Episode 454 - The Late Jack Holder On Surviving Pearl Harbor / Lindsay Fulton Of NEHGS On New Boston Tea Party SocietyMar 27, 2023
Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. The guys open with David’s report of his remarkable discovery from 1780, folded between the pages of an old newspaper. Then, hear about two half sisters, born during World War II, who have just connected through DNA. Then, German records of British POWs from the war are now available. David has details. Next, a burial site in London is being moved to make way for a railway station, and the historic items being discovered are now on display. Finally, hear about how the first person ever admitted through Ellis Island now has a play based on her life.
In Segment Two, Fisher shares his 2021 interview with World War II vet, Jack Holder, who has just passed at 101 years old. Jack talks about how the very first bomb dropped in the war landed less than a football field away, and his close call with a strafing Japanese pilot.
Then, Lindsay Fulton of NEHGS comes on to talk about the recognition of the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party and how a new society is being created around descendants of those with some connection.
David then returns 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 454
Fisher: And welcome America to America's family history show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Root Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree, and watch the nuts fall out. Well, it is great to have you aboard this week. We've got a couple of guests, one of them new, one of them old. The new one is Lindsey Fulton. She's from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. And she's going to tell us about an amazing new society that's being put together based on the Boston Tea Party you might want to be a part of, because this year is the 250th anniversary. The second guest was actually recorded in 2021. And he just passed away last month. He is Pearl Harbor survivor, Jack Holder. And this man had stories and we wanted to make sure that you heard those stories again, in light of his passing, because number one, he was a great storyteller. He was 101 years old. So Jack got his graduation in February and you get to hear those stories today. Hey, it's time to check in to Boston speaking of NEHGS David Allen Lambert is standing by the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David, you had a huge find this week. And I think this is an amazing thing.
David: Well, you know, it's funny I look for new stories but never think I'm going to actually be part of one that might actually be worthwhile. What I've been doing for about the past year Fish, is our local historical society they don't have things microfilmed, they don't have things copied and duplicated. So I thought, well, I'll just take my cell phone and just start copying digitally and saving and backing them up on thumb drives all sorts of 18th and 19th century records, our 300th anniversary is coming up in a few years.
Fisher: Okay. And you're talking about Stoughton, Massachusetts, your hometown,
David: I am talking about Stoughton, my hometown. It's founded back in 1726. So, I've got 1000s of records scanned, but I'm always looking for more. And I saw something that was like an old newspaper and saw something sticking out of it and pulled it out and folded up in quarters was the 1780 tax list from my town, which I've never seen before. Fish, I've been going there since I was 11 in 1980. And there's not many people who have been going there longer than me. So if I haven't seen it, nobody else has seen it.
Fisher: So you’re going through the archives there in Stoughton. And this is what you stumbled across. And they didn't even know they had it.
David: No, they didn't know they had it.
Fisher: But you know, this kind of is in keeping with what we've talked about on the show many times that archives for wherever it may be, aren't always aware of what they have. So with the 1780 tax list, how many names are on there?
David: Oh, nearly 150 I would say.
Fisher: Anybody you know?
David: Well, when you’re your local town historian, you know everybody that's been dead for 200 years. So I'm like, oh, that's the captain of the militia. And that's the minister. And that's the widow, so and so. And I'm reading it like a who’s who, like I would if I was reading the phone book now.
David: So yeah, when you start studying names, when you're 11 years old, they kind of get stuck like peanut butter on the roof of your mouth. They're always there.
Fisher: Well, here's a call to the Boston Globe. Here's a good story with local ties that go way back. Nice find Dave.
David: Thanks Fish. Well, you know, I love our DNA stories we've shared over the years, and another one has surfaced and not 75 years too late. A Canadian soldier over in England got a young lady pregnant had a little girl and that child was put up for adoption. Well, he's also over in the Netherlands a few months later, got another girl pregnant. And when she was born, she was put up for adoption. Well, thanks to DNA, they now are connected.
David: And the sisters have never met each other until just recently.
Fisher: Isn't that cool? And they seem pretty excited about it. But there's a little bit of a language barrier. Because one speaks English, the other speaks Dutch.
David: Well, with DNA, they are definitely speaking the same genetically.
Fisher: [Laughs] That's true.
