Episode 398 - Pass It Down: The Future Of Your Family’s Past / A Halloween Leftover Story

podcast episode Nov 08, 2021

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England History Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. The guys begin with Fisher talking about his research breakthrough after 39 years! He’ll explain the key to breaking the brick wall. David then reveals the happy news that the Family History Library in Salt Lake City is expanding their hours. Hear what the new hours will be. Then, a story is out about a man who met a psychic who delivered a message from his late father. David then tells about HIS experience with a psychic. (Yes, he’s freaked out!) DNA is again bringing closure to a family… this time to the victim of a notorious serial killer. You’ll know the name. No one would have ever imagined where the earliest evidence of tobacco usage has been found… on a bombing range in a western state. David will share the details.

Fisher then visits with Marian Burk Wood. Marian has written a book, “Planning A Future For Your Family’s Past.” It’s an important topic for everyone. Marion has some great thoughts on how to get your genealogical collection in order for after you’re… well… done!

Then the Tie Die Genealogist, Dan Ford, joins the show to share his “ordinary person with an extraordinary find” story. It reads like a mystery novel, but it’s all true! A definite Halloween leftover!

Then, David rejoins Fisher for a pair of questions on Ask Us Anything.

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

Transcript for Episode 398

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 398

Fisher: And welcome America 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. Great to have you along genies! Incredible guests coming up today, one is involving an incredibly important conversation we all need to have at various times and it’s about planning the future of your family’s past. And I’ll have Marian Burk Wood on the show. She’s written a book on that very topic, talking about how we preserve our heirlooms, our documents, our photographs, and make sure they get where we want them to go. So they’ll get passed on to other people or enjoyed by people in archives. Plus, later in the show, we’re going to talk to Dan Ford. He is known as the Tie Dye Genealogist. He’s an ordinary person with an extraordinary find. And it’s a perfect follow up to Halloween, the story he’s got for you. You’re going to love it. Hey, if you haven’t checked out our Weekly Genie Newsletter, yet. Get signed up on ExtremeGenes.com or on our Facebook page. You get a blog from me each week, links to great stories you’ll be interested in as a genealogist. And of course links to the show as well. And of course, through our brand new website ExtremeGenes.com, you get an opportunity to sign up for video classes in starting genealogy and genetic genealogy, figuring out how to make those matches work for you. Right now, it’s time to head out to Boston, Massachusetts where David Allen Lambert is standing by, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Hello David.

David: How are you friend? I understand you had some big breakthrough in your research recently.

Fisher: You know, it’s not too often you get a breakthrough after 39 years.

David: [Laughs]

Fisher: But it happened finally. My wife has had this second great grandmother who has just been a mystery to us forever. She had a brother. They were both born in Ohio, in Butler County in the 1830s and ‘40s. And unfortunately, this great, great grandmother died in 1870. The brother died in 1880, too soon for death certificates that had the names of the parents on them. But, they had a sister that had visited family members in Indiana, in the 1900 census, and after that she was gone, disappeared, really common name, Martha White.

David: Ooh.

Fisher: Where did she go? She’s not in Ohio. We can’t find a death record in Indiana. Where else do you go and still know that you found the right Martha White because the name is too common? So, it occurred to me that this nephew she was visiting had moved to Michigan, where he died in 1933.  So, I thought, all right, I’ll take a crack at that and I found a great candidate. And as it turned out, this nephew was the informant on the death certificate and it named both parents, and the mother’s maiden name. And I found the marriage record of these parents back in Ohio in 1820. So, it was a huge thing and it’s still keeping me busy as I track back on her lines, the mother’s side. And by the way, Dave, we confirmed the whole thing with 50 DNA matches to my wife’s mother and uncle! So, we know we got it right.

David: Wow!

Fisher: Yeah, isn’t that fun?

David: Your Christmas card list just got bigger.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yes, it really, really did.

David: [Laughs]

Fisher: So, we’ve got some good news for everybody in Family Histoire news to start off with.

David: We surely do. The Family History Library has now started moving into phase two for reopening, that means Saturday, starting this weekend, November 6th. Open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday. If you’ve got some family history you want to do, go to the Family History Library right in Temple Square, in Salt Lake City, and I will be there on the 13th because that’s when the NEHGS program ends and I’m going to do some research myself. I changed my flight.

Fisher: Very Nice! Well, this is good news. It’s great to see the library getting back to business.

