Episode 262 - Integrating Family History & The Holidays / Your Relative Race Winners Describe Their Experience

podcast episode Dec 02, 2018

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society & AmericanAncestors.org. The guys begin with the story of a Massachusetts couple that have been married to each other twice. In the same year. Wait til you hear why! Then, it was an American that saved the theft of a copy of the Magna Carta in the UK. David explains. David then talks about how the US government is refusing DNA tests on found remains of Civil War soldiers. If you ever wondered what buildings your ancestors lived in in New York City, you may be in luck! In 1940, photos of every building were taking as part of the tax assessment process. Over 700,000 of these images are now on line. Find out where you can browse them. And finally, tombstones that have not seen the light of day for decades have been found in a shed. Might your ancestors’ be among them? David will tell you all about them. David then shines his spotlight on ConferenceKeeper.org. It’s a great site for tracking genealogy conferences big and small wherever they may be.

Next, Fisher visits with genealogist Janet Hovorka of FamilyChartMasters.com who shares some of her secrets for integrating family history into your holiday experience. She talks about everything from gifts and recipes to “tales from long, long ago!”

Then, Fisher has scored an exclusive interview with the winners of BYUtv’s “Relative Race.” Team Red, consisting of father/daughter team Michael Brown and Austen Williams, shares their experiences in getting answers to questions they never thought could be answered, as well as what it took to score the $50,000 grand prize!

Then, of course, it’s Tom Perry with more important things you need to know about preservation of your records, photos, videos, and home movie films by refreshing the disks you may already have them on.

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

Transcript of Episode 262 

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 262

Fisher: Welcome to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. My name is Fisher. I am your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. This episode is brought to you by BYUtv’s Relative Race. And our guest today, well, first of all we ought to mention we do have the winners from Relative Race. Day 10 just aired last week and we’re going to talk to the winning team coming up. They picked up $50,000, and had some very emotional experiences on their journeys, so it’s going to be really fun to talk to them. I’m not even going to tell you which team it is, because if you didn’t see it, you know, you might have a little time to catch up. So, that’s coming on later in the show. Plus, in about ten minutes we’re going to talk to Janet Hovorka. She’s a professional genealogist and every year she has some great ideas for how you can incorporate family history into your holiday celebration. Now that we have Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas and Hanukkah right in front of us, we’ve got to talk to Janet and get in the right frame of mind for this thing. Hey, don’t forget to sign up for our “Weekly Genie Newsletter.” It is absolutely free. We’d love to have you on there checking out the current stories and past episodes and a blog from me every week. And of course we never sell your information, so be part of our weekly genie community. And you can sign up at ExtremeGenes.com or through our Facebook page. Right now it is time to head off to Boston, Massachusetts where David Allen Lambert is standing by. He’s the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Hello David, how are you?

David: Hey, I’m doing good. Survived the Thanksgiving feast and now looking forward to my 30th wedding anniversary coming up very shortly.

Fisher: Oh my gosh, now wait a minute, you lost a lot of weight recently, so how much did you cheat the other day?

David: Um, very little, no biscuits, but lots of turkey. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah, you can do that, absolutely. All right, let’s get going with our Family Histoire News today, and where do you want to begin?

David: Well, speaking of marriages, there is a couple from my state, Massachusetts, Ashley Veilleux and her husband David Mellen. Well, they just got married for the second time. And I’m not talking like they got married 20 years ago, divorced and married again. How about married twice the same year? Yeah, because their knot was tied by a Justice of the Peace who really wasn’t supposed to be a Justice of the Peace. [Laughs]

Fisher: Ooh, no authority?

David: No authority. So, James Stern is facing charges from multiple states, including larceny and impersonating a Justice of the Peace in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Now Ashley and David have finally tied the knot again down the Cape, so they can have two anniversaries.

Fisher: Wow! There’s a story right there for the rest of their lives right, for their descendants?

David: Exactly. So, my next story is dealing across the pond where an American tourist from Louisiana successfully stopped a big crime. In fact, the crime has to do with one of our ancestors Fish, King John Lackland of England, well, of course the Magna Carta.

Fisher: Oh yeah.

David: One of the copies is in Salisbury Cathedral and this tourist from Louisiana saw someone with a hammer trying to smash the case and make off with it. So, they became part of the team that blocked them from leaving the cathedral with the document. So, he was caught and the document is still safely in Salisbury Cathedral.

