Episode 307 - From Spit to Screen: Woodbury on DNA Analysis

podcast episode Nov 24, 2019

Host Scott Fisher opens up the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. The guys first pay tribute to affiliate WRKO in Boston that recently raised some $230,000 for veterans on Veterans Day. David then tells of the recent passing of what may be the last Massachusetts vet of one particular major World War II engagement. Hear how old he was and what he was a part of. Next, the guys talk about a man who always thought his birth parents were long deceased in a foreign land, and how his spit showed him he had bad information.  An incredible piece of family history has come back to one family some 75 years after it was created in the harshest of circumstances. Fisher has the details. Next, a Japanese ghost town has been located deep in a Canadian forest. The guys explain why it was there. David then talks about the “gift” of Ground Penetrating Radar that is now searching a high school football field. And you won’t believe why!

Fisher next visits with Paul Woodbury, a DNA specialist with Legacy Tree Genealogists. In two segments, Paul amazes as he explains all the steps involved to take a DNA kit “From Spit To Screen!”

Team Green, DeShae and Chris, from BYUtv’s Relative Race then talk about their journey so far on a very emotional Season 6. DeShae believes (and she’s probably right!) that she has had something happen on the show that has never happened before.

Then, it’s another “Ask Us Anything” segment with Fisher and David. They answer an important question about a listener’s recent haul of family history documents.

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

Transcript of Episode 307

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 307

Fisher:And welcome Genies 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 BYUtv’s Relative Race, Sunday nights at 8 o’clock Eastern, 5 o’clock Pacific and they’re coming down to it. What a season it has been. And what a show it is going to be for you today! We’ve got a lot of DNA to focus on today and I’m really excited to get Paul Woodbury back on. You know, he is the DNA Specialist over at Legacy Tree Genealogists, one of our great sponsors. And Paul’s going to talk to us about how your spit gets to the screen, you know, when you do these DNA tests. What happens from the time you spit in that little tube to the time you get your ethnicity results and your DNA matches? He’ll go through the whole thing with us, and I know it is going to be absolutely incredible. Hey, if you haven’t signed up for our “Weekly Genie Newsletter” yet, please make sure you take care of that. It’s absolutely free. Once a week you get a blog from me, plus links to past and present shows and links to stories that you as a family historian/genealogist will appreciate. Hey, let’s out now to Boston and talk to my good friend David Allen Lambert. He is the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society andAmericanAncestors.org. How are you David?

David:Hey, I’m doing good after flapping my wings and finally getting back home after three weeks of travel. [Laughs]

Fisher:Boy, you were all over the place, that’s true. By the way, I’ve got to give a shout out to some folks there at our anchor station in New England, AM-680 WRKO the Voice of Boston, right where you are. They raised more than $230,000 on Veterans Day to benefit the Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts. And they did this during a radiothon that went between 6 in the morning till 8 at night. So, congratulations to Jarred Diglio and the crew and our anchor station in New England AM-680 WRKO the Voice of Boston. Love that.

David:Yeah, great station. We love it out here very, very much. And I love it even more that we’re on it.


David:So, we have now lost what may have been the last Pearl Harbor survivor from Massachusetts, George Hershey, age 98 who, when he retired at 83 was the oldest school bus driver in America.

Fisher:Oh wow!

David:He lived in the town right next door to me. In another sense of veteran news, the Vietnam War back 50 years ago, there were so many vets that fathered children and the great thing is the DNA is reuniting many of these babies with their families. So, this story has to do with Kirk Kellerhals, a 50-year-old from Norfolk, Virginia, who was born in Vietnam to an American father and a Vietnamese mother. He had thought his parents were dead. He has now been reunited with them and they got the whole story.

