Episode 261 - Same Names, Same Place? No Problem! / Genie Digs Up Hired Killer Ancestor

podcast episode Nov 25, 2018

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. The guys kick it off with word about some new World War I souvenirs David was recently gifted. Then, they open Family Histoire News with the story of an article in which English family members write about loved ones who were killed in World War I. Then, it’s another cold case solved by genetic genealogy. Hear the details on this most recent case. Speaking of DNA, how much does heredity have to do with longevity? A new study reveals the reality. David explains. Then, some 73 years after the end of World War II, a pair of Russian sisters, one in the US and the other in Finland have finally found each other. Their story is fit for a movie! David’s Blogger Spotlight shines this week on John Grenham of Ireland. John’s blog, johngrenham.com/blog  covers all things Irish. If you have Irish ancestors, he’d be a great one to follow.

Then, Fisher visits with genealogist Jim Beidler of Legacy Tree Genealogists. Jim recently blogged about the challenges of having ancestors with common names, or an ancestor who shares the same name with someone else in the same area. Jim talks about how you can be sure that you’re looking at the records of the right person.

Next, it’s another “ordinary person with an extraordinary find.” It’s Kathy Hudson of Salt Lake City, Utah, who uncovered the fact that her ancestor was New York State’s first hired killer! Kathy explains the man’s story, how she found it, and her family’s reaction.

Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority, returns this week talking about the importance of password protection even on photo preservation sites.  In his second segment, Tom shares some thoughts on storage as your databases grow.

That’s all this week on ExtremeGenes.com, America’s Family History Show!

Transcript of Episode 261 

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 261

Fisher: Welcome to America’s family History Show, Extreme Genes andExtremeGenes.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. The final episode for this season is coming up this weekend, Sunday night 9 o’clock Eastern, 6 o’clock Pacific. And we’ve got some great guests today. First of all, we’re going to talk to Jim Beidler coming up in about ten minutes. He’s from Legacy Tree Genealogists and he’s going to talk about the problem of figuring out who people are when they share the same names and the same dates and the same places. You know, there are a lot of people who deal with this issue, so we’ll have that coming up in just a little bit. And then later in the show we have a woman, an ordinary person, with an extraordinary find, and that is that she descends from the first hired killer in the history of New York State. Who was he? What was his story? How did she find it? [Laughs] You’ll have that later on in the show. And just a reminder, if you haven’t signed up for our “Weekly Genie Newsletter” yet, we would love to invite you to do so at ExtremeGenes.com and through our Facebook page. We’ve got lots of links to great stories and past and current episodes of Extreme Genes, and my weekly blog, so check it out. Right now, let’s head off to Boston and talk to David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. How are you David?

David:I am doing great except for all these leaves I’ve been raking up.

Fisher:[Laughs] Oh yeah, I’ve got that problem too. Fortunately, I have a riding lawnmower and it sucks up the leaves, so it’s a lot better than raking.

David:Well, you head down to Massachusetts and you bring that riding lawnmower, we’ll do the show on road and take care of these leaves for me.

Fisher:[Laughs] Sounds like fun.

David:I’d like to start off this week’s stories with one I can share that came to me.

Fisher: Really?

David:Got a little box in the mail, yeah. The anniversary of World War I, the Armistice, one of my dear friends, his dad was in World War I, and he had sent me a match safe that was made from a bent German World War I belt buckle that you pulled like a box of matches. I thought that was neat.


David:We found something else! This is a chain that on it has a compass made in Germany. It could have been before the war. It has in it a plastic whistle, which apparently they’ve been making since the turn of the century, the previous century of course. And there’s also something I couldn’t recognize, so I took the name off of it. It said Marbles in Michigan 1900, and I said, “Was it a marble holder?” No! It was a match safe to keep your matches dry.


David:If this guy is up in a balloon in World War I, I can understand where there might be some foul weather, why he’d need a compass and a whistle. [Laughs]


David:The best part of this is I’m getting something brought by train this week. It’s a German artillery shell his father picked up.

