Episode 4 – Politicians Are Looking to Limit Access to Vital Records

podcast episode Aug 06, 2013

On this weeks show Fisher shares the latest family history news.  A story of a World War II couple that met when a plane crashed in a field next to a young lady’s home, and new “GPR” (Ground Penetrating Radar). Guest Fred Moss, an attorney, then comes on to talk about how Congress is looking to limit access to the Social Security Death Index. And, as always, Tom Perry talks preservation.

Transcript of Episode 4

Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show

Host: Scott Fisher

Segment 1 Episode 4

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes Family History Radio. It is Fisher here, and first of all, to those of you who were looking for the website last week, ExtremeGenes.com and you wound up on the horse breeding site, don’t Google us, okay? [Laughs] Also, they do it with just an X to start with. I actually spelled out the whole word. It’s Extreme Genes, not like blue jeans, “GENES” ExtremeGenes.com. And think of it as kind of your “drudge report” for everything family history that’s going on. Glad to have you along today. I’m very excited about our guest because there’s some weird things going on and I had not heard about this until recently, but Fred Moss is going to be in. Fred is an Attorney from Texas and he does his cases now on an “I want to do it” basis. He is with the big federations of genealogists and the like, and there’s a great concern right now. Apparently, some governments either at the State level or Federal level want to limit our access to vital records, death records, birth records, marriage records, all under the “bumper sticker” of “Identity Theft.” And of course this also spills over into DNA research and we‘re going to get into all this with Fred coming up in the second and third segments today. So, get ready for that because I think it’s going to make a lot of people mad. And we’ll also find out what we as researchers, as interested parties can do to make sure that our state government, maybe our federal government are just not taking some of the stuff too far with really very little basis on it, so we’ll into that. On our website, wow what a big week it has been for family history news that’s going on. Of course, a lot of it has been driven by the birth of young Prince George who is named after, let’s see, I guess it would be his great, great grandfather and all those before him. Very few people are actually born into a family [Laughs] with that much history, pretty much available to them from the moment they’re born. He could be the 43rd king of England since William the Conqueror and so he’s the great grandchild of the Queen. This is the first time a queen has actually met the third descendent since 1894. It’s been 120 years since three generations ahead that the future monarch met. That was when Queen Victoria was introduced to the baby who would become Edward VIII and that was of course the king that quit the throne. Three kings now on hold, we’ve got Charles. Is it William? Yeah, I think it is William the dad of course of George. And then they say of course in the papers over there, “And God-willing little George to become perhaps, they say, the first king of the 22nd Century. He’d be 87 years old. Well, that would be a long, long wait. You’d think he’d want to get in there earlier.

So, they go through his whole history [Laughs] of the King George I was apparently born in Hanover, Germany, took the throne in 1714, barely spoke a word of English. The second was crowned in 1727 and he went on to become the last of Britain’s Sovereigns to actually fight alongside his own soldiers in battle and fought against the French. Then, of course we had King George III. And I think we know a little about him, best known these days for his insanity and of course he lost us the colonies, but he was there for 60 years. So, there’s been a long row of Georges for many, many years. I guess there was a gap of about 80 years before the fifth was crowned in 1910 and then they went through WWI. WWII had King George as well and so now this one who would be George VII assuming he kept the name. Did you ever notice that some of these guys actually changed their names as it goes along? The middle name by the way was the choice of Alexander and the Brits are trying to figure out the significance of that. They say they had three kings of Scotland that had that name so they’re thinking maybe this is just an attempt to influence this upcoming referendum in Scotland on independence. [Laughs] They say if that’s the case, it’s pretty much subtle but it may be inspired by Alexander which is one of the Queen’s middle names. Prince George, unusual among the royal children because he only has three names, his third name is Louis, a reference to Lord Louis Mountbatten, the great uncle and mentor to the Prince of Wales. He was a statesman. He certainly was involved in WWII and blown up by the IRA in 1979. So, interesting history that this new King George brings to his life, and probably an awful lot to endure as well, I would think. Another story on ExtremeGenes.com that you can check out is about this amazing new system they’re putting together in New Zealand. Hi-tech equipment once used to search mass graves in overseas war zones is now being used to find long lost ancestors in a little town called Wairarapa Park. I don’t know if I can say it, but you can read about it and try to pronounce it your own way. This little cemetery is being precisely mapped. They’re using like $100 000 worth of Global Position System and something called GPR. Ever heard of that? I haven’t either. GPR is Ground Penetrating Radar and they’ve got like 20 years mapping experience doing this stuff in war zones often working with mass graves and unexploded bombs. So, what they’re doing is they’re surveying this graveyard with about 20 000 reference points, about 150 000 data entries. They’re looking for where there’s ground disturbance, and basically if you had some ancestors deceased there, and you wanted to go visit them, they’re going to be able to say “right here!” So, they’re using all the old records, combining it with GPS and GPR so you can find exactly where this thing is. $100 000 by the way, and there’s only like 3 600 graves in the thing, so it seems [Laughs] a little on the high end to me, very little ROI except for those who have family members there.

