Episode 39 - Actor Butch Patrick And What is Forensic Genealogy?Apr 28, 2014
Fisher visits with Butch Patrick, better known as “Eddie Munster.” Butch has made a most ironic family history find and tells Fisher all about it. Fisher’s “Family Histoire” news takes us to England where a virtual “time capsule” full of effects of a fallen soldier will soon be on display to help recognize the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. Hear what was among the soldiers belongings.
Also, might some of your Civil War ancestors’ possessions be found where a shopping mall will soon be built? Hear about the race against time for one group of archaeologists. Plus, a 200 year old handwritten recipe book has been found, researched, and now returned to a descendant of the original owner.
Claire Brissen-Banks of TimelessGen.com tells us all about “Forensic Genealogy.” What is it? How could it impact your life? Claire will explain.
Suzanne Hansen, an Extreme Genes listener, shares the remarkable finds she has made following a lengthy quest in Pennsylvania. You won’t believe the haul of family history memorabilia she now possesses!
Transcript of Episode 39
Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Butch Patrick
Segment 1 Episode 39
Fisher: Hello genies and welcome back to Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com where we help you shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. My name is Fisher. I am your Radio Roots Sleuth and this week we’ve got a couple of great guests. The first coming up in about nine minutes is Claire Brisson-Banks. Claire is a long time professional genealogist who has found herself into something I’ve never heard of before, called forensic genealogy, which I’m told covers all kinds of things. It could be of use to you and me at some point. Someone actually used it to find me once though I didn’t know that’s what it was. I’ll tell you about that in the segment. Then, later in the show a listener named Suzanne Hansen has finally had a breakthrough after years of searching for information relating to her grandmother’s family. We hear she wound up with a family history treasure hall and we’ll hear all about it in minutes. And of course, Tom Perry our Preservation Authority is back with an explanation as to why you can save more data on one type of disc than another, even though they’re the same physical size. Well, about a week ago I had a chance to visit with several celebrities and naturally, I had to ask them about their family history. Each had a story that was anywhere from interesting to amazing. They’re short and will let you hear them all over the next few weeks. Up first, former child TV star Butch Patrick from the Munsters with his family history tale.
Butch: Oh, my family’s history, well it’s funny, right now I’m actually in the process of reacquiring my grandmother’s house in Macon, Missouri that we used to all go visit. It’s haunted. It’s an old 1875 Queen Anne Victorian home, went by to visit it a few years ago. It was vacant and I had no idea it was haunted at the time. And my sister told me about it and then I found out that my grandmother’s memoir that was haunted, so I’m going to buy it and do maybe annual mixers there and do a radio show featuring music from the other side.
Fisher: Music from the other side, I like that. [Laughs] How has the haunting been manifested?
Butch: There’s a woman we call “The lady of the house.” She died 1905 and she hovers around the stairway. Apparently she fell to her death there, and then I had some professional people come in and do paranormal research. They dumped thirteen other existing entities in the basement. It looks like a dungeon actually. And then there’s a tunnel that leads to the house across the way. There’s a lot of history to the whole thing, believe it or not. It’s very spooky and interesting stuff so the house is great. I lived in it in the eighth grade. I was always outdoors, so was never really seen hanging around to see the ghost, but my sister and my grandma both saw it, yeah.
Fisher: So this is like the real Munsters’ house?
Butch: Yeah, pretty much. You’ve got it.
