Episode 46 - WWII Vet's Dog Tag Found in Wales... To Be Returned to Daughter.  Amazing Sites: FamilyTreeDNA.com and FultonHistory.com

podcast episode Jun 16, 2014

Fisher talks to a Michigan woman about the discovery in Wales of something that once belonged to her late father who served in World War II and the invasion of Normandy. 

DNA is the big thing these days in identifying long deceased ancestors as well as unknown living relatives.  Fisher talks with guest Bennett Greenspan, President of FamilyTreeDNA.com, about how it all came about.

The other great family history tool of the 20th century is digitized newspapers.  Fisher visits with Tom Trynisky, a New York man who has devoted years of his life to providing us access to over 27 million digitized newspaper pages, most dealing with New York City and State… all on his dime and time.  If you’ve had ancestors that came out of New York, you’ll want to visit Trynisky’s site… FultonHistory.com.  It’ll cost you nothing!

Preservation Authority Tom Perry, from TMCPlace.com, is back to talk about staying legal in your family reunion plans.  Got a question for Tom?  Email him here, at [email protected]

Transcript of Episode 46

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Maureen Carruthers Tate

Segment 1 Episode 46

Fisher: Did you find something ancestral this past week? Hi, it’s Fisher and this is Extreme Genes America’s Family History Show where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. All right, real short introduction this week because we have much ground to cover. First, it’s Father’s Day weekend, so to all the dads, hope you have a great one. Of course, around here we also celebrate the grandpas, the great grandpas, the fifth great grandpas. We love them all. We’re going to hear a special Father’s Day find coming up in just a few moments. You’re going to love it. This week we’ve got guests on that shine the light on the two big research breakthroughs of the 21st Century, DNA and Digitized Newspapers. First, we’ll be talking to Bennett Greenspan, President of Family Tree DNA. Now with Ancestry.com announcing their dropping out of the Y-chromosome and mitochondrial markets this past week, Family Tree DNA will of course be strengthened in those important areas. We’ll hear from Bennett about his company in about eight minutes. Then, later in the show you’ll hear from a man who has digitized over 26 million pages of newspapers, mostly from around New York City and State. That’s almost three times as much as the Library of Congress has done. Oh, and you can access them for free. He’s got a great site and a great story. Our ExtremeGenes.com poll for this week asked, “Do you have a family history legend in your line that you haven’t been able to prove? Over 80% of you answered yes. This week we asked the question, "Do you have any ancestors who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, yes or no? Cast your vote at ExtremeGenes.com. Well, earlier this week I had a chance to talk to Maureen Carruthers Tate from River Rouge, Michigan and did she get a great call recently concerning her father who passed away over fifty years ago. Listen to this. What an experience you've had recently with Father's Day coming up, it seems really appropriate, your dad's WW II dog tag found in Wales. Tell us about this.

Maureen: Well, I really don’t know what to tell you about Wales because I've never been there. I was contacted through the Detroit Free Press in regards to his dog tags being found and the individual that found them would like to return them to me. So, I guess that’s going to take place sometime in the future, and then when I get them they will be given to my son which is his grandson. He's a handicapped child, so he'll be getting those. He never had a chance to meet his grandfather, so I mean that's the only right that I know to do.

Fisher: Well, I think that's a great thing to do. Tell us about that call. What was your reaction when you heard about this?

Maureen: After I stopped crying? [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

Maureen: I was a little stunned because I really didn't expect it. After all these years I really didn't think they were ever going to be found. 

Fisher: Brag about your dad a little bit. It's Father's day weekend. Tell us about what your dad did for our country in WW II.

Maureen: To be truthful, he didn't really talk a lot about it. He said he enlisted and did what he had to do and he was trying to hurry up and get back home to me and marry my mother.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Maureen: [Laughs] That was one part of his life that he said he would rather, just as they say, hang up over the backburner.

Fisher: Yes, obviously. Everybody handles that differently. Some people can talk openly about it. Some people really struggle with it. Do I understand now that the dog tag was found in an area though that was a training ground for D-Day?

