Episode 264 - Determined Researcher Changes 300-Year-Old Family History / Dealing With Aliases And Name Changes

podcast episode Dec 16, 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 begin with talk of the recent passing of former President George H. W. Bush, and the math that suggests he was related to a large part of the American population. Next, David talks about two half sisters who discovered each other in their 50s… and without DNA! Speaking of which, when it comes to identifying you, the day may soon come by which you can be identified even if you have not taken a DNA test! The guys will explain. David then talks about the recent ceremony recognizing  the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. This year’s event marked a sad first. David maps it out. David’s Blogger Spotlight this week shines on Elizabeth Handler, who is blogging on Hanukkah. Her site is jewishgenealogyjourney.blogspot.com.

Next Fisher visits with Ali Stocker, a passionate geni who led a remarkable effort that has changed the last 300 years of the recorded history of the Sanderson family of Massachusetts. (And some descendants are not happy about it!) Hear the story of the family, what she learned, and how she did it.

Then, Legacy Tree Genealogist’s Jamie Kay shares some thoughts on how to best deal with aliases and name changes in your research. It’s a tough nut to crack, but in some cases it can be done.  Jamie shares some great examples.

Tom Perry then talks about screen capture software. If you’re looking to interview far away relatives over the holidays, or anytime, this could be a great solution to capturing and preserving your peoples’ stories.

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

Transcript of Episode 264

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 264

Fisher: Welcome back genies! It is America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. Of course, by genies we mean genealogists around here. People are tracking their ancestors and finding the stories from the past to enhance your family experience. It’s great to have you along. This segment is brought to you by Vivid-Pix and their incredible software called Restore. You’ve got to try it. It really works well to improve your photographs and your old documents. Hey, coming up in just a little bit, ten minutes from now we’re going to be talking to a woman named Ali Stocker. [Laughs] And she’s stirred up a little trouble because there was a 300-year old “mystery” in their family. And because of the fact she’s gone to work with DNA and other sources, she has cracked this mystery and changed the direction of the family line, and a lot of people aren’t happy about this. But, you’re going to hear what the story was and how she did it and what of the reaction is. It’s fun stuff coming up in about ten minutes.

Then later on in the show, we’re going to talk to Jamie Kay from Legacy Tree Genealogists talking about aliases and name changes and how you can deal with some of those things. That is a tough bridge to cross when you run into that, and I’ve got a few of my own. Then at the back end of the show, Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority, is going to talk about “screen capture software” for video. So, you can save your family history interviews that you do from afar, so when you record them online and then save that video for future use. So there you go, that’s all coming up in just a little bit. And don’t forget by the way, to sign up for our “Weekly Genie Newsletter” absolutely free, lots of links to great stories you’re going to enjoy, past and present shows and a blog from me every week and it’s absolutely free. Sign up at ExtremeGenes.com. Right now, it’s off to Boston to talk to the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. It’s the lovely David Allen Lambert. Hello David.

David: Well, thank you so kindly for such a compliment. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Well, sadly America has lost one of the greatest generation and for you and I, we kind of lost a distant cousin, haven’t we?

Fisher: Well, that’s really true. George H.W. Bush is related to a lot of the population of America. In fact, they’re saying that he’s probably related to more Americans than any president who came before him. And I would assume since his son went in after him that there were even more related to George W. Bush. But, I actually had three interactions with him over time. We’re going to talk more about that in the next couple of weeks, but I’ve actually posted a photo of that on our website ExtremeGenes.com and you can check that out. But, it was an amazing opportunity to meet him, always a gentleman each time.

David: Well, if you grew up in Massachusetts, you have to come to my county because we are the birthplace county of four US Presidents besides John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy and George Herbert Walker Bush was born in Milton, one of my grandmother’s hometowns, which is only two towns away from where I was.

Fisher: Yeah, but he was raised in my hometown in Greenwich, Connecticut, so we claim him!

David: [Laughs]

Fisher: All right David, what do we have in our Family Histoire News?

David: Well, I’ll tell you the great story on Extreme Genes is the one from Maine about the two sisters Liz Michaud and Sunnie Mattern. They both were sisters but didn’t know each other for fifty years. Now, they’re doing the great adventure of genealogy together.

