Episode 277 - Lisa Louise Cooke Makes Guest Appearance / Clay Pipes & DNA / Derek Hough Visits With Fisher On Family HistoryApr 07, 2019
Host Scott Fisher opens the show with Lisa Louise Cooke, a podcast pioneer and host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast. (David Allen Lambert returns next week.) Family Histoire News begins with a discussion about a lawsuit over slave photos taken by Harvard in 1850. Might the dispute have further ramifications? Then Lisa Louise sees a warning to all of us in what recently happened with former internet king MySpace.com. Hear the story and why it should get us thinking. Then, why should be looking to YouTube for genealogy? Lisa Louise explains. Lisa Louise wraps up the segment with an update on what’s happening at Genealogy Gems.
Next, Fisher visits with archaeologist Julie Schablitsky. Julie has created a whole new line of research involving DNA through the study of clay tobacco pipes. Common from the 1600s through the 1800s, these pipes have become DNA kits just waiting to be processed. Hear Julie explain the significance.
Fisher then visits multiple Grammy Winner and Mirror Ball Trophy champion, Derek Hough, of Dancing With The Stars. Derek recently performed at RootsTech and shares some of his family background and the impact it has on his life.
As Season 5 continues on BYUtv’s Relative Race, Fisher visits with Maria from Team Red. Maria’s recent experience left many viewers in tears (including “manly” Fisher). Hear about how she is feeling about her time on the show.
Tom Perry from TransferDuplication.com, our Preservation Authority, then talks about preservation in terms of the recent “bomb cyclone.” There are ways to reclaim your photos and documents, even if they have been damaged in a natural disaster.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 277
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Lisa Louise Cooke
Segment 1 Episode 277
Fisher: Hello Genies! And welcome to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And this episode is brought to you by Relative Race on BYUtv, Episode 4 this weekend, Sunday night 9 o’clock Eastern, 6 o’clock Pacific. And we’ve got some great guests today. One of them is Julie Schablitsky, and Julie is a researcher. She digs down in the dirt and she’s come up with a way to get DNA from clay tobacco pipes that go way back. And it’s a fascinating conversation we’re going to have with her about what she has learned from some of the people who used these pipes centuries ago. That’s coming up in about nine or ten minutes. Later in the show we’re going to talk to Maria from Team Red on BYUtv’s Relative Race. Wow! What an experience she had last weekend and we’re going to tell you a little about what her experience has been like on the show. And just a reminder, if you haven’t signed up for our “Weekly Genie Newsletter” yet, you can do so on our website ExtremeGenes.com and also through our Facebook page. But right now it is time to talk to my good friend Lisa Louise Cooke. She is a pioneer podcaster with her Genealogy Gems podcast. She’s filling in for David this week who’s off on the road. Lisa, I’m thrilled that you agreed to come on and do this with us.
Lisa: Hey Fisher, it’s great to be here. I don’t have quite as low a voice as David, but I’ll try. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] You don’t need one. Don’t worry about that!
Fisher: We’re doing our family Histoire News and I think the one thing we want to start with here is a story out of Harvard where a woman is actually suing the university because they took photographs of a slave and his daughter, I believe it was, back in 1850. It had a lot to do with racial science at the time. It was an ugly situation. And it happens to be that these are ancestors of this particular woman, and so she’s saying, “Look, these should be our family pictures, and we also have damages coming to us because of what happened to our ancestors.” So, it’s going to be an interesting case moving forward.
Lisa: Well, it really is because as you can imagine when you look at the family tree, there are probably many, many descendants of these people. And it really opens up a whole other set of questions, and when it gets into the sense who owns family history, who owns photographs.
Fisher: Right. Yeah, you’ve got legal questions, ethical questions, moral questions, and certainly in this case, I mean, a ten million dollar case, is going to get a lot of attention, especially with an institution such as Harvard.
Lisa: Oh absolutely. And you know, Harvard isn’t the only Ivy League School who had their paths crossed with slavery, certainly Brown University and others. So, it really brings up a whole another set of questions, and certainly the dollar figure that she has on the case is going to bring a lot of attention.
Lisa: So, I have a bit of news for you, Fisher, that I came across this last week. It’s really a reminder that as family historians we definitely need to take charge of our genealogical data. Now, do you remember MySpace?