Fisher: There you go, Eddie Munster, Butch Patrick from the Munsters. And next week we’ll talk to Micky Dolenz of the Monkees. Well, naturally we’re even more interested in your family history and if you have a story to share, call our toll free number Find Line at 1-234-56-GENES . Here are our poll results this week from ExtremeGenes.com. We asked if you ever learned that a friend was also related to you. Fully eighty two percent who voted said yes. Hey, if you’re both from the same area and your families have been there for a long time, chances are good that you may be related back there somewhere. We’ve got a new poll up. The question is, “What is the largest number of children born to one mother in your lines?” We give you several choices. My wife descends from Henry and Mary Blimley Pence of Champaign County, Ohio. They had nineteen children. Cast your vote. We’ll get the results for you next week. It is time once again for your Family Histoire News from the pages of ExtremeGenes.com. July 28 will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the war to end all wars, WW I. An English project called Herts at War honor and remembers the First World War soldiers at Hertfordshire put out an appeal for memorabilia to be exhibited in the months ahead. Well, the call for the items was noticed by a man who knew he had such items. They can best be described as a time capsule containing the effects of his uncle Edward Ambrose who was mortally wounded in the Battle of Somme at the age of eighteen in July of 1915. Private Ambrose was the oldest of six children and the only one to see action on the Western Front. After his death his family received a parcel from the Front containing all of Edward’s personal effects. Among the items was a cigarette case complete with rolled up cigarettes, minus two, a locket containing a photo of his girlfriend and some letters from his mother and father, his pipe still half full of tobacco, and most devastating pieces of shrapnel from the enemy shell that ended his life. Well, the family couldn’t look at it and the items were stored in a leather case and kept in an attic. For ninety eight years they remained in storage unopened. When the appeal for the display went out, Edward’s nephew John got with his brother David and they decided to open the case. They’d never seen the items and were astonished at how preserved they were, and were particularly touched by the letters of their grandfather to Edward telling him he was praying for his safe return. The pictures are remarkable. See more at the link on ExtremeGenes.com.
Next, in Columbia, South Carolina another war is being investigated, our own Civil War. Archaeologists are sifting through the dirt on a piece of land that measures about a165 acres. Soon, condos and shops will be built there, but before that happens the experts are looking for remnants of a prisoner of war camp that once sat on the land. They only have until the end of the month to get the job done. Items found so far include a seal for a bale of cotton, a piece of lead that had been reshaped, perhaps to be made into a chess piece, and also some combs, buttons and one piece of fabric from a blue uniform. Whatever isn’t found in the next few days will ultimately be buried under the new shopping area. And finally, a 200 year old handwritten recipe book from 1811 has been found in England and gifted to a third great grandson of the author. Bob Watson bought the book in the 1990s and thoroughly researched the owner, eventually working forward to discover Colin Peel age 90 the original writer’s descendents. The book was passed down through several generations and was given to Peel complete with Mr Watson’s genealogical notes. Talk about a family treasure finding its way home. For more on all these stories and great pictures go to ExtremeGenes.com and click on the links. And if you’re a new listener, it’s like a drudge report for family history news. And just a reminder if you haven’t heard all our shows and guests search Extreme Genes, iHeart or Extreme Genes iTunes and listen to our past shows in podcast form. There’s lots of good stuff there. And coming up next, there’s a side of genealogy you may not know much about. I don’t. It’s called forensic genealogy and it has to do with many things. Our guest Claire Brisson-Banks will be here to tell us about it in three minutes on Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 2 Episode 39
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Claire Brissen-Banks
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with my special guest today Claire Brissen-Banks from Timeless Genealogies. Hi Claire, welcome to the show.
Claire: Hi Scott. Thank you so much for having me on. This is a fun topic.
Fisher: You have gotten into something that I have never heard of before, and I’m excited for you to teach us about it. It’s Forensic Genealogy.
Fisher: This is, I want to say it’s a new field because I don’t know much about it, but I don’t believe that’s the case.
Claire: No, it’s actually been around for a very long time. It’s just that they’re a lot more organized now and it’s actually an area of genealogy that’s like ancestral genealogical research, family history research, its forensic genealogy research all different types of research.
Fisher: Now forensic, this goes into recovering bodies from the military, it goes into connecting adopted children maybe to birth families, yes?
Claire: That is correct.
Fisher: And what else?
Claire: Finding missing persons, adoption research, probate research, real estate missing unknown heirs including title actions, mineral rights and things like that as well as adoptions and military repatriation. It’s quite a wide open field.
Fisher: Now, you’ve just recently gotten into this. How did you do it and is this a career for some people?