Fisher: Yeah that’s right. They’ve been travelling the state and here was one who knew about the other, found out about her name many years ago. And then the other one found her in return and she knew who she was as soon a she heard the name, so what an amazing thing. They didn’t know about their birth father till late in life, and now here in their fifties these two sisters have finally come together, and no DNA involved in this.

David: Yeah, that’s the strange thing. In a lot of cases you would expect a story like that would be DNA, and that’s what I was expecting to read, but no. All right, next I want to talk about the idea of you want to be anonymous to your DNA. Well, it’s not going to be an option much anymore, because with the amount of DNA tests out there, and things you can narrow down with public information and the exact dates of birth, your matches that you don’t know, well, you might be able to figure it out pretty quickly.

Fisher: Yeah, this is the thing because there are so many people testing, they’re saying that something like 60% of the European population of the United States is implied by all the tests that are out there already. So, even if you didn’t test, people could figure out who you are through somebody else. Now, why they would be looking for you, that’s a whole other question. But it’s really an interesting math situation.

David: It is. And it’s a little bit more confusing math than I’m used to sitting down with the genealogy. It’s usually dates from gravestones.

Fisher: Right.

David: But it does make sense when you do the equations and you throw in all of the possibilities of finding things online about a person. And a lot of times people not opting in has nothing really to do with them really wanting to be anonymous. Sometimes it’s because they got a test and they just want to find their ethnicity. They have no interest in genealogy, which is really hard to believe anybody could say that.

Fisher: [Laughs] well, that’s really true. I think a majority of people who test, they’re just doing it for the ethnicity and maybe some of them get hooked and wind up joining our lovely little group.

David: Exactly. Well, Friday was the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941. And normally we see numerous veterans there, and of course they’re getting up in their years, 97/98. The oldest one who just died recently was 106, so if you’re going to have an age of almost a hundred and there will be no representation from the men who survived the USS Arizona. In fact, come to think of it, didn’t you have, a couple of years back, Lou Conter from the USS Arizona on the show?

Fisher: Yeah. Yeah, he was one of the survivors of the USS Arizona. We had him on in 2015. So, if you follow the podcast, all you have to do is listen to Episode 116 and you can hear that interview.

David: That’s amazing. Well, in honor of our friends who celebrate Hanukkah, I want to toss out a genealogical blog spotlight on Elizabeth Handler’s blog, A Jewish Genealogy Journey at jewishgenealogyjourney.blogspot.com. And she talks about her adventures in doing Jewish genealogy and gives tips and suggestions in case you’re wanting to dabble in your Jewish heritage. All right, that’s about all I have from Beantown this week and we’ll probably be talking more about our cousin George Herbert Walker Bush. My sympathies to his family and to the nation we’ve lost definitely a true American hero.

Fisher: Absolutely. Thanks so much David. We’ll talk to you again next week. And coming up for you next, we’re going to talk to a woman from Massachusetts named Ali Stocker. And she is a descendant of the Sanderson family, at least so she thought. But she has solved a 300-year old mystery that tells her something entirely different. You’re going to want to hear the story. You’re going want to hear how she cracked this ancient case and the response to it. It’s all coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 264

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Ali Sanderson Stocker

Fisher: Welcome back. It’s America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And you know, genealogy is a lot of fun and sometimes it can get you into a lot of trouble, even if you’re cracking a mystery that happens to be 300 years old, just like my next guest happened to crack. It’s Ali Sanderson Stocker and she’s in Massachusetts. How you’re doing Ali? Nice to have you on the show.

Ali: I’m great, Fish. It’s good to be here finally. I’ve been listening to your show for a long time and I am glad to be a guest.

Fisher: Well, I appreciate it, and you’re more than worthy to be a guest here. I mean, looking at this story, it’s fantastic. First of all, let’s start with the story of the Sandersons. That’s your line of descent, and what has been the tale in that family now since what, the early 1700s?

