Episode 432 - Relative Race Is Back For Tenth Season Amid Host Dan Debenham’s Health Crisis

podcast episode Sep 26, 2022

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. The guys first talk about Fisher’s exploration of the backwoods neighborhood he grew up in and how it was in 1867! David then tells Fisher about house that’s being sold for the first time in centuries! Hear when the last time was this American home was for sale. Next, an ancient writing system has been cracked. Hear when it was in use and where. Captain Cook’s alleged ship, resting in the ocean off Rhode Island, is being destroyed. Find out what is happening. “The USA and the Holocaust” by Ken Burns is making noise on PBS. David shares his thoughts on the show. Finally, New York has passed a law requiring art galleries to post a sign revealing a specific origin. David tells you what that origin was.

Next, Fisher visits with longtime friend Dan Debenham, host of BYU-TV's Relative Race. The show is beginning its tenth season. Dan talks about the current season and then explains his heart wrenching diagnosis.

Then, Sons of the American Revolution (S.A.R) Librarian, Cheri Daniels, comes on the show to talk about the research assets available to all (not just S.A.R. members!), including 55,000 volumes of genealogies, family histories, and location histories.

David then rejoins the show for Ask Us Anything.

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


Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 432

Fisher: And welcome America, to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. 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 aboard! Coming up here in just a little bit, we’re going to talk to the host of Relative Race on BYUtv, Dan Debenham. A new season has begun and Dan has some more sobering news to share as well that you’re going to hear coming up a little bit later on in the show. And then, right after Dan we’re going to talk to Cheri Daniels, she is the librarian for the Sons of the American Revolution in Kentucky. They have an amazing library there. So many people don’t even know about the assets, many of them are online. You’re going to want to hear what Cheri has to say that could help your research efforts. And if you haven’t signed up for our Weekly Genie Newsletter yet, please do so on our Facebook page or at ExtremeGenes.com. It’s free. You get a blog from me each week. You get links to past and present shows, plus, links to stories you’ll appreciate as a genealogist. Right now, it’s time to head out to Boston where David Allen Lambert is standing by, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Hey David, how you’re doing buddy?

David: Hey, I’m doing okay. Now that we’ve kissed summer goodbye, what genealogical adventures have you been up to this month?

Fisher: [Laughs] I’m still finding them. You know, I was gone for a long time and had a great time looking into things, but when I got back I was still curious about the property I grew up on in the backwoods of Connecticut. [Laughs] I then actually tried to trace back the title a little bit from the property that my dad had built our home on and could only get back to about the 1930s. It really didn’t tell me much. But get this Dave, on eBay, I found somebody selling an 1867 home owners map of my hometown in Connecticut.

David: That’s excellent.

Fisher: Yeah it was really good. It was a hand drawn map but it was really difficult to follow when I looked at it. It was kind of looking at a foreign country. It’s like, really, this is the same place?

David: [Laughs]

Fisher: I mean, I couldn’t recognize the roads. They didn’t really name the roads going back into the backwoods there. So, what I did was scan this map and I blew it up on my computer and then moved it over to another screen and then brought up Google Maps for the same area. And now I could kind of compare them and finally I found one of the old back roads as it looked 100 years before I became a teenager and some of the intersections and started to put it together. And now I was able to find the people who lived in the little area I was in and went to the 1870 census and it told me that they were gardeners and farmers, and some people worked in the mill nearby and another worked for the railroad, there were sailors. And it’s like, okay, this is a working class neighborhood back in those times that’s now actually a very high-end neighborhood. So, they had to have ridden their horses down these little lanes to get into town for some of their jobs. So, that was a real interesting find for me to know that is what was going on there 100 years before I grew up there.

David: So, how long did your family own the property?

Fisher: They were there for 26 years.

David: Well, in Concord, Massachusetts right now, you can purchase a home in Sudbury Road that has been in the same family for, wait for it, since 1696!

Fisher: No! That’s crazy.

David: It is. The property was originally purchased by a John Scothford back in 1653, Concord, Massachusetts. Think of Lexington and Concord.

Fisher: Yes.

David: He lived there with his wife and he sold the property in 1696 to Deacon Edward Wheeler and his Wheeler descendants still own it to this day.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Not for long. The property is going for a little over $1 million. So if you are a descendant of the Wheelers or the Scotchfords, act quickly. And you never know what's in their attic.

Fisher: Yeah, right. Wow, that's an incredible story! Love it!