Fisher:Are we sure it’s no longer live, after 100 years?

David:I think it’s in two parts and apparently the gunpowder is completely out of it. [Laughs]


David:It will make an interesting desk toy I can tell you that much.

Fisher:[Laughs] Yeah, right.

David:What a conversation when people say, “This is the complaint department.” [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] All right. Well, let’s move on to our Family Histoire News today here David. What else do you have?

David:Well, you know, speaking of World War I, there’s a great story on Extreme Genes about the stories of those family members who lost a loved one in World War I and talking about them a century later because I mean genealogists and family historians long will remember these people, and with their efforts to preserve them and give these stories out, they will live even longer.

Fisher:That’s right.

David:And if you’re curious about researching your World War I veteran check out our friend Amy Johnson Crow’s website at amyjohnsoncrow.com where she interviewed me recently on how to find your World War I ancestors. It’s not too late to remember them even though it was 100 years ago that they served.

Fisher:Yep, this month.

David:Well, they’ve done it again Fish, another cold case. This one in Florida, cracked thanks to DNA, and genealogy and of course our friends at GEDmatch.com that database at law enforcement sent a sample in and voila criminal caught.

Fisher:Yeah, there’s the family. You know, it’s funny because these things go on for 20/30 years and you think of the taxpayer dollars spent by these law enforcement people to try to solve these cases and with genetic genealogy and DNA, often they solve them over the course of a week or two and that’s it.

David:It really is crazy and I’ll tell you it was three members of his family that submitted DNA. So I guess my advice out there is, if you think your cousin has killed somebody, lend a little spit to GEDmatch and see if you can’t catch a killer.

Fisher: Wow.

David:That’s crazy.


David: Well, the next thing I wanted to share is a story about longevity. For a long time people have thought well, you inherited from your parents because they lived to be a hundred and all that. Well, they’re saying now genetics may not have a lot to do with it. A statistical analysis of all these parameters reveal that longevity in genes were linked in less than 20 to 30% for some cases, and in some cases 15% for relatives of different gender.

Fisher:Wow! So it just doesn’t much matter. I just did a death chart for myself and my wife, you know, going back to second greats on both sides, how long people lived and what they died of, and now you’re telling me it was a complete waste of time.

David:Well, I don’t know, but maybe we can pull out one of our friends like CeCe Moore, or Blaine Bettinger or Angie Bush to give their opinion on this story because they are the real experts in the field.

Fisher:That is true.

David:Well, genealogy is great when you can find ancestors, but when you can find siblings, even better. Two sisters that were separated 75 years ago during World War II from Russia have now connected, one that lives in the United States and one who lives in Finland. So, Tamara Terichow and her sister Lydia who lives in Finland have now connected after seven and a half decades.

Fisher: Wow! Isn’t that something? And I guess they are not in the greatest of health but they’re talking all the time. And if you read the story on ExtremeGenes.com, you’ll see that their background as children trying to survive the war was absolutely incredible, and now here it is all these decades later and they’ve found each other again.

David:It’s wonderful to see people reunite before it’s too late.


David:Well, I would like to share with you my blogger spotlight. John Grenham who many of you know him if you’ve done Irish research has a blog at johngrenham.com/blog. And we’ve talked just recently about the Spanish flu, and he talks about how the Spanish flu affects Irish family history. He has a great blog and there are about recent maps that are available on Ireland, the Scots/Irish research that people have done as well as the deteriorating records of Irish parishes. Some are online, but some haven’t even been digitized yet.

Fisher:Oh boy.

David:Well, that’s all I have from Beantown this week Fish, but I do want to say, if you’re not a member of American Ancestors, and you’re listening, remember you can use the coupon code “Extreme” on AmericanAncestors.org and save $20 on membership.