Fisher: Wow! And you know, most of America is descended from King John. They may not know it, but that is just the thought. [Laughs]

David: It’s like Charlemagne, yeah.

Fisher: It’s like Charlemagne. Absolutely.

David: Well, you are always hearing about World War II veterans and World War I veterans when they’re testing their DNA and finding out who they are. In fact, a person buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier maybe not be unknown anymore. It might give a soldier a little bit of free time from guarding it because we can probably lay that to rest. Think about Civil War soldiers. Well, not long ago where the Battle of Second Manassas was, they found a bone pit. Their limbs were cast off after they’d been obviously amputated.  They did find two full skeletons. Now, they were buried with honors as unknown soldiers in Arlington cemetery, but a gentleman by the name of Paul Davis heard the story and he wondered if perhaps his second great uncle, who died during the Civil War could have been one of the bodies found. Not as likely he may not be, but he contacted the Army and the army informed him that a special request for DNA testing for Civil War soldiers is not possible. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s a lost opportunity.

Fisher: Yeah, it really is. I mean, we do it for World War II. We do it for World War I. Is the difference because it’s been another generation or two?

David: I don’t know about you, but I think they should dig him back up and grab a tooth. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah, grab a tooth, exactly. [Laughs]

David: Okay. In New York City, if you want a time machine, you can do it now. In 1940, for tax purposes they went around and photographed every building. That means every house, apartment building etcetera from the outside. So, if you know an address, you can browse through a website, which you can find on ExtremeGenes.com, find out what the house looked like 78 years ago.

Fisher: Isn’t that amazing? Seventy, eight years ago they did this. So, if you had an ancestor like I did, who lived in the 1870s, ‘80s, ‘90s in that area, and that building was still standing in 1940, you’ve got a great picture of what that building looked like. Or, maybe you’ve got a grandpa who grew up back there, and there’s a photo of his house, maybe it’s been torn down since, and now you’ve got that piece of family history. It is an amazing thing and you can find the link to it through ExtremeGenes.com.

David: My next story kind of has a happy ending in a way. In Lunenburg, Massachusetts, they just recently razed a building built in the 1930s using the cemetery department. When they raised it, they realized they had over 75 broken gravestones. Now, some of these are just a footstone, so you often find at the end of a grave that you know, possibly could have been removed for mowing purposes. But, some of them are actually military headstones. Some of them were broken. Some of them look like they were never even installed. The question is where do they belong? So, this is a conundrum that they’re faced in Lunenburg. You know, you think of Find A Grave and BillionGraves, how about Find A Garage? [Laughs]

Fisher: Right, yeah. But this is great because obviously the Find A Grave people, the BillionGraves people would not be taking pictures of these tombstones because they weren’t out there.

David: Well, my good friend Candy who takes care of ConferenceKeeper.org has a great site that you should be familiar with. Of course, it’s NGS and FGS. The National Geological Society and the Federation of Geological Society and Roots Tech are the biggies. However, there might be a conference in your local town, county or state, so go to ConferenceKeeper.org and it’s the most complete collection of genealogical events online. Well, the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston welcomes you to become a member this holiday season. And don’t forget, you can save an extra $20 by using the checkout code “Extreme.”

Fisher: All right David, thanks so much. We’ll catch up with you again next week.

David: All right. Look forward to it my friend.

Fisher: All right and coming up next we’re going to talk to Janet Hovorka. She’s a professional genealogist and she’s got some great ideas on integrating family history into your holidays, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 262

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Janet Hovorka

Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. This segment is brought to you by Legacy Tree Genealogists, and I’m very excited to have my old friend Janet Hovorka back on the show from FamilyChartMasters. Janet, it’s been a while, and I know you are always making new charts by the way. Anything new going on that we should know about?

Janet: Oh, lots of new things. We’ve just launched a new line of decorative fill in the blank charts, so if you’re still working on things or if you want to do it in your own handwriting, we’ve got some new 2019 designs out early, all ready for the holidays and we’re doing a lot with those right now.

Fisher: That’s fun.

Janet: And then of course our custom stuff. We’re going crazy right now with the holidays.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] I just made my own chart by the way. It was the family death chart. My ancestors, what they died of, how old they were. I did it for my wife’s side. She didn’t want to look at hers.

Janet: [Laughs]

Fisher: She was okay looking at mine, you know, to figure out what we’re likely to go from. But you know, I’m thinking if you wanted a Halloween chart you can take the idea.