Lisa: Were you ever on MySpace?
Fisher: My kids were on it. I might have had an account. I mean, it’s a long time ago. Aren’t we talking about twelve, thirteen, fourteen years ago at this point?
Lisa: Oh yes. It seems like ancient history, doesn’t it? [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah, it really does. I mean, they were “the thing.”
Lisa: Yeah, they were the social media platform, certainly before Facebook. They weren’t just the biggest social media website, they were the number one website on the web in terms of traffic.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Lisa: So, that’s how big they are. And of course this is before Facebook took over the world. But last week Mashable.com, they reported that MySpace lost millions of songs, photographs, videos that their users had uploaded. This was all the uploads prior to 2015, so they lost all of this data during a data migration, and they say publicly that they don’t think there’s any chance of recovery.
Fisher: Wow. And you think about the sites we’re relying on right now to maintain our stuff, what might happen five years from now, ten or twenty? It is a frightening reminder, you’re right.
Lisa: It’s kind of a painful reminder that we really can’t put all of our genealogy eggs in one basket, right? We’ve got to think about what we’re going to have on our own computer, what we’re going to have on our website, and maybe what we even have in cloud backup and archival storage.
Lisa: I’m kind of a tech geek, you know that.
Lisa: I love these tech stories.
Fisher: You’re the best.
Lisa: And I really can see, well you see the avocation and how technology is introspecting with our lives. Well, the 9to5Google blog just reported that according to a study that was done by What’s New in Publishing, YouTube.com which of course which is owned by Google, their content accounts for 37% of global downstream mobile web traffic.
Lisa: This is huge! I mean, when you think of a number of websites out there that’s 37% of traffic is going to and from YouTube, that’s huge. That brings up a question. Do you use YouTube for family history? Do you get on there very often and check out genealogy?
Fisher: You know, I have found genealogy down there. I found a video of my father from 1936 in a big band and it was the biggest shocking find in my life. Who knew?
Lisa: Isn’t that the coolest thing?! Well, and that’s what’s happening. People have been digitizing their photographs. They’re getting those online for the last decade or so, but really, it’s home movies, it’s all the old news reels that were shown before movies in the theaters, all of this.
Fisher: I actually found an interview from around 1928 with a 100-year old woman and then I tracked down a descendant and sent them the link and they couldn’t believe it. They were just shocked. There’s a lot of stuff out there. You‘re right.
Lisa: Oh that’s fantastic
Fisher: So, Lisa Louise, I want to catch up though with you on what’s going on with Genealogy Gems. What’s the latest?
Lisa: Well, we are going as strong as ever, busy both came out, the podcast, the free show of which we have an App. I don’t know if you were aware we have a Genealogy Gems App in your App store. And really, it was the Smart Phone that made podcasting so easy to access these days so, we’ve been reaching lots of people that way. I’m still very busy over at the YouTube channel and the other thing is, I travel, so there’s a lot of traveling. [Laughs] You know, I flew from New York to RootsTech.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah, makes a big difference doesn’t it?
Lisa: It does. And it’s a great place to pick up wonderful interviews with other genealogists, so all of this is keeping me very busy.
Fisher: Yes, absolutely. And I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. I know David appreciates it. He didn’t know what would happen, but here you are.
Fisher: Lisa Louise Cooke from Genealogy Gems and we’ll talk to you soon my friend.
Lisa: Thanks so much. Talk to you soon.
Fisher: And coming up next I’m going to talk to Julie Schablitsky. She’s made an interesting discovery about clay tobacco pipes and what might be in them. That’s coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 277
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Julie Schablitsky
Fisher: Hey, welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and it wasn’t long ago I was reading an article in The Atlantic about a fascinating study of old clay tobacco pipes that have been found of course all over the place dating back to the 17th century and the 18th century and the 19th century. And because they’re porous, they actually maintained a lot of the saliva that wound up in them and now they’re getting tested. And one of the people who is testing that is my next guest. She is Julie Schablitsky. She is an Oregon native. Where are you living now Julie? Where are you working?
Julie: I’m in Maryland now.
Fisher: Okay. And the ground is getting softer and the weather is getting a little bit warmer, and I bet you’re just finding more and more stuff.
