Episode 275 - Adoptees and Their Unique Issues / Patricia Heaton Talks Family History

podcast episode Mar 24, 2019

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 a crazy tale Fisher unearthed in his recent research that forced a marriage date to be pushed up! David starts “Family Histoire News” with the story about a man whose DNA led him to discover he was, in fact, an African prince. Catch the details. Then, a story was recently published about the history of grave robbers and Native American grave sites. David gives an overview. Then, no one ever expects a man to crawl out of a tomb, but it happened in South America. Hear the crazy details!

Fisher then visits with Richard Weiss of the non-profit DNAAdoption.org. Richard and Fisher talk about the unique issues facing adoptees as well as those who have unexpected DNA test results. Richard explains how his organization helps these people and how you can support the group.

At RootsTech, Fisher visited with actress Patricia Heaton, best known for her roles in “The Middle” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Patricia got the “big reveal” from FamilySearch following her keynote speech at the conference. She talks with Fisher about that family background, as well as the challenges of having more than 100 first cousins!

Next, it’s Team Black from BYUtv’s Relative Race! The incredible first episode has already aired, and the twins Kaley and Kristen talk to Fisher about being part of the show and some of their experiences.

Finally, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com talks about things you can do to further protect your old magnetic recordings as your attic begins to heat up.

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

Transcript of Episode 275

Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 275  

Fisher: And welcome to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Scott Fisher. I am your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And if you’re new to the show, glad to have you here! What we do here is share stories that people have discovered, how they found them. We talk to expert guests, and we’ve got a loaded show today. And this episode is brought to you by Relative Race, now on BYUtv. And boy, we’ve got some great guests today as always. Richard Weiss is going to be coming on. He’s with a non-profit called DNAAdoption and he being adopted himself will give us some great insight on helping adoptees as they make discoveries about their birth families and connections and how those things do and don’t work. That’s coming up in about nine minutes. And then later in the show, my visit with Patricia Heaton from RootsTech. Yeah, she was there. She was one of the keynotes of course from Everybody Loves Raymond, a delightful lady, and you’re going to love what she had to say about her family experience, coming up later on in the show. Hey, make sure you’ve signed up for our “Weekly Genie Newsletter,” you don’t want to miss anything there. Every week we give you a brand new blog. We give you links to current and past shows and of course, links to stories that you’re going to be very interested in, so check that out. We’ve got David Allen Lambert on the line right now from Boston. He is the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David, there’s one thing I forgot to mention about RootsTech coming off of it just last week, and that was this thing posted by Gordon Remington. Now, you know Gordon of course.

David: Oh of course, for years.

Fisher: Yeah, he is one of the great genealogists in the field. He’s with AncestryProGenealogists. He’s been on the show before, and he posted on his Facebook page that he was in the bathroom and in the next stall over from him at RootsTech, he hears somebody on the cellphone talking about his Mayflower ancestors. And he said, “And he’s getting it wrong. Do I tell him?” [Laughs]

David: [Laughs] Oh no!

Fisher: Yeah, that’s a problem!

David: Yeah, I’ve had many conversations struck up in a bathroom. It’s like dead awkward. It’s like, can you wait a little bit. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah. So, here’s an interesting little find I made just a few days ago. I was looking for a marriage record on some descendant lines, right, and I couldn’t find the marriage record in the New York area. I don’t know why. So, I went to Newspapers.com to see what I could find that might be posted about it, and sure enough there was an account of the wedding. I’ve never seen one like this before. “E.F.R Varick of this village, that being Rockville Centre, Long Island, who was so seriously injured last Saturday by a stick piercing his eyelid and coming out at his throat, was married yesterday to Miss Susie Secor Fowler of New Haven, Connecticut. The ceremony took place at the bedside of the injured man. Mr Varick’s condition is serious, but his physicians hope to pull him through. Mr Varick and Miss Fowler were to have been married this fall, but on account of the possibility of fatal consequences from the accident, they were united yesterday.” This is from July of 1896! And so then I went looking to find if there was an actual account of how this happened and there it was! It says “A singular but serious accident occurred on Saturday afternoon to E.F.R Varick of this village. He was at work clearing up a grove on his premises when a dead limb fell from a tree. A sharp end of the limb struck him in the face, penetrating an eyelid and grazing the orbit, passed downward inside the cheek and came out of the neck at the back of his throat. Dr Hutchinson was summoned and removed the stick, six inches long, from the unfortunate man’s neck. He has since suffered greatly, but at present hopes are felt for his recovery.” He did recover by the way, and had a daughter in 1903, so that was just unbelievable.