Then there’s this story. As we go back to England, which I think is very cool, a family history tale from Shropshire. The Shropshire people and the Shropshire Star want to tell you how to research there and there’s great stuff on that, but I didn’t post it for that because I figured there probably aren’t a lot of us who are really in a Shropshire research. But, this story was fantastic from a lady named Monica Pugh and she found this very old-fashioned tale of romance going back to WWII. And apparently what happened back in 1940 she had a grandfather who was 13 years old, lived with his parents in Sheinwood Manor in Sheinton just outside of Much Wenlock. Where do they get names like this? Anyway, the story was on a normal day where they had the usual foggy weather this de Havilland Tiger Moth plane crash-landed in a field near the house. And the plane had a pilot named Flight Lieutenant Smithers who was flying back from Zeeland in the Netherlands and he basically told his granddad he wasn’t used to flying this type of plane, normally flew these other types and so they had a lot of problems obviously and they put down in the field. So they had a crew of twenty RAF guys that came to the house in a lorry, that’s truck for you and me, from RAF Cosford and they had come to basically fasten down the plane, camouflage it before they repaired the damage. Well, one of the guys who’s on the plane was named Richard Pitwell and at the time he was working as an RAF rigger and his sole job would be to look after the plane’s electrical systems. Well, granddad’s sister was there, caught the eye of this guy and [Laughs] even when the mess was cleaned up, Richard hung around and they wound up becoming man and wife. How cool is that? They even have a picture of them back in the day and what they looked like late in life, so a great romance story from WWII. And you know, that’s what family history is all about, are the great tales and amazing things that happened and that’s what we love to share with you, not only here on the radio show but on the website ExtremeGenes.com with the “E” in front of it otherwise you get the horse farm, so don’t go there. Fred Moss coming up for you in just a few moments, we’re going to talk about what the government’s doing to restrict our access to birth, death and marriage records, how that can affect your DNA research as well. It’s all straight ahead on Extreme Genes.

Segment 2 Episode 4

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Fred Moss

Fisher: Right, welcome back to Extreme Genes. I am Fisher you can check out more at ExtremeGenes.com. We’ve got our Find Line open for you 24/7 by the way. Anytime you want to leave a question or a comment you can call that line and we’ll get back to you, 1-234-56-GENES (43637) is the number and very excited to have Fred Moss on the line with us today. Fred is an advisor to the board of directors for Federation of Genealogical Societies, former associate Dean and Professor of Law at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law. And Fred, you’re on what, your third retirement now? Is that what you’re doing? [Laughs]

Fred: I’m working on my third retirement but my wife frequently observes I’m not doing a very good job of it.

Fisher: [Laughs] Well, you are keeping busy. And one of the things as a former lawyer you’re into right now is dealing with some issues with law makers who think it’s about time we cut back people’s access to birth records, death records, and marriage records as well as the Social Security Death Index so let’s start with that. The SSDI is kind of a basic tool for most researchers now. What’s happening with this?

Fred: There are a number of initiatives that would close it all together and in fact dismantle it.

Fisher: Wow! 

Fred: And Scott is I may, it’s possible that not everyone in our audience will recognise it by its acronym. The Social Security Death Index is a record maintained by the Social Security Administration that basically recognizes that social security numbers come in two flavors. We all are aware of how scrupulously we need to protect our social security number and that of all living people, but most folks do not appreciate how much the circumstances change when one passes away. And the protections that may have been appropriate for protecting our living social security number may not be the same ones that would best protect that of a recently deceased person. Generally when you die, banks should not be loaning you money to buy a Lamborghini or a Maserati.

