Episode 41 - Busting Back Lines, Italian Style… And A 12-Year-Old Expert!May 12, 2014
On this weeks show, Fisher shares the news of two new podcast apps now available free in your Android or iPhone store. Twin sisters have reunited after 78 of separation. We’ll have the happy story for you. Letters written from the European Theater in the heat of battle in World War II have been found in a storage locker and returned to the man’s son. Hear how it all came about. Fisher also gets a family history story out of Charles Fleischer, the voice of Roger Rabbit. You won’t believe this guy’s background!
Kathy Kirkpatrick of gentracer.com and Adrian Benjamin Burke, a New York researcher, talk about what’s happening in Italian ancestry research in 2014, with some great stories from the trail. And, you’ll meet Hyrum Veach… expert genealogist… when he’s not in elementary school! Hear what this 12-year-old has to say. (He’s already been at it for five years!)
Preservation Authority Tom Perry has filled you in on disks the last few weeks… now… what’s the best format your needs? He’ll tell you. And Fisher tells you the breathtaking story he uncovered of a man he knew as a boy… a friend of his parents… who served in counter-intelligence in World War II.
Transcript of Episode 41
Host: Scott Fisher Charles Fleischer
Segment 1 Episode 41
Fisher: Hello genies! Glad you found us. It’s Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. It is Fisher here your radio Roots Sleuth and we have a great show for you this week. First, in about nine minutes, our Attorney Genealogist friend from New York, Adrian Benjamin Burke is back to talk about Italian research along with the Pro he hired to actually go to Italy to extend his lines, Kathy Kirkpatrick. They’ll undoubtedly have some great stories from the Italian trail for you and great info if you’re one of the millions of Americans with Italian ancestry looking for a breakthrough. Then later in the show we’ll have a guy on who’s been researching his lines for years, teaches it, breathes it, and studies it. That is when he’s not busy with his studies with the other kids in elementary school. I can’t wait to introduce you to Hyram Veach. If you’re looking for a way to interest your kids in family history, Hyram probably has some ideas. Those of you who follow us on Facebook already know that we’ve just released two new apps so you can listen to our past shows in podcast form on your mobile devices. There’s one for both iPhone and Android. Just download them for free from your phone store. Our online poll this week had to do with politicians. Do you have any in your background? We gave you the choice of Yes President, Yes Congress Person, Yes Other Office or No, Thank goodness. And our number one answer was “No, thank goodness at 43% followed by yes other office at 36%, yes Congress person at 18% and yes President at 3%.” Thank you for your votes. This week we simply ask, “Is there a family bible in your family?” Yes or no. Vote now at ExtremeGenes.com. We’ll give you the results next week.
Our Family Histoire News today begins with a reunion. It’s the longest awaited Twins Reunion ever known according to Guinness. Seventy eight years for twin sisters to find each other and have their first meeting. Ann Hunt and Elizabeth Hamel were born in England in 1936 to an unwed domestic cook named Alice. Because Elizabeth had curvature of the spine Alice felt she would not be adoptable, so she kept her and gave up Ann to a local family in Aldershot, England. Elizabeth grew up knowing she was a twin with a sister out there, somewhere. Ann learned as a teen that she had been chosen as her adoptive parents told her, but had no idea that she had a sibling, yet alone a twin! Over the years she and her daughter Samantha found an interest in family history. They attained Ann’s original birth certificate in 2001, the very year her birth mother Alice died. Samantha eventually tracked down her step-grandnephew to Alice who knew the history. He informed Samantha that her mother had a twin sister living in the United States and he knew how to reach her. Last year Samantha wrote to Elizabeth at her home in Albany, Oregon, which happens to be my own mother’s hometown. Elizabeth was on the phone to England immediately to an astonished and overwhelmed sister Ann. Ann said she was over the moon. “I couldn’t speak because I realized I’ve got a sibling, a sister. I have Elizabeth. This past week the two met for the first time in Fullerton, California at the invitation of Dr Nancy Segal who has conducted a two day study of the pair, looking for similarities and differences in these twins who had only seen each other previously as newborns in 1938. The reunion continues in Oregon with a gathering of over eighty friends and family members. Does it get any better than that? Next, some thirty years ago a Pennsylvania woman named Loretta Button bought an abandoned storage unit in New Jersey. Among the items it contained was a tin box filled with old photos, letters and memorabilia of an American GI in World War II. For years Loretta tried to locate the family of a man named Fritz Ferrone. Every time she moved she’d make another attempt. It wasn’t until the obituary of Fritz’s widow Josephine popped up in a Google search in 2012 that she was able to finally make the connection. Fritz died in large part because of wounds sustained in tank warfare in 1965 at the age of forty six. Loretta recently met with Fritz’s son Fred to present the family treasures to him personally. Fred says reading the letters is like getting his dad back again, almost a half century after his passing. Read all the details and see the pictures for these remarkable stories now at ExtremeGenes.com. Well, the last couple of weeks we’ve been sharing with you some quickie family history stories from interviews with some celebrities I’ve had the chance to meet with recently. This week’s it’s actor Charles Fleischer the voice of Roger Rabbit. And I would have never guessed what he had to say about his background. Check it out.