David: Well, as we were talking about World War II, the next story is kind of fun. It's the prisoner of war internment cards for 200,000 British and Commonwealth prisoners of war, that records that were kept by the Germans in the Second World War with the name, place of birth, rank, serial number, the whole nine yards, including sometimes photographs of the actual prisoner of war.
David: They haven't been digitized yet, but chances are, I would think Ancestry or Find My Past would probably be chomping at the bit to get this one.
David: And these are indexed and online. I found over 150 Lamberts not that I think any of them are my close cousins, but to show you how well it's indexed, and it gives the name and the date. So it's a great way to find kin over in the UK that may have been prisoner of war during the Second World War.
Fisher: Great stuff.
David: Well, while I'm in England, I might as well dig a little deeper for you in this time digging deep into the cemetery in Euston when they put the HS to a railway station and in London near Piccadilly, they had to move 50,000 burials. So, the St. James burial ground which was once there for St. James church in Piccadilly ran out of space when it closed and these burials had artifacts, pipes, combs, gunflint musical instruments of sorts, and they're all on a display from the remains that have been carefully removed to a new cemetery.
Fisher: I'm going to have to go see that next time over there because I have ancestors in that cemetery.
David: Well, they were in that cemetery.
David: But with your family, Fish. They seem to be moving the dead all the time.
Fisher: That's true. That's true.
David: Now Fish, I don't know if you have any family from Ellis Island. My wife's great grandfather went through there.
Fisher: Yeah, my grandmother she went through there.
David: Okay. Well, the first person to go through Ellis Island, back when it opened was a young lady by the name of Annie Moore. And you know, there's a national parks boat named for her there are a statues named for her. But it was our good friend, Megan Smolenyak, who just about 20 years ago, tracked down what happened to Annie. Well, part of that research is now tied into a play.
Fisher: Isn't that fun? What a great thing.
David: Well, you know, I think that if you think of all of the stories at Ellis Island, how one person who received a $10 gold piece when she passed through because she was the first official person because of that the family has got together. And in 2008, they finally marked her grave after years of it not being marked in New York in Calvary cemetery in Queens.
Fisher: Wow, love that, great story.
David: Well, that's what I have from Beantown. But don't forget go on our website, AmericanAncestors.org. And you can join save $20 by using the coupon code as always, which is EXTREME.
Fisher: All right, David, thank you so much. We'll talk to you at the back end of the show. And coming up next, my visit with the late Jack Holder from 2021. A survivor from Pearl Harbor, you will want to hear every detail of everything he has to say it's an incredible story. Jack is going to be missed coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 454
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Jack Holder
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, you Radio Roots Sleuth, and what an honor it is for me today to be talking to 99 year old Jack Holder in Arizona. Jack has written a book called “Fear Adrenalin and Excitement” covering his military experiences. Jack, welcome to Extreme Genes.
Jack: Well, thank you so much. It’s my honor to join you.
Fisher: Well, Jack has quite a history because during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941, he had…what would you say, a front row seat Jack?
Jack: [Laughs] I definitely had a front row seat. I had a duty that day it was one of exception role call and in our hanger, we heard fast moving aircraft and moments later a terrible explosion. The hanger beside us blew up. We received the first bomb that fell at Pearl Harbor.
Fisher: You were right there for the first bomb?
Jack: It dropped about 100 yards from me. I was right there.
Fisher: Oh my goodness. So, the beginning of World War II was a 100 yards from you.
Jack: Yeah. That’s correct.
Fisher: Wow! And you, as I understand it were on Ford Island?
Jack: I was on Ford Island yes. Ford Island is a small island right inside Pearl Harbor itself.
Fisher: Um hmm. And I understand that you actually got really close to one of these planes that I guess was strafing?
Jack: Well, he got pretty close to us. It so happens that when we went outside and seeing the aircrafts overhead with the rising sun and signal in the air, it so happens that one of my shipmates remembered there was a shoreline under construction behind our hanger. He said, “Let’s go for the ditch. Follow me.” We all ran, jumped in it, sat there clinging to each other. And of course, one of the pilots had seen us. He circled, straight into the ditch, missed us by five or three feet, he hit the dirt piled up beside the ditch.
Fisher: Oh my gosh! And as I understand, you were actually so close as he came over that you could see his face.
Jack: I could see his face. I could see his unbuttoned helmet flapping in the breeze and all those big shiny white teeth.
Jack: I guess he was pretty happy.
Fisher: He looked like he was enjoying himself.
