Episode 433 - Chris Child from NEHGS on the Late Queen’s Royal Ancestry and YoursOct 03, 2022
Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist for the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David begins with an antique horror story involving a batch of 19th century photographs he bought in Maine. Wait til you hear what the seller did with them! Fisher then describes the rabbit hole he went down this past week that led to some unexpected discoveries. David then reveals a new site that may be a goldmine for genealogists… Case.law/search. This site gives them names of people found in thousands of court records going back centuries. Have fun with it! He next talks about the late Queen Elizabeth II’s known family line and how far back it goes. Finally, the guys share a story for the “spooky month” about a popular 19th century doll…”Frozen Charlotte.”
In segments two and three, Fisher visits with another NEHGS genealogist, Chris Child. With the recent loss of Queen Elizabeth II, the guys talk about researching royal ancestors, as well as gateway ancestors, those early arrivals to America with known and proven royal lines. Should you have one on your tree, you’ll know your line extends back a long way!
David then returns for a pair of questions on Ask Us Anything, one concerning improving photos, and the other on researching and developing a very basic fact about an ancestor.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 433
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. Loaded show today! Of course, we lost Queen Elizabeth II a few weeks ago. And this week we thought we’d talk about finding royal ancestry, and how you do it. We’re going to talk about gateway ancestors, how the lead you back to royalty, and how you can find your connections to the royal family of Great Britain. Of course, we’re going to have Chris Child on. He’s the senior genealogist over at the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Hey, if you haven’t signed up for our Weekly Genie Newsletter yet, you must do so. Just go to our Facebook page or ExtremeGenes.com to get signed up. It’s free, you get a blog from me each week, links to past and present shows, and links to stories you’ll appreciate as a family historian. Right now, out to Boston where David Allan Lambert is still in horror after his discovery at an antique show, is that right Dave?
David: It was actually at a small country fair up in Maine. I thought initially it was going to be great. I found a couple of books from the 1790s. I paid a buck a piece. That was really great.
David: Then I said oh, before I finish this sale, I see you have a basket of photographs. And the dealer said, “Oh yes. I’ve decorated them.” She decorated them with googly eyes, Fish.
David: Glued on to the 19th century album and prints from 1860s to like 1900s. I bought six of them.
Fisher: I saw the picture. I mean, it’s googly eyes on 19th century photographs. And they’re not just laying on it and they’re not like attached to maybe a plastic sleeve that the pictures are in.
David: Which is what I hoped!
Fisher: They’re on the photos themselves, glued!
David: Yeah. I had hoped that they were on plastic sleeves. That’s kind of fun. You know, maybe a kid’s project, bringing them to life a little bit. But you know we do have those apps where we can make eyes open and mouths move.
David: But that wasn’t enough for this antique dealer.
David: So, I posted them on my Twitter page and I reached out to people like Maureen Taylor.
David: Even Megan Smolenyak commented on it. And people were just outraged.
David: Some of them were smirking saying, “Don’t want to laugh, it is funny, but no, that is not so funny.” So that was my horror story for the weekend.
Fisher: Right. No kidding. That’s nuts.
David: What adventures are you on this fall?
Fisher: Oh I wound up down a rabbit hole this past week. My wife’s on the phone with her uncle to wish him a happy birthday back in Indiana. He happens to mention during the call, and I could hear it down the hall, that his uncle had been in the D-Day invasion. I thought oh, I want to look that up, look at his obituary. So I went back to Montgomery County, Indiana sources to see what I could find. I couldn’t find anything there, but they have a great public library there that does great work with local history. And so I put the name Stout in there, and I didn’t find anything on the D-Day guy but found a photograph of my wife’s grandmother around 1914 in her 8th grade class. I couldn’t believe it.
David: No way!