Fisher:Yeah, and they’re all here in the United States. Yeah, as a baby he came over here because her parents were horrified that she would have a baby with an American soldier. So, she was separated from the soldier, from the baby, and there were documents that said both of them were dead. So, it wasn’t just assumed they were dead. As far as the records went, they were, but the DNA tests found the mom and she had been back in touch with the soldier and now they’ve reunited and he says it’s just the most mind-blowing experience of his life.

David:That he was reunited with them was amazing.


David:Thank you DNA. Well, you know, the story we talked about earlier, another veteran story, this one goes back to World War II, to an American G.I. that was actually in a prisoner of war camp who, to relieve the stress and the drudgery of being a prisoner of war, made a comic strip. Why don’t you tell the story, because I love this one.

Fisher:Yeah, his name is Howard Weistling and he was hungry. He was homesick. He’s in Barth, Germany at a POW camp and he drew a comic book on cigarette wrappers bound together with scrap metal. And then they took this thing and they sent it around the camp one panel at a time. And the soldiers, according to Howard’s son Morgan, just looked forward to it all the time. It gave them something to anticipate. So, when the camp was liberated the book was left behind but somebody wound up getting it. And somebody now has tracked down Morgan Howard’s son and gotten it back to him. And Morgan is saying it’s just like getting my father back again. It was like him being able to tell me the story all over again except this time it was real and in my hands. Isn’t that incredible?

David:It really is and you just never know what’s out there, amazing value to the family when you can reconnect the piece like that.


David: You know, sometimes we go looking for things. Like one time I went mudlarking in the Thames in London and I found all these pipe stems. Bob Muckle, an Anthropology instructor at Capilano University was in the backwoods of British Columbia, and stumbled upon what was a Japanese town, now a Japanese ghost town where these road workers worked from 1920 till 1942. And he found a plethora of artefacts that really tell the whole story of them being there at this camp.

Fisher:Yeah and apparently, they had the same situation in Canada as we had here in the United States. And ultimately, these Japanese Canadians were rounded up and interned. And they say that the evidence there is that everything was left behind very quickly. So, that’s why they think they were rounded up, but living in the middle of the forest all this time just to avoid the persecution.

David:This included of course women and children as well as men.

Fisher:Yeah, absolutely.

David:Well, you know, Christmas and holidays are getting close, and I want to thank Shamrock genealogist Melanie McComb, whom we have on the show. She gave me an   interesting new story, so it’s on my Christmas list now and I think you’ll agree, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), it’s a must have.

Fisher:What? [Laughs]

David:Yeah well, so you can find those hidden cemeteries which is what’s going on at King High School down in Tampa, Florida where they’re trying to locate the 250 or so graves that were part of a pauper cemetery of Redwood Cemetery that were never moved. Seems like a scene out of Poltergeist.


David:They rode on the 50-yard line of the football field looking round for the actual cemetery. [Laughs]

Fisher:Oh no.

David:You can see bleachers in the background, so I don’t know.

Fisher:So basically, they were playing football games over the top of these people?

David:So, around the school area, yeah because you can see the bleachers in the background, so it’s interesting.


David:So, yes Santa Claus, all I want for Christmas is Ground Penetrating Radar.

Fisher:Nothing says Christmas like GPR.

David:I always like to tell a little bit about American Ancestors so, our listeners on the radio, up until November 19th at 11:59 PM can get a guest membership and use American Ancestors for free. It’s especially run since November 12th.

Fisher:Very nice. All right David, thank you so much! And of course, you’re coming back for another “Ask Us Anything” at the back end of the show, so we look forward to that. And coming up next we’re going to talk to Paul Woodbury. He is a DNA Specialist at Legacy Tree Genealogists and he’s going to take us from spit to screen. What happens with your saliva once you fill that tube before it gets to the screen? You’re going to want to find out. It’s all coming up next on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 307

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Paul Woodbury

Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and it’s always a pleasure to have my good friend Paul Woodbury on the show from Legacy Tree Genealogists. He is the DNA Specialist. And Paul, I know you’ve been working on an interesting explanation for people to understand what’s going on, because it is really kind of odd isn’t it, that we can spit in a little tube and all of a sudden, our genetic world is open to us, matches and potential breakthroughs. I just had one myself on some third great grandparents after 35 years because of a bunch of fourth cousins that started showing up matching many of us who descended from my second great grandfather. I mean, it’s amazing stuff. So, let’s talk a little about this idea from spit to screen. What’s all going on in there? How’re you doing man?