David: Well, that’s quite an eye opening story to start off Family Histoire News. Wow! [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Yes, I think so. All right, what stories do you have for us today David?

David: Well, I’ll tell you, on Extreme Genes I read a great story. And you know, we always have our DNA results on how to find distant cousins. How about if you found out you’re royalty? This is a case for Jay Speights, an interfaith Pastor from Rockville, Maryland, who could not believe the words from a text that he received that he actually, in fact, was of royalty. It turns out he is a distant cousin of a man by the name of Houanlokonon Deka who is a descendent of the royal line of Benin, which is a small nation, once part of the West African slave port. And yeah, he’d gone over there, Fish. He’d gotten robes, crowns, the whole nine yards. It’s quite amazing.

Fisher: Yeah, they’ve accepted him as their son. I mean, it’s an amazing story. Check it out on ExtremeGenes.com.

David: I can’t guarantee this type of result for all of you and your DNA results though. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

David: [Laughs] Well, you know, I used to walk the farm fields looking for Indian artifacts when I was a kid, but I always was certain  that there are people out there with means that are a little unscrupulous…grave robbers. And this has been going on since the days of Columbus you know, and they would steal the goods from a king or looking for gold etcetera, but yeah, it’s gotten to be a big problem.

Fisher: Yeah, and to your point David, the FBI recently invaded a home in Indiana, and found all kinds of Native American artifacts there, bones and trinkets and it’s unbelievable. And it’s still going on to this very day.

David: Sometimes these sites are found accidentally, but sometimes they’re pilfered on purpose. And then of course there are stories where people are going into graves that just had someone buried in them, as we go to our next story with a Brazilian man who didn’t have a chance to grieve his father enough, so he crawled in the tomb with him.

Fisher: [Laugh] This is an amazing thing because he got stuck in there. It’s an above ground tomb kind of thing. It’s kind of half in and half out of the ground. And here’s the guy running the cemetery hearing screams coming from inside a tomb, and a man trying to get out! [Laughs]

David: Yeah.

Fisher: He called the police and they hauled him out of there, and it was a guy who had missed his dad’s funeral and decided to crawl in to say goodbye.

David: Very grave news from Extreme Genes indeed. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Well, that’s about all I have from Beantown this week. So, don’t forget, if you’re not a member of American Ancestors by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, you can go to AmericanAncestors.org, become a member and use the check out code coupon  “Extreme” and save $20 on your membership.

Fisher: All right. Excellent David. Well, great talking to you once again. We’ll catch up with you next week. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to Richard Weiss from DNAAdoption. It’s a non-profit that deals with all things adoption and DNA, and Patricia Heaton, my visit with her from RootsTech, coming up for you a little later on in the show. We’re back in three minutes. 

Segment 2 Episode 275

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Richard Weiss

Fisher: Hey, welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this segment is brought to you by FamilySearch.org. And of course, recently they were very much behind the RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. And one of the joys of this conference is you get to meet a lot of people who have their role in whatever it is that they’re doing in family history. And one of the people I met for the first time was a man named Richard Weiss out of San Diego. He’s with a non-profit called DNAAdoption. And we had a great conversation because there are so many people out there right now who are adopted and who are trying to use DNA to crack the code and get into the birth family, and it’s a complicated thing. And Richard, it’s great to have you on the show. Let’s talk.

Richard: Pleasure to be here Scott. Thanks for the opportunity.

Fisher: Your organization has been around now for how long?