Fisher: Oh yeah. But there was a problem with the picture. You know, if you scan them long ago, sometimes over time they get a little discombobulated and it was like in thirds through the faces and it’s like ugh, we can’t have that. So I called the person out there and she went and scanned the original for me in a much higher DPI, and it’s beautiful. But in the process she told me, “Well, we do have a Facebook page. It’s a little private group. You want to join?” Sure! She says, “I just put some Stout pictures up this past couple of weeks.” So I went there and there was a photograph of my wife’s second great grandparents and the entire family. Nobody’s ever seen it.
Fisher: So, it was unbelievable and it all started with overhearing a phone call down the hall. [Laughs]
David: And I hope none of them had googly eyes.
Fisher: Not one. Not one David. What else do we have this week? We’ve got some good stuff.
David: So Fish, I know you like to stay up all hours of the night so here’s a new one for you.
David: Case.Law/Search and this has old cases, ready? Going back to the 1600s! I’ve already found stuff on a guy I researched who was a justice of the Salem Witchcraft Trial who my town was named for, and I’m finding he was sued left and right.
Fisher: How fun is that. And you get all the law suits stuff there.
David: Um hmm. All in detail. And it’s brought to you by Harvard Law School. So I’m glad Massachusetts is represented but there are other places, I know that we talked about this earlier in the week and you were popping in some of your family names as well.
Fisher: Yeah it’s a lot of fun to see what’s in there. So check it out. Case.Law/Search. And you can put any name in there it will come up from states all over the place.
David: Well, you know the Queen has passed away and her name will live on for many, many generations. And of course, her ancestors go back many, many, many generations, for instance, all the way back to Alfred the Great who lived Circuit 848, 899.
David: And she had a longer reign than any of her ancestors, which was pretty amazing.
Fisher: That’s right.
David: So, you may find that you are distant cousins with the queen. There’s plenty of us out there that share a gateway ancestor to a royal line. So, Queen Elizabeth, if she was your cousin, my sympathies to you. And of course Charles the third coming upon the throne. Maybe you have relations closer to his former wife Princess Diana who had New England lines.
Fisher: Yeah. Interestingly, there’s a story out there right now about a woman in Hawaii who figured out that she had a relationship with Princess Diana. You know this is the spooky season now that’s upon us David.
David: It is.
Fisher: And I figured throughout the month of the spooky season we would share some spooky stories. Let’s talk about Frozen Charlotte.
David: Oh yes! So, if you think back to your days looking through old photos, you may have seen little porcelain dolls. Ones that had segmented arms, but some of them were a whole body itself. They were very popular in the 19th century but they come from the 19th century poem referred to as Frozen Charlotte. It’s a story of a vain girl who refused to cover up during cold evening and froze to death during an open sleigh ride.
Fisher: Wow! Who knew.
Fisher: So there’s your spooky season story for this week. I like it!
David: Well, that’s all I have from Beantown. Talk to you soon for Ask Us Anything. And don’t forget, if you’re not a member of American Ancestors, you can join and save $20 using the coupon code EXTREME on AmericanAncestors.org.
Fisher: Fantastico! Thank you so much David. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to the senior genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Chris Child about researching your royal ancestors all coming up in two segments when we return in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 433
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Chris Child
Fisher: All right we are back on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and I’m really excited to talk to my friend Chris Child from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. He is the senior genealogist there. And Chris, welcome to Extreme Genes. It’s great to have you back. It’s been a while.
Chris: Yes, it’s great to be here with you again. Thank you.
Fisher: You know, we lost Queen Elizabeth II recently and there’s an awful lot of things that we can talk about here that really tie in to who we are. And that is because so many Americans obviously have British descent, including people of all races for all kinds of different reasons. And so, really Queen Elizabeth was very much everybody’s cousin to a great extent. So, I thought we’d talk about royal lineage today and the ancestry of the Queen, and then we’ll talk about how people can figure out how they tie in to the royal family. So, let’s start by talking about Queen Elizabeth herself. How far back does her lineage actually go? David was talking I think earlier about going back to that 800 AD, something like that. Explain how this is so accurately recorded through time.