Jack: I think so.
Fisher: Wow! How long had you been at Pearl Harbor before all this happened?
Jack: Just six days short of one year.
Fisher: So, as you were in this ditch, after this initial attack, what happened then, where did you go?
Jack: Well, this was a two wave attack as you well know. I’m not sure how long we were in the ditch, but it was an hour and fifteen minutes between the two waves. Shortly after the first wave was over, we’d come out of the ditch of course, and we started separating the aircrafts. We had 12 aircrafts parked between the two hangers, BP21 and BP23, my hanger. Half of them were on fire from the first bomb that fell. We started separating the burning aircrafts from aircrafts that weren’t damaged. And I was ordered by the lady chief to grab two other sailors and go into the hanger and get the squadron commander’s aircraft ready for flight. We got the engines ready, buttoned them up, the aircraft was rolled out, refueled, loaded with two 1000 pound bombs. The captain and his crew flew for 19 hours looking for the Japanese fleet but found nothing.
Jack: But the devastating thing that I had seen, I can look down Battleship Row and see the Arizona, the Nevada, West Virginia, Tennessee, California, Utah, I seen the Oklahoma turn turtle up, seen all these ships on fire, all sinking. I seen gentleman jumping in the water, trying to swim to water cover and burning all out. A lot of them died in the water, some of them died when they reached the beach, and of course some of them made it. But it was a sight I’ll never forget.
Fisher: I can only imagine. How many days did you remain at Pearl after the attack on December 7th?
Jack: Well, the normal routine of search and flight training, everything resumed immediately after the raid. This continued until Midway.
Fisher: I see. So, you stayed there. You were still based there.
Jack: Oh, yeah.
Fisher: And so, you were a pilot. Had you received your pilot training before December 7th or was that just a continuation after the attack?
Jack: Well, in the military I was flight engineer. I went to flight school after I got out of the Navy, then I was an airline pilot, was strictly a flight engineer in the Navy.
Fisher: At that point.
Jack: At that point.
Fisher: So, as I understand it, Midway of course was not that long after Pearl Harbor. It was just a matter of several months and was obviously very important because you had four Japanese aircraft carriers trying to lure in what they thought what was left of the United States Navy. They were going to attack it, take over Midway, and then they were in a position where they could attack the West Coast. But we of course intercepted all their messages so we knew what the plan was and so we had our own carriers out there that they didn’t even know existed at that point, and you were part of the battle of Midway.
Jack: Let me run through that complete story of that. Immediately after the journey to liberate Tokyo, the naval intelligence began receiving numerous coded messages using the letters AF and AO. We understood part of the Japanese code. We knew that one of these stood for the Aleutian Islands and the other for Midway, but we could not tell which was which. Our chief of intelligence told Admiral Nimitz he said, "I've devised a plan to ascertain what they mean." He said, "We can send out an encoded message saying, "Midway has just had a fresh water condenser failure." Nimitz Said, "Send it." The Japanese took the bait, they sent out a coded message saying "AF has just had a fresh water condenser failure." Nimitz then sent a small task force to the Aleutian Islands in disguise and the rest of the fleet to Midway, positioning the aircraft carriers in position. The rest of the fleet another, my squadron left Pearl Harbor on May 28, 1942, began our search for the Japanese fleet. June 3rd, we found them, 450 miles north east of Midway, proceeding towards Midway under a weather front.
Fisher: And when you say, "We found him." you were part of the group that did find them.
Jack: That was in the aircraft that made the report of their position.
Fisher: That is amazing to me. And it’s a little personal too, because I had an uncle, Donaldson who served on the USS New Orleans at the Battle of Midway and I've reviewed his naval records and the experience at that time. It was a world changing battle, the Battle of Midway, because it protected the west coast, it pushed the Japanese back. I believe they were also planning on attacking Australia.
Jack: That's right.
Fisher: This was kind of the end of their pushing east and their aggression in that direction. They had to go into a more defensive position after this, right?
Jack: That's right. They wanted to control all the shipping lanes to the Philippines.
Fisher: Do you think back on this, Jack? I mean, you're 99 years old now. You must look back on this, 80 years ago it seems, I'm sure, like another lifetime ago.
Jack: It does seem like an awful long time, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
Fisher: I bet it does. Its life defining when you go through something like that, yes?
Jack: That's very true, yes.