Charles: On my mother’s side there’s a Wasserman and Wasserman was related to the Wasserman blood test.
Charles: And I too am a scientist. I have patent on a golden ratio device and I have a paper that’s on the Cornell University website regarding the discovery I made concerning gamma ray bursts. Charles Fleischer, gamma ray bursts...Google it.
Fisher: Really? Roger Rabbit, who knew?
Charles: Exactly. And when I present scientific papers they say, “What University you’re with?” And I go, “I’m the voice of a cartoon rabbit.” And I get, “Get out of here! Get out of here!”
Fisher: [Laughs] All right now Roger Rabbit, tell me about your family history.
Charles: Oh Roger Rabbit is a cartoon my friend. It’s all imagination.
Charles: Take this man to the precinct of the lost wheel.
Charles: Thank you very much.
Fisher: [Laughs] Who would’ve thought? We’ll have another one for you next week. And coming up next, if you have Italian ancestry we’ll have stories from your homeland and how to get your records from across the pond with researchers Adrian Benjamin Burke and Kathy Kirkpatrick, makes me crave some good hot garlic bread just thinking about it. That’s in three minutes on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 2 Episode 41
Host: Scott Fisher with guests Adrian Benjamin Burke and Kathy Kirkpatrick
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. Happy to welcome back to the show Adrian Benjamin Burke, he is an Attorney and Genealogist based in New York City. How are you Adrian?
Adrian: Good Scott. Thank you very much.
Fisher: Good to have you again, and we wanted to have you on the show again because we wanted to move in the direction and talk about Italian research which you’ve been doing a little of lately. We have so many people in this country. The percentages are what?
Adrian: Well there’s about at least 6% of the population is descended from an Italian ancestor, or about a little over seventeen million people.
Fisher: Okay. And it was right around the turn of the century, that’s when we had the massive immigration of over about what, four decades?
Adrian: Correct. Between about 1880 and 1920 over four million Italians immigrated to America.
Fisher: Um hmm. And so most Italian Americans descend from that group, wouldn’t you say?
Adrian: Yes. And they were primarily from the poor Southern region Calabria and Sicily and my great grandfather was one of those immigrants from the region of Palermo, which is that main city in Sicily and he settled in Buffalo, New York.
Fisher: Okay. Now I am not of Italian background and I’ve never done any Italian research. Have you gone and done this personally? And how far back can you go from here and when do you need professional help?
Adrian: Well, it’s interesting because most of my genealogical focus has been on my mother’s family which was primarily colonial New England. However, because my paternal grandmother was a hundred percent Sicilian, I was fortunate that as she’s still alive, she knew where her parents were from in Sicily. She knew the names of the two villages and she also knew all eight of her great grandparents. So, I already had a little bit to go on, and I was able to follow up in New York records death certificates, marriage records, to find a little bit more, but that’s when I ran into the block because everything else was back in Sicily.
Fisher: Ugh those brick walls, yes.