David: Well, I'm going to go back a little further into southern Iran where there is a new writing language I've never heard of before called Linear Elamite. It almost sounds like something you would plaster your bathroom with.

Fisher: Right. Never heard of it.

David: Well, it’s from 2300 BC to 1800 BC. There's only about 49 examples of this writing system, but they've now deciphered at least 95% of it. So, pretty good.

Fisher: Yeah. That's amazing. And who's they?

David: It was published recently in a German publication called The Journal of Assyriology in your Eastern Archeology.

Fisher: Wow what a great find! Unbelievable!

David: Well, you know, right now there are termites of the ocean eating a part of the Endeavour. Captain Cook, you know, who found Hawaii and all that area?

Fisher: Yeah.

David: His vessel was one of many scuttled in Rhode Island during the Revolutionary War by the British and its now being eaten by these termites of the ocean or ship worms.

Fisher: Ooh!

David: And they're afraid that this valuable wreck, there was some controversy whether or not it is the Endeavour. Hopefully it will still be there when they finally determine what vessel it is. I want to say that what I’ve been fixed to on TV, anything that Ken Burns and PBS do, this is US and the Holocaust.

Fisher: Right.

David: The first episode called The Golden Dawn. And this is really the relationship of the United States and the Holocaust. Of course you remember the US refusing the St. Louis vessel that came in that had people fleeing and of course they went back and many of them perished in the Holocaust. So it talks about that and so much more. There's a great toolkit that you can download from PBS, which is about the film. It’s sort of a viewer’s guide, so that's something to follow along. So, another great series by Ken Burns. I tip my hat to him. And in New York, I tip my hat to them as well and it’s because they are actively now putting up signs for artwork that was eluded by the Nazis.

Fisher: Oh wow!

David: Yeah, I mean a few years ago there was a piece of art titled, The Artilleryman that belonged to a Jewish art dealer who fled Berlin in 1933 and that was returned to his family. So, there is a hope that this type of signage might help family members reclaim lost art and it also shows that this is artwork that may never have connection back to a family, but they know where the source of it is now.

Fisher: Sure, interesting.

David: Well, you know American Ancestors where I work, we try to do exciting things. And this fall I’m having a lecture called “Using cemetery transcripts in your family history research.” It is on October 6th at 3 PM, Eastern. And you can sign up for free on AmericanAncestors.org, under our education page.

Fisher: All right David.

David: Well, that’s all I have from Beantown this week, but I’m always glad to hear you’re scouring eBay for treasures like you did.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah. It’s amazing what’s there. All right David thank you so much, we’ll talk to you at the backend of the show with Ask Us Anything. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to Dan Debenham, the host of Relative Race. It’s a new season and a new challenge for Dan that you’re going to want to hear about when we return in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 432

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Dan Debenham

Fisher: Back at it on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and it’s been a while since I’ve spoken to my good friend Dan Debenham, the host of Relative Race on BYUtv.

Dan: Am I your good friend?

Fisher: You have been my good friend for what, 25 years or so.

Dan: Wow! I’m climbing up in the world. I thought I was just a friend. Now I’m a good friend.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Dan: I like that.

Fisher: Hey Dan, it’s great to have you on. Your new season has started! Fill us in with what’s going on with Relative Race.

Dan: Can you believe it, 10 seasons! The 10th anniversary of Relative Race.

Fisher: Wow!

Dan: Absolutely incredible. Yeah. What a phenomenal achievement for all of us. 

Fisher: Yeah.

Dan: When I saw all of us, I mean for the teams that are part of the show that get to find family and for us to be able to unite family, and for the viewers who have supported us, and for the network who see it as an important part of their programming blog. And on a personal level, it’s been a real blessing in my life.

Fisher: Oh, yeah.

Dan: I mean, we’ve talked about this before Scott, that I’ve been creating, producing, writing, or hosting television for 30 years and I’ve never been involved with anything that is so powerful, so meaningful, and been able to literally change the lives of others.

Fisher: Yeah.

Dan: You have to be affected by that.

Fisher: Absolutely.

Dan: So, for me personally it’s just an amazing accomplishment to have 10 seasons. There are some changes for our 10th anniversary. And for those who watched the first episode, and of course, if you missed the first episode, if you have Amazon Prime you can search it there, or if you have the free BYUtv app you can stream it. The first episode has already aired. In that episode we introduced our audience to a couple of new twists. We try to do this every season.