Janet: Yeah definitely.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Janet: If the data is in your file we can put it out on a chart for you.

Fisher: There you go. Well, I thought we’d talk a little today about ideas for the holidays. Things not only for gifts, but things people can do to kind of get the family back drawn into their ancestors, those who came before and those rich family stories that the kids should sink their teeth into. And you had some great ideas about some pictures that you got. It was almost like a placemat.

Janet: Yeah. Several years ago I put together a table runner for my parents. You could do placemats too though it’s super easy. I cut out a couple hundred pictures all the way from my parents, way back as far as we had pictures. Different pictures from their lifetime and things like that and printed it out on vinyl. You can see pictures on my blog and it was a great table runner for Thanksgiving looking at those people who sacrificed for you, and the things that they’ve been thankful for over their lifetime, and it brought up lots of good stories. You know, family history is the thing that you share together.

Fisher: Yep.

Janet: And when you’re together for the holidays that’s that team building. This is what we share that nobody else does. So, it’s an important thing.

Fisher: It’s kind of another form of DNA isn’t it really?

Janet: Yeah. It really is. Something safe to talk about because it’s something you share, right?

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] That’s true.

Janet: The other thing my daughter and I did was that we printed out a bunch of family history pictures and we put them just on the family table over a table cloth, and then put a clear plastic table cloth, one of those inexpensive ones over the top of that and put those pictures up. And that was a great way to display, copies of course, of pictures.

Fisher: Sure. Yeah. I love the idea.

Janet: And then be able to talk to them about it.

Fisher: Sure. At Thanksgiving we were talking about John Howland and his wife Elizabeth Tilley, and her parents John Tilley and Joan Hurst who came over on the Mayflower and what their stories were.

Janet: Very cool

Fisher: Because her parents both died that first winter, and then they went on to have 10 kids and 88 grandchildren before they passed. And so you know, it’s an amazing thing when you can share those things with your kids, that story you’re going to hear a lot about in your lifetime. It’s part of your story. That’s really fun as well. What else do you have that you do traditionally over the holidays?

Janet: We have some heirlooms that we decorate with.

Fisher: Yes.

Janet: Decorating with family history is important of course. I have a tattered ornament that my grandmother made that sits in a special place with an ornament holder. When I was a little girl, she brought us in and said, “I want you to choose one of the ornaments off of my tree to keep.” And I chose the one she had made, and she was all happy that I wanted the one that she had created herself, the tattered one. Of course that’s the one I wanted. To me it was a lot more special than any of the other ornaments she had on her tree. But that was a fun thing that she did to kind of give us some heirlooms. And that’s a special ornament for me. The other thing I have that I love to put out is that little nativity set. When I was a little girl, me and my sister created a little soft dough nativity set to send to my grandmother for Christmas for a Christmas gift. Just kind of like a play dough, soft dough thing.

Fisher: Yeah.

Janet: We dried it in the oven and painted them and shellacked them, and my grandmother just adored this that her granddaughters had made for her, and put it in a special place every year. And then after she passed, they brought it back to me and now it’s this sweet little nativity, they’re an inch and a half tall maybe figures and my grandmother loved them so of course I love them.

Fisher: Isn’t that great. To anybody else it doesn’t mean a thing, but when you’ve got the story behind it, that’s the tie in.

Janet: Oh absolutely. Yeah.

Fisher: I just had my wife Julie, we were out shopping the other day and she ran across a nutcracker and she says, “Oh look, we’ve got to get this one.” Because it was a fireman and she knows I really like the stories of my great grandfather.

Janet: Yeah exactly.  

Fisher: And it had the little fireman emblem in its hat. So now, we’re going to paint it and change it to the number of my great grandfather’s unit, put his initials on there like in the photograph and all that. And I can’t believe she actually had to push me to buy it. But I’m not big on buying stuff. But when you can take and maybe convert it into something that is a family conversation piece, that’s a great way to go.

Janet: Yeah absolutely.

Fisher: What about recipes? Do you do that in your family?