Adrian: Yes, it was a brick wall because even though I am an Italian citizen and I’ve lived in Italy as a child, I knew nothing of Italian genealogy. I didn’t know where to start. And so I did my research online, and came across Kathy Kirkpatrick who is a professional Italian researcher and I gave her everything I knew about my family. And she went to work in the Family History Library and discovered an amazing amount of information on my family. Thanks to her expertise in the records and the quality of the genealogical records that Sicily kept and that the LDS Church photographed.
Fisher: Ah! And we have Kathy in the studio with us right now. She’s from GeneTracer.com. Hi Kathy, welcome to the show.
Kathy: Hi Scott. Thanks for having me.
Fisher: And you go to Italy quite often. I mean you don’t just research, you go there.
Kathy: I do research in the microfilm here, but I also go to Italy to do work that can’t be done anywhere else.
Fisher: Um hmm. And that’s got to be a different experience. Obviously, all the countries have unique cultures that require a certain understanding to navigate, yes?
Kathy: It certainly does. And then you have to know where the records are being hidden.
Fisher: Right, and who’s going to give them to you and how you’re going to get it from them.
Kathy: Exactly. Yeah.
Fisher: [Laughs] So, let’s talk about that. Adrian handed over his information to you and off you went to Southern Italy.
Fisher: And tell us about some of the experiences you had over there.
Kathy: Well, I was able to start by exhausting the microfilm records here, and that’s births, marriages and deaths in Sicily back to1820, and before that you have to go into the church records. So, when I went to Sicily for Adrian, I headed for the church.
Fisher: Okay. So we’re talking Catholic Church records?
Kathy: We certainly are.
Fisher: In various villages?
Fisher: Or are they centrally located? How does this work?
Kathy: No. For most places these churches are only in the parish, and for most little towns that’s okay because there’s one main parish in the town and all the records are kept there. But it does mean going straight to the town, and in a way that’s a reflection of the civil records because in Italy the civil records are also kept town by town and there is no centralized repository.
Fisher: That’s very helpful, isn’t it?
Fisher: I guess in some ways.
Kathy: If you know the town, yeah. [Laughs]
Fisher: If you know yeah. [Laughs] I’m thinking this through going, “Oh, wait a minute.”
Kathy: Sometimes that’s the hard part. Too many immigrants came to this country and hurried so fast to become American that they lost that information. And so I have clients contacting me saying, “Well, it’s in Abruzzo.” And so then we have to research in American records and many naturalization records and passenger arrivals to determine just which town that is, so that we can actually get to the records for that family.
Fisher: Adrian, did you ever go on a trip with Kathy?
Adrian: Well as a matter of fact Scott, I took my mother to Italy last spring and we were in Rome when Kathy and her lovely daughter Chris came to visit us. We had a very nice evening and then we proceeded to go our separate ways. My mother and I flew to Palermo and went to Montemaggiore, my great grandfather’s home village, and we had a guide and we went into a little coffee shop to ask directions to the main church, and would you believe that the owner of this little coffee shop his name was Franco Bisesi. Well, thanks to Kathy, one of my great, great, great grandfathers was a Franco Bisesi. So, I told him, I said, “You know, we’re probably related.” And I told him, you know, I was from America and that my great grandfather was born in Montemaggiore, and immigrated to Buffalo, New York. I told him I was there just to see the village. Well, he called all his friends over. One of them was the mayor of the village, so I started to talk to him and he asked me, “Well what was your great grandfather’s name?” And I told him Carmelo Battaglia. And he said, “Well you have to meet Giuseppe Battaglia. He’s the only Battaglia left in the village. So he called him up on the cell phone and this very nice man drives over in the middle of the day.
Adrian: It turns out he owns a large factory in Montemaggiore that makes windows and doors woodworking. And it’s ironic because not only is the last Battaglia alive in Montemaggiore, but my great grandfather Carmelo was also a builder and he was one of seven generations of Battaglias who were master builders in Montemaggiore. So, we had a wonderful time, introduced him to my mother. Now, my mother does not speak Italian. I do. So I had to translate. He invited me to his sister’s house for coffee, and we had a lovely time. We probably visited with them for about an hour and there were other descendants who were lining up. They wanted to invite us to their house.
Fisher: [Laughs] Kind of a celebrity.
