Episode 439 - The Wife Of Pirate "Captain Kidd," Native American History Month And Researching Native Roots

podcast episode Nov 14, 2022

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David begins with the touching story of a 90-year-old woman whose service recalls her Jewish schoolmates who died in the Holocaust. Hear what she’s doing. Then, a man who was raised in Australia has learned that shocking truth about his origins. Hear how he sadly just missed coming to know his birth mother who sought him out throughout her life. Next… ever hear of a “link boy?” Neither had David or Fisher. They’ll fill you in on who they were and what they did. Not many people would admit this, but King Charles III has… he shares blood with an ancestor known for liking blood. Who hear it is. Then find out about how DNA is helping trace the ancient migration of South Americans.

In Segment 2, Daphne Geanacopoulos has a fascination with pirates and their families. In this episode she talks with Fisher about her new book on Sarah Kidd, the wife of Capt. William Kidd.  

Next, Fisher visits with Michelle Chubenko from sponsors Legacy Tree Genealogists about Native American History Month. Michelle has some Cherokee background and is well versed on researching Native American ancestry and the requirements of citizenship in various tribes.

Then, David returns for another round of “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 439

Fisher: And welcome America to America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. Well, we've got some great guests today. First of all, we're going to talk to Daphne Geanacopoulos coming up here in about ten minutes. She's written an amazing book called, The Pirate’s Wife, and it's about Sarah, the wife of Captain William Kidd, yeah, the pirate and what her life was like and how he came into her life and of course how he went out of her life. We'll have a lot on that, coming up here in just a little bit. Then, later in the show, we're going to talk about Native American history month going on with Michelle Chubenko from our friends over at Legacy Tree Genealogists. She is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and we're looking forward to hearing all about that.  Hey, if you haven't signed up for our Weekly Genie Newsletter yet, please do so on our Facebook page or at ExtremeGenes.com where I'll give you a blog each week and a couple of links to past and present shows and links to stories you'll appreciate as a family historian. Right now, it's off to Boston. David Allen Lambert is standing by, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. That's a lot to put on a T-shirt, Dave.

David: It really is, but I'll tell you, it could be easier if I worked at a place like AT&T.

Fisher: Right.

David: But, I like NEHGS after 29 years.

Fisher: Sure.

David: I hope they like me, too.

Fisher: Yeah.

David: You know, I have some really fun and touching stories. And the first one is of a 90 year old lady who is originally from the Netherlands. She was in kindergarten back in 1937 and two of her friends were little Jewish girls and their names were Rika and Sarah. Well, of course Germany invades the Netherlands in World War II and sadly, these 2 girls and their family were murdered at Auschwitz. So, Hansma has immigrated to the United States ultimately and she's been a BYU missionary at the family history library for 52 years!

Fisher: Wow!

David: And it's touching. She mentions in the story that, in the photo, I am with the children physically, now I hold their hands spiritually. But what her goal is to give a face and a place to the people who no longer have one, like her childhood friends who died in the Holocaust.

Fisher: So what's she doing?

David: She is helping people rediscover their ancestors and reconnect them. She has really done 52 years of missionary work with an emphasis that also helps people that have Jewish roots and reconnecting them back to their family that they may have lost or reconnecting current family members to maybe cousins. DNA obviously has played a lot in this helping people.

Fisher: Great service.

David: Exactly. And this is where we have to thank missionaries and volunteers. At the Family History Library in Salt Lake City where I'm going to be this week, I always love talking with the missionaries. My story I want to share next goes to Australia. And there's a gentleman in his 80s, his name is Michael Goodwin, but he always wondered about his adopted parents, believing that he actually was of Irish Catholic descent and brought to Australia during the war. The truth of the matter, his name is actually Michael Lachmann and he was a Jewish child that was brought to Australia through part of the British and Australian government to bring children during World War II away from their parents. And it's a dreadful story to think that they were taken away without their parent's knowledge.

Fisher: Yeah.

David: Here's the thing, his parents didn't die during the Holocaust, Fish. His mother was alive in 2009 and he only started looking for her in 2010.

Fisher: Ugh, he just missed her!