Ali: Yeah. So, most of the published genealogy for the last 150 years or so have it that there was a child named Joseph that was born to Bethiah Kemp in 1713, and she went to court a year later and claimed that this illegitimate child was the son of Joseph Sanderson of Groton, Massachusetts. In the trial, Joseph said, “I am not the father.” But the judge said, “You are going to take responsibility for this. There is no way to prove otherwise.” So he was adjudged to be the father. And the little baby Joseph was named Joseph Sanderson and it was put down in the records as such. So, for the last 300 years that has been the story. And almost everybody, every online tree you see, and every published genealogy you see, has said that Joseph Sanderson was the son of Joseph Sanderson senior.

Fisher: Well, don’t you think when books are 150 years old and they are in a library, a distinguished institution, and somebody pulls that book out of the library and says, “Ah ha! It’s right here!” That carries a lot of weight with a lot of people?

Ali: It sure does. [Laughs]

Fisher: And there’s no reason not. I mean, at that point it’s really the best possible answer, right? You don’t have anything else.

Ali: That’s right.

Fisher: But wait a minute, we live in the 21st century and you went to work!

Ali: [Laughs] Yeah. So, about 10 years ago I asked my Dad to test his Y-DNA. And his results came back and it didn’t match anybody that was a Sanderson. And I thought, well, that’s strange, but we’re so early doing this compared to most people that are now getting on the bandwagon. But I thought well just wait and see. And slowly more Sandersons were testing but none of them matched my father. So, I started to suspect that maybe he wasn’t a Sanderson and it was a non-paternity event or what we call an NPE.

Fisher: Yeah. “Not the parent expected!” [Laughs]

Ali: Exactly. [Laughs] Not the parent expected. So, I wondered if maybe, now I knew about little Joseph in 1713, I thought wow, I wonder if that might be where the break was. But you know, it’s hard to know. It could happen anywhere.

Fisher: Sure.

Ali: It could have happened two generations from me. So I had to find descendants of Joseph. So, baby Joseph got married and had a number of children, so my job was to find those children and see if they, the descendants of the son, if they matched my dad.

Fisher: The boy lines.

Ali: Yeah, the boy lines.

Fisher: So, you’re testing now other descendants of this guy Joseph to see if any of them might match your dad, otherwise your dad’s break might have come somewhere in the last 300 years, anywhere. 

Ali: Exactly, anywhere. Right. So that sounds like it’s easy but wait, I have to find people. I had to go back, almost 200 years, because my dad’s line was the only one of the Sandersons up until 1770s that had any male left. So then, I had to go back in and go forward, which is called descendancy research.

Fisher: Right.

Ali: And find living people. So I wrote a few letters and most of the guys wrote back and said, “Not interested. This is weird. Who are you?”

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] You weirdo!

Ali: One guy was kind of nice and he wrote back and he was like, “You know, this is interesting.” And then I thought well, maybe I should start a Facebook group because I can just get Sandersons to join.

Fisher: Yeah.

Ali: I did it, and thought well I’ll get this guy to join and maybe some other researchers I’d been working with including my friend and cousin, Ethel Hagaman who helped research with me. We thought we might get four or five members. Just an FYI right now, we’re over 170 members of researchers.

Fisher: Oh wow! [Laughs]

Ali: Active researchers.

Fisher: Yeah.

Ali: And we were just sort of getting along on the Facebook group, and the fellow that said he was interested by email was getting into it and he was like you know, I may test. And I said well, is there something we can bribe you with? And he said, “Well, I kind of like cheesecake.”

Fisher: That’s it?

Ali: That’s it. I said, “If you test, you’ll get a cheesecake in the mail!”

Fisher: [Laughs]

Ali: He’s in Michigan. So he tested and sure enough, he matched my father!

Fisher: Wow!

Ali: So that was great. And then, Ethel got her nephew to test and she was a descendant of another son of Joseph so we had a different line of Joseph’s son, and she matched us.

Fisher: Okay.

Ali: So all of a sudden we have a little clunk of E-haplogroup Sandersons. And I should say that the real Sandersons are R-haplogroup.

Fisher: Okay.

Ali: So we had a little group and we thought well, we now know that it’s us and we’re the children of little baby Joseph born 1713 to Bethiah.

Fisher: Right. The illegitimate child.

Ali: The illegitimate child. So we figured out we were not Sandersons.

Fisher: Wow. And so then you went on the descendants of the father’s other male children to see if they matched?