Maureen: That's what I understand.

Fisher: And so do you know for a fact that if your father actually participated in that?

Maureen: Yes he did.

Fisher: Oh, so you knew that much?

Maureen: Yeah, I did know that much.

Fisher: Tell us about what he told you about that.

Maureen: Well basically, excuse my language, it was like hell, [Laughs] because back in the day their training exercises were quite different from what they are nowadays. And by him being somewhere he had never been before, didn’t know anybody, you know, with a strange group of people they worked hard and that was the best that he told me.

Fisher: And off he went to France and he wound up in Europe.

Maureen: Yep, he did a little bit of travelling, a little bit everywhere. I guess that’s where I get it from.

Fisher: Now tell us about the dog tag. Now did you ever talk to dad about this?

Maureen: As far as his dog tags were concerned, I asked him where they were, and he said he didn’t know he had lost them.

Fisher: And now they're found. Now where was it found in Wales and what was the circumstance to that?

Maureen: To my understanding a gentleman and his daughter were walking and I guess somebody had dug up the ground and that’s how they found them.

Fisher: And it was sitting right there, and obviously a place where a lot of the soldiers had done the training. And how long ago did he find it? How long did it take for him to find you?

Maureen: Well, actually I have not talked to the individual. 

Fisher: Okay.

Maureen: They contacted London and London contacted the Free Press. The Free Press called my cousin and my cousin gave them my number. That’s how I was called. So there really isn’t a planned set. All I know is he wants to give them back to me.

Fisher: And I bet you can’t wait.

Maureen: Uhh yes and no.

Fisher: Really?

Maureen: I have mixed feelings sometimes.

Fisher: Does it bring a lot of negative back? 

Maureen: No, I know I'm just going to burst out and cry, that's all. [Laughs]

Fisher: Is that a bad thing Maureen?

Maureen: For me yeah, because once I get started I don’t stop.

Fisher: Uh oh. Well, it's a beautiful thing. Obviously you were very close to your father and its going to be a great thing for you to have in your possession and I'm sure your son is going to treasure that and value that connection to the past.

Maureen: I hope so.

Fisher: Well Maureen, thank you so much for your time and congratulations on an amazing experience and we wish you the best of luck. 

Maureen: Thank you.

Fisher:  Well, I hope Maureen has that good, long cry soon. And coming up next, he's the President and founder of Family Tree DNA, the largest such company in the world. Bennett Greenspan joins us in three minutes on Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 2 Episode 46

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Bennett Greenspan

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here the Radio Roots Sleuth with Bennett Greenspan my guest. He’s the President of FamilyTreeDNA. Bennett welcome to Extreme Genes, nice to have you on and nice to meet you.

Bennett: Well Scott, nice to be on the show and I’m looking forward to have the chance to chat with you and perhaps shine a little light on genetic genealogy for your listeners. 

Fisher: You know, when we hear the term genetic genealogy it sounds scientific and sterile and you know the reality of it is though, it brings about miraculous things and knowledge within families. And I'm going to tell you about a friend of mine that used Family Tree DNA not long ago. He's a young guy. He didn't have a lot of money. You had a special deal going on out there for like forty bucks and he did an autosomal DNA test through you because his grandfather had been adopted. Never knew who the father was and they suspected it might be some unique ethnicity for the area that he had come from in the West. The test came back; he matched somebody in the Washington area and found out Middle Eastern. The two sides met. They both found that they came from the same area; that they were actually cousins and so we had this big family reunion that my wife and I were actually invited to last summer and it was a miracle thing, an amazing thing. And now they know where they're from; that they were actually from part of Israel, this branch of the family, and it was a very unique experience. 

Bennett: My, what a wonderful story.  You know, we have an opportunity to hear those stories and because we have such a large reach in the genealogical and in the adoption market, we hear stories like that frequently. In fact,  I was just at a  genealogical convention in  California and someone  came up to me and said, "I just want to introduce you to someone who was adopted, who has enough DNA in common with me, and on my father's side that we clearly know how this person is now related to us. And if it wasn’t for DNA we never would have had an idea. 