David: He never knew his mother survived the Holocaust. But now he's connected with people. The story is great. It shows him in like a Zoom call with other family members, so they've finally reconnected. And they probably thought he was lost forever. And here's a story where even the world with the Internet doesn't always bring people together quick enough, but when they do, now he has family and he can celebrate the Jewish holidays and the Christmas holiday as well. I'll tell you, I always thought I could walk away knowing all of the occupations for kids back in the 18th and 19th  century, you know, like the Little Rug Rats from Oliver and things like that, but have you ever heard of a link boy?

Fisher: No, I have not heard of that.

David: Okay. If your ancestor in the 17th or 18th century had a night out on the town, well, you know, you just can't take out your cell phone and turn on the flashlight and find your way home. These boys would light the streets. And you could hire them to basically walk as essentially with a torch, a lit torch back to your house. Some of the old houses in London had upside down horns that were actually used so you could snuff out the torch.

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: Some of them had stones that they could scrape some of the charcoal off the sides so they could get a brighter light as they walked.

Fisher: And they called them link boys, huh?

David: They did. And I hope that I have a link to one of those boys genealogically, but think of how hard it would be to probably prove that.

Fisher: Sure.

David: Unless they were in the newspaper or there may have been some story about them being in the courts or something like that. You know, there are no censuses in the 17th century of London that would list children. So, who knows, maybe we are descended from boys who carried torches for people that had one too many the night before.

Fisher: Yes. [Laughs]

David: Speaking of being over in London, of course we now know who our new king of England is, Charles III, but he's related to another III, that is Vlad III, yes. Do you know who Vlad the impaler is?

Fisher: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

David: Yeah. So, King Charles told an actor who had played recently Vlad Dracula in a movie that yes, he was actually related to Vlad the impaler or Vlad Tepes or Vlad Dracula. So yes, the new king of England, believe it or not is a 16 times great grandson from Vlad III. They have some blood they share together.

Fisher: Oooh! [Laughs]

David: Well you know, we're always talking about DNA and I think that for DNA, it provides a road map to where our ancestors came from. But sometimes that now unravels the stories that archeologists couldn't tell. Using DNA in South America, they're able to now know the people in South and Central America by tracing the DNA of the remains they're finding. And they're now able to map out how people got to Brazil and places in Uruguay and other parts of the western coast of South America and Central America. It’s amazing!

Fisher: Yeah.

David: And this is technology we haven't had for very long and it's opening so many new doors to history.

Fisher: All right, David. Thank you so much. Talk to you at the back end of the show for Ask Us Anything. Coming up next, the story of the pirate's wife, Sarah Kidd with Daphne Geanacopoulos when we return in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 439

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Daphne Geanacopoulos

Fisher: Hey, welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and it’s a joy to bring back to the show my friend Daphne Geanacopoulos. She has written stuff about pirates and pirate’s wives that we’ve talked about in the past, and now has a new book that’s just come out this past week called - The Pirate's Wife: The Remarkable True Story of Sarah Kidd. Yes, the wife of Captain Kidd. And Daphne welcome back to the show. It’s great to have you. 

Daphne: Thank you very much Scott. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Fisher: Well, we first met not long after I’d kind of figured out that I have a pirate ancestor and we started talking about this whole topic. It’s fascinating really the whole culture that surrounds pirates. And most of the things that are written about pirates and their escapades are about the men themselves. But the families really played a role in this as well and I think that’s where you started down the wife-line, right? To kind of talk about what their experiences were like. 

Daphne: That’s right.

Fisher: And now you’re on to Sarah Kidd herself. And really, I mean Captain Kidd, he was kind of the king of the pirates wasn’t he, in his era?

Daphne: Yes he was. He was one of the most well-known pirates because he was involved in a political scandal that reached across the ocean from London to Boston. His case was very well known and followed and we know a lot about him. There’s hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of original documents about him, and of course hundreds of books and movies and even a play or two about him.

Fisher: Well, and as I recall, he was actually sent out to battle pirates who were causing problems for England, and then became one himself. Is that right?