Claire: It is a career for some people. I was actually able to connect with what they call “The Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy” CAFG as an acronym for it, and they have a website and they hold, this is the third year they actually have classes, they hold once a year where they actually teach you, you know, the foundations and how to go about doing this, the types of databases to use, the people to get in touch with, the various state resources that are available to do this, it’s a fantastic opportunity to take the genealogical expertise that you have and use it to bring closure to families and to help individuals find perhaps living relatives that they don’t know that they are there because that’s your job.
Fisher: Now it’s funny you mention that because back in... I want to say the late 90s, one day my wife and I went outside and she says, “I’m going to go for a walk.” And I said, “I’m going to get the mail because you know, exercise, hmm.” Anyway, I grabbed the mail and there’s a letter there from an organization in California that traces down heirs of people that have no heirs! And this is kind of exciting and this is addressed to my wife. So I figured, wait a minute, she’s on a walk, I’m her husband I can open this.
Fisher: And of course they don’t tell you a lot because they don’t want you to know how much money is involved or how to get it yourself, you got to run through them. Obviously this is kind of the work that you’re talking about, tracing down descendents.
Claire: Yes. I agree. Lots of times people will leave stuff to other people besides relatives and sometimes that person may have passed away so it’s the forensic genealogist’s job to actually find the descendents of that individual.
Fisher: Interesting. Well, see, this person had left this money to nobody and so they found somebody who is closely related and I guess we left enough breadcrumbs out there that they said, “Oh, theses people!” And you know it wasn’t anything that would make anybody rich or anything, but it was quite the adventure to get into this and the common ancestor went back to 1784!
Claire: I know. It’s amazing. When we start doing this research, sometimes we have to go way back and then come forward to find who those descendents are of that ancestor from way back when and we connect the dots and it’s amazing what is able to be found.
Fisher: Well, it actually covered a lot of my genealogical costs for some time so I was very appreciative of that.
Fisher: I have no idea who she was or what she looked like, but we thank her.
Claire: [Laughs] That’s the whole idea of forensic genealogy actually. Sometimes you actually get the chance to... you’re working with living descendents and you get to see appreciation that they have for what you do. The closure you bring to their family and how you’ve made a difference.
Fisher: Now, you’re speaking specifically, because I can hear just from the tone of your voice, a lot of the emphasis is on the repatriation of the bodies of the dead from the wars particularly in the 20th century, yes?
Claire: That is correct. There’s a lot of that going on. People have no idea what’s sort of behind the scenes type thing. Occasionally you’ll see an article in a newspaper about a military person’s remains coming back home after a specific length of time, but they won’t realize what’s happened before to get to the point where that person’s coming home and that’s where forensic genealogists and well as the military get involved, and it’s an amazing process of what happens.
Fisher: Now, do you ever do anything that goes back beyond the 20th century into the Civil War, the Revolution, periods like that?
Claire: Honestly Scott, at this point I don’t know. But I’m sure that if some remains were found, it would be done.
Claire: It would be done and the records are available. There’s many, many Civil War databases, many of the more current war databases available, and so I’m sure that there would be ways to actually do that too.
Fisher: Hmm. But the most common ones are World War I.
Fisher: World War II.
Fisher: Vietnam, Korea, I can’t imagine too much during the modern wars.
Claire: No. From 1992 on the military started collecting the DNA and the medical history of the individuals that were part of the military. And so now that process won’t be as difficult if something happens to an individual and they’re lost and missing in action so to speak and when we find them, because of the current database that they’ve developed and created, that won’t be as much of a problem.
Fisher: So in essence, we’ve isolated the time period to the 20th century?
Fisher: Most of it up to maybe the 90s.
Claire: Right. And there’s still quite a number of World War I, World War II missing in action individuals that we’re still looking for and trying to bring back to their family.
Fisher: And many more in South East Asia.
Claire: Oh definitely, from Vietnam and what not.
Fisher: Absolutely. Now, do you have any examples of some stories of this?
Claire: Well, first of all, it’s called the joint POW and MIA account command and the central identification laboratory is located actually in Hawaii.
Claire: J-Packs mission is to assist in the fullest possible accounting of personal unaccounted for as a result of hostile acts. That’s their actual mission.
Fisher: Okay, so they actually have something that they work by that’s the standard?