Richard: We’ve been around since roughly 2013, and been helping not just adoptees, but donor-conceived folks, and donors as well, and folks with misattributed parentages or parent not expected find their biological families. And there’s a lot that goes into that, not just searching with DNA or doing a traditional search, but how to make contact and what are the best practices and what to expect afterwards.

Fisher: Now, you are an adoptee yourself as I recall, right?

Richard: I am an adoptee. And I have found my maternal birth family through a traditional search and my paternal birth family through a DNA search.

Fisher: Obviously a good experience for you?

Richard: Yes, they were all pretty positive.

Fisher: You use a lot of volunteers in this organization, which I think is fantastic because there are so many people who have really developed some great skills for traditional and the DNA side of things. How many people do you have helping people find these birth families and other connections?

Richard: Well, as you mentioned, we are a 501C3 non-profit. We’re a charitable organization and we are comprised of 13 primary volunteers. All of us are uncompensated, so anything that comes to us goes directly to our purpose of reconnecting families. So, that’s wonderful, people with a great spectrum of experiences and perspectives. We’ve got folks from the tech industry, and from the public affairs industry, former educators, people that are into web design, and all of us have been touched by adoption, or non-paternal events, or by donor conception.

Fisher: Wow! That’s a great thing to do, and I’m sure it’s really satisfying for you, especially having gone through it yourself. You know, I know that there are many people listening right now who have helped a friend, who’ve helped a family member, somebody who was adopted or got an unexpected result. And I’ve certainly helped several of my own friends and people in my own circle, and it’s an amazing emotional thing even for those who help with the volunteering, right, because you kind of become partners in this effort to break through. And there is a process though and obviously some people are going to get a little bit more anxious than others, perhaps expecting some kind of, well frankly, a fantasy connection with a birth family. And it doesn’t necessarily always work out that way. How do you prepare them for a potentially negative connection?

Richard: Well, one of the most important things is to talk about it before they reach out to their birth families. And talk about what to expect and what some of those best practices are, and to address that not all connections work out, that you can’t always get what you want, and being able to convey the experiences, both positive and negative that some of us have had, is helpful for them. Another resource that we have is on our website http://www.dnaadoption.org we have a presentation that we give called DNA Secrets and help and support. And it lists a lot of the things to think about and consider in making connections and then the possibility of reunion and what happens afterwards.

Fisher: Right.

Richard: That’s a great template that we use to start those conversations once somebody is identified, their family is contacted.

Fisher: Now, I am curious because you’re dealing, especially over the last six years, with a lot more people than I’ve ever personally dealt with, but with the ones I have dealt with overwhelmingly it’s been a positive thing. There have been some times where I remember one woman that I helped, she found her birth father. He had left her mom and she kind of knew a little about him. It initially started out okay and then kind of turned south. But in the process, before I gave her any contact information I said, “Are you prepared for what could be a negative thing? Because you know, if you can’t handle that kind of rejection then it might be best not to do this at all because ultimately, once you open that door you can never close it again.”

Richard: That is absolutely true. And that’s a wonderful approach that you took. And opening the door to that conversation with the person is, maybe you need to wait a little, maybe there are some things that you need to look at in yourself, and challenge some of those assumptions of those fantasies and really discreetly define what you’re looking for from the other side. It sounds simple to do but a lot of times when you ask somebody what are you looking for? You often get an answer that is pretty nebulous. They kind of don’t know. They just know they want something. Opening those doors for those discussions is, I think, one of those key concepts. And as you point out very saliently, some folks aren’t quite ready to be able to handle a negative response, you know, where it’s, don’t ever contact me again, or even worse.

Fisher: Yeah. It’s the second rejection, right? I mean that’s the potential which could be even more devastating than it was before the contact was made.

Richard: That’s true. And that sense of rejection, having the emotional capacity to handle that and be okay with that is something that everybody needs to consider if they are searching for their biological roots.

Fisher: How many people in the course of your work with the other volunteers have you run into that situation where they were rejected outright again?

Richard: So, the average is between 5 and 10%.

Fisher: That’s great!