David: Well, you know, speaking of getting back to business, I mean, I hope that you had a nice Halloween, and sometimes stories that we find fit perfectly for Halloween week, but I've got a couple of leftovers. This is a story from Noah Michelson who didn't believe in the afterlife until he got a psychic to talk to him about his dead father and started passing messages on to him.

Fisher: And these were messages by the way that were really specific that this guy could not have looked up anywhere. It was just a gift. I don't know, I have never gotten into psychic research for my genealogy, and you, Dave? You ever had an experience?

David: Er, well, I was invited to go sit with a psychic probably about a dozen years ago. I'd never been to one before and they did not know who I was and they knew more about...I don't know, I've never been back again, because I hate to say it, it freaked me out so much that he named my dead brother and they mentioned about my parents and my nickname that only my dad would call me. Where would they get that if they didn't get it from him? And I know I didn't ever put it out on a TV show or in a newsprint.

Fisher: Anything.

David: Yeah, it’s crazy.

Fisher: I know.

David: So, another Halloween related story that kinda leaves you with an odd chill down your spine is, John Wayne Gacy. Anytime you mention that mass murderer, it just gives you like a chill, but DNA search has actually identified one of his victims. This is a young man who died back somewhere between 1976 and 1977, was discovered on the property of John Wayne Gacy with another 29 individuals, and he wasn't identified until recently. I'm not a fan of tobacco personally, but a lot of people like chewing tobacco or smoke cigars, cigarettes. But the earliest use of tobacco has been located in Utah. And no, it wasn't discovered in the records of the Family History Library, but was actually found on the West Desert on a US army range. This dates back to 12,000 years ago and essentially is a hearth that was found with the remnants of chewed tobacco seeds, essentially like chewing tobacco.

Fisher: Wow!

David: And yeah, its 9,000 years now earlier than the previous archeological evidence. So, who woulda knew!

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: It would have been right there in a bombing range. And now they can say that chewing tobacco is 12,000 years old.

Fisher: That's crazy!

David: Well, that's all I have for this week. I'm going to be heading out to Salt Lake and talking to you all from Utah next time. And remember, if you're not a member of American Ancestors, you can save $20 on membership with a coupon code "EXTREME" on AmericanAncestors.org. Talk to you in a little bit.

Fisher: All right, David. Yes, back for Ask Us Anything at the back end of the show. And coming up next in three minutes, we're going to talk to author, Marian Burk Wood. She has written a book called, “Planning a Future for Your Family Past.” It’s an important book and an incredibly important topic and we're going to kick that around, coming up when we return in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 398

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Marian Burk Wood

Fisher: We are back on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And you know, one of the most important conversations we can ever have with our family members is, “Who wants what? What do we do with our stuff? How do we plan for our family’s’ past, right? And that’s essentially the name of Marian Burk Wood’s book. It’s called Planning a Future for your Family’s Past. And Marian is a Connecticut woman. Great to have you on the show! Great book!

Marian: Thank you so much, and thank you for having me Scott.

Fisher: There’s so many questions that people would have about this because as you know over time, even if you’re in family history for just a few years, you can accumulate an enormous amount of material from videos, to photographs, to documents, heirlooms, all these things that come into play and it’s challenging over time when you start to look at how these pile up, to determine exactly where all this stuff is going to go. And you’ve written a great book about it. Where do people start?

Marian: I think if you’re trying to decide what should stay in your collection for you to bequest, or what should not stay in, think about three categories: Category 1- would be items like special heirlooms, original documents like your great grandmother’s birth certificate, things like that, that you think should be in your collection, and then kept together with everything else you’ve got in family history documents. Category 2 – are things that you don’t have to have yourself, but you think should stay in the family. Maybe you’ve got wedding photos from a great grandma, or a great aunt, those could possibly go to a cousin or someone in the extended family. Then category 3 – are things that don’t have to be in your collection at all. You can give them away to a good home, not necessarily in your family but perhaps to a historical society or a genealogical society. Somebody who knows how to take care of those things and will keep them safe preserved for researchers in the future.

Fisher: Absolutely. You know, there’s a real challenge too right now because we are of the era where we’re transitioning from a lot of the physical to a lot of the digital. I’ve spent an awful lot of time fixing up old photographs using Photoshop, and My Heritage’s great tools, and colorizing many of them. They’ve come out great, but we don’t have originals of that unless I actually physically print these pictures. So, I want to make sure those things are shared with people. But I think there is a tendency that descendants would be more interested in things that don’t take a lot of their space. Don’t you think?