Claire: That is correct. And they have high standards. They’ll go to an area, they’ll cordon off the area, they’ll hire locals to help to excavate the remains of the soldiers and then they carefully sift the dirt and the other debris that may be attached to the bones and then bring the bones back to Hawaii where they use their laboratories to analyze them through DNA. It’s just a fabulous process and everyone is just so careful with every part of the process to make sure that nothing gets destroyed. Every bit of the remains that’s found is used and hopefully been able to be returned to the families.
Fisher: So if you can get the DNA, I get that, but there has to also be something else to give you some indication of which direction to go to find the family that it might match because very few of those would have a DNA database of family members, right?
Claire: That is correct. Of course, so take that and combine it with what you know of the area and you know what soldiers were missing in a specific area. Take and point the case here where a lost marine’s remains were actually brought home after sixty eight years. That’s a long time.
Fisher: Whoa! Wow that is.
Claire: There were seven marines that went out for a training mission. The weather was so bad that night. They probably should not really have been cleared to fly that night, but they were. And when the plane landed it hit the side of a mountain.
Claire: And the allies used that remote location as an advanced bombing base during World War II for Guadalcanal and Simoleon. At the time of their death, it was believed that the marines had actually drowned, and the seven crew members were not declared as facilities officially until 1945. So for sixty eight years those marines’ remains rested thirty thousand feet above sea level in a dense jungle ninety square miles island.
Fisher: And far away from where they thought they went down.
Claire: Right. And throughout the years Dean Escam who was one of the individual’s brothers, twice travelled to that island from 1953 to the year 2000, but they could find no physical way to reach the actual crash site. Dean never gave up and hoped that they would find his brother’s remains and he gave a DNA sample to the government to help identify his brother should that opportunity ever happen. And he thought that the remains were simply lost to the war but they eventually, surprisingly, the remains of second lieutenant Escam were recovered and they were taken in to Hawaii for analyzation and dissemination and what they do to try to get in to the point to identify the remains of that individual, connecting them with their family.
Fisher: Wow, and they were actually able to match this then to the DNA of the brother?
Claire: That is correct. They found the remains on the island, they erected a cross there, the people that are actually on the island at the time. Because it was sacred ground so they just kept it so that’s why the remains were actually better intact then other times and so that was very, very helpful. They found the seven individuals. It was amazing. At the time that this happened, Dwight was like 22, his brother Dean was only 12, and then the individual that was still living Mr Peterson was only 2 years old at the time.
Fisher: Hmm. This is the brother who eventually gave the DNA.
Claire: Right, right.
Fisher: Did he live to see this recovery?
Claire: Unfortunately he did not. He died in 2007. This was not until 2013.
Fisher: Wow! So just last year.
Fisher: That’s got to be enormously gratifying to put all this together.
Claire: I think so. I can’t imagine they actually give a binder with all the reports and all the information they find to the family.
Fisher: That’s fantastic stuff.
Claire: And then of course he was flown home and was buried with full military honors bringing the whole family together and closure to a chapter that had been part of that family for sixty eight years never knowing what actually happened to him.
Fisher: And this military side, this repatriation of the bodies, this is just one side of forensic genealogy.
Claire: Oh it’s just one small part. We have what we call a Purple Hearts Reunited where sometimes Purple Hearts get lost, and they’re found and they can be returned and there’s a group called “Purple Hearts Reunited, Incorporated” In fact, The Council of Advancement of Forensic Genealogists have joined hands with the Purple Hearts Reunited and it’s all done volunteer work and we try to reunite the Purple Hearts to the members of the family remaining. And it’s fabulous. They do an actual presentation, they put the Purple Heart in a frame and sometimes the whole community comes together and it’s just a fabulous way to give back to the community for something that someone gave their life for.
Fisher: Well, I’d never heard of forensic genealogy before this so, thank you for the education.
Claire: You’re welcome.
Fisher: Its fascinating stuff and I know there’s got to be some lighter sides to this as well.
Claire: There are.
Fisher: And we’ll get into that another time but we’ll have to have you back. Claire Brissen-Banks, Brissen, French?