Fisher: Right. [Laughs]

Fred: In effect, what we should expect is that upon death that number is effectively burned and should be useable for no financial purposes certainly.

Fisher: I don’t think anybody would disagree with that. 

Fred: I think no one who has thought about it has disagreed with me [Laughs] on that point. But it is frequently the case that many people, until they have thought about it, they continue to think of a social security number as something that should be protected at all cost and at all times. We do not always realize that the circumstances change. And therein lies some of the problems.

Fisher: Let me ask you Fred, is there a situation that has occurred [Laughs] it’s typical that when something happens, one incident happens, somebody wants to go in and change everything. Has there been some kind of precedence set with identity theft of the dead that has caused this?

Fred: Indeed they have. And in the law the erratic goes, bad cases make bad law.

Fisher: Bad law, yeah. 

Fred: We have an outrageous instance of that that has prompted much of the intense scrutiny that the Social Security Death Index has gotten. A couple of years ago identity thieves discovered something. They discovered that the IRS is under intense pressure to get refund cheques out the door as quickly as possible. And as a result, the IRS frequently cuts and mails refund cheques, or makes direct deposits, before they’ve had a chance to validate a return. What began happening in oh, I think roughly the 2010 tax filings season, ID thieves began to realize that and they began filing fraudulent tax refund claims. And in one particular incident, they filed a fraudulent return claiming a recently diseased child, a precious child by the name of Alexis Egan, a then five year old who had recently succumbed to cancer. They claimed her as a dependent on what turned out to be a totally bogus refund return.

Fisher: Unconscionable.  

Fred: And the problem was that no one knows that that has happened until the grieving parents of the child filed their legitimate return some months later and it bounces with a nice letter from the IRS saying that the social security number of the person you have claimed as a dependent has already been claimed by someone else. Prove it.

Fisher: Ugh.

Fred: And so their return bounces and the thief gets away with normally somewhere between three and ten thousand dollars.

Fisher: Now, help me to understand this though Fred, because it seems to me that the purpose of the Social Security Death Index, far and above anything that a family history researcher would use it for is to check that the bank doesn’t loan money to these people. Wouldn’t the IRS check this thing to say hey, wait a minute, this child is diseased?

Fred: One would hope so.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Fred: But clearly in 2010 that was not part of the screening process. It probably continued well into 2011. I do have some good news to report.

Fisher: Yeah?

Fred: That Beginning with the filing season for tax year 2012, it is clear that the IRS has improved the filters they use now, and that it clearly is picking up cases where the social security numbers of deceased people are being used inappropriately.

Fisher: But politicians still want to shut down the SSDI?

Fred: In fact, to the extent that there was ever a real possible justification for doing so. The message that has to be conveyed now is that those short comings have probably already been addressed by the IRS. It never was a problem in other financial transactions or the most part. In fact, I submit that it is less likely that the social security number of a deceased person can be used fraudulently than is the case currently compromised social security numbers of the living.

Fisher: So the question is then, are they still pursuing the idea of shutting down the SSDI after this incident?

Fred: There are legislative proposals still pending in the Congress that to varying degrees would have that effect. 

Fisher: And so part of your efforts right now is to educate them on the value of it and the protective efforts that have gone forth in the last few years, yes?

Fred: Indeed. And I think I can say with certainty that the grieving parents of Alexis Egan had never heard of the SSDI prior to her death and not until they wondered about how a thief might have gotten her social security number, did that possibility even come up.

Fisher: So basically some of the fires have been put out concerning this, but some are still burning and there is still reason for us as researchers to be concerned about it.

Fred: We should. The problem is that ID thieves have been with us since time immemorial. I think I even recall an Old Testament example or two.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Fred: There has been an avalanche of these kinds of cases and probably identity theft it certainly represents the greatest threat to record access because far too frequently the immediate response is to think in terms of closing records rather than other much more effective preventive measures that could be taken.

Fisher: All right. Now Fred, as serious and as scary as this situation sounds, the legislation at the state level as well as the federal level concerning birth, death, and marriage records is even more serious. And we’re going to get into that coming up in our next segment with Fred Moss on Extreme Genes.     

