’t found. We haven’t located yet. But through things like you know this radio program and I’ve had since the story came out, I don’t know how it got picked up in so many places. I’ve had phone calls, emails, letters from people all over United States because they’ve read the story and they think they might be related. They’re either a Redlingshafer, a Vandyke or something.
Fisher: Isn’t that great? Because this is the best era ever for family history research for that very reason because a story like what you describing would have stayed in Pekin, Illinois just 10/15 years ago.
Fisher: But now it goes everywhere and continues on. You know, the thing about these heirlooms is I don’t think a lot of people realize what a time machine they can be in tying people back together. Because you think about it, there are so many different descendents, you are looking for the one person who also happens to have one of them that you were looking for, and then you knew the other cousin. Isn’t that amazing when you think about it? How many descendents there would be that you would have some tie already with the people who had the other quilts?
Jan: Indeed. I know, so true. And when Werner is here working, he will go onto the internet he’ll say, “Oh, here’s somebody else that I think we might be related to. Here, go call them.”
Jan: And I always feel like they’re going to hang up on me, like, who’s this idiot and saying you know we might be related. But that’s how we have found more and more relatives. And every time we have a reunion we find five or six more relatives and they say, “Well, we haven’t met any of these people, we need another reunion.” And so there’s still another, you know? [Laughs]
Fisher: We’re talking to Jan Frazier. She found a quilt some time back and tied it into two others made by three different sisters of ancestors of the owners of these things, and Jan, you said you went over to Germany to have a reunion there, is this something that was spawned by the quilts as well?
Jan: No, it wasn’t. It was Werner, the one who is doing the book on the Dullys, got together people that he did not even know. He got on the internet again and found a lot of Dullys over there that he didn’t know and so the reunion – he knew maybe four or five out of the thirty five for forty that were there that day. So, it’s kind of funny that he lives right there and didn’t know he had ancestors around him.
Fisher: Isn’t that amazing, or descendents, descendents around him yes.
Jan: Anyway, in May when we have the next reunion there’s going to be a lot more that none of us have met yet, so.
Fisher: Exactly. Tell us about the quilts now, what is happening with them? Are you each individually keeping them stored in your homes? Have you done a display? I’m sure you’ve been invited to do all kinds of things with them
Jan: The museum in Springfield really wants them. [Laughs] They’ve only seen mine and they want mine but I know they would want all three. And we’re really trying to make a decision what do we want to do. I mean it’s not – I’m all for let’s give them to the museum because that’s really where they belong, but I don’t know that the other cousins are feeling that way. And I think they should stay together, all three quilts, you know?
Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. It makes a lot of sense and the thing is though, they are so inspiring to so many people and I guess the question is, when are you ready to give something up?
Fisher: I mean, we all have... I have a handwritten autobiography of a second great grandfather. He wrote in Swedish on five pages.
Fisher: And because I’ve always had the interest, the older members of the family would pass these things down to me. But I look at it and I think, it’s a very special thing, he has many descendents, I have the one original and of course I’ve shared it online but the question is, when do you say wait a minute, this needs to go to some place more special to make sure that it is properly preserved and everybody knows where it is and can access it.
Jan: Yeah. That’s the tough question, you’re right, absolutely.
Fisher: And so, everybody has to personally make that decision and maybe you won’t be able to get everybody on the same page on this at the same time.
Jan: That’s right.
Fisher: Well, it’s an amazing story Jan, and I thank you so much for sharing that and look forward to hearing what further adventures these quilts take you on because I don’t think it’s over yet.
Jan: I don’t think it is either. It’s been my pleasure and honor to talk to you. Thank you so much.
Fisher: One last question, how has this affected your kids?
Jan: I think they are more aware that you need to ask questions when you can, you know, because we didn’t and we’re researching everything so now is the time that they need to ask questions of us. And I think they’ve become more aware of that.
Fisher: Great advice. Jan Frazier. Pekin Illinois. Have a great time with your quilt!
Jan: Thank you so much. Nice talking with you Scott.