Marian: I agree. And in fact, there are some societies and museums by the way that will accept digital items for donations. So, if you’ve got, as I had, my late father-in-law took thousands of slides and most of them were not really useful for family history, but some of them showed historical places.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Marian: So, I contacted some historical societies and museums and was able to donate those slides because they wanted to see what it looked like let’s say in 1932 or 1927.

Fisher: Sure. Wow, that’s a great way to look at it. But as far as the descendants go, I would think just saying okay, we’re going to give you a Google share folder or a Dropbox folder loaded with this material and hopefully then if they see some pictures that they would like to turn into a physical photo for themselves to keep around the house, that’s great. Otherwise, at least it’s all kept together and you can share it with more than one person that way.

Marian: That’s a great idea. And I hope that everybody who’s listening is captioning their photos digitally as well as perhaps in some physical format.

Fisher: Yeah, that’s absolutely true. There are so many new programs that are out there that can help you with that as well. So, let’s go through this process. You talked a little about things that can go to the family, things that can stay with you, because to me it’s like, you know, there are a lot of things I’ve got. I don’t want to give them away right now. I think I’ve got some years left. I would just assume keep a lot of these things around that give me joy to have, but eventually these things have to go some place so how do you keep track of what goes where? Are we talking about a will of some sort? 

Marian: I do recommend that folks make a genealogical will. And there’s a sample in the book. But whether you put it in will format or if you simply write a letter, you need to figure out what exactly is going to be left and to whom. So, for example, there are different heirlooms that are in my collection but they’re going to go to different people. So, my late mother-in-law was a talented ceramicist and she left a number of small sculptures of animals. Those are going to go to different folks. Maybe it’s a grandchild who gets one, maybe it’s a cousin who gets another, but they’re not just going to those people, they’re going with a story. So, I’ve been doing what you’ve talked about, just a few weeks ago. I photographed all these heirlooms and I wrote the story. And those heirs already have a copy of the heirloom’s picture along with the story. And now those stories are attached to the heirlooms and listed in my genealogical will. But I always have to ask permission to bequest something more than one or two items. So, I needed to ask permission to have my 36 archival storage boxes go to two different heirs who are going to take care of two different lines. If I don’t ask permission, I don’t know if someday when I join my ancestors in the far future, those people might not have the space, or might not want the responsibility. So, we do have to make sure that our heirs are willing and able. 

Fisher: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I started that project some time back where I would take a photograph of the item and then I would put that story in it, and then I would just do it on one page, one page per photograph and just turned it into a basic little book that has everything in it. And I’m finding I’m constantly running into, particularly physical heirlooms that people might not know what they are. I had this experience some time back where we found this crummy old coffee pot after we’d cleaned my mother’s place out, and I had no idea of where it came from. It obviously predated her. It was silver coated. And it turned out that she had left me a little list of things in a note that I found in a folder somewhere and it mentioned this coffee pot. And it turned out to have been a wedding gift to my great grandparents in Sweden in 1883.

Marian: Wow!

Fisher: And if I had not found that, I would have thrown that thing out as the piece of junk that it otherwise is.

Marian: You’re making an excellent point. We need to tell folks in the family now what we have and what’s the significance because it might look like a piece of junk if we don’t know there’s a story behind it.

Fisher: Absolutely true. I ran into a situation a while back as well and I hear this story over and over again about people finding documents in the trash heap after somebody dies, right. I mean, how many family bibles have we lost as a result of that, or important photographs or documents otherwise. And you think about that, when that happens it means somebody really didn’t make any plans for what was going to take place.

Marian: I sure don’t want all my 23 years of hard work and these artifacts that I took time to preserve, and that was important to my grandparents or great grandparents. I want those things to stay in the family, if the family wants them. The other thing Scott is that a lot of times people feel they don’t have any heirs. They can’t think of anybody who’d want their collection. But there are still things they can do now to plan ahead. So, for example, maybe you don’t have kids, or maybe there’s nobody left that you think of in your direct line, but you may have cousins who would be willing to take some or all of your collection, especially if there’s something that shows their direct line.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Marian: Then it might be an easy sell.