Richard: And that’s more holistic average not just with me, but with others that I am aware of.

Fisher: Sure.

Richard: And there’s a generational aspect of this as well because those of us who were born and adopted out during the baby scoop era, there’s a higher percentage of that declining contact is what I’m going to call it, here. And it does feel like a rejection. But the women who have went through those experiences back then went through some pretty horrific things and they just don’t have the capacity or maybe the surprise pulls up all those old emotions that they needed to deal with and they haven’t. So, there’s a little higher percentage of that happening with folks born in from the late 40s into the early 70s, the baby scoop era, but as you get into the 70s and 80s then that drops down. I also want to point out, another thing is sometimes that first answer isn’t the only answer. Given time, I have seen a number of cases where the initial response is, “No contact. Don’t ever contact me again.” And then a year or two, or three, or in a couple of cases I’ve read about, 10 years later, they come back and go, you know, “Now I’m ready for this.”

Fisher: Yeah. You know, I helped an adoptee a few years ago, and she found a half sister, and the half sister was in shock because she was her mom’s best friend. She was the only child, and her mother never told her that she had given up a baby. And while my friend had had her whole life to understand and to adjust to the concept of who my birth family was and that type of thing, the half sister hadn’t yet. And so it took a while for her to come around but eventually she showed up at the front door with a book full of photographs of the birth mother to share with her half sister. And she apologized, said, “I’m sorry I’ve been so slow to come around to this, but I needed some time to process it.” And my friend said, “Well, that’s fine. I totally understand that. I had lots of time to deal with it and you needed your time as well.” And so they now have regular contact and a relationship, which is terrific.

Richard: Well, that’s wonderful. And that’s a classic example. The other piece that folks often don’t consider are, while you’re biologically related, you’re also strangers.

Fisher: Right.

Richard: And while there’s a lot of nature that goes into who we are, there’s also the nurture side of things that we are influenced by our families that we grew up with. And those core beliefs and values can be a bit different because the families are different. And we’re closely related but we’re strangers and how do we put all those core values and those different things together and make this work?

Fisher: It’s funny you say that. I was talking to a friend of mine recently over lunch. I didn’t know he had been adopted, and he identified his birth mother through DNA. And I actually happened to know the family that he was connected to, and I brought that up to him and I said, “Well, how’s it been?” And he said, “Well, it was great.” And he said, “You know, I had always wondered and had this nice relationship.” And he says, “But now, now I’m not so sure I’m that interested in really maintaining that relationship.” And the reason is he’s feeling the pullback to his adoptive family because the question has been answered now.

Richard: Exactly. There’s a part of a book called “The Five Stages Reunion.” It’s a book on birth right by Jean Strauss, and she talks about the morning after effect. So, we’re all in that reunion glow. And then we go into another stage which is called limbo. Where does all this fit? And trying to figure that out and feeling pulled in multiple directions, I’m still part of my adoptive family or my donor-conceived family, and then there’s this other family that I’m part of too, and how do I make all that fit and all these things work? And then the final stage is called reconciliation, so all the different parties’ kind of figure out what’s going to work for them.

Fisher: Because everybody’s a little bit different. He’s Richard Weiss. He’s with dnaadoption.org. And Richard, how can people support what you’re doing?

Richard: Well, thanks for that Scott. There’s a couple of different ways. On our website we have, towards the bottom, is a link with all our affiliates, so all the DNA companies we’re affiliated with. If you buy DNA kits, please do so just by going to our site and clicking on the company you want to buy from. It’s no extra cost to you, and then they make a small donation back to DNA Adoption. We also take direct contributions as well. All of it is tax deductable. One last thing, we don’t just help just the adoption, donor-conceived and in NPE communities, we also do training with our classes with anybody wanting to use genetic genealogy to further their research.

Fisher: Great stuff. Thanks so much Richard. Appreciate it. It was great meeting you at RootsTech.

Richard: Pleasure meeting you Scott. And thank you so much for the opportunity.