Chris: Sure. So, well, within her overall ancestry of how she’s been the monarch, that’s all sort of the English descent dating back to William the Conqueror who conquers England from Normandy in 1066. So there’s been a continuous sort of right of descent or right by conquest over the centuries going back almost a thousand years. But even before that, those monarchs or their children or grandchildren had married descendants of the earlier rulers of England. That includes the Anglo-Saxon kings as well. So, through those lineages within the country of England you can generally go back to around 800 through fairly good sources. When you get into some of their marriages into other kingdoms, I mean royals just married other royals over and over again.
Chris: So you can go back to Charlemagne who was crowned I believe in 802. And then if you wanted to go further back than that, there are a lot of scholars who really specialize in ancient genealogy. On that note it gets a little bit more speculative. You might be dealing with sources that are a few hundred years after the fact. Not all kingships are absolute, but even then you can theoretically get back to the early kingdoms of Cyprus, the Ptolemais of Egypt, that’s even 2,000 years back. I mean, at a comfortable level, I say about 1200 years back for most of the royal kingdoms of Western Europe.
Fisher: And you know as you say that, when you think about it, if one link is wrong then all of it behind it is wrong. So, you want to stay in that comfortable zone where its known, its proven, that type of thing. As I think back to my journey in family history over the years, I remember back in the 80s there were a lot of people thinking, “Oh you get back to Charlemagne, or William the Conqueror, you can go all the way back to Adam and Eve.”
Fisher: And people had these massive charts to Adam and Eve. And it supposedly went back to the Bible genealogy. But of course, as we know if the Jewish people didn’t like an ancestor, out, he’s gone. One wrong link and you’re not there to Adam and Eve. So it’s really kind of interesting when you hear some of these speculative lines and what that really means.
Chris: Well, I mean some of those will get into sort of what I call a little more fanciful genealogy. They’ll also just merge mythological or P-level or in histories.
Fisher: Yes. [Laughs] that’s right. What was the original God?
Chris: Descents from the God, Thor, or you get people in the Trojan War. You get all sorts of colorful characters that probably did not really exist.
Fisher: Yes that’s true. And some of them are on Family Search too, which is always kind of entertaining to me.
Fisher: Well, and you brought up an interesting point here. I mean, we have a lot of invasions that are involved when you deal with England, right?
Chris: Yes. As I mentioned it’s the continuous reign since the Norman Conquest. But before that, in 1066 you also had an invasion from Norway, and about a generation earlier you had an invasion from Denmark so there was a period where some kings from Denmark were also kings of England. And before that the Anglo-Saxon kings. But after William the Conqueror it’s not a straight parent to child all the way down. You had the War of the Roses between the Houses of Lancaster in York, which were ultimately conquered by Henry Tudor starting the House of Tudor. And then through the years you had all sorts of different reasons for a change of dynasty with the English reformation, and then later on it’s the glorious revolution of 1688, which exiled the catholic stewards and brought in their German cousins to the House of Hanover.
Fisher: [Laughs] And that’s how we got that crown that sat on the coffin that we watched a few weeks ago. Right?
Fisher: Incredible. The question is then, how do we get back some of our lineage into that lineage so we can obviously see our connections to today’s royal family and going back to some of those ancient times? What are some of the best sources that we can use for some of these things?
Chris: Sure. So, the way a lot of folks when they come into our library at New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, we’re with them at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The usual way that we make a connection to western royalty, mainly the monarchs in England and Great Britain, it’s through descents of earlier kings, largely from around 1,000 to 1300s so we’re talking about descendants of William the Conqueror of his son King Henry I, generally down to his descendent King Edward III, through their sort of younger children that do not become king or they’re illegitimate children. And then we’re sort of following descents over the generations where some of them joined the merchant class. Some of these are still part of the gentry and there’s sometimes upward nobility, sometimes downward nobility. But then by the time of 17th century, that’s a considerable amount of the British population and there are several of them that immigrate to the Americas at that time. Some of the sources that we use a lot are Gary Boyd Robert’s Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants.
