Episode 30 - World's Largest Family Reunion is coming to NYC!

podcast episode Feb 24, 2014

Fisher tells about the discovery of the identify of a man who etched his mark on the pillars of a British mansion just before leaving to fight at Normandy. Learn the remarkable way in which he was found. Next, the chart of George Washington’s lineage was large, flowery, and beautiful when presented to President Ulysses S. Grant in 1873. It was also fraudulent! Hear who made it, why, and how he was exposed. Plus, Hudson Gunn of BillionGraves.com makes a truly genie-world changing announcement about a new partnership that we will likely all benefit from for free, in the not too distant future!

Stan Lindaas, our Extreme Genes Preservation Authority from HeritageConsulting.com shares the discovery of a remarkable story of his Civil War ancestor… one he could only find by going to where the man was held captive. If this doesn’t make you want to plan an ancestral place vacation, nothing will!

A.J. Jacobs of New York is planning the world’s largest family reunion, for New York City. It’s a Guinness thing! How many relatives need to be there and how can you play a part? A.J. has the whole thing figured out. It’s both informative and ridiculously entertaining!

And Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com, answers a listener question (from [email protected]) and gives part two of his conversation on QR codes and Memory Medallions. Yes, there are other things they can be used for. Don’t miss this segment!

For all this and more, head to ExtremeGenes.com!

Transcript of Episode 30

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Hudson Gunn

Segment 1 Episode 30

Fisher: Kunta Kinte you have found us! Hello genies it is Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher your affable Radio Roots Sleuth. How are you? On the show today Stan Lindaas is back, our Research Authority talking about the benefits of actually travelling to the special places in your ancestors’ lives. And wait till you hear what he learned about one of the ancestral sites he visited and the remarkable story he could only have learned by going there. That will be in about nine minutes. Later in the show another individual I would have to classify as an “extreme genie.” He is AJ Jacobs and he wants the largest family reunion ever held next year in New York City. It’s a Guinness thing. How many people are we talking about? Why are you invited? AJ will tell you. And you are going to love this guy. [Laughs] he has a very interesting approach to life. And of course Tom Perry will be back, our Preservation Authority with part 2of what you need to know about new and exciting family history uses for QR codes and memory medallions. But first, here’s the latest Family Histoire News from the pages of ExtremeGenes.com. From the Akron Beacon Journal of Ohio, Hennerton House in England is a gated community which has been around for a long time. Shortly before D-Day in 1944 an obviously American soldier carved a heart into one of the mansion pillars and wrote, “Caruso Akron Ohio.” The carving has been well known to residents for decades of course, and recently a few were visiting at a Christmas party when the subject of the carving came up. Who was this “Caruso?” One of them decided to find out. Phil Davis wrote and sent a letter to newspapers in Akron, Ohio asking for any leads. 