Fisher: Yeah.

Dan: But this season for the first time two of our teams, Team Red and Team Blue, are complete strangers. They never met each other until just a couple of weeks before the show aired.

Fisher: You mean within the team?

Dan: Yeah, the team themselves. Team Red, which is Jamie and Alex, they didn’t know each other.

Fisher: Ha!

Dan: They never met each other. Two complete strangers.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Dan: One from Westchester, New York, the other from West Virginia. Same thing for Team Blue, Shawn and Curtis. Team Blue, complete strangers. Until we brought them together to literally meet each other just two weeks before the race started now. Because we were filming the back stories on them so we had to bring them together now. 

Fisher: Sure. Are they related in one way of another?

Dan: None whatsoever.

Fisher: None.

Dan: Not related, never knew each other. It’s just this really unique twist. Both members of the team obviously have unique back stories, unique backgrounds, and are uniquely looking for family for various reasons. But they are now teamed up and so Team Red and Team Blue are something that we’ve never had before. Team Green of course, a father and daughter duo, which we’ve never had on the show before, Scott and Hanna Bradley. And then another father and son team, Team Black, Jamie and Jansen. And in that first episode we found out when we found Jamie and Jansen’s father and grandfather. We found out that the father we found and wanted to introduce them to, he was in the hospital and not expected to live through the week in the hospital. He was in emergency care. And so we flew them out prior to the show airing so they can meet their father and their grandfather in the hospital. It literally took place overnight as soon as we found out from the family how seriously ill he was. And so we flew Team Black out so that they could meet their father and grandfather before he pass away.

Fisher: Did he pass at that point?

Dan: You know what, he has, and we show it on episode one, he started miraculously, and literally the doctors were talking about miracles. He was in kind of a comatose state, but when we introduced them, and again, you see this on episode one, when we introduced this man to his son and to his grandson, he opens his eyes and surprises everybody and grasps their hands and appears to become more coherent. 

Fisher: Wow!

Dan: It’s just a beautiful part of what this show, the power of this show and the power of family.

Fisher: Well, family and family history is so powerful. But your show has just made such an impact in the field and we’re so excited to see this here. This is something you came up with yourself, right? This was your idea initially.

Dan: Yeah. What happened is, the network came to us, this is broadcasted nationwide on BYUtv. The network came to us about eight years ago. We had worked with the network. We had created another television series for them earlier so they knew of us, we knew of them. And they came to us and said that Ancestry was launching a new division of their company called Ancestry DNA, which of course is all part of our lexicon now.

Fisher: Yeah.

Dan: But eight, nine years ago it was all new. And that Ancestry was looking for a show that would showcase how you might be able to find family using Ancestry DNA kits. And so they came to us and asked for us to come up with some creative ideas for a television series. We asked questions, “Do you want it to be an hour long, or half an hour long? Do you want it to be episodic or standalone?”

Fisher: Right.

Dan: We got our answers and went to work. A couple of weeks later we came back and said we have this idea called Relative Race. And we told them the concept, and everybody signed off on it. And from there it’s been eight years later and 10 seasons later, a 100 episodes and here we are. In my professional career going on 36 years now, I’ve never been involved with anything more gratifying, more satisfying, never been involved with anything so difficult either. It’s just a massive project to undertake.

Fisher: It is because you’ve got to go all over the country with these people. You’ve got to make sure they get along. I remember at one point you had to actually dump somebody on the show in the middle of taping because they were a real problem.

Dan: That’s true.

Fisher: I mean, you’ve had a lot of issues to deal with over the years, and the travel isn’t all of it. I mean because you also have to have the technical stuff of following people around in cars with cameras, and miking them up, and all the technical things. I mean, it is a massive project. How many people are on your team, Dan?

Dan: Well, first of all, the project takes a little over a year. Each season takes a little over a year for us to produce. And when the race is taking place, we have a crew of 42 people. Then in post-production, once the race is over, just in post-production and support people we have about 17 people.

Fisher: Hmm.

Dan: It’s a very large scale project equal to just about anything that’s on television. And it’s something that we’re just so, not only are we proud of the company, but we’re so grateful. And that’s just something that doesn’t happen very often I think in any of our professional lives. Not only is it satisfying, but then we’re sort of humbled and grateful that we’re able to do this work. You know, you come to work and you get excited for the discoveries that we know will come. And then those moments that we know will come when because of those discoveries we’re going to be able to put two people together that often have been looking for each other for decades.