Daphne: That’s right. That’s right. He was hired by the king of England and the most important men in England, many of the lords, to be a privateer and a pirate hunter, which meant that as a privateer he would have hunted down the French enemy ships and take their cargo. But there were also a number of pirates that were causing trouble on the high seas. So, he had two commissions and the other one was to hunt pirates.  

Fisher: And it’s funny because to the French, Captain Kidd was a pirate, even though the English called him a privateer, right? It’s kind of a nice way to say, “You’re a pirate on our side.”

Daphne: [Laughs] That’s right. It could be a gray area.

Fisher: Sure. So, tell us about Sarah, his wife, and what you’ve learned about her, how they met, and what her role was in what he did.

Daphne: That’s a great question. Sarah was a young girl when she arrived in New York. She was 14 years old who came to New York with her father and two brothers from England. And she was from a very prominent family. And within a year, she was married off to the wealthiest man in the colony at the age of 15.

Fisher: Hmm.

Daphne: By the time she was 21, she was twice widowed.

Fisher: Wow!

Daphne: And Captain Kidd – yes, it was a rough time. Her first husband drowned, and her second husband died suspiciously. Let’s just say he died suspiciously.

Fisher: Okay. We’ll leave it at that.

Daphne: And two days later she married Captain Kidd.

Fisher: Oh! Okay. That is suspicious isn’t it?

Daphne: [Laughs] So, she was very wealthy with her first husband. He was a very wealthy merchant and she acquired a great wealth. She became a “she merchant.” She had her own shop of dry goods. And when he drowned, she inherited property and wealth. But because of the difficulties of the political climate at the time, she couldn’t obtain them. They were tied up in red tape.

Fisher: Sure.

Daphne: But like every woman in that period, their agency was through a husband and so she had no political rights of her own or legal rights. So she had to remarry, so she did remarry a year after her first husband died. And her second husband incurred a great amount of debt so she went from riches to rags. And he was a nice enough man. He had been a merchant and a mariner on one of Captain Kidd’s ships. She met Captain Kidd during this time that she was married with him. He came back in to port because he did live in New York and had property. And I’m sure she shared with him her woes. His name was John Oort. He died suspiciously. Two days later Sarah married Captain Kidd, so he was her third husband.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Daphne: So, they met through a land transaction when Captain Kidd was buying property. And I think by that point she was 21 years old, she had had two husbands, and she knew a lot about life, and love, and loss. And there’s was a real love match. And they worked together side-by-side. They had two daughters; a little girl named Elizabeth and a little girl named Sarah. So, that was their story and he was on land with her for five years working as a merchant sea captain. And then he just needed to get back to privateering. That was in his blood. 

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah, I guess so.

Daphne: And that’s when he went off to sea. [Laughs]

Fisher: Okay. And that’s when all the trouble began.

Daphne: That’s right.

Fisher: Did she write her own story at any point, or where did all the information come from, or was it kind of gleaned from documents, oh, she signed this document and so did he, that that was how they met as a result of the land transaction?

Daphne: That’s correct. There is a good amount of evidence of land transactions and there’s also marriage licenses.

Fisher: Sure.

Daphne: And inventories of estates. And so it was not hard to piece that story together.

Fisher: Right. But she didn’t write her own story at any point?

Daphne: No. she could not write. She could read. But reading and writing in the colonial period were very separate things. Little boys were taught to read and write. Little girls were taught to read, but not to write. So, she could scratch her initials in documents but she could not write her own letters. So, she didn’t leave a diary.

Fisher: Gotcha. So, that’s not a lot of information on her, and yet you’ve written a whole book. So, where did you get your sources and what have you written about?

Daphne: So, I went to archives in Washington DC, Rhode Island, New York, Boston, and I obtained documents from the National Archives in London. I walked where she would have walked. I accessed all materials that would have had any kind of tangential relationship to her and to Captain Kidd, to people who would have known her and known him.

Fisher: Hm.

Daphne: And then I looked at this like a piece of sculpture.

Fisher: Yeah.

Daphne: As you walk around a sculpture, you see the outside of it. So, I studied everything I could get my hands on about the external part of her life, the cultural, the political, and the economic to create what kind of influences were on her. And then I looked at the internal things that were part of her life, and that is her family; her mother, her father, her brothers, her friends, her neighbors, her husbands, and created that story that way. I was able to find probably 10 documents that she signed. There’s evidence of where she was. They lived in Manhattan near what is now the financial district. She and Captain Kidd lived on Pearl Street.