Paul: I’m doing great. Thanks so much for having me, Fish. So, like you said it’s a little bit confusing for a lot of us when we spit into this tube, or maybe we swab the inside of our cheek, depending on the company you’re using, and we send it in to a lab and suddenly it comes back to us with an ethnicity estimate, with a list of matches? And what are the steps, that in between where you spit and you get that report? And there’s a lot of science and technology that’s going on behind the scenes and can get a little bit complicated, but I’m going to try and distil down some of the most basic principles of what is happening with your DNA between those two steps.

Fisher: Oh boy, here comes Mr Science. Put on your glasses and your pocket protectors. All right.

Paul: Yep.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Paul: So first, DNA is in every cell of our body.

Fisher: Yep.

Paul: We’ve got a complete copy of our DNA in each cell, and each cell differs from other cells because they express or they read different parts of that DNA. It’s kind of like a big factory. Your body is a huge factory and you’ve got different departments in that factory.

Fisher: It’s a department store.

Paul: Yeah, it’s a department store.

Fisher: There we go.

Paul: There we go.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Paul: And each department, you know, has a copy of the employee handbook, but if you’re in the cashier department you’re only going to be reading the sections that refer to you as a cashier.

Fisher: Sure.

Paul: You know, if you’re in management then you’re going to be reading perhaps a little bit more of the handbook. And so that’s kind of the way that our cells work. Our cells are different from each other and they perform different functions because they read different parts of that handbook.

Fisher: Okay. But they all have the whole handbook?

Paul: They all have the whole handbook, each of our thirty trillion cells in our body.

Fisher: Oh, wow.

Paul: So, what are the cells that we are actually looking at with these genetic genealogy tests? There are two main types depending on the type of test that you take, which is kind of surprising, considering that both of the types of tests are from your mouth.

Fisher: Right. Yeah.

Paul: But when you spit, you actually get up to 60 or 70% of the cells that they’re looking at, the DNA that they’re grabbing from those cells are coming from white blood cells. And if you do a cheek swab, most of the DNA that they are obtaining from a cheek swab actually comes from your cheek cells. So, there’s a little bit of a different swathe that you get from those two types of tests.

Fisher: Sure.

Paul: Something to keep in mind and something interesting is, if you have a blood transfusion, then you might want to wait a few months before taking a DNA test.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Paul: Because those white blood cells will be from your donor rather than your own DNA.

Fisher: Yeah. And there was a story recently too wasn’t there, about umbilical cord blood that got into somebody and then became part of their DNA and they matched that person like 25 years later.

Paul: Oh, interesting. I had not heard about that.

Fisher: Yes. It’s very recent, very recent story, so they’re all singing kumbaya like they’re family. [Laughs] It’s really interesting.  

Paul: Oh wow. Wow. Yeah, you want to e careful if you’ve had a blood transfusion recently. If it’s been a while then usually your own DNA is replaced in that blood. On the other hand, if you have a bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant for bone marrow, then you really want to be careful on the conclusions you draw on your DNA test results because the DNA from that bone marrow donor is going to be represented in any sample that you take.

Fisher: Oh, wow! For how long?

Paul: That’s permanent.

Fisher: Really?

Paul: Yeah.

Fisher: So it basically changes your makeup to the person that donated.

Paul: It changes the blood, and because we get a lot of those white blood cells as part of the test.

Fisher: Right.

Paul: That is often what will show up. And sometimes it will result in a failed run because they’re seeing your DNA and your donor’s DNA.