Chris: Those are 900 immigrants to what is now the United States so that’s kind of a broad scope so it includes a lot of these 17th century immigrants but it does also include immigrants even in the 20th century as well. So of those 900 that he treats around between 300 to 400 of them were ones that were in the 17th century largely to the eastern seaboard of the present day United States. You also had immigrants coming to Quebec that were French but they also in turn would have English descents as well. And then the other source that I use quite a lot is the books by Douglas Richardson, these are Magna Carta ancestry and royal ancestry, which deal in war details giving you a lot more dates and places, and officers, or battles that these ancestors fought in of medieval genealogy, which trace descendants of William the Conqueror and his sister, and then descendants of the Magna Carta barons.
Fisher: Wow! [Laughs]
Fisher: Can’t we just put it all online where everybody could just plugin and see it. I guess a lot of it is online, but there’s so many of these lines that are not.
Chris: Sure. I mean there is a lot of stuff online; you just have to be careful that what you’re seeing online is accurately sourced.
Chris: I mean, with the appeal for royal connection, there’s also the all too common issue of wishful thinking or deliberate fraud sometimes. And then if you looked at genealogical stuff 100 years ago, there was a lot more erroneous lineages. They still come out now and then, and I mean your research is only as good as the sources that you have.
Chris: There’s new discoveries all the time. The latest genealogical journal, The American Genealogist just came out with a royal line for the three Sanborn brothers of Hampton, New Hampshire. I deal with a lot of people that descend from those guys in the 17th century so that’s exciting. But then at the same token, you get people that are considered royal immigrants where new evidence comes along and the line is disproven.
Chris: So you get ancestors that are new, and ones that get taken away.
Fisher: Yes, soft clay all the time, right?
Fisher: Now the Queen, she even had some American ancestry, didn’t she?
Chris: Yes. So I mean her mother Queen Elizabeth, she had through a line of her ancestry she had this Porteous family, which had lived in Virginia for about six generations so it includes other families such as Smith, Martio, Lewis, and a few others. So, they’re in Virginia for roughly six generations before returning to England. But through her own American ancestry she gets some fairly close kinships to George Washington, Meriwether Lewis, and a few other connections. And then for New England, on the same token she has a several greats uncle who comes to Massachusetts in the 1640s, that’s my ancestor Benjamin Child of Roxbury Massachusetts, who has a sizeable amount of descendants and some other cousins that came there as well. So, that’s not a direct ancestor that came to New England but it’s an ancestor’s brother.
Fisher: So we don’t have a lot of none royal lines for the most part historically. But obviously Queen Elizabeth’s mom did not come from royalty initially, right?
Chris: Well, she had ancestors that had royal titles in the immediate past, but then over time you do get a lot more ancestors through her side of the family that did have some more humble occupations. The connection for the Child that I was mentioning that was an Anglican minister. And then within the next generation they were farmers. But her mother also did have some royal connections. Her mother descended from King Henry IV of England. That was the first king in the house of Lancaster. And after King Henry VI’s died, there were no other descendants of Henry the IV until Queen Elizabeth II. She descended from a younger son of Henry IV that did not become king. So she also in turn did have some royal connections but it was much further back.
Fisher: It’s interesting when you see a royal marriage where it’s not to somebody who’s royal you think well for once it’s not for money, right? It’s not for money, it’s not for power, it’s not for merging kingdoms.
Chris: Sure. I mean that’s much more of a 20th century phenomenon for western royalty in general. Over the last thousand years they were largely marrying other gentry’ families in their own country, or they were marrying princes and princesses of other kingdoms. You get some occasional exceptions like the third wife of John of Gaunt. They have four children together before they’re married. And after his second wife dies, she becomes his third wife and he legitimizes their four children.