Fisher: Thanks Jan! And coming up next, our Research Authority Stan Lindaas with his first appearance of the New Year, he’s going to tell you how to find hidden gold and where it’s located. Coming up next on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio ExtremeGenes.com
Segment 3 Episode 26
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Stan Lindaas
Fisher: Welcome back Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. It is your Radio roots Sleuth Fisher here, with our Research Authority Stan Lindaas from Heritage Consulting, and Stan, good to see you again. Happy New Year!
Stan: Thanks, it’s nice to be back and alive.
Fisher: And we’re here to talk today about hidden treasure. And what we’re talking about basically are great resources that are hidden away. That are not digitized yet, they are not online, they are not listed and you know where these things can be found.
Stan: Not only are they not digitized or online, a lot of times they’re not even catalogued.
Stan: So you need to be able to figure out where these things are get to them. And most people shy away from them.
Fisher: Because? It takes too much to find them in the first place?
Stan: Um yeah, who wants to deal with a librarian?
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] Okay.
Stan: And that’s where they are, in libraries.
Fisher: All right, which kind of libraries? Let’s start narrowing that down.
Stan: Public libraries.
Stan: Public libraries, the place where a lot of people go just to take a nap.
Fisher: Okay. [Laughs]
Stan: But there are a lot of things that are in public libraries, especially in rural areas where there are resources that you can find real hidden treasures. Many of the libraries on a rural level and even sometimes in a major metropolitan area will have a file that they have kept of families that are in the area. Often times they will even have all the correspondence that has been sent to them enquiring about families, or giving them more information. Many times in that process of inquiry when you’re looking for Herman Smushelfutz you know, someone has written asking about Herman.
Stan: Well, in the meantime, in their explanation of what they want, they start rambling and they tell you all kinds about Herman’s brothers or sisters that you otherwise would never have found.
Fisher: Now have you gone through this process yourself over the course of your years as a professional researcher?
Stan: I’ve done it many, many times. It comes in handy and you can utilize this resource on the phone.
Stan: As well as just going there in person.
Fisher: All right, take me through it then. So you have an ancestor who is from a certain area, perhaps a small county in Iowa.
Stan: Let’s go with another I word. Let’s try Indiana. My wife’s family is from Owen County, Indiana, father born in Spencer. My wife is a professional genealogist as well. So this is not a matter of finding out what the names and dates and places are. These are things that she already had. She had visited Spencer when she was a small girl and remembered some things. Now, you’ve got to understand that Spencer, Indiana, is the hill country, kind of like Kentucky and Tennessee.
Stan: Many of the people that lived there early on came from Kentucky and Tennessee. So, we were going back there a few years ago and we wanted to visit, and we had information. Well, we arrived in Spencer and all was good, except for we needed something to eat, so we stopped at a fine dining establishment, I think it was Burger King.
Stan: Right. So I’m in there and I ask, “Where is the public library?” Well the guy says, “It’s in the Old Spencer Bank Building.” “Well that’s great! Where’s the Old Spencer Bank Building?” And so he directs me to the Old Spencer Bank Building. We go to the now library, and walk in and we ask, and this is some question you should always ask, and that is, “Do you have a genealogical section? Or a local history section in your library? Or do you have a local family history or genealogical guru with whom I can talk?” And we were directed to the family history section of their library, which happened to be in the Old Bank vault.
Stan: Which was nice, you know. All these records are nice and safe in there. So, we go in and they have a file, a paper file, of every family in the area and all correspondents that had ever been written about them.
Stan: Newspaper clippings, obituaries, certificates, for some of these people. While digging through this for my wife’s family, the Carpenters, we came across two items that I’ll share with you. One was with regards to the birth of her father.
Stan: And there was a picture of the house in which he was born, and lo and behold, that house was the predecessor to the Old Spencer Bank Building.
Fisher: It was sitting right on the same side.
Stan: It was sitting right on the same side.
Fisher: So her dad was born right there?