Fisher: At the same time.

Paul: At the same time. And so that messes them up. It’s like, what’s going on here? You’ve got two gnomes.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Paul: Or it may be possible that you will get a good sample, but there’s no knowing if it’s your donor’s DNA or your own DNA.

Fisher: Right. And you don’t want to get arrested for a crime that the donor committed, right?

Paul: Right.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Paul: So yeah, those are some things to keep in mind. Well, so once you’ve taken this test, you spit or you rub the inside of your cheek, you put it in the tube and you isolate it in this solution that they provide as part of the kit. And that keeps your DNA stable for the time period from when you take the test to when it arrives in the lab. And once it arrives in the lab, they add a detergent, kind of like a soap, and the reason for that is that way they can break open the cells that have been isolated in that sample. Because cells, actually, each cell has a membrane around it and it’s called the lipid bilayer. Really, it’s just two layers of fat that separates the cells from all the surroundings.

Fisher: Oh, I got more than that.

Paul: [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

Paul: And when you add this soap to a greasy pan, you note that the soap kind of gathers around that grease.

Fisher: Sure.

Paul: And it isolates the grease and it makes it possible so that the grease can mix with the water. And that’s exactly what detergents do with our cells. They come around those fat layers around our cells, and they break them open and they release all of the stuff inside the cell, including your DNA, into open mixture.  

Fisher: This is amazing.

Paul: Isn’t that awesome?

Fisher: Yeah. I had no idea.

Paul: So, that’s why they add soap. They add a detergent and they break open the cell.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Paul: Well, what happens when they open up the cells, there’s some problems we can run into because cells don’t like to have your DNA just running around wild out in the open. In your cell, the DNA is always focused and it’s always centred in the nucleus, unless it’s mitochondrial DNA, in which case it’s in the mitochondrial, but it’s always in its proper place. So, if your cell breaks open and there’s DNA floating around, the cell actually has proteins that have the specific job of destroying DNA that has gone awry.

Fisher: Runaway DNA.

Paul: Runaway DNA.

Fisher: Rogue DNA. Crazy.

Paul: Rogue DNA. There are proteins in your cells. Their job is to destroy runaway DNA.

Fisher: Wow!

Paul: So, to prevent that from happening, they add some chemicals that actually destroy the proteins but leave the DNA intact.

Fisher: Wow. So it kills the killers.

Paul: It kills the killers. And then they add salt to make all of the debris from the cells, from all of the tissue, all of the different things, perhaps some of the food that you ate, before you took your DNA test, and it makes it all clump together and then they spin it at a hundred cycles per minute so that it can get rid of all that debris and it leaves the DNA in the solution, in the liquid part of this mixture.

Fisher: Amazing!

Paul: Once they do that, then they add alcohol to make the DNA clump together and they spin it again and isolate the DNA. So really, from the step of testing your DNA, the first step that they want to do is they want to isolate the DNA from everything else that’s in that sample all of the other things that are in the cell, all the proteins, all of the fats, all the different things and they just want to get at the DNA.

Fisher: That’s amazing. Wow! I had no idea.

Paul: Isn’t that amazing?

Fisher: Yeah.

Paul: Once you isolate the DNA, in order to analyse your DNA, you have to have a lot of copies of DNA. And usually, you need a lot more than is provided in just a single sample. The first step was isolating the DNA. The next step is they copy that DNA. And they copy it and they copy it and they copy it so many times, up to thousands of copies of your DNA.

Fisher: Now wait a minute. Are you talking physically creating copies or are you talking about digitally creating copies?

Paul: Physically creating copies.

Fisher: Wow!

Paul: So, what they do is they isolate the DNA, and they add proteins and they alter the environment to encourage the DNA to replicate itself which is a natural process that happens in our bodies.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah.

Paul: Every time a cell divides, it creates another copy of the DNA. So, they replicate that environment. They speed it up so that you can create potentially up to billions of copies of a particular DNA segment within just about four hours.