Fisher: Yeah. Exactly right. You think back on all the things that you gather over time, and I’ve learned over time too that what makes things attractive to people, what makes some of these items desirable is how you display them. And sometimes they’re just kept in plastic sleeves, acid free sleeves in books. I’ve got a lot of those. But I also have little displays. For instance, I have musket balls from the battleground of battles that my ancestors were in. Well, you know, you’re going to keep that little piece of metal rolling around in a drawer unmarked? I have it in a little jewelry case with a display that highlights the ball, and then its history right there in the jewelry case as well. Or you can create a shadow box like I did with my mother’s badges that she got as a result of being in her high school band for four years. Every year they’d give her a new badge. And they weren’t anything that you’d understand where they were from or for. So, I framed them all together with a photo of the band and a little note that went along with it. So, it displays very nicely. It keeps them together and people will know exactly what they’ve got. If you don’t know what you’ve got, they often just go away. 

Marian: You know, you make a good point. What you’re saying to the folks who see these displays is, this is something important to our family. This is something that’s valuable enough to frame and save and tell people about. I like the way you’re thinking about those artifacts.              

Fisher: Well, thank you so much Marian. Your book, by the way, just covers so much ground that we can’t even touch it today. But let’s go through some of the chapters here just so people understand. You’ve done a couple of editions of this as well. So, you talk about organizing storage, you talk about organizing photos and images and movies. Boy, that’s important stuff. Organizing digital files, this could be really tricky because as we know, technology isn’t always our friend late in life.

Marian: [Laughs]

Fisher: And so it’s really important to, I would say, engage some of the younger family members in helping you to organize that, and perhaps in the process they’ll become a little more interested in what you’ve got.

Marian: Great idea!

Fisher: Then we’ve got a chapter on inventorying and indexing your collection. That could be a little time consuming but really important once again. Family artifacts keep or give away like we’ve talked about. I mean, this list goes on and on and on. It’s a terrific book. It’s available on Amazon. You can also go to AmericanAncestors.org to their library. The Newberry Library in Chicago their book store has copies of it as well. The name of the book is Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past. The author is my guest Marian Burk Wood. And Marian, thank you so much for your time. This is absolutely fabulous, very important conversation, and your book I think is a source of terrific ideas.

Marian: Thank you so much Scott. And I want to remind the audience, if there’s one thing you do for your heirs, caption those photos so that a 100 years from now they’ll know what great, great, great grandma, and great, great, great grandpa looked like.

Fisher: Well said. Thank you so much Marian. And coming up next, another ordinary person with an extraordinary find, it’s kind of like an extension of Halloween this story. Wait till you hear it. It’s coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes.

Segment 3 Episode 398

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Dan Ford

Fisher: All right, back at it on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And I always love hearing ordinary people with extraordinary finds and how they found them. And I’ve got one of those on the line right now, it’s Dan Ford. He calls himself the “Tie-Dye Genealogist.” I love the name, Dan. Where did you get that?

Dan: From wearing tie dye to enough genealogy conferences that it became a recognizable trademark.

Fisher: [Laughs] Very nice. Well, tell us your story. You’ve got a great one here going back to the immigration from the potato famine.

Dan: I was researching my second great grandmother whose entire family came over in 1849 because of the famine. And in particular, I was researching her brother William. They settled in Massachusetts. I was researching him because you always do that with the siblings of your primary ancestor. I came across his death certificate that said, “Burned by fire.”

Fisher: Oh, wow!

Dan: So, I dug in more to him. Earlier in his life he joined the Civil War, served two tours and got married in between the two of them, had been seriously wounded. He did finish serving but he had a head wound and it kind of left him not all right. Later in life, he was underneath a ward. The town clerk would manage his money. So, the newspapers had a lot of coverage on this, so that was great to track down how he got burnt by that fire, and it was quite the story. This gets graphic.

Fisher: Okay.

Dan: He was brutally murdered and apparently the fire was to cover it up. They were only ever able to find his torso, his body. His head had been cut off. All his limbs had been cut off.

Fisher: Ugh!

Dan: He was found in the basement of his house, next to the stove.

Fisher: This is like a carryover from Halloween.

Dan: [Laughs] Yeah. And they found that he was lying on top of a bloody axe.

Fisher: Oh, dear. Wow!

Dan: So, we had the cause of death. The story that the locals saw though, was that they woke up Sunday morning and the house was on fire. In the middle of the night at 3am the house was on fire. So, they go over there, eventually they find the body in the basement. So, the expectation is that it was a murder and the house was burned to cover it.