Adrian: They were just so elated to have this American and his American mother come to this little village of Montemaggiore. It’s just a village of four thousand people in the mountainside. It’s very hard to get to. There are only two roads and we had to cross a small river to get to it. In our car we almost didn’t make it because the river level was high.
Adrian: So this distant cousin of mine Giuseppe Battaglia, he gave me a gift of one of his wood working sculptures. He has a small guesthouse that he rents out and invited me to stay there anytime I wanted. And we have actually been corresponding by mail ever since
Fisher: Isn’t that fantastic!
Adrian: It is.
Kathy: I’ve had similar experiences for several of my clients, some of whom were with me and some of them who weren’t. And that’s so common to be talking to someone in this little town who knows someone who knows someone, who’s connected to this family and then they invite you home.
Fisher: Isn’t that great?
Kathy: It’s wonderful.
Fisher: Now, in places like in Great Britain you’ll often run into Ministers who’ll say, “No, I don’t want to share this information for whatever reason.”
Kathy: And that does happen in Italy too. But my last trip last month I visited five churches in five different towns and I only got rejected by one priest. The others were helpful and friendly and gave me access to the records, and that percentage is pretty consistent with my experience since 1997 when I made the first trip.
Fisher: So maybe one in five gives you problem?
Kathy: Just about.
Fisher: What’s their objection to your researching?
Kathy: Well, they give different reasons. Sometimes it’s the sacredness of the records. Sometimes it’s privacy. Sometimes it’s, “I don’t have the time.” There’s several different reasons and really the time reason is probably the most legitimate one because there is a shortage of priests. And unless a priest is willing to delegate to a member of his congregation to oversee the work like happens in Adrian’s parish in Montemaggiore Belsito, it’s hard to get in because there’s just not enough hours in the day for him to work with the parish and all the living people and things he has to do, and people who are dead don’t rank as high.
Fisher: Right. [Laughs] That would make sense. What stories about Adrian’s ancestry did you find that you got excited about?
Kathy: The most exciting one this last trip was that I was able to get into marriage book number one which starts in 1603.
Kathy: And the earliest marriage I found in his family was 1613 and it gave me the names of the parents of the bride and groom. So, really we are back in the 1500s which is just extraordinary.
Fisher: It would seem that in almost any European country.
Fisher: Obviously, if you got into some nobility or something like that you might shoot back further, but you’re about as far as you can go.
Kathy: That is pretty much as far as it goes. The civil records in Europe pretty much starts with Napoleon, which is one good point for Napoleon,
Fisher: Was that 18...
Kathy: 1806 for Italy.
Fisher: 1806, okay.
Kathy: It’s probably earlier in Germany and France. But in Italy the earliest civil records are 1806 and that’s in the way far north. And then in Southern Italy it’s 1809. But the church records are what these civil records are based on because they give the name of the bride, the groom and the names of their parents and how old they are. Well, not that you are attracted to how old they are, but what village they’re from, if it’s a different village. And so those church records really go back to 1663. The Council of Trent said you need to keep records, all the baptisms, all the marriages, all the deaths in your parish so that you can keep track of who’s who and who’s doing what. But, even before that some churches were keeping records. The cathedral in Palermo has church records back to 1449.
Fisher: We’re talking pre-Columbus here.
Kathy: Isn’t that exciting?
Fisher: Yeah, that is. Well Adrian, it sounds like you’ve got the right researcher for you.
Adrian: Oh yes, I’ve been very happy with Kathy. I mean, her research was extremely detailed. She’s also very efficient and economical, which has allowed me to continue to have her keep going back to Italy year after year.
Fisher: Well, congratulations to you both. Congrats to you Adrian on finding this amazing heritage on that one ancestor side going back so far. Kathy, it’s so nice to meet you. Thanks for coming by today from GenTracer.com.
Kathy: Thank you Scott.
Fisher: I’d love to go with you on your next trip.
Fisher: You’re just going to have to hide me in your suitcase because it sounds like a beautiful place to go. You picked the right place to be a specialist in.
Kathy: Absolutely. I love it. Thank you.