Fisher: You don’t sound French.
Claire: No, I’m from Rhode Island.
Fisher: Rhode Island, okay. [Laughs] She’s with Timeless Genealogies. You can her at TimelessGen.com. Thanks so much for joining us Claire.
Claire: Thank you so much.
Fisher: And on the way next, she called our Extreme Genes Find Line to share her own personal story of discovery and we hear she’s received quite a haul of family history treasure. Suzanne Hansen talks about her Pennsylvania adventure in five minutes on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 3 Episode 39
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Suzanne Hansen
Fisher: Hey and welcome back to Extreme Genes Family History Radio ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, and of course as you know we’re always asking people to contact us through our Extreme Genes Find Line which is 1-234-56-GENES toll free. That’s G-E-N-E-S. And Suzanne Hansen has actually done this. Hi Suzanne, welcome to the show!
Suzanne: Hello there, how are you?
Fisher: Awesome! And you’ve been making some great discoveries and having some great experiences and as always, we’d like you to share and so we’re glad you’ve been brave enough to step up to the mike. What do you have for us?
Suzanne: Well, I’ve been climbing my tree and a lot of branches, but one in particular was really fascinating and that was my grandmother’s line. Her name was Gladys Bell Wolfe Parker.
Fisher: That’s a lot of names.
Suzanne: Yes. [Laughs] Well, her maiden name was Wolfe, and she married my grandfather and became a Parker. Her mother died when she was just a young girl. And I kind of heard the stories when I was young myself, just a tad. But, I didn’t realize her adventures at trying to discover more information about her mother and her trip back to Perryopolis, Pennsylvania 49 years ago.
Fisher: So what happened when she went back?
Suzanne: Well, my grandmother was an adventurous woman. She took a bus. [Laughs]
Suzanne: All by herself and went out to Perryopolis where she connected with some distant cousins on the Parker side of the family, which was her grandmother’s husband. It’s an old home that was there. Probably now it’s about 200 years old, it’s been in the family. And she talked to people. She actually visited the house where her mother and grandmother had been born and visited the cemeteries and got a few records and kept in touch with an Uncle Horace who was the family photographer. And that’s where she got some of her ancestral pictures, but a lot of the details she didn’t get them on that trip.
Fisher: But you have picked up the torch and continued it on. What’s happened?
Suzanne: Well, my mom, after my grandmother died, was really interested all of a sudden in the awakenings.
Fisher: Yes. [Laughs]
Suzanne: Oh my, I don’t know anything about my grandmother, and what not.
Fisher: For some reason we never think about that when they’re living, you noticed that?
Suzanne: It’s crazy I know. Well, anyway she started to want to know information and her approach was, well there’s nothing we can get. And of course I’m going, “Yeah, there is. We just have to look.” And I started getting on the Internet and got a hold of a Forker and within a short period of time I actually got a picture of her great grandmother and her husband which would have been Elizabeth and Robert Forker which my mother just about went crazy.
Fisher: Well, now she had never seen a photo of them before?
Suzanne: No. No she had never seen one, especially of the husband. Anyway, it was rather interesting that the old home was in the care of a descendent, Allan Forker. And so I started calling into Perryopolis to see if I could locate him, which I did. And I asked him if it was okay if my mom came to visit. So in 2002 she went to visit, but he was in a rest home and no one would let her in the house.
Fisher: Boy, what a wasted trip, huh?
Suzanne: She felt very discouraged about it, but the big challenge was, unbeknownst to all of us, she had cancer and she died that following spring.
Fisher: Oh boy, that had to be hard on you and of course she had never solved the problem.
Suzanne: Not at all. So then I kept calling to see if I could get in touch with these people. And then Allan actually died right after my mother. So then I had to find out who had the house. And we located John Forker which was the next who’d inherit the property and his wife Charmaine. And I kept in touch with them for 12 years. I had an impression to call, there was no answer. And so then I called back the Sunday and his wife answered and she said, “Oh that was the day he died.” I said, “Oh my.”
Fisher: So you had this impression to call him on that day?
Suzanne: Uh, huh. I did.