Fisher: How many of your friends from those times are still with us?
Jack: Recently, I have a very good friend here, a rear admiral by the name of Jim Simons. He had some contacts and I come up with a group of at least 30 or 40 names that I remembered in my squadron and they did research on these and they could not make contact with a single one.
Fisher: So you're it.
Jack: Well, I'm the only one in Phoenix. I think there's only two of us in Arizona. You know, you're talking about us very long ago. I've been back to Pearl Harbor on December 7th several times, checking back by The Greatest Generations Foundation. The person is a gentleman by the name of Timothy Davis, he's an Australian.
Jack: When I first met him, I says, "How come you Australians got mixed up in all of this?" He said, "Jack, if it hadn't have been for your boys, Australia might have been speaking Japanese."
Fisher: [Laughs] That's absolutely true. You did a lot of stuff. You also fought in the Atlantic Theatre.
Jack: I was transferred back to San Diego, went to training in the B24 Liberator. In April 1943, flew 56 missions till December and patrolled the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay, which is the western coast of France.
Fisher: That's unbelievable. I'm seeing a number here that you flew 315 navy missions. How is that even possible?
Jack: I don't know. [Laughs] When they say go, you've got to go.
Fisher: You go and you go, but I mean, really, what were the odds of survival with that number of missions under your belt?
Jack: Well, I can tell you this, every time you board that aircraft, you say, well, you know, maybe this might be the last one. You never know.
Fisher: I can only imagine. Two Distinguished Flying Cross medals and then afterwards you worked as a corporate pilot. What a life!
Jack: Yeah, that was. The charter airline, I had my fair share between California for 7 years and then I went to the Union Oil company as a corporate pilot for another 10 years.
Fisher: Well, what a piece of family history you've written for your family, Jack. And this has been a real honor to talk to you. Did your dad serve in the service?
Jack: My father was a royal World War I veteran. He never talked too much about it, but he did tell me he spent a year crawling through the mud in France.
Fisher: Oh wow! That had to be just as difficult as everything you went through.
Jack: Oh, that's true, yeah.
Fisher: Unbelievable. And you turn 100 in December.
Jack: December I'll be 100, yes.
Fisher: Unbelievable. He is Jack Holder. He's from Phoenix, Arizona, a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 at Ford Island and actually was able to look right into the face of one of the Japanese pilots who was strafing him and his buddies. What a life what a story Jack! You've written this book about your life. What's it called?
Jack: It’s called, Fear Adrenaline and Excitement.
Fisher: Did you come up with that title?
Jack: Yes, I did.
Fisher: And what does it mean to you?
Jack: Well, it means exactly what I experienced. There's a great difference between being afraid and the moment of fear. If a person's afraid, it creates bad decisions. But a moment of fear tells the adrenaline to start flowing, then it changed to excitement.
Fisher: So where can people get this book?
Jack: On Amazon and my website, JackHolder.org.
Fisher: What a life! There he is, the late Jack Holder who has passed at 101. We’ll be back with more in five minutes on Extreme Genes.
Segment 3 Episode 454
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Lindsey Fulton
Fisher: You know, as a New Englander, I love what happens every time there's some kind of special anniversary date from the Revolutionary War. Hey, it's Fisher here. And I'm back on Extreme Genes with my next guest, Lindsey Fulton from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. She is the Vice President of Research and Library Services there. And Lindsey it this is an exciting thing coming up here because you know, we just got over the centennial of World War one here just a few years ago. Now we're kind of rolling into the 250th anniversary of the Revolution. But there were a lot of things that led up to it as well. And so now there's this big celebration going on with the Boston Tea Party, and a whole new society is being built around it. Welcome to the show. Tell us all about this.
Lindsey: Thank you. Thanks for having me. Yeah, we are getting geared up to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, which happened December 16, 1773. So we will commemorate that in this upcoming month of December. And to prepare for that, American Ancestors has partnered with the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum to create a member society. And I hesitate to call it a lineage society because you can join under several levels of membership.
Fisher: Ah! Okay, well, let's talk about this a little bit. Because I know that the Ships and Museum in Boston really is a great education source for a lot of people, a lot of kids, a lot of families go there, I went there myself about five or six years ago, and I got to throw a tea bag into the Habba, as you say, back there in Boston. And then they pulled it back in, which was kind of shocking to me. But nonetheless, it's a lot of fun and very near the actual site of the Boston Tea Party. And of course, this was one of the things that ultimately led to the British blockading Boston Harbor. And that caused a lot of problems that kind of changed the world.