Ali: So yes. Joseph Sanderson senior, the accused father, right, we went and found some of his descendants and they were R-Haplogroup, so they matched the Sandersons that came over, you know, Sandersons that were the original Sandersons in Boston in Watertown. So, we had these two distinct groups. We knew the break happened in 1713 with Bethiah’s little baby Joseph. But then the question was, well then who was the father?

Fisher: Yeah.

Ali: Could we figure that out? So, I was talking to Ethel on the phone and I’m looking at the matches in Family Tree DNA, the Y-DNA matches, and I’m like gosh, you know it’s just so weird, there’s our little group and then there’s this Germanic names that match us that mean nothing. So those names were things like Tessa, and Strovak, and Laiken, and I was thinking Laiken sounds sort of Swedish, there’s the Swedish Laiken / Lakin’s name.

Fisher: Right. [Laughs]

Ali: And I’m thinking, that’s all weird. I don’t know who these people are. They don’t match us. And Ethel screams over the phone, “Lakin! What do you mean? There are Lakins in Groton!” I’m like, what? Lakin is an English name? She said, “Yes.” Because she had done a lot of Groton research in the past. She said there are Lakins in Groton. She had seen them in the records. I’m like, oh my gosh, we know he’s a Lakin.

Fisher: He’s there somewhere!

Ali: He’s there somewhere. So, we ended up doing the same thing, creating a Facebook group called “Lakin genealogy.”

Fisher: [Laughs]

Ali: And going right back on those message boards and finding all the Laikens. Wherever we could find people that were researching Lakin, we invited them to the group and we quickly got a few people. One was a gal who said, “I’ve got a brother, you know, maybe he could test.” And he was a descendant of a Groton (Massachusetts) Lakin.

Fisher: Wow!

Ali: So we got him to test. No cheesecake needed.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Ali: And guess what?

Fisher: A perfect match!

Ali: Yep. He matched all of our little E-group Sandersons. So we found out we were Lakins.

Fisher: Wow!

Ali: After 300 years the Sandersons, a lot of Sandersons, because there’s not as many, as far as we can tell over the last three years of researching, there’s more of us fake Sandersons than there are the real Sandersons.

Fisher: The real ones. Wow!

Ali: So, it really has affected a lot of Sandersons.

Fisher: Yeah. But you’ve gone and you’ve had this published now in American Ancestors, which is from the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and I’m hearing that you’re getting a little grief back. People don’t like losing their ancestors like this.

Ali: Well, yeah. A couple of older members of our group wrote to me and said, “Please don’t tell my wife. I’ve been so proud to be a Sanderson thinking I was related to the Sandersons like Robert Sanderson the silversmith.”

Fisher: [Laughs]

Ali: So, unfortunately no, we’re not. I always tell everybody we are legally Sandersons because a court has declared us so.

Fisher: Yes.

Ali: So if another Sanderson silver cup goes up for auction for a million dollars like the previous one, maybe we’ll get a piece of it.

Fisher: [Laughs] A piece of the action. Absolutely. Well, the other thing is, if the court actually made this summation, couldn’t you go in there and now and present the evidence and have them overturn that decision even though it was over 300 years ago?

Ali: What an interesting idea!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Ali: Yeah, I guess I hadn’t really thought of that. I think that’s quite an interesting idea. I have to look into that and see if there’s a method to overturn such an incorrect ruling.

Fisher: Well, this is amazing though that you would actually do this. Because I mean, a 300 year old mystery is not something easily cracked, and only through Y-DNA could it be done.

Ali: Right.

Fisher: And with the absolute intestinal fortitude of somebody like yourself to go out and line up the people to test and spend all that money to do the test, and then to the analysis and figure it out. Have you figured out which Lakin by the way was the father?

Ali: No. There were a number of Lakin men that were sort of single at the time of Bethiah’s impregnation. Six were married, but two brothers, William and James, James was seven years younger than Bethiah and William was three years younger. We would think that it possibly could be William. And William and James, their father worked in the same garrison as Bethiah’s parents. Groton was a frontier town.

Fisher: Yeah.

Ali: Indian attacks, all that kind of stuff in the early 1700s.

Fisher: So they all knew each other.