Fisher: And so you got in touch with her and what happened then?
Suzanne: She mentioned that she had a lot of treasures and she didn’t know what to do with it. And explained the house had been sold and she and her children had removed all of the things and put it in a large trailer on their property.
Suzanne: And she didn’t know what to do with it.
Fisher: And she didn’t know what was in it probably either.
Suzanne: She had actually started going through it and started seeing all the photographs and all of the things a lot of them like violins that someone had made, old dolls. It was almost like the house had been encapsulated for a lengthy period of time, and it had not been touched or moved. In fact, there’s stories about Allan Forker sleeping in a chair so he didn’t disturb anything in the house.
Suzanne: So, I guess because he was a single man he felt all of this was bequeathed to him and he wanted to preserve it.
Fisher: Well how good of him! It’s odd though that he wouldn’t share it with you while he was living.
Suzanne: Well, I guess people get busy and think oh well. I don’t know why people do that. [Laughs] Anyway, she looked through it, she would say yes come get it and then she’d back off back and forth. Last year I made a trip there and she had just broken her arm and didn’t want me to come even though I was in Virginia, but I just decided I’d go and say hello. And when we got there she was so excited to see us she started pulling all these boxes out of her house with one arm and say, “Here, you take this, you take that.” And so we ended up with over a thousand photographs.
Fisher: Whoa! A thousand photographs! From what era?
Suzanne: Well, I would say it would be mid 1800s, early 1900s and mid 1900s, somewhere in there. Of course, Forker was the photographer in the family and these are all originals. There’s a lot of glass types that I’ve looked at.
Suzanne: Uh huh. And there’s tintype and there’s cabin cards.
Fisher: Are they marked?
Suzanne: A lot of them were not. A lot of them were. As far as the ones from my family I was able to identify a lot of them, which were my own ancestors. But, there’s a bunch of the community that have not been identified. But, we’re doing what we call the Perryopolis Project. Perryopolis, Pennsylvania is a small town tucked there. It’s having their 200th Anniversary in July and so we’re scanning in and getting them online so that the people that might live there or family members might be able to detect their own family.
Fisher: That’s right because they may have marked versions of the same picture.
Suzanne: Exactly. And it’s a pretty small community and so I feel like why not share the wonderful treasures.
Fisher: Yeah that’s a great way to go. And you know, that’s really what’s happening right now. Some of the rarest things are getting into the right person’s hands like yourself and then put online and then suddenly all these people get to enjoy it and perhaps then get inspired to do the same thing so that you can enjoy what they’ve got.
Suzanne: Most definitely. Charmaine is an older woman and she doesn’t do the Internet but what I did is I created the WebPages and then took a picture of them and sent it to her so that she could see what’s happening to them. And that excited her so much that she actually called me last Monday and said, “I’ve got two boxes. I’m shipping them to you.”
Suzanne: And there are more photographs and one is a wooden photograph book with a wooden cover. Can you imagine what that might be?
Fisher: No idea, but it’s got to be fun.
Suzanne: Well, this particular house houses things from the Wilkinsons, The Forkers and the Redcorns. The Redcorns actually were in the Revolutionary War and served under Washington which is kind of interesting.
Fisher: Well, it’s going to be a great project for you to sort out it sounds like to me Suzanne.
Suzanne: Well, it’s exciting and there’s some people coming on board, volunteers that are helping scanning the photographs so they don’t get destroyed, which happens a lot with our family history nowadays. People don’t know what to do with it so they get rid of it. [Laughs]
Fisher: Well, it’s a great era for preservation, that’s why we’ve got Tom Perry our Preservation Authority here on the show all the time to help people to do that. And I’m so excited that you’re getting that chance. I mean, this sounds like an adventure that could go on for years and years.
Suzanne: Oh, it has been fun because actually, I’ve been able to take my grandsons on this “Find” which I think, if we can incorporate children, then the things that we discover end up being talked about and shared and then they value it as well.
Fisher: Suzanne Hansen thank you so much for taking the time to call our toll free “Find Line” 1-234-56-GENES. What a great story you’ve got.