Lindsey: It did. They didn't appreciate it, being the British.
Fisher: No. [Laughs]
Lindsey: They didn't appreciate it much.
Lindsey: We're very proud of it in Boston. We love that people can come and participate in throwing tea in the harbor, even if we do bring it back in after they’re done.
Fisher: Um hmm. So this is part of this big umbrella thing that the Massachusetts Historical Society is doing called Rev. 250, Revolutionary War 250th anniversary celebration, Rev. 250. And this is just one more thing that's going to be under this. But I love this society thing coming together, especially the different levels that you have for membership in it and it's really kind of fun. David and I talked about it a little bit last week. You've got three levels. Let's talk about each one. What's the first one?
Lindsey: Sure. So the first one is what we're calling a lineage member. And that is reserved for anyone in a traditional lineage society way, can prove lineal descent from someone who either through tea in the harbor, was a member of the Boston Sons of Liberty, was a member of the Loyal Nine, participated in the North End Caucus, they were a member at St. Andrew's Lodge, which is the Mason Lodge that’s in Boston, if they were one of the guys who volunteered to watch the ships, or if they were a signer of the November 1773 petition to town selectman.
Lindsey: And the reason that we have so many of these categories, well, it's twofold. One, the men who were participating and I say men, because we don't have any evidence that there were any females that participated in this activity. But the men who were participating either politically or who actually threw tea in the harbor were really providing the same type of boycott and were protesting in the same way. So we really want to give a nod towards those individuals as well as the men who are throwing to the harbor.
Fisher: Okay, so there's lineage.
Lindsey: Yep, there's lineage. So the other issue too just to make a quick point, is that after the Boston Tea Party happened, people weren't exactly raising their hand the next day to say I participated in that activity, you know?
Fisher: [Laughs] Right.
Lindsey: So, it was not frowned upon, but you didn't want to raise your hand about it. So it wasn't until years and years later, that men started to say, I did that, I did it. And then that's when we start to have some actual record keeping of that participation. Now, the problem being if you were 50 when you participated, most likely you didn't make it to the point where you could have admitted that you did.
Fisher: Yeah. Good point.
Lindsey: So that's another thing to just kind of keep in mind, which is why we wanted to increase the number of people who could apply under that membership level.
Fisher: Sure. That makes sense. All right, level number two.
Lindsey: Level number two is an eyewitness to history. And what we mean by eyewitness to history is if you were a resident of Boston in 1773, and you're a descendant of that person, you can apply under them. And the reason being if you were a resident of Boston in 1773, you knew darn well that the Boston Tea Party happened.
Lindsey: Yep. You likely knew someone who participated. You saw it happen. You went to the meeting house, you were involved in some way, even if it was a tertiary, short involvement.
Fisher: Sure. Well, it’s eyewitness. It’s eyewitness. That’s straightforward. Okay, yeah.
Lindsey: Yeah. And the other part that will be included under that is people who maybe have a published family history that says there was a person who was “participating” or was involved, or there that day, they would fall underneath this umbrella with a little grain of salt there. So you know, we were talking about this before, your wife is a descendant of someone who claims to have been there, but he was from Virginia.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]
Lindsey: I mean, likely that person was not there.
Lindsey: We're not going to take that kind of lineage.
Lindsey: But if someone was living in New England, and they say that they were there, they could have been. It's really hard for us to negate that. So that would be a person who could apply under eyewitness to history.
Lindsey: My third favorite category. And the reason it's my favorite category is that I don't have a lot of…I don't have any really Revolutionary War ancestry that's from New England.
Lindsey: So, I would not be able to apply to this member society. So we created a category called Co-Conspirator, which I think is very clever.
Lindsey: And the folks who can apply under that are just interested in the Boston Tea Party, and they want to be involved, they want to be involved in Rev. 250, they want to be invited to the events and that type of thing. So they can apply that way as a co-conspirator.
Fisher: Wow! I mean, you’re covering a lot of people here, not only the folks on the list that you're going through, and I know trying to verify as best you can, but also those who were just there at the time. So it's really open to a lot of people, especially in your area. And I would imagine a lot of people just from the New England area as a whole. So this is very fun. Where do people go to sign up for this and apply for membership?