Janet: Oh yeah. The kids have even gotten involved and we’ve YouTube some of the family recipes. Of course, you have family recipes at Thanksgiving and the holidays. And some of those recipes honor the culture that our ancestors came from. We always have truffles on Christmas Eve, for my British ancestors. But some of them are actual recipes from my ancestors. Like my husband’s mother’s cranberry salad recipe that’s super simple and delicious, so they’re important things. And like I said, get the kids to create a YouTube video of how to do it. They’ve turned into food network stars you know.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Janet: Had to make sure that they had everything out perfectly, and pulled up grandma’s picture, and talked about her, and it was fun.

Fisher: You know, it’s really kind of strange, but my mom used to make for me for my birthday a toasted coconut cake every year, which I loved, and she taught my wife how to do it. Now I’ve got a new daughter-in-law in the family who was born on my same birthday on Halloween.

Janet: Oh wow.

Fisher: And she loves the cake. So, suddenly it’s going to be passed down at least two more generations.

Janet: Yay!

Fisher: I’m thinking this is going to work out really, really well and I look forward to seeing her version of the cake. We also have a thing that was a milk warmer that my grandmother gave to her mother on the occasion of the birth of the last child in the family, which was like in 1904.

Janet: Wow.

Fisher: It’s not something we actually use in mixing recipes at this time of year [laughs] but it’s fun to look at, you know, and tell the story and share some of the pictures.

Janet: Yeah absolutely. I’ve got one more idea for you too that have done several time over the holidays, and that is to create a time capsule.

Fisher: Oh yes! What a great idea.

Janet: We’ve gone through several times. Yeah, absolutely fun. It doesn’t have to be super extravagant. It can just be a box that you put away in a closet for a while. But we put in our wishes for the next year, we put in ticket stubs, we put in favorite things, maybe messages, photos, and it’s always fun to open up those next year. Sometimes we’ve kept them closed for longer, but sometimes we’ll just put them away with the holiday decorations and then get them out next year. I have some cute pictures of when my kids were little that are part of our holiday decorations too that are just things that we put away every year and get out. It’s always fun to get them out again the next year.

Fisher: So when you do these time capsules, do you put them away again later when you’re done with them and just save them for the future, or what do you do?

Janet: You could. You could. Like those pictures of my kids have become kind of a time capsule thing because we put them away every year and it’s fun to get them back out. But you could just put together a time capsule, and then when you open it up the next year if it’s something you want to save, maybe out it into a scrapbook, or make a time capsule for five years or ten years, or longer.

Fisher: Yeah. I’m just thinking what would I put in those notes? What would you put in those notes? You figure hey, I could be dead in twenty years. Do you write to yourself, do you write to your future self, to your kids, to your grandkids, what would you do?

Janet: Yeah. You know, you might write one even for the first grandchild to be born, or the first great grandchild to be born, or whatever. You could write to whomever in the future.

Janet: Yeah that’s true.

Janet: But I think when you write it to yourself, like five or ten years whatever from now, it’s good to look back and it kind of helps you process your life, and understand more about yourself, and about where you come from.

Fisher: Yeah. I’m thinking the best way to do that would probably be to write a little note about what your plans are and see how well that went. [Laughs]

Janet: Yeah. [Laughs] That’s the key, isn’t it?

Fisher: Absolutely. Well, we only have a few weeks left to go now and these things are going to take a little bit of time I would think. But nonetheless, they don’t sound really time consuming to me, you know, to make some of those things. I would think the picture thing would be something you could do late at night one night or whatever, but they’re far more memorable than the gifts are going to be.

Janet: Absolutely. My family almost always, now that we’re older, and we really don’t need another soap-on-a-rope, you know?

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Janet: We almost always exchange family history gifts for Christmas.

Fisher: Really?

Janet: Absolutely. It gives you a deadline, so mom always has kind of a crazy December trying to get the gift done, or I do, whatever, whoever is working on it. But it makes us get it done. And we’ve exchanged all sorts of things. Just digitizing projects, quilts made from photos, books, my mom makes these children books that she often gives us at Christmas, one for each of our ancestors. All sorts of things that are so much more meaningful. Like if you’re going to give a gift, that’s the thing to do.

Fisher: That’s a real good one.

Janet: And of course, that’s what we do at FamilyChartMasters. We’re busy helping people give meaningful gifts. We get emails back all the time just, “Oh, this made the whole day stop. And everybody gathers around. And everybody was so thrilled with it.” That’s just such a meaningful thing to do.

Fisher: Yeah. It really is. It’s great stuff. She’s Janet Hovorka from FamilyChartmasters.com and that’s the best place to find her, also, a national speaker of course on genealogy, and some great ideas here as always Janet. It seems like every Christmas we bring you back and you have something new to share.