Fisher:All right, thank you so much David, we’ll catch you again next week. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to Jim Beidler from Legacy Tree Genealogists about separating people of the same names in the same places as you do your researches. It’s tricky work, but he’s got some great tips. It’s all coming up on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 261

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Jim Beidler

Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, with my guest Jim Beidler with Legacy Tree Genealogist. He’s a Research Reports Editor located in Reading, Pennsylvania. At least in the neighborhood, right Jim?

Jim: That’s right yes. I actually live in Bern Township which is a few miles outside of Reading.

Fisher: Got it. Well, it’s nice to have you on the show and I am very excited about this little blog you’ve written here recently for something that I would call “The John Smith Syndrome.” This is where people get into their research and they realize that there are just so many people of the same very, very common name, and how do they figure out which one is theirs. And you have done an excellent little column about this. I thought we would kick this around today. Have you run into this in your own research a little bit?

Jim: Oh absolutely. And it doesn’t even have to be terribly common names. There are times when there are two people of an identical name or nearly identical name, that isn’t so common but you want to avoid conflating the two so that you are researching the ones related to your ancestor and not just someone of the same name.

Fisher: And it gets complicated too when you see other people online maybe on Ancestry or My Heritage where they have kind of merged two people into and it gets real complicated and you think, are they right? You know, so many people love to just copy what other people do, instead of trying to sort it out. So, this is really important. I myself have a great grandfather, Andrew Jackson Fisher who lived in the 10th ward of New York City in the middle of the 1800s. Well, there is another Andrew Jackson Fisher who lived in the middle of the 10th ward in the middle of the 1850s and he too was a volunteer fireman at that time. So, I had to go to a lot of effort to make sure I was looking at the right person as I did my research on my guy and made sure I wasn’t confusing newspaper stories and other sources with the other guy.

Jim: That’s an excellent point. And yeah, that’s what we try to do by looking at the records critically and trying to make associations by more than just an identical or similar name.

Fisher: Yeah. You consider for instance that names aren’t the only way people are identified. And this really gets to the crux of it, right? I mean, you could have a John Smith, but was he born in the same year as the other John Smith, and was his wife’s name Mary, and was he a hod carrier, and you know there are just so many different things that can help you separate out your person from the other person, but it can get very complicated.

Jim: Yes, absolutely, like in the US Census, what is their birth place there, and, because you even have times like in church records, I’m a German specialist, and we use the church records a lot. And, I saw an example once of where a man ended up having four wives because that was common in the late Middle Ages, you know, a lot of women died in child birth.

Fisher: Right.

Jim: And each time, he married a woman named Catherina.

Fisher: Oh no. [Laughs]

Jim: And the researcher who was showing this example was saying, you might be tempted to think that all of these children are of the man and his wife Catherina. Well, they are, but you know, several were by the first wife, then by the second wife, and you can have some misattributed mothers names if you don’t watch it.

Fisher: Yeah, it happens all the time, doesn’t it?

Jim: Yeah, for sure. And what I found in all these circumstances is that you want to ditch what I call presentism. In other words you want to fight against that. Put yourself in the time period of your particular ancestors that you were researching and look for what are the naming patterns, what are the occupations, what records are even available in that particular time and in that particular place.

Fisher: And what was the place at the time. Was that in the same county at the time? The borders often change, right?

Jim: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, at least here in America we have what I would call a linear political history as far as political units, in other words, new states were created, counties were created in those states, then new counties were formed from the previous counties and so forth. In Germany, it’s a non-linear history because you had all these small little principalities and duchies and they would fight. One would take over the other, or one’s noble lineage of their rulers would die out and it would be split in two by two other noble dynasties.

Fisher: Wow! [Laughs]

Jim: So, you have a lot against the history of that time of your ancestor that you have to account for.

Fisher: Really, you can’t do it as easily as I would think in places like that as you can in the United States, so that’s the good news, right? We have an advantage at least in this country when it comes to sorting these people out.