Fisher: It is one of what I think two greatest innovations in family history here in the last decade or this century, that and digitized newspapers. And the combination is just so powerful.

Bennett: Absolutely.

Fisher: But let’s talk about Family Tree DNA. Give us a little history of it for people not familiar with what it is and how you guys started this thing.

Bennett: Well, interestingly I am not approaching genetic genealogy as a scientist. I'm approaching genetic genealogy as a genealogist. I've been a genealogist since I was a boy. I drew my first family tree in 1965 and I have picked up and put down my genealogy many times over the next three decades because every time I hit a paper trail roadblock, I kind of gave up on that line. So in 1999 I researched the line of my mother's, mother's father and after I had done the research and found all the cousins here in the United States, I entered the name and do a database, and found someone living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, who claimed to come from the same ancestral village that my mother's, mother's father's family had come from. They have the same last name. They claim to come from the same village. They claimed to have relatives in the United States. We knew nothing about relatives down there.

Fisher: Wow.

Bennett: And so I ended up convincing the folks at the University of Arizona to act in effect as a laboratory and I would act as the front and we would do DNA testing and offer it to the general genealogical community. We only did that after I got the results of a pilot pack which in effect showed that this folks in Argentina were related to my relatives living in the United States. And so in effect, I was the first customer of the company. And the reason I started the company is because I saw such tremendous potential for us genealogists who got paper trail roadblocks that I wanted to in effect give something back to the community, but I will admit to you Scott, it has grown far beyond my expectations. I just smile when I go to these conferences and everyone's talking about DNA because I remember the time when no one wanted to talk to me about using DNA and genealogy, and that has absolutely turned a hundred and eighty degrees since we formally started the company in May of 2000, and since that time, by the way, between our own testing efforts and between the testing efforts of our affiliates, including the National Geographic Society Genographic Project. Our company has processed over one million DNA samples in our laboratory. 

Fisher: Wow, isn’t that something? And you know, you think about the hundred and eighty degree turn, there's still people out there going, "I don’t know that I want to give my spit because the Government is going to be able to track me." But, obviously that has never been the case. The privacy of this and the use of this particular DNA is very unique to this particular application.

Bennett: Well Scott, not only is that correct, but if the Government wants your DNA...

Fisher: [Laughs]

Bennett: They're not going to waste their time coming into a commercial company that does DNA testing. They are going to come directly to your house, and they're going to ask for your co-operation and they're going to ask if they can come inside, sit down and talk to you. And at that point you really should be concerned, but at this point...

Fisher: Or they're going to get that Coke can you threw away on the way down the street.

Bennett: [Laughs] But see, with our customers there's no legal chain of custody, which is absolutely required in anything that is used by any of our, you know, police authority. So they want to come in. They want to watch you scrape. They want to scrape you. They want to take it back to the lab and do whatever they want to do. We don’t do any of those things. We send you out a scraping kit. You scrape in the privacy of your own home. You claim who you are and then you send back the sample.  The good thing for us is that most genealogists just want to discover the truth, whether it's on the Y-chromosome, the mitochondria, which is the mother's, mother's line, or using the autosomal  DNA which pass a different type of very wide net. And so this is really a tool for genealogists to break through brick walls and to find out things about themselves that they couldn’t otherwise determine by looking in a mirror.

Fisher: Absolutely. Well, let’s talk about now the progress and the changes that are happening. Autosomal is really a pretty recent thing and a lot of people wonder, "Well, what does that mean?” It's not just the male line and the female line. It's everything in between and it's what seven hundred thousand plus points that you test?