Fisher: Ah ha!
Chris: But that’s very rare.
Fisher: Fascinating stuff. It’s amazing when we think about how we are all tied into this family at one point or another because these people had a lot of kids! We can all pretty much claim Charlemagne.
Chris: Yes. And there’s a lot of good records, and yeah, they had a lot of kids and they in turn had a lot of kids. Some of the really fascinating records for Charlemagne’s immediate descendants are all those people dispensations. You had to get approval from the Pope even if you were marrying your third cousin so some of those records really make a descent from Charlemagne a lot more doable, but yes, just descendants upon descendants.
Fisher: [Laughs] I’m talking to Chris Child. He’s a senior genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. And Chris, hang on. Let’s get into some of these gateway ancestors coming up here. These are the ancestors who came to America that take us back to proven royal lines, so that you can find out how you connect to the royal family. We’ll get into it coming up next when we return in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 433
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Chris Child
Fisher: All right, we’re back! We’re talking royal ancestry due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II a few weeks ago. I’m talking to Chris Child, senior genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org, on Extreme Genes. Chris, let’s talk about what’s known as gateway ancestors a little bit. I really like the term because I think it really says it right.
Chris: Yes! So, what this term largely means is, we talking about people that come to North America largely in the 17th century that do have a documented connection to a monarch in Western Europe. Usually, that’s the King of England. Sometimes that’s the King of France. So, you often will have anywhere from ten to twenty generations back where they get back to this earlier monarch. And then, from that they can explode with earlier royal ancestry. So, the immigrant is sort of the gateway back to the monarch who in turn leads to more known ancestry.
Chris: So, people with just colonial ancestry typically, can tie back to royalty quickly and really easily and usually pretty proven. Although, as you’ve mentioned a couple of times here we do lose some sometimes where a line is disproven through research over time.
Chris: Yes! That definitely happens. We have access to much more information and a lot more digitized material, a lot more index material and as a result of that some new evidence comes to light that throws a distant out, then at the same token more people in that time period can have their ancestry further expanded which might lead to more gateway ancestors as well.
Fisher: Right. Now, Gary Boyd Roberts, your colleague over there at NEHGS, he is kind of the guy for gateway ancestors and he’s come out with a series of books as you’ve mentioned, “The Royal Descents of 900 immigrants” but that covers the American colonies, Quebec, or the United States right after we became a nation. So, he’s got 900 now. It used to be, I want to say 600, 500, somewhere in there. So, obviously the number of known royal descents of these people it’s growing.
Chris: Yes. When Gary first came out with his book in 1993, it was then called the Royal Descents of 500 immigrants, and then several years later 600, but he’s getting near to the point where the next edition will probably be called “RD 1000” and that’s really a result of just so many medieval scholars just really pumping away with more and more new research. A lot of our big journal articles like R Journal, the New England Historic Genealogical registrar, the American Genealogist, The Genealogist, and several others. They’re really coming out with more and more articles and document medieval connections to 17th century immigrants, to the present day United States.
Fisher: So, who are some of these gateway ancestors, some of the common names that we might hear that appear on people’s family trees from the colonial era?
Chris: Sure. So, one of the things that Gary and I do a lot of collaboration with is also presidential genealogy. So this will be the part that I’ll be more familiar with. He’s published the ancestor’s other American presidents and he includes a section of all the gateway ancestors behind the presidents. So, within our 45 men who have served as presidents, I believe a little less than half of them do have documented royal descents and these are gateway ancestors with hundreds of thousands of other descendents as well. So, by example, we have Colonel George Reade of Virginia. This is an ancestor of Queen Elizabeth through her non-royal ancestry and it’s an ancestor of George Washington, but through his ancestry back in England he also descends from King Edward III.