Fisher: And coming up next, we talk to Patricia Heaton from Everybody Loves Raymond. She was one of the keynote speakers at Roots Tech. It’s on the way in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.      

Segment 3 Episode 275

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Patricia Heaton

Fisher: All right, we’re back. It’s Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and of course the last couple of days of February and the first couple of days of March there was a monstrous family history convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is called RootsTech. It’s gone on for about a decade now and it packs about 30,000 people in there just about over the course of four days and they bring in some amazing keynote speakers. One of them we all know from Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle. It’s Patricia Heaton, a three time Emmy Award winner and here is how my visit went with her on day two.

Fisher: And I’m here with the descendant of criminals at RootsTech!

Patricia: [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

Patricia: I don’t think anyone’s surprised. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] It’s Patricia Heaton of course she is from Everybody Loves Raymond, and The Middle and she’s a three time Emmy Award winner. And she’s all about family. She was a keynote speaker today.

Patricia: I had a great time and not only did I get to chat with everyone but they did an incredible deep-dive on my family and it was really exciting.

Fisher: Wow.

Patricia: I come from a very large family. My mother was one of fifteen children and I have about a hundred first cousins on my mom’s side.

Fisher: Wow! And you don’t even know them all, do you?

Patricia: I don’t know them, but they come up to me and I always ask for proof and they usually have a picture of one of my grandparents or something.

Fisher: Wow! And you talked in your speech about actually picking up a hitchhiker one day.

Patricia: In Cleveland.

Fisher: What a story.

Patricia: And it was my cousin. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] He talked about your dad being his uncle.

Patricia: Yes. He said his uncle was a sports writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. And I said, Oh my dad’s also a writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Who’s your uncle? And he said, Chucky. And I’m like, “Hey, cuz!”

Fisher: [Laughs] That had to be a thrill! So, growing up among this huge family obviously had to be enormously supportive, number one when you lost your mom so young at age 12.

Patricia: Yes. Right.

Fisher: And then when you go to get into such a very challenging career such as the stage or, you know, on television.

Patricia: Yes. You know, I think it’s really meaningful not only for the person who ventures out into the world, but also for the family members who stay put. We both need each other.

Fisher: Yes.

Patricia: When you go out into the world you need to know your family is there. You need to know that no matter how hard of a day you’ve had, how many times you’ve been rejected, how many failures you’ve had in auditions, that there are people who know you and love you no matter what. And it’s also important for people who stay put that one of your own tribe went out into the world and had an adventure. I think when you think about the Hobbit and how the Hobbits go out.

Fisher: Right. Mr. Frodo, yeah.

Patricia: And some of them come back and Frodo stays out there. But you know, it’s known that you come from somewhere and you bring kind of honor and pride to those people. So, you know, it’s kind of a two way street where we really all need each other.

Fisher: You know, I relate to this so much because my mother was an actress in the 40s and I have a letter from her where she wrote that when she would go back to her home in Oregon, which she wanted so desperately to escape, she felt the world made sense again to her.

Patricia: That’s right. And I think in different people, in some of the ancestors that I’ve learned about they had a sense of adventure. They left Ireland or they left Germany to come to America to better themselves and to see the world. So, there’s people in the family that have that spirit but you also need people in the family to be there to keep the home fires burning, to know that you always have a place to come back to.

Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. Now, when you went through the big reveal and I could tell through your whole talk you were really excited about getting to the end so you could get that!

Patricia: Yes. [Laughs]

Fisher: You must have been anticipating this for weeks.

Patricia: Yes. Yes.

Fisher: What were your thoughts as FamilySearch went through all their discoveries about your family and what did you feel?

Patricia: Well, it just gave me chills, you know, to think that you’re a part of history. We study history in school and it’s always something that happened back then to those people but when you start seeing your own, you realize that you are a part of that.

Fisher: That’s right.

Patricia: So, that’s really exciting and I was very excited to hear about Simon one of my Irish relatives who was a bit of a scoundrel.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Patricia: In fact, I think he left Ireland because he might have been run out of Ireland. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Well, I saw that, a bunch of... several crimes.