Janet: [Laughs] Absolutely. Well, it’s important stuff.

Fisher: Well, enjoy your English figgy pudding.

Janet: I will.

Fisher: All right.

Janet: And you have a great holiday too. It was great to talk to you.

Fisher: All right. Always great to talk to you. And coming up next, we’ve got the winner of Relative Race. Yeah, it’s Team Red this year. It’s Michael and Austen talking about their $50,000 victory and the journey whereby they met so many incredible relatives. And it was quite a journey especially for Michael. If you haven’t seen the show you can stream it on the BYUtv app or watch it on BYUtv.org. But it’s going to be really interesting to hear what they have to say, coming up here in just a few minutes. Later in the show, Tom Perry is back, our Preservation Authority talking about the importance of making sure you upgrade your digitized hard drives and DVDs and CDs so you don’t lose them over time. And he’ll explain what’s behind all of that. That’s coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.                  

Segment 3 Episode 262

Host: Scott Fisher with guests Michael Brown and Austen Williams (Team Red: Relative Race)

Fisher: Hey, welcome back to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, and this past weekend we saw the final episode of season 4 of Relative Race on BYUtv. And if you haven’t seen it, you didn’t watch the series, I’m giving you just a few seconds here to just tune out, because we’re going to talk to the winning team right now. [Humming] Okay, that’s all the time you get. [Laughs] We’ve got Team Red on the phone. The other teams learned to “Dread the Red!” It’s Michael Brown and Austen Williams, the winners of Relative Race this season. How are you guys?

Austen: Doing well.

Michael: Great.

Fisher: $50,000 richer I’d be doing well too, but you know, I mean, I think at the end of the day, if you look back on this experience, the emotional ties that you guys made and connections, Michael, especially for you, and I know they apply to both. And for people that aren’t familiar with this show, Michael is Austen’s father, and they were a team together as Team Red, driving around in a little red car from town to town, mostly throughout New England is where your people were from, Michael, and you learned about your father that you had never known of before, and what was that experience like for you?

Michael: Well, you know, it was incredible. Being the older team, I realized potentially that I wouldn’t get to meet him was a possibility, and that ended up being true, so we realized that after the first day, and then after that understanding, you know, the demise of that whole situation, and then meeting my brothers and sisters after that, it got a lot better. It became, it just started off kind of rough, but meeting my family was pretty wonderful.

Fisher: How long had you been thinking about this? I mean, there are a lot of people who go through lives adopted, as you were, who don’t think about it, or just feel, well it’s one of those things I’m always going to live with, there’s never going to be any answer to it. At some point you had to be thinking, you know, I’d really like to take a crack at it.

Michael: I kind of resigned myself to the notion that I was adopted, and I just wouldn’t know, and when Austen came to me and started talking to me about this possibility of finding out who, genetically how we were connected, then that started stirring up the pot all over again. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah, absolutely. Now, Austen, how was this for you? I mean, this was in large part for Dad, wouldn’t you agree?

Austen: No. [Laughs]

Fisher: No?

Austen: No, I don’t agree, because a lot of people actually think that Dad was the one that wanted to do this, when Dad had really resigned himself to not knowing. He did not want to do this. I don’t think he even said like any form of thank you for making sure I knew my family until maybe like episode three.

Fisher: Really? Really? After it aired? Oh my gosh. [Laughs]

Austen: Yes, it was.

Michael: Sorry about that.

Austen: He really had resigned himself to not knowing, but I am the one who wanted to know this information. I am the one who wanted to know who my grandfather was, who this family was. I wanted to know what Dad’s ethnic background was. Like, I’m the one that was consistently interrogating him about it and pestering him about it. So when we had this opportunity, it was me that really kind of pushed him over the edge to get him to do it. I remember getting him to come over to my house so that we could film the audition video, and he did not want to come.

Fisher: Oh wow.

Austen: And I guilt tripped him so bad.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Michael: [Laughs] That’s true.

Fisher: Well, Michael, I can see your daughter is so charming. She’s a former Mrs America, is that right, Austen?

Austen: That is true.

Fisher: In what year?

Austen: 2014.

Fisher: 2014. I mean, how would you resist Mrs. America asking you as her dad to go through? I don’t know how you would say no!

Michael: Well obviously I couldn’t. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs].