Fisher: Yep.

Daphne: On the corner of Pearl Street near Wall Street. I have a picture of her house. It’s on the cover of my fist book, The Pirates Next Door. So, there’s a lot of information on her, and it’s just a matter of bringing her into the light because pirates, as you said, we know about them as men and the history of them were written by men for men.

Fisher: Yep.

Daphne: But no one thought that pirates had wives, but they did. I discovered 80 pirates who had wives. But because Captain Kidd was the most notorious pirate in history, there’s a great deal of evidence that could be assimilated.

Fisher: And you know, the process you just went through is really how it should be done for any ancestor we might want to write about, right? You want to find out about those external conditions, the culture of the times, what it was like for men or women or people in a certain field, and then you want to work on the internal things; did dad die young, was there a fire in the family, whatever it is that influenced how someone went. And you’re right, it’s like creating a painting or creating a sculpture, or something like that. You can create stories in just this way. What did you learn about Sarah that hadn’t been written about her previously?

Daphne: Everything. [Laughs] I only knew about Sarah by what two colonial governors said, not by her name, but by her relationship to Captain Kidd.

Fisher:  Okay.

Daphne: And inferred that there was this woman in Captain Kidd’s life who had a great deal of influence on him. Meaning, he might be able to go on a privateering voyage if his wife would let him. So then I wanted to know well, that’s really fascinating. Who is this strong willed woman? And she was clearly out in the public and mingled with society and the governors knew her. So, I didn’t really know how to go about it except that I had to start by tracing Captain Kidd’s life. And I knew that he had been imprisoned in Boston. So, I went to the Massachusetts Archives in Boston and was researching that and I came across a petition that had her name on it. So, I asked the archivist if I could see it and he was very kind, he gave it to me and he let me touch it. And it was a petition from 1699 that Sarah Kidd had written to the governor of New York, Lord Belmont, politely demanding that he return the seized goods that his henchmen had taken from her lodging when Captain Kidd was imprisoned in Boston. The petition was signed “S.K” and then I realized she was real.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Daphne: I could see how her quill pen and ink had scratched really on this parchment. I realized that she had sat at a desk, she had held a quill pen, and her hand had touched this paper. And she came alive to me. And that’s when I was really surprised to find this woman behind the story of Captain Kidd.

Fisher: I’m talking to Daphne Geanacopoulos. She is the author of The Pirate's Wife: The Remarkable True Story of Sarah Kidd. And Daphne where can you get this book?

Daphne: It’s available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million . It is available at all independent book stores. It’s available on audio and Ebook, and large print, and compact disk. So, I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Fisher:  It’s been great having you on. Thanks so much!

Daphne: Thank you so much Scott.

Fisher: And coming up next, it’s Michelle Chubenko from Legacy Tree Genealogists, our sponsors, talking about Native American history month. How do you trace your ancestors from that culture? You’ll find out more in five minutes.  

Segment 3 Episode 439

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Michelle Chubenko

Fisher: All right, we’re back on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Native American history month. And as such, I’m really excited to have my good friend from our sponsors over at Legacy Tree Genealogists Michelle Chubenko back on the show. Michelle, how are you? It’s great to have you!

Michelle: I’m doing very well, Scott. It is good to be back and on the show with you.

Fisher: Yeah. Well, you are of course a descendent of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. So, as we talk about Native American history month that we can tie into, but you’re also colonial American, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Scottish, French, Irish, German, English, so it’s just kind of one part of your multi cultural identity there. And I think that’s the case for an awful lot of people in America who have an oral tradition of Native American ancestry in their lines.

Michelle: That’s true. A lot of people have the family lore or the family stories of having a Native American ancestor. And doing the research to prove or disprove is always the fun part of learning more about who we are and where we come from.

Fisher: Absolutely. Now, in many cases as we well know at this point, those oral traditions are not true and it’s often proved by DNA. Isn’t it great that DNA can actually prove African descent, Ashkenazi Jewish descent, and Native American descent?