Fisher: Shut up. Four hours?

Paul: Starting with just one segment which is one copy of the DNA, you can go to billions of copies within a few hours.

Fisher: That blows my mind. [Laughs]

Paul: Isn’t that amazing? So, that step is called amplification. And what they’re doing is they’re just trying to make as much DNA as possible so that they can perform some really strong analyses on it.

Fisher: And they do. We’re talking spit to screen with Paul Woodbury, the DNA Specialist with Legacy Tree Genealogists. And I’ve never heard any of this stuff before Paul. All I know is, I spit in a tube. I wrap it up. I make sure it’s preserved. I stick it in a package. I stick it in the mail. The next thing I know I’ve got matches. You’re telling me there’s a lot of work involved in this.

Paul: There is. There is and we’re only about halfway there.

Fisher: Okay. All right. Well, let’s do this. Let’s take a break and when we return, we will continue with the whole process with Paul Woodbury on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 3 Episode 307

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Paul Woodbury

Fisher: All right, we are back with spit-talk on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with my friend Paul Woodbury. He is the DNA specialist at Legacy Tree Genealogists, our good sponsors. Paul, you’ve been taking us on a world of science, this is like fifth grade all over again. I don’t have any goggles on or anything, but you’re taking us from spit to screen and when we last left our spit as I recall, we had opened it up. We are now replicating it into billions and billions of pieces of DNA. Pick it up from there.

Paul: All right. So, yeah, we started with isolating that DNA, and trying to get it out of all the junk that was also available in your sample and then replicating it so that we have lots and lots of copies of your DNA to be able to analyze it.

Fisher: And why do we need that many?

Paul: So, I’ll tell you why, because of the technology that we’re using.

Fisher: Okay.

Paul: And this is where it gets a little bit different depending on the type of test that you’re taking. Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, or autosomal DNA, they’re all going to be a little bit different on how we analyze them and how we determine the values and provide the results related to those tests. But, since most of us probably have done autosomal or at least are most familiar with the autosomal tests from the different companies.

Fisher: Yeah.

Paul: I’m going to focus in on autosomal and talk a little bit about how we analyze that autosomal DNA. First, it’s important to recognize that our autosomal DNA is composed of billions of base pairs of DNA. So, DNA is composed of four bases what we call A-T-G-C. And, A will pair with T and G will pair with C and that’s why we call them base pairs.

Fisher: Okay.

Paul: Okay. And the DNA that we carry in each level of our body, we have that DNA organized into 23 pairs of chromosomes. One set that we get from mom, one set that we get from dad, and in total we have about 6.2 billion base pairs in our DNA.

Fisher: Oh, wow.

Paul: So, when the companies test your DNA they are not looking at all of those 6.2 billion base pairs because, surprising fact, all humans share 99% of their DNA with all other humans. So, looking at every base pair would be kind of useless because most of it is going to be the same across everybody.

Fisher: Right.

Paul: So, what they are actually looking at, they’re looking at hotspots for variation between people. And the type of variation that we’re looking at with autosomal DNA tests is called a snip. It’s a type of mutation in your DNA where one base changes to another. Perhaps, originally the DNA was TAAG, but then either mutation happens and suddenly it’s TATG. The A changed to a T.

Fisher: Okay.

Paul: And so, what we’re looking for with snips is we’re looking for variations that are common enough in the population. So, these mutations have happened a long enough ago that they are spread out across the entire population. And in our example, some people will have A at a particular location, and keep in mind we get two copies of our DNA, one of mom and one from dad. So, they might have an A from mom and an A from dad. They might have an A from one parent and T from the other parent, or they could have a T from mom and a T from dad. And so, what we’re looking at, at these locations where we have variation are we’re trying to figure out what are the values at those locations so that we can find out what values you share with other people and with other ethnicities.

Fisher: Oh, wow. So, we’re talking about the ethnicity side of it or the matches, or both?