Julie: Yeah well, usually we’re in the lab. I’m working hard during the winter and the cold months, and then once it stops raining in May, you see us blossoming out of our labs and into the field.
Fisher: [Laughs] You mentioned in the story in The Atlantic about these clay pipes and you actually wound up on a former slave plantation. Tell us about that experience.
Julie: Yeah. It was interesting. We were trying to look at the different archaeology and historic sites along general highway just outside of Annapolis, at the end of old county Maryland. And when we’re looking there, we know there was a large 18th century building, a manor house. That is where Francis O’Keefe’s great grandparents had lived and built that place. Well, when we started excavating around it we were hoping to find evidence of their history as well as Rochambeau the French Commander that was part of the American Revolution.
Julie: Unfortunately we didn’t find any evidence of Rochambeau or his men and women in their camp, but what we did find was kind of exciting. We ended up finding the outline of a stone foundation, and at first a 32-foot by 32-foot stone foundation was interesting. We didn’t know if it was part of the larger plantation, one of the planter’s families, did they live there? It seemed very robust. It wasn’t your typical slave cabin you think of when you think of the 18th and 19th century. And so we did some research and found that lo and behold, this measurement of this stone foundation was actually part of an old slave quarters that was built sometime in the late 18th century. And then during the Emancipation, 1864, here in Maryland it was abandoned. So, I knew that there was the potential for mentally finding artifacts associated with people who were enslaved in this plantation, but that there would also be the potential to find objects that would have been exposed to bodily fluids that in turn have DNA.
Fisher: Wow! And so you found these clay pipes and I know that they’re all over the place, aren’t they? I have a friend of mine who was in London last year and he mentioned going down to the Thames and I guess they’re just constantly washing up on the shore there. I mean, these things were so common in previous centuries and I guess they were here too.
Julie: Yeah. I mean, even think of cigarette butts today on the beach. I mean they’re everywhere. People love their smokes, and they loved their smokes in their tobacco pipes 200 years ago. So, back then it was a little bit different because you would have a pipe, it was made out of clay, they were mass produced and everyone would partake. It was kind of the thing to do. And so whenever you’re at a place where someone has lived for years whether it’s an industrial site where there was a mill and you had men working or perhaps you were in a home of some type outside and inside and you could find and run across these broken clay tobacco pipes.
Fisher: I noticed your comment in there that it’s hard not to find them in the course of your research and your digs.
Julie: Absolutely. These clay pipes are everywhere, and when you find them they’re not always whole. They’re usually in one or two inch pieces especially the stems that easily broke once they dropped and hit a brick floor or stone. So, those you do find quite often. If you’re digging on a site and you find one, it’s exciting but not uncommon whatsoever.
Fisher: Sure. Is it usually in the stem that the DNA is located, or the saliva was kept in that porous material?
Julie: That’s right. And since we only find one or two inch segments at a time, what we want to try and look at is, we look to see if we have the piece that went into someone’s mouth. Not all the time, but sometimes the end of that pipe some will be narrow, and sometimes if you look closely you can see where teeth marks are kind of grooved around the actual stem itself. So when you look closely you can see where someone has held it in their mouth. It might be smooth. It might have indention around it. And the one that we found DNA on absolutely had this indention on it.
Fisher: Now, you mentioned earlier that they kind of passed it around. These things weren’t necessarily just unique to one person. They could have been shared by many, right?
Julie: Absolutely. Hygiene isn’t what it is today.
Julie: Back then you shared your pipe and you also shared your toothbrush.
Julie: Yeah I know, gross.
Julie: But it just wasn’t uncommon for it to happen. So yeah, I mean you could potentially have a couple of different people’s DNA on one whether it was a syringe, whether it was a pipe stem or whether it was a toothbrush.
Fisher: So, is this common then to find more than one DNA profile on a clay pipe?
Julie: Well, I dabbled with DNA and artifacts back in 2004, and I looked at a syringe. Back then glass syringes during the 1870s would have had a couple of hypo allergenic needles that you change out, much like if you ever had a razor and you’ve changed razor blades from that. It’s the same type of thing. You just kind of swap out the sharp needle point. And I did the same thing back then but DNA analysis 10-15 years ago only could give us whether or not it was a man or woman, perhaps multiple profile people on it. And it could also sometimes tell me if I had a really old variant. Sometimes that really old variant was more common in specific ancestral groups like Africans. So, I have dabbled in this before but to be able to find where people are coming from in the world, down to the community, like the men of Sierra Leon, that’s when you can really say something important that’s different today.