Jim: Yeah, we have to study the history, but at least if we do that, like say we know it’s kind of regular and linear with some very few exceptions, and that even if you have the occasional ancestor that may not have moved at all, but new counties were created for where his residence was, that there may be records in several different counties, you can at least go back through that linear history to say, okay, before such and such date it’s going to be back to the mother county of that particular place.

Fisher: Yeah. Mother counties, daughter counties, that’s when it gets a little bit complex. But you can have records of the same person in the same place in two different county archives now, right?

Jim: Two or more. Depending on how rapidly new counties were created, yep.

Fisher: Wow. So, what was the most complicated case you’ve run into personally?

Jim: Oh gosh, I guess in a county not too far away from me is Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, and it’s county linage for Pennsylvania it was created relatively late, 1813, because of course we have a pretty long colonial history, but prior to that point for only about a generation, about 30 years, it was part of Dauphin County which had been founded in 1785, then for about two generations it was part of Lancaster County.

Fisher:Lancaster County, that’s right. In fact, I’m working on a case like this right now in that very place.

Jim: Uh huh. And that was created 1729. You go back to the very first settlers of what is now Lebanon County, and they were taxed by Chester County. That was one of the original counties of Pennsylvania. This was between 1729 and 1813, so you know, it would have to be someone with a pretty long life that they would have gone through all four counties in one life.

Fisher: Right.

Jim: But very, very common that you have people who stayed in what is now the Lebanon County area for two generations, and yes, you’ll find records of them in four different county courthouses.

Fisher: Oh my gosh, that would drive me nuts. I can see why a lot of people would just give up on it, right?

Jim: Yeah, give up, and sometimes falsely give up because they’re thinking if they’re doing some sort of database search, that you know, oh, I don’t see any records of them prior to 1785 in Dauphin County, and well it’s just because that’s when that county was created, and that the records for that area will be in Lancaster, and if you don’t know the history, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Fisher: [Laughs] Good point. Have you ever seen an occasion, by the way, where a daughter county inherited the records of the mother county when they’ve split off?

Jim: That’s a very rare thing. Now, what is typical is when, as far as repositories like a county historical society, they will generally collect abstracts and transcripts of records dealing not just with their own county but also the mother county.

Fisher: The mother county.

Jim: But the courthouses, I don’t want to say never, but just about all these records created by the mother county stay with the mother county, and it’s just the daughter just starts court records fresh.

Fisher: Well you know, it sounds like the archives are really where some of the bigger problems lie, right? Because of the fact that they collect from the mother county and share it there, and some stuff would be left with the local historical societies in the mother counties, so you have to look in both maybe for the same time period.

Jim: Absolutely, yeah. Absolutely, because while the daughter county will try to have a working collection of records relating to the mother county, they won’t have as many details usually as a repository in that mother county would have.

Fisher: Yeah, that’s a good point. So to go through this one more time, if you’ve got somebody with a very common name or just multiple names in the same area, you have to sort them out in different ways. It’s either going to be by age, or by who they’re married to, or by their occupation, or where they lived, or the names of their children, or the names of, I mean, there are so many different ways you can sort it out. Just remember that the identity of an individual is not just by the name, and that’s how you can sort it out. And also, land records would be excellent for this, wouldn’t they, Jim?

Jim: Yes. Yes, absolutely. And, you know, you ticked off all the highlights and I would just make one additional suggestion, that a way to try to do this is to put together a chronology, a timeline.

Fisher: Yes.