Paul: So, they use this snip analysis for both matching and for ethnicity.

Fisher: Ha!

Paul: But they look at it a little bit different in order to get those two different results.

Fisher: Because you still have to use matching for the ethnicity, right? I mean you have to compare it to a population base.

Paul: Um hmm. Yeah. So, we’re using this analysis for both of them. Well, what the companies do, they look at about in between five hundred thousand and about seven hundred thousand of these locations that are hotspots for variation in a population. And the way that they do that is that each of the companies use a company called Illumina which produces this technology which are called snip-chips. Remember, snips are the variations that we’re looking at.

Fisher: Sure.

Paul: And what they do with these snip-chips, these chips are just glass plates and they have thousands of tiny microscopic silicon beads attached to these plates.

Fisher: Wow! [Laughs]

Paul: And these silicon beads each of them has a manufactured probe. It’s kind of like a little piece of Velcro that’s sticking out from this bead.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Paul: And what we do is, we cut up the DNA we and send it across this plate, and your DNA will stick to these little probes. It’s like you’re sending your DNA through a field of birds.

Fisher: oh my gosh.

Paul: And next to those birds, and it’s very specific in the areas that it’s connecting to and that’s why we need a lot of copies of your DNA.

Fisher: That makes sense, sure.

Paul: Right. We need lots of copies of your DNA so that we increase the chances of your DNA finding its compliment on this glass plate.

Fisher: Wow.

Paul: So, once the DNA sticks to these little beads, we introduce some florescent As, Ts, Gs, and Cs. And the probes are designed so they stop just short of the variation point of the snip. So, once we introduce these altered bases, those bases will attach to your DNA and will be complimentary to what the value is at that location. Next, we apply lasers to it, and we let the DNA fluoresce and the computer will analyze the color of those fluorescents.

Fisher: [Laughs] Who thought this stuff up Paul? This is amazing.

Paul: Isn’t it amazing?

Fisher: Yeah.

Paul: So, each bead has a known location which corresponds to a known location in your gnome.

Fisher: Crazy.

Paul: So, based on the color that comes out of that location, the computer can interpret what the values are that you share at that location. If it’s green, it’s TT. If it’s red, it’s AA. If it’s yellow, then it’s TA. So, then it creates a raw data file and that’s what the companies then apply their algorithms to and they compare that raw data file to known populations to find the incidents of different snips in different worldwide populations and that’s how you get your ethnicity results.

Fisher: Okay.

Paul: They also compare your raw data file against everyone else’s raw data files and if they find a long line of common variations where you share the same variations over say 500 to 600 consecutive snips, then that means you share a common ancestor recently and they can use that to estimate how closely related you are to those other people.

Fisher: Wow!

Paul: And that my friend, is how we get from spit to screen.

Fisher: [Laughs] That is insane. You know, you got to just hand it to the nerds that we used to look down on so much in high school, right?

Paul: [Laughs]

Fisher: They were able to put this whole thing together. I know its way over my head. All I care about is, I spit, I send it in, and yes the results come up on the screen and the amazing thing about it is how life changing it all is, right?

Paul: Absolutely.

Fisher: You consider all the people who have made discoveries that they never imagined they could and I think many of us are included in that. Paul thanks so much for the explanation. My head is still spinning. I’m going to have to listen back to this a couple of times and see if I can figure this out.

Paul: Sounds good. [Laughs]

Fisher: Although, I don’t think I’m going to be sharing much of this with anybody else personally, okay? [Laughs]

Paul: [Laughs] Sounds good.

Fisher: He’s Paul Woodbury from Legacy Tree Genealogists. He’s the DNA specialist there. Thanks so much Paul.

Paul: Thank you.