Michelle: Correct. DNA testing has really opened a lot of doors for people to hone in on particular lines and kind of get that help. You know, where is this ancestry coming from? Or on the flip side, not having the ad-mixture or that ethnicity percentage in their testing results. Lore, very, very disappointing for some, it really supports potentially a paper trail that doesn’t have any Native American information/ evidence, even though the family lore is there but the documents aren’t really giving that indication and then the DNA doesn’t give the indication unfortunately. There are painful sides to family stories a well are that they are not true.

Fisher: Absolutely. So, how did you discover that you were part of Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma?

Michelle: Well, my dad is a native of Tahlequah, born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, native of Stonewall in Ada County, Oklahoma. So, our connection to what I consider his back home is still strong until today. We have plenty of cousins in Ada County. I just grew up knowing that I was Cherokee and it wasn’t until I was older and started doing genealogy that more of the cultural connection was made. I had the family lore and I knew, and we had family there so there was that kind of connection. But it wasn’t until I was an adult and got to understand the history of the nation. And really learn more about my fourth great grandfather and his wife and his children they were on the Trail of Tears from Georgia to Indian Territory and the impact that made. And I’m kind of grateful it happened when I was an adult because it’s so much more impactful to me and my family history.

Fisher: Yeah. Well, that’s interesting because you grew up with it as actually part of your culture and yet, you’re only roughly like 164th, right? You said a fourth great grandparent, just one little tiny piece.

Michelle: [Laughs] One little piece. He was a half blood, so he wasn’t even a full blood Cherokee. So, I have three different ancestral lines within the Cherokee Nation. My direct paternal line goes back to a half blood John Tucker who was on the Trail of Tears with his wife Ruby and his children. Then I have also two more generations down my great, great grandmother an Adair of the Cherokee Nation Adair family which is very prolific. Then, on my dad’s mom’s side, his great grandfather was a half blood Cherokee as well with his great grandfather being a full blood.

Fisher: Wow.

Michelle: So, I have a variety of Cherokee lines that I descend from.

Fisher: Right. But, it’s still a very small part of your overall ad-mixture.

Michelle: Exactly. So, today when I do my DNA testing I have six percent Native American ad-mixture. My dad has just roughly about eleven percent. So, the genetic evidence tells me that it’s very close and it is all true.

Fisher: It’s all true. Right.

Michelle: Thank goodness no surprises on those family lines.

Fisher: [Laughs] So, there are different tribes who actually have citizenship, right? For people who qualify.

Michelle: Yes.

Fisher: But they have different requirements. What was your requirement to join Cherokee Nation officially as a citizen of it even with such a low ad-mixture?

Michelle: Okay. So, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma tribal requirement is that you can prove a direct lineal descent from an ancestor on the final Dawes roll. So, the Dawes roll was an effort to disenfranchise the Cherokee citizens. They took the full nation then they sliced and diced it up so that everybody actually owned true pieces of land based on their blood quantum. So, I have several ancestors on the roll. You don’t need a blood quantum to belong to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. You just need to prove that lineal descent.

Fisher: Okay. What about other tribes, are you aware of their requirements?

Michelle: So, definitely other tribes they too require either it can be a combination of blood quantum and a descendancy from a roll. The Eastern Band of Cherokees requires both a blood quantum as well as descendency from the Baker roll. And all of the tribes across the United States both federally and state recognized tribes have a variety of requirements either relating to a roll or census, or blood quantum, or not needing blood quantum it’s all dependent on.

Fisher: So, what are the benefits of citizenship say in one of these things? I mean, is it like joining the DAR or the Mayflower society to be a citizen are there actual benefits or responsibilities that come with it?

Michelle: Okay, since I am a citizen at large, one of my benefits that I do partake in is voting for the tribal government. So, I vote for my chief, the deputy chief, or assistant chief, can’t remember which one they call it, as well as the council members that represent me as an at large member. But, if I was living within the boundaries of the Nation, so if I was living in Oklahoma like Ada County, there would be additional benefits, potentially healthcare and those types of social benefits. The Nation offers college scholarships for high school students, as well undergraduate students, there are residency requirements for those. So, as an at large member even though that benefit is there I don’t qualify for that, and that’s fine.