Jim: Where you lay out your ancestor from birth to death with the other highlights in-between, like marriage, like buying land, births of children, and then see if it all fits together and you know, there are obvious clues like, if you have what appear to be children born three months apart. Okay, now obviously you have two couples of the same identical names that you have to account for.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] That’s when it gets really tricky. He’s Jim Beidler. He’s a Research Reports Editor with our friends over at Legacy Tree Genealogists ( LegacyTree.com. ) He’s out of Pennsylvania. Thanks so much, Jim, for the expertise. It is a common problem for so many people who get into their family history and try to sort out those common names. I appreciate your coming on. And, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover in the rest of this show. Coming up next, I’m going to talk to a woman in Salt Lake City, Utah, who discovered that her third great grandfather was a killer for hire. In fact, the very first one in New York State, and a future president of the United States actually weighed in on his case. You’re going to want to hear all the details of that. It’s coming up for you in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 3 Episode 261

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Kathy Hudson

Fisher:Hey, welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. And, it was a fascinating luncheon a while back where I got to meet my next guest. Her name is Kathy Hudson and Kathy had a story I don’t think I’ve heard from anybody before. Her tale of discovery was quite fascinating. Kathy, you know, it’s not a lot of people who really want to look for hired killers but you, I mean you really dug in to get the details on this. Was this a story that was long in your family?

Kathy: No, not at all. No one knew about it and I’m sure that my poor grandmother is rolling in her grave. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

Kathy: She was such a proper woman.

Fisher: Yes.

Kathy: But it is what it is.

Fisher: As opposed to her grandfather or something like that. What’s the guy’s name and where was he from? What era are we talking about?

Kathy: His name was David Dunning.

Fisher: Okay.

Kathy: He lived in Orange County, New York.

Fisher: Okay, upstate yeah.

Kathy: Yeah and I don’t have very many real records on him. I don’t know exactly when he was born. Guesstimated from the one census record I found of him. He was born between 1785 and 1792.

Fisher: Okay. So, he was an adult then in like the 18-teens and he’s said, like, to be the first contract killer in the history of New York, right?

Kathy: [Laughs] Right. I didn’t say it. Martin Van Buren did.

Fisher: [Laughs] Martin Van Buren said it. What was his role there?

Kathy: He at that time was the Attorney General for the State of New York.

Fisher: Wow.

Kathy: And he was assisting with this trial. It was the first murder trial in thirty years in Orange County and I was astounded. I had no idea. I found the name under Orange County. The name David Dunning and I thought, “Oh, that’s kind of curious.”

Fisher: “That’s my guy!”

Kathy: That’s my grandmother’s.

Fisher: Yeah that’s your guy right and so what was he accused of doing?

Kathy: Okay the details were. He was a young man with a wife and a child of about eight or nine years old. He was a farm laborer. He got a job with a man named James Teed on his farm. He went there about April of 1818. Now, Teed had this contentious relationship with his uncle. His uncle was Richard Jennings.

Fisher: Okay.

Kathy: He felt that Jennings was trying to swindle him out of his land that his father had left him. It was a fifty acre plot of land and they had been to court about it many times. It really stuck in James Teed’s craw. He just hated his uncle. He got together with his wife, his brother in law, David Dunning, and another man named Hodges. They conspired to kill Jennings.

Fisher: Wow!

Kathy: Yeah.

Fisher: Why would David Dunning be a part of this because I mean he wasn’t a member of the family he was just renting there, right?

Kathy: Yeah, he was offered a thousand dollars.

Fisher:Ohh! A thousand bucks back then two hundred years ago. That’s worth a lot of money today.

Kathy: It was about $16,250 plus. I worked it out on the inflation calculator.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah that’s a chunk of change.

Kathy: That’s a chunk of change.

Fisher: It’s like a new car.

Kathy: Exactly! So, whether they were fired up by Teed’s arguments about his right to the land of what a horrible man this guy was, or perhaps just the money, they decided to do it. So, it was determined that David Dunning and Jack Hodges would do the actual deed. They lived near each other you know, out in the country. So, in December 21st they followed Jennings as he passed Teed’s house on his way to cut firewood. They shot him and beat him until he died.

Fisher: Wow.

Kathy: Yeah, it was pretty severe. The body wasn’t found for five or six days and once the body was found things happened very quickly.

Fisher: Yeah. So did he plead guilty or innocent?