Fisher: Yeah.

Dan: That’s just magical.

Fisher: And this season is particularly special for you, especially considering the announcement you made the other night.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah I’ve had a lot of outpouring of love, and for those that haven’t heard or weren’t able to watch that first episode, the network and I got together. I had shared with the network this summer that over a year ago I was diagnosed metastasize prostate cancer, that’s stage four and it’s spread throughout my body. And you know, when you get that news…you know I have a very loving supporting family. I have four children. I have six grandchildren. And we’re all incredibly close. But yet, this importance of family became a hundred fold.

Fisher: Yeah.

Dan: A thousand fold more than it was before.

Fisher: Yeah.

Dan: And so this season has become even more important to me as with every meeting that we have, and as we move forward with production, I’m reminded how important it is for these teams to find family. And I’m so grateful for my family. It becomes really important when you know that your children will be there. And every one of my kids have taken turns going to my radiation and my chemotherapy. They’re there for me without question. And I think about these teams, these couples that have been on our shows and how they don’t have family. They often have an adopted family.

Fisher: Right, right.

Dan: And 90% of the time that adoptive family is loving and kind and caring. But they have this need. Sometimes it’s almost implacable, this need to find biological blood family. And I think of how grateful I am with this. I don’t really like to call it a battle. I see it as a challenge in my life. Certainly among the most challenging that has ever happened in my life. It has made me realize how important family is and how grateful I am for my own family. And I hope that our viewers and your listeners consider that, you know?

Fisher: Sure.

Dan: If they have grown up with a loving supporting family surrounding them, maybe today is the day to give an extra thought, or an extra hug, or an extra squeeze for those that surround you and love and support because let me tell you, finding out that you have such a serious disease coursing through your body has made me think very differently about a lot of things in my life, and become more grateful for my family. This show means even more to me now.

Fisher: You know, mortality is what gives life its meaning, right?

Dan: Yeah.

Fisher: Knowing that there is an end. And ultimately it means our time here is even more special but if we don’t maintain that perspective throughout our lives then we lose a lot of that meaning.

Dan: That’s right. Well said my friend.

Fisher: Dan, I’m glad to hear your new season has started, and it looks really exciting and we’re looking forward to seeing more of it. But more importantly, I know that there are a lot of people praying for you, a lot of people who love you for what you have brought to us these last 10 seasons with Relative Race, and giving people a lot of hope and also a lot of inspiration to pursue their own families. And I’m excited for your season and will be praying for your recovery my friend.

Dan: I appreciate it.

Fisher: Dan thanks so much for talking to us, and we’ll talk to you again soon.

Dan: Thanks Scott. We’ll see you then.

Fisher: And coming up next, you may not be a son of the American Revolution, but you might find some great resources at their library. We’re going to talk to the librarian Cheri Daniels, coming up next in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History.

Segment 3 Episode 432

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Cheri Daniels

Fisher: All right, back to show. It is Fisher here on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and I’m talking to Cheri Daniels. She is the SAR library director (Sons of the American Revolution.) Cheri, it’s your first time on, it’s great to have you!

Cheri: Oh, thank you for having me. This is a big honor.

Fisher: This kind of a new job for you, isn’t it?

Cheri: I’ve only been here now five and a half months. So, I’m still a newbie.

Fisher: Well, I guess you’re always a newbie with the Sons of the American Revolution, because in your library as I understand it, there’s like 55,000 volumes of family histories. Is that right?

Cheri: Well, family histories and genealogy, and history type publications. So, a variety I would say. Probably, about 10,000 of our 55,000 print volumes are dedicated to family histories. So, there’s a breakdown there.

Fisher: You know, it’s amazing how many people, and I know when they first get into family history they’ll look at all the stuff online, and then they go to a library and they find an entire book on exactly who they’re looking for and they’re just shocked by that.

Cheri: Yes.

Fisher: But there are so many books that are just dedicated to particular families and lines, and lines of descent from the early immigrants. It’s a lot of fun to get in there and just smell the books and feel those things and see what they have to say.

Cheri: Absolutely. And for those of you who can’t actually visit us, we do have an online catalogue for our library that can give you not only a listing of the material we have in the library, but we have a really cool feature with this catalogue. If you ever see a call number that has eBook at the end of it, you can open up that catalogue record, scroll down the page and click on the eBook links and it will take you to digitized editions of that title. Anyone can access those free from home. You don’t have to be an SAR member. You can get to our catalogue at SAR.org, just click on the library section at the top.