Chris: So, he’s a person with quite a sizable number of American descendents and if you do descend from him, you have to descend from Edward III, the other ones being the Randolph family of Virginia. Now, this is a family that comes over in the 17th century. They do have a lot of descendents that were involved in the American Revolutionary movement. These include Thomas Jefferson, several signers of the declaration of independence, several officers in the American Revolution. And they in turn have a descent from Kind Edward III as well.
Fisher: That’s interesting, but we’ve got the royals over in England that descend from Americans, and obviously the American royalty so to speak and the presidents that descend from England, which is more expected.
Fisher: But this is a really long list. I know I’ve got one Margret Wyatt Allyn or Allen and I think she goes back to what, I think Henry I?
Chris: Yes. So, Margret Wyatt Allyn, that is an immigrant to Connecticut. Her birth name is Margret Wyatt. She marries Mathew Allyn. They settle in Windsor, Connecticut, and their descend goes back King Henry I of England who is the son of William the Conqueror and that line goes through his illegitimate son Robert who became the first Earl of Gloucester whose mother is unknown. So, you get folks today you know it’s paternity unknown.
Chris: You get a lot of those lines where an English king could have five to fifteen illegitimate children in the earlier kingdoms with unknown maternity. So, through your ancestor Margret Wyatt Allyn, she’s also in turn an ancestor of several First ladies. She’s an ancestor of the first wife of Woodrow Wilson, as well Bess Truman, as well as Nancy Reagan.
Fisher: Interesting. I mean, the tentacles are like everywhere with these people.
Chris: All over the country.
Fisher: She also descends from Robert the Bruce. A few years ago they actually found a gateway ancestor in New York for the Duncanson sisters, which went back to Robert the Bruce.
Chris: Yes! Yes, I remember that article. That was a really fun article. It was four different sisters I believe, and that was a connection to New York. I think to the Livingston family of New York.
Chris: The royal descents are very heavy in New England and the south, a little less so for New York for whatever reasons. But that was an example where they did make a connection to early New York colonists back to Scottish royalty.
Fisher: Yeah. It was a very good one too and the research was amazing with the last minute discovery of the document they were looking for to make the connection. It’s like two ends of the plug finally going in and off it went and all the way back to Robert the Bruce. And this is just really fun stuff. Obviously, there was really no inheritance to be had by finding your royal ancestors, but really fascinating stuff. So, we’ve got Gary Boyd Roberts, “The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants” and you mentioned that there was another one?
Chris: Yes. The other works are by Douglas Richardson who lives out in Salt Lake City. So, his works are “Royal Ancestry” and “Magna Carta Ancestry.”
Fisher: And wasn’t there something recently that came out about Kate Middleton and her lineage?
Chris: Yes. So, that was a work that we published around the time that Prince William and Kate Middleton got married. My colleagues got started and I edited the work of a colleague William Adams who passed away the year before. He had worked on her ancestry and he published a fairly short book that document her ancestry, it did include a line back to King Edward of England, but after it came out we got an email from a fellow in England and he had done some research on her mother’s ancestry and her mother’s ancestry was very working class in England. A lot of coal miners, a lot of things like that.
Chris: And he found some of her ancestors back in Durham, England. And he found these ancestors in the Conyers family and essentially she had a royal line to King Edward IV who was a bit of a later king of England through his illegitimate daughter and it went through these baronets that were the Conyers family. So, her ancestor we connected her with was Sir Thomas Conyer. He was the 9th Baronet. He was the final baronet because he only had three daughters and there was no other male heirs, but by the time it came to him there was no land associated with the baronets and he was living in the English working house as a pauper and Surtees who was a British genealogist he had a series called Vicissitudes written about 1809- 1810 and he finds Thomas Conyers living in the working house and he’s trying to get money from some of his peers to help him out. The baronet is very humble trying to decline the assistance. So, as Surtees summarizes the plight of the house of Conyers, he says, this baronet has three daughters who are married to men of very inferior stations in life, but a time may come later on when some future genealogist may discover someone worthy of this house of Conyers of ancient renown and it will be a gratifying discovery to them. So, it was very interesting that we were able to connect Kate Middleton’s ancestor back to this earlier family that had at one point lived in a lot of castles in England and then by 1809 was in the working house, and then 200 years later they’re back in castles again.