Bennett: Right. We use what's called a micro array which has seven hundred thousand discreet data points on it, covering all of your twenty two chromosomes that recombine plus the X-chromosome, and we use that to predict the greens of relatedness so I can tell two people if they are first cousins or if they're one half first cousins and how does someone end up as a one half first cousin. That means that they don’t share quite as many grandparents in common as they thought they did. Sometimes that happens because a man will get divorced and then get remarried and have children with that second wife, or there's a non-paternal event which means that there was a surprise in the genealogy and we can determine if that's the case. We regularly get contacted by multiple girls who want to know if they all share the same father.

Fisher: Ha.

Bennett: Quite often people who think they are half brothers or a brother and a sister who think they are half sibs will contact us. Lots and lots of adoptees are adopting the technology of DNA testing, and in particular they're using autosomal DNA testing to try to cast a very wide net to find relatives. And then we also have the ability to tell an individual what their ethnic percentages are by using the autosomal DNA test. So, I can tell if someone is 8% Native American, 12% Sub-Saharan African and 80% European or any combination thereof from regions around the entire world. So, one way that we use that test right now is we're determining whether Amerasians, little kids who were fathered by US G.I's in Vietnam and then came to the United States on what was called the Operation Babylift in the 1970s.

Fisher: Right.

Bennett: Those kids are looking for their biological parents. Their mom back in Vietnam and maybe their US G.I Service dad here in the United States. And we have actually been able to put together a number of kids whose been living in the United States since 1975 and we’ve been able to introduce them to their G.I Service dads that they never knew and the dads never knew, and many cases the dads didn’t know they had gotten a Vietnamese woman pregnant. The child was born, the G.I went back to the Unites States, developed a life and surprise. So we deal with a lot of those kinds of cases. But of course our bread and butter, our standard business is the Y-chromosome and the female mitochondrion which we have pioneered the testing of and have offered to the genealogical community for surname projects for the past fourteen years. We probably have a surname project for the top ten thousand surnames in the United States. 

Fisher: It’s unbelievable. And I’m part of one of those and have found it to be very useful. And then back on the autosomal thing, you know we talked about the half cousins. I found a guy who is my half second cousin, the autosomal test actually showed us as being somewhere around a fourth cousin. But I’m thinking because there are varying degrees, right, that come back down, is that how that works?

Bennett: Yeah. But the point is that there is a range of the amount of DNA that would typically flow from one generation to the next and then on to subsequent generations. So when we look at the DNA, there’s certainly a range where someone might be a first cousin or might be a second cousin, and we’ll try to pigeon hole them, but there’s another issue that I want to mention and that’s that most of us are a little bit more closely related to our cousins than we realize. And that’s because if we go back five generations, most of us don’t actually have sixty four unique great, great, great grandparents. I’ll give you an example; one individual we predicted as a fourth cousin and he said, “You know, I know all my fourth cousins” And he said, “I don’t think this is right” Well, he called me back about a week later and said, “Okay, I have to tell you the truth, I figured out that guy that you predicted as a fourth cousin, he’s a double cousin with me as a fifth cousin and a seventh cousin.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Bennett: [Laughs] But that’s pretty common for lots and lots of us.

Fisher: Sure. That’s right. Bennett we are out of time. Thank you so much. I wish we could go on for another half an hour. [Laughs] This is so great. He’s Bennett Greenspan. He is the President of FamilyTreeDNA.com. Thanks so much for joining us. 

Bennett: Thank you very much for having me.

Fisher: Next, we focus on the second breakthrough of the century, digitized newspapers. We’ll talk to a man who’s given us over twenty six million digitized pages for free, in three minutes on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.   

Segment 3 Episode 46

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Trynisky

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio, ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Root Sleuth. And, this is the first time I’ve actually got to talk to one of my genealogical heroes. He’s a man who has put together a website of digitized newspapers that is bigger than that of the Library of Congress. And he’s done it all by himself with no sponsorships, no ads on his site, no memberships. Tom Trynisky, it is a pleasure and an honor to meet you. How are you?

Tom: I’m very good, thank you.

Fisher: The site is called FultonHistory.com. If you go there it’s kind of, I would say it’s artistic, Tom. Is that a fair assessment?

Tom: [Laughs] Yes it is!