Lindsey: So they can go to the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum website, there's a way to apply on their homepage. There's also a website that we created on the American Ancestors side that cobbles together all of the resources that we have specific to the Boston Tea Party and Boston residence at the time. It has webinars, it has links to databases, to books, it's fantastic. You should check out AmericanAncestors.org/BostonTeaParty. All of those resources will be right in the same spot.
Fisher: Okay. And that would help with the application, obviously, and you got to figure out which level you want to join in. Is there a cost difference between the different levels?
Lindsey: So to apply, it's a $400 application fee. And unlike other lineage societies, where you get like a certificate, you're going to get a certificate with this, but you also get a whole bunch of other cool things. You'll get a copy of Benjamin Carps Defiance of the Patriots, which is the best historical treatment I think of the Boston Tea Party and the events leading up to it.
Lindsey: You'll get a replica tea chest that has five historic teas. So it's teas that would have likely been dumped in the harbor that day. They're delicious. They're much different tasting than your tea that you have nowadays. And the chest itself is a replica of the Robinson tea chest, which is something that's on display at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum that was washed ashore.
Fisher: Yeah, it's like the last one, right?
Lindsey: Yeah, I think it's the only one that exists. So it's a replica of that. So it's fun to have as part of your collection. You also get a bunch of discounts on the gift shop, and you get invited to member events, webinars, and a quarterly newsletter as well.
Fisher: Wow, that's a lot of stuff. And that sounds like a lot of fun, especially as we get deeper and deeper into Rev. 250 and closer and closer to the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party coming up in December in the Habba. So hey, thanks for talking to us, Lindsey, and getting us this information.
Lindsey: Thank you very much. We welcome all applicants.
Fisher: All right. And coming up next, David returns as we go through another round of Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 454
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: All right back for Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fish here, David Allen Lambert is back from Boston. And Dave, our first question this week comes from Joliet, North Carolina State! And Jolie says, “Guys, my great uncle was said to have been dating the runner up for the Miss America contest in 1937. Is there some way I can figure out who this was? He went off to war and never saw her again. Thanks, Jolie.” Oh, that's fun. Yeah!
David: That is fun. Right away, the first thing that comes to mind, newspapers.
David: And of course, on Ancestry, you can search newspapers, backwards and forwards. And 1937 Miss America Pageant? Well, they're going to list the winner. And they'll probably list the runner up.
Fisher: Yeah. And I would think too, there could be photographs of that person in there. And I would imagine because it is Miss America that you're going to have people from different locations. So, if there's any doubt about who the person is, where they're from would certainly seal the deal for you in knowing, okay, well, here your great uncle lived in Michigan, and the first or second runner up was the only one from Michigan, so it must be that person. And then you can take that information and start developing that.
David: Well. It's a shame that was 1937 you’re looking in 2023, because it was 86 years ago. I can tell you the winner was a 17 year old by the name of Betty Cooper.
David: She was in the 11th Miss America Pageant. She only died, ready for this Fish? In 2017.
David: She was born in 1920.
Fisher: Wow, that's a long life!
David: That is a very long life. And who knows, maybe you could find the runner up is still alive in a nursing home with lots of stories for you!
Fisher: [Laughs] I doubt that, but maybe a child or a grandchild, right?
David: That's very true. Well, another place you might try that may have the records and at least a listing is the website, MissAmerica.org, where they have the history of the contest, going back to 1921 when the Boardwalk Atlantic City hosted the first pageant.
David: It’s over 100 years old and still going strong.
Fisher: You know, Dave, one of the people who is most associated with the Miss America Pageant was Bert Parks.
David: Oh, yeah.
Fisher: Do you remember him?
David: I do. He was. He was Miss America for gosh, many years, probably over a quarter century, I would imagine.
Fisher: Yeah. Well, he wasn't Miss America himself.
David: Oh, I know! [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] But he was the MC for that show. And back in the 1930s and I only learned this a few years ago, my uncle had a band. His name was Scott Fisher. It was Scott Fisher and his orchestra. My dad was in it. My dad was the music arranger for it. But they had an announcer that came along for a lot of their radio shows and appearances and it was Bert Parks. So he's a real young guy at this time. And the story goes that he used to come up underneath the chairs of the musicians while they were playing at these things and tie their shoelaces together. [Laughs]
David: Oh no!