Segment 3 Episode 4

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Fred Moss

Fisher: We are back at Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, Family History Radio, with Fred Moss as our guest. He is an Advisor to the board of directors for the Federation of Genealogical Societies, former associate Dean and Professor of Law at Texas Wesleyan University, School of Law. And Fred’s been telling us that there’s a risk right now to the Social Security Death Index which is a pretty basic tool for family history researchers and Fred, I need to wrap that part up that we just talked about, with this question. What are the odds that we’re going to lose access to the Social Security Death Index? 

Fred: The threat is real. We feel we have an appropriate case to make if we can find the right audience to hear what we would have to say. There have been a number of Senate and House hearings by the House Operations Committee. I believe it’s a subcommittee of the house committee chaired by Darrell Issa that will be holding a hearing on tax fraud by identity theft and hopefully the messages I have just been sharing, part of that message at least will be heard and I would hope that it would improve the chances that the SSDI would still be available to us as frankly the starting point for all modern genealogical research and a valuable tool medical research and a number of others. 

Fisher: All right. Now that’s important too because as we get into this next part here, birth records, death records, marriage records, there is an effort it seems it’s starting at the federal level but working down to the state level about limiting access on those, so fill us in on that. 

Fred: I fault my genealogical community somewhat for letting get established a couple of thoughts that somehow privacy is better protected and we can reduce our exposure to identity theft and terrorism for that matter, by closing records. We are better off knowing less is the short hand way of describing that.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Fred: And that has been an almost reflective response anytime bad cases arise at the state and local level...

Fisher: They want to shut it down.

Fred: And we tend to think that somehow it is better if we embargo or limit access to vital records, birth, death, marriage, divorce, etc. And that the world is a better place if that’s the case. 

Fisher: So help me understand Fred, as I get it, death records are accessible to the public fifty years after the passing of an individual, right? 

Fred: It varies from state to state and that’s an important point for us to make Scott, because vital records are historically viewed as a unique place state function. 

Fisher: Okay.

Fred: The reference you made to a fifty year embargo period on death records for example, is really referring to a model act that is a collaborative effort involving some federal agencies by the way.

Fisher: So that’s a recommendation then?

Fred: It is. There is something called, “The Model State Vital Statistics Act” which is, I think the first edition of that probably occurred in the early 1900s. It’s been through several revisions, the current revision dating back to 1992. The ’92 version of the model act was the first of those to recommend the state that they embargo access to vital records for varying periods of time. 

Fisher: Okay.

Fred: And what the ’92 act provided was that other than the immediate family, the general public did not get to look at birth records for a hundred years. And death, marriage and divorce for the fifty year number that you gave. If you look across the country you will find the various states that range all the way from no waiting period. There are still a number of states where all of those vital records are totally open. Mainly, they’re clustered in the North East. 

Fisher: Okay. The recommendation now with the government is they extend these deadlines, the recommended level, by another twenty five years. So if somebody died this year as it stands now, access wouldn’t be available till what, 2063? And then you add another twenty five years it wouldn’t be until 2088 and all this under the bumper sticker of once again, “Identity Theft” right?

Fred: Exactly! The logic for linking death certificates and the information they’re on to identity theft is very sketchy. That may be the one place that identity thieves have not figured out a creative way to exploit but nonetheless, they’ve probably what motivates some to want to not make death certificates immediately available to the general public, is to minimize potential embarrassment on the part of this rivets, especially in case of death by suicide or some other extraordinary circumstance that may be socially unacceptable, so that kind of appropriate concern for the feelings of survivors has carried over into a much more restricted regiment than really is logically supported.  

Fisher: All right, so the question is now people who are listening, people who are concerned, what do they do? Do we go to the state level? Do we deal with the federal level? Who do we talk to and are there specific acts in each state that we need to be interested in?

Fred: Lots. For each state’s vital records legislation and the couple of clichés that are clichés because they border on eternal truths. 

Fisher: [Laughs]

Fred: And that is that, all politics is local. In the last month I’ve had two or three members of the Federal Legislator explain to me why it is that they really only have time to listen to the concerns of the people who are going to vote for them. In the Congress it is difficult for you to send an email to a member of Congress who is not one of your representatives. The general email system would typically limit access to constituents. And certainly, constituent voices are the voices that if you want to be elected as a legislator you want to pay the most attention to.