Fisher: And I’m sure some people are wondering if all these books apply strictly to descendents of Revolutionary soldiers. These books can be about any family, can’t they?

Cheri: Absolutely. In fact, our library itself being a national lineage society library, we do collect on all of American history timeline and all the different states of the union. So, we are very broad in our collection here and that’s why we appeal to anyone starting the genealogy journey, we understand. We shifted that focus simply because we understand that most people have to get from them to the patriot anyway.

Fisher: Right.

Cheri: And that’s a long journey. Therefore, we collect to try to help you along no matter where you are in that journey. We’re trying to help you on the research side. 

Fisher: Absolutely. And for people who haven’t joined the SAR and I had the privilege of doing so about 10 years ago. Ultimately, you have to prove each link back till you get to the proven patriot.

Cheri: Yes.

Fisher: And that is a journey for a lot of people. Sometimes it’s very difficult with one link or another and they like to help you out with it. And the joy is, if you link into a line of descent from somebody who is already in through the same ancestor as you’re looking at then you might only have to go back a couple or three generations.

Cheri: Absolutely. And also, don’t forget that we have a patriot research system built into the main website as well. It’s very similar to the DAR’s GRS system. But, I always tell people check both of those because it’s not exclusive. You don’t know who’s joined on either side of those different organizations. So, the PRS system, again, SAR.org, look for the initials, the acronym PRS. It’s right there on the website. And yes, you can go through there. You can look up patriot names and if someone has joined under that patriot then you can click on that person or member list and see the line, about four generations to the patriot.

Fisher: Yeah, that’s about it, isn’t it? It’s not that far. It’s amazing when you think about seven generations for people right now. About seven generations back, correct, fifth greats?

Cheri: Yeah, depending on the age.

Fisher: Yeah.

Cheri: For me, I think it’s probably about like my fifth or sixth. So, yeah, I’m getting up there. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Mine are fourth. And for people who don’t know, there really aren’t a lot of family history libraries throughout the country. They’re kind of scattered. Of course, we’ve got the one in Salt Lake City that everybody knows about, the Family Search Center there.

Cheri: Yeah.

Fisher: We also have the one in Indiana, which is phenomenal. And you guys are located in Kentucky.

Cheri: We are. It’s very unique for us to be here in this region. We’re in the Ohio valley. So, we are literally located in Louisville, Kentucky, right down town, directly across the street from the Louisville Slugger Museum. So, we are in the front of Museum Row. And what’s really cool about this, I tell people, if you’re going to go to the Louisville Slugger Museum, when come across the street to take your selfie with the big bat behind you, just look at the building right in front of you and come in our door because you’re right there.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Cheri: We’re the best advantage point and we get so many people that come in that way. But yes, as far as region, we’re National Lineage Society. We are the national headquarters here. So yes, we did start in Washington D.C. once upon a time, but back in the ‘70s we moved to Louisville. And about 12- 15 years ago we purchased this wonderful piece of property. So, the library has been here about 12 years now. And again, it’s a national collection. Our scope of collecting is on that national level. To have that right here in this region is really, really wonderful. Admission is $5 for none members, but otherwise it’s free for SAR, DAR, SAR spouses, CAR, SR, but we also have for those who are in the region, we have a Friends of the Library membership that is really an economical benefit for $25 a year. It gets you free access to the library to support our mission. You get a beautiful little pin to wear and everything. Like I said anybody in the region who wants to take advantage of a national library right in their back yard that’s a really great program and you don’t have to be a member of anything to join that. That’s totally just supporting us and getting yourself access in here all the time.

Fisher: Absolutely. And it’s so fun, you know, the SAR is I think a great way to honor your Revolutionary ancestor and in many ways to put them on the map, right? I mean, if you’re going to breakthrough with some ancestor who has never been recognized before by DAR or SAR, in my mind, that’s the ideal.

Cheri: Yeah.

Fisher: Because that kind of leaves it out there for future generations to discover that person and then maybe look into what their service was like. And it is really fun.

Cheri: Absolutely.

Fisher: Have you ever put together Cheri, a history of some of these Revolutionary ancestors yourself? It is so fascinating.