Fisher: Isn’t that crazy. That’s the way it works. Chris Child thank you so much for coming on and sharing your knowledge of this stuff, it’s fascinating. Obviously, we’ve been immersed in everything royal for the last little while and you know, we all actually come from it in most cases. We all descend from kings. We all descend from paupers and you’ve just proved that.
Chris: Thanks Scott. Thanks for having me on.
Fisher: Always great to have you. And coming up next, David returns as we get into another round of Ask Us Anything, on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 433
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: All righty, we move onto the informational segment of our program. We call it Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. I am Fisher. David is back from NEHGS in Boston and we're taking your questions. And we start with this one, it's from Mary Lynn in Colorado, Springs. She says, "Mr. Fisher" That's giving me a little respect, David.
Fisher: "I have heard you mention how you like to clean up old photos and colorize them and fix them digitally. Is it hard to do this and how is it done?" That's a great question and I appreciate that you're thinking about these things, because photographs can be incredibly restored to even better condition I think, David than when they were originally taken, don't you think?
David: Especially if they have googly eyes glued onto them.
David: You're trying to use a hairdryer to apply enough heat without melting the photograph and maybe the eyes will fall off.
Fisher: All right, okay, we're going back to that again. No, we're not talking about.....I don't think even doing Photoshop would help with that, geez.
David: Uh uh.
Fisher: All right, so here's how it works, Mary Lynn, you want to do a very high Dpi scan of your photograph, at least 600 dpi if not 1200. I prefer around 1200. That's plenty. 600 works, too as well, but you're going to get the best detail at the higher end. You can do a couple of things next. You can go over to My Heritage where they have a fixit button to push that can clean up some of the tears or holes in your pictures, whatever it might be, or you can do that using Photoshop. I don't have a full Photoshop on my computer, but I do have Adobe Photoshop Elements. So that's all you really need, because it gives you what's called a cloning tool. So if you have a piece of cloth that's, say, blue and it's torn, you can go over to the same color somewhere else and just clone it right over that home and it just disappears like it was never there. It doesn't really alter the picture. It just improves it and fixes it. Likewise if you want to fix maybe a line of tear that went through a picture, you can use this particular tool. Its right above that on Elements, the healing wand and it will basically take all the different colors and things on either side of it and just mix it all together and suddenly the line disappears. It's great fun. You have to experiment with it. You can vary the size of the tool. So you can make a great, big circle that you can use to cover large areas or tiny, tiny little ones to fill in between lines. If you have the wrong size, you can mess it up, but that's easy enough, you just hit ctrl-z and you undo what you may have done wrong. So you can always be playing with it. It's almost to me like artwork, Dave, you know where you can sit there and try to improve things. One of the problems that I've noticed with the colorization tool that you'll find on My Heritage and now also on Ancestry is that sometimes it turns some of the blues into purple or red. You've probably seen that.
David: Yeah, I've noticed that, yeah.