Fisher: Now that was one of these pipes. You’ve found like four of them right? As I recall, you went and actually found the DNA profile on just one of the four and it was a partial and then you had to work with another lab that works with those. How did that go?
Julie: Well, I anticipated finding these pipes down there. When I was digging I made sure that I was digging slow enough and that when I saw one of these bright white pipes sticking out of the soil, that I kind of stopped. I went ahead and I gloved up like I was going in to surgery and I would take out slowly out of the ground, map where it’s coming from, and then I wasn’t going to send them in right away but I didn’t want them to condense and I didn’t want the DNA to break down anymore. So I went ahead and threw them in my freezer at home to stop any further degradation.
Fisher: [Laughs] I mean, who knew that these ancestors of somebody’s was out there actually doing DNA kits, right? I mean, just spit in a cup except in this case it was just a clay pipe. You send these things in and then you did the DNA profile, and what did you learn from that one?
Julie: Well, I sent them to Dr. Ripan Malhi at the University of Illinois. I said, “Listen, I’ve got these tobacco pipes. I want you to see if you can find some human DNA on them.” And he was dubious but he agreed that he would try. He had a grad student, Kelsey Whitten, so I sent them to Rupert. Months went by and all of a sudden I got an email back and he said out of the four pipes that I sent in, two of them did have DNA on them that survived, and one of them had enough that he thinks that we could possibly get an ancestry from it.
Julie: And that’s when he talked to his friend in Copenhagen and said, “Listen, can you go ahead and look at this profile and let me know who they’re most closely related to.” So, that’s when it kind of all kicked off. And I guess more months went by and then we started getting this information coming in and we’re all kind of shocked and we’re excited and that’s when we got together and did a colossal of that paper that recently came out.
Fisher: And now you’re seeing that the person who used that pipe was potentially from Sierra Leone or their ancestry was. That’s unbelievable.
Fisher: So, it certainly kind of validates that it was a slave.
Julie: Well, it doesn’t validate that it was a slave. What it does tell me is that the context from where it came from does say that. But whenever you look at a pipe stem you can only say that this person was of African ancestry, or was most closely genetically related to the men of Sierra Leon or West African in this case. It doesn’t say she was enslaved. It does just tell me that that that’s where her ancestry was.
Julie: But if you take that smoking pipe stem if you will, and you link it to where there were slaves living, and we have both archaeological material as well as the archives that state that there was a slave quarters at that location, all of the outlined evidence do state that this person was likely enslaved.
Fisher: That’s just incredible. And you’re finding more and more things like this, people who are in the same field as yourself. Things like tar and things that people chewed on anciently that are leaving their DNA on there, so it’s not just bones anymore that can kind of give you this experience.
Julie: Yeah exactly. You can begin to ask different questions and you also have a different sort of database or group of items to begin to talk about. So, we don’t have to go to a cemetery. We don’t have to rely on looking at people’s ancestors for these sorts of answers. We can maybe begin to look at these anonymous objects, these false teeth, tobacco pipe stems, you know, items that came into contact with blood, saliva, and these other body fluids that have DNA, and begin to extract that data from those. It’s less invasive, it’s less personal in some ways, and so it does give us another set of information to work with.
Fisher: Boy, what an incredibly fun thing to do, and we look forward seeing how this expands. You know, but would be interesting if you’re able to actually tie this clay pipe to someone living today as a descendent or relative of the person who smoked it back in the 1800s.
Julie: Well, that was the first reason I looked at this. We had a known descendant community who was there, who was with us on these discoveries. They were descended from the people who were enslaved at Belvoir and they’re were hoping you know, how do I tie myself personally to this space and time? So, that was really the reason behind doing this and looking at the DNA. But unfortunately, the DNA once it comes out of the body it begins to degrade very quickly whether it’s from heat or sunlight or just the wet and dry and wet and dry of an object or whether it’s human skull remains. And once you get that degradation you stop being able to the flexibility in getting and being able to trace that match up back to a living descendent. And since we kind of had to walk away with the consolation price, which was the sex of the user, she was a woman, and that she was most closely genetically related to the men of Sierra Leon, West Africa. And we were happy with that because it did give us something that we didn’t have before, and it also showed other colleagues the potential of what we can do with not just our site at Belvoir, but what people can begin to do across the nation and really across the world with artefacts.