Cheri: It is. And I think we get so focused on that lineage trail trying to prove that ancestor and it was funny. Not only is it really great to prove that ancestor, I always find it a really great thing to prove one of the children of the patriot. So, the patriot may have had several children but only maybe one or two of the children are recognized based on memberships throughout. So, a couple of things to remember, the patriot research system actually they’re trying to document as many patriots as they can. So, it’s not always based on memberships, sometimes it’s based on a gravesite or a DAR membership or something. So, you may see patriot registered in there but yet no one has ever joined under that person. So, that can kind of give you a clue to go, oh, this would be great. Like you said, get them on the map, him/her anyone whoever provided service during the Revolution.

Fisher: Right.

Cheri: This is not just a purely male connection for these patriots. It’s anyone that provided service, so that’s a really great thing to do. But yeah, once you trace that lineage back and get one of them recognized it’s so great to then stop and go research where were they? What was their service like? What was the rest of their life like?

Fisher: Yes.

Cheri: And yes, you can actually build patriot biographies in that PRS system. So, it’s a really great thing to use as a research tool.

Fisher: It is amazing how much material is out there to put those together. And you’re right, when you want to join one of these societies either Sons of the American Revolution or the Daughters, it’s not always about military service, it’s about patriotic service.

Cheri: Yes.

Fisher: And sometimes it’s just about simply signing a document that stands up to the king that can get you that qualifying ancestor. So, Louisville, this sounds like if you’re a baseball fan and you’re a genealogical fan, and maybe a descendent of an American patriot from the Revolution that you’ve got to put Louisville on your bucket list of places you’ve got to get to.

Cheri: Absolutely. I always say, the baseball is across the street, we’re the apple pie. So, come over and have a nice sweet piece over here of your genealogy pie and really enjoy yourself.

Fisher: She’s Cheri Daniels. She is the Sons of the American Revolution library director in Louisville, Kentucky. Cheri thanks so much for coming on.

Cheri: Thanks so much for having me. This has been great.

Fisher: David Allen Lambert is next as we go through another round of Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 4 Episode 432

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Fisher: All right, it is time once again for Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. And David is back for this one. David, our first question today comes from Richard in Salem, Oregon and he writes, "Fish and Dave, my War of 1812 ancestor received bounty land for his service. How can I locate where it was?" Good question.

David: Oooh, I love anything dealing with military. But land records are always fun, too.

Fisher: Um hmm.

David: I like the traditional land that was available for people in colonial New England where it's by an oak tree, a babbling brook, a pile of rocks.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: In the United States Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management Records. So these are part of what's called the general land office records. And guess what? They're free! And the website is, GLORecords.BLM.gov. And that will bring you to the search screen, Fish and what you can do is, you can plug in your ancestor's last name and first name and middle name, if they had it, select the state or specifically the county, especially if you're looking for that John Smith ancestor. And you can start to see results in a matter of minutes. My own ancestor received a land grant in Illinois in 1817, Fish for 1812 service. And if I plug in his name, I can find out exactly where the property is. It tells me the meridian. It's on the 4th PM of 1815 Illinois Land Township 3 north and 5 west. And it tells me it's in the southwest corner of that plot. It’s in Hancock County, so there I go. I'm starting to figure out where. Once I click on the actual image, I can see the original document.

Fisher: Oh wow!

David: And you can download it. It's a PDF. It's black and white. It's beautiful, explaining the land itself. On that, I'm able to verify his name. It's telling me that he was an artificer in the artillery in the US Army and that he got this property in 1817. This is half the story. Now, if you had your bounty land, unless you move out there, which my ancestor didn't, you may now want to start looking, in this case, Hancock County, Illinois. He had it in 1817. He never moved out of Boston to go there, but he sold it 21 years later. So he was renting it. I wish I could find rental agreements.

Fisher: Yeah.

David: I'm able to use a modern map and look at that plot right from the GLO website and zoom right in. And then, using Google Earth and a little bit of creativity, I figured out exactly where that plot is now.

Fisher: Google street level.

David: Umm hmm. Drive right by it actually, you know.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: So, a lot of trees, but it's okay. So if I ever make it to Hancock County, Illinois to this township, I'll be the first person in my family to be there where we actually owned land 205 years ago. [Laughs]

Fisher: Interesting. You know, so many of these people though, they never moved there. They never even sniffed the place, right, and they tried to sell it. It was pretty much very small potatoes as far as what kind of money they could bring in on that. And a lot of it was in Ohio, right and in the Midwest and places that were yet to be developed. So my question is, when he sold that, was the deed in Massachusetts or was it in Illinois?