The letter came to the attention of Angela Seigman Wojtecki whose mother’s maiden name was Caruso. The letter was shared with her uncle Jim Caruso whose father had served in England during WWII and passed away in 1993. Now Jim keeps a box of his father’s papers in the attic, so he rummaged through it and wouldn’t you know it, found two photographs of the pillars of Hennerton House in England. The photo of the carving that was published along with the letter from England betrayed a unique handwriting that Jim was easily able to identify as that of his father especially the letters C and R in Caruso. Jim noted that back in the 1960s his father would carve hearts into trees and even put one on a copper bracelet he wore to fend off arthritis. Not long after his days at Hennerton, Guy Caruso was one of the brave young men who fought at Normandy and eventually helped to reclaim Europe for the Allies. And yes, Jim is planning a trip to England to see his father’s special “artwork.” And no, the Hennerton people have no intention of removing it or seeking damages from the Caruso Family. It will be a special visit for Jim who will no doubt be well received. See the link to the article and the photo at ExtremeGenes.com. Next, Rebecca Onion of Slate has some fascinating news concerning our first President. In 1873 a British genealogist named James Phillippe presented to then President Ulysses S. Grant a beautiful and artistic genealogy of George Washington. It is titled in flourishing letters at the top “Pedigree of the Most Illustrious General George Washington, first President of the United States of America.” At the bottom Phillippe wrote, “I humbly present it to the great American people that a national monument of their glorious country. Well, what he didn’t humbly mention was that he had fabricated his eye pleasing chart to gain favor in the eyes of President Grant. Phillippe wasn’t particularly popular in the British genealogical circles as he once pronounced, “Nearly the whole of pedigrees are either too published or fictitious.” He added to that that he was the only living genealogist. Well, another genealogist, Henry Fitz Gilbert Waters with the assistance of Joseph Lemuel Chester, an American Researcher who specialized in British lines then took particular delight in debunking Phillippe’s Washington lineage. It appears Mr Phillippe had made up two sons of a Leonard Washington who he recorded as having crossed the pond in 1659. It was in fact a John Washington, son of Lawrence who had come to Virginia in 1656 who was George’s ancestor. It’s not likely that President Washington would have cared too much about this. He once wrote concerning his ancestry, “This is a subject to which I confess I have paid very little attention.” I guess we can add this to the throwing the silver dollar across the Potomac story and the whole chopping the cherry tree thing to the list of things untrue about our number one Commander in Chief. See the link with the picture of the chart, it is pretty at ExtremeGenes.com. Well, our friends at BillionGraves.com have made a bold announcement that won’t cost you a dime, but may one day soon bring you breakthroughs overseas. Billion Graves President Hudson Gunn, is on our Extreme Genes “Find Line.” Bring us up to date Hudson. 

Hudson: Well, what we did, we parted with My Heritage to make a Billion Graves app available all over the world. What they are going to be doing is helping us translate our application and website in over twenty five different languages in weeks to come, yes.

Fisher: Wow!

Hudson: So we are very excited for this international expansion as well as a new initiative with them to promote Billion Graves to their users as well as tens of millions of users throughout the world to document all of the cemeteries that they have nearby. We are making cemeteries big and small now accessible to the world. 

Fisher: Now, this twenty five language thing at first glance should go well. Of course, it doesn’t matter to me if I don’t speak them but it should matter to everybody because that means you’re going to have more volunteers who speak those languages and can translate that, getting to the graves in various cemeteries of mother countries everywhere, right?

Hudson: Correct. There’s often a big part of the headstone challenge which is finding native speakers who can translate it the way that it was supposed to be written and then translate it back of how we use that into our genealogy. So it’s very, very important to have the native genealogists working together to help collect this information because it just makes it that much more accurate.

Fisher: And then you add to it your special app, everybody gets the GPS coordinates. You could actually go visit your ancestors’ graves in all kinds of countries you never thought of before.

Hudson: Exactly. 

Fisher: Amazing stuff Hudson. Thanks for your time and congratulations!

Hudson: Well thank you so much.

Fisher: All right and remember our Extreme Genes “Find Line” is there for you to share your exciting discoveries, your questions and comments with us. We’d love to hear from you. It’s toll free 1-234-56-GENES. That’s 1-234-56-GENES, G-E-N-E-S, and on the way next, Stan Lindaas our Preservation Authority from Heritageconsulting.com with great discoveries from the trail and reasons for you to pay visits to your special ancestral locations. You’re going to like this on Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com

Segment 2 Episode 30

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Stan Lindaas

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with our Research Authority Stan Lindaas from HeritageConsulting.com. Hi Stan, welcome back!

Stan: Thanks Fish. It’s great to be here.

Fisher: This is a man who is always on the road. It’s hard to keep of where he’s at because you like to go to the places where the ancestors are, whether you’re researching for yourself or others. Let’s talk a little about that.

Stan: Well, going to the places allows you to really get the complete story. You know, we all collect stories about our ancestors or we hope we can collect stories about our ancestors. And by going there you can learn the feeling that they had. Well, let me give you a great example, a few years ago my wife and I took a road trip all over the United States. I have an ancestor by the name of Joseph S. Preston who was born in New York and served from Michigan in the Civil War on the Union side. And he was captured at Petersburg.