Kathy:Well, he was found guilty. I think he pleaded innocent. And he kept telling them right up until the time they hanged him that he was innocent. That he didn’t do it. The other guy Jack Hodges did it. But for some reason they believed Hodges more than they believed Dunning. And in the end Hodges went to jail for a while but then they let him out.

Fisher: Oh okay, goes on his merry way.

Kathy: Yeah. When they let him out they built a statue to him! [Laughs]

Fisher: What?

Kathy: Yes! [Laughs]

Fisher: Who did?

Kathy: The people who lived in... all this took place in the eastern part of New York.

Fisher: Yeah.

Kathy: But he went to jail in Canandaigua which is in Ontario County. The people in Canandaigua erected a statue to him.

Fisher: Because why?

Kathy: I’m not making this up. [Laughs]

Fisher: I know. Why would they do that?

Kathy: Because he was reformed and he became a Christian and I’m not exactly sure what he did but it’s in this book written by Michael Worden, it’s called “The Murder of Richard Jennings: The True Story of New York’s First Murder for Hire.”

Fisher: So, you were familiar with the name of David Dunning then, in your family tree and then ultimately you ran into this, where?

Kathy: Well, I wasn’t really familiar with the name from what my aunts had given me but I found it in the Gothic Church of New York and then I found his son Lewis. My aunt had gone to where the family had settled after they left Orange County and took pictures of the gravestones of men that she knew to be her grandfather’s brothers.

Fisher: Right.

Kathy: And on the gravestone they had carved in the names of the parents.

Fisher: Nice.

Kathy: Yeah very nice.

Fisher: Very helpful.

Kathy: Yeah that’s what I thought. So, from there I was able to trace the son Lewis and then when I found out there was a murder trial I contacted people in Orange County at the Historical Society and a man named Kenneth Dunning, we haven’t figured out if we’re related or not. He was kind enough to copy the entire trial transcript for me.

Fisher: Oh wow. So the names all started to come together and you realized, “Oh, this is my guy!” [Laughs]

Kathy: Yeah because Lewis was named as the son of David in the trial.

Fisher: So, how far back does David go? What’s your relationship to him?

Kathy: He’s my third great grandfather.

Fisher: Third great okay. So, he was the first contract killer in the history of New York State.

Kathy: [Laughs] Yeah that’s what Martin Van Buren said.

Fisher: Yeah and you’ve got a future president involved in the trial and you’ve got a book written about it. That is a pretty decent find.

Kathy: Yeah but none of them have the one thing I want to know.

Fisher: Which is?

Kathy: Which is the parents of David Dunning.

Fisher:Ohh. Okay looking to push that back.

Kathy: I mean that’s what all genealogists want to do. They want to go back as far as they possibly can.

Fisher: Little bit more. Yep.

Kathy: But the thing is first reading the trail transcript and then taking with the man who wrote the book, Mike Worden. He found me online on one of the Dunning websites on RootsWeb or something, contacted me and I shared some information with him. A lot of what I had was just rumor and Mike a former New York City Police Officer and Detective had disproven a lot of it. The book he wrote is really fascinating. He started out doing other crime stories but he ended up getting really involved in this one particular trial. So he has a lot of information on what happened then.

Fisher: Wow. What’s your family’s reaction been to all this?

Kathy: Well, my father’s three sisters are much like their mother from what I can remember, very proper ladies

Fisher:[Laughs] Uh huh.

Kathy: Church going.

Fisher: And they don’t want to hear about this. Do they deny it or just ignore it?

Kathy: Well, you know I’m the family historian. I’m the one that’s really interested in it and they’ve helped me a lot but they’re not as addicted to it as I am. They’re happy that I found this stuff. I found other stuff too of course like our Mayflower connection.

Fisher: Yeah, the good stuff.

Kathy: They like that stuff a lot more.

Fisher: [Laughs] Not like this guy. She’s Kathy Hudson from Salt Lake City, Utah. Kathy thanks so much for sharing your story and how you found it and good luck in the future.

Kathy: Okay thank you.