Fisher: Sure.

Dan: The suspects are really fascinating in this story. Even though this guy who is in his 50s and not quite all there. He relatives just recently moved to town, he had become really friendly apparently with the neighbor’s sisters and he had given them the deed to his house.

Fisher: [Laughs] Okay.

Dan: Theory is that he had asked for it back and that’s why they were going to kill him.

Fisher: There seems to be many motives potentially here, right? Because if a guy is off a little bit you’d think that he might frighten somebody. They might consider him a scary individual.

Dan: In fact, that literally happened. They had reconstructed his last day. He had gone to the town clerk, got a few dollars, 8 to 10 dollars. Gone to another town and paid some bills, then gone out drinking, come home and got into a fight with somebody. And all that was covered in the inquest, but they decided the fight guy was just a normal fight.

Fisher: Okay.

Dan: He may have even proposed to one of the women. Well, he invited her up to his place.

Fisher: Uh, oh.

Dan: But, she wouldn’t do that while he was married. Remember he got married during the Civil War.

Fisher: Yeah. And she was still living then?

Dan: Yes, he never divorced her. So, now you’re starting to build up this motive and yes, he had just filed for divorce. And as a matter of fact, the divorce case was going to be heard in four days.

Fisher: Okay. [Laughs]

Dan: So, 15 years after separation, decades after having been married, only now he decides to file for divorce. So, something is going on there. Largely, the newspapers portrayed the sisters as the main suspects, but you know, you can make a case for the wife, because she was about to lose everything.

Fisher: Yep.

Dan: She was going to inherit this guy’s sizable amount of money eventually. He had a sizable pension. From the Civil War he had a lot of money from his inheritance. So, the wife had been expecting to inherit all this and when she found out she was going to get divorced, and the house had already been given away, maybe she lost it.

Fisher: Wow! But, you wouldn’t think she’d be the one though, wielding the axe, right? You’d think she’d bring somebody in because that sounds like something that would take a stronger person.

Dan: Yeah. I have other axe events in my tree and they’re usually males. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yes, usually. There aren’t a lot of Lizzie Bordens out there.

Dan: So, they did all of the investigation they could. They actually exhumed the body twice.

Fisher: Oh, boy.

Dan: So he had three burials. So they could reexamine the cut marks and things like that, very thorough. But, months later they had the inquest and the judge ruled it was murder but they never found out who. So, the sisters were not charged, no one was ever charged. However, here’s the final thing. During probate, after the inquest, it turns out the executor found out that the town clerk had been embezzling from William.

Fisher: Oh, no! [Laughs] This just keeps getting deeper and deeper.

Dan: Yeah, the guy who had access to all of that money. Yeah, you wouldn’t want to rob the poor Irish guy in the street, he’s not carrying much cash. So, the executor sued the town clerk to get the money back. That I think puts him back on the suspect list for the original murder.

Fisher: Sure.

Dan: Because if he had been discovered as having been embezzling accounts, who knows.

Fisher: That’s amazing. So, let’s go through some of the sources that you dug this all up with. You had the death certificate that read, “burned by fire.” But it wasn’t really all that because apparently there was an axe involved with it. Then you’ve got the newspapers stories that are there. You probably of course found the marriage record.

Dan: Yeah.

Fisher: Then you found the divorce information in there and then of course seeing he inherited this money so that must have been in some of the probate, and when you looked into the extended family. Am I missing something here?

Dan: Well, I also got a copy of his Civil War pension file.

Fisher: Ah!

Dan: That included a lot of details of his wounds. When he was injured, he was treated at a particular hospital and I researched that specific hospital. And I found a diary from one of the nuns who worked there at the same time. So, I had a first person description of the hospital where he recuperated. Most of this though, after he died was newspapers. The death certificates were amended several times, they’ve revised those certificates.

Fisher: [Laughs] Wow! I am just amazed. That is a whole lot of stuff to go through. So, what happened with the wife at the end of all this? The divorce didn’t go through. Did she end up inheriting everything that she was expecting?

Dan: You may not like this part of the story, but I didn’t do that. I don’t know.

Fisher: [Laughs] You don’t know yet? Well, is the research into a story like this ever done anyway, right? That’s the other point.