Fisher: Uh oh.

Stan: Yeah. To quote him, “He was mashed in the back with a rebel musket” which made it so, that he couldn’t get up and run. And so they caught him, put him in a prison camp, and then put him on a train to Andersonville, Georgia.

Fisher: Oh boy.

Stan: The hell hole of all of the Civil War prison camps. You look at pictures of some of these guys when they come out of Andersonville and it looks like fellas that were in Natzweiler.

Fisher: Yeah. I’ve read where in fact, one of my wife’s ancestors was in Libby Prison which was very similar.

Stan: Yes.

Fisher: And they would pick the corn out of the horse manure that was in there to survive.

Stan: Yes. Well not only that, but they were so infested with fleas and other mites that they would pick the fleas off of one another in the morning and they would fill a coffee can and then they would cook the fleas.  

Fisher: Ugh!

Stan: So, this guy was in there and life expectancy once you went in to the prison camp was about three months. 

Fisher: Now, wasn’t the commandant of this camp, wasn’t he held for war crimes later as I recall?

Stan: He was the only man who was executed for war crimes.

Fisher: Ha!

Stan: Captain Wirz. At any rate, so my wife and I go on this trip and we’re visiting various historical sites and family homesteads and such. We go to Andersonville and it’s very stirring to be there. The whole field is open. They have reconstructed from pictures and excavation, the gates at Andersonville. We walked all around this facility and it’s a very large area, and the closer I came to the gate, my guts just started churning. We walked through the gate into the compound and I was just moved to tears to think about the thoughts that these men had as they were walking through. And many of them were never going to walk through that gate again making their exit. Now, my ancestor, interestingly enough, there’s a grave there for him however he lived for another forty years.

Fisher: Did he want his body back with his colleagues? How did that work?

Stan: No, no, no. How it worked was this, at the confederacy, being desperate for resources, would make agreements with foreign powers. Let’s say the Polish government and Captain Wirz would announce on Monday that next Thursday that all Polish born union soldiers were going to be paroled so that the confederacy could curry favour from the Polish government. 

Fisher: Ah!

Stan: And so, in the meantime every morning these men were in squads and they had streets laid out in this compound, and the men would take turns every morning going out and patrolling this streets looking for individuals who had died that they might scavenge off of them anything of any value to preserve their lives. And, if it so happened that the man that they found dead in the street was of Polish ancestry, then they would take his name and give it to the sickest man in the squad and he would be paroled as though he was the man who was dead in the street. And the man dead in the street would be buried with the name of the man who was then paroled, reading diaries of some of these men that happened about the same time that my guy was paroled and showed up in a union hospital in Virginia. 

Fisher: So you’re telling me then that there’s a grave with your ancestor’s name on it because your ancestor gave his ID to this person to take the other person’s?

Stan: Yes. They basically traded names. 

Fisher: It was a trade. Okay.

Stan: And the Polish guy was buried with Joseph S. Preston’s name, and Joseph walked out using the Polish name. I have no idea what that Polish name was, but there it is.

Fisher: Wow! But what a story to come upon, in researching your people and being there.

Stan: Oh yeah well, that portion of the story didn’t just come upon, it took me years of digging and that’s the most plausible explanation I have at this point based on diaries and other accounts of men who were in the compound at the time.

Fisher: As to why that would be.

Stan: Yes exactly, exactly.

Fisher: Wow! That’s great.

Stan: It’s a tremendous thing to go and to be where they were. I have another ancestor for whom I had worked for years and I’m still working trying to find out who the daddy is. This man’s name is Thomas Pile and he lived in Kent County, England in a small village called Batheaston, went over there this spring. In 1839 there’s a tithe map, in other words the church wanted money from everyone. 

Fisher: Right.

Stan: And they drew a map, a very detailed map of every building in the parish and they are numbered, and Thomas Pile is listed on there. And then in the 1841 census he’s living on a farm called Snowedhill and I had made arrangements to stay at a Bed and Breakfast near Batheaston. For some reason I got a feeling like I shouldn’t stay there. And I got online and looked and the only thing that would pop up was the Bed and Breakfast at Snowedhill Cottage.