Fisher: And coming up next, it’s Team Green from BYUtv’s Relative Race. DeShae and Chris, and boy have they been making discoveries this season, on the way in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 4 Episode 307

Host: Scott Fisher with Team Green From Relative Race

Fisher: Hey and we're back at it on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. And always exciting to get to visit and get the inside scoop from our teams on Relative Race, BYUtv's great show. And we've got Team Green this week! We're talking to DeShae and Chris. And welcome you guys. It’s just been a joy to watch. And DeShae, this past two weeks have been insane for you. Take us through this.

DeShae: Wow!Hello, thanks for having us. Yeah, the last two weeks have been doozy!

Fisher: [Laughs]

DeShae: I mean, my whole journey leading up to ultimately meeting my biological father, Mike, and not a whole lot of information out there on my biological mother after day 7. And so, to be just hit with that on day 8 was like, I mean, I was speechless that day. And you saw that, I think, on my episode, but I just was not expecting it. It was amazing! I mean, very few teams in, I think, history of the show have been able to meet both parents.

Fisher: Right.

DeShae: And even a grandparent. Like, I don't know how many teams have been able to do that, so I feel blessed and fortunate to have that complete puzzle. It’s amazing!

Fisher: Yeah, and you got your answers. So, you know, that's the thing this season on Relative Race is, everybody has somebody on their team looking for a birth parent. I know, Chris, you've been really supportive, but you had a moment also meeting the second cousin where the roles were kind of reversed in the show, right?

Chris: I did. Yeah, knowing that I could meet some relatives that I didn't know was an interesting prospect for me, but when I met Becky, it was amazing to begin with, but finding out her story that she was adopted and in a sense I was the person on the inside of the door being the first biological relative that she met was a really huge role reversal and amazing and exciting and I felt blessed to be that part that could begin her journey and find the rest of her family.

Fisher: Are you still in touch with her?

Chris: I am, actually. I've actually gotten her in contact with my dad, because of course her biological mother come to find out and my dad are first cousins, so he's actually been able to help her fill in some of the gaps as well.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Chris: It’s been quite an interesting side journey to this season of Relative Race.

Fisher: Yeah. You know, I can imagine, I mean, your lives have been, I would say turned upside down, but that usually has a negative connotation. But I haven’t seen anything negative come out of this. In fact, DeShae, you now fully understand your origins, which you never have in your life.

DeShae: Yes, most definitely. You know, we're still in constant contact with everyone we've met on the race, my family and Chris' and being able to foster the relationships and go out and see them after the race was awesome. I talk to my dad every single day.

Fisher: Oh wow!

DeShae: There's not a single day that goes by. Most of the love family, we talk to every single one of them at least weekly I would say and we've had get togethers and we're planning to have an end of the season party together in Texas, so we're all real excited.

Fisher: Oh how fun! I mean, you're a perfect fit to that family, right?

DeShae:Yes. They're exactly my personality and they're so much like the family that I grew up with. To see that just instant, like I was just meant to be there with them.

Fisher: Yes.

DeShae:You know, I think everything's in God's timing and I just know that I was just meant to meet them in this season of my life when, you know, our son, Huston is three and so he'll never not remember a time where he didn't have those tub o' love, which is what he calls them.

Fisher: [Laughs]

DeShae: So it’s just awesome.

Fisher: Isn't that great! And so, how has your adoptive family reacted to your experience and your journey with this?

DeShae: They are over the moon excited. My mom, Shari and my dad, David, they are so supportive the whole time. My mom has actually been able to meet some of the love family and just share the love! I mean, that's just how we all are. We all just kind of blended together perfectly. It’s fantastic.

Fisher: Well, its Relative Race, it’s on Sunday nights at 8 Eastern, 5 Pacific Time. You can stream it using the BYUtv app, you can watch it on BYUtv.org. Chris andDeShae, Team Green, thanks so much for sharing the experience. It’s been really fun to watch.

DeShae: Thanks for having us.

Chris: Thank you so much.

Fisher: David is back for Ask Us Anything next.