Ali: They all lived in the same house for a while so we know they knew each other. What’s interesting was that a few months before Bethiah’s trial, William was named the father of the illegitimate son of Anna Blanchet, so he might have been a little promiscuous, you know.

Fisher: Yeah. He got around. [Laughs]

Ali: He got around. [Laughs] One nice thing about the Lakins is only one man is a progenitor of all the Lakins in Groton, and his name is William Lakin and he was from Ruddington, Nottinghamshire, England. So we do know that we descend from William Lakin.

Fisher: So you know the line. You just don’t know the name of the son that was in the middle.

Ali: That’s right.

Fisher: Wow. What a story. That’s fantastic sleuthing. Well done.

Ali: Yeah. [Laughs]

Fisher: She’s Ali Sanderson Lakin Stocker from Massachusetts!

Ali: [Laughs]

Fisher: A sleuth extraordinaire breaking a 300 year old mystery and causing all kinds of trouble among the Sanderson descendents. Well, Ali. Thanks so much for coming on the show.

Ali: Thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure.

Fisher: And coming up next, we are going to talk to a researcher with Legacy Tree Genealogists. She is Jamie Kay. She is going to be talking about aliases and name changes and how you might pursue some of those. She’s got some stories herself, that’s coming up next in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.             

Segment 3 Episode 264

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Jamie Kay

Fisher: And we are back! It’s America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by Legacy Tree Genealogists. And speaking of which, I have one of their researchers on the line with me right now. Her name is Jamie Kay and she has some great tips for overcoming name changes. Hey, welcome to Extreme Genes, Jamie!

Jamie: Thank you much. It’s good to be here.

Fisher: You know, I’ve got a couple of these in my lines, including a second great grandfather by the name of Waldreaon who came over from London to New York City in the 1830s. He spelled it like Waldron but with an “E-A” thrown in there. And with E-A or with without E-A I can’t find him anywhere in any records over in England. In fact, there’s not a single Waldreaon in the history of England that I’ve been able to find in the records over there, and he came over to America. In the directory we see at least two, maybe three first name changes as well. What might be happening here?

Jamie: Oh, there are a variety of reasons people change their names. Most common is to escape a little bit of a shadowy past.

Fisher: Ooh.

Jamie: My own great, great grandfather from Scotland was married and had all his children with the name John Ferguson. Then, we find that his wife applied for poor relief because her husband had been put in jail and next thing we know, they are in Glasgow, away from this little tiny village where they lived and raised their children with the surname Scott. So, my maiden name is Scott and we’re still trying to figure that one out.

Fisher: [Laugh] Where that name came from, fascinating.

Jamie: Yes.

Fisher: There was a situation I dealt with. An ancestor was in the War of 1812 as a substitute for another soldier. He, I guess, was paid off to do this and he actually went by the other soldier’s name during the war. And later after the war he applied for a pension for his service but there’s no record of him because he went by the other name. 

Jamie: That is absolutely correct. Because he was substituting he wasn’t being paid with that soldiers’ name and forfeited any pension because he didn’t serve under his own self.

Fisher: Yeah, it’s tough to approve those things you know?

Jamie: Yes, always.

Fisher: What are the other circumstances that you’ve run across and then how do we solve these things?

Jamie: Well, the only way to really pound through them is to look at absolutely every record you can find that might be the right person. A case that I just researched was the family of William Thomas Roue. The client knew that he was born about 1855 in Baltimore, from census records. She had his death certificate that he died in 1894 at Washington D.C. and it gave his address. We were able to find him at that address in several city directories. And also living at that address was a Margaret Roue who was a dressmaker. Well, she wasn’t always Margaret Roue. In one of the records she was Margaret Van Valkenburg.

Fisher: Huh!

Jamie: But same address. So, I thought okay, let’s see if we can find Margaret Roue Van Valkenburg. I was finally able to track her down with the spelling R-O-U-E, married to Frank Van Valkenburg.

Fisher: Oh wow. [Laughs] That had to be one of those victorious days where you throw your arms in the air.

Jamie: It was, absolutely. I am so glad he didn’t choose the name Frank Jones because Frank Van Valkenburg I could find.