Fisher: Oh!

Stan: I thought this is a no brainer you know.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Stan: I cancelled my reservation at the other place, and we went there and stayed and it was the house that he lived in.

Fisher: And you got to stay there?

Stan: Yeah, yeah. As a matter of fact the house was built using timbers from retired sailing ships. The house was built in 1450 so you can imagine that the timbers that I’m looking at in the wall and in the ceiling were cut and trimmed, who knows, in the early 1300s.

Fisher: Yes.

Stan: You know, it’s just mind boggling their homes over there, some of them that they live in, make our old houses in the US look like new builds.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yes that’s absolutely true.

Stan: Our historic treasures are new builds. 

Fisher: I did that in the village of Yarm which is this little place along the Tees River and that’s where the Fishers came from and found out that my fifth great had had his butcher shop and the home in what is now a pub! 

Stan: How convenient.

Fisher: So we can go in the pub, toast the ghost and go upstairs. We got invited upstairs to see the living quarters and to be there, and there is a different feeling when you’re actually in the place that your people actually lived and worked and died sometimes.

Stan: Oh yeah. Now he may have slept quite soundly there.

Fisher: Yes. [Laughs] 

Stan: But the first night I was there my mind was racing you know. I couldn’t sleep for beans. The stories about him coming to America, he emigrated in 1841right after the census, went directly to Ohio, was living there and I have found a description. He was one of the first settlers in the county and there’s a very, very detailed description of his cabin which was about the size of two of the bedrooms in the house that he left in England.

Fisher: [Laughs] Wow.

Stan: And his wife as a matter of fact, she went kind of nuts because of the step down in society and the living conditions from that which she had in England to that which she had in Ohio with all the Indians around.

Fisher: Yeah that would be an adjustment.

Stan: Well I don’t think she adjusted. I think it killed her.

Fisher: Wow! How old was she when she passed?

Stan: About thirty two. 

Fisher: Yes.

Stan: Yeah.

Fisher: It sure sounds like it.

Stan: That is she went off the deep end and was lamenting about needing to go home and having no way to get there.

Fisher: So tell me this, for people who are interested in going to some of the places that they’ve been researching, any special tips that people should be aware of and keep in mind?

Stan: Oh yeah, you can always contact me at Heritage Consulting and we’ll help you, but you can do things yourself. There are so many resources available online. First you need to pinpoint the location of the residence. And heaven’s sakes you can get on Google Earth for many of these places.

Fisher: Yes.

Stan: And look at them.

Fisher: At street level.

Stan: Yes, at street level. I did that with this house in Batheston and knew it when we go there which is nice because you don’t know where you’re driving. For one thing, you’re on the wrong side of the road, but there are directories that will give you exact addresses for most people. Of course there’s censuses. We can go back to the tithe maps in England. There are things that you can do in Scandinavia. They have in Norway things called Bygdeboks which are farm books.

Fisher: Bygdeboks. 

Stan: Bygdeboks yes. And they detail the history of the farm itself and they have fabulous maps. Extremely detailed maps, much like we talked about several months ago about the Sanborn maps, you know, showing where the outhouses and the carriages and everything were.

Fisher: Right.

Stan: These maps are typical of that and so you are able to find out about the place. And when you find out about the place then you can look at the history of the location and often times you’ll find references to your ancestor. It’s a great, great way of becoming more intimately acquainted with and understanding as an old Polynesian friend of mine used to say, “The how come why.”

Fisher: I love that.

Stan: Yeah, and the how come why. Why did they move from here to there? What was going on in their lives? Understanding the society and getting a great feel for the geography on an intimate level.

Fisher: Great tips Stan. 

Stan: Yeah.

Fisher: Thanks so much for joining us and we’ll see you again soon!

Stan: Thanks Fish.