Patricia: They put it very nicely, “removing materials.”

Fisher: You mean “theft?”

Patricia: Yeah! [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah. Let’s see what else. There was “trespassing.”

Patricia: Trespassing and at one point he was fined for having his horse wandering around.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Patricia: Which I think probably happened when he came tripping out of the pub and forgot he even had a horse.

Fisher: [Laughs] You know, I don’t know about you but I kind of feel like my scoundrels make my lines a whole lot more interesting than if they were all wonderful, good, sweet people all the time. I have a pirate.

Patricia: [Laughs] You have a pirate?!

Fisher: A pirate and he was a bloodthirsty dude too!

Patricia: Oh my gosh!

Fisher: And this is like, okay, I don’t know that I approve of what he did but I’m really glad he’s on my tree! You know what I’m saying?

Patricia: [Laughs] I think it adds a bit of color!

Fisher: Yes! What, blood red? [Laughs]

Patricia: [Laughs] Yeah. And you know, I think there’s something in the criminal personality that we all kind of need. It’s that sort of like, no fear and kind of like maybe breaking the rules sometimes but you have to do it in the right way.

Fisher: Sure. Well, it’s interesting because you are a very high profile Hollywood actress and yet, I don’t recall anything truly controversial about you ever. You’re just beloved and I think it has to do with your sense of family. You played a family person.

Patricia: Right.

Fisher: You know, the house wife, the mother, and that’s what you got your first Emmy for, right?

Patricia: Right, yes. And you know also, I’m very connected to my family in a sense that I carry that family name. Like there are certain roles that I don’t think I could ever do because I just think about my parents watching from above.

Fisher: [Laughs] What would they say, right?

Patricia: It’s like, I can’t do it, you know? So, it’s a really strong sense in me about the importance of family. The connection you have and the duty I think you have to honor your family lines.

Fisher: There is a duty.

Patricia: I know that when my father died and we took all the boys to Ohio for the funeral because my father was a World War II vet, they did a beautiful 21 gun salute and folding the flag for him. And I said to the boys, okay, so this is your grandfather and you carry that part of this family name and you see how he’s being honored here and you always have to remember that. And remember that you also have to bring honor to the family.

Fisher: And to him.

Patricia: Yes and to him because look at what he’s done. So, I think kids need to have that sense of where they come from and that they are carrying generations with them.

Fisher: That’s right. We’re just here for a short time no matter what.

Patricia: That’s right.

Fisher: We’ll be remembered for one thing or the other.

Patricia: That’s right.

Fisher: You know, when you look at the entire picture of what’s going on here at RootsTech all these people finding their connections.

Patricia: Yes.

Fisher: And many connected to each other and didn’t even know it.

Patricia: Yes.

Fisher: You think about the literal benefits that come to families when they know what their heritage is.

Patricia: Right. It’s really amazing and you know, I was saying that I have like a group of girl friends, there’s like six of us all together and two of them, their personalities just sort of rub each other the wrong way a little bit. A few months ago they realized that they were cousins.

Fisher: Oh, wow!

Patricia: Back in the starting in the 1700s they became related.

Fisher: Not bad.

Patricia: It has changed their relationship.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Patricia: I’m not kidding. They’re like so “lovely, dovey, cousin!”

Fisher: It changed the dynamics.

Patricia: It changed the dynamics.

Fisher: Imagine if the whole world could understand their international connection.

Patricia: Well, that’s what I’m thinking and the more you read on the science end of it you know that we all started from like one teaspoon of DNA.

Fisher: That’s it.

Patricia: And we have to remember that.

Fisher: One big family.

Patricia: One big family and we have to realize that the family of man is something that we all belong to and we need to seek out our common references as opposed to looking at our differences.

Fisher: Absolutely. She’s Patricia Heaton. And that is how it went on day two of RootsTech in Salt Lake City, Utah. I don’t think I’ve met such a down to earth actress. And coming up next, Relative Race Season 5 is underway and Team Black shares with us some of their experiences, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!