Fisher: This can affect our DNA research especially in the area of health family history, correct? 

Fred: Exactly! As we close all of these records we are making it more difficult for us to realize the benefit of the medical breakthrough that is flowing from the GNOME project and other genetic advances that we’ve been seeing especially in recent years. One of the strongest arguments frankly we have is that both SSDI limitations and limitations on access to state vital records may mean that people who need to be aware that colon cancer killed their uncle and that there is another heritable medical condition that are bound in our family lines. Our awareness of those help doctors better practice medicine on us to begin with and it helps us to be aware of things that we should be concerned about and our children should be. 

Fisher: All right, Fred. Well, thank you so much for your time. Fred Moss, an Advisor to the board of directors for the Federation of Genealogical Societies in Plano,Texas, a real concern that we all have as researchers. 

Segment 4 Episode 4

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Welcome back, final segment Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here with Tom Perry from The Multimedia Center. And Tom, after we got off the air last week, we started having another discussion, and it’s something we've got to pick up on, because it was absolutely astonishing! We were talking about how everything is becoming digital and the potential risk to lose all of that due to something like a sunspot.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: And I had read something that said, the last time one of these happened, it was back in 1859. And the only electrical device that was really operating at that time was the telegraphs. They had a little battery attached to them and the telegram operators were on. And then all of a sudden, the telegraphs were just, it was going crazy! I don't know what the symptoms were of the sunspot at that point. So they quickly disconnected the batteries, but the telegraph still worked without them.

Tom: It’s the magnetic fields from the sunspot, absolutely.

Fisher: So the story is now that if this were to happen today, all the power grids are linked, they're all at full capacity, and so, if this were to come to pass, basically we're back to the 19th century. And they say it could take years to recover the whole thing.

Tom: Oh absolutely. I'm not a physicist or anything, but I've talked to people that understand this technology and just like a few years ago back in New York, one of the power grids blew up, which cascaded to other ones, and New York was out of power for like three days in some major, major areas. And there's nothing you can do about it.

Fisher: Well, and they say it wouldn't necessarily fry the data that exists anywhere that that would still maintain, but you have no way to get it. 

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: You say, yeah, if you have a computer that's driven by battery even through all this, it would probably still work, but when the battery's gone, there's no way to replace, you know, the power. And so, what we need to talk about now is, okay, what do we do to preserve? Because obviously we're saving things to the cloud, we're saving things to computers, all kinds of different websites and the like. In this kind of situation, it would be a catastrophe. But the best way to protect what you've got, probably number one would be paper?

Tom: Oh yeah, absolutely! Put it in as many medias as you can. Don't rely on one.

Fisher: Go through, which ones?

Tom: We'll, you've got the paper, like for books and stuff. You also want to have prints of all your slides and your photographs. You want to have them on several different kinds of digital media. You can have it on an SD card, on a hard drive. You want it on DVDs, CDs, BluRays, the new millennial disk from BYU, the archival disk with a thousand year life to it.

Fisher: Well, tell us about the millennial disk.

Tom: It’s absolutely amazing. Instead of using the standard dye method like most DVDs and CDs you buy. It actually etches right into the polycarbonate, the information. So you could literally bury that in your backyard and dig it up in 500 years from now, and if you have a media that will still be able to read it, it’s still good. There's no dye. There's no organic dye to, you know go away in it, like on a typical disk. And the nice thing is, people have learned from the old VHS, Betamax days, when Sony did some stupid marketing things and lost out in the war even though Betamax was so much superior to VHS. And Video8, Mini DVs, all these things, they're totally incompatible with each other, just like foreign languages. But now they're learning to be backwards compatible. So you buy a BluRay player today, a good quality one, it was play your DVDs, which it will actually play them better than your DVD player, it will play your CDs, it will play almost any kind of disk. So hopefully they'll keep going in the direction they are so they'll be forward compatible. We have people come in and say, "I don't want a DVD. Nobody's going to be using them in twenty years from now." Well, when they go to a GreenRay instead of a BluRay, they'll still be backwards compatible. So I think most of that stuff is still going to be safe. But you know, don't put your eggs in one basket. Spread it out. And not just at your home. Send it to people in other parts of the country. Just like, you know, you want to have it as redundant as possible, every place you can. Because like when that power grid goes out, that won't damage your stuff, but what if it causes a fire in the computer where your cloud's stuff is kept and that whole place just gets disintegrated or a 9/11 happens and your cloud base gets wiped out.