Fisher: Oh, yeah. He was considered quite a joker, did stuff with the lights that kind of came on at the moment that the show girls who are part of the whole thing, made a certain move. I mean, he had a real reputation among the band members. And then of course, he went on to the Miss America Pageant. I don't think he was doing that there. But nonetheless, really interesting stuff. I mean, there are so many stories that come out of that pageant, scandals like the Vanessa Williams thing back in I think was 1984 when nude pictures of her were published without her permission. I mean, there's all kinds of stuff. But I love this question, because it really is a family history question.
David: Yep, it is. Well, if you're related to Bert Parks or the runner up, let us know.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah, from 1937. So great questions, Jolie and thanks for thinking of us. And hopefully you can research that and find something on that. It's always kind of fun to look into those little rabbit holes like that. Coming up next, we have another question from someone who's just discovered DNA and wants to find out more about matching. So we'll talk about that coming up next, when we return in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 454
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: All right, here we go, final question this week on Ask Us Anything on America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. David, this is from Cape May, New Jersey. April's writing, “Fish and Dave, I finally discovered DNA matches on my Ancestry account. All I ever knew of before was ethnicity. But thanks to your show, I know a little more. And I'm seeing lots of names of relatives I don't know. Can you give me a short version of what to do next?” Boy, can we do that in this time? I think we can.
David: Yeah, I think so. I mean, obviously, you can really do a lot with color coding. So, start picking the people you know right away.
Fisher: Yep. Let's talk about that. Yeah, if you're on Ancestry, you can color code which branch of the family's different matches come from. And so, if you come across somebody you don't know, hit the button called “Shared Matches,” which by the way, is really the most important button on the whole thing. You're going to find that some of the people that come through a certain branch are already color coded for that. So, you know the person that you don't know probably also comes from that branch. And so, you can start then to research them a little bit more, maybe figure out where they come from. One other thing you could do that would be really helpful is to go back to your ancestors, say, three, four generations and start pulling down all their descendants, because you might start to recognize some names that way
David: Right. Both my parents were gone before DNA testing became standard. And so, now that I can see my dad's side and where I'm getting my ethnicity from and my mother's side, I can look at that. But I can also see the cousins that I share on that side, too. So that might help a little bit as well.
Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. That's true. They've only recently added that where it's separated, where you get your DNA from, whether it's from your mother's side or your father's side. The other thing that you can do that's kind of fun is, once you start connecting with some of these people, you can start messaging some of them, those you know, and those you don't know, and see if they might be willing to share some information with you on those various lines that you developed, because there are really like a handful of things you can do with this, with the matching. Number one, you can use it to find people who have a tree similar to yours, but maybe a tree that goes farther back and you can extend your lines. That's kind of the Shangri La for many of us. The second thing you can do is, prove your paper trail. Make sure that everything is the way it appears on paper, because this is where we get all the surprises that we hear about all the time. This comes from DNA testing. The other thing you can do is track down cousins, because these are people with photographs and documents and heirlooms, things that you may have never seen before. And it's a great way to find them. And then you want to try to reach out and find them personally, whether you do it through a messaging system on Ancestry, or 23andMe, or wherever else you may be doing it. You could also do that by just trying to track them down the standard way like WhitePages.com, or something like that. But reaching out to people and finding things, I mean, just reveals unbelievable stuff. So there's that. And you can also kind of figure out where some of the various interesting lines of ethnicity may be coming from through which branch.
David: It's true. Well, you know, I think with genealogy, I mean, its one thing is like, you're never going to become a millionaire with your own data. Share it!
David: And if you share it, you're going to make more connections. And it's all about getting the story out there, finding those relatives and reconnecting.
Fisher: So. that is the short course for you, April. So good luck with that, and keep up the good work. It's a time consuming thing. It's going to take a lot of effort. And there's a little bit of a learning curve in there, but you can do this. So thanks for the question. David, thank you of course for your part in the show this week. And we'll talk to you again soon.
David: All right, my friend until later.
Fisher: All right. Thanks so much. And thanks for joining us. Thanks to Lindsey Fulton from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org for coming on and talking about this new Boston Tea Party Society that's coming together. If you have a part on that, you may want to hear this again, just catch the podcast of course. You can do it on all the usual places, Apple Media, TuneIn Radio, iHeart Radio, Spotify, and ExtremeGenes.com. We'll talk to you again next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, where a nice normal family!