Fisher: Wow! She’s Julie Schablitsky. She is an archaeologist for the Maryland State Highway Administration. Julie thanks so much for your time, and sharing with us this exciting stuff that one day could tie into the genealogy community.
Julie: Well, thank you for having me. I enjoyed it.
Fisher: And coming up, he was a performer at RootsTech in Salt Lake City, Utah and of course we all know him from Dancing with the Stars. Hear my conversation with Derek Hough coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes.
Segment 3 Episode 277
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Derek Hough
Fisher: And welcome back to 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 of course at the end of February and in early March we had four incredible days at RootsTech. It is the world’s largest family history conference and it was packed. Twenty seven thousand (27,000) people over those four days came to visit at the Salt Palace and hear great speakers like Patricia Heaton who we had on the show recently, and my next guest who we have all come to know from Dancing with the Stars. It was quite the kick to sit down and visit with Derek Hough and you may wonder why was Derek Hough there talking about family? Well, here’s the gist of it. Look who I’ve got next to me here.
Fisher: Yes, it’s the big brother of Julianne Hough.
Derek: That’s it. That is my title. Indeed it is, yes.
Fisher: [Laughs] How are you? It’s good to see you Derek!
Derek: How’re you doing? Nice to see you.
Fisher: Welcome to RootsTech!
Derek: And also, I might say the younger brother of three older phenomenal sisters as well.
Fisher: Well, we don’t know them.
Derek: Well, I’m the only boy, 4 girls. I became a dancer. Who would have thought?
Fisher: Exactly. Well, two Emmys.
Fisher: Six, what is that the golden ball?
Derek: Yeah, the mirror ball trophies. They’re gold in my eyes, yes. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] Exactly. And you know, I was just looking at your history and you spent what, ten years in London?
Fisher: And then came right over here and started doing Dancing with the Stars.
Derek: I did. I did. Yes. Long story short, I’m from Utah.
Derek: I’m from here and it’s a beautiful State. I love it here. It’s my hometown. I danced in Orem at a place called Center Stage. Got into it there, didn’t want to go dance, by the way.
Derek: Didn’t want to go. I was like, this is dumb. This is for girls. Oh, my gosh! Kicking and screaming.
Derek: My mom made me go. Thank you mom for making me go! I fell in love with it and then had the opportunity to move to England and train and become the world champion.
Derek: And then do West End and musical theatre, and then eventually got the opportunity to come do television in America. So, it’s been an amazing ride I have to say.
Fisher: You’re very young still. I mean, you’ve got to look back at it and just go, wow!
Derek: It’s wild. You know, sometimes you forget. You’re kind of wrapped up in what’s next in the future.
Derek: You’re kind of wrapped like, where am I going and what’s next? And sometimes it’s nice to pause and be like, where’d I come from? What’s this journey been like? And connect the dots and think how much grace was involved in that journey and if one of those things would have been different then things would have been different now.
Fisher: Everything would have been different.
Derek: So, it’s extraordinary. And speaking of dance, my whole genealogy, my whole family history, dancing is such a huge part.
Fisher: Really? Go back. Tell us about some of your people.
Derek: My people. [Laughs]
Derek: Well, I’ll tell you what, I don’t know the specifics, but my dad certainly does. But I will say just to be general with it that my grandma and grandpa they danced together.
Fisher: Really, as a ballroom thing?
Derek: And then my mom’s parents, they had a dance studio as well.
Fisher: Oh, wow!
Derek: But more importantly, my mother and father met dancing at Ricks College. I mean, literally if it wasn’t for dancing, I literally would not be here. I owe my life literally to dancing.
Fisher: So, culture certainly has played literally into your whole DNA.
Derek: It certainly is.