Stan: Right. Not only that-
Fisher: Practically in the vault.
Stan: In the vault.
Stan: Because looking at the picture, and there were pictures showing where the kitchen was and such as that.
Stan: The bedroom was where the vault was.
Fisher: Oh, that’s fun.
Stan: And I turned to my wife and I said, “Sweetheart, you’re in the bedroom.”
Fisher: Yeah [Laughs].
Stan: You know. This is it. You can’t get much closer than this. Well, in addition to that, there was a reference to a log cabin that her family had built.
Fisher: In the previous generations?
Stan: I would say 1814.
Fisher: Okay, yeah.
Stan: That’s pretty much previous. But at any rate, there was a reference to it and even a picture of it, and then I realized that this picture was taken in the 1960s, and I thought, “Whoa, maybe it’s still standing.” Well, it was outside of town and rolling hills, forest. We went driving around up and down the dirt roads looking for this place, where we thought it should be, couldn’t find it. We were doubling back on ourselves and I said to my wife, “I’m going to ask somebody.”
Fisher: Wow, a guy actually asking directions. This is impressive.
Stan: Thanks, Fish.
Stan: There may be a chromosomal disorder here.
Stan: At any rate, [Laughs], so, my wife was not too keen on the idea of me stopping and asking some hill people about where a log cabin was, but I did it anyway, and we pulled back around the corner on the road which we just came, after I had asked, and lo and behold, here was this opening in the shrubbery on the side of the road, and here was this fabulous cabin with like, 18 inch square hickory logs that had been hewn down, and we walked in and on the bottom log was her ancestor’s name, and the date, 1814.
Stan: People were still living in this house. There was an addition on the back of it. It was really interesting because you look at it and it looked like something right out of the time period save it be for the satellite dish that was on the front of the cabin.
Stan: But I thought maybe it was an original item or something, you know? They were before their time. Another instance was back just before the Atlanta Summer Olympics. We got the task of working to look for Anita DeFrantz’s family.
Fisher: Now, she was the person who’s running the Olympics.
Stan: She was the US IOC representative.
Stan: International IOC representative.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Stan: Went to her family’s hometown in southern Illinois, again, a real hilly place. It was a black community that, the community no longer existed, as, it turns out there was a cemetery. I was seeking something out of the cemetery for her family. I had to step in front of a tractor and stop an old farmer.
Stan: He wasn’t thrilled about that, but at any rate, I was directed to a forest in the middle of a field that had the most delicious blackberries. I tromped through the forest, I find two stones in a five acre plot, and one of them, as it turns out, was a broken obelisk that I had to dig in the brush to find it, all of it, and stood it all up and placed it all together, and it was her family.
Stan: But I would not have found this had I not gone to the public library and asked the people at the public library what they had in their files for this community.
Fisher: So, mostly you would say then, small communities, this is where you would find a lot of these hidden treasures?
Fisher: There are some I know, like, areas like New York. I know that they’ve got so much, their problem is they have too much to actually go through and index and digitize.
Stan: Yes, yes. And so don’t just limit it to rural communities.
Stan: In major metropolitan areas they have collections. St. Louis County public library has a fabulous collection that will get you into records that otherwise you will never see.
Fisher: Boy this is great stuff. And you say you can do a lot of it on the phone?
Stan: Yeah. Even in the major metropolitan areas. You may get a good day when the librarian got up on the right side of the bed and is going to be very generous.
Fisher: That’s when you turn on the charm.
Stan: That’s right. That’s right. You kiss up.
Stan: And accept everything they give, even if it’s something that you already know. If they’re telling you something that you already know, you just be very gracious about it and thank them profusely.
Fisher: Well, having done that myself, you’re right. They’ll do it, and they’ll often do it with no cost to you. They’ll scan it, they’ll email it to you. You can have it the same day.
Fisher: I’ve done this many times.
Fisher: That is great advice. Stan Lindaas from HeritageConsulting.com, he’s a research authority. Thanks for joining us again.
Stan: Thanks again, Fish.