Fisher: It has bubbles and fish and old time radio shows on there and it kind of hides the fact that the reality is, there is more information on New York State than is probably on any other site you can think of. When did you start this thing, Tom and why?

Tom: Well, actually I started it probably in the late 1990s. I retired very early, at forty nine, and I basically started with a box of old Fulton, New York postcards that was loaned to me by a fellow worker.

Fisher: From Fulton County, New York? Is that what you’re saying?

Tom: No, this was Fulton… in Fulton, New York.

Fisher: Fulton, New York?

Tom: This is in Oswego County.

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: And those postcards depicted Fulton back in its heyday. It was a very, very busy town. You can get a job anywhere as you wanted. And the way the lawns were kept and people kept their houses, it was phenomenal. And obviously Fulton has gone through some hard times as of late. And these old postcards, I wanted to share them with people and didn’t really know how about going and doing it. So I came up with the idea of putting up a real simple website. I guess my first name at that time was called OldFultonNY(NewYork).ru.da.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Yeah I know it’s a little strange.

Fisher: Yeah, we’ll all remember that! [Laughs]

Tom: Yeah, I know it. Anyhow, I put the postcards up and mentioned it around Fulton and people got a really good kick out of that, because again, a lot of these people now, never knew Fulton back in that day.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: They really showed a lot of interest. So then I branched into newspaper scanning. And I scanned the local newspapers, Oswego Valley News, which was on a tabloid size scanner. And it took me just about a year to do the whole run. And I did one page at a time. And while I was scanning it, I was reading the next page, so it was very interesting. That newspaper is what we call very photo rich and it would take pictures of birthdays, graduations, retirements, you name it, full of photos. And at that time, I was just getting into word recognition and I had tried a bunch of programs and said, “Let’s see how that works with the newspaper.” And I was amazed at the quality I was getting out of the scans and the word recognition.

Fisher: Yes.

Tom: I put the website up as I was doing the newspaper and it got around town and people were just floored by putting in a keyword out there and also they’re going to see a picture of themselves, graduation or retirement or what have you. And it kind of really took off at that point. As time would go on, I wanted to add more newspapers, but the newspapers that I wanted to add were a bit bigger than the tabloid scanner I had. And at that point, I realized, if I was going to stay doing this, I had to go out and buy a microfilm scanner. And I wanted to see how it handled the quality of the microfilm that I get, which is usually very poor.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: I work generally with just what we call service copies. You know, it’s usually… I call it awful, but buy them for the barrel microfilm.

Fisher: Now where do you get these things? The number of papers you have you have more than the Library of Congress. You have more than pretty much all the major companies have out there. Obviously you’ve got a big start on it. What are you at, 26 million pages now?

Tom: I have right now, even though the site says 26,800,000, I’m way over that.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Yeah, I mean, I just don’t do an update every time I get a new run of newspapers.

Fisher: Well let me ask you this, are there more papers from New York City to come?

Tom: Yes. I’m looking at adding a couple of the big runs and I’ve just been seeing what is the availability of it. That’s one of the big things that I try to do is, I’ve got to contact these various libraries that have it and see if they’ll let me borrow it. And you know, as part of the deal is, if they let me borrow it, I give them a complete digital copy of it for their use, you know, for what they want to use it for.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: And that’s a good deal I think, for me and them.

Fisher: Totally.

Tom: Because they won’t have that done.

Fisher: I think that’s how most people do it now, right?

Tom: Yep, that’s right.

Fisher: Well, tell me some stories, Tom, about people and their discoveries that have touched your heart and made you feel good about what you’ve done.

Tom: I get these all the time. These people will, they’ll come onto my site and they’ll do a search thinking they’re not going to get nothing. Guess again! Even though I’m heavily into New York State newspapers, but New York State newspapers also included information from other newspapers across the United States, because they used the wire to use it as fillers on their newspapers.

Fisher: Yes.