Fisher: Okay. And then it continued on down. And when you think about that, that’s why you’re here of course talking about the culture of family, and certainly international culture is involved in this and song and dance. You are a singer too. I heard you humming as we were warming up here.
Derek: Uh, yes. [Laughs] I’m singing, it’s all part of it you know.
Derek: I play drums, guitar, and piano as well and yeah, just being creative so important to me and it’s something that I feel most like myself when I’m creating something. It doesn’t have to be in the arts you know, it can be in any shape or form.
Fisher: Of course.
Derek: But I feel like that’s such a gift that we’ve all been given is being creative and I think that when we tap to that we connect ourselves to something greater.
Fisher: Do you have an awareness of your family tree? Have you ever played with it?
Derek: Um, I’ll tell you what, this is a true story. So, at the Grammy’s the other night, Kelsey Grammer came up to me, and he goes, “Derek! We’re related.”
Derek: He’s like, I did my family tree and there you were the Hough family.
Derek: So, we’re like long lost cousin, cousin, cousins.
Fisher: Have you known him a long time?
Derek: No. I’ve never met him before.
Fisher: Does this change anything?
Derek: Just the fact that I’m related to Frasier I guess!
Fisher: [Laughs] Which you grew up watching. That’s got to be neat.
Derek: Yeah, yeah exactly.
Fisher: Amazingly fun. So, do you have a family historian in your group? Has there been one person who shared stories with you through the years? You obviously knew about your grandparents and all this.
Derek: Yes. Well, my Grandma and Grandpa Hough on my dad’s side, I want to say they served a mission, two years in Salt Lake City and one of their main roles was working at the Genealogy Center. So, yeah every time I see my grandma it’s always, “So, your third cousin or your this...” And she shares with me all this information.
Derek: I’m trying to follow of course and also polish old memories of hers which is very important as well because I think that we kind of focus on what’s kind of bad, right? All we have unfortunately in this day and age is a lot of focus on that. What’s bad is always available but so is what’s good. It’s always available and especially when we look back at our past and we tend to sort of focus on maybe not so great things.
Derek: But I think it’s very important to polish those good memories, to edit and not to forget those great moments.
Fisher: Have your found that your life has accelerated to a pace obviously that few people would ever experience? I mean, all over the world and the demands on your time, and I would imagine just trying to eat at a restaurant, I mean, it’s got to be an adventure sometimes. Do you find that you draw strengths from some of the stories of your people before you in terms of keeping you grounded to who you are?
Derek: I think in general, I think my family has always kept me very grounded. When I think back, people ask me like, when did I start dancing?
Derek: And it was always in the living room with my family and I have old home videos and I’m always moving around and it connected us so much as a family. When I come back and visit my dad or I come back to Utah and I go back home for Christmas it is a time for me that grounds me very, very much. And it sort of reminds me sort of where I’m from and the importance and just in life in general especially being an entertainer it can often become about me.
Fisher: Well, it does for a lot of entertainers.
Derek: Right, right. And it’s sort of reminding yourself that it’s about “we.” It really is. And you know, the secret to living is giving. And when I made that transition it’s not about being the best or being the champion.
Derek: It’s all about me. When I changed that, it certainly gives you a more sustainable fuel.
Fisher: Yeah that’s right because when you have those downtimes, I mean, every career in entertainment has a period that you have to recover from at some point.
Fisher: That’s got to be really tough on the psyche.
Fisher: To have that well-grounded family background and know that others have done it. You can do it too to get through the whole thing.
Derek: Yeah, absolutely.
Fisher: Well, we hope that you have a great performance tonight here at RootsTech.
Derek: Thank you.
Fisher: Have a great time. Derek Hough thanks for joining us!
Derek: Thanks so much! Appreciate it.
Fisher: Good to see you.
Derek: Thanks mate.