Segment 4 Episode 275

Host: Scott Fisher with guests Kristin and Kaley Dignen

Fisher: Back at it on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. And this past weekend of course, it was the start of Season 5 of Relative Race on BYUtv. And as always, we love to talk to the team members who are on the show every season. And right now we've got Team Black on the line from Season 5. It’s Kristin and Kaley, the identical twins. How are you guys?

Kaley: We're good!

Kristin: Good!

Fisher: How did you get on the show? What made you want to be on Relative Race?

Kristin: So, I initially received the email that said if we were looking for someone in our family, and to basically respond and say what's your story? So, we did the whole process and then we got an email back, started a phone call, started a Skype call and that's when we initially knew that we had a chance to be on the show. So ever since then, we did the whole process and we shared our story and who we were looking for, and then here we are!

Fisher: Look at this! Now you guys are identical twins. Are you looking for parents, siblings? What's the story? For those who have not seen the show yet.

Kristin: So, our main search is to find our dad. He left when we were four years old. And so, we're 24 now, so in the twenty years, in the gap between him leaving us and now, we haven't had any contact with him, haven't seen him at all or anything. And so we've just been praying that opportunity would arrive. Then when this came about, we figured, you know, what better way to find our dad than on Relative Race. So that's who our main person that we wanted to find was our dad. And then of course on our dad's side, we hadn't really known anybody either, like his brothers and sisters, and so we are also in search of our aunts and uncles.

Fisher: Wow! So the $50,000 had nothing to do with anything, right?

Kaley: No.

Kristin: That was a perk!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Kristin: We just wanted some more answers about our family.

Fisher: I'm teasing you, I'm teasing you.

Kristin: [Laughs]

Fisher: So you started out this year at the St Louis Arch. Have you ever been there before?

Kristin: Never.

Kaley: Not. No.

Fisher: And how did you like working with Dan and how did you interact with the other teams as you got to meet them?

Kristin: They were pretty competitive. My sister and I have always grown up being competitive and especially when we're together. We do make a really good team. And so, prior to like the race starting, you could tell all the teams were trying to just stay strong and trying to keep quiet, but it was just one night and we were in a hotel, we just all became really close. So the start of the race was, everyone was hoping each other would win and nobody wanted strikes to anybody. And it was just, I don't know, it’s so cool, because like we're so close now.

Fisher: Yeah, I would think that, you know, once you get to know people and realize they're doing the exact same thing you're doing, just trying to find family, it makes for a whole different dynamic, doesn't it? It’s not like any other game show.

Kristin: Right.

Fisher: In the first day, what was your best experience?

Kristin: The first day, I think the best experience was just knowing that it was a first day. And you really can't put a finger on a moment that's the best, because everything changed in a matter of seconds, whether that's the person you're about to meet, the challenge you're about to do, you know, the strangers that you talk to, everything changes, and there's no like, path that you can follow. So, you feel every single emotion, stress, excited, amazed, and crying all the time or not crying all the time. You can't feel emotion, because you're in shock. So, really just the arranged rollercoaster of emotions on the journey, it’s just mind blowing. You don't prepare, you can't prepare for a rollercoaster like that at all.

Fisher: Did you guys get along pretty well through the course of this whole thing?

Kristin: [Laughs] You want to go, Kaley?

Kaley: Kristin or the team?

Fisher: You two!

Kaley: We got along as best as we could.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Kaley: But because we were competitive, you know, like as a team, but sometimes we're competitive against each other, you know, because we think our strengths can outdo the other's strengths and the same with weaknesses and stuff like that. So, we can get competitive in between our own team. So, we had to recognize that early on so that doesn’t affect our game or what we're here for.

Fisher: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Well, it’s Kristin and Kaley, they are Team Black on Season 5 of Relative Race on BYUtv. I wish you guys the best of luck. It sounds like you just had an amazing adventure and we can't wait to watch the whole season unfold.

Kristin: Thank you.

Kaley: Thank you so much. We can't wait!

Fisher: And check it out Sunday nights at 9 Eastern, 6 Pacific or you can use the BYUtv app to stream the show.