Fisher: And coming up next in three minutes, why would you worry so much about passwords for sites that store your photographs? Well, do you care if somebody steals your photo or sees them? You’ll find out why with Tom Perry our Preservation Authority coming up next on Extreme Genes.

Segment 4 Episode 261

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Hey, back at it, talking preservation with our Preservation Authority, Tom Perry on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. It is Fisher here. Tom, you've been hearing a lot of talk lately about people getting a little lax on passwords. And this is really interesting, I think, what you have to say about passwords and photo sites.

Tom: Oh absolutely. People think, "Oh, these are just photos. Who wants to hack them? And if they want to steal them, who cares? I don't care." The thing is, that's not the end of the problem. People can actually go into your files, get into a photo and they can put a virus in a photo. You're not going to open an email you don't understand, but a photo, if they put a virus in your photo and you don't know it and you click on aunt Martha and it opens up your email automatically or goes to a website automatically, downloads things that you don't even know what it’s doing or they hide kind of in limbo and they wait till at night and your computer's still on, and then they do all their dirty work. And now you've got a virus or even worse. They can hold all your photos, they can hold your entire computer hostage and say, "Hey, you have to pay me this amount of money and I'll give you the password to get back into your computer."

Fisher: Oh, I don't like the sound of that at all, but you're absolutely right. That's true. And you know, it’s interesting when you get into password security. And I spent a whole weekend on this earlier this year, because I'd had a problem. And I came to realize that if you use the same password and they hack that password at one site, then they start looking for that same password that might be associated with your username or your name on other sites, and that's how they get access. So if you're going to do the job right, you really need to go in and create a complicated password and a unique password for every site in which you're involved.

Tom: And people think, "Oh, I've got so many passwords! How can I do that??" I have the perfect solution here on Extreme Genes!

Fisher: All right.

Tom: Okay, let me give you an example. Let's say that you have a Boston terrier and your Boston terrier's name is Dorothy. So you're writing on your computer on any place that's going to be right in front of you, you write down the name Dorothy, lower case, d o r t h, then a capital Y and an exclamation point. And you can put that in plain sight, because nobody's going to know what it means. But actually, what that d o r o t h Y ! means, you actually, your password is, bostonterrieR, with a capital R at the end and then the exclamation point (bostonterrieR!)So nobody's going to know that except for you.

Fisher: Right. So if you keep a list, and we have to keep a list if you're going to have unique passwords on every site you're involved with. You want to keep it more cryptic.

Tom: Okay, so what you're going to do, you already know now your password is bostonterrieR, with a capital R at the end and then an exclamation point or a question mark. Now all your banking things, you add P I N to the end, so if your PIN number to your bank accounts are 1234, now you have bostonterrieR with a capital R, question mark and then 1234 (bostonterrieR?1234). If you have an account on Skype, same thing, bostonterrieR, question mark, then, s k y p with a capital E (bostonterrieR?skypE). Facebook, bostonterrieR, capital R, exclamation point facebooK, capital K (bostonterrieR!facebooK). So wherever you go, you're going to know the code. Nobody else is going to have any clue what that means if it’s written right in plain sight.

Fisher: Right. And we should mention by the way, don't ever use 1234 as a password or a PIN on anything, because that's the most simple thing in the world to solve, absolutely. I mean, you really do have to think about it. I do like to use ancestral information for my passwords, because to me, working in genealogy all the time, these are really easy for me to remember. I remember birthdates, birth years, death years, marriage years or something significant that took place in some ancestor's life. There are associations perhaps that my people belonged to, and I can put those all together and create unique passwords for every site as well. And it’s made a lot of difference. I haven't had a problem since I started doing this. And I think it’s something that everybody should look into. And why not start with your genealogical sites! All right, coming up next, Tom, we're going to talk about storage, because a lot of people are worrying about this as they get more and more information regarding DNA and family histories and all kinds of data. We'll get into that, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 261

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Hey, we're back for our final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by Legacy Tree Genealogists. And I'm talking to Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. And, Tom, as we get closer to the holidays, people are doing more scanning, they've got more photographs, maybe they have been converting old family movies, home movies and videos to digital, and that means storage is becoming more of an issue again. And this is a great thing to cover one more time.