Michael: And I said okay. Austen being the only child and my grandchildren are the same way, they’re like, Pappy, can you do it? Of course it’s yes.

Fisher: It’s always yes.

Michael: It’s just yes.

Fisher: Of course it is. So, let’s talk about this aspect a little bit, because I’m sure there had to be kind of a surreal feel to it, to be filmed everywhere you go, right? And then, you go through the thing in real time which I’m sure takes a lot longer than anything we see on television, and it’s all put together, and I’m thinking in my mind as you mention that, Austen, that it took the third episode airing before Dad said thank you. Looking back and watching the final production, Michael, did that really bring home to you the impact of what you’d been through?

Michael: Yes. After the final episode, it’s really accumulative kind of thing, you know, when you meet your different relatives and it all starts coming together, you know. I met my brother, and then I met my sister, and then we got to hang out together and have a meal together, and then seeing how Austen was meeting her cousins and, it’s accumulative kind of thing. It’s like a snowball.

Fisher: Are you in touch with them still? Are you still in communicating with all the folks?

Michael: Absolutely.

Fisher: When did you film? Last summer?

Austen: In May.

Michael: That was May.

Fisher: May. Okay. So you’ve really had half a year here to really kind of take this all in and stay in touch with them. What has been the best thing that has come out of those new relationships?

Michael: Oh wow.

Austen: Do you have to choose one thing? I mean, that’s a big question. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Well no.

Michael: I’ll tell you, Auntie Em, I’m going up to North Carolina and am going to be hanging out with her and, the family is so big, there are so many people.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Austen: It’s massive.

Michael: My brother, Dwayne, is the sweetest human being on the planet. My nieces and cousins and my sisters and brothers, it’s just amazing. The greatest thing, I think, is the kids.

Fisher: Yeah.

Michael: What do you think, Austen? It’s kind of cool that my grandchildren and my nieces and my cousins, what are those, the genealogy gets me a bit confused.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Michael: My cousins’ kids, and seeing them getting connected. That’s really, really cool.

Fisher: So I’m thinking the $50,000 here at the end was pretty much the cherry on top of all of this.

Austen: Absolutely.

Michael: Oh yeah. The money has just given me an opportunity to do things that I’ve been wanting to do. I’m doing music in museums and it’s playing in my garden. So, that has afforded me the opportunity to do.

Fisher: Yeah, yeah. I think about that last day, because we just watched the final episode last weekend, and that looked a little rough on you, Michael. You’ve got a bad knee. How’s the knee holding up now after all that running around?

Michael: Well, I’m going to schedule a surgery. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Are you?

Michael: Yeah. It’s a torn meniscus, but it’ll be all right.

Fisher: And Austen was relentless. Austen, you were really pushing him there, but I saw how you guys worked each other. I mean, the communication between you was fantastic, and I was really a little bit shocked that Paris and Preshious missed out on that last challenge that would have given them the kill flags that could have eliminated you.

Austen: Yeah, I remember standing there and thinking like, in my head as Dan is putting all those flags in there, like, what about the kill flags? What about the kill flags?

Fisher: [Laughs]

Austen: And then, Dan being Dan, asking all of these random questions in the middle of it, trying to distract us from the counting which we’re obviously trying to focus on.

Fisher: Sure.

Austen: And then when he said, “Did you all get to go to that extra challenge?” When they said no, I just covered my mouth.

Fisher: You knew.

Austen: Because then I knew.

Fisher: Yeah.

Austen: I knew immediately, and like, I heard Preshious go, “That’s 11. Is that 11?” And I went, “She doesn’t know about the kill flags!” [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] And you were pretty excited about that. They seem like great people, all of the folks on the show. Do you have a continuing relationship with them?

Michael: Absolutely. Totally. We sure do.

Austen: I speak to Joe and Jerica almost every day.

Fisher: Really?

Austen: Yes. We got really close to them. They’ve actually come down to Charleston to visit us, so, we got to spend some time with them, and I still text with Preshious from time to time too.

Michael: We chat to them a lot.

Fisher: It’s nice to see the bond between you guys, because really, they had some amazing experiences. All of them did.

Austen: Absolutely.

Fisher: In connecting, so it’s Relative Race, Season 4 is done, and now you guys can talk about it. [Laughs] Because I know you had to keep your mouths shut for a long, long, long time.

Michael: That’s right.

Austen: We did.