Fisher: Stan Lindaas from Heritageconsulting.com. And coming up next, he’s trying to assemble the largest family reunion in the history of the world. [Laughs] This guy is another extreme genie, AJ Jacobs from New York City coming up next on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 3 Episode 30

Host: Scott Fisher with guest AJ Jacobs

Fisher: Hey, welcome back to Extreme Genes Family History Radio ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth and on the line from New York City right now we have AJ Jacobs a new friend, met at RootsTech a couple of weeks back. And AJ has kind of a different idea. How are you AJ? Good to have you on.

AJ: Good to be here Fisher. 

Fisher: He comes to me and says, “Hey, we want to have the largest family reunion in history.” You want to make a Guinness World Record Reunion at the Unisphere at the old 1964 World’s Fairgrounds in New York. What are you thinking AJ?

AJ: [Laughs] I’m thinking, by the way, you’re invited, everyone’s invited all seven billion members of the human family. It started a few months ago. I got an email from a guy in Israel and he said, “You don’t know me, but I’m your twelfth cousin.” And he said, “I have a family tree with eighty thousand of your other cousins.” And I didn’t know what to make of this you know.

Fisher: What?

AJ: Finally he said, “I have enough trouble handling my current family. Do I really want eighty thousand more relatives? 

Fisher: [Laughs] What is it they say, you can’t choose your family, right?

AJ: Well yes, now you can because there are so many, I can choose which ones. But, another part I said, “This is amazing!” I’m connected to all these people all over the world. So I immersed myself in genealogy. I knew nothing about it but I caught the bug and I realized it’s going through as you know this fascinating period partly because of DNA testing, partly because of these sites where you can do collaborative family trees with other people, sites like Genie.com or WikiTree. And you have hundreds of people working on the same tree and you get these mega trees with thousands of people on them, and on one side Genie.com which is part of my heritage has the World Family Tree which has 75 million people on it.

Fisher: And so you looked at this and said, “Hey, let’s [Laughs] get everybody together.” 

AJ: Exactly. Listen, the point is what this really drove home for me, we’re all related! Everyone in the world is. It’s the six degrees of separation idea.

Fisher: Right.

AJ: And I found on this tree that I’m related and I’m not boasting because everyone is. I’m related to Albert Einstein. He’s a mere nineteen steps away. And Gwyneth Paltrow is just twenty two steps away from me. So I’m going to invite her and hope she comes to the reunion and brings her vegan turkey casserole.

Fisher: [Laughs]

AJ: [Laughs]

Fisher: I’m going to brag a minute though AJ. I just found out this week that I am related to Lizzie Borden who gave her dad forty one whacks and her mom forty more or whatever it was. 

AJ: All right. 

Fisher: That was kind of strange. Lizzie won’t be coming.

AJ: [Laughs] I have some black sheep in my family as well and you know it just makes it more spicy.

Fisher: Absolutely. So how many people is it going to take to set the Guinness World Record?

AJ: The current record is 4 500 people, a family in France.

Fisher: Okay.

AJ: So I am hoping for at least 5 000 and it’s also going to be live streamed so people can call in from all over the world. 

Fisher: Wait a minute. Does that count though? That mean the people who see it on the live stream, does that count towards your total or is that going to be a separate category?

AJ: I’m going for a whole other world record of the most people in a virtual family reunion.

Fisher: Ah, I didn’t know there was such a category. You’re making a new one?

AJ: Yeah, why not? I’m pioneering all sorts of things.

Fisher: [Laughs]

AJ: Most people to sing “We Are Family.” I’m hiring Sister Sledge to sing at the reunion so there’ll be music and speeches and we’ve got some great speakers. Dr Oz has agreed to come. He’s a very distant relative. We share the same J haplogroup. 

Fisher: Okay.

AJ: Gilad Japhet from my heritage. And you Fisher, I’d love you to come and give a talk. 

Fisher: You know, I wouldn’t have any problem doing that. I’ve just got to make sure, you know, I’d probably be distracted by the Mets which are right next door. That was the team I grew up with. 

AJ: [Laughs] 

Fisher: I’ve got to ask though. How does one rent the World’s Fairground?