Tom: And they’ll come on and type in a keyword and all of a sudden it pops up in a New York State newspaper about something that they never dreamed would be there. And you know, I always get these things, “You know, I never knew anything about my family, about what they did. They never talked about this particular great grandfather or something and now I know why.” Because they found out that this guy might have been in jail or murdered somebody. You know, it’s just things like that that pop up that you just never knew you would be able to find out anything about it.

Fisher: Well, and I’ll tell you that one of the things that you printed that nobody else has, gave me the name of a third great grandfather I’ve been looking for, for thirty years. And I was able to match his burial information from the newspaper with the grave in Brooklyn, New York. Found he was buried with a previously unknown daughter of a great grandmother of mine, which basically proved that he was the right guy.

Tom: Yeah.

Fisher: And then his presence proved who she was. So I wouldn’t have found one without the other. That got me back into Connecticut and ultimately that line took me back to the Mayflower. And that’s because of what you done.

Tom: Wow! Yeah, I get that type of information all the time from people. And you know, that’s probably what I get the most kick out of, hearing those stories. I say “My God! This is great!” You know. So I mean things like that which keep me going. As you know, I don’t make any money of these projects, but I sure do like hearing these stories.

Fisher: Well now, tell me why it is you haven’t commercialized this? It is free to everybody. We need to tell them the address. It is FultonHistory.com. And you mentioned New York State, probably because you think of that first because you live there, but you have the greatest collection of New York City newspapers anywhere. And so many Americans come through New York City. They may find what they’re looking for there. But why not commercialize it? Why is it you haven’t pursued dollar on this thing, not even ads on your site, Tom?

Tom: Yeah, you know, a lot of people enjoy the site as it is free, because quite frankly, they can’t afford the pay sites.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: And you know, I don’t want to penalize somebody just because they haven’t got a few dollars in their pocket, from accessing this information. Again, I do accept donations and I think that’s the best way to do it. People then that can afford it, do make a donation, people that cannot afford it, they don’t. I mean, that’s kind of like where it is.

Fisher: And that’s basically just to cover your costs, because you’re not making anything from this.

Tom: No. I mean it doesn’t. I’ll be honest with you, it doesn’t even cover my costs. Just, my running cost alone for the broadband is over $600 a month. I don’t make anything near that per month.

Fisher: It’s just your passion.

Tom: Absolutely. Again, I retired early and I was not the type of guy to ever just sit around doing nothing. Believe me, this takes up a lot of my time.

Fisher: Oh there’s no question! And we can see that. Well, it’s a great service, perhaps the greatest single service of any individual in America right now. On behalf of those people who have New York ancestry, and maybe as you mentioned from several other places, thank you so much for what you do, Tom. Long life and good health so that you can keep this thing going! [Laughs] And once again, it is FultonHistory.com. How many pages do you think you’re up to? You say it’s not 26.8 million anymore, its way beyond that.

Tom: I would say 27 million, maybe 300,000 right now. Again, I’m going to have another update in the fall and you know, we’ll see how far along I am.

Fisher: You’re almost triple the Library of Congress’ efforts, all by yourself! Amazing!

Tom: Well you know, the Library of Congress has a lot of bureaucracy around it, so I mean things take time when they do things and I can understand that.

Fisher: [Laughs] Well, I’m sure they look at you with raised eyebrows.

Tom: [Laughs]

Fisher: He’s Tom Trynisky. He’s the founder of FultonHistory.com. Thanks so much for joining us, Tom.

Tom: Okay, thank you very much.

Fisher: And coming up next, , Tom Perry our Preservation Authority answering your questions on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 4 Episode 46

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio, it’s America's Family History Show. I am Fisher, with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. Welcome back, Tom. Good to see you.

Tom: Good to be back.

Fisher: Oh, you're sounding better this week.

Tom: A little bit, but I still am as ugly as ever.

Fisher: [Laughs] Well, we've been getting questions about various things dealing with legalities. For instance, with the family reunion, can you show a movie at a family reunion?

Tom: Absolutely not!

Fisher: Really? So you can't go rent a movie and then show it in front of the gang? Even though you're not going to make any money off of that?