Fisher: I think that the biggest fear I think a lot of us think about is, what would happen if ultimately some terrorist figured out how to destroy the internet?

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: I mean, that would be probably as big a disaster as any sunspot would do, but you know, they're saying with the sunspot situation, you could be years before we'd get our power back and it would be like 19th century all over again.

Tom: Oh yeah! And it’s different. Just like, you know, when this happened in New York, you know, several years ago, it was bad. But nowadays, everybody, just like I've got my iPad, here I've got my iPhone, I'm constantly looking at them. If that went away, you know, I could sit and write still, but my kids couldn't. They wouldn't know, you know, how to do it.

Fisher: How to write!

Tom: LOL, you know, all these stupid things, you know.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: They don't know how to do this. It’s just crazy. We are so dependent on electric technology. That's what the terrorists will go for. They'll go and try to wipe out all that kind of stuff. I mean, and like the internet, could you imagine what that would do to Algor's reputation if it went away!

Fisher: Yeah! [Laughs] Well, I've written about ten books. It’s hard to keep track in my mind where, but within my family, my wife's side, my side in all the history. But the one thing I've always made sure we do is, we make sure there are lots of copies of those books in different places.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: And make sure they get to libraries and you know things along those lines. So you in your business though, I mean, we talked last week about the wire recordings. And who would have ever thought we could still access those. You can.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: 78s and cassettes and all that type of thing. You're still able to digitize that. But the ultimate preservation has to come through a diversification of where they wind up and how you save them and what kind of platform you keep them on.

Tom: Exactly. Oh you're 100% right. You need to spread them out and have them on all the different kinds of, you know platforms and make sure they're good. Just like nowadays they're using archival papers. You know, thirty years ago, they didn't know what archival paper was.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: So you need to get that stuff. We had a gentleman who brought in journals that he had kept. Never missed a day and he was probably in his seventies and he'd been doing this since the '40s. He had a stack that was six feet tall of his journals. And so it was so cool. We went and turned them all into PDFs for him. So he was able to give each one of his kids a disk that had a PDF of every day of his journal, which was cool. So they could go back and say, "Hey, what were my dad’s thoughts the day I was born? The day I graduated from high school, when I went to college?" And they've got all this stuff. And his kids live across the country. They've got them on their computer, they've got them in the cloud, they've got them on disk, they've got them on their hard drive. So if somebody's house burns down or a cloud goes away, somebody else has the same stuff on somebody else's cloud. So you hope that never happens, but you know, you want to make sure you're not just all relying on one cloud, whether you're using Apple's cloud or Dropbox's cloud or who's cloud, I would have at least two.

Fisher: Really?

Tom: And find out that they're not the same cloud with different names. That they are, you know, separate systems, because they're redundant and you’re probably not going to have a problem. But you know, why do we pay insurance? We hope nothing happens, but we want to have it. Same thing, don't take a chance.

Fisher: All right. Now they're about, I want to say $20 a month to be on the cloud and other places?

Tom: Oh, yeah. And most people don't even need that much.

Fisher: No. A lot of it's coming down. And of course the more competition that enters into it, we’ll see prices drop even more. But you know, in the scenario you just talked about with the journals, now you didn't mention any of them going to paper with it and actually trying to print them.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: And maybe that's something they should be thinking about.

Tom: Oh that's always a good thing to do. That's one nice thing when you make PDFs, you can take the PDFs and turn them into books. We use Heritage Maker, because they don't have any rights to your pictures. And that's one thing you want to be really, really careful with, when you do books online or do any kind of publishing, read the fine print! Most people never do, but on something like that, you want to, because there's always a chance that you could have your pictures end up at IKEA on a display advertising their couches.

Fisher: And that happened, didn’t it?

Tom: Yeah. You didn't read the fine print, and they can do that. So you've got to be very, very careful. Read the fine print. Use a bookmaker that you trust. If you have any questions, call us and we can give you some other names of people that we know and trust that aren't going to sell your pictures in some clipart catalogue.