Dan: Oh, yeah. This touches on so much many aspects of the life, while he was alive he moved around. I had to use city directories to track him down. But, on the other hand, 1896 was his day of death and Central Massachusetts, they have pretty good records. 

Fisher: Yeah, they do.

Dan: So, I did get lucky, relatives speaking in being able to pull this stuff together.

Fisher: Well, you’ve pulled together an amazing story there and I’m sure one that’s probably resonated throughout your family ever since you found it, yes?

Dan: [Laughs] They love it.

Fisher: [Laughs] It’s fascinating. But you know, you hate to hear that somebody went through such a miserable life when serving his country and trying to do his part during the Civil War and it comes to such a horrible end, coming to America, the land of hope, and ends up this way. It’s really quite tragic. But you know, when you get that far away from something I think we disconnect a little bit and suddenly it becomes like a mystery novel that we read as opposed to something that truly happened to a human being.

Dan: Yeah. It certainly wasn’t a happy life. He wasn’t poor. He had a couple of lady friends.

Fisher: Yeah, he wasn’t lonely.

Dan: It could’ve gotten worse.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] But he was driven to America by starvation, then he winds up in a war, then he gets wounded, so now he doesn’t have all his mental faculties. He’s got money. He’s got companionship, but then he gets brutally murdered. I mean, what a tale!

Dan: The other aspect that came through was their investigative techniques because the police really had difficulty doing certain things. They determined time of death based on stomach contents because at least they had a stomach. The police’s techniques come through in the newspapers.

Fisher: Amazing. He is Dan Ford. He is the Tie Dye Genealogist in Cupertino, California. Appreciate the time Dan. Thanks for sharing.

Dan: Happy to, Scott.

Fisher: And coming up next, David Allen Lambert returns for another round of Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 4 Episode 398

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Fisher: All right, David is back and it’s time once again for Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. And David, our first question today comes from Pam Hollings in South Carolina and she says, "Guys, I've always been told that my great grandfather was Native American. Would any of his records help me to verify that?"  David…?

David: Well, that would probably put you into the timeframe of the 13th US census back in 1910. There's actually a special little schedule that they did that actually gives you percentages of what Native American ancestry you might have.

Fisher: Really?

David: Yeah. It’s only as good as the person giving the information mind you, but it is a place to start. So, say for instance you were at a small town in Connecticut or Massachusetts or even Nevada and you had a small family of Native Americans or people who claimed to have Native American blood, they would be in the regular census and it would go into their nativity, whatever their race was for the whole community, and then if you were Native American, there was a special schedule at the end of that enumeration, and they would ask you the tribe of your father, the tribe of your mother and then it would estimate proportion you were Native American for each one of those tribes, you are Oneida Indian or Massachuset Indian or Pequot Indian, whatever the case may be, they would put down that you're half this or quarter that. It would also ask you other questions, obviously where you were born, it asks where your mother and father were born. So, if they were born on a Reservation, you might get that. You also get the occupation listed in there and their education. So you're getting a lot, a whole scope of the family's story. So, it’s a great census, but there's other things, death record. The death record of an individual may say their race is Native American. The marriage record and the birth record.

Fisher: But it sounds like that 1910 record is really essential, so if you're lucky enough to have an ancestor on that line who falls over that 1910 census, you may be in luck.

David: Exactly. And a lot of people don't look for that last schedule at the end of the census, so they're technically enlisted twice. So, if you find your ancestors listed twice in the 1910 census, it may be a possibility you may have Native American. But again, you have to find that separate schedule at the end.

Fisher: But let's not forget about DNA, David.

David: Oh yeah.

Fisher: I mean, that would be the key. If you're just trying to find out, yes you have Native American blood or no, you don't, that would be the best way to go. It’s very reliable for that. And then you put in the records that you've been talking about, then you can get more of the specifics.

David: Um hmm, that's true. And so, it helps when you get the names of tribes based on a census or, you know, vital record or even an obituary might give you that clue. But when you have the DNA, it’s not going to tell you specifically what tribe it is.

Fisher: Right.

David: But it does help. But when you have a story of a Native American in the family back in the 1600s, you may not have the autosomal DNA left over to test to find that marker.

Fisher: Sure.

David: But Y DNA, mitochondrial, if it’s on the direct male line or the direct female line, sure, that will help too.

Fisher: And I would think from the 19th century you'd have a much better shot at the autosomal test.