Suzanne: Well thanks. Hope you have a great day.
Fisher: And up next, it’s Tom Perry our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. Want to know just how it is that the same size discs can continue to hold more and more data. Tom will answer that for you in three minutes on Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 4 Episode 39
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes Family History Radio, ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority here every week to answer your questions. And Tom, what do you have for us today?
Tom: Okay. We've got some kind of questions that people are kind of getting a little bit confused. We tried to make it perfectly clear as mud last week.
Fisher: [Laughs] Oh, the box analogy.
Fisher: I thought it was great. I mean, talking about different size boxes for different types of disks.
Tom: And so, somebody wrote in and says, "You know, I like your box analogy, but I'm a bit confused, because a 12 x 12 box, it always holds the same amount of information or material. So how does a 4.75 round disk hold more than another? Say we have three 12 x 12 boxes, if you fill them full of gravel, if you fill another one full of golf balls and another one full of bowling balls, it’s going to hold different amounts."
Fisher: Sure, weight wise.
Tom: Exactly. And you know, the size you count up every pound of sand.
Tom: There's whatever you want. So basically, when they make a disk, which we call a one off disk, because you make one at a time, even if you duplicate it, it’s actually burning one disk at a time. And what they do with those, it’s made out of a polycarbonate type substance. It has a thin layer of, let's just call it aluminum foil, it’s something that's reflective. And then you have dye, usually an amber, a blue, a green or a purple dye that is actually used in the disk that will turn on or turn off. And a good example of this, everybody's seen an LCD watch or had an LCD watch, and you look at your watch and it has seven distinct pieces. And if two of them are turned on, it’s a one, you know, if all of them are turned on, it’s an eight.
Fisher: Right. Yeah, it makes sense.
Tom: It’s an electrical charge that says, "Okay, you turn on to make this an eight or one or seven or three or whatever." So basically, the dye is the same thing. And the amount of pixels for instance that are on the disk, the more that are on that, the more information you can write on it. And so basically, the way this is done is, everybody pretty much knows disks are written with lasers and lasers are made out of light. If you get a prism, you see the whole line of, you know, we learned the RGB of things back in science, you know, red, blue, yellow, violet, all those different colors, each one of those colors have different wavelengths. That's why when you look at a green bush, it looks green, so it’s the same thing. Like with BluRay, is a finer light. It has a shorter wavelength, so it can write into a smaller space.
Tom: So basically, the wavelength determines the width, so to speak, of light, so how much information it can write. Like last week, we talked about dpi and ppi, how a printer would print on a piece of paper and make it look photographic quality or non photographic quality. It’s the size of the dot. So it’s the same thing with the wavelength, the smaller the wavelength of light is, the more information it can write on that disk. The big disk we're talking about that are going to be coming out England that hold 365 terabytes, they use a super, super fine wave, but it also writes it in three dimensions.
Tom: So that's how it’s able to put that much stuff on a 4.75 disk. But in order to do that, the dyes that we have right now, it’s impossible. So they're using a quartz disk. So basically, on a DVD, you're not going to get as much information as a BluRay. That's why some people kind of get confused, "Well, how do these dots work?" Okay, I explained the thing about your watch, the LCD watch. Another thing you can do is, go get a piece of graphs paper you got in your art class or in algebra or something like that and just put a big S on it. Okay, now turn that S sideways and you basically have a sign wave. That's a, you know, an audio thing. Every square that that S has crossed through, go and color it in. So now, if you have little, teeny squares, it’s going to still look like an S. If you have great, big squares, it’s going to look very, very jagged, just like a poor printer would look jaggy, okay? So you take that, and now each one of those little squares is a digital on or off. So when the laser burns an LED to say, "Okay, I want you on. I want you off." That's how the information is written on it. And so, after the break, we can talk a little bit more about it.
Fisher: Wow! You are a, you're a very deep man, Tom. I had no idea about this.
Fisher: Nice job. All right, we will be back with more from Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority and your questions at [email protected], when we return on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 5 Episode 39
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio, ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, our final segment for this week with Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. And of course, anytime you have a question about preservation, you can [email protected], and you might even hear your question answered on the air. And Tom, this has got to be something new that we do periodically, because you come in with so many interesting tales from your customers, we'll call it "tales from the store." You have this one happen this week?