Fisher: And so, sometimes you can actually go through and take the correct color from somewhere else in the picture and gently go over and just fill that spot in. And it makes it a lot less noticeable. But you have to be real careful with it. And there's a lot experimentation and seeing how it is. And if it doesn't work, again just ctrl-z and try it again or just don't touch it at all. Sometimes it's best left just the way it was. So, these are the things I do all the time. I just got several new pictures this week. I'm really impressed with the tools that are available now on Ancestry and on My Heritage. And so, it's a great deal of fun to try this stuff and see what you can do. Doesn't cost much. If anything in fact, if you want to have Adobe Elements, that's an easy one to buy, a very low cost option for you. And of course, My Heritage's tools are free and you can do similarly on Ancestry.com. So, thanks for the question. I hope that helps. It is so much fun and you're really going to enjoy experimenting with it and seeing what you can come up with. The other thing is, oh, the other thing I've got to mention, too is, there's a focusing tool on My Heritage that will sharpen your image. So a lot of pictures that look pretty good, once you sharpen them, they are unbelievable. So, great stuff. Thanks for the question. Got another one coming up when we return in three minutes with Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 433
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: All right, we're back for our final segment this week on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher and David and we're doing Ask Us Anything. And David, our second question today is from Latoya in Atlanta. And she says, "Gentlemen" we're getting so much respect today.
David: Um hmm.
Fisher: My first great grandfather ran a dog kennel and had many dogs. Do you think there are any stories to be found around the kennel or the dogs?" You know, I love the way you're thinking Latoya, because a lot of people will look at an ordinary little fact about an ancestor that way just say, oh, had a kennel, had a dog or had several dogs and you never think about what stories might be able to be found out there. And really, there are a lot of ways to research this.
David: There really are. I mean, if you think about just newspapers on the local level, I mean if you had to have a kennel that could have been a good thing and a bad thing. Well, starting with the good things, maybe the dogs are of a pure bred, maybe he won ribbons for them and there's maybe even stories about a dog that he purchased from another part of the country that came in on a local train or he's known to have an advertisement that pops up every so often.
Fisher: Yes. And you know, that's really fun too when you find an advertisement for an ancestor's business, because that's something you can actually make a copy of or a print and frame somewhere with a picture of the business, right?
David: Exactly. Now in the American Kennel Club, he may have been a member of that. That was founded back in 1884, so that is something that's been around for awhile, so maybe your ancestor joined that, and they may have records of some of the dogs that he bred, so that's a possibility. Now, on the opposite side of the law, of course there's always that dog that got loose and bit somebody.
Fisher: Oh no!
David: So then you have newspaper stories on a negative side and maybe there's actually even a court case about your ancestor being sued for what his dog had done or maybe had torn up somebody's property or something like that, but it will make the newspaper. And if it was a story where your ancestor forgot to pay to have his dog licensed.
David: Well, he may have been brought to court for that, because back in the19th century, it became a local law in most places where you had to actually license your dogs whether or not they were in a kennel or you walk them down the street on a regular basis. This is where the town records might come in handy in your city. They may have records of the owner of the dog, they may give a description of the dog, its age and you may even get the dog's name, which is great. I mean, that's more of an identity. If your ancestor who had the kennel was doing this at the time where photography was a common place thing, maybe there are pictures of the kennel at a local historical society.
David: Because it may have been a unique thing.
Fisher: Or the public library like I was taking about earlier in the show who maintains a local history Facebook page or website or both.
David: Exactly. The other thing to look out for is just what you and I use all the time, eBay. Put in search terms of your ancestor's name and the word "dog" or "kennel" and you never know, just sit and wait and it might come home to you one of these days with a prized possession that your ancestor once had or maybe even find a loving cup or something that was presented that just happened to get lost.
Fisher: And you know, Dave, all the things you're talking about is certainly concerning news stories and all that. It can apply to all kinds of things, you know, even grocery stores or whatever it might be, whatever the business is. So, that's a great question Latoya and look at all the different ways you can take that information and develop it into something really interesting to find out more about your ancestor. So, thank you for the question. David, as always, you've been brilliant! We will talk to you again next week, my friend.
David: I look forward to it. Until then.
Fisher: All right, buddy. Well, that's our show for this week, people. Thank you so much for joining us. Thanks to Chris Child for coming on from NEHGS talking about royal ancestry research. And if course if you missed any of it, catch the podcast. It's on all the places you'd want to hear it, AppleMedia, iHeart Radio, YouTube, Spotify and ExtremeGenes.com. We will talk to you again next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!