Fisher: So, do I have the coolest job in the world or what to get to talk to these people? Good stuff. Thanks so much to Derek Hough for coming on and we’re going to have more guests who were keynote speakers at RootsTech coming up in the next few weeks as well on Extreme Genes, so stick around for that. And don’t forget, coming up in October RootsTech heads to London! It’s going to be fantastic and for those of you who listen to Extreme Genes across the pond that might be a simpler way for you to take advantage of all that RootsTech has to offer. It’s going to be a lot of fun and it’s the first time! How cool is that? And coming up next on Extreme Genes, we’re going to be talking to the woman who made me cry during Relative Race this past week. Now, I don’t cry very easily. I’m a very manly man, but she did as she met her birth mother. We’re going to talk to Maria from Team Red from New York City coming up here in just a few moments as we enjoy Season 5 of Relative Race on BYUtv. Of course the next episode is coming up this weekend Sunday night 9 o’clock Eastern, 6 o’clock Pacific. So, make sure you take advantage of that. My visit with Maria is coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 277
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Maria Clifton
Fisher: Well, Season 5 of BYUtv's Relative Race is on again, and four weeks in the books. And I've got a member of Team Red on the line with me right now. She is Maria from New York City. And Maria, you were adopted, you've got an adopted sister Liz, who is your travelling companion in this great adventure on Relative Race, Sunday nights at 9 Eastern, 6 o’clock Pacific. How’s the experience going so far?
Maria: Oh my goodness, it is one of the most amazing experiences! My sister and I are so thankful for the show, though just because I've never found my birth parents. And if it wasn't for the show, it wouldn't have been possible to find the people I would have found and to experience the race and everything that comes with it on top of that, which you don't realize is very stressful. [Laughs]
Maria: And very crazy, because you think, you know, oh, you're just running around, you're driving and then you go meet this family. No, it’s not like that at all. Like, it’s a lot of stress, you don't know where you're going at all. Any morning, you get a text and then you just have to drive, but like we don't know which direction we're going in.
Maria: Every night I would map it out, because I’ve have watched other seasons, so I would tell Lizzy like, "Okay, this is what we have to do. We have to grab this map, this map and this map, because we're only going to drive what, four, five, six hours, so these are the directions we could possibly go." So, there's a lot that goes more into it that's like a lot of behind the scenes stuff. And I wish they could definitely show that because Lizzy and I kept just saying, after the show, we're going to need therapy.
Maria: We're going to need...oh gosh!
Fisher: Now wait a minute, wait a minute, you guys are both from New York City, so having driven there many, many times. I know that you like to put your pedal to the metal and you're not allowed to do that in the show or you can actually be removed from the show. That must have been just about impossible for you.
Maria: That was pretty impossible, especially because I might have a slight case of road rage.
Maria: So, you know, when you're in a rush and you're going somewhere, but then you don't know where you're going at the same time, it’s hard to rush and like get somewhere when you don't know what you're doing, where you're going. You don't want to miss a turn.
Fisher: In the first few episodes of the show, what would you say was your most emotional moment?
Maria: In the first few episodes, definitely meeting Adio was the most emotional, because not only that we thought maybe he could be an uncle or something. I thought about, yeah, I could probably have brothers and sisters, but I didn't know who the show would pull out, who would pop out behind those doors. So like, that was very emotional. Very amazing, emotional, crazy, like all at the same time, and then you find out he's one of ten!
Maria: I could not believe my birth mother! She is Superwoman! Like, what? That is insane! I literally asked him, I was like, "Wait, you have all the same parents?"
Maria: There's was no way! It was so crazy!
Fisher: And your picture that he put in there with all the others, all in red, it was just the most amazing thing.
Maria: That was even freakier. My sister made the observation that they were in red shirts. So I immediately looked at Adio, and I'm like, "Did you plan this? Like, did the producers tell you to do this?"
Fisher: For Team Red, yeah.
Maria: "What happened?" And they said, "No!" And then it’s funny, I had got actually in contact with an aunt on their side and she was telling me that they always used to dress up when they were younger and stuff. And you know, since there were ten of them, it was easier for my birth mother, Sharon to have them all in the same color to find them whenever they went on trips and stuff or when they just went on outings.
Maria: So I was like, "Oh, okay."
Fisher: Did you find that your perspective on the program changed from maybe that $50,000 big payoff to something entirely different as the show went on?
Maria: My sister and I, we totally forgot about the money aspect of it all. We're both competitors, so just winning and the race part, like finishing each day one at a time was what our focus was on, because you can't just get to the end.
Fisher: She's Maria from Team Red on Relative Race on BYUtv. Its Season 5 going on right now. Catch it every Sunday night 9 o'clock Eastern, 6 o'clock Pacific. Thanks so much, Maria, appreciate your time and good luck to you!