Tom: Right. You can't do that, as silly as this may sound to people. That's why a lot of the larger churches in the old days used to have, like get a group of their kids together and show movies. They don't do that anymore, because it is actually copyright violation. You have to get a permit. Like a lot of cities have movie nights, we have one in our neighborhood, they have it at different libraries out on their lawn and such, but there's a company you can get a hold of and pay royalty fees and they can be anywhere from $250 to $1000 for the movie depending on exactly what you're going to do, if you're a nonprofit organization, which a family reunion would qualify as, if you're showing a movie that's now presently in the theaters, if it’s one that's just left the theaters, there's so many different options. And if you want to really go by the letter of the law, that's the way to do it. A lot of times, people just do it and don't worry about it. But you've got to be careful that if you're advertising the stuff on the internet, that you're doing things and you're going to show some movie or something, somebody might see that and can come after you and can fine you. And the fines are a lot higher than paying it upfront. Like I say, you can do these usually from about $200 to $1000 depending on what movies you're getting, but you can get movies that are actually in the theaters right now and have the rights to show them at a reunion or at the park or at your neighborhood or whatever. But legally, you can only play DVDs and VHS in your home for your family. Same thing in fact, the law actually states, if you're recording the old days onto a VHS tape, a movie, you can watch it, but it actually has to be played on the VCR that you recorded it on.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: We have people come in all the time that says, "Hey, I recorded this stuff off the television that I want to keep. Can you take the commercials out?" And absolutely not! We cannot. We cannot do any changes to it whatsoever or we would be in copyright violation. That does not fall under the Fair Use Act.

Fisher: All right.

Tom: If you're going to have something as large as a family reunion, I really suggest you get a hold of one of these companies. You can just Google them. And you can pay as little as $250. And on most family reunion budgets, $250 isn't a lot of money. So as we have families come to our reunion centre, we'll be the same way. If they want a Harry Potter movie or they want any kind of movie, then we can just pay the subscription price that they'll charge, then we can show it. And the neat thing is that you don't have to go Netflix as get it, they will send you, you know, a high resolution copy of it that you watch. And the neat thing too, for another fee, and I don't know exactly how much it is, you can get an edited version or what we call an airplane version, which doesn't have some of the profanity. So, maybe there's a movie you really want to watch, but there's too much violence in it, movies like that, you can have them edit for you, which you can't do yourself, but they'll do it for you. And say, "Hey' I wanted the edited version. I want this R rated movie to be PG13 or even PG." and they will do that for you.

Fisher: Now similarly, we've got music right, that people often want to use on videos they put together for things like family reunions.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: And that is obviously against the law.

Tom: Oh absolutely! No question about that. Let me have you write this down. Anybody that's out there that wants to check on audio rights, there's place called HarryFox.com, which is, H A R R Y F O X.com. He handles all the mechanical licensing. When you go to the site, just click on what's called song file, and that's for the small companies or the small families that might want to make a disk that they want to hand out at a wedding or that they want to put on their family reunion video. And you can buy the licensing rights. And this is if you're going distribute less than 2500. So unless you've got a real big family, like we talked a few weeks ago about this big convention that's going back east, you know, you would fall under that. Check it, tell them what songs you want and you can find, "Wow, this song's $1000. This song's only $5, let's do some $5 ones." And that way, you're totally legal. Any way you want to distribute it, as long as you fall within those guidelines, you'll be able to do that. You'll feel good about it. You can advertise it on the internet, do whatever you want and you're totally covered.

Fisher: All right, when we return, what are we talking about?

Tom: We're going to go into some specific do's and don’ts with your audio, video and different files like that.

Fisher: All right, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 5 Episode 46

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And welcome back, final segment, Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority. And, Tom, we've been hearing from people still with some confusion over specific things that we can and can't do, things we want to obviously avoid getting us in trouble over. Where do you want to start?