Fisher: Yeah, Frank Jones, you could find that also... a lot of them.

Jamie: Yes and not know which one.

Fisher: Absolutely.

Jamie: Well, Frank Van Valkenburg died just before the turn of the century and his obituary said, “Frank Van Valkenburg died suddenly, better known as Frank Roue.”

Fisher: Oh boy.

Jamie: Like, what in the world? So, I was able to get her widow’s pension application from the Civil War under the name Frank Van Valkenburg, but also under the name Charles Dwayne.

Fisher: Oh no! A third name?

Jamie: Uh, yeah and we’re not even done yet.

Fisher: [Laughs] Okay. First of all, what’s the story behind Charles Dwayne?

Jamie: So, Charles Dwayne according to affidavits in this widows’ pension application was actually born Charles Dwayne McChesney in upstate New York.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Jamie: He was arrested for forgery and was able to escape from prison. He went to Pennsylvania and registered to fight in the Civil War as Frank Van Valkenburg. He deserted. He went to Washington D.C. and married Margaret Roue, and a year or so later he told her he needed to leave town and the next she heard he was taken as a prisoner of war fighting for Connecticut in the Civil War, but he was going by the name Charles Dwayne.

Fisher: [Laughs] Wow! I mean, this has got to be like an ongoing research project for you, right, to sort it out because it’s four people in one?

Jamie: It was. It was a very long project but the key to it really was that Civil War widow’s pension.

Fisher: Yeah, those are so important, aren’t they? I mean, very, very valuable for so many things.

Jamie: Yeah. Well, it gave Margret Shinner’s first husband’s name. Her first husband was John Roue. He died at sea in August 1857 and the second child of the couple was born a few months later.

Fisher: So, when somebody runs across a name change or an alias, first of all, what are some of the causes? And then, it seems to me there should be a process that is unique to the case.

Jamie: Exactly. And it would be very easy to say, well here’s a checklist of things to do and you will have your answer.

Fisher: Yeah.

Jamie: But, as we all know, genealogy does not work that way.

Fisher: Nope.

Jamie: So, I would say the first thing to do would be to make you have absolutely every single record you can possibly find about any person that is even sort of related. Margaret Shinner, that was her maiden name, and she was on the 1860 census with these two Roue children. She went back and lived with her dad. Her mom had just passed.

Fisher: Ha.

Jamie: So, her name is Shinner, then Roue, and then Valkenburg, and her second husband’s alias, four different names. So, to just compare and say, okay now who was Frank Roue? Who could he possibly be? Oh, here’s his obituary that says Frank Van Valkenburg, better known as Frank Roue.

Fisher: Ah.

Jamie: Okay, we’ve got that sorted out. Oh, well, here’s a Civil War pension application let’s see what that says. And that was gold.

Fisher: It sure sounds like it. You know, I think about this Waldreaon thing and he was in theatre. He named his son Acastos...

Jamie: [Laughs] Oh no.

Fisher: ...which I learned was a character from Plato's Jason and the Argonauts.

Jamie: Oh my.

Fisher: So, I’m thinking, okay he’s a very well read man and he worked at the old Bowery Theater in New York and he came over. He was kind of a lower or middle class kind of guy that worked there.

Jamie: Um hmm.

Fisher: So, I’m thinking the Waldreaon thing was to improve his name in the theater world, but that’s just an assumption. You know, you may have hit it right on the head maybe he’s running from something in his past. Who would know?

Jamie: Well, and theater types, especially in England, were not well regarded.

Fisher: Yep.

Jamie: Even in Shakespeare’s day, he was really looked down upon. So, to leave behind a bit of a sordid past would not have been unusual for an actor. He may have also wanted just a fancy name. Look at all the people in our entertainment industry that change names. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah, right! [Laughs]

Jamie: You just pull a name out of a hat and that’s who you were from then on out. Going back to my Ferguson great, great grandfather, apparently when great grandpa was ready to leave, his dad called him aside and said, “Well, your right name is not Scott. It’s Ferguson or Frans.” It’s like, “What?” Well, my brother took DNA tests and the matches are Frans.