Tom: Yes, this week. We had a gentleman who has been in the store before, he brought in a box of pictures, very, very old pictures, probably like turn of the century or so. In fact, one of the women in one of the photos, her daughter is now ninety years old. And so, he was telling me that his sister's going back to Massachusetts where they're from, to visit her and get some more stories from her. She's written quite an extensive history. And so we started talking about the pictures got something like, you know, dirt stains and things like that on it. We need to, you know, clean it off, make it look really nice again. And he says, "Oh, and by the way, she was the first one to ever have a driver's license in the state of Massachusetts."
Tom: Yeah. That's what I said, "Oh really? How did that come about?" He says, "Well, back in those days, they didn't have men that could drive everything and they had nobody to drive the ambulance."
Tom: They said, "Hey, you know, would you drive the ambulance for us?" And she said yes. And so, she was the first licensed driver in the state of Massachusetts.
Fisher: Huh! And why does he have pictures of her? Is she related to him?
Tom: She was actually their next door neighbor, so they just called her, aunty.
Tom: But she's no relation to them whatsoever. And an interesting thing that they were telling about her is, her mother, when she was really young, she was a Jewish immigrant, she and two of her siblings were Jewish immigrants and her parents all came over. They were really struggling. It was really, really hard back then. He didn't have a job, she didn't have a job, they could not make ends meet. So basically, they were in the town square and told her three children, "Wait here. We'll be right back."
Tom: "Right back" never happened.
Fisher: Uh oh!
Tom: And so, the people in the town square, after a while they found out, "Well, I guess these people aren't coming back. So let's take care of these kids till they do." But they never did come back. And so they had the three kids here. And this lady that was in a picture, her mother went up to the kids and says, "Do you guys know what today is?" and nobody raised their hands. She said, "Come on, one of you must know what today is." And one of them, very shyly raised her hand and said, "It’s Columbus Day." She goes, "That's right. It’s when Columbus discovered America." And she says, "You know, why don't you come and stay with me?" So she picked this girl out of that, because she knew that it was Columbus Day, and took her back to her house and raised her. And an interesting thing is, somehow, they became friends with Helen Keller.
Tom: I don't know exactly how they met, but somehow, they were tied in with Helen Keller. And this story just goes on and on and on. And I'm really hoping this gentleman will call in and give this whole story, because it is an absolutely amazing story that he had. So basically what we're going to do for him, we're going to take all those pictures, go and clean them up, get the dirt off, take the faded parts around. Some of them, you can hardly even see an image, but as you know, through Photoshop, it’s amazing what you can do.
Fisher: Oh absolutely! Easy stuff.
Tom: It’s incredible. So we're going to get them all restored for him. And this house is still standing that they grew up in. And so, the Historical Society doesn't have these pictures from the turn of the century, so once we're done, they want to put them in their museum. And the house, I guess, is going to be turned into a museum, too. And he kind of told me, he says, "You know when we moved into the house and grew up there and we lived there for years and years, we figured time started then."
Tom: He said, "I've done some research and I've got old pictures of the building where there was nothing but miles and miles of farmland. And so, he didn't know all this, but through, you know, Facebook things and checking on different sites, he's found out that, "Hey, you know, this house did not start when we moved in. It had, you know, a history of its own, which is, you know, very interesting."
Fisher: It’s amazing the stories you will hear there as people share their treasures and memories with you.
Tom: Oh absolutely! We get phone calls and people, you know, just not, "I have this old film I need to transfer. I have some photos that I need fixed." They go in and tell us these stories. And I'd say, "Hey, you know, you need to get these stories to Fish, and we need to get some of these on air. They're just absolutely incredible!"
Fisher: All right, he's Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority. Ask him a question at [email protected]. Thanks to our guests, Claire Brissen-Banks and Suzanne Hansen for some great information. Catch up with past shows by listening to the podcast by searching iHeart or iTunes and Extreme Genes. Take care. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!