David: It was in Illinois and it mentioned that he was a house right living in Boston Massachusetts. So, he obviously had to have a representative out there to help the deal in that county. But here's the other thing, a lot of like Rev War veterans who get bounty land or War of 1812, etc, there are ads in the newspaper. As soon as bounty land became available, speculators would offer you money cash on the barrel head if you wanted to sell it. And so, a lot of times you find land that was originally, say, a grant to Thomas Fisher. Thomas Fisher is 80 years old. He's not going to move out to the Midwest. But you'll see reference to his bounty land warrant as part of the original deed when someone goes to sell it or when they register it.

Fisher: Dave, you're very knowledge on that. I'm glad we had you here to answer Richard's question. We've got another one coming up next when we return on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show in three minutes.

Segment 5 Episode 432

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Fisher: All right, here we go, final segment this week on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. And David, this question comes from Lynn in Westport, Connecticut. And Lynn writes, "Guys, you are the only people I've heard regularly talk about eBay for family history. I just wanted to let you know, I recently found my ancestor's 18th century bible there and I'm thrilled to have it. Thanks for that incredible tip. Lynn."

David: Oh, that's amazing!

Fisher: Isn't that fun! And you know, Dave, if you actually go on eBay and you've probably done this, there are loads and loads of family bibles on there and they go back through all different periods of time, 19th century, 18th century, occasionally 17th century.  To me, if I had something that far back, I mean there would hardly be a price that's an object, you know what I mean?

David: Well, right, exactly, especially if it's a direct ancestor. Some people collect one name studies, so they're looking for all the Fishers or all the Lamberts. I mean, you're very fortunate. You have bought family bible or family bible pages. I have one, other than the one I created back in the ‘70s and one of our family Bibles in the old New Testament. Because I decided, ah, well, we don't have any old ones. I'll create one for now. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Right.

David: But you know, at NEHGS, we have 1000s of them. And not so much the bibles itself, because it becomes very cumbersome.

Fisher: Right.

David: It's the title page, any other pages that are there. But if the bible is before the 1820s, we save it. So we have a lot of 17th and 18th century original family bibles. And who knows, maybe one of them belongs to a listener. It's weird how things get separated over the years. And you think of how many 1000s and 1000s of descendants there can be from somebody from the 17th and 18th centuries. It goes down anywhere.

Fisher: Some time, a few years back, I came across a woman who put up basically the family flag on a website and said, look, everything concerning this family, was the Leach family, was going to be there. And she had somebody reach out to her and provide her with family bible pages. And the woman had gotten them because an aunt had died. She had possession of the bible. And when this woman got there to help clean out the place, she found other cousins who were already there and she found the family bible in the trash.

David: [Gasp]

Fisher: Yeah. She rescued it and there was actually a second bible there as well. And she took the pages and scanned them and shared them with this woman. And as a result of that, I now have copies of those pages and that broke open a huge line for me that went back many, many more generations into the colonial period in the United States. This is the thing though, there are people who will find those bibles in antique stores and garage sales and they'll take them and they'll put them on eBay. So you really need to look once in awhile. And I don't think it was that long ago, David. Was it earlier this year or late last year where we found that flock of handwritten genealogies about people and their grandparents that dated back around the Civil War? Somebody had been writing a history of the family of this one immigrant ancestor from the 1600s. And they had written to all these descendants to ask for their genealogy. Well, the book was published years later, but somehow these letters got preserved and they were all put up on eBay and I actually reached out to a couple of people who I'd found on Family Search and Ancestry with an interest in those families and said, "Hey, take a look at this." And they wound up buying these incredible handwritten genealogies that were done by their ancestors, which is phenomenal. That's why you've got to keep looking.

David: Oh yeah. You never give up. And you can put it in those search terms that we've told people many times before, put your ancestor's name and the town or something like that.

Fisher: Yeah.

David: It's really tough for me, because the surname I research a lot is my grandmother and her last name is Poor, so every poor condition family Bible, every poor photograph, any poor document condition wise, I'll find out about it, but none of them are my dear relatives.

Fisher: Ohhh, that is tough! You're right. All right, David. Thank you so much and we'll talk to you again next week.

David: All right, my friend. Have a good week.

Fisher: All right. And that's our show for this week. And if you missed any of it, of course catch the podcast on AppleMedia, Spotify, iHeart Radio, YouTube and ExtremeGenes.com. We'll talk to you again next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!



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