Fisher: And coming up for you next, our preservation authority, Tom Perry. You know, he’s been talking about these 3D printers. I’m going to break it to him something’s getting weird in that world. It’s coming up next in about three minutes on Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 4 Episode 26
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio, ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here with Tom Perry, he is our Preservation Authority. Tom, you have been pitching us for the last, I don't know how long, about the joys of 3D printers and what we can do to actually recreate and reproduce family heirlooms, have you not?
Tom: Yes, sir!
Fisher: Yes you have! Guilty as charged! Well, I found this amazing story, this is going in a direction I don't think any of us could have ever anticipated, but it is a company in the United States here, 3D printing company that is now offering to use 3D images of your unborn child to create a life sized fetus! Your life sized unborn child. And they'll give to you in quarter size, half size, large size, the full size. Its $200 to $400. They're still trying to get the fifteen grand together to get the printer, but look at this picture. You can get to know your unborn child long before it’s here just based on the pictures. [Laughs]
Tom: It’s amazing!
Fisher: Now let me ask you, is this adorable or is this creepy?
Tom: That's my final answer.
Fisher: That is your final answer. That might be the dark side of the 3D printers.
Fisher: I don't know, that's just a bizarre thing to me, but.
Tom: These 3D pictures they get inertial right now are almost like way, and I can't imagine a 3D model of it. It’s just like too far out there right now.
Fisher: Yes, unbelievable. And we got a question from [email protected], from Gary in San Tan valley, Arizona. He wrote, "Just started listening on my iPhone and heard the latest show about repairing disks. And I have a disk where I transferred a video interview with my mother and father and it’s not very clear recording. Do you have a resource that could take that video/audio recording and clean it up to make it clear?"
Tom: Exactly. To make two things kind of clear, there's a difference between repairing a disk and enhancing a disk.
Fisher: Okay, let’s go through them carefully here and slowly.
Tom: Okay, the two things are, if a disk is damaged, like you scratched it with, one of your kids pulled it out of the machine before they're supposed to, got some pliers because it was jammed in there and you have physical scratches that you can feel on a disk that needs to be repaired. And as long as it’s on the bottom side of the disk, the non labeled side, we can fix them. I've had ones that came in pretty bad, almost like with, you know, knife gouges in there that we could repair.
Tom: Now what this gentleman is speaking about is enhancing the disk. So what we need to do is, we take the file that he has, we put it on the computer and we go in with our equalizers and different software and we actually clean it up, like if grandpa and grandma are being interviewed and grandpa's so far away from the mic he can't really hear him, we can take grandpa and bring him up, sometimes get rid of refrigerator noises in the back. And we're happy to do that for you or you want to do it yourself, there's a real good program called ProTools that will do some really high end stuff. And Garage Band will do some very minor things.
Fisher: All right. So there are options for at home and also going to professionals, such as yourself?
Tom: Absolutely. So if he goes in ahead and sends it in to us, of course he gets a $25 off, because, you know, we read his question on the air.
Fisher: Exactly. Great! Thanks so much for that. And of course, if you have a question for Tom, feel free to contact us at [email protected]. And of course on that site, TMCPlace.com, he's got a lot of great, free information for you that you can use as you go about preserving what you're got. And coming up, we're going to be talking about mini disk recorders, lot of problems with those.
Fisher: And a little more on some of the files and how you use them as you go about preserving those great heirlooms in your family.
Fisher: On Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 5 Episode 26
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: Welcome back, its Extreme Genes, Family History Radio, ExtremeGenes.com. I am your congenial Radio Roots Sleuth, Fisher with Tom Perry. He is our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. And, Tom, you're talking about mini disks. There's a problem going here. What's the story?
Tom: Right. We've talked about this on several episodes before. If you have one of those camcorders that take the little disk that you record video on, you need to do something with your disk ASAP, if not sooner. If you have any disks that haven't been finalized, you need to finalize them immediately and get them copied on a normal sized disk or put them on a hard drive.