Maria: Thank you. Thanks so much!
Fisher: We'll see what happens.
Maria: Yes, stay tuned.
Fisher: And Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority is coming up next on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show in three minutes.
Segment 5 Episode 277
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: Back at it on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. Time to talk preservation with our good friend, Tom Perry from TransferDuplication.com. And Tom, boy, there's a lot going on right now in the Midwest! We talked some about it last week and about obviously this is a great reason for a lot of people to do a lot of scanning and digitizing, but right now, there are more immediate issues relating to, like what happened in Nebraska.
Tom: Oh, absolutely. This is a time when you can't take the time to get your scanner out and do these different things. You've got so many things going on right now. What your number one concern is, is to stop mold growth and stop photos sticking to each other. So it’s something you need to do quick, fast and do it right now. And then worry about the scanning and everything else later.
Fisher: Yeah, you think about what's going on. I mean, this can lead not only to mold but to the bugs and obviously you're going to have water damage. I've gone through water damage on personal photos and items and it’s really devastating. It took me a long, long time to get over some of the things I lost in a flood once back in 2001. So there are places though people can go to get advice when it comes to some of this stuff.
Tom: We have a lot of things on ExtremeGenes.com where you can look up past podcasts that we've talked about these things. Also, if you need to call somebody, you want a professional conservator to help you, you can go to CulturalHeritage.org, type in your zip code and they'll tell you who's the closest. So for instance, in the Midwest, I know there's some people in Tulsa, Oklahoma, there's people in Overland Park City. A lot of these people travel, so you need to get a hold of them if it’s something out of your old house and you feel uncomfortable doing. But the first thing you need to do before you call anybody is try and stop the mold growth. And you even talked about insects. Mosquitoes come out so bad right now and they lay larva. And if the larva gets on your photographs and your negatives and then dries up, it’s going to be almost impossible to get them off. A lot of Photoshop redoing if you do that.
Fisher: Well, and of course there's all kinds of stuff that can get into the water that actually damages your photos and leaves dirt on them as well as the mold. So, when you go through all this and you think about the impact of it, I think obviously you can replace certain things, but photographs and audiotapes and home movies and home videos, those things are practically irreplaceable.
Tom: Absolutely. And that's why you want to work immediately. If you have the time, get some distilled water, if you can't get distilled water, get clean water and somehow, you know, rinse them off softly. Don't just pour it on. Put them in like a tub of water and kind of soak them through that. If they're photographs, make sure you put something between them like glass or something that's going to keep them from sticking to each other or polyester and lay them out flat so they can dry. Even if they curl, you're going to be able to get in and do something later. If you don't have time to do that, you want to stop them how they are. And I prefer refrigeration. If you can't do that, freezing is a good way to do it. And it can damage sometimes, but it’s not going to be as bad as the mold. So, get them in like one of those front locker type freezers that are very inexpensive and just put them in there and freeze them. Even if you have an old one that doesn't work, if you can get it somewhere where it’s not right in the hot sun, put them in there, shut it up. At least that's going to keep insects and bugs and things like that from going into it. Get long grain rice, put it in a cheesecloth, tie it with cloth, put it inside your freezer in your bag or wherever you're storing these things to absorb the moisture. But the biggest thing is, you want to suspend them right now so they don't get any worse.
Fisher: Yeah, and I will add to this, too, that I was able to actually restore many of my water damaged items years ago when I learned that there were machines in these craft shops where it can relax the paper and then they can actually attach it using acid free glue to foam core. And that has made a huge difference for me. In fact, some of them came out better than they were before the water damage. So it’s a lot to think about. And Tom, once again, that site is CulturalHeritage.org, right?
Fisher: All right, thank you so much, and we'll talk to you again next week.
Tom: My pleasure.
Fisher: Oh, I've got to tell you, sometimes I with the show could go three hours. I mean, there is so much ground to cover. If you missed any of it, make sure you catch the podcast on iHeart Radio, ExtremeGenes.com and iTunes. And don't forget to sign up for our “Weekly Genie Newsletter.” It is absolutely free. We give you a blog each week, a couple of links to past and present show and links to stories we know you'll be interested in. Talk to you next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!