AJ: Well right now the world’s fair has the Hall of Sciences called the New York Hall of Sciences and some amazing museum. And it’s got like a science theme playground for kids and it’s got all these great exhibits. And they do sometimes these events. And they agreed they like the idea so that’s where it’s going to be. It’s going to be part inside and part outside. It’s actually also a fundraiser for Alzheimers because that runs in my family and in the human family. So we’ll be free but we’re going to try to raise money.

Fisher: So are you making this a whole weekend or is it one day? How does this work? 

AJ: It will be a whole day from 9 in the morning till 7 at night. It’s a Saturday June 6th 2015. And by the way people, if you go to my website or email me at Ajjacobs.com [email protected]. I’ll figure out how we’re related so you can come. 

Fisher: [Laughs] Hold on, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Are you telling me that for everybody who comes, you have to prove the relationship?

AJ: Well everyone is invited. It’s open to the public.

Fisher: Sure, yeah.

 AJ: But we can have proven relationship. You get a bracelet and then you to be part of the biggest family photo ever.

Fisher: Wow! And what’s the record for that?

AJ: You know I’m not sure. That’s another good question.

Fisher: [Laughs] Boy you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you if you’re going to get this done by June of next year. 

AJ: But I’m already getting a nice response you know. I’ve emailed the lot of my cousins who didn’t even know they’re my cousins. And some of them said you know, “Is this a scam? What are you doing? I don’t want more cousins. I don’t want to meet 5 000 cousins.” But a lot of them have said, “You know, this is going to be great. I can’t wait to meet these people I never knew, you know party. What can I bring?”

Fisher: [Laughs] That brought up some interesting points. If we do come, what would you like us to bring? Should we be on the salad committee, the dinner? How does that work? Should we bring stories to tell?

AJ: [Laughs] Yes! Stories would be great. 

Fisher: [Laughs]

AJ: It’s not going to be potluck. There will be food there so don’t worry about that. Just bring yourself and email me beforehand just so we can figure out the link and then you’ll get to meet all of these cousins. And the filmmaker Morgan Spurlock who ma de the Supersize Me about McDonalds, he’s going to make a documentary about it so you can be in the film if you want. Yeah I am just super excited to meet all of my cousins who I’ve never met. 

Fisher: Now I’ve got to ask you AJ, what do you do for a living? 

AJ: Well partly this. I’m writing a book about this and so that’s where I’m able to you know, use part of my book advance to fund the reunion. And I’ve written several other books. I sort of take on these big projects, self-improvement projects. I did one where I read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica from A to Z to try to learn everything in the world and I did another where I tried to live by all the rules of the bible for a year. So the Ten Commandments...

Fisher: What was the hardest one?

AJ: There are a couple of hard ones. First there’s, in the bible where it says you cannot gossip or lie or covet. And I, I’m a journalist in New York City so that’s pretty much my life.

Fisher: Right, lying yes. [Laughs]

AJ: Lying and gossiping and coveting. [Laughs] That was a big challenge.

Fisher: [Laughs]

AJ: And then there were ones you know, in the Hebrew Scriptures that said you have to stone adulterers. So that was a challenge.    

Fisher: Hmmm.

AJ: I used very small stones like pebbles. 

Fisher: How would you find the adulterers? 

AJ: Well, I tell you the guy I did end up stoning, he came up to me because it was sort of the middle of my project and I was really getting into it. So I even looked like a biblical person. I had a huge beard and a robe and sandals. And I was in Central Park and he came up to me and he said, “Why are you dressed like that?” And I said, I’m trying to follow all the bibles from the Ten Commandments to stoning adulterers. And he says, “Well I’m an adulterer. Are you going to stone me?” And I said, “Well yeah that will be great. Thank you for the offer.”

Fisher: [Laughs]

AJ: [Laughs] And I took out a handful of stones. I’ve been carrying stones around waiting for this moment. And then as I mentioned, they were very small stones and he was very aggressive. He grabbed the stones out of my hand and threw them at my face so I thought well the bible does say “An eye for an eye.” So I tossed one back at him. So that’s how I checked that off my list.