Fisher: All right. It’s Austen Williams, Michael Brown, daughter and father, winners of Season 4 of Relative Race. $50,000, but even more important than that, all the new family connections they never knew about. Thank you so much for coming on and sharing your experience, you guys, and congratulations!

Austen: Thank you so much.

Michael: Thank you very much.

Fisher: And by the way, if you missed any of Season 4 of Relative Race, you can catch it on BYUtv.org, or by using the BYUtv app. Of course another season will be coming up next spring. We’ll talk preservation with Tom Perry next in three minutes on Extreme Genes.

Segment 4 Episode 262

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: It is time to talk preservation once again with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And Tom, I've been in the process right now of purging a lot of stuff, you know. We’re thinking about in a few years down the line, we're going to downsize the house, and so we're going into closets and thinking, you know, you don't want a big rush job when that time comes. And so, we've been digging out a lot of things actually that you've digitized over the years. I found hard drives and DVDs. And you're frightening me with this topic today a little bit about what we want to do to make sure those things don't expire on us basically.

Tom: Exactly. We're not like the old people that carve stuff in rock tablets that's going to pretty much last forever.

Fisher: Yeah, right.

Tom: So since we don't do it on rocks nowadays, we use it on electronic media. And all media's not created equal. In fact, even if you buy two hard drives at the same time and one you use day in and day out, day in and day out, the other one you use it every once in a while to go and do different things on, that's one's going to be in better shape, because it’s not so worn out.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: It’s not like your body, the more you exercise, the stronger you get.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: With a hard drive, the more you use the hard drive, it’s more like the tire on your car, it’s going to wear out. So if you want to archive things, you want to get a brand new hard drive and put it on that hard drive and use that only for backing things up. And then every few years, they recommend ten, but I'm paranoid and I do it more often, you can get some software, there's a company called Puran, P U R A N. What it does is, it takes all the information on your hard drive and rewrites it to the same hard drive. So basically, it’s like washing your clothes. It refreshes them. So even if you haven't worn a shirt, but it’s been hanging in your closet for a month, you might want to rewash it before you actually wear it. Now that's what this does. It takes all the data, rewrites the data to the disk. And so it’s like brand new again. So 15 years from now, when you try and go and get something to show your kids that were infants, it’s still going to work for you.

Fisher: Boy, it sounds complicated! But you know, you're really talking about something that you would do once in a great, great while. And that would be a nice thing if almost a time like you do with your smoke detectors in the house, right, once every decade when the number changes to a zero, that's the time to do it.

Tom: Right. They say ten years if it’s a brand new hard drive, a good quality hard drive. One of the best hard drives out there is Lacie, L A C I E. Some people pronounce it Lecie. They're great, Western Digital drives are great. Some other ones, I’ve had some problems with them and we won't go into those. But those two, I really, really like. And if you can afford it, go with a solid state hard drive, because that writes it in a way that's more permanent and there's less things to go wrong, because you don't have this spinning disk in there. It’s all a component type thing. So a solid state hard drive is by far the best way to go if you can afford them. They will last indefinitely.

Fisher: Really? So the ones that you're talking about every ten years, that's probably a minimum period of time, right?

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: I mean, it could very well be, you find something from 14, 15 years ago. There may still be a lot of stuff on there, but just to be safe, ten years is your limit.

Tom: Right, yeah. And like I say, if you get this free software, I'm sure there's commercial software that you can buy as well, but this software's free. And it just goes and rewrites all your stuff to the hard drive. And so, it’s basically like washing your shirt again. So it makes it just like all brand new. This software has a special feature that it will go in and just read your sectors and say, "Yeah, everything's great. Don't worry about it." or "Hey, these sectors are kind of getting a little bit shady right now." So then at that time, you can go through and just redo those ones. Or if in three year or five years it still says everything's good, then just wait and do that part again. And you don't have to rewrite your disk every so often, but you at least want to check it to make sure that the moths hadn't eaten a hole in your clothes, so to speak.

Fisher: [Laughs] Boy, you frighten me with this stuff, Tom! But it’s true, I mean, in the digital world, we have to be aware that there is a lifespan. And we have to make sure that we keep renewing it. I know for instance, FamilySearch has computers that are constantly upgrading things to make sure that nothing is ever lost. And that is what we have to do as well if we're going to be our family archivist. All right, when we return from break, Tom, what are we going to talk about?