Segment 5 Episode 275

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And it is time to talk preservation on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And Tom Perry is on the line from TMCPlace.com. He is our Preservation Authority. And Tom, here we go into the summer months, which means those attics are going to be heating up, and who knows what's sitting up there. And I thought we'd talk a little today about, you know, how do you protect things like your VHS tapes and your Video8s and mini DVs, right, and SD cards, too, because all these things could be affected obviously by heat, but there's also human error and magnets we should be talking about here, right?

Tom: Absolutely. In fact, the best word you used is human error. We have had people come in with videotapes that said, “Hey, this has our wedding on it and I didn't have a tape handy when I was doing the Super Bowl, so I popped this is and recorded it. I need it taken off, so I have my wedding back.” Ain't gonna happen! [Laughs]

Fisher: Right. You recorded right over it, right?

Tom: Absolutely. So, what you want to make sure is, when you're going through grandpa's attic or maybe you're doing your own house cleaning and you have any kind of videotapes or audio cassette tapes, there'll be a little trigger on them that you can either break off or switch you can flip, so it somebody somehow puts one of these into a machine to review it or look at it, see what it is and they accidently hit that big red button by mistake, they're not going to erase your tape.

Fisher: Now you're talking about that little plastic flip. This is not an electronic switch you're talking about. It’s just a piece of plastic that kind of slides over a hole, right, that protects the tape from being recorded over.

Tom: Exactly. On every format except for Video8, you want the hole to be visible. So, on VHS, you can use your fingernail or get a little screwdriver and break the tab out. On miniDVs, you want to flip the switch so that there's a hole. And the only opposite to that for some reason that Sony did, Video8s are the opposite. You don't want the hole there. So, if you see the hole, you want to flip the switch, so the hole is covered and then it'll be protected. On audio cassettes, you have the little tabs on the top, the one on the right is for left hand side, the one on the left for the right hand side basically. So just pop off both tabs. So if you ever go, “Oh dang, I want to reuse this tape,” you can always put a piece of Scotch tape to cover the hole back up and reuse it. But the best thing to do if you don't know, take the tabs out. It’s better to have a blank tape you never use than recording off grandma's genealogy history.

Fisher: Oh, no question. Who actually go records anymore! But nonetheless, it could happen and I totally get that. There is this issue though, the magnets, right? I mean, there was a lot of old equipment back in the day that had magnets in them and that is so risky for these things.

Tom: Oh, it is. Especially back in the '60s and '70s, you had these big stereo system with speakers that were anywhere from two feet to six feet tall, and they have giant magnets. And all electronic tapes that are recorded, whether its audio or video is magnetic. And I've had situations where people have taken a VHS tape, set it on the top on one of these towers and the magnet has either erased the tape or made it so messed up that it’s unusable. So, when you're cleaning out grandpa's closet or up in the attic, you want to make sure you keep tapes away from anything magnetic, whether they're magnets that you put on your refrigerator or magnets in a great, big speaker system or even microphones that have magnets in them, you want to keep them away from these or you will ruin your tapes.

Fisher: You know, in the radio field, we used to have thing called a bulk eraser and it was just this big magnet and you'd push a button, it would turn it on and you'd wipe these old magnetic tapes over to clean it and you could start fresh with that. And essentially, you're talking about the same thing. You could actually destroy an old magnetic tape video or audio by just putting it near or in the proximity of a magnet. As always, great stuff, Tom. Thanks so much for joining us and we'll talk to you again soon.

Tom: My pleasure.

Fisher: Hey, that's our show for this week. Thanks so much for joining us. Thanks to Richard Weiss from DNAAdoption for sharing with us some of the complications of DNA genealogy and making contact with birth families and so many other things, also to Patricia Heaton for joining us one on one at RootsTech. If you missed either interview or any of the show, of course you can catch the podcast, just go to iTunes, iHeart Radio or ExtremeGenes.com. And signup for our “Weekly Genie Newsletter” while you're thinking about it through our Facebook page or ExtremeGenes.com. Talk to you next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!



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