Fisher: Wow, wow and you wrote a book on that

AJ: Yes, exactly.

Fisher: You are an interesting person AJ. I hope this thing goes you way you plan because you know family reunions don’t always go so smoothly. 

AJ: No, it could be a disaster. 

Fisher: It could be awful. It could be terrible. And by the way, I do not want to be on the hotel committee for this trying to get rooming for everybody, okay?

AJ: [Laughs] You’ve got it.

Fisher: All right. He’s AJ Jacobs. He’s putting together the biggest family reunion in the world for June of 2015 in New York City. And to get in touch with you once again AJ to be a part of this, where do they go?

AJ: Either my website which is Ajjacobs.com or just email me directly at [email protected].

Fisher: He’s at least the most entertaining man in New York City. Thanks for coming on AJ. 

AJ: Thank you Fisher. Loved it

Fisher: And coming up next Tom Perry is back, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com with more great information on how to make sure the heirlooms you’ve been given are still around for generations on end on Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 4 Episode 30

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Hey, welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio, ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here with Tom Perry our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. Welcome back, Tom.

Tom: Good to be back.

Fisher: You know, we're always asking people to send in their questions to [email protected]. And we've heard from Ester Alan, and she writes, "Tom, I've been catching up on episodes of Extreme Genes at work, just discovered it last week and I love it!" Thank you, Ester. "I've been helping my dad reminisce into a digital recorder, but I've realized that it has no cables or other equipment that will let the tracks download easily into WAV files or other computer friendly formats. I'd love to save dad's voice, especially since he has a very distinctive voice and storytelling style. Do you know of any way I'd be able to save that before it is deleted?"

Tom: Absolutely. You want to be really careful with these digital recorders. I love them. They're awesome, they're easy to use. But one thing that really gets scary, people always think tapeless is better. Sometimes tapeless isn't better, because if you have a tape, you can always store it on your shelf, you can go back to it, it’s always going to be there. But on the digital recorders, you can accidently hit the delete button, send them through and xray machine, set them on top of a big speaker and they go away. So they're really, really scary. So the first thing you want to do is make sure you get it on another format, and even though it didn't come with cables, generally they will have like an earphone jack, and so, what you can do is, go to RadioShack or any place and buy an adaptor that will plug into the earphone jack that then you can plug into your CD recorder, plug it in your computer or something like that and then just transfer it to a CD. And like we've always said, you always want to store things on at least three media. I suggest a hard drive, a disk and the cloud. So once you download it to your computer, you can make it an MP3, AIFFs, whatever you want. If you're a do it yourself person, if not, send it in to us and we'll be more than happy to put it on a CD for you or an MP3 or any format that you prefer.

Fisher: Boy that is great advice! And you mentioned the cloud, you've also mentioned previously to have more than one cloud.

Tom: Oh, absolutely, absolutely! You know, I use Dropbox myself. There's a lot of good cloud services out there I use. In fact, I use a little bit on the one that Apple owns, but most of my stuff is on Dropbox. It’s so easy to access, I can get it on my phone, I can get it on my iPad, I can get it on my computer, I don't have to carry around different devices with me, you know, because, Oh, it’s on my phone, I need to go there. It’s very, very convenient. But I always say, keep it on a disk. Keep it on a hard drive. Keep it in the cloud. And if you have it in those three places, you should be taken care of. And if you do disks, send them across the country. So you want to make sure you have it in different zones, because as I mentioned on a story before, we had a family that had their wedding photos in their own home, they had copies at their parents and also the wedding photographer all had them. The only problem is, even though they lived miles away from each other in New Orleans, when Katrina came through, they lost it all because the entire city was flooded.

Fisher: Great advice. And coming up next, we're going to talk memory medallions. We were talking about them last week. We didn't even get through it all, because there's so much to know.

Tom: Oh, some really cool stuff we're going to talk about that will blow your mind.

Fisher: All right, coming up next on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio, ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 5 Episode 30

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes Family History Radio, ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here once again with Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. And this is kind of our part 2 on these memory medallions you were teaching us about last week. They're like little coins, I guess, that are on gravestones in cemeteries. And they work like QR codes with your Smartphone. And you can find out about people who are buried as you come across them.