Fisher: [Laughs] Thanks for joining us. And coming up in five minutes, he’s an expert researcher. He teaches classes and oh, did I mention he’s twelve years old? I’ll introduce you to Hyrum Veach next on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 3 Episode 41
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Hyrum Veach
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth. You know, we’re always looking for new talent in this family history thing and I think maybe we have found him. Hyrum Veach is here in the studio with us. Hyrum’s voice is a little high because of the fact that Hyrum is only 12 years old. How long have you been doing family history now, Hyrum?
Hyrum: I’ve been doing it since I was 7 or 8.
Fisher: 7 or 8 years old, wow! What got you started?
Hyrum: Originally it was my mom who got me started. She was always saying family history and sometimes she’d share with me some of the things she’s found.
Fisher: Oh, so you must have been impressed by a story or two. Do you have a favourite ancestor?
Hyrum: One of my favorites is my third great grandfather David Van Hall. He was born in Scotland and lived in Rocklands, England. One of the things that impressed me about him was how brave he was. His first two wives died. His second wife died right after giving birth to her third child, leaving him with three infants and a toddler. He was very courageous. He endured many hardships. All round very impressive.
Fisher: So what kind of research do you do?
Hyrum: What do you mean by that?
Fisher: Well, do you work a lot with documents?
Hyrum: Yeah, it’s mainly with documents that I work with.
Fisher: Oaky. And so you’ve taken certain lies back?
Fisher: How far back have you gotten on there?
Hyrum: I traced back to 1296, on others 14, 15, 1600s.
Fisher: Wow, and what countries?
Hyrum: Scotland and England mostly. I expect around 1817 in Germany.
Fisher: Boy, you’re all over the place then. Have you travelled to some of these countries, Hyrum?
Hyrum: I’ve been to England and Scotland.
Fisher: Okay. So mom and dad took you there and you got to see some of the places that you discovered.
Fisher: Now has your mom been a little impressed by your ability for this thing?
Hyrum: She’s nodding, so I assume yes.
Fisher: [Laughs] So, what is the best story you’ve uncovered so far?
Hyrum: I think one of the most interesting I’ve uncovered was probably on my mom’s side. He was born in Scotland. He was a soccer player, and we found him in the 1911 census. And it was just a few days before the FA cup finals.
Hyrum: And it’s actually the only year that he’s team won.
Fisher: And he’s your ancestor or relative?
Hyrum: The cousin of the ancestor I actually just talked about.
Hyrum: His name was Archibald Ryan. We actually found a photo and all this information, I think it was a day before the 100th anniversary of the game he played.
Fisher: So did you find a lot of information about that game and what his role was in it?
Hyrum: Yep. We found a YouTube video I think. A signed autograph, we a found a program replica.
Fisher: Wow! So you’re making copies of that no doubt or you’re bidding on it on eBay.
Fisher: You’ve done that too?
Hyrum: We’ve done that.
Fisher: You know, there are a lot of people who don’t realize eBay is a great place for family history stuff.
Fisher: If you put in a lot of search terms to lead you in the right direction. I’ve done that myself.
Hyrum: Yeah. There was actually a line of Veachs who immigrated to... they went from Scotland to England and they were botanists. They sold plants and there are actually a few of their catalogues on eBay.
Fisher: And those are your ancestors?
Fisher: How has this affected your ability to learn history?
Hyrum: In many ways it makes it more fun, Civil War history especially.
Fisher: You probably know a lot more than some of your teachers.
Hyrum: Maybe a little more than the students.
Fisher: [Laughs] A little more than the students?
Hyrum: Maybe sometimes.
Fisher: Have you ever corrected a teacher about what they taught in history?
Hyrum: Once or twice yeah.
Fisher: [Laughs] Have you wanted to do it a lot more?
Hyrum: I have, yeah.
Fisher: Yeah. What happened when you corrected a teacher on their knowledge on history?
Hyrum: He gave me chocolate.
Fisher: He gave you chocolate! So that’s a thumbs up. That’s pretty cool. Have you actually trained some other kids on how to do this? Have they taken an interest because of yours?
Hyrum: Yes, one of my friends got interested because I invited him to Roots Tech a year or two ago.
Fisher: When you were like 10?
Hyrum: When I was 11.
Fisher: And how has the friend taken to it, has he gotten involved?
Hyrum: Yeah, he’s found quite a bit.