Segment 5 Episode 307

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Fisher: And we are back for Ask Us Anything this week on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher here with David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist for the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. And David, this is a great question we got from Penelope inAnn Arbor, Michigan. She has emailed us at [email protected]. "Guys, I recently inherited a huge cache of family documents, 19th century to early 20th century, so excited. What's the best way to keep them preserved? Thanks, Penelope."

David: Well, first off, I would tell her what not to do with them.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Remember those 1960s and '70s magnetic photo albums where you stick them down?

Fisher: Yeah, the worst, the worst!

David: Oh yeah.

Fisher: And then there's paperclips and staples.

David: Oh, staples and scotch tape!

Fisher: Tape them somewhere! You don't do any of that. Don't do any of that.

David: Yeah, duct tape works for everything, not on family manuscripts.

Fisher: [Laughs] All right, seriously, Penelope, because I know this is serious business and you're absolutely right. You want to make sure that they get preserved and passed on to the next generation or to the archive you will eventually give them to if you can't find someone who is going to be as dedicated to keeping them as you are.

David: And then one of the things that I do is, I personally use Gaylord.com, which has archival supplies from document boxes to acid free folders, non PVC plastic sheets, because you want to make sure that, they've lasted 100-150-200 years, you want them to last more than just a couple of years in something that's not suitable for them.

Fisher: Yeah, absolutely.

David: And don't frame them and put them in direct sunlight. Make copies of them. You can make big color copies. You know, it’s going to trick the eye of any family guest. The last thing you want to do is pluck them up on the wall.

Fisher: Yeah, you're absolutely right. And I've had a lot of things that when I didn't know any better when I was young, I framed them and they've faded quite a bit. Not gone, but still. I did digitize and actually clean up, using Photoshop, family bible pages and they're framed in my hallway and they look great and I look at them all the time. And once in a while, I'll crack open the book and look at the original in those acid free sleeves, but that's all great advice, David.

David: Yeah, and you might find a conservator, like I did for the family bible that was given to be earlier this year. The cover was falling off and I don't want to use duct tape and repair it.

Fisher: No.

David: So, you want to find a conservator that might be in the area that can do that. And of course there are so many specialists out there that can take and remove mold and, you know, repair documents so seamlessly you’d never know it. It’s almost like plastic surgery over family ephemera.

Fisher:And you know, sometimes things are just falling apart, Penelope. In fact, I've had some old newspapers as part of my collection of historic stuff. I've gone out to places like, I don't know if you have a BennionCraftsin your area, but they have the means to actually relax old paper and then attach it using acid free adhesive to foam core and then you can use that to keep it safe or because it won't fall apart anymore, it won't be flaking off on you. And you know, sometimes they're just too delicate even to put into sleeves.

David: That's very true. Treat the past like you would treat a newborn.

Fisher: Yeah, absolutely right, Congratulations though, I know what a thrill that is to get a stash of family documents like that. Five years ago, I had one of those big ones as well and I know it will never be topped. And it’s such a great responsibility as well to make sure that those things are kept safe. Hey, don't forget also to make sure that you keep this away from heat ducts, air conditioning ducts, because when it gets cold and gets hot, it expands and contracts the paper and that can cause it to fall apart and keep it off the floor too, in case there's ever any kind of flood. If you could keep it in a cabinet that's maybe just off the floor, that might be a great way to protect it. There's so many things to think about, bugs, right?

David: Yeah. And the other thing is, make copies. Make color scans and distribute them for the holidays.

Fisher: That's Ask Us Anything for this week. Thank you so much, David and thank you so much, Penelope. You can always ask us any question at [email protected]. Hey, that's our show for this week. Thank you so much for joining us. And thanks to Paul Woodbury for coming on and talking about spit to screen. What happens to your saliva after you send it in to the DNA testing companies?If you missed any of it, of course catch the podcast on iHeart Radio, iTunes or ExtremeGenes.com. Hey, we'll talk to you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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