Tom: Exactly. In fact, I always tell people in our store or on the show or on our Facebook page, I always tell them, "Okay, you want to store things, you want to do it in at least one cloud, two clouds unrelated if you can. You want to have it on a hard disk. You want to have a physical thing, like a disk, and then like a USB drive and also some place on your computer, and spread them out!"

Fisher: Yep.

Tom: And if you do it that way, you're always going to be covered.

Fisher: Yeah. And I like the physical side of it, too, because I know Taiyo Yuden disks worked very well. Everything you've ever converted for me is still solid years later. I don't have to worry about it, especially if I keep it out of sunlight and in a place that's dark.

Tom: Exactly. That's exactly how you want to store it. And one thing that's getting bigger and bigger because the prices are dropping is BluRay. BluRay is probably one of the best and the greatest way to store stuff. And we're not talking about a BluRay movie or a BluRay video, we're talking about a BluRay disk, as you would think of a box to store stuff in. So you can get like BluRay disks that are like 25 gigabytes, you can get 10 of them for $12 or you can get 50 gigabyte ones, you can get 10 for $30.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: And I prefer smaller ones.

Fisher: Because it’s more efficient that way?

Tom: Right. If you have one disk that's got 50 gigs and you have a problem, you've lost 50 gigs and it’s more expensive. I would rather have two 25 gigabyte BluRay disks than one 50, because it’s just easier to manipulate and send around. And another thing with, as you mentioned the holidays coming up, this is a perfect way if you're the genealogy person in your family, the family historian in your family, get all the stuff together, burn a BluRay disk for everybody and send them out as gifts. And if somebody doesn’t have a BluRay disk, tell them to go to Amazon and they can buy one for like $50. It’s just an external one. It plugs into any USB drive, so whether they have a laptop or whatever, they have a BluRay player now and a BluRay burner, and they’re going to be all set. And this is by far the best way to store things, like as you mentioned, you have something physical to hold in your hand. You can ship them all over the world.

Fisher: Yeah, really good point. The other thing that I've noticed since we started this show back in 2013 is that thumb drives now are much more efficient, much more quality and have a lot more storage space than they've ever had before.

Tom: Oh, that is so true. In the old days, they were so flaky. You were scared about getting bad ones. Most of them are pretty good now. One thing you want to be sure no matter whose you buy, you want ones that have a cover that goes on the end, because if you have the ends that are exposed and it’s in your pocket or it just gets dust and things on it, not only could it corrupt your USB drive or your thumb drive, you plug it in your computer and you can be transferring dirt or sand or dust or anything to your computer. So make sure it’s the kind that retracts with a little door on it or it has a cover go on it. And for instance, you can buy a 64 gigabyte one for about $13. You can get 128 gigabytes for $25. Buy just make sure you store it properly.

Fisher: The other thing about it is, make sure by the way when you use these thumb drives that you're really thinking of them as temporary transportation, you know, you're going to a library someplace, an archive someplace, you're storing information and you're bringing it home, because you could easily loose a little thumb drive like that.

Tom: Oh yes. We've had many customers call us that it went through the washer or it went through the dryer or something like that, and that's devastating. Very rarely do they survive that.

Fisher: All right great stuff, Tom. Always good to talk to you! And we'll catch up again next week.

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: Hey, we've covered a lot of ground, just like we said we would. And talk about some great stories, especially from Kathy Hudson, from Salt Lake City, Utah, talking about her ancestor who was a killer for hire in the ‘18 teens in New York. If you missed any of it, catch the podcast, you can find of Extreme Genes, iHeart Radio and of course iTunes. We will talk to you again next week. Thanks so much for joining us. And remember, as far everyone knows, we're nice, normal family!


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