Fisher: You hit it on the head right there. The key is often DNA. And if you get somebody to do the Y-DNA test, the male to male to male line test you can often uncover what that name should have been as I’ve done with my Waldreaon. Jamie, it’s been great chatting with you, and I appreciate all the insight. I mean, you’ve got some great ideas here, some great thoughts and some great stories. Unbelievable stuff! Thank you so much for being on the show today.

Jamie: Absolutely, thank you.

Fisher: And coming up next, it’s time to talk preservation with Mr. Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. He’s our Preservation Authority. We’re going to talk about screen recording software that can really help you with those interviews in three minutes on Extreme Genes.

Segment 4 Episode 264

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: It is time once again to talk preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and this is Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. And Tom, you know, this is the time of year where a lot of family interviews get done, everybody gathers and we sit in rooms and maybe break out the phones or whatever camera you might want to use to get some great interviews with the old folks in particular and maybe even the young folks. That's a lot of fun, too. But what happens when people are far away? I know that you have some ideas on this.

Tom: Oh, exactly. In fact, it doesn't matter whether they're the man in the moon or they're living in Dothan, Alabama, there are no borders anymore. You can talk to anybody, live. We use everything from Snapchat, we use Facebook, we use YouTube, of course we use Skype all the time, and it’s great. You can actually setup interviews with mom and dad, grandma and grandpa. And one thing that's really important about these, when you do them, you want to make sure you get a good screen capture software, because there might be something unique said.

Fisher: Well, you know, I've never done that before. I've had other people do it with me. We've done something online, and they say, "Oh look, here's the video!" And I thought, "I don't know how they captured that." I've never been involved in that, and my life has basically been involved with audio. So if you were to make a recommendation about what kind of screen recorder software to use, what would you recommend?

Tom: Well, one that's really fun that's I really like, and you'll never forget the name, it’s called Ice Cream. [Laughs]

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: It’s quite unique for you to remember. So just go to IceCreamApps.com, and they have it for Windows 10, they have them for Mac OS, and it’s really easy to use. And some of the cool things about it, for instance, if you've got some film that you've transferred that, you know, back from the '60s, '70s, whenever, you can go in and you can actually capture part of the screen, because you're playing it on your DVD inside your laptop or your computer and so you'll record it. And then you can actually go back and with the drawing tools they have, you can draw like an arrow, "Oh, this is Martha on the float. This is Jesse on the float. This is so and so. This is the house we used to live in," as you're driving past different things. You can put these titles and things in it, kind of make a project history.

Fisher: Wow, that sounds really fun!

Tom: So one thing you might want to do on it, which this program allows you to do is, you can put like a logo or what we call a watermark on it. A lot of times, if you're watching the news, you'll see the news logo in kind of transparent, but enough so that you can see it.

Fisher: Right. And you can make those too.

Tom: Yes, but it makes it nice. So if you want to share it, like YouTube's a great way to share stuff. Like my son does what's called Falcon 87. He plays these games, does different video things and posts them, so everybody in the family or his friends can go and see the videos and then they add different things to it. But the neatest thing is, with the drawing panel, you can do all kinds of cool stuff. And it’s just endless what you imagination can come up with to use these tools.

Fisher: All right, so we've got Ice Cream. Give us some more.

Tom: Okay. One of the other programs that is really cool out there, and the best thing to do is try them all out. A lot of them will let you try it free for three or four days. See which one fits you best and then that's what you're going to want to go with. There are ones that are called Shampoo, there's one that's called Bandicam, if you have the Adobe kit, it’s already built into your stuff. There's Screencast-O-Matic, but you can just go to Google and type in "Screen capture devices" read the different reports, spend a little bit of time and read why somebody said they liked or they didn't like it. And they might have not liked it for something that you don't care about, and they might have really liked it for that you do care about. So find out what works with you, but I love Ice Cream.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] Well, we all do, but I'm not sure we're talking the same thing here, Tom. But yeah, I really do like the idea that not only could you interview people during the holidays, but this is the time of year we're really thinking about it the most. But you can do it any time of year from anywhere in the world, and use this screen recorder software to capture those interviews and create them into something memorable and useful too, especially long after people are gone.

Tom: Oh absolutely. In fact, if you have people in your family that are in the military, this is awesome.