Tom: So when we come back in the next segment, we're going to talk about your floppy disks, your BluRay disks, your CDs, your DVDs, all these things that are data disks, how to make sure they're at their peak performance down the road.

Fisher: All right, good stuff, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 262

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: We are down to it, our final segment of Extreme Genes for this week, America's Family History Show. Of course every week we talk to Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority about ideas for how you can make sure that you can preserve your precious family heirlooms and of course the things that you've digitized, photographs, home movies, videos. And Tom, we were just talking about hard drives and how they can go bad after a while, and you have to maintain them periodically. But we have the smaller stuff we have to maintain as well.

Tom: Right. And we can go clear back to floppy disks, which a lot of people are going to say, "What's a floppy disk?" A lot of people are just going to grab their head with a headache. They can be migrated, okay? In fact, we're going to talk a little bit about that today, the difference between emulation and migration. For instance, if you have an old floppy disk, whether it’s the 3.5 or 5.4, there still are ways to transfer it. Now one thing you need to understand is, what we're doing is a migration. So we're taking it from one format to another format, which means if you deleted it in a program called XYZ at ABC company. You might have all the content there, but when you transfer it and open it again in Word or something, then it’s going to say, "Whoa! These are different paragraphs. This is all running together." You have the information. It’s easy to go reformat it. What you need is the information. So that's migration. Emulation is where you're trying to recreate it. For instance, if you have some hard documents that you want them to become digital, whether you put it on the BluRay, a data disk, anything like that, then you're emulating it, you're retyping it. So you're putting it back in. Also, photographs scanning them, any of this kind of thing is emulation, because you're not taking the original photograph from a negative, you're actually taking the photograph and scanning it, going through another step. And so that's emulating what the original photographs were or the negatives or whatever you happen to be scanning. But you want to make sure they're on a format like a BluRay or a DVD or CDs or whatever, so that you can store these. And every once in a while, you're going to want to go back and redo them. For instance, when we were talking about this with you the other day, you have some old stuff we did for you a long, long time ago and some things you did on your own, and you now have taken that disk and copied it onto a Taiyo Yuden disk, which is more of an emulation, because none of the data's being changed. You're not migrating to another form.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: You're just still copying it digital to digital.

Fisher: Boy and that's really the ideal way, right? We want to emulate.

Tom: Absolutely because that's the best way to do it. So you're just taking this old CD that's on an XYZ CD and transferring it to a Taiyo Yuden disk or you're taking something that was on DVD and now you're putting it on an MDisk or on a BluRay disk, which is going to last longer. So that's the best way to do it. Don't just think, "Oh, I've got it on a disk." I had a customer that had all of his screen acting deals, commercials, everything he had done on a disk, never ever touched it for quite a while. Then he wanted to go and take it in and show it as a sample of his work, and he popped it in before he left. Nothing! The disk was completely gone, because it sat on a shelf for ten years and had degraded.

Fisher: And this is the ink, right?

Tom: Exactly. That's the problem. People say, "Why is this disk a dollar and this one, I can buy five for a dollar?" Well, it’s the quality of the ink. Same reason a Lamborghini is going to cost more than a Ford Focus is because it’s done by hand. And so, in your disk, you want to get the best ink possible, which is what turns on and off, just like an LCD or wristwatch that you have. So if you go to the Taiyo Yuden, they're using the best quality ink. If you go to these cheap disks, they're using ink that's not as good, so it’s not going to last as long. Just like if you see a car driving down the road and the windows are purple, the tint has gone bad. They didn't use a good quality tint.

Fisher: Huh!

Tom: You never ever leave CDs and DVDs in hot cars and especially in sunlight. Even if it’s cool, don't let sunlight on them, because they're burned with a laser and the sun is a giant, huge laser and it can actually erase your disk.

Fisher: Oh, I don't like hearing things like that. Tom, great usually to talk to you. I'm not so sure today.

Tom: [Laughs]

Fisher: But thank you for the advice. [Laughs] And we'll talk to you again soon.

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: Hey, we're done! And we got Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, we've got Hanukkah and Christmas up ahead, and I hope you're planning for a great holiday season with lots of great ideas involving your family, past and present. Hey, don't forget to sign up for our Weekly Genie Newsletter. Go to ExtremeGenes.com to find it. It’s absolutely free. We give you links to past shows, present shows and a blog from me each week as well. Thanks for joining us. Talk to you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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