Fisher: So, as a researcher I would assume with Legacy Tree Genealogists you do a lot of research into Native American history for various clients.

Michelle: Yes I do.

Fisher: What are some of the experiences that you’ve had that were particularly notable to you?

Michelle: Oh, goodness. I have to say that a good portion of the projects I’ve worked on have been unfortunately in that icky category we talked about earlier where I had disproven family lore.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Michelle: So, I haven’t had as many positive connections. They’ve been more that we’ve been unable to support the story of the family having Native American ancestry. But you know, the documentary evidence, as well as the DNA, the genetic evidence do not support you know, my great, great grandmother was a full blood. Um, couldn’t find one. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Michelle: And you’re showing no Native American ethnicity percentage and you should because if you’re saying it’s your great grandmother and she’s supposed to be one hundred percent, you would kind of reflect that ancestry. Unfortunately, most of the projects that I’ve worked on have been proving that someone is more European than they had thought they were.

Fisher: Sure. And I think anecdotally that’s what we’re hearing all over the place, right? That it’s very common for an oral history within European descent that there is some Native American back there, and it’s just not true. Now the DNA is really showing that more than any other record. 

Michelle: Yes.

Fisher: She’s Michelle Chubenko. She’s with Legacy Tree Genealogists. She is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. And it’s Native American history month. So, thanks for sharing some of the thoughts on how you can actually prove or disprove that history Michelle. And we’ll talk to you again sometime down the line.

Michelle: All right, thanks for having me Scott. It’s always great to be here.

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

Segment 4 Episode 439

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Fisher: All right back at it for Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and Ask Us Anything with David Allen Lambert and myself. And David, our first question today comes from Tal in Sacramento, California. And Tal says, "Dave and Fish, I keep my family tree on FamilySearch.org. And over the last year, I've noticed many changes made to my work, almost all of it wrong! Why is this happening and what can I do about it?" Oh Tal, it happens all the time.

David: It does. But you know, its pros and cons, because I have found many lost cousins that I never knew existed, like from some of my British family that are going on there and adding things like, voila! I found people that I asked to take DNA tests, but I've also found reason to want to take Tylenol, because I have had the same thing happen to me. Case in point, my grandmother was a widow when she was 25 years old in 1921 when her young husband passed away. Somebody had him married two years after they got married in 1916 to somebody else. He had like 8 or 9 kids and basically made it like my grandfather was a bigamist living in sin with two women having a whole fleet of children in the same town. Well, guess what, his name was Daniel McDonald, Fish. You'd think that they could have looked a little closely and realized there may have been more than one. [Laughs]

Fisher: Right. Of course there's more than one. And this is the thing, I just had the same thing happen just the other day where somebody added another child to the family of my second greats from Norway who came to the United States in 1872. And my great, great grandmother in the 1900 US census said, "I've had six kids and four of them are still living." So, we could account for the two that died and all four of the others that are very well documented. And so, the situation was as they found a record of somebody named Hans Olsen and Elise or Elizabeth over in Norway and said, "Aha! Must be the same people." because it was from the same area. Well of course, Scandinavia has many of the same names over and over and over again. So, I had to delete that and then send a note to the person who posted it and correct their work and explain why this is not right and you don't ever have to look at this family again. It is complete.

David: Um hmm. You know, and like I say, I am delighted that there are new genealogists out there. We need them. But those of us who have spent 20, 30, 40 or 50 years doing genealogy have the right to correct what is wrong. No one ever changed back that marriage from my grandmother, thank goodness. And hopefully your Olsen family will stay intact the way you left it this week.

Fisher: [Laughs] Well, I had yet another one too the same day. I was just going through stuff and in this case, there was a 1900 census about a family in New Jersey and at the very bottom of this long list of children, and you know how they go from oldest to youngest, there is this young woman and she's listed as a daughter, completely out of order with the rest. And I had run across this years ago and then realized, oh wait a minute, this is the wife of the second oldest son. This was a daughter in law!  And so, somebody took that literally, never checked to see if there was any other record. And as a result of it, they added this person into the family list as a child. And so, I had to go in and fix that, because she's already in there married to one of the sons! [Laughs] So, you know, this is something that is frustrating about the Wiki model and Family Search is not the only one that has this, but there are tremendous benefits also as David has outlined where you can get pictures and find other cousins and find all kinds of documents, so it's kind of a plus and minus situation.