David: Oh, absolutely!

Fisher: And if you had like a percentage and you know for instance from that 1910 census that somebody was 25% Native American, you might then be able to go to the grandparents of your great grandparent and discover which person that was and then start to research then individually and all the people in between for that matter wherever it is, depending on the percentages. So, do the math and figure it out and then go back through those particular lines and see if you can identify who the individual or individuals might be, and you may be on your way. It’s a great question, Pam. And good luck in your journey on that.

David: You know what’s interesting, when you look at family history, the oral tradition seems to last the longest, but I've had people with Native American, Fish that didn't realize they were Native American, and records were the thing that revealed it or DNA.

Fisher: Thanks, Pam for the question. And of course we've got another one coming up when we return on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show in three minutes.

Segment 5 Episode 398

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Fisher: All right, last time through, it’s Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, American Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. David, our next question comes from Rachel Wald in Independence, Missouri and she says, "Fish and Dave, what do you suggest as projects that can get my kids interested in our family history?" This is a good question and we've talked about this before. And I'll start out Dave, because you suggested many years ago, I want to say four or five years ago this idea about an ancestral coin book. And you had had a little experience with your daughter, because the coin had a date from when her great grandmother was born.

David: That's right.

Fisher: And so, I took it to the next level and got a ringed notebook and started basically putting coins in little sleeves with pictures of ancestors born in the years on the coins. And my grandkids went nuts for that ancestral coin book.

David: Oh yeah! That was the same thing I was doing. Then it got to the point that if I was getting coins from the 1600s, it was going to cost me a kidney, so I decided that it had to be a cheaper route. So, one of the other thoughts that I had and I haven't started it yet, but it’s something you can start now and continue on. How about buttons? Everybody has old clothes. Save a button from great aunt Tessie’s wedding dress or maybe your great grandfather in World War I, his uniform button or something like that that was in your mom's sewing kit. I think that we could probably take and ask family members, "Hey, save me a button." I mean, now of course we live in the world of, "Hey, give me your DNA sample."

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: But that could be the way to kick open the door. It’s tactual for kids, especially the young ones to see different color buttons and things like that. Everybody has old clothes they're giving away, so tear a button off, save it and send it in, maybe the family genealogist and the junior genealogist might find a fun way of connecting that, no put intended, to their family tree.

Fisher: You know, I think really what we're talking about here is anything physical from an ancestor I think is a great way for kids to connect to those people, because it makes them real, right?

David: Right, exactly.

Fisher: I have a little badge that my grandfather wore as a drummer boy with the GAR outfit in 1890 in New York City and I have a picture of him wearing that badge as a 10 year old. And so, that's a special thing. And then we have these badges that I mentioned earlier in the show, these little pins that went to my mother for participating in school band in the orchestra, it was a marching band in the 1930s and '40s, so we matted and framed those and kept those together. And when you do that and put it in a way that's presentable to people to make them understand that these are things that connect them to the ancestors, it seems to make a difference.

David: It does, because you can put stuff in an envelope and say, "This belonged to your grandmother." but I think really what you've done with the displays are great. Those shadow boxes or just matted with a photograph and have a little cutaway in it. I mean, there's lots of ways of doing this to be creative, even a family photo tree. The kids aren't going to want to read all of this life story, and many of the kids can't even read yet, but they want to know who their ancestors are. Save these photographs you have and make a collage, family photo faces that people can point to and then you tell them a story.

Fisher: And you know, they also have those playing cards now that you can put ancestors faces on and then on the back, little bullet points with information about them, when they were born, when they died, where they lived, did they serve in the Civil War, whatever it might be and I've done those for my grandkids as well and they really enjoy getting to know their ancestors in that way. So you know, there are lots of ways really that you can stimulate interest from your kids, but it seems to always really mostly evolve around two things, physical stuff like this and stories, not just the names and the dates and the tree, but the stories.

David: When I was seven, that tintype photograph, a metal photograph got a seven year old interested and that's why he's on the phone with you today.

Fisher: That's it. All right, good question. Thank you, Rachel. And David, thanks so much for coming on again and we will talk to you again next week.

David: Alrighty, see you soon.

Fisher: All right, and that's our show for this week. If you missed any of it or you want to catch it again, of course listen to the podcast on Apple Media, iHeart Radio, ExtremeGenes.com, TuneIn Radio and Spotify. Talk to you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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