Fisher: Have you helped him?
Hyrum: I helped him a little bit, yeah.
Fisher: So, how do you analyze your data when you get that? I mean, you must look at the census records, you must understand that one census is different from another. And I had a lot of fun trying to figure out, "Do I have the right person?" and that type of thing, because that's kind of advanced.
Hyrum: Yeah, it’s kind of fun.
Fisher: Did you ever worry you found the wrong guy?
Hyrum: Yeah. The other day, I thought I'd found a wife for a brother of my ancestor, and so I took it forward. I found him with the wife. I had him living with his parents in 1850 census, and I took that one marriage record in 1815, they were all married when the census was taken.
Fisher: Uh oh! So you had the wrong one.
Fisher: Wow! But you disproved it though. I mean, that's good. Because you know, that happens to everybody. You've got to start and go, "Okay, I assume this is the right person, but let's go prove it or disprove it” Right?
Fisher: So, what are your favorite websites? Do you have places that you like to work with more than others?
Hyrum: My favorite’s probably Ancestry.com. Family Search and Find My Past are close seconds though.
Fisher: And what kind of records are your favorites to look at?
Hyrum: Probably maybe military records or the records that reveal stories about the person.
Fisher: Um hmm, yeah, I like the stories, too. I mean, those are really the best. So, do you have military records from these other countries or are they American records?
Hyrum: They're American and English.
Fisher: But what records have you found in the military? What's a good military story you found, Hyrum?
Hyrum: There was one that was, his name was Russell Lance. He was from Georgia. He fought for the Confederacy. I found several POW records. Once he died, his pension record said that his wife wouldn’t swear an oath saying that the attached records were complete, because her religious beliefs, that she would affirm them instead.
Fisher: Ah! So have you written any histories yet, Hyrum?
Hyrum: Not yet.
Fisher: Okay, you're just gathering still.
Fisher: Okay, but five years of gathering, you obviously have a lot of stuff.
Hyrum: I have a little.
Fisher: [Laughs] Mom's not nodding yeah. So what else do you do in your life, Hyrum? Do you play any videogames?
Hyrum: Not really. I do golf.
Fisher: You play golf.
Hyrum: And I swim.
Fisher: And you swim. I'm just wondering where you get time for it with all this research you're doing. Now obviously you can't drive yet, so does mom drive you to research centers a lot?
Hyrum: Mostly it’s actually digitized and online.
Fisher: Okay. So you usually just do it at home.
Hyrum: Um hmm.
Fisher: So, what's the most exciting experience you've had when people start to realize? I mean, you're probably one of the youngest researchers in the country right now. And in terms of a serious researcher, what's the most interesting opportunity that's come from that?
Hyrum: I've taught at a neighborhood family history class.
Fisher: Have you taught adults yet?
Hyrum: Yes, there were adults that came to the class.
Fisher: And you taught mom?
Hyrum: Not really, no.
Fisher: Not yet.
Hyrum: My piano teacher as well, she hired me to give family history for a couple of hours in December.
Fisher: Really? Can I ask what you got for that?
Hyrum: I got about $30, 40 bucks.
Fisher: 40 bucks! For how many hours of work?
Hyrum: About four hours.
Fisher: Wow! That actually was a pretty good deal for her, I think. [Laughs] Well, congratulations, Hyrum, this is exciting! So what are your goals? What's up ahead for you?
Hyrum: I'm not sure.
Fisher: Have you lost any interest in this at all over time or has it just grown?
Hyrum: It’s always growing.
Fisher: So what do you want to do? What kind of career do you think you want to have?
Hyrum: Probably one that's related to history in some way. I'm not sure.
Fisher: Yeah, it’s a little early yet. Well, that's exciting. Well, Hyrum Veach, thank you for joining us today. This is really interesting stuff. And we look forward to great things from you in the future. What kind of records are you looking for so the powers that be will know that they've got to get them digitized, so you can find what you need?
Hyrum: Probably parish records.
Fisher: Parish records in what country?
Hyrum: England, Scotland and Germany.
Fisher: And what year?
Hyrum: 1500 to early 1800
Fisher: Okay, 300 year block, okay, because they’re listening, I know that. So, Hyrum, thanks for joining us.