Tom: Okay, what you can do. You can take an old vinyl record or an audio that you own that is not available on a CD and convert it to a CD. That’s legal. You can't make additional copies, but you can do that. That's called a convenience use and falls under the Fair Use Act. With videotapes, same thing. If you have a copyright videotape that is not available on DVD or BluRay, you can transfer it to one DVD if you own it, but you can't distribute it or make copies for your kids or backup copies, anything. You can do one. The things that you cannot do, you cannot go and check out a cassette from the library or check out a DVD from the library and make a copy of it. That's major copyright infringement. That's what I call stealing.

Fisher: That's right.

Tom: The royalties aren't going to the artists that created it, all the distributers, all the people. I made a list which we don't have time to go over that's got fifty names of it that people you're stealing from. If you borrow somebody's CD and download it on your MP3 player for instance.

Fisher: Well, you can go through the musicians who played.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: The people who wrote the song.

Tom: Uh huh.

Fisher: The music arranger. You've got the music companies, the distribution people, right, all those people?

Tom: Right, yeah, the store themselves. Even the people that are lumberjacks that cut down the trees that turn into the paper that turns into the tray cards that are inside the thing. There's so many people whose livelihood depends on people being honest. Now a lot of CDs, you can go and read the fine print and it will tell you, "You can put this on your own devices." So if you have an iPhone, a computer, MP3 player, you can put it on all of those things, that's fine. Sometimes you can buy a family license, which means you can put it on your kid's MP3 players and iPods and such. And some of them, you can't. Just read the fine print, then you know, "Hey, this will allow me." Same thing with computer software, sometimes you can buy a family license, which you can put on four, five, six computers and things at your home.

Fisher: And you know, for a comparison, Tom, earlier, I think it was last year, we talked about people who went out and had their family portraits done, and then discovered their family portraits were being used commercially overseas!

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: So you know, it can be the other way around. And how would we feel about that. And you actually knew somebody that that happened to.

Tom: Yeah, we had a customer that actually came into our store that said that they were shopping at IKEA and they went and saw one of their neighbor's pictures on a table, kind of dressing up the place. And they thought that was so cool, so they called her from the phone and said, "Hey, you know, hey, this is so cool. When did you guys start doing modeling and stuff?" And they're going, "Excuse me?" So they jumped in their car, ran down to IKEA and saw it, went to the manager, the manager immediately removed it and found out that the place that they were buying what they call clipart from had that picture. And they said, "Well, how did you get it?"

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: There are some companies out there where you can do storybooks online. And if you read the fine print, it says, "You have exclusive rights to do whatever you want with this. However, we have non exclusive rights that we can sell you pictures or do whatever we want as well." And people don't read the fine print. And so, somebody uploaded a really cool picture that somebody wanted by IKEA, so they sold it them, they used it. And so IKEA has changed their policy now. They don't buy from this company anymore. They only buy from ones where there are actually hired models. So IKEA did the right thing. They didn't have to. They we’re totally within the law, but they did the right thing. So how would you feel if you see your picture on some hemorrhoid commercial or something like that?

Fisher: [Laughs] Well Tom, you've made a great case for reading the fine print that none of us do. And you do this regularly.

Tom: Absolutely.

Fisher: Obviously because you're looking to protect your own business, but I think that would apply to all of us who are looking to make sure we stay out of trouble, even when we're sharing things that are relating with the family or we're trying to put music to a family video. Whatever it is, we've got to be careful we do it right. And if you have a question for Tom, all you have to do is [email protected], and you might hear your question answered on the air. Thanks for coming in, Tom.

Tom: Good to be here.

Fisher: And thanks so much to Bennett Greenspan, President of FamilyTreeDNA.com, for coming on the show and talking about that. And Tom Trynisky, he's the founder of FultonHistory.com, digitized newspapers. I mean, he has virtually all of New York locked up and it’s there for you, free to access. If you missed those segments, of course catch the podcast, you can get them on iTunes and iHeart Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. And be sure to download our free podcast app for you iPhones and Androids. Talk to you next week. Have a great one. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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