David: It is. And I use WikiTree now a lot.

Fisher: Yeah.

David: Since I was on the challenge as you were last year. And again, people are putting things on there and people do correct it. The crowd sourcing of genealogy is a good thing. But again, it has its pluses and its minuses.

Fisher: Right. And hopefully over time, there's always going to be somebody who steps up and corrects these situations as they come up. So, thank you for the question, Tal. It's a good one. And coming up next, we've got another question when we return with Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 439

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Fisher: All right, back for Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. Fisher here with David Allen Lambert. And this next question, David comes from Laurie-Ann in Scranton, Pennsylvania and she says, "Guys, my mom's high school class is looking for classmates for her coming 1960 reunion. What tips can you give me for finding them?" That's a great question. And you know, it's a little bit different finding living people generally or more recently living people than it is finding the more distant dead, isn't it, David?

David: It is. Well, I mean, obviously one of the things that we all have to contend with as we get older is that our classmates may be in the obituary column, not in the phone book. So, part of gathering the list and knowing who is living is also finding out who's already dead.

Fisher: Um hmm.

David: And so, there is that element to it as well. I have found that over the years, there are websites such as Classmates.com which charges subscription rate and it gets a little expensive to keep track of people. Now, with Ancestry.com, there are US public listings that are as late as the 20th century that you can use to find people's addresses. There are free phone listings online. It's getting more difficult, because more people don't have landlines. They have cell phones that are not listed.

Fisher: Um hmm.

David: Social media though, if you know for instance, the classmate and one is online, some of their online friends may be online that your mother may not know about. So, maybe by doing a crowd sourcing, and what I did for my class and we're celebrating our 35th later this month is that I actually created a Facebook group about a dozen years ago with the idea that we could all be in one room together, at least digitally and we're able to share photos and memories, and when a classmate passes on, like recently happened to my class, it's a way to notify people and then the telephone chain starts. But it’s one way to find people, because Google will actually search out a public group like that. So, if I put my high school class and the year 1987, Google will find it. So, if somebody was looking for the class and just Googling, they would this free Facebook group and voila! So maybe that's something you could do independently for your mother's class.

Fisher: Well and another great place to go is FamilyTreeNow.com. It's free
And you talk about phone number issues, they have cell phone listings there and how recently those numbers were still in effect. So it's really quite amazing how many people you can find there. It can help you identify people by showing the names of family members, older, younger. Sometimes even those who have long been dead, you'll see people in there related to this person who's 108 years old!

David: Um hmm.

Fisher: You know, something like that. And so, that can help you a lot. And you can also identify them through places that you've known that they previously lived. So, you can say, okay, that person who lives in Washington State is the same person I knew used to live in Maryland, because you can see you can match up the addresses. And sometimes they'll even have in there something about an occupation or company that they're connected to. So, I've had a tremendous amount of luck with that. And once you learn to use it effectively, you're going to find that it can get you in touch with an awful lot of people, including a lot of folks you just haven't seen in a long time and you'd like to talk to, reunion or not, you know.

David: That's very true, that's very true. It's so much easier with the Internet, because you know, someone can move away and, like if you didn't get a holiday card from them, well you might know where they were 40, 50 years ago.

Fisher: Yeah.

David: Until they popped up again. Or you heard, "Oh, by the way, did you hear that so and so died?" or "Did you hear that so and so moved?" or they changed their name or they got married.  Collecting information for high school classes years ago is more of an effort than it is for those of us now who are trying to track down our classmates.

Fisher: Exactly. All right, great question and great answer. Thank you, David. And we will talk to you again next week.

David: Until later, my friend.

Fisher: All right, and that's or show for this week. Thanks once again to Daphne and Michelle for sharing all their knowledge. And if you missed any of the show, catch the podcast, it's on AppleMedia, ExtremeGenes.com, iHeart Radio and Spotify. Hey, 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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