Tom: Exactly. It’s just a little square code. It almost looks like somebody scribbled on it, but you shoot it with your Smartphone and it will bring up all kinds of information. And the memory medallion which you were mentioning that's on headstones, there's other uses for this as well, plus they have a little one that you can wear on your wrist, it’s like a bracelet or a locket. So if you're in an accident and the EMT has his Smartphone, which they do, they carry those, they can actually shoot that memory medallion and based on what you want to be there. You could have your xrays, you could say you have an artificial heart, you have a replaced knee, any information you want on that would be immediately available to not only the EMT that's treating you, but to the hospital that you're going to. So when you get there, they'll know, "Oh, you know, he's had a heart implant. He has internal hearing aids." whatever, that's going to help the medical people treat you better and safer.

Fisher: So, the memory medallion people make these?

Tom: Uh huh. It’s a bracelet that you just wear on your wrist or they also have lockets. And it has a QR code built right into it. And you're in charge of the information like I mentioned, so there's not stuff on there that you don't want. You put the stuff on there that you want, whether it’s your xrays, medical information or whatever, so it’s immediately accessible to the medical providers, whether it’s the EMT or the hospital.

Fisher: Boy, those few minutes could save a lot of lives.

Tom: Oh, absolutely!

Fisher: And the question is though, are these EMTs around the country all familiar with this? Are they trained to know or to look for these things already?

Tom: I'm not sure if they are actually trained. Most of these guys are pretty smart, and a lot of these guys are younger that grew up on this kind of technology. So, if they saw that, I'm sure they would pull it out and say, "Hey, this is interesting. Let me shoot it." And I'm sure as they become more and more popular, they will probably be part of their training to know to look for those things, because my father was allergic to penicillin for instance and he had a little.

Fisher: I am too.

Tom: Yeah. Had a little medical alert thing and all it said was "Penicillin." It didn't say is it amoxicillin or just penicillin or what all is he allergic to. With this, they shoot it, anything you want to come up there, you know, who you need to contact, your next of kin, if it’s a really bad accident. If you've even decided that you want to donate your organs that can be contained in there. You can actually put a photo of the card that you've signed. It’s unlimited the amount of information you can put on these things.

Fisher: Because it connects back to a website, just like the memory medallions at the cemeteries.

Tom: Exactly, as long as there's WiFi or internet. So if somebody has a cell phone, pretty much it’s a given and they can connect to it, and it’s just, you could save lives, many lives.

Fisher: All right, what else do you have?

Tom: Okay, some other uses for these are really incredible. In fact, over in Iraq where the troops are fighting, they have a QR code like a memory medallion on the tanks, but they're actually encrypted, so not just anybody with a Smartphone can read it. You have to have an encrypted one. So for instance, the guy that works on the tank gets killed in battle, the guy that's next in line can take his phone with the special information in it, shoot that QR code and it brings up the schematics of the tank.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: So he can go and fix it.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: I have seen places that are tourist attractions that are open like from 8am to 9pm. And say you're driving through at 3 o’clock in the morning, but you want to take a self guided tour, you pull out your Smartphone and you go and like click on all the different houses or whatever there happens to be and it will go and say, "Okay, this used to be, you know, Thomas Jefferson's house. He lived here. And then, you know, he moved, he did these kinds of things." and you can take a self guided tour right through that place.

Fisher: I'd love to see these on baseball player's uniforms. I can snap the picture get their stats in my Smartphone right there as I watch the game. This is good stuff, Tom.

Tom: That is totally doable!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: They could put it on the back of their uniform and you in the stands could zoom in with your phone, scan it and it would bring up their stats.

Fisher: You heard it here first. He's Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority. That's it for this week. Thanks so much to A.J. Jacobs for joining us on the show. Good luck A.J. with the world's largest family reunion, and Stan Lindaas with some great research advice as well about going to your ancestor's locations. We'll talk to you again next week. And thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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