Fisher: I remember hearing about a family that was in Eastern Europe and they saw a huge advertising billboard with a family they knew from back home! And they're going, "Hey, that's Fred and his family!"

Tom: Yep, they uploaded it to some book site and made a little book they thought was so special and stuff, but they didn't know that they signed away the un-exclusive rights, which means they can do anything they want. But the book company can do anything they want. And they sell it to clipart companies, so you can go and buy their clipart and use it in your ad.

Fisher: Wow! Tom Perry from the Multimedia Center thanks for joining us!

Tom: Sounds good. Appreciate it. And we'll see you next Sunday.

Fisher: I cannot believe we're already in our fourth week at Extreme Genes, Family History Radio. And so many people are finding our website, ExtremeGenes.com. And I want to give it a good plug here, because you're going to find there's so much there that you're going to find interesting, especially stories that are happening. Of course last week you probably heard about the Mormon missionaries in San Diego that had a bible drop by. And as it turned out, the bible when he opened it had to do with his family! Unbelievable stuff. We also have a find line open, its 24/7 availability. So if you have a question, you have a concern, you have a comment, you want to be on the air, we'd love to hear from you, the number is 1-234-56-GENES, G E N E S. And just leave your information there how we can get back to you if you'd like or just leave the comment on there. We can use it on the air the following week. Plus, two weeks ago, we had Andria Cranney in here from the Mayflower Society, along with a representative from the DAR. You can catch that podcast on the website, Extreme Genes as well because we talked about all these different heritage societies and the benefits of belonging to them whether you belong to it or not, whether you should, whether it’s right for you. And then I kind of took the challenge of, well, maybe joining one of them. And being a Mayflower descendant, I thought, "Okay, why not." Let's see what it’s like to join a heritage society, because I've never done it. And so, I made contact with them and sent an initial line that took me back, I want to say its twelve generations back, tenth great grandparents. And then they kind of take an initial look at it and say, "All right, does this person really qualify or is this line just completely kaka?" [Laughs] And so they said, "Okay, it looks pretty good. Let's start documenting it." And it’s an interesting exercise to do that, because you find out how well documented your lines really are, how much you've gathered over the years and how legitimate they are. And they really give it a good close look. And some of it seems a little bit, shall we say "extraneous" a little "over the top" about what you may need to join the society, especially if that line has never gone through before or it joins, you know, somewhere way back there. In my case, it was like seven generations back till they had everything taken care of. But so far, I can't tell you how many birth, death and marriage records have been included in this thing, plus trying to figure out those where, you know, you're missing a record and you're trying to prove the relationship that it’s the same person and you have to start putting together one of those argument things. Then they have to go through it, submit it to their national people, and they're going to get back to us at some point. So this could take some time. I'm not really sure how long it will take, but it’s going to be an interesting thing. And I'll fill you in on it as it develops. If you've ever thought about doing it, it’s pretty much the same thing for the DAR, the Sons of The American Revolution, any of these heritage organizations that you can think of. Great conversation by the way on the podcast about this stuff from two weeks ago, so if you haven't caught it yet, you want to get on that at ExtremeGenes.com, second week podcast, Andria Cranney and Sarah Hermans from the DAR. And it was a very fun segment. Last week's show about the photographs, we had a lot of comments on that, people wanting to know, what about that special software where you can match people from an unidentified photo with somebody who is identified in a different one. That website address once again is, PhotoFaceMatch.com. Brock Bierman came on the show from that particular organization that put that together, and he wants you to know that it’s free. And if you have any problems with that, you can contact him at [email protected], and they'll be happy to take care of you and see if photos match. I actually sent it two pictures of a great grandfather, different shots that I believed were the same, but one was not marked, they just looked the same. And it came back actually saying, "Yeah, there's a strong possibility that this matches." It’s a fun tool to play with! You've got to try it out. And the link is found under ExtremeGenes.com, under free sources. So make sure you check that out. Need you to check out our Facebook page and like us there as well so we can stay in touch, because we are 24/7 on the website and Facebook page. And of course only one hour a week right here on Extreme Genes. And you've got any topics we haven't covered yet, you'd like to hear us discuss or get some experts in on, be sure to shoot me an email, I'd love to hear from you, [email protected]. That's it for this week. We'll be back next Sunday night as 6 O’clock on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio. A Fisher Voice Works Production!

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