Hyrum: Thanks for this opportunity.
Fisher: [Laughs] Amazing! And on the way in three minutes, a couple of your listener questions for Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority and a couple of answers for you. Plus, at the end of the show, I've got an amazing World War II story I just discovered, involving a friend of my parents from back in the day. You're going to want to hear this, on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com
Segment 4 Episode 41
Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio. You have found us. Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry, he's our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. Hi Tom, good to see you again!
Tom: Good to be here.
Fisher: And we have questions. People have been writing to [email protected]. Let's get started. Nathan Holden, "Tom, I've been hearing you on Extreme Genes, and have a question. I have a fairly large DVD library that I'd like to put on portable hard drives or access without the disk. Do you know of a converter program that works well and is user friendly and would allow me to access these without the disk? Is that clear as mud? Thanks for your help. Nat Holden."
Tom: [Laughs] Basically, what I would suggest, and we've talked about this before, there's a real good program out there called Cinematize, and you can buy it from NewEgg.com, that's W W W . N E W E G G .com. They're really good people. There's like three different versions of Cinematize. So what I would suggest you do is, go to their website, compare the three, you might find some whistles and bells in some of the higher models that you might want. You might find the basic version, which I believe is about $50 will do exactly everything that you need. I love Cinematize. We use it in our store. We have people that bring in DVDs that, you know, they lost the tapes, they lost the film, all they have left is a DVD, and they want to be able to edit it. And it’s awesome, because it will allow you to rip just about any DVD into either an AVI format or an MOV format. So, most PC users are going to use AVIs. Most Mac Apple users are going to use the MOVs. And so once you have it in AVI or in MOV, you don't have to edit it, but that way with programs such as QuickTime, you'll be able to play it. So I would go and rip all these DVDs to your hard drive and do them in either AVIs or MOVs. Now one thing too, you can go in and do other things and make them MP4s and such, but the nice thing about AVIs and MOVs, they're good to play on QuickTime, but they're also really good if you ever decide to go back and edit them. And a neat thing about Cinematize as well is, if you have a DVD that's, say, two hours long, but there's really only thirty minutes of content you really care about, with Cinematize you can rip out just that one part.
Tom: So it makes it really fast, really convenient. There's a lot of shareware programs out there, a lot of people use a program called Handbrake, which is great. It’s free. But it’s really, really slow. You know, you kind of get what you pay for, and it’s free. It’s a wonderful program. But with Cinematize, it’s really fast. If you use Handbrake, you'd have to rip the entire DVD, and it could take eight hours. I tell people, set it up, go to work, when you get home from work, it’s probably done ripping it.
Fisher: All right. There you go, Nat. There's the answer to your question. Next up from Lea Nielsen, she said, "Tom, I have a floppy disk that has about sixty pages of letters from my great, great uncle from World War I that I typed up." Oh, that's got to be cool! "Now I want to transfer them to a CD, but my floppy drive doesn't work. I should have done it years ago, but had lost the disk. My husband tried putting the floppy into a computer at his work, but of course it didn't recognize it. I since heard that those are not good disks and I'm scared I've lost all the info. Are you able to retrieve information from floppys? The thought of retyping those years of letters is frustrating. Can you help? Thanks, Lea."
Tom: You bet, Lea! That's a really good question. Usually the problem with floppy disks that aren't readable in another computer, well, first off, the floppy drive might be bad. So hopefully that's what it is. Another problem you can have with floppys is, it’s from a program that doesn't even exist anymore. So they're written in an architecture that no computer will read. So the best thing to do is, find someplace like us that can transfer it to a CD. Than once it’s on a CD, you can put it in your computer. If it’s a normal word program or some kind of a data file or jpeg, some kind of photos, usually you can recover it. But the neat thing now with the advent of the internet is, a lot of times a PC or Mac, if you double click on the file and it can't find a way to open it, it will say, "Do you want me to search on the internet for a program that can open this?" And quite often, there's a program out there that will be able to open some of your old programs. So I would suggest you try this. Get it on a CD or something that your computer will read and make sure you're hooked up to the internet and you should be able to find a way to open it.