Fisher: All right. And when we return, we'll talk more about screen recorders and what else, Tom?

Tom: We're going to talk a little bit more about some programs that you can actually take somebody that sent you something and turn it into something that you can give somebody that's technically challenged.

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

Segment 5 Episode 264

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: We are back at it for our final segment this week of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show talking preservation with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Let's face it, we don't want anybody to be forgotten. So we're doing interviews and we're capturing photographs and videos. And Tom's been talking to us about screen recorder software. And Tom, you were mentioning at the end of the last segment about helping out people who are technically challenged. Now that doesn't mean that they can't do anything, but they can't do much, right?

Tom: Right. You know, like my mother, love her to death, she still writes handwritten letters, and I just absolutely love those, but I have tried several computers with her, I got her a Computer Made for Dummies, and she just doesn't want to deal with, she doesn't want to work with it. So what we can do with programs like Wondershare, which we’ve talked about a lot, the video that you've taken with a screen capture device or things that you've shot with old film in the old day, whatever, and you can go and convert these with Wondershare and turn them into programs that you can play on your DVD player, you can burn disks, you can play them on your iPhone or any kind of on Android device, you can play them on tablets. And this way, you can take your tablet over and show it to them or if they can handle something like, say they can play a DVD player no problem, it also gives you the ability to take these, edit them, trim them down, put what you want on the disk, then take it over to grandma's house and play it for her.

Fisher: You know, this is really true and you suggested Wondershare several years ago and I know they've had several iterations since then. But what I really love about it, it’s so easy to really just edit out the good stuff and maybe put it all together. And I had this video of my kids meeting Muhammad Ali years ago back in, what was it like, 1998 I think it was. And they actually did a little performance for him and made him laugh and slap his leg and called them over and gave them each a kiss. But there was a lot of stuff before and after that, that was just pretty much irrelevant. And to be able to take that and throw it onto Wondershare and edit out before and after and just keep the good stuff in the middle, as simple as that. It’s a wonderful tool. And as I recall, it only cost me around $50.

Tom: Oh yeah, it’s very inexpensive. They have the best customer service of any software I've ever purchased. And it just makes it so convenient, because a lot of times, people in your family might be in a rest home. And this way, you can either send them the DVD if you visit them. If they're close by, you can take them a DVD or mail them a MP4 and say, "Hey Grandma. I know you don't really understand this kind of stuff. When you get it, just click on the icon twice and it will open up and you won't be in Kansas anymore."

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] You know, there are just so many ways to make sure that we preserve these things. The hardest part I guess in my mind Tom is, this is all digital and I know physical things deteriorate as well. The digital stuff, we're really kind of in the in wild west right now about how long some things will last or what happens in the cloud. You hope things that are in the cloud are going to stay there for a very, very long time, but at the same time, those things have to be maintained as well, don't they?

Tom: Oh absolutely. It’s just like politics. You never know for sure what you're getting no matter what's said. So you want to always have your stuff backed up, you want to have the hard drive, you want to have a thumb drive, you want to have a BluRay, you want to have a DVD, you want to have two clouds, you want to have all these different things, so if one of the technologies there's a hiccup in it, hey no big deal, I've got it backed up in four other ways.

Fisher: Yep.

Tom: Plus, people in several different states have copies of my stuff, too. So if I have a natural disaster, I'm still covered.

Fisher: Well, you know, it’s funny you mention that, because I posted something on YouTube some time back, and suddenly one day I went in and it was gone. Now I don't know what the YouTube people did with it or how it happened or whatever, but fortunately, I had the original and I was able to repost it. And so now I can watch it whenever I want. All right Tom, great advice as always. Thanks so much. We'll talk to you again next week.

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: Hey, that is a wrap for this week. Thanks so much to Ali Stocker for coming on and talking about how she cracked open a 300 year old genealogical problem, which is now causing problems for people who really wanted their lines to be from the original place. You've got to hear the story if you missed it. You can catch the podcast on iHeart Radio, iTunes and ExtremeGenes.com of course. Thanks also to Jamie Kay, the researcher from Legacy Tree Genealogists, talking about tips for overcoming name changes and aliases in your family history. Hey, it happens, I got a couple in my lines. Talk to you next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!



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