Fisher: Now, what does this mean, “finalized”?
Tom: Okay. When you record on a disk, whether it’s on a computer or on these little video camcorders, it records information, but until you finalize it, it’s not compatible with anything except the machine it was recorded on. So if you don't finalize it, your camera breaks and you can't find one on eBay and go in and finalize them, you have all these trips to Disney Land that are of no value to anybody,
Fisher: Ooh, that's harsh! Now you said somebody came into your store and had a problem, what was that?
Tom: Yeah, just today they came back. They came in probably about a week ago and said, "Hey, we want these on full sized disks so we can share them with family and friends." And we asked them, "Did you finalize them?" and they shook their head "yes" and obviously they hadn't. We went through every single disk, none had been finalized, so she came and picked them up, took them home, her husband was in the middle of finalizing, had just finalized the first one and it worked, put in the second one, the camera died.
Tom: Tried everything they could, nothing will work on it. They found one of eBay for like $800.
Tom: And it’s like, "Oh, good grief!" you know, what are your memories worth?
Fisher: Yeah, that's a great question. So how old were these cameras that we're talking about?
Tom: I think they first came out probably about ten years ago, because I remember when they first came out, they've been garbage from day one. I've had customers come in, I say, "Hey, if you've bought it at a place that has a good return policy, get rid of them. Take them back. You don't want them." They had so much trouble getting rid of these when they first came out. A lot of the manufacturers pay the salesmen a higher commission on these cameras than on ones that were even more expensive, because nobody was buying them. And its good nobody did. They're garbage. They're really, really bad.
Fisher: All right, so that's great advice. What else do you have for us today?
Tom: Okay, we're going to talk a little bit about alphabet soup, a little bit about scanning, and hopefully we can finish it on this one. We've had people write in and say, "Okay, now I understand jpegs, I understand super jpegs, I understand RARs a little bit, I understand TIFFs, what about GIFs, PNGs, these things? What are we supposed to do with these and exactly what are they?" And everything goes back to like we talked about a couple of weeks ago is, it depends what your final use is going to be. If you want to post stuff on like a website or Facebook, you can use something like PNGs that are really, really good quality, but they're really, really small and aren't going to take up a lot of space on Facebook or wherever you decide to put on. You can also go to GIFs, which are really good items to work with, because GIFs you can go into. You can take a real nice photo, you can go into something like Photoshop and say "export for web" and what it will do is, it will go and keep the integrity of the colors, but reduce it at such a huge amount that it makes it small enough that you can put it any place that you want to put it. Now you don't want to really use these if you're printing or doing stuff like that. You want to get the jpegs, the TIFFs, the higher quality things. But if you need something that's really small and really portable, PNGs, GIFs, PDFs, you know, are fine. That's what you want to be using. So just as a quick review, if you're doing items to use in books that you want to print out, just use jpegs. Jpegs are great for scanning, they're small enough that you can use them. When you go in and edit them over and over again, they reduce in quality, so you don't want to do that. If you want to have a file that you want to go in and do a lot of editing with, you want to go into something like a TIFF. If you're going to go in and like cut people out, add a lot of color, do all kinds of really cool high end stuff, you want to go to TIFFs. If you're doing stuff to go on the internet, I recommend GIFs, GIFs and PNGs are the best way to go.
Fisher: And all of this information is on your website, is it not?
Tom: Yes, sir!
Fisher: So if you go to TMCPlace.com, you will find a whole list of information, not only on this, but concerning your photos and your slides and your home movies as well.
Fisher: It is a great resource. It’s all for free for you. It’s all part of you being our Preservation Authority on ExtremeGenes.com. Thanks for joining us, Tom.
Tom: Good to be here.
Fisher: Hey, that wraps up another show for this week. Thanks for joining us. Thanks to Jan Frazier from Pekin, Illinois for her amazing quilt story and the adventure it took her on. And to Stan Lindaas, our Research Authority for coming by with a great tip as well. We'll see you again next week. Talk more about Roots Tech coming up in early February. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!