Fisher: All right, great advice Tom. Thanks so much. And of course, if you have a question, you can [email protected]. And when we return, I've got some questions for Tom. We'll share them next on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 5 Episode 41
Host Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And we are back at Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here with Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com, and Tom, we've been getting a lot of questions from listeners. I've got one for you here, "What is the best format to store files when you're doing hard drives and disks and clouds, we talked about cloud one, cloud two to assure that you're backed up everywhere else. What's the best format to use for these?"
Tom: Okay. There's a couple of different options. My first question to our listeners would be, what is your desired use for the file? So let's say for instance you want archiveable quality, but you don't have a whole lot of space. Maybe you're just doing the freebie ones on the cloud, so you don't have a whole lot of space and you don't have a BluRay burner. I would suggest going to MP4s, because they're great quality and very small. In fact, when you download movies like Netflix, that's what they are, they're MP4s, so they're amazing quality, but they're major, major compressed too. So if all you're looking for is a way to archive them, but you're never going to edit them or do anything more with them, then I would definitely go with MP4s. That's the way to go. The next step would be, let's say you want archiveable quality, you have plenty of space on the cloud and you have a BluRay burner.
Tom: But yet you also want to be able to edit it as well, then I would suggest if you're a PC user, make AVIs. If you're a Mac user, use MOVs.
Fisher: It makes sense.
Tom: You know, and in my opinion and most people I work with, MOVs are the best way to go, because they're small, but they're major good quality. They're usually half the size of an AVI. The only drawback to them is most PCs won't play them. If you're really into, you want the very best and you don't care about that, you can also buy Power Director, which we talked about on the earlier segment, because Power Director will actually edit AVIs, MOVs and MP4s on a PC, which is, you know, pretty extraordinary.
Tom: And it’s only a $50 program. So that's a great way to go. So if you have tons of room, that's what I would suggest you do. Then basically the last way is if you want archiveable quality, but you have very small, limited space and you want something that you can send to aunt Ethyl and play it, you can send it to Margret, you can send it to your kids and they're not going to have compatibility problems. I would suggest going to something like QuickTime, which Apple developed, but QuickTime will also play on PCs. You can go to the Apple store and download it.
Fisher: That's free, isn't it?
Tom: Oh it is. It’s totally free.
Tom: And it’s a great program. So if you save stuff as QuickTimes, you should be email them to people, put them on your Facebook page, put them on YouTube, all these different places and they're totally compatible. They'll be able to use across the platforms. And most programs that you buy today have the ability to burn a QuickTime or an MP4 and such as that. So that's why I would suggest QuickTime. They're very, very universal. And whether you take your computer with you or your hard drive with you and plug it in somebody else's computer, QuickTime’s always going to be available to play just about anything.
Fisher: Boy, there's just so much to know when it comes to storage isn't there?
Tom: Oh there is! There's tons of stuff out there. And people always call and write us, say, "Hey, this is a dumb question." There's no dumb question out there. We just have different things we're interested in. So don't be scared to send us any question. We'll take anything on for you.
Fisher: Yes, you will. And thanks, Tom. Before we call it a show, I have to share with you a story I found this past week. A family photo from a pool party back in 1970 brought to mind a friend of my parents whose name I struggled to remember for years, and it finally came the other night, Norb Gagen. And I remember he'd been some kind of government agent. So I did a quick search on him. This was from the stars and stripes, "Saturday, February 21st, 1948. Norbert Gagen, ex soldier said yesterday in Varsity Magazine he broke into Oak Ridge in 1943 everyday for a week and stole atom bomb papers each time. Using a gold badge he bought in a pawn shop to slip past guards. He stole documents, took pictures, prepared maps, compiled notes, asked questions and wrote a report on Oak Ridge a half inch thick. Gagen was an army counter intelligence corps agent. His job was to break into Oak Ridge to test security precautions, and he did it so often, the guards began to salute him." Unbelievable! Sometimes we casually know some fascinating people and don't even know it. Thanks for listening. Hey, if you think of it, please give us a like on Facebook, and catch our past shows in podcast forms on iTunes and iHeart Radio. And download our new free podcast apps for Android and iPhones. Talk to you next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!